We Do Not Excommunicate We Exclude

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by tyndale1946, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    First of all since I am the moderator here and no one else I wanted to put this topic here for discussion and not debate.

    In the Primitive baptist Church we exclude members for various offences. Which I may go into later... There is a sin unto death... Not a separation from God in eternal damnation and eternal torment but from his blessings in the world in the church. David is a good example he never lost his eternal salvation but because of his sins against God he suffered.

    Now there are private offences and public offenses whereas as scripture say judgement begins at the house of God. That is where we are suppose to discipline those of our brothers and sisters who have sins against one another and the church. I also believe that there are some sins that disbar one from communion service for life.

    We Primitive Baptist believe this and while it is a hard thing to do it must be done. There may be brethren who disagree with us but that is okay to each his own. We are permitted to sit at the Lords table and must examine ourselves.

    Here is an example... A married brother sleeps with anothers wife... Which is adultry... Out of this sin is born a child... Can either of these two ever be restored to the church even if they sought it carefully with tears?... Brother Glen [​IMG] & Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  2. Jim1999

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    Personally, I would never exclude anyone from the local church. It is God's prerogative to handle the universal body.

    I would deal individually with particular problems, and in private.

    So far as the table is concerned, I let each person examine themselves and determine whether or not they can sit. I do announce that it is set for baptized believers, but do not police it. I always held it after a regular service or at a Wednesday night prayer meeting.

    The local church, in my mind, after the New Testament records, was attended by all manner of people and states of disrepair. Who am I to exclude them?

    As Brother Glen says, To each his own.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Wygal

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    I'm not nearly as theologically educated as most here seem to be, but as far as the question at the end of your post: "Can either of these two ever be restored to the church even if they sought it carefully with tears?... "

    If I understand what you're asking, I believe Paul addressed this in Corinthians, about the man who had married or taken his father's wife. He told them in 1 Cor. 5:5 "To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." But, later, seeing that they had sufficiently done that, instead of telling them to continue, he says:

    2 Cor. 2: [6] Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
    [7] So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
    [8] Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.

    I understand this to mean that the answer to your question is "yes".
     
  4. Frogman

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    Go ahead, ask all the hard questions why don't ya?

    I must confess I must give myself to some thought on this one brother, I am inclined toward answering too quickly in such a case that may not be so clear in scripture. I know what some other preachers have discussed with me concerning this type of scenario, and I am not fully satisfied with the answers they give me. They seem to be designed to not deal with the question rather than face the possible trouble it could incite.

    Let me consider the question and I will get back with you as to what I believe according to scripture.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

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    Jim,

    Excluding someone from the church does not mean excluding them from attending the worship services. It means excluding them from the fellowship of the church and the privledge of sitting at the Lord's table. This is clearly taught in I Corinthians 5 and Matthew 16.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. Frogman

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    here is an article I have found and am studying currently as a result of this post, thought you folks may find it interesting as well:

    http://www.primitivebaptist.org/writers/phillips_ra/binding%20and%20loosing.asp

    It is dealing with the question, though not the particular question, it deals with exclusion authority of churches dealing with individuals, churches excluding fellowship of other churches, and associations by churches or association.

    This is a summary of it as I have read thus far. It consists of only one page and is a short read; I am reading slowly to permit as thorough a study as I am permitted in the flesh.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  7. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    The reason I bring this to your attention... Can the person that does a sin of a type that can't be repented of and turned away from stay in the church?... He should always be welcome in the church but I feel he loses all the priviledges associated with membership until he repents... But can he?... Can he reverse the effects of that sin that he did?

    If a baby was born out of that sin how can it be reversed?
    If a man killed another in anger and served his time for the killing... And later repented to the church... The man killed cannot return so how can he repent?... Is the church obligated to receive him at the Lords Table?..

    That is not to say he is not a child of God and bound for glory... We all sin... Whether in omission or comission... Show me a man who says he does not sin and I will show you a liar.

