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Your thoughts on what excommunication means....

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  • nocost2great
    Dear list, It is apparent that I have offended my husband in my interpretation of the verbiage contained in the excommunication, so am I am writing to you
    Message 1 of 23 , Apr 9 10:11 PM
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      Dear list,
      It is apparent that I have offended my husband in my interpretation of
      the verbiage contained in the excommunication, so am I am writing to
      you asking your opinion (at his suggestion) on how you would feel (ie
      what do you think is being conveyed) if the following words were
      pronounced concerning you: (the added *** *** emphasis is mine, but
      the capitalization was in the original document.)

      "the membership status of Dee Dee Shaw has now formally changed, and we
      publicly declare her to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and
      judicially declare in the name of Jesus Christ that she 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 her 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 Dee Dee, but because we love her and earnestly
      desire her repentance and reconciliation."

      If one is delivered unto Satan for the destruction of their flesh,
      what does that mean? If it says "that the spirit may be saved in the
      day of the Lord Jesus" does that not imply that the spirit is not
      saved? Else how can one who is already saved, be saved? Am I missing
      something? If I don't 'repent and reconcile' is it not logical to
      conclude (by the above wording) that my spirit is not saved?

      Can someone who is not directly related to the rpna (past or present)
      please objectively define (from a reformed historical perspective)
      sins worthy of excommunication, and what it means to be cast out of
      the visible church?

      Your Grieving Sister in Christ,

      Dee Dee
    • Gus Gianello
      Any decent historical survey of Reformed ecclesiology will tell you, (and I suggest Jay E. Adams to illustrate this point), that excommunication occurs for
      Message 2 of 23 , Apr 9 11:43 PM
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        Any decent historical survey of Reformed ecclesiology will tell you, (and I suggest Jay E. Adams to illustrate this point), that excommunication occurs for only ONE reason---contumacy.  Contumacy is defined as that persistent and blameworthy continuation in scandalous sin that cannot be remedied in any other matter.  In the case of Mt 18, there has ALREADY taken place the proceedure of "go privately", go with "one or two others" and take it to the church.  Therefore AT LEAST THREE attempts must have taken place to effect repentance and reconciliation, and it is only in the failure to do so, that EXCOMMUNICATIO MAJORE takes place.
         
        Where the scandalous sin is public, as in the case of incest (1 Cor 5), it is the persistence of that scandalous sin, and the public indignity done to the name of Christ, that the person is excommunicated.  Read 1 Cor 5.  You will note, that even then, the excommunication is for the purpose of winning back the penitent sinner, and restoring him to fellowship.
         
        What does it mean to be "handed over to Satan"? 
         
        Henry in his commentary says

        III. We have the apostle's direction to them how they should now proceed with this scandalous sinner. He would have him excommunicated and delivered to Satan (1Co_5:3-5

        ); as absent in body, yet present in spirit, he had judged already as if he had been present; that is, he had, by revelation and the miraculous gift of discerning vouchsafed him by the Spirit, as perfect a knowledge of the case, and had hereupon come to the following determination, not without special authority from the Holy Spirit. He says this to let them know that, though he was at a distance, he did not pass an unrighteous sentence, nor judge without having as full cognizance of the case as if he had been on the spot. Note, Those who would appear righteous judges to the world will take care to inform them that they do not pass sentence without full proof and evidence. The apostle adds, him who hath so done this deed. The fact was not only heinously evil in itself, and horrible to the heathens, but there were some particular circumstances that greatly aggravated the offence. He had so committed the evil as to heighten the guilt by the manner of doing it. Perhaps he was a minister, a teacher, or a principal man among them. By this means the church and their profession were more reproached. Note, In dealing with scandalous sinners, not only are they to be charged with the fact, but the aggravating circumstances of it. Paul had judged that he should be delivered to Satan (1Co_5:5), and this was to be done in the name of Christ, with the power of Christ, and in a full assembly, where the apostle would be also present in spirit, or by his spiritual gift of discerning at a distance. Some think that this is to be understood of a mere ordinary excommunication, and that delivering him to Satan for the destruction of the flesh is only meant of disowning him, and casting him out of the church, that by this means he might be brought to repentance, and his flesh might be mortified. Christ and Satan divide the world: and those that live in sin, when they profess relation to Christ, belong to another master, and by excommunication should be delivered up to him; and this in the name of Christ. Note, Church-censures are Christ's ordinances, and should be dispensed in his name. It was to be done also when they were gathered together, in full assembly. The more public the more solemn, and the more solemn the more likely to have a good effect on the offender. Note, Church-censures on notorious and incorrigible sinners should be passed with great solemnity. Those who sin in this manner are to be rebuked before all, that all may fear, 1Ti_5:20. Others think the apostle is not to be understood of mere excommunication, but of a miraculous power or authority they had of delivering a scandalous sinner into the power of Satan, to have bodily diseases inflicted, and to be tormented by him with bodily pains, which is the meaning of the destruction of the flesh. In this sense the destruction of the flesh has been a happy occasion of the salvation of the spirit. It is probable that this was a mixed case. It was an extraordinary instance: and the church was to proceed against him by just censure; the apostle, when they did so, put forth an act of extraordinary power, and gave him up to Satan, nor for his destruction, but for his deliverance, at least for the destruction of the flesh, that the soul might be saved. Note, The great end of church-censures is the good of those who fall under them, their spiritual and eternal good. It is that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, 1Co_5:5. Yet it is not merely a regard to their benefit that is to be had in proceeding against them.


