What if a withdrawn from brother continues to attend services?


Greetings Brother Hamilton,

I am concerned about the withdrawal of membership from a brother in sin. I read through your notes on fellowship and understood them, but I want to be precise. When a brother is withdrawn from fellowship with other Christians, can he still come to worship but is prevented from partaking in the Lord's supper, giving, and exchanging pleasantries? Secondly, is it out of place for that congregation to send a letter to sister congregations notifying them of this development and instructing them to avoid such a brother?

Thank you, sir.


I don't know if you looked at "Withdraw Yourselves," but it has a lot of details.

Just because a person has been withdrawn from, it doesn't mean he will listen to the church. I have heard of people who continue to attend because they thought the church was in error or because they wanted to annoy those who took a stand against them.

Withdrawal means that all ties are severed. The person is to be treated the same as any other non-Christian (Matthew 18:17). This doesn't mean you are rude or harsh with the person (II Thessalonians 3:15), but that you don't associate with him (II Thessalonians 3:14). You don't ask him about how his week had been. You don't invite him to join the other Christians who are going out for a snack (I Corinthians 5:11). In other words, you avoid him as best you can (II Thessalonians 3:6; Romans 16:17; II John 9-11). If he asks to join the brethren in some activity, you politely reject his request (Titus 3:10).

We don't practice closed communion. If someone invites himself to partake, we won't stop him, but we also won't go out of our way to offer the Lord's Supper to him either. If he comes to services, he should basically be ignored or politely asked if he has considered leaving his sins.

Each congregation is autonomous. One congregation cannot tell another congregation what to do. If a congregation asks if someone is a member of the congregation, a letter can be sent telling them briefly of the situation. If a congregation knows someone is going around spreading false doctrine, the congregation can warn neighboring congregations to be careful. If someone is a well-known brother and it is believed he is using his former connection to the congregation to advance himself, then again, a notice can be sent that he is no longer associated with the congregation.

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