Saturday, November 04, 2006

11/4/06, Standard RPNA(GM) Communication of Excommunication

[This is pretty much the standard Notice of Excommunication that went out from the Session of the RPNA(GM) following the Confidential Oath. The first three waves of excommunication notices numbered respectively ten, fourteen and five members on 11/4/06, 12/23/06 and 1/5/07. More excommunications followed on 2/5/07, 3/8/07, 4/9/07, 4/23/07 and 7/14/07 for a total of 35 out of 88 approximate communicant members or 39% for either refusing the Confidential Oath or disagreeing with previous excommunications. There has also been at the same time 3 excommunications based on requests for termination/resignation of membership and 1 excommunication over a moral issue. See also the Timeline.]
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From: Lyndon Dohms
To: [Excommunicated parties]
Cc: GPrice, GBarrow and the rest of List
Sent: Saturday, November 04, :30 PM
Subject: Excommunication


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Attached are announcements of excommunications.
The Session of the RPNA (GM)

(w. 10 pdf excommunications attached as per the sample below)
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Announcement from the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

November 4, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is our sad but necessary ministerial duty to announce publicly to those under our oversight, that Mr. ___ ____, of _____, ________, has refused to swear a lawful Oath imposed upon him (October 4, 2006) by this lawful Church Court reaffirming his membership agreement (before being served with charges of sin filed in good order and received by the Court by a member of the RPNA—GM), and in so doing has sinfully excommunicated himself from membership and has shown public contempt for Christ and His Ordinance of a lawful Church Court. Not only did the Session give in the Letter of October 4, 2006 (that accompanied the Oath) scriptural citations, confessional support and reasonable arguments consistent with his membership agreement, but also sent the public Letter of October 28, 2006 (and a corrected version October 29, 2006) responding to various objections offered by members in Prince George (and others) to taking the Oath. The Session did in that Letter prove (by way of reference to its Position Paper on Sessional Authority June 4, 2006), accuse of sin, rebuke in brotherly love, and command in the fear of God Mr. ____ to repent of his sin, but he has not stated to the Session either his repentance or his intention to repent. Although Mr. ____ has not explicitly written to terminate his membership with the RPNA (GM), he has done so implicitly by publicly, actively, and voluntarily refusing to take a lawful Oath that reaffirms his submission to the Session as a lawful Court and his acknowledgement that he has no known disagreement with the Terms of Communion of this Church.

Thus, Mr. ____ has sinned against Christ and His Ordinance of Church Government within this lawful Church Court by refusing to sign a lawful Oath and showing public contempt for such a Court.

“Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:1-3)

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
(Matthew 18:18-20)

“And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:4)

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
(Hebrews 13:17)

Mr. ____’s public, active, and voluntary refusal to reaffirm his submission to our lawful Church Court, and his membership within a faithful Church of Christ is, in our judgment, a sinful division and schism within the body of Christ (Romans 16:17), and without scriptural warrant.

With much grief and sorrow, for the purpose of informing those under our oversight, we declare that the membership status of Mr. ___ ____ has now formally changed, and we publicly declare him to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and judicially declare in the name of Jesus Christ that he is now in a position of being formally excommunicated from the Visible Church. We do so in hope praying that God may by this action deliver him unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS (1 Corinthians 5:5). We take not this step because we hate ___, but because we love him and earnestly desire his repentance and reconciliation.

We remind the congregation that our duty toward ___ is to constantly and humbly pray for his reconciliation in the truth, and that each of us ought to be mindful and careful of our respective duties in regard to having familiar fellowship with those who are excommunicated from the Church. We would call to the attention of all who are under our inspection that to practice familiar fellowship with those who are excommunicated is likewise a sin that is censurable and contrary to the Word of God (1 Corinthians 5:11-13) and to our Terms of Communion (_The First Book of Discipline_, “The Seventh Head--Of Ecclesiastical Discipline”).

Finally, we would remind you that, as members of the RPNA (General Meeting), each time you become informed of, or witness, a judicial action enacted by this court, you have a scriptural duty either to consent to that judicial action (either expressly or tacitly) as that done faithfully by a lawful court of Christ, or to dissent with arguments agreeable to Scripture and good reason (expressly and formally in writing) should you deem this action to be unfaithfully done. Please note, that your consent need not be formally expressed, as we take silence in this matter to be your tacit consent and approval of both the lawfulness of our Court and the faithfulness of the judicial action being enacted. If you disagree with what we have done as a Court, or for some reason believe that we are not lawfully constituted as a Court of Christ to perform such an act of jurisdiction, then it is your duty, according to God’s Word and your membership agreement, to immediately, formally, and honestly express your dissent, reasons and/or questions in writing to the Session.

For Christ's Crown and Covenant,

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Pastor Greg Price
Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms
Ruling Elder Greg Barrow

See also:

6/4/06, Position Paper on Sessional Authority
10/4/06, Elders' Confidential Oath with Accompanying Letter
10/18/06, SPG Public Protest and Complaint
10/17/06, Response to Compromising Oaths
10/28/06 Elders' Response to "Public Protest and Complaint" of SPG
RPNA(GM) Terms of Communion
RPNA(GM) Terms of Membership