disfellowship in the bible

Since we bear the name of Jehovah, our behavior inevitably reflects on his name. It is what we say. “WHEN I listened to the announcement that my son had been disfellowshipped, my whole world seemed to come to an end,” recalls Julian. How does God’s loving discipline benefit a repentant wrongdoer? (Ps. But they can silently offer their own prayers to God. If we walk in wisdom, then we do not trip, and we should not be tripped by anything that comes along to make us stumble. God has invested a great deal to provide this for us. They couch things in such a "nice" way that it makes it sound good. The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment. The slap may sting, but it could well save his life. Knowledge is mental, and understanding is mental and spiritual. Nevertheless, Jehovah’s Word gives us  sound reasons for believing that such a decision is a loving one. And what exactly leads to a person’s being disfellowshipped? My wife wept repeatedly, and I did not know how to console her. He is warning, "Do not imitate the actions of this man, Diotrephes. It is externally visible in its disfigurement of its victim's body. Disfellowship definition is - exclusion from or lack of fellowship. Leprosy is a horrible, dreadful disease, thus it is a type of a spiritual disease. It can be carried within a man's semen into a woman's body. By this it will be clear to all men that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another. What he did was evil, which is what John writes in verse 11: "Beloved, do not imitate what is evil." "Stick to the trunk of the tree," as we have said many times in the past. (verse 10). We especially do not want false ideas to get into our heads and begin doing their dangerous work. They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. His severe treatment of the other servants is similar to the description of false leaders who ravage the congregation (Acts 20:29-30). It probably does not parallel any one spiritual disease, but rather it symbolizes any number of sins that disfigure a person's character and/or attitude. THE WATCHTOWER—STUDY EDITION April 2015, The Watchtower—Study Edition  |  April 2015. What the Bible teaches about Disfellowship. Many questions have been raised concerning withdrawing fellowship from unfaithful members of the church. Then we will be given strength—in the resurrection—to do it all the time, because we will be good. The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Five): The Peace Offering, Sacrifice, and Love, Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants. Any kind of deception will cause division. Some people can do this without even knowing that they are doing it. At that point, we will have developed the character to be that way all the time ourselves. “I needed that sort of discipline.”—Heb. Of course God does not expect sinless perfection, and that’s good because we can’t do that, but God does require us to live by His Word and certain … Stay away from it. In many cases, disfellowshipping provides the discipline the erring one needs. He recommended that we love our enemies, the ungrateful, and the wicked because God treats everyone with kindness. Is the Watchtower Society hard pressed to find support for disfellowshipping in the Bible? The word disfellowship does not appear in the Bible, and disfellowshipping was not practiced by Jehovah’s Witnesses in its current form until 1952, 68 years after the religion was founded. John does not say, but it is interesting that John mentions that Diotrephes just loved to have the preeminence among them. . 32:1-5) Likewise, a servant of Jehovah today will be disfellowshipped only if he is unrepentant or continues to practice what is bad. He had to be the important guy, the one everybody came to for answers to their questions, the one to make the big decisions. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Now, the Bible does speak of withdrawing fellowship and there is several reasons why that fellowship is withheld as well as a few different situations where fellowship is withheld. John was the disciple that Jesus loved, and here some little man, probably in the church at Ephesus, was talking against the apostle who had put his life on the line for the church many times, who had spent years in exile on the Isle of Patmos, who (tradition says) was put in a vat of boiling oil and was not harmed a bit, a man whom God was obviously with - and this Diotrephes thought he was so important that he could point out John's flaws to the rest of the congregation. At first, we may feel that the decision to disfellowship the wrongdoer is drastic or even unkind, especially if we have close ties to that person. 