-A. Ralph Johnson


Church discipline is not a popular subject but it is Biblical.  Because of ignoring it the result has been a permissive attitude in the church reflecting the attitudes of the devil’s followers. This is an analysis of the Scriptures on the subject.    




Matthew 18:15-20



Sin against a brother and  refusal to hear the church

Let him be as a heathen man and as a publican


Matt. 18:15.   Moreover if your brother  trespasses against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16     But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto you as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  




Some have claimed that this excludes a person from seeking advice or assistance in confronting someone. Bullies, abusers, and those seeking to evade accountability sometimes argue such technicalities, but that was not its intent.  A woman who has been beaten or a child that has been molested is not required to confront their abusers alone without assistance. They have already confronted them in the act of abuse.  Paul did not have a private meeting with the man living in incest before bringing it to the attention of the church (1Cor. 5:1-3).  Paul seems not to have talked to Peter privately before confronting him before the church (Gal. 2:14).   


Some, have claimed they have the right to demand a public meeting of the church to allow them to attack others or slander church leaders.  Not so. These meetings are under the authority of church leaders.  They have power to regulate when and where they should take place, how they are conducted, who should speak and what will be permitted (Heb. 13:17 ; 1Tim. 5:17). .  For example, a person who has repented should not be brought before the church.  People who may be unduly injured may be excluded.




These meetings were never intended for non-members.  They were provided to resolve differences within the church and to discipline sinning unrepentant members by excluding them from fellowship. We are not required to let wolves from outside demand public meetings to attack the flock.  The shepherds have the right and the power to drive them away (Acts 20:17-31).  Jesus did not call a conference of the Sanhedrin before denouncing the Scribes and Pharisees for their wicked behavior (Matt. 23).  Paul did not call a conference before denouncing Elymas the Sorcerer (Acts 13:8).  Peter did not call the church together before putting an end to the behavior of Ananias and Sapphira. John did not say to call a church meeting before rejecting those who brought their false-doctrine (2 John). We have every right to simply “mark” (Rom. 16:17) and “reject” (Tit. 3:10) those who are factious and cause divisions.  




It has been argued that there was no membership roll in the early church and therefore non-members must be given a church meeting.  That is false.  Paul clearly indicates there was some sort of recognition of members when he spoke of some needing “letters of commendation” to be accepted (1Cor. 3:1) and extending the “right hands of fellowship” (Gal. 2:9).




Jesus laid out only the bare bones of how these meetings should take place.  “Tell it unto the church” and “hear the church” are pretty broad.  How these things are to be done is left to the church. Those who rule the church have this responsibility (Heb. 13:17; 1Tim. 5:17 ); 1Tim. 5:19-20 indicates that church leaders could receive the accusation and rebuke the person before all.  1Cor. 6:4-5 indicates that “One wise man” may judge the matter.  Church leaders could receive the accusation, judge the matter and decree the decision publicly.  Or, church leaders could receive the accusation and have the whole church judge.  1Cor 6:1 indicates that differences should be settled “before the saints.”  However, when one was put out of the fellowship it seems to have been done publicly by the whole church (1Cor. 5:4-5).       


1Cor. 5:1-13 cf. 2Cor. 2:5-11; 7:8-12 (cf. 2Cor 6:14-18; 1Cor. 15:33; Rom. 1:24-32


Judge them (5:3, 12; cf. 6:1-10


taken away from among you (5:2)


gather together to deliver him to Satan (5:4-5)


purge out the old leaven (5:7)


not to keep company (5:9, 11)




 1 Cor. 5:1.  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. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 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, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 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.  6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 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: 8 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. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 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. 11 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 idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.  


2 Cor. 2:5. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.  


2Cor. 7:8.  For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. 


1Tim. 1:19-20 cf. 2Tim. 2:14-21; 4:14-15.

Thrusting aside faith and a good conscience

NAMED: Hymenaeus and Alexander

Erring concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is past and overthrowing the faith of some.

delivered unto Satan (1Tim. 1:20)


preserve himself from these 2Tim 2:21


the Lord reward according to their works


of whom be thou ware (2Tim 4:14)


1Tim. 1:19. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.   


Romans 16:17-18

Causing divisions and

Mark them and

occasions of stumbling

Turn away from them

Contrary to the doctrine you learned.   



Romans 16:17. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18    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.   


