Sunday, January 24, 2016

Kicked Out of Church

Church should be a safe place for believers. Unfortunately no fellowship is perfect. Even pastors can sometimes get in the flesh and act in ways inconsistent with Scripture.

A friend told me about one church he went to where the congregation took turns giving a short sermon since the pastor wasn’t there that particular Sunday. My friend didn’t have time to complete his message but the handouts he gave revealed a doctrine the leadership disagreed with. A couple weeks later when my friend returned to this church, the pastor instructed him not to come back there again. Assuming my friend told this story accurately, I thought the pastor acted too hastily. He could have privately discussed the matter with my friend before possibly excommunicating him.

In Matthew 18, Jesus taught us the right way to confront someone in error...

15 Moreover if your brother sins 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, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’

17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

There are times when people need to be removed from the house of the Lord if they won’t conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner. 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.”

I’m reminded of an incident that happened at a church I attended regularly. Evangelism teams had just returned from the streets and were sharing testimonies in the sanctuary. Suddenly a woman walked in and started swearing at the pastor. She had been banned from the evangelism ministry for causing other problems. Because this woman refused to leave, several men had to remove her from the church.

On the other hand, Christians can receive the “left foot of fellowship” for taking a stand for Biblical truth. Anne Graham Lotz was kicked out of one church for insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture. Even Jesus got booted out of the synagogue when He read from Isaiah to show that He was the Messiah they were waiting for (Luke 4:28-29).

As I stated before, no church is perfect. So if you ever find yourself removed from a particular fellowship, forgive those church leaders. It would also be good to examine yourself and repent if you had sinned. Either way, don’t let offenses stop you from finding a better church. God has a place for you in His body!

“not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” - Hebrews 10:25

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