Excommunication as Discipline – Assembly Fellowship Broken
Moral Evil I Corinthians 5
All of the following activities require excommunication from a local assembly.
1. Fornication: Fornication refers to any form of sexual intercourse outside of marriage. It applies to one act or multiple acts of this nature and includes homosexual and oral sexual practices.
2. Covetousness: Covetousness is a strong desire to obtain money or possessions. Stealing and dishonest business practices are included. Playing the lottery and gambling are additional forms.
3. Extortion: An extortioner is one who swindles another out of possessions. Deceptive fraudulent business practices are used for personal advantage to gain funds or property. These may even include misappropriating the funds of an assembly. Income tax evasion, fraudulent bankruptcy, and shady accounting practices fall into this category.
4. Idolatry: Idolatry involves bowing down to a pagan god. It may include witchcraft and “communication with spirits.”
5. Railing: Railing is speaking in such a way as to defame and destroy another. It is often associated with repetitive outbursts of speech which attempt to weaken another. Railing is often referred to in Scripture when such activity is against elders of an assembly.
6. Drunkenness: A drunkard is one who habitually drinks alcohol and becomes drunk. Associated with this activity are despicable shame and, frequently, immoral practices.
Doctrinal Error – I Tim 1:18-20; II Tim 2:16-19; Gal 5:3-10; II John 7-10
Those who err in doctrine go astray in regard to what Scripture refers to as “the faith” and “the truth.” These refer to the body of essential teaching pertaining to the inerrancy of Scripture, the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and salvation alone through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who attack these essentials through false teaching are in opposition to God and guilty of blasphemy. They have made shipwreck (II Tim 1:19), erred (II Tim 2:18), and overthrow the faith of some. Their error is so serious, excommunication is required.
Refusing to Confess Wrong – Matt 18:17-18
The sinning brother in Matthew 18 has reached the third stage in discipline. The matter is brought before the church but he remains unrepentant. He is stubborn and incorrigible and must be treated like a heathen man (unsaved) or a publican (extortioner). He must be put away from the assembly because such is the judgment in heaven (v. 18). In other words, the Scriptures plainly forbid an unsaved one or such an unrepentant sinning saint to remain in the assembly. All is in view of the desire to see him repent, confess his wrong, and be restored to fellowship.