1Cor. 16:22 (cf. Jn. 14:15 , 21, 23-24; 1Jn. 5:2-4; 1:5-7; 2:3-6; Jn. 15:10 , 14; Matt 7:21)

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ,

let him be anathema (cf. Luke 6:46; Tit. 1:16)


2Thess 3:6-15 (Paul's “command”) cf. 1Tim 5:8 “provides not for his own.” 2Pet. 2:20-22

Walking disorderly

withdraw yourselves

Not working

note that man, and have no company with him


count him not as an enemy but

Not obeying the word of Paul's letter

admonish him as a brother


2Thes 3:6-15

6    Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 7  For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 9     Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 10  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. 13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14 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. 15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.   


2Timothy 3:1-9

lovers of self

From these also turn away


Their folly shall be evident unto all men

lovers of money






without self-control








no lovers of good


disobedient to parents










puffed up


without natural affection


lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God


holding a form of godliness


but having denied the power thereof (cf. Tit. 1:16)


ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth


corrupted in mind


reprobate concerning the faith



 2Tim 3:1. This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2      For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.   


Titus 3:10-11

A factious man (heretic)

refuse (avoid, reject)

10 A factious person after a second admonition reject11 Knowing that such a one is subverted, and sins, being condemned of himself.


2John 9-11

Abides not in the teaching of Christ

Receive him not inot your house

Brings not this teaching

give him no greeting:


he that does, partakes in his evil works


2John 1:9 Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the teaching of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the teaching of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and brings not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.


Galatians 1:6-10

Pervert the gospel of Christ

let him be anathema (or, accursed)


Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.   


Galatians 5:7-12

Hinder that you should not obey the truth

Preaches circumcision

I would that they were cut off [from the church]


Galatians 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8      This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that you will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubles you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.   


1Timothy 6:3-5

Consents not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine according to godliness;

From such withdraw yourself

proud, knowing nothing, but


doting about questions and strifes of words


Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and


destitute of the truth


supposing that gain is godliness.



1Tim 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the teaching which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself


2Cor. 6:14-18. (cf. Eph. 5:3-11; 1Cor. 15:33)


Be not unequally yoked


What fellowship have righteousness and iniquity?


What communion has light with darkness?


What portion has a believer with an unbeliever?


2Cor. 6:14. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17   Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 


Rev. 2:14 -16. (cf. 2:2, 6-7, 20) To the church at Pergamum

Hold the doctrine of Balaam

Jesus was against them because they permitted these people to remain in the congregation.

eat things sacrificed to idols


commits fornication


Holds the doctrine of the Nicolaitans



Rev. 2:14. But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.   


Revelation 2:20. Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.


Consider also:

-The effect of Achan's sin (Josh. 7)

-The results of Solomon's sin (1Kings 11:1-8)

-The results of not driving out the inhabitants of Canaan (Ex 23:33; Num. 33:55; cf. 1Sam. 15:13-23)

-The seriousness of the sin of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) 




Matthew 18:15-20

-Show him his fault between you and him alone: If he will not hear;

-Take with you one or two more, to establish every word before witnesses. (cf. 1Tim. 5:19; Deut. 19:15)

-If he refuses to hear them; Tell it unto the church; and

-if he refuses to hear the church also; Let him be unto you as a Gentile and a publican. 

-What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. 


1Cor. 5:1-13. (2Cor. 2:6-11 “Punishment...inflicted by the many)


Gather together to deliver such a one to Satan (5:4-5)

Judge him (5:3, 12; cf. 6:1-10)  (cf. 1Tim. 5:20; Gal. 2:14 reproved before all) 


Rom. 16:17-18. “Mark them...and turn away from them.” cf. 2Tim. 3:1-9; 2Thess. 3:6-15; 2John 1:9-11  (Note: Diligent inquiry is to be made into the matter  -Deut. 13:14; 17:2, 4




1Cor. 5:1-13.

-That the offender's spirit may be saved (1Cor. 5:5; Ezek. 3:17-21)

-To keep the evil from spreading to others. (1Cor. 5:6 cf. 15:33; Gal. 5:9)

-To end evil reports which shame the church before unbelievers (5:1


2Cor. 2:9. As a demonstration of obedience to God in all things. 


2Cor. 7:11-12.

-To be approved as being pure in handling such matters.

-To manifest earnest care in the sight of God 


2Thes 3:6-15.

-In obedience to God's command through His apostles.

-That the offender might be ashamed (3:14). 


2Tim. 2:16-18, 25.

-To keep false teachings from eating like gangrene and overthrowing faith.

-That God may give repentance unto a knowledge of the truth. (2Tim. 2:25


1Tim. 1:19-20. To teach them to not do evil. 