        Gill says:

        that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus

        ; that he might be renewed in the spirit of his mind, be restored by repentance, and his soul be saved in the day of Christ; either at death, when soul and body would be separated, or at the day of the resurrection, when both should be reunited; for the flesh here means, not the corruption of nature, in opposition to the spirit, as a principle of grace, but the body, in distinction from the soul: nor was the soul of this man, only his body, delivered for a time unto Satan; the end of which was, that his soul might be saved, which could never be done by delivering it up to Satan: and very wrongfully is this applied to excommunication; when it is no part of excommunication, nor the end of it, to deliver souls to Satan, but rather to deliver them from him. The phrase seems to be Jewish, and to express that extraordinary power the apostles had in those days, as well in giving up the bodies to Satan, for a temporal chastisement, as in delivering them from him.


        Gill believes that turning him over to Satan was an apostolic act separate from excommunication.
        A.T. Robertson the great Baptist Greek scholar says the following:

        1Co 5:5

        -

        To deliver such an one unto Satan

        (
        paradounai ton toiouton tōi Satanāi). We have the same idiom in 1Ti_1:20 used of Hymenius and Alexander. In 2Co_12:7 Paul speaks of his own physical suffering as a messenger (aggelos) of Satan. Paul certainly means expulsion from the church (1Co_5:2) and regarding him as outside of the commonwealth of Israel (Eph_2:11.). But we are not to infer that expulsion from the local church means the damnation of the offender. The wilful offenders have to be expelled and not regarded as enemies, but admonished as brothers (2Th_3:14.).

        For the destruction of the flesh

        (
        eis olethron tēs sarkos). Both for physical suffering as in the case of Job (Job_2:6) and for conquest of the fleshly sins, remedial punishment.

        That the spirit may be saved

        (
        hina to pneuma sōthēi). The ultimate purpose of the expulsion as discipline. Note the use of to pneuma in contrast with sarx as the seat of personality (cf. 1Co_3:15). Paul’s motive is not merely vindictive, but the reformation of the offender who is not named here nor in 2Co_2:5-11 if the same man is meant, which is very doubtful. The final salvation of the man in the day of Christ is the goal and this is to be attained not by condoning his sin.


        Calvin says in the Institutes Book IV, Chapter 12

        5. There are three ends to which the Church has respect in thus correcting and excommunicating. The first is, that God may not be insulted by the name of Christians being given to those who lead shameful and flagitous lives, as if his holy Church were a combination of the wicked and abandoned. For seeing that the Church is the body of Christ, she cannot be defiled by such fetid and putrid members, without bringing some disgrace on her Head. Therefore, that there may be nothing in the Church to bring disgrace on his sacred name, those whose turpitude might throw infamy on the name must be expelled from his family. And here, also, regard must be had to the Lord’s Supper, which might be profaned by a promiscuous admission. For it is most true, that he who is intrusted with the dispensation of it, if he knowingly and willingly admits any unworthy person whom he ought and is able to repel, is as guilty of sacrilege as if he had cast the Lord’s body to dogs. Wherefore, Chrysostom bitterly inveighs against priests, who, from fear of the great, dare not keep any one back. "Blood (says he, Hom. 83, in Matth). will be required at your hands. If you fear man, he will mock you, but if you fear God, you will be respected also by men. Let us not tremble at farces, purple, or diadems; our power here is greater. Assuredly I will sooner give up my body to death, and allow my blood to be shed, than be a partaker of that pollution." Therefore, lest this most sacred mystery should be exposed to ignominy, great selection is required in dispensing it, and this cannot be except by the jurisdiction of the Church. A second end of discipline is, that the good may not, as usually happens, be corrupted by constant communication with the wicked. For such is our proneness to go astray, that nothing is easier than to seduce us from the right course by bad example. To this use of discipline the apostle referred when he commanded the Corinthians to discard the incestuous man from their society. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (

