What are the implications of Excommunication?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Tom,
I would call the police if the person posed a threat. However, even if the person posed no threat, I do not believe the person would want to remain in the assembly as everyone would act as he had the plague; he is a heathen and should be outsideas scripture dictates.

[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Tom: It is ok to call the police to remove intruders. The church is a private organization and, legally, has the right to invite and excluse whomever it wishes. A person who enters church property without the consent of the church is a trespasser and his actions are illegal. It would certainly be inadvisible for the deacons to forcibly remove someone.

Asking for the police to protect the property rights of the church as it would any of its citizens is not improperly mixing civil and ecclesiastical authority.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Scott B: Your description of the process is mostly consistent with my understanding of how it has historically been practiced. Some Baptists call this process "shunning" - meaning that disfellowshiped people are to be shunned. I do think there are implied exceptions for attempts at restoration. Else, someone would never be restored.

Matt's example seems prudent, albeit a bit surprising. I am surprised the person did not just leave entirely.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott
Tom: It is ok to call the police to remove intruders. The church is a private organization and, legally, has the right to invite and excluse whomever it wishes. A person who enters church property without the consent of the church is a trespasser and his actions are illegal. It would certainly be inadvisible for the deacons to forcibly remove someone.

Asking for the police to protect the property rights of the church as it would any of its citizens is not improperly mixing civil and ecclesiastical authority.

Interesting. I don't ever recall getting permission from someone in authority to enter a Christian place of worship and participate in a service.

Since the place is open to all (at least that's how the sign in front often reads), what "property rights" are being violated by having an excommunicate in the worship service?

Assuming they are not there to steal the offering or burn the place down, what interest does the state have in keeping an excommunicate out of your worship?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by Scott
Tom: It is ok to call the police to remove intruders. The church is a private organization and, legally, has the right to invite and excluse whomever it wishes. A person who enters church property without the consent of the church is a trespasser and his actions are illegal. It would certainly be inadvisible for the deacons to forcibly remove someone.

Asking for the police to protect the property rights of the church as it would any of its citizens is not improperly mixing civil and ecclesiastical authority.

Interesting. I don't ever recall getting permission from someone in authority to enter a Christian place of worship and participate in a service.

Since the place is open to all (at least that's how the sign in front often reads), what "property rights" are being violated by having an excommunicate in the worship service?

Assuming they are not there to steal the offering or burn the place down, what interest does the state have in keeping an excommunicate out of your worship?

Trespassing.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Tom,
I would call the police if the person posed a threat. However, even if the person posed no threat, I do not believe the person would want to remain in the assembly as everyone would act as he had the plague; he is a heathen and should be outsideas scripture dictates.

[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]

So you agree it's up to the Holy Spirit to bind his conscience in this area, not the elders. Whether he wants to stay or not is not your judgment.

If God is drawing the "heathen" to be there then what should be the response of God's ministers?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Tom,
I believe you are confusing the heathen, i.e the unsaved man, with one whom is under the court of God and has been excommunicated, seen as a heathen because of his unrepentant heart. They are entirely different things. Yes both are considered heathen, yet the man whom is a church member who has been excommunicated because of blatant sin, are not one in the same. One has come under church censure, the other has not. There is difference.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Originally posted by tcalbrecht

Assuming they are not there to steal the offering or burn the place down, what interest does the state have in keeping an excommunicate out of your worship?

Trespassing.

Wrong answer, at least from the state's perspective. The church has a sign out front saying "all are welcome" or they publish a brochure announcing the church in similar terms.

Isn't the state going to look askance when it is asked to use the power of the sword to remove one particular party who is otherwise not disturbing the peace?

Are the officers prepared to swear out a statement against the individual for trespassing? Are all "heathens" subject to similar treatment?

Is not the sword of the Spirit mightier than the sword of the state in this case?
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Tom,
The thread is digressing............

"All are welcome (whom are welcome-until you're not welcome)"

[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Tom,
I believe you are confusing the heathen, i.e the unsaved man, with one whom is under the court of God and has been excommunicated, seen as a heathen because of his unrepentant heart. They are entirely different things. Yes both are considered heathen, yet the man whom is a church member who has been excommunicated because of blatant sin, are not one in the same. One has come under church censure, the other has not. There is difference.

And I would suggest that there is nowhere in the Bible where one class of "heathen" is to be treated differently than another class, ecclesiastically speaking. E.g., the PCA BCO uses this language, "The Session ... do pronounce him to be excluded from the Sacraments, and cut off from the fellowship of the Church." Period. Isn't that precisely the condition of every "heathen"? They do not enjoy the benefits of the sacraments and the fellowship of the church.

If the person is truly a child of God they will eventually be restored to fellowship. God will use the denial of the sacraments and fellowship to that end. That is the greatest punishment that can be imposed. Nothing more is required.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Tom,
The thread is digressing............

