Suspension from the table

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by koenig, Jun 7, 2018.

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  1. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    It is pretty plain that presently unrepentant persons should not be part of the Lord’s Supper. My understanding is that some reformed churches also would occasionally suspend people from the table for a period of time (presumably even after they are believed to be repentant). What is the scriptural basis for this?
     
  2. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    After they repented or after they confessed the sin?

    The Standards require "manifest reformation" so it is possible that someone is suspended from the sacraments, but even after confessing their sin and being apologetic for committing said sin that they remain suspended until they have manifested their repentance. The Session (or Presbytery) would determine this. I know you are asking for Scripture, but I am needing to clarify if this is what you meant before I am able to respond.
     
  3. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    I don’t know under what conditions this would happen, so I’m not sure. I agree that restoration to the table should only happen at the judgment of the relevant court.

    If this is just a case of “the session will reevaluate this in three months”, I don’t see a problem. My concern would be with a case where the three months happens after repentance is manifested—isn’t that denying the sacrament to someone who should receive it?
     
  4. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Sure, but I suppose you'd have to first prove this is happening. What reformed churches practice this? I've never heard of any.
     
  5. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    The ARP Book of Discipline allows definite suspension:

    VII.4. "Suspension: this censure should generally be indefinite in its duration, continuing until the person suspended gives such evidence of repentance as may warrant its repeal. The good of the offender and/or the Church may require that the offender be suspended for a definite length of time, even though he confesses his sin and gives evidence of repentance. This censure should, as a rule, be announced in the Church by a representative of the court. If in the judgment of the court, however, the good of the offender and/or the Church requires, this censure may be administered privately."

    II.B.1.(c) "Suspension is temporary exclusion from receiving the sacraments or from a church office or from both.This censure becomes necessary when more serious offenses have been committed or when, notwithstanding admonition or rebuke, an offense is persistently repeated."
     
  6. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Contrast with the PCA BCO:

    30-3. "Suspension from Sacraments is the temporary exclusion from those ordinances, and is indefinite as to its duration. There is no definite suspension from the Sacraments. Suspension from office is the exclusion of a church officer from his office. This may be definite or indefinite as to its duration. With respect to church officers, suspension from Sacraments shall always be accompanied by suspension from office. But suspension from office is not always necessarily accompanied with suspension from Sacraments."
     
  7. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Paul told the church to throw out of the church the man who was having relations with his father’s wife. They did, but then he scolded them for not accepting his repentance and told them to allow him back into the church. Paul didn’t teach us to withhold sacraments from unrepentant believers. He taught us to put them outside the church until they repented and turned from practicing the sin. I could be wrong but I don’t see any evidence of withholding sacraments being a Biblical discipline.
     
  8. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Compare that to Overture 20 to this week's General Assembly

    http://www.pcaac.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Overture-20-Philadelphia-BCO-30-3-37-1.pdf
     
  9. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    That's interesting. This looks to allow indefinite suspension from office in more cases to avoid having to determine if definite suspension is appropriate at the time of judgment.

    I just checked, and it appears that definite suspension of any kind has disappeared from the proposed revised ARP Book of Discipline.
     
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