        1Co_5:6
        ). And so much danger did he foresee here, that he prohibited them from keeping company with such persons. "If any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one, no not to eat" (1Co_5:11
        ). A third end of discipline is, that the sinner may be ashamed, and begin to repent of his turpitude. Hence it is for their interest also that their iniquity should be chastised that whereas they would have become more obstinate by indulgence, they may be aroused by the rod. This the apostle intimates when he thus writes "If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him that he may be ashamed" (2Th_3:14). Again, when he says that he had delivered the Corinthian to Satan, "that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1Co_5:5); that is as I interpret it, he gave him over to temporal condemnation, that he might be made safe for eternity. And he says that he gave him over to Satan because the devil is without the Church, as Christ is in the Church. Some interpret this of a certain infliction on the flesh, but this interpretation seems to me most improbable. (August. de Verb. Apostol. Serm. 68).

         

        6. These being the ends proposed, it remains to see in what way the Church is to execute this part of discipline, which consists in jurisdiction. And, first, let us remember the division above laid down, that some sins are public, others private or secret. Public are those which are done not before one or two witnesses, but openly, and to the offence of the whole Church. By secret, I mean not such as are altogether concealed from men, such as those of hypocrites (for these fall not under the judgement of the Church), but those of an intermediate description, which are not without witnesses, and yet are not public. The former class requires not the different steps which Christ enumerates; but whenever any thing of the kind occurs, the Church ought to do her duty by summoning the offender, and correcting him according to his fault. In the second class, the matter comes not before the Church, unless there is contumacy, according to the rule of Christ. In taking cognisance of offences, it is necessary to attend to the distinction between delinquencies and flagrant iniquities. In lighter offences there is not so much occasion for severity, but verbal chastisement is sufficient, and that gentle and fatherly, so as not to exasperate or confound the offender, but to bring him back to himself, so that he may rather rejoice than be grieved at the correction. Flagrant iniquities require a sharper remedy. It is not sufficient verbally to rebuke him who, by some open act of evil example, has grievously offended the Church; but he ought for a time to be denied the communion of the Supper, until he gives proof of repentance. Paul does not merely administer a verbal rebuke to the Corinthians, but discards him from the Church, and reprimands the Corinthians for having borne with him so long (

        1Co_5:5). This was the method observed by the ancient and purer Church, when legitimate government was in vigour. When any one was guilty of some flagrant iniquity, and thereby caused scandal, he was first ordered to abstain from participation in the sacred Supper, and thereafter to humble himself before God, and testify his penitence before the Church. There were, moreover, solemn rites which, as indications of repentance, were wont to be prescribed to those who had lapsed. When the penitent had thus made satisfaction to the Church, he was received into favour by the laying on of hands. This admission often receives the name of peace from Cyprian, who briefly describes the formal "They act as penitents for a certain time, next they come to confession, and receive the right of communion by the laying on of hands of the bishop and clergy." Although the bishop with the clergy thus superintended the restoration of the penitent, the consent of the people was at the same time required, as he elsewhere explains. 


