Some of you reading this have been "withdrawn from" (an unscriptural term, how Stanton uses it) and others have spouses, mothers, fathers, or siblings who have been, thereby creating an intricate web of rules you or they have to live by.
Others of you have remained silent about your dissent from official church teachings due to the threat of withdrawal, and the dysfunction it would create in your relationships with your spouse or children. My hope is this study will cause you to dig into these verses and learn the truth of what the Bible really teaches about it, not just the traditions and regulations of men.
My prayer, once again, is that the rules of men will crumble beneath the weight of the truth.
- Withdrawal is a verb, not a noun
- Fellowship isn't ours to "withdraw"
- Bible words for Bible things
- "Delivering unto Satan" means expulsion
- To withdraw means "to distance oneself from"
- Heresy and schism
- "Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly"
- "From such withdraw thyself"
- "From such turn away"
- "Mark them which cause divisions"
- "Deliver such an one unto Satan" and "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person"
- "Whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme"
- "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject"
I. Overview of "withdrawal" as church discipline
Fellowship isn't ours to "withdraw"
Bible words for Bible things
"Delivering unto Satan" means expulsion
To withdraw means "to distance oneself from"
Heresy and schism
II. Detailed scripture studies of misused verses
2 Thessalonians 3:6 - Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 - For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 - For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
2 Thessalonians 3:12 - Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 - But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 - And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
- This brother remains in "brothership" or "fellowship" and is to be treated as such.
- The tradition the church received of Paul is very clearly defined in verses 7 and 8 as working for a living rather than relying on the generosity of the saints.
- "Walking disorderly" is also clearly defined in verse 11 as "working not all."
- The path to follow, according to verse 12, is to command and exhort these people to work and to eat their own bread with quietness.
- Those who still refuse to obey the instruction to work for their own living are to be noted and excluded from social settings for the purpose of shaming and admonishing them.
- There is nothing here about not talking to them, or not eating with them at the same table, or in the same room, etc. We are just to obey the spirit of this instruction; in order to shame and admonish them, we are to avoid making them feel a part of the congregation's social circle. A social get together implies acceptance and usually includes food, and that would just be another occasion for a lazy person to get a meal without feeling admonished and without having to work for it. In other words, don't be an enabler.
- There is nothing here about a formal "withdrawal meeting" or "delivering unto Satan" when the whole church is gathered together. The instruction is merely to avoid these people socially in order to discourage their bad behavior. If the person's behavior changes from Sunday to Monday, and on Monday, he lands a job, there is no meeting of the church required before a brother could invite him over for dinner.
1 Timothy 6:5 - ...perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
1 Timothy 6:1-2 - Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 - If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
- As with Paul's letter to the Thessalonian church, there is no law given here about formal church discipline, or a "state of withdrawal."
- Paul is simply telling Timothy to stay away from people who insist that gain is godliness. There are people today, many of whom are in the inner cities, who preach class hatred for poor Christians against their "rich" employers. Those are precisely the people Paul is telling Timothy to stay away from.
2 Timothy 3:2-5 - For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
"Mark them which cause divisions"
Romans 16:17 - Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
Romans 16:18 - For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
"Deliver such an one unto Satan" and "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person"
1 Corinthians 5 - It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
"Whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme"
1 Timothy 1:19-20 - Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
2 Timothy 2:16-18 - But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
"A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject"
Titus 3:9-11 - But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
Titus 3:9-11 – 9 but shun foolish questionings, and genealogies, and strifes, and fightings about law; for they are unprofitable and vain. 10 A factious man after a first and second admonition refuse; 11 knowing that such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned. (ASV)
Biblically, the truth is that Spring Valley was itself the faction, and its leaders were the factious brethren that the rest of the congregations at the time rightly decided to ignore. Whatever moral authority Merie and other leaders thought they had, even if some of their concerns were valid, was sacrificed when they decided to create a faction out of God's people.