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Date:         Thu, 7 Sep 1995 10:32:14 +0200
Reply-To: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
Sender: Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel 
From: Teus Benschop 
Subject:      Catechism, 33
To: Multiple recipients of list CHR-EXP 

Q.  May  those  be  admitted  to  the Lord's  supper,  who  teach  false
doctrines, or lead offensive lives?
A.  No;  lest  the  covenant of God be profaned, and his  wrath  kindled
against the whole church.

When  such  people are admitted to the Lord's supper, who  show  through
their words or in their lives, that they forsake the LORD; when such are
admitted,  God's covenant is profaned. Such people, with  their  ungodly
lives, profane all what they touch, and all places where they are.  When
God's covenant is profaned through the congregation, then God's wrath is
kindled  against them. This is, what Paul taught us. He  said:  "For  he
that  eateth  and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation  to
himself,  not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many  are  weak
and  sickly  among you, and many sleep." (1 Corinthians 11:29,30)  Let's
explain these words. He that eats and drinks unworthily, that is he, who
is  not worthy to come to the Lord's table. He has made himself unworthy
by  his  ungodly  life. What result would it have, if  he  came  to  the
supper?  "He  eats and drinks damnation to himself", says  the  apostle.
That is, while eating and drinking, he aggravates his present and future
damnation. Such a person, who heedlessly comes to the Lord's supper,  is
"not  discerning the Lord's body". What does this mean?  Not  discerning
the  Lord's  body means, that he does not discern the holy matters  from
his  profane life. He does not see, how holy that table is,  and  thinks
that  even sin can be tolerated there. But, who is discerning the Lord's
body,  considers the worthiness of the Lord's death, and  comes  to  the
table with great reverence. Paul has warned the people, not to admit the
ungodly  to the Lord's table. After they listened not, and admitted  the
unworthy,  he continues with: "For this cause many are weak  and  sickly
among  you,  and  many  sleep". This is God's wrath,  which  is  kindled
against  that  congregation, and became visible in many who  were  weak,
sickly,  and  asleep. God deprives the congregation  of  the  spirit  of
soundness, and of judgement, and many fall spiritually asleep. When  the
congregation is in such a state, matters become very dangerous. When the
watchmen  are asleep, together with the rest of the people, the  enemies
may  invade. Nobody will stop them, since many or all are weak,  sickly,
or  asleep.  Satan enters the congregation, and carries  out  there  his
destroying work. And the cause? Because the people admitted the  ungodly
to  the  Lord's table. And then God took His Spirit away,  so  that  the
congregation  was  deprived of the necessary  gifts  to  stand  in  this
ungodly  world,  and to resist the enemies. And then,  the  end  of  the
congregation was there. Through too much passing over of sins, they  put
into effect their own destruction.
     Let  us  now  return to the question and its answer. Question:  May
those  be  admitted to the Lord's supper, who teach false doctrines,  or
lead  offensive lives? Answer: No, lest God's covenant be profaned,  His
wrath  kindled against the whole church, His Spirit taken away  together
with the gifts, and the enemies destroys the church.
     Let then the watchmen stand on the walls, and keep out the enemies.
And  let  they also pay attention to the inside, for many future enemies
come forth from the congregation itself. This is what Paul foresaid  us.
He said that from outside and from inside, the enemies would arise: "For
I  know  this,  that after my departing shall grievous wolves  enter  in
among  you,  not  sparing the flock. Also of your own selves  shall  men
arise,  speaking  perverse things, to draw away disciples  after  them."
(Acts 20:29,30) Let we then stand guard at the Lord's supper, lest we be

Having  spoken  about such people, who teach false  doctrines,  or  lead
offensive lives, the next question asks:

Q. How must we then deal with such persons?
A.  According  to the appointment given us by Christ, Matt. 18:15,16,17:
"If  thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his  fault
between  thee and him alone; if he shall hear thee, you have gained  thy
brother  but if he will not hear thee, then take with thee  one  or  two
more,  that  in the mouth of two or three witnesses every  word  may  be
established;  and if he still neglects to hear them, tell  it  unto  the
church; but if he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a
heathen man and a publican."

How  must we deal with the ungodly? We must deal with them according  to
the  appointment  given  us  by Christ. So, not  according  to  our  own
pleasure,   nor  to  any  other's  will,  but  according   to   Christ's
appointment. In Matthew 18, we read, how He wills that we deal with  the
ungodly  in  the  congregation. First, let one go to the  offender,  and
speak with him. Perhaps, when he accepts admonition, he might be brought
back  from  his sins. Thus, when one speaks with him, the  rest  of  the
congregation  will  not  know the sin, and the  matter  may  be  settled
without  much  offence. But in the case the offender  continues  in  his
wicked  life,  let then a second person, or a third, together  with  the
first,  go  to him, and let them speak with him. His sin is then  become
somewhat  more public. Also, those persons might function as  witnesses;
for  there is written, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every
word  may  be  established. Let these persons be witnesses  against  the
sinner. Let them also talk with the sinner. And, if he returns from  his
evil  ways, then the brother is gained again. He is brought back to  the
right way. However, if he, in spite of several admonitions and warnings,
obstinately  refuses to obey God, let then these two or three  witnesses
tell  it  to the church. The whole congregation will know it  then.  The
sinner  is  become  public, and will be warned in  public.  If  he  also
resists this, let him then be cut off from the congregation. He must  be
regarded as a heathen man, and as a publican.
     Some people, of too tender character, say: "Let the sinner at least
be connected to the congregation. Let we not throw him out. For, when he
is  still  with us, he at least hears the Word; and who knows  what  God
might do?" So speak the tender-minded, but God speaks totally different.
"Let  him be as the heathen man", cut him off. Let not the rotten member
be in the body, lest the whole body becomes sick. Let we then not listen
to  the  hypersensitive people, who allow all evil, to destroy also  the
rest.  Let  we  keep the body of the church healthy, and  weed  out  the
weeds.  Listen to our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who said that God  takes  away
every branch that bears not fruit. "I am the true vine, and my Father is
the  husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not  fruit  he  taketh
away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it  may
bring forth more fruit." (John 15:1,2)

Teus Benschop  --  t.benschop@pobox.ruu.nl
Listowner of chr-exp@nic.surfnet.nl
"A Christian explanation of the Scriptures to Israel"
Institute Practical Bible-education
Web:  http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/ipb-e/ipbe-home.html

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/cate: cat-033.txt