Should unrepentant cohabitation (shacking up) result in church discipline and disfellowshipment?

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Is unrepentant cohabitation (shacking up) a reason for church discipline?

  • Yes, unrepentant cohabitation (shacking up) is a reason for church discipline/disfellowshipment.

    Votes: 18 94.7%
  • No, unrepentant cohabitation (shacking up) is not a reason for church discipline/disfellowshipment.

    Votes: 1 5.3%
  • I don't know.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    19

Melach

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2019
1,750
1,322
113
#22
Perhaps one doesn't understand that if he is not Reformed, though, since they think God will simply exit the relationship at some point. Or, maybe they don't comprehend what union with Christ is about.
another recruitment for cult of calvinism. this guy just cant help but make everything about reformed topic

so people dont understand marriage because they arent reformed? what do those got to do with each other? sneak disrespecting again you are.. what a weasel
 

Sackcloth-N-Ashes

Well-known member
Oct 25, 2018
1,575
799
113
#23
Easy question...

Should unrepentant cohabitation (shacking up), defined as enjoying the sexual benefits of marriage outside of marriage, be a cause for church discipline and disfellowshipment?

And, if someone is involved in it, and is allowed to stay within the fellowship, does that disqualify him as a teacher?

Additionally, how would your answer be affected if the person was not a member of the church, but was a regular attender long-term?

Here's why I am asking. I have a friend that I care about. He's attending some kind of Arminian church that apparently believes it is fine to cohabitate. The pastor knows about the situation, presumably, because his pastor is a facebook friend of both individuals.

The woman he is cohabitating with is also a member of this Arminian church.

I met the guy as I was working in a parachurch ministry related to recovery. He was one of the people I was attempting to help. To be honest, it's quite frustrating when someone seems to be making progress as a new believer, but then gets involved in something like that.

He is actually involved in addictions recovery (which was his main issue) with his church group. He goes into the jail environment and is involved in presenting lessons to them related to recovery.

Perhaps this is denomination-oriented. Is this normal in Arminian churches? I know that Reformed Baptist churches would discipline someone who was involved in this, due to their high view of God's law.

I find it bizarre that any church could be so blind that they don't know that cohabitation is a work of the flesh. And, I thought the guy was in good hands with this pastor. It seems like for all of the Arminian talk about holiness, to me, it is nothing but hot air.
The bible tells us to abstain from every form of evil.[1 Thess. 5:22] And also Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;[Romans 14:16] So, even if a male and female are living together in a strictly platonic relationship, ppl would think they were fooling around. So, no, I do not think it is wise to live together(as male and female in a strictly platonic relationship) and mostly certainly not in a romantic relationship. All intercourse outside of marriage is sin. If these two are told this, and yet decide to live in rebellion to what the word teaches, strict discipline needs done, and fast.
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
9,952
3,573
113
#24
another recruitment for cult of calvinism. this guy just cant help but make everything about reformed topic
The mark of a cultist is wilful blindness to the truth. Jesus said that we should allow the blind to lead the blind. And the end result is not pleasant.
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
841
570
93
#25
It depends on what you mean by cohabitation. I appreciate what you said @Sackcloth-N-Ashes because it sort of explains why that was such a moral crossroads when I was considering this thing. In a platonic way of course. In the back of my mind though personally, when these choices presented themselves there was still an open door in some fashion to something. Either opening yourself up the possibility that it could occur if the right circumstances were present (and thereby having a "closet door") available but unlikely. It still would represent a certain lack of entertainment of sin regardless of actuation.

Even if that were not the case...I have always been interested in females non-sexually as well. I realize that's true for most here but just the simple joy of learning what it is like living with a female and learning about "girl things" as well as having non-sexual intimacy with a female would most likely NOT be off the table in such a situation. From clothing advice to sharing meals together...perhaps going shopping or even talking in a rather intimate setting.

I always felt like intimacy was between just a wife and a husband in "closed quarters". It's cool that there's some ideology out there that explains this frustration and slight anger and not being able to really experience anything of that nature with anyone but my immediate family. It makes sense...



The only question I really have for this thread is how to implement said discipline in the church. I think that the Lord WILL do it privately if it is not conducted but I do think we have a responsibility. I've just been at a loss on how to properly effect this. Even in churches where I'm in agreement with most everything, this still seems to be lacking.