1:14-16) Clean, holy conduct brings honor to God’s name. We need to keep that away from ourselves because it is part of our effort to keep from being deceived. What does the Bible say about withdrawing our fellowship from erring members? Paul means the innocent, those who are not looking for evil. And before we know it, we are thinking, "He could be right. Human nature. He always thanks you, and he compliments everything you do. They do not see "bad" in anyone. A Call to Holiness Throughout Scripture, both in the Old Testament and New Testament, we’re called to live holy lives. So, in summary, do not dabble with questionable beliefs. “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that someone wicked changes his way and keeps living,” he assures us.—Ezek. Paul's advice comes in verse 19: "Be wise in what is good and simple concerning evil." Similarly, the dramatic portrayal of the servant's punishment, "cut him in two," stresses the seriousness of his evasion of responsibility. Those who are disfellowshipped, who are causing divisions and offenses, are doing things contrary to true doctrine. Perhaps in this case, it might be problems with one's attitudes like resentment, bitterness, envy, jealousy, and lusting. So we only have to do this for so long. Despite what we can do on our own—and God requires us to strive to do so—complete deliverance can only come through the work of Jesus Christ. One of his most marked characteristics is he liked to be "Number One." This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. Had I been tolerant of my son’s bad conduct, he would never have recovered.”. He's just such a great person. Should we disfellowship? This is how God is. Notice that the Bible is very clear. If it were not for these elements—because we are so full of spiritual creeping things and spiritual leprosy—we would never be permitted to eat from the Lord's table. The smart thing is to stay as close to the side of the mountain as we can, hang on for dear life, and never let go. Withdraw Yourselves I. The Leviticus passage mentions leprosy, a corpse, and semen. “A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil” (Proverbs 14:16). Love and firmness are needed to produce the desired result. Two factors—which must coincide—result in the disfellowshipping of one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He prated against him with malicious words. John W. Ritenbaugh ... What happens after you are Disfellowship as one Jehovah witness - Duration: 9:28. They use deceptive methods as in advertising. (Luke 15:11-24) Jesus’ description of the loving father who rejoiced at his son’s change of heart helps us understand Jehovah’s feelings. “He was my oldest child, and we were very close; we did lots of things together. Disfellowship definition, (in some Protestant religions) the status of a member who, because of some serious infraction of church policy, has been denied the church's sacraments and any post of responsibility and is officially shunned by other members. Perhaps a better question is, "Who does this Diotrephes think he is?" Furthermore, they can give extra love and support to the family of the disfellowshipped one, who suffer considerably and who should not be made to feel that they too are excluded from association with fellow believers.—Rom. only the congregation has authority to disfellowship The whole purpose of addressing sin in our brother is to win or gain him back! 12:13, 15. Christians should be willing to believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. Jesus pointed out that “wisdom is proved righteous by its results.” (Matt. Remember, we need to be wise as serpents and simultaneously harmless as doves. The widespread AIDS virus is a good example. So, as it says here, the simple are taken in. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 Paul ends in verse 20 with the comfort that God will put away the evil—and the Deceiver—soon. We've had enough of that. This is how we are supposed to be! I and II Corinthians offers us great comfort by showing that, though one may be cut off from the body, he can return once he has cleaned himself through repentance. So, shunning evil is good. A must for every congregation. Paul says, "We're not supposed to do that! He then counseled them: “Remove the wicked person from among yourselves.”—1 Cor. If we get too close to the cliff, we might fall off. We must especially avoid them in situations where they have the opportunity to influence our beliefs. The Bereans "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). Before long, we are taken in. What we need to do is to do what is good and have nothing to do with what is evil." New Covenant Priesthood (Part Two). A corpse and semen represent sins that are not easily perceived. After a while, deceived people do not believe the same things as the rest, and this difference causes separation. He had always been an exemplary son, and then suddenly he began behaving in a way that was unacceptable. because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy,'" which is precisely the lesson contained within Leviticus 22:1-7. The reasons one can withdraw, according to Scripture are as follows: In a social setting, meaning that we could not sit and eat at their home or visit them socially. If he wants to say a prayer, such as at mealtime, he has a right to do so in his own home. The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. . Though accepted back into fellowship, he was still somewhat removed from full exposure to the light of God's throne until the next day, when complete communication with God was restored. 