How to excommunicate someone

This Protestant pastor seems to have a flair for it:

“Jesus himself tells the church to discipline those who refuse to repent of their sins and listen to him through the church.  In obedience to his command, we are handing you over to Satan and his kingdom of darkness, in hopes that you will come to your senses, repent and return.”

You can read the whole letter below.  Source.

Comments

  1. Ah, they really don’t know how to do excommunication, as in:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRt2cKvJLlE

  2. Southern Deacon says:

    Not a big deal. My wife was excommunicated from the Mormon faith after she told them, through our attorney, to stop showing up at our house at all hours of the day trying to convert her back to the Mormon faith. They would even show up at 10 or 11pm at night to try and talk to her.

    She had converted to Catholicism years before but they tracked her down and “just wanted to talk.” I tried to be polite and explain even after she had tried to do the same. I went to visit the local LDS church to speak to the leader, who would not speak to me. But they kept coming to visit us. So I had to get my attorney to put a stop to it since being civil was not working.

    I really regretted going down this road until they showed up at about 11:15pm, just after my wife had fallen asleep with my newborn/1 week old daughter.

  3. Taking nothing away from Pastor Shade and the Session, but when I think of having a flair for how to excommunicate someone, this is what comes to mind.

  4. vox borealis says:

    I have no problem whatsoever with the proper authorities in a given ecclesial community excommunicating members. Heck, at least it shows that, in this case, they take certain rules and obligations seriously.

    What I find odd is the claim in this letter that excommunications renders the individual no longer a Christian. This suggests a radical misunderstanding of what excommunication actually is and does.

  5. Since he’s purporting to hand someone over to Satan, does that mean his church has an extradition treaty with the Prince of Darkness?

    I wonder what was the reason behind the excommunication? In some of these cases, the “sin” is something really egregious, like asking where the collection plate money went!

  6. “By this excommuniction we are declaring that you are no longer a Christian.”

    Oh? Not so…

    “Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1272)

  7. I can understand the excommunication letter for non-attendance, but to say that the person is not a Christian, is just silly and shows a poor understanding of what the term means.

    Excommunication simply means a parishioner is barred from certain blessings for some infraction and has nothing to do with rescinding one’s Christianity.

    This ministers actions do more harm then good by confusing the person by thinking that they will be forever damned and no penance is afforded.

    Get thee back to a Seminary for some instruction!

  8. RP Burke,

    I was thinking of the same scene as I read the letter. ;-)

  9. This “church” has presented its former member with a great opportunity on a silver platter. He can walk away and never think of these misguided zealots again. Truly, a win win situation!

  10. @ HMS

    Baptism is not necessary for salvation. Acts 15 and Romans 4 make it clear that no external act is necessary for salvation. Salvation is by divine grace thru faith alone.
    Rom 3: 22 , 24-26 , 28 , 30 / Eph 2 : 8-9 / Phil 3 : 9
    In Acts 3 , Peter makes no reference to ” baptism ” but links forgiveness of sin to ” repentance “.
    Look at those who were ” saved ” apart from ” baptism ” ;
    the penitent woman ( Luke 7 : 37-38 ) ;the paralytic man (Matt 9:2 ) ; the publican ( Luke 18 : 13 -14 )and the thief on the cross ( Luke 23 ). All experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism.
    There is no record of the apostles being baptized , yet Jesus pronounced them ” clean of their sins “. The word of God cleansed them !
    Water baptism ( immersion ) is certainly important and
    ” required ” of every believer , however , the NT does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.

  11. naturgesetz says:

    Selah

    Acts 2:37-38 When Peter has preached the crucified and risen Jesus as Lord and Messiah, the people ask what they must do, and Peter tells them, “Repent and be baptized.”

    You are right that God can save people apart from the ordinary means which he has provided. But to refuse to use what he has commanded his church to do (Matthew 28:19) when possible, is to show a rebellious spirit which is hardly consistent with true faith.

  12. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Selah…

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church…this is what we Catholics believe:

    257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

    1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

    1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

    1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,”63 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

    Dcn. G.

  13. naturgesetz

    In Acts 8 : 12 they ” believed ” and then were ‘” baptized “‘.
    True Christian baptism is ” an outward expression of an inward relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord “.
    When one is immersed ( biblical ) , he / she pronounces to the Body of Christ that they have repented of sins , asked for forgiveness and now walk in the newness of life and not in the way of death.
    Regarding Matt 28 : 19 ( The Great Commission ) it says ” go and make disciples( those who abide in HIS WORD . those who hold fast to MY TEACHING ) and not ” tradition ” / rituals / infant baptism ? you are truly my disciples !
    John 8 : 31 It’s not tradition , tradition tradition , it’s scripture , scripture . scripture !

