Discipline Theology: Mar 25-29 BRD

In 1 Cor 5 Paul chastises the church for allowing one of its members to practice horrendous immorality. 5:1, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.” Paul questions why this gross sin does not cause them to weep. This sin cannot be tolerated. If it is overlooked, sin will spread throughout the church and cause its ruin (vv 6-8). The church has an obligation to preserve the purity of its witness. This man must be confronted (vv 9-12). Assuming that this man is not going to repent upon initial rebuke, Paul closes this discussion with the command “Purge the evil person from among you” (v 13). Where does Paul derive his methodology? How does he reach the conclusion that sins such as this must not be tolerated within the church. Indeed, the person is to be removed, no questions asked. One might first think that Paul is reading Matthew’s instructions in Matthew 18:15-17. However, Paul’s theology of church discipline comes from the book of Deuteronomy. Moses warns the people that certain sins are not to be tolerated, and his prescription for punishment is: “So you shall purge the evil from your midst” (17:7, 12; 21:9, 21; 22:21, 22, 24; 24:7). Under the Old Covenant, that meant death. Under the New Covenant, it means removal from church membership and considered to be an unbeliever. Church discipline is sometimes necessary for the church and has its roots way back in the days of the OT. God always calls upon His people to deal with sin!