        In summary we can conclude the following---
        1.  Contumacy in public and scandalous sin (without process), and contumacy in private sin with process is always the reason for excommunication.
        2.  Excommunication is designed for three purposes always: 1. Remove the scandal    2.Remove the corrupting influence   3. Bring the subject to repentance/reconciliation.
        (NB. to use the process to get rid of troublemakers is an abuse of the ordinance.  The example is Christ himself, who knew Judas would betray him, but did not act against him, in order to protect himself.)
        3.  Excommunication is a sign or seal that the subject is considered a "pagan" and a "taxcollector" and therefore outside the pale of the kingdom of God. See: Mat 18.  He has been cast into the outer darkness.  And since the church is the kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth (WCF 25:2), to be outside of the church, is to be reprobate.  Legitimately excommunicated people cannot be considered Christians.
        4. Therefore a legitimate judgement of excommunication should be construed as a ministerial pronouncement (Mat 18:18-20), that what was decided in heaven has been decided on earth, that the subject is an apostate.  There is no hope of heaven for him, without repentance.  If it does not have this meaning, the ordinance is useless.
         
        So DEE what was said about you is, that if you do not repent, and you die tonight, you are going to hell.  That's putting it bluntly--but I would challenge anyone to disagree with the substance of those words.  That is why the Scripture warns so solemnly concerning the use of this ordinance and the abuse of this ordinance.  Now, churches dont cut off anyone from Christ, they can only DECLARE as a result of legitimate findings, that a person is ALREADY cut off from Christ.  Excommunication is always an urgent final call to repentance.  It is believed, that being abandoned to the outer darkness that surrounds the kingdom of God, Satan will inflict such temporal punishment, that such a person will be awakened from their self-deceit, and finally repent.  Salvation in I Cor. 5 is viewed as a process, not a momentary event.  We were saved (conversion), we are saved (sanctification), and we will be saved, (glorification).  So if at the moment of death the apostate repents, his body may be destroyed because of temporal chastisements, but his soul is restored.  This easily square with the Calvinistic doctrine of Preservation and the Five Points of Calvinism, because it is understood that the Catholic visible church is always, a mixed multitude of those who possess and profess Christ and those who merely profess him, and end up in hell.  I disagree with Bavinck's doctrine of a temporary or "historical" faith that can last a lifetime.  Such a doctrine drives the doctrine of assurance into obscurity and posits a fatalistic skepticism that is irremediable in this life.  Therefore people are conscious in themselves, of whether they truly believe, and such an ordinance would rouse them from the power of deception.  The elect WILL repent---because they must perservere. (See The WCF).
         
        So I would say that your characterization of how you understand your excommunication, with the exception of a few exegetical errors that you have made, is essentially correct.  Its not you who needs to apologize to your husband, but your husband to you.  Because you have been branded an apostate, not by your beliefs and behaviour, but by a society of professing Christians, who claim to be a proper church of Christ.  In fact, if I understand all this nonsense, they claim to be the ONLY proper church of Christ in North America.  You have been publically slandered, and your good name has been destroyed.  If these were not professing Christians, I would say to you that their actions deserve a lawsuit, where they are rendered permanently impoverished.
         
         
        Hope this is clear.
         
        Gus
         -----Original Message-----
        From: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com [mailto:covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of nocost2great
        Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 1:12 AM
        To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Your thoughts on what excommunication means....

        Dear list,
        It is apparent that I have offended my husband in my interpretation of
        the verbiage contained in the excommunication, so am I am writing to
        you asking your opinion (at his suggestion) on how you would feel (ie
        what do you think is being conveyed) if the following words were
        pronounced concerning you: (the added *** *** emphasis is mine, but
        the capitalization was in the original document.)

        "the membership status of Dee Dee Shaw has now formally changed, and we
        publicly declare her to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and
        judicially declare in the name of Jesus Christ that she 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 her 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 Dee Dee, but because we love her and earnestly
        desire her repentance and reconciliation. "

        If one is delivered unto Satan for the destruction of their flesh,
        what does that mean? If it says "that the spirit may be saved in the
        day of the Lord Jesus" does that not imply that the spirit is not
        saved? Else how can one who is already saved, be saved? Am I missing
        something? If I don't 'repent and reconcile' is it not logical to
        conclude (by the above wording) that my spirit is not saved?

        Can someone who is not directly related to the rpna (past or present)
        please objectively define (from a reformed historical perspective)
        sins worthy of excommunication, and what it means to be cast out of
        the visible church?

