Vive La Difference!
Now then, you might rightfully and sincerely ask what the difference is between “excommunication” and so-called “disFellowship.” The first is unBiblical, judgmental, and destructive. The other, “disFellowship,” is entirely Biblical in concept and practice, even ordained and mandated by God in certain circumstances.
What’s the difference between “excommunication” and “disFellowship” exactly? The answer lies here: Where there is no TRUE fellowship in daily life, there can be no “disFellowship.” Anytime the “church” or so-called “fellowship” consists primarily of mere attendance-based acquaintances—there logically can be no possibility of DIS-fellowship. In an institutional or attendance-based environment, the unBiblical nature of the church can only allow for the unBiblical “sacrament” of “excommunication.” “You can never “DISfellowship” a person who was never voluntarily a part of your daily life, your meals, your children’s lives, your joy, your possessions, your travels, your chores, or your plans in life.
The word itself, “fellowship,” Biblically necessitates an “intertwining” of lives amongst those who are together “in Christ.” Of course, we can’t “dis” anything that we are not truly “doing.” To “dis-engage” we must first have been engaged. To dis-assemble a piece of equipment, it must first have been assembled. And we cannot “disFellowship” anyone who was not “in Fellowship”—intimately intertwined into our lives in a Christ-centered, Truth-centered Holy way.
When defining the Greek word “koinonia,” often used by God in the Bible and translated into the English word “fellowship,” we must understand the depth of this word, in God’s Mind. To unBelievers, when a coliseum of football fanatics chant and scream, and wear clothing of a similar team color, that might be, to the heathen, a form of “fellowship” or “commonness.” But, in the meaning of God, as defined in the Bible (we’ll discuss this in greater detail) we can never claim that “fellowship” has anything to do with anything so banal and external as “having a potluck dinner,” or “social” relationship, or “common hobby” relationship. THAT is not “fellowship” to a follower of Jesus Christ. THAT is not the nature or substance of Jesus’ daily relationship with His disciples—then, OR now.
If we wish to maintain our honesty and integrity as we determine the “meaning” of the word “Koinonia” to a Christian, we must define it as Jesus defined it at various times and in various ways… and live it how He lived it. The word “koinonia” is powerful in the Greek language of the Bible, and in the Life of Jesus. It includes a willing and always-voluntary lifestyle of generosity, self-sacrifice, and vulnerability—materially, emotionally, and spiritually, for Jesus’ sake. The phrases “All things in common” and “intertwined daily lives” are a part of Biblically defining “Christian fellowship.”
One could pretend that God meant something superficial by the word “Koinonia” (Fellowship), if one had a mind to justify the frequent and admittedly empty, shallow relationships in christendom today. But why would we want to justify what doesn’t please God, nor in any way helps us to know Him better? It would be far superior to rethink what has been literally “sold” to us by cultural religion and millionaire christian book-peddlers, and take seriously what GOD says. What does HE want us to be individually, and collectively as HIS Church? Would we be willing to prayerfully take His Words to heart? Luke 9:23-26, Luke 14:25-34, Luke 18:28-30, Luke 19:14, John 13:34-35, John 15:12-21, John 17:5-24, Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-35, Acts 20:17-38, 1Cor.12:12-13:7, Eph.2:19-22, Eph.3:10, Eph.5:27, Rev.22:17, et al.