    I'm also not talking about those who must kill in defending our rights in the military or any defending their lives against harm... This does not apply... David was a man after Gods own heart... David never lost his eternal salvation but he did lose the joys of it here in time. We reap what we sow!... Like I said to each his own... Brother Glen [​IMG] & Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  8. Haruo

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    Except as a shibboleth or out of a sort of fetish for the avoidance of Roman Catholic terminology, how does "exclude" differ from "excommunicate", particularly when the exclusion in question relates to Communion?

    The sentence this thread begins with looks to me like a way of saying "We aren't Catholics, we have our own way of saying things".

    Leland
     
  9. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    Sorry this is quite lengthy... From Hassells Church History... Chapter 9... Pages 288-291

    Private or personal offenses are to be adjusted in strict accordance with Christ’s directions in Matthew 18:15-17. Christ lays down four distinct steps, which are always to be taken in the order given by Him, and not in a reversed order. First: the aggrieved party, if the other does not, is to take the initiative in seeking a private interview with the supposed offender; if he fails to do so, he himself becomes an offender, as he has violated the law of Christ. The privacy of the interview is highly important; the object is, not altercation, but to gain an offending brother. Perhaps the offending brother is laboring under a mistake; the other brother may not have intended to offend him, and may not be conscience of having done so, or he may not have had an opportunity of explaining his conduct. A private interview conducted in a calm brotherly spirit may and should give full mutual satisfaction. If in such an interview the offense is denied, and there are no witnesses of the offense, the next step cannot be taken; for then the complaining party would become an offender, having published a charge which can not be proved. Absence of proof will leave him no recourse but in private admonition and the patient committal of the matter to Providence.

    Second: If the first step fails, and the offense can be proved, then one or two other disinterested and judicious members are to be chosen as witnesses and mediators, and the whole case is to be considered before them. They may be able to discover what is right between the members at variance, and the latter may be willing to yield to their decision. If the “one or two more” consider the offense as not real or as satisfactorily removed, the aggrieved party, though unsatisfied, can not take the third step; for the offender has “heard them,” and the accuser ought to be satisfied with the judgment of the brethren selected by himself. Third: if the second step fails, the case, after due notification of the parties, is to be laid before the church, the proof adduced, and the opportunity given for defense. Here the united wisdom and influence of the whole church is brought to bear to reconcile the difference and judge between parties. Fourth: If the party judged by the church to be in fault still refuses to make amends, it is evident that his heart is fully set in him to do evil, and must be excluded from the church; for his refusal to hear the body proves his contempt for the brethren, and they are therefore compelled to withdraw their fellowship from him. If this important law of the Great Head of the church were properly executed, long continued personal feuds, with their disastrous results, bitterness and factions, would be prevented. Differences between members in regard to worldly affairs are expressly forbidden by the inspired Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 6:1-11) to be carried before worldly courts, but must be referred to the judgment of the wise members of the church, the least esteemed of whom, if they have the Spirit of Christ, are better qualified to judge between brethren.

    Saints are finally to judge the wicked world and angels, and are certainly qualified to judge in small temporal matters. Christians should not contend before the ungodly, and thus bring reproach upon the cause of Christ. Besides, differences among men are often decided in worldly courts, not according to right and equity, but by legal quibbles and technicalities; whereas the children of God should always desire, in reference to their affairs, a judgment according to the equity and the Spirit of Christ. —In regard to moral or public offenses against the order, faith and purity of the church, such as neglect of church obligations, heresy, idolatry, immorality, intemperance, railing and extortion (1 Cor. 5:11; Titus 3:10; 2 Peter 2; Heb. 10:25), these may be divided into minor and gross public offenses. Minor public offenses, such as a member may be led, under strong and sudden temptation, to commit only once, and such as do not greatly scandalize the cause of Christ, are to be treated according to Paul’s direction in Galatians 6:1; these erring members are to be restored by the spiritual in the spirit of sympathizing meekness, as all are liable thus to be tempted; in these cases the method of procedure laid down by Christ for personal offenses (Matthew 18:15-17) is in spirit to be observed (Titus 3:10). Christian tenderness may also here succeed in gaining a brother. But, in the case of gross, deliberate, habitual public offenses, or such as greatly scandalize the church, where the evidence is public and unmistakable, there should be, though in a spirit of sorrow and not of bitterness, a prompt absolute exclusion, as the Apostle divinely enjoined in regard to the Corinthian offender (1 Cor. 5); any steps taken to bring such an offender to repentance and restoration should be taken afterwards (2 Cor. 2:1-11). A confession and promise of reformation are not enough to be required of this class of offenders. They should, for the honor of Christ, be at once cut off; and, if they afterwards, by a godly conduct and conversation, bring forth fruits meet for repentance, and prove genuineness of their sorrow and reformation, then they may be restored (2 Cor. 7:8-12; Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20). The rule in Luke 17:3-4, plainly applies only to personal or private offenses, which do not bring scandal upon the church—not to public or moral offenses which seriously reproach the cause of Christ. The latter are offenses which the church can not forgive; but, when assured that God has forgiven the offender, she may then receive him back into membership. —In the apostolic church the Elders or presbyters are sometimes called Bishops or overseers or rulers of the flock, and therefore had the special responsibility of maintaining the discipline of the church (Acts 20:17 & 28; 1 Tim. 3:4-5 & 5:17; Heb. 13:7, 17, & 24).

