Have you ever excommunicated someone.

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Ben W, Feb 9, 2003.

?

Have you ever excommunicated someone.

  1. Yes

    100.0%
  2. No

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Ben W

    Ben W
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    8,868
    Likes Received:
    0
    Have you ever had to excommunicate somebody from fellowship in the course of your ministry within the church.
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    Typically we use the word "discipline" -- i.e., church discipline. That may be because "excommunication" has such a bad connotation (in my mind anyway) from its unbibilical and capricious use in the catholic church.
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,139
    Likes Received:
    25
    Ben, just dropped by because the question made me curious. As stated and placed in the "Pastoral Ministries" forum, it sounds as if you believe it is the pastor's job and/or authority to excommunicate or discipline members. And I understanding you correctly? Are there others who believe that to be the case?
     
  4. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    2,056
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will throw my 2 cents out there, I have presided over a church session where a member was excommunicated. He was excommunicated after being convicted of a crime (theft) in open court. The church voted to acknowledge this action by the state. This person had excommunicated himself by breaking the law.

    It wasn't a pleasant experience, but after he was expelled, the church began to grow.

    Jeff.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    WE have had a few instances of church discipline that led to disfellowship and excommunication from the church. Not me "personally", but as pastor of the church I oversaw the meetings where this occurred.

    And I have personally BEEN "excluded" from the membership of an ifb church for "disloyalty".

    Will share the story someday. It is my red badge of courage . . .
     
  6. Ben W

    Ben W
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    8,868
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rivaughn, I am remembering an experience in which a lady was going to be excommunicated from the Salvation Army Corps that I went to as a teenager. I know that the church did have a board, but I recall that the descion was ultimatley left to the Corps Officer (Pastor)
     
  7. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    I had a couple of ladies who I dealt with as a pastor--I told them that the church would take up an order of discipline with them if they refuse to repent of their sins--

    --but we never had an opportunity to pursue the discipline

    --the ladies ran

    "The wicked flee when noone pursues"

    To me, the fellas facing the discipline will accept that dicipline when they know they are wrong and they repent and are themselves seeking restoration and reconciliation. If they run before discipline takes place--that's a signal to me that they want to "stay" in that particular sin. Its them in the hog pen, not me! I'm just trying to show them that there is a "washing" they can have if they only come on out from "among them."

    Blackbird
     
  8. Pete

    Pete
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2002
    Messages:
    4,345
    Likes Received:
    0
    No Ben, no one has been silly enough (so far) to give me that much power :D

    Pete
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    How does running prevent the discipline from taking place?? We discipline in their absentia and take their absence as an admission of guilt. Our steps are as follows:

    1. Loving confrontation and counsel from involved parties, culminating with pastoral counseling. This usually takes place over a number of months, perhaps up to a year depending on teh circumstances.

    2. A deacon's meeting is scheduled where the unrepentant party(ies) are invited to come and "make their case" either for their actions or to repent. The deacons are constituted as the discipline committee by the church body in teh constitution.

    3. If they fail to show or if they fail to repent, the deacons then vote to recommend formal discipline from the church. A note is posted for two weeks prior to the meeting. A letter is once again sent to invite the unrepentant party(ies) to come and either defend themselves or repent.

    4. At the meeting, the basic facts of the case are laid out before the congregation (not details) along with the deacon's recommendation. A motion and a second is entertained, any discussion is entertained, and then a formal vote it taken.

    5. The disciplined parties are permitted to attend services. They are not permitted to attend fellowship functions, vote in business meetings, have any active role. They are basically allowed to come only for the preaching. The members are encouraged to have contact with them only for the purpose of confrontation and restoration. Additionally, no letter of church membership will be granted. If asked for, a letter will be sent to the requesting church that the member is currently under church discipline. (This is another practice that has regrettably fallen on hard times in our baptist churches today. A disgruntled troublemaking member from one church is gladly welcomed at another without any reconciliation between the broken parties. I would not accept a member who did not come from a church of like faith in good standing. If they requested to join, they would first need to reconcile with thier own body before joining ours.)

    This process is stopped at any time that the party repents and the appropriate confession is then made. After discipline, restoration can take place only after appropriate public confession to the body is made and the body votes to restore them.

    I am coming to the conclusion taht willfully absenting oneself from the body is grounds for church discipline as well. By willful, I mean nonm-providential (such as work, health, etc.). I am talking about those who do not come and have no good reason. They are out of order, being disobedient to God's command. They are out of fellowship and hurting the body. I think our membership roles are filled with people who should not be on there.
     
  10. Abiyah

    Abiyah
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    0
    You hold a hard, harsh line, Larry -- the same line
    that is held where I attend.

    After what happened to me, such discipline really
    horrifies me, frightens me, even though it has only
    been used out of necessity where I now attend, and
    I fully understood why it was used. It was still
    discomforting, disturbing. While I fully backed my
    pastors, and told them so to their faces, as well as
    backed them completely and verbally to other
    members, this much power in a mere man remains
    horrifying to me.

    Missused, as it was (to a point) in my case, when I
    was excommunicated, this power is both
    dangerous and devastating. I could never express
    the horror of being innocent, yet accused and
    disciplined, by a pastor who was also a liar and a
    cheat and who showed so openly in his sermons.
    I had never before known anyone so slick as he,
    and I hope I never do again.

