Church DisciplineNote, this article is part of a topical study series.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company,
if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator,
or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard,
or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
1 Corinthians 5:11
Church discipline is an area that is not well practiced today in the church. One might say that it is unloving to separate or disassociate with a member of the church. However, the Bible says the opposite. Love demands discipline. Church discipline is not much different than the principle of disciplining a child:
He that spareth his rod hateth his son:
but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Most of the principles of church discipline are found by a careful reading of 1 Corinthians 5.
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person."to purge out" the leaven. In 2 Corinthians, Paul refers back to this instance, saying that this punishment is sufficient:
Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
2 Corinthians 2:6-8
"...from such turn away..."
2 Timothy 3:5
"...from such withdraw thyself..."
"...have no company with him..."
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;"
"...shun profane and vain babblings..."
Therefore, it seems that somewhere down the line, as a church body, we would need to reject, purge out, shun some brothers or sisters based on 1 Corinthians 5:11. It is the loving thing to do. And we know that afterwards, it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness:
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised thereby.