"All are welcome (whom are welcome-until you're not welcome)"

[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]

I don't see how. The subject is "What are the implications of Excommunication?"

I would argue that you appear to make it more severe than the Scriptures warrant. I have been questioning how far you are willing to go to impose this more severe punishment.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Tom,
Do me a favor, instead of us going back and forth, Begin at the first post and deal with the biblical texts I cite; I have exegeted them accurately. There is no way you can reconcile them with your view. I see no one addressing the historical docuiments I have provided. Calvin is clear. No one is touching that either.........
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Tom,
The thread is digressing............

"All are welcome (whom are welcome-until you're not welcome)"

[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]

I don't see how. The subject is "What are the implications of Excommunication?"

I would argue that you appear to make it more severe than the Scriptures warrant. I have been questioning how far you are willing to go to impose this more severe punishment.

I am not Tom. The contemporary view has been whimped down!
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Tom,
Do me a favor, instead of us going back and forth, Begin at the first post and deal with the biblical texts I cite; I have exegeted them accurately. There is no way you can reconcile them with your view. I see no one addressing the historical docuiments I have provided. Calvin is clear. No one is touching that either.........

If you're asking me to interact with the long RC article, which is the only one that makes any mention of removing a excommunicate from the public worship of the church, I'm not sure what I can do with it. I'm not really into RC sophistry as a rule for protestants.

There is nothing in WCF or BCO that would keep one from public worship. As I said from BCO the exclusion is from "the Sacraments, and cut off from the fellowship of the Church." If "the fellowship of the Church" includes public worship then all "heathen must be so cut off, since a heathen by definition cannot participate in the "the fellowship of the Church".

As I said I would take 1 Cor. 5:11 in the context of the church fellowship meal, nothing else.

Mat 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Christ ate with gentiles and tax collectors, although He probably didn't engage in "Christian fellowship" with the unrepentant. A gentile was a "heathen" so that seems to support my view that the Scripture do not describe two classes of heathen.

I didn't see anything particular in the quotes from Calvin or Bruce. Bruce says, "that it is still in their power to pray for them, and to preach to them, as they stand in the outer court of the Gentiles, though they may not put into their unholy hands the symbols of the Saviour's body and blood." I see that fitting with my views. The are barred from the sacraments and fellowship, but not from public preaching.

[Edited on 2-16-2005 by tcalbrecht]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Tom,
Where is the outer courts of the gentiles? Is it in the temple?

Calvin states:
"The idea is, that the persistently impenitent offender is to become at length to the person he has offended, and to the whole church, one with whom is to be held no religious, and as little as possible social fellowship.


[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Interesting. I don't ever recall getting permission from someone in authority to enter a Christian place of worship and participate in a service.

Since the place is open to all (at least that's how the sign in front often reads), what "property rights" are being violated by having an excommunicate in the worship service?

Assuming they are not there to steal the offering or burn the place down, what interest does the state have in keeping an excommunicate out of your worship?

Tom: It is a fairly straightforward legal issue. The owner of real property has the legal right to admit and exclude whom he wishes. A landowner can invite someone on and then revoke their permission at the landowner's fiat. A "welcome" sign does not grant all people everywhere a perpetual license to use the property and does not grant a lease of any sort of the property. There are plenty of reported cases of police ejecting unwelcome ex-members.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
I remember reading an account of an ancient excoumminication. The excoummicant was excluded from the public assembly. He stood at the door weeping, begging for readmittance.

Of course, restoration of fallen Christians was a challenge in the early church. Some believed it was a one-way trip and would not allow restoration. Others believed that certain works needed to be completed before readmitance. Anyway, the Church eventually developed the idea of penance, which was largely undone in the Protestant segments of the world with the Reformation.

Just a historical observation. How to handle discipline has always been a challenge, even among people who agree that the Bible is the standard.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Tom,
Where is the outer courts of the gentiles? Is it in the temple?

Well, since the temple no longer exists as a physical entity, then the answer must be entirely spiritual.

One can be declared outside the fellowship of the church, the spiritual reality, without physically being outside a building.

Again, it boils down to the power of the sword of the Spirit. When the minister declares the person excommunicate, standing alone on the word of God, how much more can one do to him?

I would think that having them present weekly in the presence of God, hearing His word preached and being reminded continually of their own particular sin would be precisely what we need to bring about true repentance. Seeing the sacrament distributed weekly and knowing that he may not truly participate would be a great burden for the Spirit to use in his reconcilliation and restoration.

I would think that would be more powerful than having him at home watching the Sunday talk shows.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Well, since the temple no longer exists as a physical entity, then the answer must be entirely spiritual.

But the temple did exist, and that is where the dogs were.....The statement 'Bruce" makes alludes to that outer area........

One can be declared outside the fellowship of the church, the spiritual reality, without physically being outside a building.

