The Sadness of Marking



Regrettably, there are times when the holy nation of spiritually circumcised Israel must deliver to Satan a member for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit might be saved (1 Cor 5:5). If possible, this should be done in private so that when or if repentance occurs the damage to the individual is no greater than necessary. This should not be done for light or trivia reasons. It need not, and indeed, should not be done with a public airing of faults in a trial-like atmosphere, where both sides present evidence and arguments … what did the man whom the Apostle Paul ordered the saints at Corinth to deliver to Satan have to say on his behalf? Not then bodily present in Corinth and acting on the evidence presented to him by faithful disciples, Paul ordered the man to be marked and removed from the fellowship. Paul said that he was present in spirit—and being present in spirit he had already pronounced judgment on the one who was a blight on the fellowship.

God delivered the ancient nation of Israel into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of earthly Babylon, with this Nebuchadnezzar being a copy and shadow of the spiritual king of spiritual Babylon, Satan the devil. So what the Apostle Paul instructed the saints at Corinth to do had scriptural precedence. And the ancient nation of Israel did not get to plead its case before God: false priests and false prophets did not get to argue that extenuating circumstances caused them to teach Israel to worship Molech. No, not at all; for they were not heard by God (Ezek chap 20), who gave the nation statutes and judgments by which the nation could not live (vv. 25-26).

As God did not allow earthly Jerusalem to be continually polluted by the idolatry and lawlessness of ancient Israel, God will not allow heavenly Jerusalem to be continually polluted by wrong-doing, by lawlessness, by idolatry. He will remove the cancer before the spiritually circumcised nation dies in agony in the lake of fire. He will use faithful disciples to remove the tumor if He can. If He must, He will directly intervene by taking physical life from the one who defiles the Body.

The Apostle Paul was present in spirit in the Corinth fellowship, where he had spent his energy, his time, and his resources. He was a member of this fellowship, and acting in the capacity ordained by God, Paul instructed the local fellowship to mark the man who had his father’s wife—and to not even eat with such a person.

Marking is to be done by local fellowships. Indeed, it would be pointless for a Sabbatarian fellowship to mark the Roman Pope as one to be avoided. Therefore, marking by a fellowship outside of the geographical area where the individual to be marked resides and attends is meaningless and should not occur. And as some fellowships transcend geographical areas, being national or international in scope, marking by such a fellowship of an individual who has never spiritually resided in, or attended the fellowship is equally meaningless.

The Apostle Paul said there would be schisms in the Body to determine who is genuine. This should not be, but this has been the sad history of the Body. Disciples who have been marked and who have been put out of the Body have gathered to themselves followings, thus creating divisions through schisms. And this situation became a mockery of itself in the 1990s when the former Worldwide Church of God whittled itself into first splinters, then slivers. Virtually every minister and many members were marked by some organized fellowship, with those doing the marking having been marked by the fellowship with which they had previously fellowshipped.

Because taking his father’s wife as his own was not a civil offense to Caesar, only a moral outrage, the man marked by Corinthian disciples had not done anything worthy of imprisonment. Civil fines and punishments were not the correct remedy for the outrage, but delivering the man back to Satan purged the cancerous tumor from the Body of Christ, whereas the markings by the current and former hierarchy of the Worldwide Church of God fostered a climate of lawlessness and seemed to encourage divorces and remarriages as well as an assortment of evils that should not exist in the Body. Indeed, a truly lawless period gripped the portion of the Body that had returned to the heavenly city, a period that saw the vilification of Herbert Armstrong by those who had lived comfortably on his largesse, a period of spiritual savagery that made evident how immature and how poorly educated were Sabbatarian disciples, especially those who boasted of being Independent Sabbatarians. But being carnally minded was not a crime under Caesar, nor is it a crime under American jurisprudence. Receiving an “approved divorce and remarriage” every time a disciple journeyed from one fellowship to another is not a civil crime. Teaching sedition within a fellowship is not a civil crime. Deception, covetessness (being greedy), sexual immorality, drunkenness, idolatry, using the legal system to defraud—any one of these may or may not result in a civil crime, but each of the offenses mentioned in this sentence is grounds for a fellowship to deliver a disciple to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. Yes, each is a justifiable cause for the fellowship to take action against the person. And failure to take action is an affront to God.

The Apostle Paul condemned the saints at Corinth for their extension of false love that permitted an offense to God to continue within the fellowship. Disciples are not to tolerate continuing offenses within the Body. They are to attempt to restore the lost disciple while repentance remains possible. But when the opportunity for repentance closes due to acquired hardness of the offending person’s heart, the fellowship is to remove the person and to publicly notice the person’s marking and removal.

Therefore, again reluctantly, actions taken by the Sabbatarian fellowships at Port Austin in 2004 must now be made public knowledge and posted for all to see:

Based upon four plus hours of in-depth conversations occurring during the first week of September, the Philadelphia Church – Port Austin, on September 9, 2004, determined that Norman Scott Edwards was an individual who did not display evidence of having the Holy Spirit or of being born of Spirit, and as such, Edwards was an individual who should be treated as, and considered as a heathen.

Based on recorded documents in Huron County’s Office of Deeds, and based upon his personal revelation of his actions to the PASCC leadership team, the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community and the Port Austin Sabbatarian Community Church on October 31, 2004, marked Norman Scott Edwards and his wife Marlene as individuals to be delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.

Today, nearly two years later, Norman Scott Edwards remains in the Port Austin area as an individual whom that Port Austin Sabbatarian Community has marked as one to be delivered to Satan. Edwards remains unrepentant, and Edwards continues to use the name and acronym of the Sabbatarian Community and of PABC to solicit donations from the greater Body of Christ. He presently seeks individually who will attend his feast site, using as an advertising ploy the come-on that those who attend with him can eat from his large garden.

This year, 2006, the Port Austin Bible Center (PABC) will hold a small feast in conjunction with the Philadelphia Church – Port Austin and with the Port Austin Sabbatarian Community at Port Austin, Michigan. The emphasis of the feast messages will be on using typological exegesis as a prophetic tool; the emphasis will be spiritual. The emphasis will not be on what attendees put into their bellies; i.e., on whether the food is organically grown or not (Jesus negatively addressed this situation).

So that there is no misunderstanding during the feast, those who eat with Norman Scott Edwards, a marked individual, partake of his exclusion from the Sabbatarian Community here at Port Austin.

It had been hoped by the Sabbatarian Community here at Port Austin that no such communiqué as this would ever have to be publicly released, but a recent broadly spread, thinly veiled appeal for support by Edwards, whose actions have landed him in court, slanders both the Sabbatarian Community and PABC. As Edwards’ ministry of mowing shifts to being a ministry of lawyering, the 2006 fall feast season rapidly approaches: those disciples who have questions about what occurred here in Port Austin in 2004 should, perhaps, attend feast elsewhere rather than awakening to find themselves on the wrong side of God. Those without questions are certainly welcome, and are even encouraged to attend if the disciple doesn't have a local site.

Those disciples who are a part of the Port Austin Sabbatarian Community and who were here in 2004 will be happy to privately answer questions concerning this communiqué.

* * * * *