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The New Testament Church
Paul says that those who practice bad doctrine should be "delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh" (1 Cor 5:5) as he did to Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim 1:20). I know several such individuals. I need to know the DETAILS of HOW I am to deliver them to Satan. As a follower of the "inspired" words of Paul, how do YOU PERSONALLY deliver people to Satan? What technique do you use to destroy their flesh? Like John Calvin did to Michael Severtus in Geneva maybe? A slow burning at the stake? Please give me the details of how I can effectively follow this well-established and "inspired" Christian doctrine.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Dear Burn, Baby, Burn,
1st Corinthians chapter five discusses the process of a church withdrawing from a Christian who is living a sinful life. In 1 Cor 5:5, it says that the erring Christian should be delivered to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. If that was the only verse we had, we would just have to scratch our heads and wonder what Paul was talking about… but that isn’t the only verse. Just a few sentences down, Paul explains that how we deliver someone back to Satan is by not associating with them (1 Cor 5:9) and removing them from the congregation’s ranks (1 Cor 5:13). The good company and support of the church is a blessing that Christians enjoy and really appreciate; by removing that blessing from an unrepentant brother, hopefully, it will wake him up and show him that he needs to change.
If the church doesn’t act, it will have to answer to God because it didn’t stand up for the truth. Paul told the Corinthians that they were arrogant for not addressing their errant member (1 Cor 5:2), and he warned them that if they didn’t act, the church would eventually be rotted away by sin (1 Cor 5:6-7). A church that won’t stand by the truth is bound to fall away from the Lord and cease to be a faithful church. When a Christian is living in sin, they are responsible for their own behavior, but if the church doesn’t warn them, they have sinned as well (Ezek 3:18-19). SB