1 Corinthians 5
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
The Apostle Paul is concerned by the reports about the church, “that there is sexual immorality among you” (vs. 1). The implications for unchecked sin have profound implications for the church, which is the body of Christ.
There is a story from Adventist history about a minister named W. C. Wales, who left the church and divorced. He repented, remarried, and decided to rejoin the church. Ellen White cautioned church leaders to be redemptive, and not for him to divorce again and return to his first wife, as that would cause more harm than good. She even supported the decision that he re-enter the ministry. Sadly, it wasn’t long before he had other affairs. This time he was dismissed from pastoral ministry, but when he personally appealed his case to Ellen White, she refused to meet with him. He was a serial sexual offender. Grace should be extended to a repentant sinner, but here was a man who had a pattern of immorality.
The Apostle Paul is specific by stating that church members at Corinth must be accountable to God, which also includes their sexual behavior.
Michael W. Campbell
Associate Professor of Religion
Southwestern Adventist University
Keene, Texas USA