    Against an Elder an accusation was not to be received but before two or three witnesses (1 Tim. 5:19), because his office is a very presumption in his favor, and because, as a minister, he is peculiarly exposed to malice. An Elder, to be efficient, must be “blameless” (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6-7). A tender, faithful, scriptural discipline, like that observed by the people of God in the apostolic age, is of the highest and most vital importance for the welfare of the church; the neglect of such discipline is the most potent cause of evil in the church. “The object of faithful church discipline is threefold. First: The glory of God, whose great and holy name is dishonored by the evil principles or evil practices of church members, and whose honor is vindicated by their prompt and proper correction. Second: The preservation of the church from corruption and destruction; the old leaven of wickedness must be purged out, to preserve the whole body from infection; evil communications corrupt good manners; lepers were to be put out of the camp, so as not to infect others, and so erroneous persons, whose words eat as a canker (2 Tim. 2:17), must be removed from the communion of gospel churches; a church of Christ is like a garden or vineyard, which if not cared for, will be overrun with thorns and nettles and weeds, but, by a proper and timely discipline, the weeds eradicated, and the withered branches are gathered and cast out. Third: The good of the offending parties, who, if real children of God, are, by proper discipline brought to shame and repentance for their sins, and an acknowledgment of them, when they are to be received again with all love and tenderness, and to be comforted, that they might not be swallowed up with over-much sorrow.”... John Gill
    Brother Glen [​IMG] & Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  10. Frogman

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    Thanks for this clarification, but I did think this was your position. I answered as I did for a reason; but I will say that I lean toward agreement with you.

    The same thoughts entered my mind as I read your initial post; the sin can be forgiven, from God, and by the Church, but it can never be truly reconciled by the offender. Then it is not due to a lack of Godly sorrow and repentance but the inability to right a wrong.

    Just some of my thoughts.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  11. Frogman

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    The difference is in the belief concerning salvation, more specifically what each believe to be where Grace is to be had. Baptists do not believe Grace is to be had through the Communion, the Catholic, as I understand it so correct me if I am wrong, believe to excommunicate removes one from salvation. Baptists do not.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  12. Matt Black

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    I think it is inconsistent to say that on the one hand the man who begets a child through adultery is still bound for glory and yet cannot 'repent' as far as the church is concerned; ISTM that this speaks of one standard for the church and another for God. Either he's forgiven and restored or he isn't.

    We had a very difficult case recently where a married male youth worker got involved sexually (to what extent I don't know and I don't particularly want to know) with an underage girl in the youth group. When this came to light, the elders made an executive decision to suspend him from membership and inform the police. That decision was reported to a closed meeting of the church members and at the next monthly church meeting the members voted to expel him. This means that he cannot come to the Lord's Table or come to church meetings etc. It does not mean that he cannot physically attend church services since they are open to the public and without an injunction we have no legal power to prevent him attending; to physically prevent him would amount to assault in UK law. Suffice it to say however that he has not turned up since then - the disapproval of the congregation is more powerful than any legal document! But this discipline has been tempered with love - the elders regularly visit him and his wife to counsel and support them both and endeavour to hold the marriage together and it is hoped by all that he will be restore to fellowship soon. To my mind whether or not a child had been produced as a result of this liaison would be irrelevant to the issue of restoration - repentance is the key.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  13. Frogman

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    Here is a portion of an article titled 'A Plea for Peace' submitted to the Advocate in 1897. It can be found and read in entirety online at www.primitivebaptist.org under the drop down menu for writers and click on Elder Rittenhouse's name.

