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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Concerted Prayer, Part 3

The work of the Church is not alone to seek members but it is to watch over and guard them after they have entered the Church. And if any are overtaken by sin; they must be sought out, and if they cannot be cured of their faults, then excision must take place. This is the doctrine our Lord lays down.

It is somewhat striking that the Church at Ephesus, (Rev. 2) though it had left its first love, and had sadly declined in vital godliness and in those things which make up spiritual life, yet it receives credit for this good quality: “Thou canst not bear them that are evil.” While the Church at Pergamos was admonished because it had there among its membership those who taught such hurtful doctrines that were a stumbling-block to others. And not so much that such characters were in the Church, but that they were tolerated. The impression is that the Church leaders were blind to the presence of such hurtful characters, and hence were indisposed to administer discipline. This indisposition was an unfailing sign of prayerlessness in the membership. There was no union of prayer effort looking to cleansing the Church and keeping it clean.

This disciplinary idea stands out prominently in the Apostle Paul’s writings to the Churches. The Church at Corinth had a notorious case of fornication where a man had married his step-mother, and this Church had been careless about this iniquity. Paul rather sharply reproved this Church and gave explicit command to this effect:

“Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” Here was concert of action on the part of praying people demanded by Paul.

- From The Essentials of Prayer, by E. M. Bounds.

Although E. M. Bounds died in 1913, this book was first published in 1925, by an admirer of the author's life. Bounds was known for praying from four until seven each morning.

This post is one of a series, taken from The Essentials of Prayer, by Bounds. Found through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, here. The Essentials of Prayer is in the public domain. The previous post in the entire series on the book is here. Thanks for reading. Read this book, and, more importantly, practice, prayer.


atlibertytosay said...

I think the problem with this interpretation is the ability of a church to recognize the sin vs the sinner.

A church may be experiencing larger issues within the church - then "excision/excommunication" only is a publicly seen bandage.

I believe excision without full disclosure to the public - even non believers - is, in and of itself sinful because it is hurtful to the body of Christ.

I have personal issue with this.

Martin LaBar said...

I'm not sure I follow you, but the church should indeed, be very careful in judging, and "excision."

Thanks for your comment.

atlibertytosay said...

I guess what I was trying to say is that personal experience has taught me that excision more times than not - may excise a scapegoat.

If someone is excised from a church - I think the whole church body should know about it and the exact circumstances. All levels in the church should be present for the excision.

Martin LaBar said...

Well, a church should be just, and not excise a scapegoat, for sure. That would be unChristian.

And, as far as I know, the letters of Paul referred to by E. M. Bounds, were addressed to entire churches.