Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hand Him Over To Satan... To Be Saved? (Part 1)

So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. 1 Cor 5:4,5

I am thinking and writing about 1Corinthians 5:1-5 for a class. The text is usually used to justify excommunication, but I am arguing a different reading.

I think in general the Church has gotten a little trigger happy when it comes to excommunicating.

In Corinthians, Paul is addressing a church which has gotten caught up in many different pagan practices. It is interesting the language he uses here to address some of the “backsliding” congregation.

He first addresses some of the sin that is taking place such as sexual immorality, and then gives some direction on how to handle the situation. He instructs the church to “hand the man over to Satan.” What does Paul mean by this and does this passage really suggest excommunication? And what does Paul mean by, “so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the Day of the Lord”? How would someone being handed over to Satan do away with their sin nature and actually save them?

Let me know your thoughts and I will present an idea tomorrow…


Mindy said...

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I've had this scripture passage used by a pastor and friends who were trying to do what they thought was the right thing - put me out from the protection of the church/their fellowship, so that I'd be chastened and burned and turn back from the sin they perceive me living. Sigh. I think that interpretation of this scripture is fear-based. I think it's grounded in a rule-based (works) model of thinking that is designed as (ineffective and unecessary) insurance against ending up in hell.

Sadly, I think that excommunicating from the church, from the community - SHUNNING in an attempt to FIX - is like already being in hell.

Jkub said...

Thanks Mindy,

And as you already know, I am sorry for the experiences you've been through. Tough stuff.

Tomorrows I'll be dealing with a possible different understanding of "Satans" role.

I also wrote another post awhile back dealing with excommunication based off of jesus' words in Matthew 18.

Mindy said...

Thanks, brother.

I went back and read your old post (Oct 4). Good stuff.

I don't think we (human race) yet has a CLUE about how to love. I'm barely in kindergarten myself. Maybe still on the waitlist for pre-school lol.

By the way, in case it wasn't clear, I think that when we excommunicate others, we experience hell. Being excommunicated is painful, but I wouldn't say it's hell. It's opened me to some personal growth that I'm blown away by. (It may well have helped me start to learn how to love...)

Jkub said...

Thanks Mindy,

And i think you may be closer than you think when you describe what you went through as "Hell". For I tend to view Hell as a restorative process which can indeed be very painful.

Grace and Peace