God's way of settling controversies

The only exception to the required two witnesses was in the case of adultery where the husband acted on his suspicions against his wife. (Num. 5:17. However, he had better be very confident in his suspicions.)

When the witness brought the charge, the godly judges were to make diligent inquisition into the matter--God was then depended upon to make known the truth in the controversy. Also, one witness (e.g., victim) to an evil was not left hopeless. Those told of the evil, hear-say, were required to check it out, and take appropriate action:

The single witness to the evil was to bring the report of the evil to the proper authorities, who were to make diligent enquiry into what they were told.

See also:

As diligent inquisition was made into the controversy by third parties, godly men, the Lord was depended upon to reveal the truth of the matter. The judges then ruled accordingly, and the parties abided by their ruling. The party who refused to abide by that ruling was removed from the congregation of the Lord.

Old Testament Judgment in the New Testament

1 Corinthians 6 follows chapter 5 where Paul had strongly rebuked the church for not taking proper action in judging sin among its members (5:4, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ...):.

Paul is here addressing controversies among Christians, particularly people in the same local assembly. He is not addressing situations where one party of the controversy is a Christian and the other is not, nor is he addressing situations where one party tries to do the Christian thing and the other, though professing to be a Christian, refuses to follow Biblical instructions. He covers that situation elsewhere, e.g., Mt. 18:17.


Problems with going before heathen magistrates:

1) willingly going before a heathen magistrate is not only imprudent, but is a daring, rash, adventurous action to be avoided if one expects justice. The heathen magistrates are commonly not godly men who fear God; therefore, have no concept of justice (justice is only according to God's word), grace, holiness, &c. Obviously, there are exceptions, though very few and far between, where godly men still set as magistrates.

2) it is an unwise expectation to expect godly justice from ungodly men.

3) willingly seeking justice from the heathen for controversies among Christians brings reproach on the name of Christ. It exposes the sins and weakness of any party to the world. "Washing dirty laundry" before the world does not glorify Christ.

Paul commands that for Christians, the first recourse for controversies among Christians must be ecclesiastical (church) authority. If the church will not or cannot do anything, then the controversies goes to civil authority.

Scriptural requirement (the only way the situation can be Biblically resolved):

1. Before the elders of the church, each present their side of the story.

2. The elders then make diligent inquisition into the matter.

3. Elders make the determination of where the truth lies, and what should be done.

4. Only if the parties do not abide by the elders' decision is the matter made public.

And thus the Lord is depended upon to straighten out the controversies.