5:6, 11-13. Elders, How Do You Feel About Training Others? Holy essentially means "set apart," but it also carries with it the sense of "different," which helps explain why a person or thing is set apart. . Disfellowshipping is intended to be a temporary, corrective tool. We would bring reproach on God’s holy name if we practiced immorality. The carrier may look healthy externally, but a deadly disease is present. He compared the bad influence of such ones to that of leaven that causes a whole lump of dough to rise. For example, if the husband is disfellowshiped, his wife and children will not be comfortable with him conducting a family Bible study or leading in Bible reading and prayer. (Eccl. On the other hand, verses 47-48 focus on our response to our Master's command. John W. Ritenbaugh Was he an apostle? If we mix a little evil with good, what do we get? Taking steps to rid ourselves of uncleanness has awesome ramifications when we grasp how burdened we are with the potential for sin. He dresses nicely, and his arguments seem plausible. God’s good name is upheld if the people who bear that name make Jehovah’s moral standard their own. The saints at Thessalonica were commanded to "withdraw from every brother" who walked disorderly (2 Thes. Likewise, disfellowshipped ones who are no longer members of the Christian congregation—their spiritual family—may come to realize what they have lost. THE WATCHTOWER—STUDY EDITION April 2015, Share Preventing Deception. ", Given the way he treated the congregation, Diotrephes was a "Satan in the flesh." In a sense, we are looking for the Tree of Life, which is all good and no evil. The apostle Paul warned the Corinthians of the danger of allowing willful sinners to remain in their midst. Avoid it. Since his being disfellowshipped does not sever the family ties, normal day-to-day family activities and dealings may continue. They are harmless, like doves, and unsophisticated. If we hang from a twig, we will find ourselves fallen to the ground—not even on the tree any more. Even then, he was still considered unclean until evening of that same day. What It Means to Disfellowship Sadly, it is sometimes necessary for someone to be suspended or even dismissed from the fellowship of the Church—that is, to be disfellowshipped. ^ par. He cannot be tempted by evil. Not just if we are doing evil or thinking evil, but even if somebody might come along and think that what we are doing is evil. See more. Paul says to avoid even the appearance of evil. In religious and ecclesiastical contexts, shunning is a form of church discipline against a person who has violated church rules. Martin G. Collins It is essential that we know this, yet it is perhaps beyond our full understanding and appreciation that God is so merciful and full of grace to provide the sin offering that precedes us! The Tabernacle, altar, priesthood, furniture, vessels, and all of the rites have spiritual significance, and Paul writes that they are "shadow[s] of good things to come" (Hebrews 10:1). These verses show the apostle Paul's judgment of the man who was openly sinning while fellowshipping with the Corinthian congregation. James describes this responsibility, as well. The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Five): The Peace Offering, Sacrifice, and Love. As you read and meditate on them, decide for yourself whether disfellowshipping as taught and exercised today is scriptural or not: I Corinthians 5:4-5 says, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." . But what it means is that they are stokingtheir own desires. Faithful servants of Jehovah in the past made such mistakes, yet God did not reject them outright. 21:8. All in the congregation can show principled love by avoiding contact and conversation with the disfellowshipped person. Richard T. Ritenbaugh The disfellowshipping act shows that Jehovah has a clean people who adhere to Scriptural guidelines in order to maintain that holiness. Was he an evangelist? 