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Frank Jamerson


   There are two false extremes on how those who have been withdrawn from by the church should be treated. First, some treat them the same way after the withdrawal as they did before. In doing so they are working against the action of the church and violating God’s word, therefore walking disorderly themselves. If one person indicates that he is in disagreement with the action of the church, the one disciplined will believe that one is right and all the others are wrong! The second extreme is to forget about the person and treat him as though he is not a brother or sister any longer.


   How should one be treated after the church has taken the action that God requires in discipline?


   First, the person is still a brother or sister. “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thess. 3:14,15). Just as a child in a physical family remains in the family, even if severely disciplined, the spiritual brother or sister remains in the family, but has been deprived of the privileges of that family.


   Paul told the Thessalonians, “keep no company with him...” (2 Thess. 3:14). He told the Corinthians, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with...not even to eat with such a person” (1 Cor. 5:11). This is not talking about eating the Lord’s supper, but the social contacts that we have previously had with the brother (1 Cor. 5:10-12). If we must admonish the person as a brother, some social contact must be experienced, but the contact should not be the kind of approving relationship that we had before. Such things as social meals and joint participation in recreational activities cannot be enjoyed together.


   Third, the problem of what relationship family members may continue to have with the one withdrawn from has received different answers. Some believe that if a husband is withdrawn from, the wife cannot eat at the same table with him, or if children have been withdrawn from they must eat at a different table. I believe that God requires husbands and wives to fulfill their responsibilities toward one another, even if one has been disfellowshipped. But that association must not be with the attitude that the church is wrong and I am “on your side” in the matter. Likewise, parents and children have responsibilities, but those should not be fulfilled with the impression that they are approving the family member and disagreeing with the action taken by the church. Some contend that parents cannot keep company or eat with the son or daughter who has moved out of the home. The Bible does not say that, so each person must decide what he should do in fulfilling his responsibilities to family without giving approval of disorderly conduct.


   Finally, we should continue to pray for the souls of those who have been disciplined. The purpose of the action is the salvation of the soul and the purity of the Lord’s church. As we have opportunity we must continue to admonish them and let them know that we are praying for them.

                       Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014    This page last modified July 03, 2014