True. However, in this case, as per Calvin and the others I cite, it means outside of the spiritual as well as the physical.

Again, it boils down to the power of the sword of the Spirit. When the minister declares the person excommunicate, standing alone on the word of God, how much more can one do to him?

Ask him to leave and come back when he repents........Anyone remeber the show called "Branded"? Chuck Connors starred in it. He was in the calvary........

I would think that having them present weekly in the presence of God, hearing His word preached and being reminded continually of their own particular sin would be precisely what we need to bring about true repentance. Seeing the sacrament distributed weekly and knowing that he may not truly participate would be a great burden for the Spirit to use in his reconcilliation and restoration.

I don't disagree. But, my opinion, thats not what scripture declares.

“If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one, no not to eat” (1 Cor. 5:11).

1Co 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife.
1Co 5:2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
1Co 5:3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
1Co 5:4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
1Co 5:5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
1Co 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
1Co 5:7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened.

As far as your comment about what the RC's state, I agree with them here. I believe it is the historic position:

Here is how the Roman Catholics define it:

I. GENERAL NOTIONS AND HISTORICAL SUMMARY

Excommunication (Lat. ex, out of, and communio or communicatio, communion -- exclusion from the communion), the principal and severest censure, is a medicinal, spiritual penalty that deprives the guilty Christian of all participation in the common blessings of ecclesiastical society. Being a penalty, it supposes guilt; and being the most serious penalty that the Church can inflict, it naturally supposes a very grave offence. It is also a medicinal rather than a vindictive penalty, being intended, not so much to punish the culprit, as to correct him and bring him back to the path of righteousness. It necessarily, therefore, contemplates the future, either to prevent the recurrence of certain culpable acts that have grievous external consequences, or, more especially, to induce the delinquent to satisfy the obligations incurred by his offence. Its object and its effect are loss of communion, i.e. of the spiritual benefits shared by all the members of Christian society; hence, it can affect only those who by baptism have been admitted to that society. Undoubtedly there can and do exist other penal measures which entail the loss of certain fixed rights; among them are other censures, e.g. suspension for clerics, interdict for clerics and laymen, irregularity ex delicto, etc. Excommunication, however, is clearly distinguished from these penalties in that it is the privation of all rights resulting from the social status of the Christian as such. The excommunicated person, it is true, does not cease to be a Christian, since his baptism can never be effaced; he can, however, be considered as an exile from Christian society and as non-existent, for a time at least, in the sight of ecclesiastical authority. But such exile can have an end (and the Church desires it), as soon as the offender has given suitable satisfaction. Meanwhile, his status before the Church is that of a stranger. He may not participate in public worship nor receive the Body of Christ or any of the sacraments.Moreover, if he be a cleric, he is forbidden to administer a sacred rite or to exercise an act of spiritual authority.


[Edited on 2-16-2005 by Scott Bushey]
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Originally posted by tcalbrecht
Originally posted by webmaster
You'd have to think about the situation - this person wanted to sit under the preaching, and agreed to the terms knwoing full well he had sinned. We wanted him to be reconciled.

Another church I knew called the police because they thought the man was going to be violent. it is impossible to divide the spiritual and physical aspects of how this works. You are excommunicating a person, not a spirit.

"Another church I knew called the police because they thought the man was going to be violent. "

If they have evidence that they could present to the civil magistrate, then that's fine. I knew a situation where a man had been excommunicated, and he had a history of carrying a firearm and banishing it in a reckless/menacing fashion. The police were called on one occasion.

I would have a problem if this excuse were used without justification. Ecclesiastical power is entirely declaratory. The officers do not have the power to physically keep anyone from hearing the word of God.

It's not the role of the pastor/elder to act as the conscience of the individual under discipline. Allow God to deal with the heart. I would even argue that it is not the role of the elders to physically prevent someone from taking the Lord's Supper. If a man who was under suspension presented himself before the table of the Lord, the elders should speak the word of truth and announce to the man and the congregation of this person's status, and then allow God to deal with him. If he eats and drinks in an unworthy manner he is eating and drinking to his own condemnation. That is the warning.

I think it would be unseemly to try to physically restrict someone within the church (unless it's a civil affair).

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Totally understadnable, and I agree.

Let me widen the illustration. The man who was excommunicated was abusing his wife. Both were members. He also abandoned them with nothing. It would not have been right to allow this man to remain as part of the congregation (in a 50 person church) with his wife to worship together. He was, then, placed under that restriction for his good, our good, and the wife's good who did not sit near or with him. So that was prudence acting.

Would I call the police of the man did not act in accordance with us? In a heartbeat I would have. He is a danger, not only to his wife, but to the congregation who is meeting together out of thier own willingness. Why woudl they come to be put in danger froms omeone who woudl not cooperate in that way?

Do we have power to enforce that physical restraint? No. That's where the civil magistrate does. At least to the best of their ability.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top