Examination of the biblical mandate for, precedence of, and contemporary ethical issues related to disfellowshipping in the Christian community.

Essay by brotherchrisUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2003

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Disfellowshipping is the act of removing an individual from the church rolls and barring the same from activities of the church. This rare occurrence is often an obscure paragraph or two in a church's by-laws, constitution, or other document containing guidelines for discipline. Personally, I have never been involved in a disfellowshipping. I have discussed the procedure and the possibility of it but only in a theoretical sense. It has never been an issue of concern.

In the past decade there have been several high-profile cases of disfellowshipping individuals or even entire congregations. Most of these cases have been not only geographically remote, but also they have been contextually remote from my own situation. Most all of the cases have dealt with the issue of homosexuality and only recently there have been several renowned cases involving female pastors. None of these cases have involved people I know or have contact with.

Neither have the situations been concerned with issues with which I have had any opportunity to deal.

My interest in the topic of disfellowshipping changed recently because of my involvement in a prospective case for disfellowshipping in which a colleague asked for advice. The discussion was roundtable and involved nearly a dozen ministers including evangelists, pastors, youth ministers, and others. The case involved a family in which the daughter had sinned grievously and had shown neither repentance nor remorse. The daughter was of legal age and could be held accountable for her own actions. There was no serious disagreement as to the need for discipline in this case. The major issue was in dealing with the parents.

The parents of the daughter had previously claimed to have been unaware of events and circumstances that had led up to the daughter's incident. The mother had been relieved of her...