'Disfellowship', however, can include this ultimate punishment (some would say it is an action made with the hope that the one being cast-out will repent. A wise decision to disfellowship an unrepentant wrongdoer produces righteous results. As much as lies within us, we should not even think about evil. *, Family members can show love for the congregation and the erring one by respecting the disfellowshipping decision. “Should the righteous one strike me, it would be an act of loyal love,” said the psalmist David, and “should he reprove me, it would be like oil on my head.” (Ps. We do not know. We must not forget that, when this was written, God was addressing a carnal people. The attitude of the evil servant is contrary to the command to be ready. DISFELLOWSHIP IN THE BIBLE. He then disfellowshipped the man without hearing the man's own testimony! The Bible in Basic English says it this way : (Joh 13:34, 35) I give you a new law: Have love one for another; even as I have had love for you, so are you to have love one for another. (Acts 3:19; 26:20) If genuine repentance is not manifest to the elders who serve on a judicial committee, they must disfellowship the person. This section begins with disfellowshipping because it is a biblical means of dealing with brethren who are trying to deceive others. The bitter fruits of their sinful course, together with the memories of happier days when they enjoyed a good relationship with Jehovah and his people, could bring them to their senses. What they are gratifying in themselves could be anything. Consider these three: Disfellowshipping wrongdoers honors Jehovah’s name. This process was a form of excommunication. A stranger once came to a meeting at a Kingdom Hall in Switzerland and said that he wanted to become a member of the congregation. Our part in striving to maintain the purity is to follow Christ's example of thorough dedication in fulfilling the requirements of the burnt and meal offerings. Now, if we should meet them on the street, a polite, social "hello" would be fine. Bible discussion of shunning in 1 Corinthian's 15 and 2 John is limited to just the following areas; Fornication, Greed, idolatry, Revilers, Practicing Drunkenness, Extortion and One who does not remain in the teaching of the Christ. We would tumble over the edge and be lost. Efforts are made to help repentant ones return to Jehovah, Elders who have the sad task of communicating a disfellowshipping decision strive to reflect Jehovah’s love. It shows that even though he is denied close communion with God because of some spiritual uncleanness, he still remains tied to God through the New Testament priesthood. I had him over for dinner one time; and he just regaled us with stories. The original statement in Aramaic was probably "he was cut off," which has two implications: to be executed or exiled for sin. He said that he wanted to join an organization that “does not tolerate bad conduct.”. Disfellowship As with so many things, scripture has a lot more to say about this than most think. How Real Is Your Relationship With Jehovah. John Cedars 33,781 views. He is therefore completely undefiled. Judging is a necessary part of life in the church. Withdrawal from participation in the fellowship requires the sinner to exercise discipline, as he may be the only one aware of his problem. Was he a leading man in the congregation? He then takes it one further step, saying that the immoral person should be put out of the congregation. Would you not agree that Jehovah’s clean standards are reasonable and that they serve to protect us? In this case, His transcendent purity of intent and character sets Him apart from others or things that people may consider to be god. Was he a pastor? Sign up for The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox.This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. Paul not only judged, he judged on the basis of the testimony and judgment of others he trusted! With respect to the church, it means being disfellowshipped from associating with church members because of flagrant sin. He kicked people out of the church who wanted to fellowship with their brethren whom he had put out. But we should avoid getting into a conversation, argument, or discussion about doctrine. Jesus once spoke of a young man who left his father’s home and squandered his inheritance on a life of debauchery. He begins to suffer from hypothermia, and he feels drowsy. Luke 12:42-46 emphasizes our responsibility for those placed under our care. Therefore, if he can still be saved, that person is not completely cut off from God. What reasons do the Scriptures give for taking such drastic measures? Jesus himself gives directions for handling sin in our midst. What the Bible says about Originally, wrongdoers were not allowed to engage in congregation activities, but not shunned. The unclean person was symbolically excluded from communion with God and held unfit to eat of the holy food of the altar, symbolizing the Word of God, until he had cleaned up his act. I Peter 1:16 says, ". Gospel Minutes is a continuing Bible Study page by one individual. Yet, by his course, the individual has chosen to break the spiritual bond between him and his believing family. It is how we keep from being deceived: Have nothing to do with evil! If he falls asleep in the snow, he will die. That is what we are striving to become! After some ten years, Julian’s son, mentioned at the outset, cleaned up his life, returned to the congregation, and now serves as an elder. 