2 - Thinking about the process
I really lie the idea of this and think that it is still relevant and useful in our church today. I definitely think it's still necessary as we all need to be accountable to someone in order too remain in the right relationship with God and each other. I have seen the first couple of steps in action- but find the idea of treating someone as a pagan or tax collected quite difficult- partly because I would hope the situation would be sorted before this point.
I think the process is a brilliant outline for discipline or healing differences in all walks of life not just church. And in all walks of life it is often the first stage that is missed out which means the other w steps are less likely to end favourably for all concerned. Like rachel I would find it hard if it got to the 'treating them like a pagan or tax collector'
Like Rachel and Jackie I struggle with the last step in the process Jesus outlines but I think it is important if we are to protect the church and its witness.
By the time we get to this point the sinning brother or sister (and its important to recognise that this person is sinning / doing something wrong) has had three opportunities to reflect on their actions, to repent and to seek restoration.
By refusing to do so he / she has effectively placed themself outside of a place where it is right for them to continue in public worship with the rest of the community. They are not in the right place with God; they are not in the right place with their sisters and brothers; their presence could be disruptive and send an unhelpful message to those outside.
So, in many ways, the church is recognising the reality of the situation and saying that - unless things change - the person is no longer recognised as part of the community.
But I believe that it is being done in such a way with the hope of eventually restoring the individual.
Paul picks up on this theme in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15:
Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard them as an enemy, but warn them as you would a fellow believer.