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    May 8, 1907

    “The Christian Way with the Faulty and the Erring” The Medical Missionary, 16, 19, pp. 146, 147.

    ATJ

    A. T. JONES

    IN the church which is the body of Christ, “the members have the same care one of another.” There is no exclusiveness among them. There is no slighting of one by any of the others. There is no envy or detraction of one that is honored or advanced. If “one member suffer, all the members suffer with it;” if “one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.”MEDM May 8, 1907, page 146.1

    Such only is the spirit that is manifested in the Church of Christ which is his body. And in his church this is the only spirit that is manifested toward the faulty and the erring. It is only according to this spirit that in the Scriptures directions are given for dealing with the faulty and the erring. It is only in this spirit that the Scripture directions can be followed. For the church of Christ is subject to Christ “in everything.”MEDM May 8, 1907, page 146.2

    Accordingly it is written, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou be also tempted.” Galatians 6:1. The only thought or purpose toward the one that is “in a fault,” is the thought and purpose of restoring him—the bringing of him back and setting him in his true place, and this by the spiritual, and in the spirit of meekness and of Christian fellowship “considering thyself lest thou also be tempted.”MEDM May 8, 1907, page 146.3

    Further, the Scripture directions in this matter contemplate only that the individuals and the church shall go to the utmost limit in the Christian effort to restore the faulty and erring one. And so it is written, “If thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” The only purpose of going to him and telling him his fault, is to gain him, to restore him; and if he hear thee “thou hast gained him.”MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.1

    “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” If he will not hear you, and so you fail to gain him, when you speak to him alone, then try again, with the presence of one or two more that may witness and aid the endeavor to gain him.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.2

    And if he neglect to hear them, even then do not cease the endeavor to gain him. “If he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church.” Then the church in its membership is still to endeavor to gain him from his fault and his error. And it is only when he still refuses to listen to the efforts of the whole church—only then ceases the special, Christian, brotherly effort to gain him and restore him.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.3

    “But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” He has then refused all endeavors individually and collectively of the whole brotherhood of the church proceeding upon the word of God and in the Spirit of Christ, and thus has separated himself from the fellowship of the brotherhood and has put himself decisively on the ground of those outside of the Christian fellowship, and the church, having done all that can be done, now lets him be just as are the others who are outside the Christian fellowship—lets him be as an heathen man and a publican.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.4

    And note, the direction is that he is now to be considered only as a heathen and publican, to whom the gospel is ever to be preached for his conversion and salvation, as really as though he had never been of the Christian fellowship at all. The following excellent words, written by another, beautifully cover the whole ground:—MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.5

    “If he will not hear them, then, and not until then, the matter is to be brought before the whole body of lecturers. Let the members of the church, as representatives of Christ, unite in prayer and loving entreaty that the offender may be restored. The Holy Spirit will speak through his servants, pleading with the wanderer to return to God. Paul, the apostle, speaking by inspiration, says, ‘As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead be ye reconciled to God.’ He who rejects this united overture, has broken the tie that binds him to Christ and thus has severed himself from the fellowship of the Church. Henceforth, said Jesus, ‘let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.’ But he is not to be regarded as cut off from the mercy of God. Let him not be despised or neglected by his former brethren, but be treated with tenderness and compassion, as one of the last sheep that Christ is still seeking to bring to the fold.”MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.6

    This order of procedure is the only one recognized in the Scriptures in dealing with the faulty and the erring in the church. In the instruction to Timothy it is clearly referred to in the words, “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” And this is so important that it is made the subject of one of the most solemn charges in all the Bible: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” 1 Timothy 5:19-21.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.7

    In the instructions to Titus also this order of procedure is recognized and required, in the words, “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” Titus 3:10, 11. As already shown, when he has refused to hear the two or three, and then has refused to hear the whole church, when they have done all that they can to gain and restore him, then he has separated himself, and is condemned of himself; the church can do no more and “lets him be” in the position and the separation in which, against all the efforts of the church, he has placed himself.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.8

    Again this order of procedure is recognized by Paul himself as governing himself. Concerning those who had sinned and had “not repented of the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness which they have committed,” he says, “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” 2 Corinthians 12:21, 13:1.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.9

    Such is the order of procedure, and such is the only true order of procedure, and such is the “care” and the manifestation of the loving, honoring, and honorable “care” that the members of the church of Christ have “one of another.”MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.10

    Only when this order of procedure is followed faithfully in the spirit and to the letter—only then is the action of either members or the church ratified in heaven. And since the church, as well as each individual Christian, must be “subject to Christ in everything,” any action taken by any individual member, or by the church, other than strictly according to the order thus plainly laid down in the Scriptures, is utterly without the authority or the approval of heaven, and is only arbitrary, human, and anti-Christian.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.11

    It may be noticed that in this article nothing has been said about turning members out of the church, but only of efforts to gain, to restore, and to keep them in. The turning of them out, will be considered next.MEDM May 8, 1907, page 147.12

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