Can one congregation withdraw from another congregation?


Can a church withdraw from Christians who are not members of the local congregation?

1.         Mark those who cause division and hindrances - Romans 16:17

2.         Philippians 3:17 - Mark those who are good examples

3.         Galatians 5:15 - Don’t bite and devour each other.

C.        Can a church withdraw from another church?

Hey Brother Hamilton!

God bless. I've read almost all articles pertaining to church discipline and withdrawing fellowship. Here locally, we are going through it for the first time. Above is part of your article and would like to get a deeper response on these questions especially the last question: "Can a church withdraw from another church?" Also adding in there, if another congregation knows that a brother has been withdrawn from but they choose to continue fellowship, do we as a congregation cut ties with them as well?

Thanks. I can't wait for your response.


As pointed out in "Withdraw Yourselves," a congregation uses the withdrawal of fellowship to discipline wayward members of the congregation. If a Christian is not a member of the congregation (not a part of the fellowship), and it is found that the person is wayward, the congregation may choose not to offer fellowship. For example, Jerusalem feared that Saul was still persecuting Christians. "When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple" (Acts 9:26). They didn't withdraw fellowship. They refused to offer fellowship. Technically, you can't withdraw what was never given. However, you can note who is causing problems in other places and decide not to associate with them.

About the only way one congregation has fellowship with another is to send aid to a congregation during a disaster. Congregations are autonomous. While members might visit other congregations, which congregations they choose to visit is theirs to make. A congregation may support a preacher who works at another congregation, but the fellowship is between the supporting congregation and the preacher. Thus, if one congregation thinks another congregation is no longer faithful, they may choose not to send aid. They might decide not to announce meetings or singing that are taking place at an unfaithful congregation. However, these things are not one congregation disciplining another. It is an attempt to keep false beliefs out of a local congregation.

For more about the fellowship of members between congregations, see "Cross Congregational Fellowship."

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