2John 1:9-11. So that we might not be a partaker of their evil deeds. 


Matt. 7:6. So that holy things might not be wasted on snapping, selfish, greedy and ungrateful people who would only return evil. 


2Cor. 6:14-18. That God may receive us and be to us a father. 


Rev. 2:14-17. So that Christ will not come and use his sword against us. 


1Tim. 5:19- 20. So that others may fear to do wrong. 


Tit. 1:11-12. To stop mouths and keep houses from being subverted that they may be sound in the faith. 


Prov. 22:10. “Cast out the scorner and contention will go out with him.” 


Heb. 13:17. That joy and profitableness may result. 


Heb. 12:5-8. To be sons of God. 


Heb. 12:9-11. To produce peaceable fruit. 


Acts 19:17 , 27-31. To protect the flock from wolves. 




Heb. 13:7-9

7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.   


Heb. 13:17.

17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.   


1Thes. 5:12-15.

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. (cf. 1Cor. 16:15,16 -subjection)  


1Tim. 5:17-20.

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. 19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20   Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (cf. Gal. 2:14)


 2 Tim. 4:2-5. 

2 Preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4      And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5   But watch you in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.   


Titus 1:4-5, 9-13

Titus was to set the church in order.  Elders were to exhort and convict the gainsayers and stop their mouths, reproving sharply


1 Cor. 16:15-16. People were to submit themselves to the household of Stephanus and all who minister. 


Titus 2:15

15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.   


Acts 20:17-31. The elders were to teach the whole counsel of God. They were to protect against wolves and false-teachers even from among themselves. Feed the flock


1 Peter 5:1-7. 

1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4      And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.   



1.      H e admonished on the basis of reports he received (1 Cor. 5:1; 1:11)

2.      He recognized the need for letters concerning the status of some people being exchanged between churches (2 Cor. 3:1).

3.      He wrote letters to churches and individuals, naming those who were sinning. (2 Tim. 4:10 , 14-15; 2:17-19; 1 Tim. 1:20; Philip. 4:2. cf. 3 John 9-10)

4.      When necessary Paul dealt sharply with offenders. (1 Cor. 4:21; 2 Cor. 13:1-2, 10; 10:10-11).

5.      He said that if he tried to please people he would not be Christ's servant (Gal. 1:10




Judge not!” -Matt. 7:1    

ANSWER:  The parallel passage, Lk.6:36-37 shows this refers to harsh or abusive unfair judgments. It does not nullify required decisions, conclusions or actions elsewhere taught in scripture (cf. 1Cor. 5:3, 12; 6:1-10; Jn. 7:24, Ac. 4:19; 1Cor. 10:15; 11:13; 14:29).  In fact, the same chapter shows he did not intend to prohibit making judgments. 

Matt. 7:6. Don't give that which is holy unto the dogs or pearls before swine.

Matt. 7:13-14.  We must judge which ways leads to life or destruction.

Matt. 7:15. Beware of false prophets in sheep's clothing. Know them by their fruits.


 “Disciplining is not loving.”      

ANSWER: Wrong! Not disciplining shows lack of love (Prov. 13:24; Heb. 12:5-11). Failing to discipline is selfish rather than caring.


 “Most people think it is OK to do those things and discipline is wrong.”     

ANSWER: Let God be true and every man a liar (Rom. 3:4). We are not to compare ourselves with others (2Cor. 10:12).


 “Jesus said, Let him that is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7)

ANSWER: Church discipline is entirely different than the Law’s requirement that those taken in adultery should be stoned (Ex. 20:10; Deut. 22:23-24).   Church discipline is intended to restore people, not kill them (1Cor. 5:11). We are told to remove those who persist in sin so that through the destruction of the flesh the spirit may be saved (1Cor. 5:5).  Jesus neither condoned nor ignored the woman’s sin. He told her “sin no more” (John 8:11)  


“Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery, Neither do I condemn thee.” (John 8:11)

ANSWER:  Jesus had no responsibility to condemn her. He was not a witness. Two witnesses were required for stoning (Deut. 17:6). Nor did he contradict the Law. He exposed their hypocrisy and lack of compassion by telling them to do what the law required—but to obey it all. The law required equal and fair justice. If she was caught “in the very act,” where was the man? It required that a witness cast the first stone (Deut. 17:7).   Jesus neither condoned nor ignored the woman’s sin. He called her conduct “sin.” He told her to “sin no more,”  --not that she was free to “sin some more.” Jesus did condemn adultery (Mat 5:27-28; 32; 12:39; 15:19; 16:4)  He sent the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:7-8, 13) that guided the apostles who said to disfellowship adulterers (1Cor. 5:11).


