• David Lee Brown

Church Discipline


“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Mathew 18:15-20

My friend Curtis posted a news article on Face Book, “'Turn away from the sinful life you've chosen': Arkansas church kicks out member who came out as gay due to his 'homosexual lifestyle'” By Hannah Parry for Dailymail.com. It spoke of a young man that decided to tell his church that he was Gay and they sent him a nice letter excommunicating him stating that he would be welcome back if he repented and turned from his sinful lifestyle. I don’t know if they followed the precise Biblical steps or not, but what they did was very Biblical and done in love.

The Bible says, “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. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18

Fornicators, any sexually immoral people or any other people that will not repent and turn away from their sin are sinners and cannot be allowed to remain in your churches. The Bible says that if a person is actively sinning and will not repent, you should speak to him/her about the sin in their life. If they still don't repent the church leadership should address the person's sin and explain the need for repentance. If the person still will not repent the entire church is called into session about the matter. Then the church has the responsibility to excommunicate the person due to active, habitual, un-repented sin in their life. It's the church's responsibility! But, it must be done in love and with the sinners best interests at heart, in accordance with scripture. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15

Lord, church discipline has almost, “gone the way of the Dodo”. It’s not quite extinct like the Dodo bird, but it is grossly neglected. I pray that it be revived and practiced in love. May everything we do be in accordance with your will and your precious Holy Word. Amen! Hallelujah!