"Withdrawing Fellowship"

withdrawing fellowshipThe subject of church discipline has caused no end of discussion among faithful brethren. Anyone even remotely familiar with the New Testament recognizes the Bible does speak on this subject. The problem comes in our application of what the Scriptures teach about it. The phrase most of my brethren like to use is “withdrawing fellowship.” Unfortunately, this phrase is not found anywhere on the pages of Sacred Writ. Beyond this, the way most congregations practice “withdrawing fellowship” is not even remotely connected with New Testament commands or approved examples.

I know of several occasions where an individual would leave a congregation and say that they no longer wanted to be in fellowship with the group they were leaving. Then the brethren at the congregation would send them a certified letter saying they were going to “withdraw fellowship” from that person in 30 days if they did not repent! Such ignorance ought not to be tolerated among the people of God. If a man says he no longer wants to be in fellowship with you, there is no way you can be in fellowship with him. You cannot remove (withdraw) that which does not exist.

Free Bible Study Guide

"Withdrawing Fellowship" (PDF file; 8 pages; 238k) is a booklet by David Padfield—it is a very detailed sermon outline of a lesson he presented on the subject of corrective discipline within a local congregation.