        Your Grieving Sister in Christ,

        Dee Dee

      • Larry Bump
        From the RPCNA Constitution: e. Excommunication—This is the disciplinary exclusion of a member from the visible church. It should be imposed only for such
        Message 3 of 23 , Apr 10 8:11 AM
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          From the RPCNA Constitution:

          e. Excommunication—This is the disciplinary exclusion of a member from
          the visible church. It should be imposed only for such malignant errors
          or persistent violations of God’s law as are grossly inconsistent with
          the Christian profession of faith or subversive to the doctrine and
          order of Christ’s Church.
          All possible efforts should first be made to bring the sinner to
          repentance. Before excommunication is pronounced, a valid attempt should
          be made by the court to inform the offender of the pending action.
          Excommunication shall be pronounced by the moderator in constituted
          court and in the name of Jesus Christ. Prayer shall be offered to God
          for mercy and repentance. The court shall make the people under its
          oversight aware publicly of the fact of and reason for the
          excommunication. Members should then relate to the person as one
          who is outside the visible church and in need of repentance and salvation.
          ---------------------------

          If all that was meant was that the people aren't committed to the RPNA a
          letter of standing would have been more appropriate, but only after
          counseling aimed at educating (i.e. explaining why the elders were
          right) and a time for sober reflection.

          Excommunicating someone means publicly proclaiming them to be sinners
          bound for hell if repentance does not occur.

          Larry Bump
          Elder, RPCNA
        • nocost2great
          ... RPNA a ... Larry, When you say letter of standing what does that mean? Historically speaking when was that concept introduced? Thanks, Dee Dee
          Message 4 of 23 , Apr 10 12:08 PM
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            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Larry Bump
            <lbump@...> wrote:
            >
            > If all that was meant was that the people aren't committed to the
            RPNA a
            > letter of standing would have been more appropriate, but only after
            > counseling aimed at educating (i.e. explaining why the elders were
            > right) and a time for sober reflection.

            Larry,
            When you say 'letter of standing' what does that mean? Historically
            speaking when was that concept introduced?

            Thanks,

            Dee Dee
          • Larry Bump
            ... I have no idea when it was introduced, and frankly I am not entirely happy with it. Best case would be after loving counsel and deliberations, the member
            Message 5 of 23 , Apr 10 12:33 PM
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              nocost2great wrote:
              >
              > Larry,
              > When you say 'letter of standing' what does that mean? Historically
              > speaking when was that concept introduced?
              >
              > Thanks,

              I have no idea when it was introduced, and frankly I am not entirely
              happy with it.

              Best case would be after loving counsel and deliberations, the member
              and session determine that the person has irreconcilable differences
              with the denomination and they transfer membership elsewhere.

              Leaving the RPNA, or RPCNA for that matter,certainly does not mean that
              the person is not a Christian.

              Does the RPNA do letters of transfer or standing?

              Larry
            • reformatienl
              Hello, this is a test whether I can post on this discussionboard. Kind regards, Dennis Grutzmacher, www.reformatienl.com
              Message 6 of 23 , Apr 10 2:07 PM
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                Hello, this is a test whether I can post on this discussionboard.
                Kind regards, Dennis Grutzmacher, www.reformatienl.com
              • reformatienl
                ... Historically ... entirely ... member ... differences ... that
                Message 7 of 23 , Apr 10 2:15 PM
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                  --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Larry Bump
                  <lbump@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > nocost2great wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Larry,
                  > > When you say 'letter of standing' what does that mean?
                  Historically
                  > > speaking when was that concept introduced?
                  > >
                  > > Thanks,
                  >
                  > I have no idea when it was introduced, and frankly I am not
                  entirely
                  > happy with it.
                  >
                  > Best case would be after loving counsel and deliberations, the
                  member
                  > and session determine that the person has irreconcilable
                  differences
                  > with the denomination and they transfer membership elsewhere.
                  >
                  > Leaving the RPNA, or RPCNA for that matter,certainly does not mean
                  that
                  > the person is not a Christian.
                  >
                  > Does the RPNA do letters of transfer or standing?
                  >
                  > Larry
                  >
                • Larry Bump
                  ... Looks like it.
                  Message 8 of 23 , Apr 10 3:33 PM
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                    reformatienl wrote:
                    > Hello, this is a test whether I can post on this discussionboard.
                    > Kind regards, Dennis Grutzmacher, www.reformatienl.com


                    Looks like it.
                  • gmw
                    Dee Dee, Please forgive me for the great length of time that past since you asked this, until now when I offer my response. I have been very overwhelmed with
                    Message 9 of 23 , May 18, 2007
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                      Dee Dee,

                      Please forgive me for the great length of time that past since you
                      asked this, until now when I offer my response. I have been very
                      overwhelmed with things lately, and have not had the kind of time I
                      want to have, to keep in touch with my friends online (I still owe Tim
                      a response from our Xmas discussion way back when!). Please do not
                      think that I've forgotten you, because I haven't.