Is seems to me that the prevailing idea is that if we just draw near enough to the Lord then all of that will just fall off of us. I've certainly seen that but at the same time you have more stubborn people (like myself) who do need stern rebukes. I don't think the Lord particularly likes getting personally when a system exists that he designed. That gets pretty deep and kind of scary for me at times but rebellion can run pretty deep even if our heart is for him. It's not clear to me at present due to my own stubbornness. Times where I felt like I could have simply just shared with someone that I was going through a temptation but I instead exalted myself by saying that I don't need their help only the Lord's, all the while knowing that I was ignoring conviction, even if it seemed so trivial.

Anyway, yes I do think it's necessary, it's just how to effect that in a case specific way. Especially when you have people that are fairly clandestine. Convincing themselves that of course the Lord sees our secret sins and we can just confess to him privately...this last part has somehow become muddled for me personally...anyone see what I'm trying to say and will help? I seem to consider so many angles at once sometimes in regard to what appears to be a simple question. Thanks :)
 

Sackcloth-N-Ashes

Well-known member
Oct 25, 2018
1,575
799
113
#26
It depends on what you mean by cohabitation. I appreciate what you said @Sackcloth-N-Ashes because it sort of explains why that was such a moral crossroads when I was considering this thing. In a platonic way of course. In the back of my mind though personally, when these choices presented themselves there was still an open door in some fashion to something. Either opening yourself up the possibility that it could occur if the right circumstances were present (and thereby having a "closet door") available but unlikely. It still would represent a certain lack of entertainment of sin regardless of actuation.

Even if that were not the case...I have always been interested in females non-sexually as well. I realize that's true for most here but just the simple joy of learning what it is like living with a female and learning about "girl things" as well as having non-sexual intimacy with a female would most likely NOT be off the table in such a situation. From clothing advice to sharing meals together...perhaps going shopping or even talking in a rather intimate setting.

I always felt like intimacy was between just a wife and a husband in "closed quarters". It's cool that there's some ideology out there that explains this frustration and slight anger and not being able to really experience anything of that nature with anyone but my immediate family. It makes sense...



The only question I really have for this thread is how to implement said discipline in the church. I think that the Lord WILL do it privately if it is not conducted but I do think we have a responsibility. I've just been at a loss on how to properly effect this. Even in churches where I'm in agreement with most everything, this still seems to be lacking.

Is seems to me that the prevailing idea is that if we just draw near enough to the Lord then all of that will just fall off of us. I've certainly seen that but at the same time you have more stubborn people (like myself) who do need stern rebukes. I don't think the Lord particularly likes getting personally when a system exists that he designed. That gets pretty deep and kind of scary for me at times but rebellion can run pretty deep even if our heart is for him. It's not clear to me at present due to my own stubbornness. Times where I felt like I could have simply just shared with someone that I was going through a temptation but I instead exalted myself by saying that I don't need their help only the Lord's, all the while knowing that I was ignoring conviction, even if it seemed so trivial.

Anyway, yes I do think it's necessary, it's just how to effect that in a case specific way. Especially when you have people that are fairly clandestine. Convincing themselves that of course the Lord sees our secret sins and we can just confess to him privately...this last part has somehow become muddled for me personally...anyone see what I'm trying to say and will help? I seem to consider so many angles at once sometimes in regard to what appears to be a simple question. Thanks :)
I live by this saying, "We can do the right thing the wrong way." A male and a female living in an apartment together, even if its strictly platonic, opens too many cans of worms. The question that needs to asked in a situation like this is "Is this a prudent thing to do?" Also, what kind of light would they be shining(in this scenario, I am saying they are both professing Christians living in an apartment together in a platonic relationship) by doing this? To me, this would not be wise. Ppl tend to think the worse in situations like this. So, they do NOT need to be living together, platonic relationship, boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancé/fiancé, or otherwise.
 

Noose

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2016
4,808
880
113
#27
What is marriage?
Is marriage defined by man or God who made them; male and female?

This is what marriage is; a man shall leave his parents and be enjoined to a woman and the two shall be one flesh. Of course they must cohabit to be one flesh. And there's a warning on top of this if they agree to be together; let no man separate what God has joined.

You can choose to celebrate and announce your agreement as is required by the society and the Government but that celebration by itself is not marriage as per God.
 

IFOLLOWHIM

Well-known member
Oct 25, 2019
3,039
1,729
113
#28
Societal edicts and government dont rule the kingdom of God!

That being said I believe a true relationship is about the commitment and faithfulness of both partners!
 

notuptome

Senior Member
May 17, 2013
13,647
1,902
113
#30
Very sad situation. Needs to be rectified quietly and not held up for public humiliation. It should shame the entire church body and call them to prayer over the matter.

