Is shunning unscriptual?

by MrTheocratic 52 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • MrTheocratic


    Either way you put it...the person who "claims" to be a brother does not practice christian what should be done with him?

    This scripture says shun him.

    Am I missing something? (No sarcasm meant)

  • dontfitin

    1. As others have pointed out, the scripture applies to those called a brother. If someone was trying to remain in the congregation and was committing serious sin without repentance, then yes, they should be asked to leave the congregation. The behavior should not be accepted as normal within the congregation. As Jesus said, he should be treated as a man of the nations and a tax collector. That would mean "not your best friend". We all know that Jesus still spoke with tax collectors/sinners.

    2. There is no scriptural basis even remotely for shunning someone who has already left the congregation. They left. They are now outside and that judgment is to be left to God.

    3. Two things about the wording of "not even eating with such a man". First, if those weren't supposed to even be talked to, that wording wouldn't make much sense. Second, early Christians worshiped together at meals. Not eating with such a man would have the affect of not worshiping with him.

    4. If you read the scriptures in John about not even saying a greeting, it is very specifically talking about "those who are trying to mislead you". It is referring to people who were actively trying to sabatoge their belief in Jesus' sacrifice. And again, if they were not supposed to be spoken to, then why say, "not even" eating with them?

    5. The word for "not associate with" is the same word used in Thessalonians about disorderly ones. The same word, describing the same behavior. Yet, in Thessalonians it says, "but do not be treating him as an enemy, but continue to admonish him as a brother." Those two scriptures are describing the same behavior.

    6. According to scripture a person should never be disciplined if they are repentant and want help to remain in the congregation. Jesus said you should forgive (in imitation of Jehovah) up to 77 times. Surely you might doubt someone's motives after 77 times? And yet, that is what Jesus is saying. If the situation is bad enough to be causing danger to the congregation after repeated incidents, then some action might be justified.

    7. The reinstatement process as it currently exists is in exact opposition to the example of the Prodigal Son.

    I investigated this extensively, because I really did want to be doing the right thing and I take the scriptures seriously. The way shunning is currently happening is, in most cases, absolutely unscriptural.

  • freddo

    @Mr T ...

    What "dontfitin" said answers your question about missing something far better than I could.


    That point about 1 Cor 5 v 11 being cross referenced with 2 Thess 3 v 6,13-15 is excellent. The Kingdom Interlinear confirms what you are saying.

  • MrTheocratic

    So let me see if I understand

    A person can only be shunned if they are fake Christians. For example ..Bro. Smith is trying to remain in the Congregation but won't give up immorality. He should be shunned according to this scripture.

    But once he leaves can resume association with him.

    That does not seem right to me.

  • dontfitin

    Reasonable Christians will reach their own decision about what level of association is appropriate based on his behavior, the same way they do about anyone else who is not a Christian.

    Bro Smith leaves the congregation and then moves in with his girl friend. I would imagine a great number of Christians won't choose to support his behavior. But yet, they are still free to say, "we miss you", "I hope you are doing okay", they don't have to go to the other aisle if they see him in the grocery store. If someone happens to have special knowledge of his situation, they are free to talk more to him if they think it is beneficial. The point is, they are free to exercise their own Christian conscience and discernment in the matter.

    Once the person leaves, they no longer pose a danger or bring reproach upon the congregation. So why should the congregation *as a whole* have to take any action against them?

    ETA, the scriptures refer specifically to removing the wicked man from your midst. If the man is not within your midst, how does that apply?

  • dontfitin

    Also, according to scripture, Bro Smith is FIRST confronted about his immorality by the one having knowledge, then taking along another. Only then if Bro Smith won't give up the immorality does it go to a congregation level. He can either stop the immorality and get help, or he can leave the congregation. In both ways the congregation is protected.

  • Crazyguy

    I think the clear idea was to shun one in the congregation that's active in sining. Once he stops then welcome him back, and only if his sining is a threat the congregation. This is inline with Jesus illustrations about the prodigal son as well as his comments about treating someone as a man of the nations and forgiveness 77 times and finally love. One should always ask before he does a thing is it loving ? Is kicking someone out of the congregation because they had sex with thier boyfriend loving? Is shunning this person for this sin loving. Is treating someone like a peace of dirt because they sinned , love? Is not even greeting this person in public when seeing them on the street inline with what Jesus said at Mathew 5 ? Is Jesus a Christians master or is it Paul or John?

  • Finkelstein

    Killing children who dishonor their parents is scriptural so why the select cherry picking when its serves a purpose.

    Staying away from destructive harmfully careless people is still a valuable social directive.

    The social moral standards of the ancient Hebrews are or were just archaically old, just like many other ancient civilizations . Today its accepted that people that have behavioral problems are to be confronted upon those behaviors and hopefully corrected by use of reason and understanding.

  • dontfitin

    I'm not saying that just because a person is not officially DFd from the congregation they are great association. I had a brother who was never a Witness, who was a drug addict. I was very discerning in my association with him. I had him over for dinner once a year or something, checked in with him to see how he was doing. Did we hang out every weekend and talk on the phone for hours? No. I didn't want to be around his behavior.

    Personal discernment and conscience will always apply. We would have to get better at exercising those powers of discernment. Right now, there is yes, have all the association you want, or no, you may not even speak to them, not even hello. I would argue that MOST cases fall in a wide range BETWEEN those two options.

    When it comes to the congregation, the scriptural guideline we are given is that even when we withdraw from someone we are not to be treating them as an enemy. (I believe personally that those two scriptures, Corinth and Thess, are referring to the same thing. After all they do use the same word for the behavior.)

    (sorry for the serial posts! this subject is close to my heart.)

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    Jesus wasn't concerned with keeping harmony in families, He was concerned with making disciples.

    Paul , he was the first JW with all his rules.

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