                      What are my thoughts on what excommunication means?

                      From my understanding of excommunication, and from what you quote
                      below from the elders of the "RPNA," I think...

                      1. That the elders can be taken at their word, when they say that
                      they love you. I'm not saying that you have been treated with love,
                      but that I believe that they are sincere when they say that they are
                      doing what they are doing because they care about your soul. It's not
                      according to knowledge, but it is zeal.

                      2. Excommunication, in my understanding, means that you are being
                      judged to be obstinate in your refusal to submit to Christ, whom a
                      lawful court of Christ represents. Excommunication assumes that
                      unless you repent, you shall perish in your obstinate sin. They are
                      not saying that you are not a Christian, but they are suggesting that
                      you are acting as if you are not a Christian, and that you should not
                      be called a Christian (as in you should not be a member of any
                      Christian church), and that if you are truly a Christian, you will
                      repent of your sin. Here's what Calvin says on this matter:

                      "In such corrections and excommunication, the church has three ends in
                      view. The first is that they who lead a filthy and infamous life may
                      not be called Christians, to the dishonor of God, as if his holy
                      church [cf.Ephesians 5:25-26] were a conspiracy of wicked and
                      abandoned men. For since the church itself is the body of Christ
                      [Colossians 1:24], it cannot be corrupted by such foul and decaying
                      members without some disgrace falling upon its Head. Therefore, that
                      there may be no such thing in the church to brand its most sacred name
                      with disgrace, they from whose wickedness infamy redounds to the
                      Christian name must be banished from its family. And here also we must
                      preserve the order of the Lord's Supper, that it may not be profaned
                      by being administered indiscriminately. For it is very true that he
                      to whom its distribution has been committed, if he knowingly and
                      willingly admits an unworthy person whom he could rightfully turn
                      away, is as guilty of sacrilege as if he had cast the Lord's body to
                      dogs. On this account, Chrysostom gravely inveighs against priests
                      who, fearing the power of great men, dare exclude no one. "Blood," he
                      says, "will be required at your hands. [Ezekiel 3:18; 33:8.] If you
                      fear a man, he will laugh at you; but if you fear God, you will be
                      revered also among men. Let us not dread the fasces, the purple, the
                      crowns; here we have a greater power. I truly would rather give my
                      body to death, and let my blood be poured out, than participate in
                      that pollution." Therefore, lest this most hallowed mystery be
                      disgraced, discretion is very much needed in its distribution. Yet
                      this can be had only through the jurisdiction of the church."

                      -- from Institutes of the Christian Religion Book IV, Chapter 12, Sec. 5.

                      I hope this was somewhat helpful.

                      gmw.

                      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "nocost2great"
                      <manna4free@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Dear list,
                      > It is apparent that I have offended my husband in my interpretation of
                      > the verbiage contained in the excommunication, so am I am writing to
                      > you asking your opinion (at his suggestion) on how you would feel (ie
                      > what do you think is being conveyed) if the following words were
                      > pronounced concerning you: (the added *** *** emphasis is mine, but
                      > the capitalization was in the original document.)
                      >
                      > "the membership status of Dee Dee Shaw has now formally changed, and we
                      > publicly declare her to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and
                      > judicially declare in the name of Jesus Christ that she 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 her 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 Dee Dee, but because we love her and earnestly
                      > desire her repentance and reconciliation."
                      >
                      > If one is delivered unto Satan for the destruction of their flesh,
                      > what does that mean? If it says "that the spirit may be saved in the
                      > day of the Lord Jesus" does that not imply that the spirit is not
                      > saved? Else how can one who is already saved, be saved? Am I missing
                      > something? If I don't 'repent and reconcile' is it not logical to
                      > conclude (by the above wording) that my spirit is not saved?
                      >
                      > Can someone who is not directly related to the rpna (past or present)
                      > please objectively define (from a reformed historical perspective)
                      > sins worthy of excommunication, and what it means to be cast out of
                      > the visible church?
                      >
                      > Your Grieving Sister in Christ,
                      >
                      > Dee Dee
                      >
                    • Tim Cunningham
                      Hi Dee Dee For what it s worth I second what gmw writes below. I comment about one of your additional questions below. ... Tim ... not ... that ... not ... in
                      Message 10 of 23 , May 19, 2007
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                        Hi Dee Dee

                        For what it's worth I second what gmw writes below. I comment about
                        one of your additional questions below.