    I am still considering what should be the NT stand on this position, at least as far as I can see what would be true from Scripture.

    I am prepared to say at this time that I hold Israel and the Church to be different; because of this then you can rightly assume that the incident of David, according to my view, would not be speaking of the discipline of the church. But I say this only that you folks would know the way I am approaching this study and discussion and not to add further controversy or discussion to muddle the topic at hand.

    God Bless.
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]

     
  14. rsr

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    Bro. Glen, I think there must always be the possibility of restoration.

    There are at least three effects of sin:

    1. Loss of fellowship with and separation from God. Only God has the prerogative to heal that relationship.

    2. The temporal effects of sin, which you have mentioned in particular. Forgiveness by God, or the church, cannot erase the lasting temporal effects of sin, a legacy that we all live with. The effects can, however, be mitigated through repentance and penance (i.e. an attempt to make right what is wrong.)

    3. The effect of fellowship with the church. The purpose of discipline is twofold: to bring the fallen brother to repentance and back into fellowship and to protect the rest of the flock from error.

    While there may be sins that make it impossible (at least for the forseeable future) to bring a member back to an office, for example, there must always be the hope that a brother can be readmitted to full participation in the ordinances, both as a symbol of the graciousness of God and as example of God's mercy to his church.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    Read all that you brethren had to say... Would like to direct your attention to Hebrews 12: 14-17

    14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

    15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

    16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

    17 For ye know that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

    Comments?... Brother Glen [​IMG] & Sister Charlotte [​IMG]
     
  16. rsr

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    The key phrase is:

    Without repentance, there can be no restoration.

    I'm not sure that this passage is exactly on point with the topic under discussion, but it was clear that Esau, in this instance, could not repent.
     
  17. Kiffin

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    Is not the use of Exclude or Excommunicate more a matter of preferance rather than any theological differance? I want to think some early Baptist confessions did use the term Excommunicate but I may be wrong?

    To Excommunicate means "1 : an ecclesiastical censure depriving a person of the rights of church membership2 : exclusion from fellowship in a group or community"

    To Exclude means " to prevent or restrict the entrance of : to bar from participation, consideration, or inclusion"

    The RCC of course uses this differantly from Protestants but I see it more a argument over which term one prefers rather than any differance between the 2 terms.
     
  18. rsr

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    You're entirely right, Kiffin. They mean the same thing.

    The difference is that the Roman Church has a whole series of excommunications. There is no single "excommunication" under church law: it can range from private to public, from denying church offices to near-total shunning in society and has different effects on rulers and subjects.
     
  19. jcdII

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    God is in the business of restoration. He wants a relationship with us, and once repentance has occured, then scriptures say God forgives and CHOOSES to forget. Now, if God does not remember the sin anymore, then how can we exclude anyone who has sinned? I recognize that sin does have earthly consequences.....but if we are to be like Christ, we must forgive and accept as well.
     
  20. stubbornkelly

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    It doesn't seem to be that in such cases as have been described that there is no chance for restoration. When we use the word "restoration," we must do so with the understanding that none of our actions can be reversed, and that one can never be returned to the exact state one was in yesterday or last month or last year. It is an inaccurate word, I think, for what is meant.

    All sin has consequences. We know that. When we talk about restoration, in terms of church discipline, we're talking about re-enveloping a person into fellowship.

    I'm hearing not that a person cannot be restored to fellowship with the church, but that the rest of the church chooses not to fellowship with said person, under the guise that the person simply "cannot" be restored. If a fallen member has repented of a sinful lifestyle and is restored to the righteous path by God, that person is not incapable of being restored to fellowhsip with the church. It is we who fall to our own sinful nature and refuse to even try to forgive and work at restoring the relationship.
     

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