    I know that expulsion from a community has, as a
    side issue, the idea within it of causing some fear
    of such sin in the remaining congregation. The
    fact is that while I am very obedient and do not do
    things to bring this kind of action, I live in fear of
    it happening -- of being accused again while
    innocent.

    Frightening.
     
  11. tnelson

    tnelson
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2002
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do some of you think that Church Discipline has been forgotten.

    mike
     
  12. Ben W

    Ben W
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2002
    Messages:
    8,868
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sadly yes, rather than discipline, some churches choose to accept improper behaviour as normal in order to keep numbers.
     
  13. Padre Bob

    Padre Bob
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2003
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    In handling matters of church discipline at my church the Elder board trys to follow the scriptural guidelines found in Matthew 18:15-17 and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15.
    1. Whenever an accusation is made to the Elder board concerning any member's fault, the Elder board will first encourage the individual bringing the accusation to prayerfully confront the erring individual and seek to resolve the matter.
    2. If the matter cannot be settled in private between the accused individual and his/her accuser, and the Elder board has reason to believe the matter bears investigation, a committee of two Elders and the accuser, three Elders, or two Elders and the pastor will prayerfully confront the accused and seek to resolve the matter.
    3. If the Elders believe the accusation has merit and the matter cannot be casually resolved between the individual and the Elders, the Elder board will prayerfully propose a resolution and present it to the accused.
    4. If the accused will not accept the resolution proposed by the Elder board, the Elder board shall remove the accused from the church roll until such time as the matter is resolved and the accused member reapplies for membership.
    In all matters of church discipline, love and restoration are the primary goal of the Elder board and the church (Galatians 6:1). In order to achieve this goal, all Elder board discussions concerning church discipline are held in executive session with no one present except the Elders, the pastor(s), the accuser, the accused and witnesses called by the accused.
    Using this procedure we rarely excomunicate anyone. In the cases where there is no repentance or reconciliaion the person being disipline almost always voluntarily wihdraws their membership.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    We have only done it once, to two people. Neither showed any repentance that would have forestalled it. Neither came to defend themselves. Both openly admitted to me that they were not interested in living according to God's way. As a church, we had no other option except disobedience. It is indeed a sobering thought. When I sat in my office and realized I didn't have any one else to ask an opinion of -- as the leader it was my call to pursue this course of action -- it was very sobering, frightening as you say. But it was the right thing to do.

    This can be misused and no doubt has. But in such cases, the biblical guidelines guard against that. If a pastor is slick and cheating and lying, then get rid of him. But when bring an accusation against an elder, you better have support and then the body must deal with it (1 Tim 5).

    It is a most difficult situation, not to be desired by any. But it is a necessary step to have a pure church.
     
  15. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    This brings up an interesting question. CAn a person willingly withdraw their membership to avoid discipline?? I do not think they can. In fact, I don't think a person can withdraw their membership period. They can transfer to another local body of like faith and practice but a withdrawal?? I can't see this.
     
  16. TheOliveBranch

    TheOliveBranch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Messages:
    1,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can a church discipline after the person contacts them asking to be a member of a different church? No mention of discipline until the previous church recieves a letter from the new church stating that the member wants to transfer?
     
  17. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    I understand you to mean that a person tries to join another church and then the church threatens to discipline them.

    I would think there would be several factors here.

    1. If the church is a not a church of like faith and practice, discipline could be pursued in some cases. For instance, if someone left my church to join the catholic church, they would be disciplined for abandoning the faith (i.e., doctrinal heresy). Our constitution does have a place for a letter of Christian character for someone joining another denomination. I think we would limit that to orthodox denominations.

    2. If they are joining another baptist church, I don't know why it would have gotten that far before something is said. But I suppose there could be a reason, for instance, just finding out that something is going on.

    It sounds like you have a specific situation in mind though. It is hard to answer a question like this.
     
  18. Abiyah

    Abiyah
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/abiyah.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Messages:
    5,194
    Likes Received:
    0


    But don't take me wrong. I am in agreement with
    that line.

    What was going on there could not have happened
    in my synagogue nor ay Baptist church of which I
    am aware. Both have safe-guards set agaist it:
    that pastors are voted in and voted out.

    At this church, pastors were chosen and sent by a
    headquarters church miles and miles away: what
    we saw was what we got, and we had nothing to
    say about it. We could not vote.

    But there was plenty of evidence of this slick man.
    The whole congregation heard his sermons in
    which he laughed about how he cheated in
    business, and the sermons were taped as well.
    they could have asked the then-youth pastor,
    because he was the one who had to deal with
    their shock at his statements, but that pastor took
    care of him by firing him for dealing with it
    honestly.

    When it comes to his trying to cheat my
    synagogue, I alone was witness to what he said,
    but whomever he was talking to -- a member of
    that church -- also heard.

    I do not know if they checked what I told them, but
    it is very unlikely. Rather, they accused me of
    writing accusations, which I did, and that is as far
    as they went, as far as I know.

    Larry, the world needs more pastors like you.
     

Share This Page

Loading...