Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

Don't Go Public Too Soon

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
  • 2008 Dec 16
  • Comments

I was asked about church discipline for a young adult who has made some very bad moral and spiritual choices. The question was, When does 1 Corinthians 5 come into play? That answer is, it comes into play at the end of the process, not at the beginning. Evidently the sordid situation inside the church at Corinth had been festering for a long time and the church had even boasted about it ("Look how tolerant we are!"). In that case the offender must be publicly delivered over to Satan (cast out into the world) not only in judgment but in prospect of his eventually restoration.

The whole process Jesus laid out in Matthew 18:15-17 is exactly that–a process. You don’t start by “telling it to the church” (see v. 17). You take that step only as a last resort when repeated appeals for repentance have been rejected.

As we deal with those who have been ensnared by sin, we need wisdom and we need patience. In our grief, frustration and anger over what has happened, we may act hastily or harshly. If someone says, “I am leaving the Christian faith,” it may not be their final word. We all say things that we regret later. 

Give God time to work. 

I discuss this in more detail in How to Handle Trouble in the Church. In the meantime don’t start with the final step. There is a time and a place to go public, but that’s at the end, not at the beginning.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.