Tuesday Re-mix –
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife… So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:1, 4-5
Triage: the sorting of and allocation of treatment to patients and especially battle and disaster victims according to a system of priorities designed to maximize the number of survivors merriam-webster
“Triage” is the term for having to make quick, hard decisions (usually medical) about which wound or patient to treat first in order to do the most good. In the spiritual warfare we call “church”, there are casualties…and none more so than when blatant and public immorality are at issue. That is what Paul confronted in the Corinthian church, and his counsel is both passionate and harsh. It is about spiritual triage.
If you are being honest, you will admit that you do not like this instruction from Paul one bit. Furthermore, if you are like me, you have twisted and contorted and struggled to find some way of interpreting and teaching this passage that somehow takes the “harsh dogma” out of it and makes it more understandable…more palatable to the mainstream Christian…more “in line” with our notions of grace and mercy. We do this in light of Jesus’ treatment of church discipline in Matthew 18 (“treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector”…remember how Jesus treated the tax collectors?) and in light of Jesus’ treatment of the adulterous woman (“Then …