  14. naturgesetz says:

    Selah

    At the time of the Great Commission, the New Testament had not been written. Therefore the only material the eleven and subsequent disciples had for making disciples and knowing what the Lord had commanded was what was handed on(which is what the word tradition means) by word of mouth. And to skip over the command to baptize is to misrepresent the teaching of scripture.

    John 8:31 doesn’t say “scripture;” it says “my word.” And again, his hearers did not have the New Testament as the source for knowing his word. What they had was what they heard him say: the spoken word, not the written word. And as one person told another,it was tradition. To say this is about scripture, scripture, scripture demonstrates a real ignorance of the facts.

  15. naturgetesetz

    Luke 24 : 27 : ” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets , He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.”
    Psalm 119 : 18 ; ” Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions “.
    Mark 12:24 ; ” Is not this where you wander out of the way and go wrong because you know neither the scripture nor the power of God “.
    One does not need anything but scripture because it is sufficient. To add church “convictions ” is to undermine the authority of God’s Word and add man – made rules, and traditions / practices which are not ” biblical ” causing the CHURCH to be superior to scripture.

  16. Pastor Shade is a colleague of mine. A former Marine and a man of God in full, Pastor Shade delivered this letter in person face-to-face. So, while your church continues to commune powerful outspoken pro-abortionists and posters here nit-pick ecclesiastical procedure, you might want to remember Pastor Shade, your brother in Christ, who has received hundreds of death threats over this.

  17. Susan Peterson says:

    I can see excommunicating the man for failing to worship. But does that mean he wasn’t worshipping anywhere? Did he have to return to that particular church not to be excommunicated? Other than that question, and than saying the man is no longer a Christian, I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. It is right that gathering with the assembly of Christians is a serious matter. We Catholics believe the same thing; remember , it is a mortal sin to miss mass for no good reason, one that has to be repented of and confessed before one can commune again. And if you die in mortal sin, you are damned. So I think we are not so far from Pastor Slade.

    I’d like to cast someone like Pastor Slade in the Beckett movie instead of a too handsome actor who just does not have what it takes to say those words with any sense of their weight.

    And Garrett is completely correct that we do not excommunicate those whom we ought to excommunicate!
    Susan Peterson

  18. Susan Peterson says:

    But, Pastor Slade… How can you say this man is “no longer” a Christian and “no longer” among the saved. Don’t you believe in the perseverance of the saints? Either he was never among the saved, or he still is, and will return, according to your doctrine. Isn’t that correct?
    Susan Peterson.

  19. Hi Susan,

    Pastor Shade and I both serve in the same communion. We are restorationists and, as such, are what is termed “High Church Calvinists.” Modern baptistic Protestantism has flattened out the meaning of what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ and rendered sacraments meaningless. This flattening of theology has led to viewing all persons in two airtight categories, both of which can only be fully known by God: the elect and the non-elect. But obviously, the Scriptures speak of many varieties of those who fall away (parable of the sower). We don’t excommunicate people for sinning but for lack of repentance.

    Pastor Shade is saying that one who turns out into the world, who is warned to return to the church (over a lengthy period in this case) and who persists in sinning boldly and ignoring ecclesiastical authority, is to be regarded as Scripture states: a gentile and a tax gatherer. Thus, a person in this condition is purposely demonstrating that they are not Christians. They didn’t, as far as one can tell at this time, persevere. Beyond that, Christians receive standing at their baptism and taste, in a vital way, of the Spirit and the age to come and none of this negates ones eschatological position as among the elect or non-elect. The confessional standard that we uphold says that baptism is:

    ”solemn admission of the party baptized into the visible Church; but also to be unto him a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, of his ingrafting into Christ, of regeneration, of remission of sins, and of his giving up unto God, through Jesus Christ, to walk in newness of life.” (Westminster Confession of Faith 28:1)

    This person has walked away from all of this and more and that is what Pastor Shade is referring to when he says that this person is no longer a Christian.

    So, this probably won’t satisfy your Roman Catholic theological commitments but I don’t think it’s as far afield of the traditional position of the Western church as you might originally have thought.

    Pax Christi.

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