Two Greek Words Translated "Partakers;" "Putting Away" the Form of Words; Withdrawing and Putting Out of Fellowship

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
As to your question, it was up in—at the Tuesday laborers' meeting, and there was a unanimous feeling in it as to the substance of the matter. Technically perhaps you cannot put a person out who has withdrawn, but this is a mere question of the form of words: he ought to be out by the judgment of the assembly as well as by his own act. In the case they had excommunicated him after his withdrawal. I might have said, Such a person having withdrawn under a charge of sin (where investigation was refused by him and the guilt was not proved) is out of communion till the matter be cleared up before God. If, as in this case, guardedness was not needed, as the guilt was proved, it needed but to say, Such an one having withdrawn when guilty of sin clearly proved, is out of communion, and can only be restored on fresh repentance.
It is absolutely necessary in such a case that the judgment of the assembly should be clearly pronounced, otherwise the assembly has not judged known sin to the Lord's dishonor. Nor is that all; the person might march in without the assembly's having any right to refuse him, as he marched out. The form of words is not to me material. What is essential to me is that he should be out by the judgment of the assembly as well as by his own act. Or the assembly is passing over sin known in its bosom. I have known many cases where a person being charged with sin has declined coming any more, but it is always dealt with. Even if they deliberately withdrew to join other churches, it has been noticed after visiting, etc., so that it was known to be deliberate. There was a time in-of a kind of revival-working when people did not come for a long while, and it was unnoticed, but it was felt (and it was only through neglect and not being noticed in the immense number)—but it was felt that this could not be. They had never formally withdrawn.
In this case it was worse, because he withdrew on purpose to hide it, though in vain. Only he had taken counsel of others, so that modifies his act—but why did he do so? I do not see the wrong of this in the first instance, save that in these cases they are bound to see after the person, know why, and if it is deliberate, and even then give it out. Otherwise he might sin and run riot, and come back, having never been put out—why should he not? Had this been done, it would only have remained to say that it was alas! discovered it was by occasion of positive sin, which confirmed the judgment that he was outside....
Auburn, Maine,
September 7th, 1874.