ordinary association with him had ceased. But, if Paul?s command in the first epistle to ?put away the wicked man from among yourselves? ( <460513>1 Corinthians 5:13) had been thus disobeyed, the apostle would certainly have mentioned and rebuked the disobedience. On the contrary he praises them that they had done as he had advised. God blessed the action of the church at Corinth in the quickening of conscience and the purification of life by. In many a modern church the exclusion of unworthy members has in like manner given to Christians a new sense of their responsibility, while at the same time it has convinced worldly people that the church was in thorough earnest. The decisions of the church, indeed, when guided by the Holy Spirit, are nothing less than an anticipation of the judgments of the last day. See <401818>Matthew 18:18 ? ?What things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.? In <430807>John 8:7, Jesus recognizes the sin and urges repentance, while he challenges the right of the mob to execute judgment and does away with the traditional stoning. His gracious treatment of the sinning woman gave no hint as to the proper treatment of her case by the regular synagogue authorities.
<530306> 2 Thess 3:6 ? ?Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us.? The mere ?dropping? of names from the list of members seems altogether contrary to the spirit of the N. T. polity. Exclusion, dismissal and death are the only three methods of exit from the local church that are recognized. To provide for the case of members whose residence has long been unknown, it is well for the church to have a standing rule that all members residing at a distance shall report each year by letter or by Contribution. In case of failure to report for two successive years, shall be subject to discipline. The action of the church, in such cases, should take the form of an adoption of preamble and resolution: ?Whereas A. B. has been absent from the church for more than two years, and has failed to comply with the standing rule requiring a yearly report or contribution, therefore, Resolved, that the church withdraw from A. B. the hand of fellowship.?
In all cases of exclusion, the resolution may uniformly read as above, the preamble may indefinitely vary and should always cite the exact nature of the offense. In this way, neglect of the church or breach of covenant obligations may be distinguished from offenses against common morality, so that exclusion upon the former ground shall not be mistaken for exclusion upon the latter. As the persons excluded are not commonly present at the meeting of the church when they are excluded, a written
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