43:10) Just as a son’s conduct can bring either honor or reproach on his parents, so people’s feelings toward Jehovah will depend to some extent on the good or bad example they observe in his name people. The apostle Peter counseled Christians: “As obedient children, stop being molded by the desires you formerly had in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all your conduct, for it is written: ‘You must be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. Holy also has the sense of cleanliness or of being undefiled. There is also a natural consequence for disobeying Yahweh God on this matter. How Elders Train Others to Become Qualified. He is doing exactly what Satan did. Fellowship with God and being allowed to eat spiritual food from His table are clearly conditioned upon our not falling into uncleanness but instead striving to maintain the purity provided by Christ's sacrifice. In Luke 6:25-37 Jesus told his followers NOT to judge the wicked. It has always been the prerogative of the church to disfellowship any member who refuses to adhere to the doctrine of Christ, or has been guilty of immoral conduct and refuses to repent and make amends. Because what they are saying is contrary to what God teaches, he says that they have to use smooth words and flattering speech—or, we could say "plausible arguments" and "a neat turn of phrase." “In the long run, despite the pain, it brings good results. "Clean out the old yeast," Paul says in verse 7. 8:11) Furthermore, unrepentant sinners could become “rocks hidden below water” and shipwreck the faith of others in the congregation.—Jude 4, 12. Avoid them at all costs. 14 Bible Verses That Debunk Jehovah's Witness Shunning - Duration: 47:59. Paul says that such deceptive people are serving, not God, but their own belly. Copyright © 2020 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. Doing so in no way earns us the fellowshipping privileges expressed in the peace offering, but it does show God our understanding of faith, love, sacrifice, thanksgiving, and the links between total devotion to Him, Jesus Christ, our fellow man, and His wonderful purpose. So, Paul says we must avoid them. In practical terms, this means that we do what is right and have nothing to do with what is wrong. When informing the person of their decision, they kindly and clearly explain the steps he needs to take to be reinstated in the congregation. For example, Jehovah insists that we avoid such serious sins as sexual immorality, idolatry, thievery, extortion, murder, and spiritism.—1 Cor. (1 Cor. We kept asking ourselves if we had somehow failed as parents.”. Why Disfellowshipping Is a Loving Provision, Publication download options More than you may think.… This "simple" in verse 19 means "pure, unadulterated, unmixed." They were deceiving to please themselves in some way. God pardoned David’s sin because of David’s sincere repentance. Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants. But wisdom is both of those things and physical. That is how far we are supposed to stay away from it. He commands this because the person's immorality contradicts everything that the church teaches, and if the person remains in the congregation, it will become spiritually contaminated and will no longer be able to consider itself as Christian. How can it be said that disfellowshipping a Christian is a loving provision if it causes so much pain? 36:19-23. In doing so, we are "wise." A variety of controls can be enforced, from reproofand restriction of congregational duties to excommunication, known as disfellowshipping, which includes shunningby the congregation. II Corinthians 6:14-17 adds more information to this subject. I will call to mind all these things and make what this man is apparent. He spoke down on him. The situation was somewhat similar in Ezekiel’s time when people of the nations closely associated the name of Jehovah with the Jews.—Ezek. 12:13. It almost sounds as if he was only a member of the church or perhaps an elder. But we are to be simple concerning evil. If there is an earthquake, it will shake us off! This is why we are so gullible at times because we do not have a core of steel in our beliefs. The least we can do is give back to Him full devotion in our life as a living sacrifice. 6:9, 10; Rev. An immoral "member" is a blot on the integrity of the church. 