I am ‘As a Gentile & Tax Collector’ AKA – I Was Ex-Communicated Today

How many people get to say that in their lifetime?

Also I totally told you guys this was going to happen.

This is what was read, out loud and openly to the congregation of my former church today. I’m just so grateful to God that Leif has decided not to attend there anymore or subject our children to this terribleness.

Where is the love, people?

Bold emphasis mine [brackets mine too].Italicized theirs.

 

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ:

On September 1, 2013 Elder [name redacted] read during the divine service an announcement that the Consistory decided to proceed to the first step of public discipline with a member of [name redacted].

According to Article 55 of our Church Order the Consistory needs to ask the advice of Classis before proceeding to the second step of discipline. The Consistory asked for that advice of Classis at its meeting on September 17-18, 2013 by presenting the circumstances and the care given to this individual without the name of the individual being mentioned. During the course of the discussion it was mentioned that a few months ago this member stated via e-mail to the Clerk of Consistory that she wanted to resign from being a member of [name redacted]. At that time this request was denied because the Consistory didn’t see that option in our Church Order nor do the By Laws of [name redacted] allow for such a termination of membership. After much discussion Classis gave our Consistory this advice:

“…classis advise the consistory of [name redacted] to consider acquiescing to the request for resignation from Mrs. X and thereby recognize her as standing outside the communion of the saints and consider her as one excommunicated from Christ’s church.”

The Consistory voted to accept that advice and to act according to it. Towards that end we have called this special meeting of the [name redacted] membership.

Up to this point the Consistory has proceeded according to Matthew 18 and our Church Order and we have not made known to the congregation the individual that we have placed under discipline. Because this individual has requested to resign from the church of Christ [Side note: WTF? I am still a member of Christ’s church — just not this particular congregation. I have never asked to be removed from my savior, whom I rely upon daily. Gah.] the Consistory considers that excommunication and we are treating it as such. Normally there are two other public steps of discipline including the announcement of the sinner’s name prior to the announcement of excommunication, but given the circumstances and the request of this member, Classis advised us to proceed to this final step.

At this time, then, it is appropriate that we announce to you again the sin of the individual as well as her name. We do this with heavy hearts and with the prayer that the Lord will give her saving faith and once again bring her into the communion of the saints. The Consistory of [name redacted] has used the Keys of the Kingdom in the exercise of Christian discipline towards Jennifer Erikson for the sin of filing for divorce without Biblical grounds and no attempt to reverse those actions.

Form for Excommunication:

As you know we have announced to you the great sin committed and the grievous offense given by our fellow-member, Jennifer Erikson, to the end that, by your Christian admonitions and prayers, she might come to her senses, turn to God, and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26).

[Another side note. Snare of the Devil. I’m sorry, but I just snorted. Y’all should’ve heard it. It was totally sexy. Snare. Of. The. Devil.]

But to our great sorrow no one has yet appeared before us who has caused us to understand that, by the frequent admonitions given her (in private, before witnesses, and in the presence of many)[False. Very, very false. I met with Leif and one elder the morning after I left him, and one elder, ALONE, soon after that. They both said I was a sinner-sinner-pumpkin-eater and I figured I was better off not heeding their advice to meet with My Pastor], she has come to any sorrow for her sin or has shown the least evidence of true repentance. Since, then, by her stubbornness she daily aggravates her transgression, which in itself is not small, and since we have made known to you the last time that in case she did not repent, after such patience shown her by the church [Patience? Y’all have ex-communicated me in less than six months. When has that happened before? I mean like maybe if I were convicted of a crime or something, but hot dang this was lightning quick — which I guess is your decision to make, but to then brag about your patience is making my eyes roll] we should be constrained further to grieve for her and to come to the extreme remedy, we are therefore at the present time compelled to proceed to her excommunication. We do this according to the command and charge given us in God’s holy Word. Our purpose is that she may be ashamed of her sins, that by this corrupt and as yet unrepentant member we may not put the whole body of the church in danger, and that God’s Name may not be blasphemed but reverenced.

Pronouncement of Excommunication

Therefore, we ministers and rulers of the church of God at this place, being assembled in the Name and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, declare before you all that for the aforesaid reasons we have excommunicated and hereby excommunicate Jennifer Erikson from the Church of the Lord [Again, sorry, guys, you can’t ex-communicate me from God. Only from your church.]; that, so long as she persists obstinately and impenitently in her sins, she is excluded from the fellowship of Christ, and of the holy sacraments, and of all the spiritual blessings and benefits which God promises to and bestows upon His Church; and that she is to be accounted by you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matt. 18:17), according to the command of Christ, who says of His ministers, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Matt. 18:18).

Exhortation

Further we exhort you, beloved Christians, not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of such sin—not even to eat with such a one (1 Cor. 5:11) to the end that he may be ashamed; yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother (2 Thes. 3:15).

In the meantime let every one take warning by this and similar examples to fear the Lord and diligently to take heed: let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12); but having true fellowship with the Father and His Son Christ, together with all believing Christians, to remain firm to the end (Heb. 3:14), obtaining the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). You have seen, dear brothers and sisters, in what manner this our excommunicated sister has begun to fall and gradually has come to ruin [ruin!]. Learn, then, from her how subtle Satan is to bring man to destruction and to draw him away from all salutary means of salvation. Guard yourselves, then, against the least beginnings of evil, and according to the admonition of the apostle, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:1–2). Be sober- minded; be watchful (1 Peter 5:8); pray that you may not enter into temptation (Luke 22:46). Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb. 4:7), but work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12); and let every one repent of his sin, lest our God humble us again and we be obliged to mourn for some of you; but may you, with one accord living in godliness, be our crown and joy in the Lord.

But since it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), let us call upon His holy Name with confession of our sins.

Prayer of Confession

O righteous God, merciful Father, before Your high majesty we blame ourselves for our sins and acknowledge that we have justly deserved the sorrow and pain caused us by the excommunication of this our late fellow-member; indeed, if You should enter into judgment with us, we all deserve to be excluded and banished from Your presence on account of our great transgression [No. Comment.]. But, O Lord, be gracious unto us for Christ’s sake; forgive us our trespasses, for we heartily repent of them; and work in our hearts an ever increasing measure of sorrow for them, that we, fearing Your judgments which You bring upon the stiff-necked, may endeavor to please You. Grant that we may avoid all pollution of the world and of those who are excluded from the communion of the Church, in order that we may not make ourselves partakers of their sins, and that he who is excommunicated may become ashamed of his sins [Church copy-editor apparently got lazy. I’ve been a girl up to this point]. And since You desire not the death of the sinner, but that he may repent and live, and since the bosom of Your Church is always open for those who return, kindle, therefore, in our hearts a godly zeal, that we, with good Christian admonitions and example, may seek to bring back this excommunicated person, together with all those who through unbelief and recklessness of life go astray. Add Your blessing to our admonitions, that we thereby may have reason to rejoice again in her [yay I’m a llama again!] for whom we must now mourn, and that thus Your holy name be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

 

So yeah that happened.

I’d have words, but they’re kinda unnecessary, right?

And to think … I used to be scared of what these people thought of me.