Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning, knowing that such a person has deviated from what is right and is sinning, being self-condemned. – Titus 3:10-11
In First Corinthians, chapter five, the Apostle Paul addressed the actions that should lead a local church to discipline one of its members. The list of offenses that can cause a person to be “disfellowshipped” seems purposely short and slightly ambiguous, leaving room for the congregation to determine the severity of the indiscretion.
Though “being divisive” or “sowing discord” is not in Paul’s list for the church at Corinth, it is clearly included here in his letter to Pastor Titus. The pattern for addressing this particular offense appropriately matches Jesus’ outline given in Matthew 18 and should probably be added. It is a caution that should be seriously considered for unity is high on Jesus’ list of healthy church qualities (John 17).
Church discipline is rarely considered in most churches today and even where provisions exist, even more rarely exercised. Indeed, the practice is agonizing and difficult, as it should be. Yet, the church where it exists will be led to a deeper understanding of true fellowship and the loving, mutual accountability that accompanies the practice. Just one reminder for those who would apply it: it must be biblical, loving, work toward restoration, and true church health demands it.
Any objection to the carryings on of our present gold-calf Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, “But we are winning them!” Winning them to what? To true discipleship? To cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To hard self-discipline? To love for God? To total committal to Christ? Of course the answer to all these questions is, “No.” – Aiden Wilson Tozer