“Jesus did not come to condemn.” (John 3:17)

ANSWER:  Jesus came to save rather than condemn. The world is already condemned by God’s word (John 3:18-20). Nevertheless, Jesus did condemn evil behavior. (Matt 11:23-24; 23:13-36) 


“Take the beam out of your eye” (Matt. 7:3).   

ANSWER: Jesus did not prohibit removing objects from eyes.  He simply pointed out that in order to remove a mote that they should first remove the beam from their own eyes in order to “see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye” (Mat. 7:5).  This  would also apply to the person accusing others of having a beam in their eye to excuse the beam in their own eye.


“The good and bad are to be left alone to grow together” (Matt. 13:24-30).     

ANSWER: This has to do with trying to remove the wicked from the world (vs. 38. cf. 1Cor. 5:9-10). They were to be removed from the church (1Cor. 5:11) for their sakes and to protect the church from their leavening influence on others. 


“Jesus said, He that is not against me is for me” (Luke 9:50).    

ANSWER: The man was doing God's will. Their only objection was that he did not follow with the Apostles.  Those who persist in sin are against him (1John 3:8). It likewise says, “He that is not for me is against me (Matt. 12:30). 


“I don't feel I'm doing anything wrong.”

ANSWER:  Prov. 14:12. There is a way, which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.  Jer. 17:9. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (cf. Prov. 28:26; 12:15)


 “If people are disfellowshipped they will never repent.”      

ANSWER:  If we don’t they may never repent. God said to do it that they might be saved (1Cor. 5:5). Many do repent.  If we do not mark them they may cause others to be lost (1Cor. 5:6-7).  Marking them also provides other churches a solid basis to prevent them from causing harm when they go there. 


“Others have also done wrong.”     

ANSWER: That is why we need to hold everyone accountable. If we do not, the next person will use them as an excuse. Furthermore, no one's escape from conviction is a basis for ignoring God’s law. If we have failed to properly deal with some other case, we are wrong for not having done so. That is no reason to continue to make the same mistake. Two wrongs do not make a right.  Are you sure the other case is the same as this? Do you know what steps were taken? Do you know what evidence was available? If you had the evidence, why did you not make it known so the case could have been properly handled?  


“Someone else is just as bad.”

ANSWER:  That is a decision for the church.  Certainly unequal judgment is wrong, but letting another guilty person get by is not the solution.  However, the guilty commonly try to divert attention from what they have done to someone or something else. They attack the judgment, honesty or character of others. They put everyone else on trial to intimidate or take the heat off of themselves. 


“They have disfellowshipped themselves so we don’t need to.”

ANSWER: They need to be marked because they may go elsewhere and harm another church or later return to cause problems again. Marking by the church provides a sound basis for dealing with them wherever they go. Furthermore, the disfellowship judgment of the whole church has an impact on them which often brings eventual repentance. If flight were a reason for doing nothing, we could never call people to account. The wicked commonly try to get the heat off by fleeing. 


“It’s no one's business but my own what I do.”

ANSWER: It is God's business.  If a member is to enjoy the privileges of  participate among God's people they must behave the way God said. Unchristian behavior hurts the whole body. (1Cor. 5:6


“The case was mishandled, biased etc.”      

ANSWER: The church should avoid and resolve any wrongs.  However the wicked commonly blame others for their problems. The prisons are overflowing with “innocent” people. Their accusers are wrong, the police were wrong, the judge was wrong, their jailors are wrong, the parole board is wrong.... the bad guys are outside. However, the church is responsible to make those decisions.


“I will sin now and repent later.”

ANSWER: The longer a person remains in sin the more hardened they become. Heb. 6:4-6 speaks of a condition in which the person is impossible to come to repentance. Now is the day of salvation. Later may be too late and certainly will be harder. What makes them think God will let them get away with pulling a fast on Him? 



God teaches church discipline because He knows it is best. He cares about what happens to the offender and to the church. 

Discipline shows the church cares. It would usually be much easier to ignore the problem. 

Discipline can help to influence the offender to change and be saved.

Discipline separates the offender from influencing others.

Discipline stands as a warning to others who might be tempted to follow the same path.

Discipline helps protect other churches where the offender might go and continue the problem. 

Discipline helps the church to grow in trusting the Lord and seeing that His methods work.