Sunday, October 31, 2004

10/31/04, First Public Announcement of The "Session" of RPNA(GM) re. Suspension from the Lord's Supper/Lesser Excommunication

[All italics added]

From: Lyndon Dohms
To: Selected Recipients
CC: ____ _____
Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2004 8:11 AM
Subject: Letter to Members of RPNA

October 31, 2004

Dear Members and Adherents of the RPNA (General Meeting),

On Sunday October 3, 2004, the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) [emph. added] met by phone with ________ (____) _____ to speak with him regarding his recent involvement with a local rock band in the Albany area. It was the judgment of the Elders that ____'s involvement in this rock band brought him into familiar fellowship with those who were either of no religious persuasion or of a contrary religious persuasion. We also judged there was neither an evident desire on ____'s part to glorify God through the lyrics sung nor through leading the members of the band to a knowledge of Christ and oneness in the faith which is the duty of every Christian:

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD: and in his law doth he meditate day and night" (Psalm 1:1,2).

During this conversation ____ was asked several questions regarding his commitment to serve Christ and his commitment to adhere to our stated terms of communion.

In response to our questions, ____ indicated that he knew that what he was doing was not in accord with the Word of God or with the will of God. Furthermore, he indicated that it was his intention to follow his own will instead of God's will, even though he knew that what he was doing was sinful.

In response to this and out of love for this young brother in Christ, on Thursday, October 7, 2004, the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) initiated the first step of formal discipline, and sent ____ a formal letter of admonition in which he was earnestly urged to repent of his sin, to seek the forgiveness of God, and the forgiveness of all those he has offended during his time of defection from the truth. In this letter he was also solemnly warned that his failure to repent would lead to his formal suspension from the Lord's Table.

Finally, the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting) talked again with ____ by phone on Friday, October 29, 2004 in order to determine whether there was any change in ____'s decision to practice familiar fellowship in the rock band with which he has been associated. To our sorrow, ____ still insisted that he would not discontinue his involvement with this rock band. Sadly, ____ has chosen to love his own sinful desires rather than to love Jesus Christ and His truth. To date ____ has given us no indication that he intends to repent, and thus, it is our sad but necessary duty to inform those under our inspection that we are now proceeding to the second step of the discipline process.

Consequently, we formally declare as officers of the Church of Jesus Christ, that ____ _____ is now
formally barred from partaking of the Lord's Supper in the RPNA (General Meeting) and throughout the Visible Church of Jesus Christ (since this is a valid and just censure). In addition to being barred from the Lord's Supper, those statements in Scripture regarding our duty to avoid familiar fellowship should be applied at this time to ____:

"And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (2 Thessalonians 3:14,15).

All contact with ____ should have in view his restoration to Christ. We encourage each of you to faithfully pray that ____ will turn again to follow Christ, with the hope that he might repent and be reconciled to God and to us before we are constrained by our love for Christ's honor and by our love for ____ to declare the next and final step of discipline upon him.

May the Lord use this time of discipline to purge all our hearts of pride, finger-pointing, and self-righteousness and rather cause us to sorrow over our own sin and to love our brethren with a sincere love that issues forth in prayer and acts of kindness for all the world to see.

For Christ's Crown and Covenant

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)

Greg Barrow
Lyndon Dohms
Greg L. Price