For the cause of Christ
Roger
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,119
1,072
113
#31
With respect to everything you say, and the fact that you care about your friend, you have no idea what he is doing or not doing with this woman, and I don't think it is any of your business. This poor woman is in a very vulnerable position at present. He may just be living there to support her. And during times of great grief, the lines get blurred, people get confused etc and don't know what they want. My prayers go out to her. And I don't think it is any of your business at this time.
And may I say from someone who works in mental health, your friend will not thank you for bringing up a very personal, intimate topic when this poor woman is grieving for her wee girl.
"However, I will very likely talk to him about it and tell him what a big disappointment this is to me personally. I had hopes that perhaps a few people were helped by the parachurch ministry activity, and he was actually someone that I had a lot of hopes for."
You say it's a disappointment for you personally. I reckon you are projecting your own feelings of disappointment onto your friend for not becoming your prodigy by the sounds of it. I think you are more annoyed that he's not become what you think he should become. He sounds like he's doing good work already, & doing the best that he can, whilst supporting this lady and her daughter too.
This situation isn't about you or him - it's about a grieving family who need time to sort themselves out.
What about just offering your condolences and saying you will be there to support them all in any way you can? This is going to be a very stressful time for everybody with a funeral looming.
I'd leave the cohabitation talk for another time.
And I would commend your friend for the work that he is doing.
I often wonder what has happened to Christian forgiveness & charity in this world. Yes Christians have higher standards than others (or are supposed to anyway). I am no Bible expert, but doesn't it say in the Bible that we should "correct others gently and with forgiveness?"
I think you are getting too upset & righteous over something that would be better left alone for now.
Also I have cohabited with men in the past just as friends, and have never done anything with them unless I was going out with them, so I do think it's extremely judgemental just to assume things when you have no facts. Maybe your friend is happy in his church & religion, & happy with what he is presently doing.
Maybe they will get married much later on - who knows?
I don't think it's for others to judge, just on an assumption.
I wasn't planning on bringing it up during the grieving period.

However, I think it's naive to assume they aren't intimately involved, seeing as she refers to him as her "boyfriend" and they live in the same house. As others have noted, Christians are supposed to avoid the appearance of evil and to be above reproach.

Actually, they aren't a family if the two aren't married. They are simply two individuals living in the same house.

How is happiness relevant? Happiness is found in obedience to the LORD according to Psalm 1.

I agree that I don't know what they are doing. Since he's been avoiding me these four months, I'm pretty sure it's a sexual, cohabitating relationship.

And, perhaps you are right. Perhaps I should have no expectations of someone who claims to be a Christian, including myself. Maybe it is unreasonable to assume that they would be uninterested in obedience to God. However, I'm naive that way.
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,119
1,072
113
#32
I wasn't planning on bringing it up during the grieving period.

However, I think it's naive to assume they aren't intimately involved, seeing as she refers to him as her "boyfriend" and they live in the same house. As others have noted, Christians are supposed to avoid the appearance of evil and to be above reproach.

Actually, they aren't a family if the two aren't married. They are simply two individuals living in the same house.

How is happiness relevant? Happiness is found in obedience to the LORD according to Psalm 1.

I agree that I don't know what they are doing. Since he's been avoiding me these four months, I'm pretty sure it's a sexual, cohabitating relationship.

And, perhaps you are right. Perhaps I should have no expectations of someone who claims to be a Christian, including myself. Maybe it is unreasonable to assume that they would be uninterested in obedience to God. However, I'm naive that way.
I think I should have said "unreasonable to assume they would be interested in obedience to God". I have only had one dose of caffeine this morning.
 

EliBeth

Senior Member
Dec 5, 2013
533
231
43
#33
I am reminded of the passage in Proverbs 7 that talks about a young man lacking sense traveling on a street near an adulteress's house. ("Oh be careful little feet where you go..."🎶👣) It isn't wise to test the boundaries when it comes to sin. In doing so, isn't it also testing God and His mercy? Whew! 🚧🛑
Even if for you it is not a temptation, it very well may be for the other person(s) though they may not show it.
And definitely, as previous posters have commented, watch out lest your words or actions cause someone else observing you to stumble (because they may misunderstand)! Romans 14:13,21.