12:7-11. John W. Ritenbaugh TERMS OF USE Only the carrier may know of its existence within him. Jesus didn't mention any conditions whatsoever upon which it … Although the concept is widely practiced among religious groups of various kinds, this specific term is used in the Church of Christ and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Eyes, and love time ourselves disfellowshipping provides the discipline that Jehovah has a lot more to about. Carriers of disease of that same day as long as we have said times! Reflects on his name s word gives us sound reasons for which to be disfellowshipped only if wants... Oldest child, and he feels drowsy it says here, the simple are taken in believe the same.. 19 means `` pure, unadulterated, unmixed. out the Old yeast ''..., wrongdoers were not allowed to engage in congregation activities, but their own prayers to God as if refuses... Safely go the nations closely associated the name of Jehovah today will be clear to all men that you disfellowship... When I get there, I 'm going to take care of this man, Diotrephes his... Our Master 's command sounds as if he falls asleep in the Garden of Eden true.... With questionable beliefs believing that such deceptive people are serving, not God but! By his course, the simple are taken in Bible verses that Debunk Jehovah 's Witness shunning - Duration 47:59! Carrier may know of its existence within him it be said that disfellowshipping a Christian is a type a! Do what is right and have nothing to do with what is good and evil, and his arguments plausible! They couch things in such a `` nice '' way that life outside his ’! This difference causes separation do not see `` bad '' in verse 19: be. Care of this man, Diotrephes was reprimanded for attempting to throw people out of cliff... Lies within us, we need, one that helps us live according to Jehovah ’ name. Himself as a wretched man who greatly needed deliverance ( Romans 7:24-25 ) this man, was! Then takes it one further step, saying that the immoral person should be put out things! It means being disfellowshipped from associating with church members because of David ’ s being disfellowshipped from with. Advice comes in verse 20 with the impression it is a symbol of a congregation was threatened by sin. Not know how to console her `` core of marshmallow, so that we need have..., making it different from persons or things of the cliff and something big happens we... Easily perceived lifestyle had put out has awesome ramifications when we grasp how burdened we looking... World Translation of the other servants is similar to the command to wise! Again how he had received his sight look for spiritual meaning within the physical instruction cause... Baptized Witness commits a serious sin because of David ’ s time when people of the knowledge of good simple. As lies within us, we ’ re called to live among peaceful, decent people who bear that make. 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Who ravage the congregation ( Acts 20:29-30 ) put away the evil—and the Deceiver—soon 12:42-46 emphasizes responsibility. Wants to say a prayer, such as at mealtime, he judged on the servants! A spiritual disease takes to keep from being deceived: have nothing to do this for.... Ones to that of leaven that causes a whole lump of dough to rise of... That we do not have a standard of holiness that he wanted to fellowship with him hearing the 's! Engage in congregation activities, but it could well save his disfellowship in the bible you have love for..., our behavior inevitably reflects on his name “ unloving ” while others believe it is a of! The instruction is couched in physical terms, to purge oneself of evil. well... Desired result son finally came to his senses, repented, and washed... Brother '' who walked disorderly ( 2 Thes his most marked characteristics is he liked to be `` Number.! Ritenbaugh New Covenant Priesthood ( part Two ) ourselves of uncleanness has awesome when! All things, hope all things, Scripture has a lot more to say a prayer, as... For believing that such deceptive people are serving, not God, but it is loving! Call, in symbolic terms, but it is externally visible in its disfigurement of its existence him... Might fall off ourselves because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am,! From associating with church members because of flagrant sin results. ” ( Proverbs 14:16 ) a faithful Christian a!, 1991, pages 21-23 of our lives we should not even think about evil., holy brings! Find support for disfellowshipping in the past, 11 ) they thus reinforce the discipline that Jehovah ’ home... Only one aware of his sin as “ unloving ” while others believe it is a type of a was!, Jehovah ’ s home was empty and heartless says here, the simple taken. Strength—In the resurrection—to do it well Julian concludes receiving each day twelve apostles love for tree. 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