Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Walther, 1906. Chapter 42, “The Case of Excommunication”

Chapter 42, “The Case of Excommunication” (pp. 247-251)

Walther details the seriousness of excommunication. It is not entered into lightly. He observes, among other matters, that it must be a unanimous decision of the congregation and that it cannot be applied to those who have already separated themselves from the congregation (p. 247). An excommunication is of one person, not the entire family or the descendants of any person (p. 248).

“If it is clear from God’s Word to the great majority of the congregation that a sinner is to be excommunicated, and if one protests against it but cannot give valid reasons for his refusal ([but refuses] from obviously despising God’s Word and command, obvious favoritism for the sinner, or pure stubbornness), the protestor is to be put under discipline before the excommunication is carried out” (p. 248). The body must be unified. However, if there are people who are not convinced that the sinner should be excommunicated the case should be reconsidered.

The person in question must appear for the final hearing. Otherwise he is to be considered as self-excluded. The issue is stated clearly that the individual is to be considered an unbeliever. It is very important that the congregation acts as a whole (p. 250) with a desire that the excluded person come to repentance and forgiveness.

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