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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Excommunication

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Though this word does not occur in the A.V. the duty of excommunicating wicked persons from the fold of Israel, and from the church as the house of God, is plainly taught. Again and again we read in the O.T. that for particular sins "that soul shall be out off from Israel" or "cut off from his people." Exodus 12:15; Exodus 30:33,38; Leviticus 7:20,21,25,27; Numbers 9:13; Ezra 10:8; etc. How far this was acted upon we do not know. In the N.T. we find the authorities agreeing that if any one confessed that Jesus was the Christ he was to be cut off; and they excommunicated the man that had been born blind because he said that Jesus must be of God. John 9:34 .

In the church we have a case of 'putting away' at Corinth. The assembly were admonished to put away from themselves the wicked person that was among them. 1 Corinthians 5:13 . The person was cast out. He was afterwards repentant, and then the Corinthian saints were instructed to forgive him and to receive him again into communion. 2 Corinthians 2:6-11 . The necessity of putting away an evil person is apparent; the presence of God, who is holy, demands it, and believers are called to holiness: "the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Corinthians 3:17 . As to discipline on earth there is a dispensational binding and loosing (cf. Matthew 18:18 ), to which the saints are called where it is needful to put away evil from the assembly, but always with the hope that restoration may follow. See DISCIPLINE.

Connected with the case at Corinth there was also mentioned the delivering unto Satan of the guilty person for the destruction of the flesh, but this was the determination of Paul as being there in spirit with them (1 Corinthians 5:4,5 ), which seems to stamp it as an apostolic act. Paul individually did the same with Hymenaeus and Alexander. 1 Timothy 1:20 . The positive injunction to the church at Corinth was to put away from among themselves the wicked person. In 3John we read of Diotrephes who took upon himself to cast some out of the church, which John would not forget when he visited them. As is seen at Corinth, 'putting away' should be an act of the assembly, not of an individual.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Excommunication'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/e/excommunication.html. 1897.

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