Is withdrawing removing someone from a church's membership role?


I read your previous answer on a divorce and remarriage in a congregation among an elder's son. I have read through 1 Corinthians 5.  I have never been in a situation where a particular member was withdrawn from. Whenever you withdraw from someone in a congregation, does that mean that you dismiss them from the membership of the congregation?


I would hope that the reason you haven't seen someone being withdrawn from is because you just happen to worship with a group of really fine Christians. Sadly, such is not generally the case. More often you will find that congregations don't withdraw from unrepentant sinners because they are afraid of making waves and losing membership.

Removing a person from the membership of the congregation is only a part of withdrawing. The concept is to remove all social ties so that the person is no more than a worldly person living down the street. "But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner--not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:11). I don't go to dinner parties held by worldly people because the drinking and swearing make me uncomfortable. Their ideas of "fun" are definitely not my own. When a Christian refuses to leave his sin, it becomes the same issue. We no longer have a common bond. His ideas no longer match my own. So, I no longer have a social relationship with him.

However, it doesn't mean that I don't continue to try to persuade him out of his sin. A while back I did a class on withdrawing in which I went through all the verses where words related to withdrawing are used. When seen in combination it gives you a good idea of what this is about. Take a look at Withdraw Yourselves for more details.