Commentary on "Keeping the Church Faithful (2 Thess. 2:133:18)"
Day 6: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - Tough Love (2 Thess. 3:1315)
Church discipline can be a difficult issue, and the lesson brings in Matthew 18:15-17 as a suggested process for handling these issues. Again, Scripture is devalued by calling it a suggestion. This is the God-ordained expectation of the way to handle problems between people in the church.
Further, it seems odd the lesson would imply there are equally probable possibilities for what it means to treat someone who doesn’t respond to the Matthew 18 process as a Gentile and tax collector. Since Jesus did not shun Gentiles and tax collectors, how is it possible to think that’s what Jesus meant His people to do? Perhaps the similarity is that Gentiles, tax collectors, and errant Christian family should be loved and cared for in a way to bring repentance and restoration into the body of Christ.
This would have been a good place to bring in the example in 1 Corinthians 5 along with 2 Corinthians 2:5-11, which shows the goal of church discipline: to eventually restore to church fellowship. This is the case where the immorality of a man having his father’s wife was rebuked and Paul said he should be put out from the group and not to associate with him. Yet in 2 Corinthians 2, many commentators believe Paul is talking about this same man when he said this person should be forgiven, comforted, and their love for him reaffirmed. This fits perfectly with Paul’s instruction for church discipline in 2 Thessalonians 3:14 and 15: Do not associate with him, yet do not regard him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother.
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