But back to the main topic of the thread: My Aunt participated in this sin a few years ago. I attempted to warn her. I truly believed (and still believe) the right course of action for me to take was...how shall I say it...to remove myself from a close relationship with her. I was convicted that I would be condoning her actions and enabling a continuation of the situation by acting as if everything was alright. It may sound harsh. Evenso, from my understanding: Love IS unconditional and sacrificial; but it also speaks the truth and upholds God's righteous standard regarding sin. Of course, when she repented our deep relationship was restored. Now we are as close as we ever have been, I do believe. 🙂 And she is SUCH a godly lady. I praise God for her repentance! Some readers may attack my stance and accuse me of being judgemental, etc. But I had to do what I believed I was led to do.
So! God DOES convict hearts and help people to turn from their sin. And while we should be careful not to try to pluck the speck out of our friend's eye if we have a log in our own, Matthew 7:5 says, "...first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." We are supposed to help our dearly loved brothers and sisters when they have something in their eye. ❤️
 

EliBeth

Senior Member
Dec 5, 2013
533
231
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#34
For clarification, I did not tell her off or be unkind. Only warned and withdrew.

Also, one might not view warning and withdrawing from a person in sin as helping them. But I know when I have sinned and I feel the absence of God's pleasure and presence (though He hasn't actually gone), it really causes me to want it back. One time my Mom lovingly used this principle on me when I was wandering. It was effective. It helped.
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,119
1,072
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#35
For clarification, I did not tell her off or be unkind. Only warned and withdrew.

Also, one might not view warning and withdrawing from a person in sin as helping them. But I know when I have sinned and I feel the absence of God's pleasure and presence (though He hasn't actually gone), it really causes me to want it back. One time my Mom lovingly used this principle on me when I was wandering. It was effective. It helped.
I think withdrawing fellowship can be helpful sometimes, as the person isn't experiencing the presence of God in their lives through the Christian who has withdrawn from them in a corrective measure.

Even if the person is no longer in the fellowship of the church, I think they can experience the benefit of God's presence in their lives through the believer who refuses to withdraw fellowship.

I realize these circumstances are tricky though. And, admittedly I am emotional about it as I viewed him as being someone who was responsive in the midst of a lot of others who were not. It is something I'm considering in regards to the fruitfulness of my personal ministry..whether I should even continue it.

But I don't have all the facts yet and can't really gracefully get them, given the death of the little girl.
 

EliBeth

Senior Member
Dec 5, 2013
533
231
43
#36
I think withdrawing fellowship can be helpful sometimes, as the person isn't experiencing the presence of God in their lives through the Christian who has withdrawn from them in a corrective measure.

Even if the person is no longer in the fellowship of the church, I think they can experience the benefit of God's presence in their lives through the believer who refuses to withdraw fellowship.

I realize these circumstances are tricky though. And, admittedly I am emotional about it as I viewed him as being someone who was responsive in the midst of a lot of others who were not. It is something I'm considering in regards to the fruitfulness of my personal ministry..whether I should even continue it.

But I don't have all the facts yet and can't really gracefully get them, given the death of the little girl.
Yes, perhaps it is not always the best thing to do to withdraw fellowship! But under God's guidance, it can be a tool He uses to bring that person back. I think this can be overlooked in our tolerant, anything-goes society.

May I ask what exactly you were wondering if you should continue?
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,119
1,072
113
#37
Yes, perhaps it is not always the best thing to do to withdraw fellowship! But under God's guidance, it can be a tool He uses to bring that person back. I think this can be overlooked in our tolerant, anything-goes society.

May I ask what exactly you were wondering if you should continue?
Sorry..I'm not sure what your reference is, in terms of "continuing".

I am drawing a blank.

I guess you could be talking about continuing our friendship. I am not planning on backing off from being his friend, but at the same time, when I have time alone with him, after a sufficient waiting period, I will likely address the issue with him.

It is possible there is some other explanation but I know for sure that she says he's her boyfriend, and he told me they are living together. In the USA, "living together" means cohabitating in an intimate sexual relationship.

I am not sure if it conveys the same meaning in your culture.
 

EliBeth

Senior Member
Dec 5, 2013
533
231
43
#38
I think withdrawing fellowship can be helpful sometimes, as the person isn't experiencing the presence of God in their lives through the Christian who has withdrawn from them in a corrective measure.

Even if the person is no longer in the fellowship of the church, I think they can experience the benefit of God's presence in their lives through the believer who refuses to withdraw fellowship.

I realize these circumstances are tricky though. And, admittedly I am emotional about it as I viewed him as being someone who was responsive in the midst of a lot of others who were not. It is something I'm considering in regards to the fruitfulness of my personal ministry..whether I should even continue it.

But I don't have all the facts yet and can't really gracefully get them, given the death of the little girl.
🙂 You said "It is something I'm considering in regards to the fruitfulness of my personal ministry..whether I should even continue it."
Did you mean that you are considering whether you should even continue your personal ministry? Sorry if I am being dense. Lol
 

UnitedWithChrist

Well-known member
Aug 12, 2019
2,119
1,072
113
#39
🙂 You said "It is something I'm considering in regards to the fruitfulness of my personal ministry..whether I should even continue it."
Did you mean that you are considering whether you should even continue your personal ministry? Sorry if I am being dense. Lol
No, actually you are not dense. I have a faulty memory. I should have remembered this as I submitted it today.

So, the situation is that I am on "sabbatical" from this parachurch ministry due to some frustrations I've had. I can't fully discuss them, but a portion of the frustration involves the lack of fruit in the people that I was helping. Admittedly they are a high risk group (addicts for the most part) anyways. My approach has been to lead them to a relationship with Christ, if they don't have one, and the tremendous resources for the individual whose identity is in Christ. My co-workers in this ministry have different views (some are charismatic or Pentecostals, others are KJV Only, others are prophecy nuts). My focus is on salvation alone and the benefits that come from it.

So, my frustration is the lack of positive results. I have a friend who is a Christian counselor, though, and he told me in the last day that I needed to keep my focus on Jesus and not on the results. I know that I'm giving them good instruction, as much of it was guided by my friend, and he knows what he's talking about. It is largely related to what it means to have a gospel identity.
 

EliBeth

Senior Member
Dec 5, 2013
533
231
43
#40
Sorry..I'm not sure what your reference is, in terms of "continuing".

I am drawing a blank.

I guess you could be talking about continuing our friendship. I am not planning on backing off from being his friend, but at the same time, when I have time alone with him, after a sufficient waiting period, I will likely address the issue with him.

It is possible there is some other explanation but I know for sure that she says he's her boyfriend, and he told me they are living together. In the USA, "living together" means cohabitating in an intimate sexual relationship.

I am not sure if it conveys the same meaning in your culture.
Yes, perhaps it is not always the best thing to do to withdraw fellowship! But under God's guidance, it can be a tool He uses to bring that person back. I think this can be overlooked in our tolerant, anything-goes society.

May I ask what exactly you were wondering if you should continue?
(By my exclamation point after "withdraw fellowship" (in my above quote) I did not mean to sound aggravated or snotty, I was agreeing with you with emphasis. I hope I didn't offend. And yes, cohabitating means the same in my culture for I live in the USA too. Lol. It is easy for misunderstandings to occur in writing, because you cannot hear voice intonation or see facial expressions. Just wanted to clarify in case you thought I was being testy.)

No, actually you are not dense. I have a faulty memory. I should have remembered this as I submitted it today.

So, the situation is that I am on "sabbatical" from this parachurch ministry due to some frustrations I've had. I can't fully discuss them, but a portion of the frustration involves the lack of fruit in the people that I was helping. Admittedly they are a high risk group (addicts for the most part) anyways. My approach has been to lead them to a relationship with Christ, if they don't have one, and the tremendous resources for the individual whose identity is in Christ. My co-workers in this ministry have different views (some are charismatic or Pentecostals, others are KJV Only, others are prophecy nuts). My focus is on salvation alone and the benefits that come from it.

So, my frustration is the lack of positive results. I have a friend who is a Christian counselor, though, and he told me in the last day that I needed to keep my focus on Jesus and not on the results. I know that I'm giving them good instruction, as much of it was guided by my friend, and he knows what he's talking about. It is largely related to what it means to have a gospel identity.
I can sympathize with your frustration. This has been something I've thought about lately. (I am getting so off topic from your thread. Please forgive me! 😊) Not to sound disrespectful toward God, but why is there not more repentance, salvation, growth and sinlessness? Long story short, remember Jim Elliott. He gave his life for those Ecuadorian people. I don't think there was much fruit borne while he was alive (while he could SEE it), but after he died there was! Brother, your counselor friend's advice was sound. Look to Jesus and not the results or lack of results. Perhaps this is a test to prove whether or not you will remain faithful to speaking God's Truth even when there appears to be little fruit. Part of the fruit comes from your own heart and how you will respond to this trial. 😌 Remember the prophets in the Old Testament. Most people didn't listen to them. But God called them to sound the warning anyway. Sound the warning and tell of the means of salvation and trust God with the rest. Look for things to be thankful for..that helps me.

Okay, I'll stop now. Lol