                        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                        <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > Dee Dee,
                        >
                        > Please forgive me for the great length of time that past since you
                        > asked this, until now when I offer my response. I have been very
                        > overwhelmed with things lately, and have not had the kind of time I
                        > want to have, to keep in touch with my friends online (I still owe
                        Tim
                        > a response from our Xmas discussion way back when!). Please do not
                        > think that I've forgotten you, because I haven't.
                        >
                        > What are my thoughts on what excommunication means?
                        >
                        > From my understanding of excommunication, and from what you quote
                        > below from the elders of the "RPNA," I think...
                        >
                        > 1. That the elders can be taken at their word, when they say that
                        > they love you. I'm not saying that you have been treated with love,
                        > but that I believe that they are sincere when they say that they are
                        > doing what they are doing because they care about your soul. It's
                        not
                        > according to knowledge, but it is zeal.
                        >
                        > 2. Excommunication, in my understanding, means that you are being
                        > judged to be obstinate in your refusal to submit to Christ, whom a
                        > lawful court of Christ represents. Excommunication assumes that
                        > unless you repent, you shall perish in your obstinate sin. They are
                        > not saying that you are not a Christian, but they are suggesting
                        that
                        > you are acting as if you are not a Christian, and that you should
                        not
                        > be called a Christian (as in you should not be a member of any
                        > Christian church), and that if you are truly a Christian, you will
                        > repent of your sin. Here's what Calvin says on this matter:
                        >
                        > "In such corrections and excommunication, the church has three ends
                        in
                        > view. The first is that they who lead a filthy and infamous life may
                        > not be called Christians, to the dishonor of God, as if his holy
                        > church [cf.Ephesians 5:25-26] were a conspiracy of wicked and
                        > abandoned men. For since the church itself is the body of Christ
                        > [Colossians 1:24], it cannot be corrupted by such foul and decaying
                        > members without some disgrace falling upon its Head. Therefore, that
                        > there may be no such thing in the church to brand its most sacred
                        name
                        > with disgrace, they from whose wickedness infamy redounds to the
                        > Christian name must be banished from its family. And here also we
                        must
                        > preserve the order of the Lord's Supper, that it may not be profaned
                        > by being administered indiscriminately. For it is very true that he
                        > to whom its distribution has been committed, if he knowingly and
                        > willingly admits an unworthy person whom he could rightfully turn
                        > away, is as guilty of sacrilege as if he had cast the Lord's body to
                        > dogs. On this account, Chrysostom gravely inveighs against priests
                        > who, fearing the power of great men, dare exclude no one. "Blood,"
                        he
                        > says, "will be required at your hands. [Ezekiel 3:18; 33:8.] If you
                        > fear a man, he will laugh at you; but if you fear God, you will be
                        > revered also among men. Let us not dread the fasces, the purple, the
                        > crowns; here we have a greater power. I truly would rather give my
                        > body to death, and let my blood be poured out, than participate in
                        > that pollution." Therefore, lest this most hallowed mystery be
                        > disgraced, discretion is very much needed in its distribution. Yet
                        > this can be had only through the jurisdiction of the church."
                        >
                        > -- from Institutes of the Christian Religion Book IV, Chapter 12,
                        Sec. 5.
                        >
                        > I hope this was somewhat helpful.
                        >
                        > gmw.
                        >
                        > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "nocost2great"
                        > <manna4free@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Dear list,
                        > > It is apparent that I have offended my husband in my
                        interpretation of
                        > > the verbiage contained in the excommunication, so am I am writing
                        to
                        > > you asking your opinion (at his suggestion) on how you would feel
                        (ie
                        > > what do you think is being conveyed) if the following words were
                        > > pronounced concerning you: (the added *** *** emphasis is mine,
                        but
                        > > the capitalization was in the original document.)
                        > >
                        > > "the membership status of Dee Dee Shaw has now formally changed,
                        and we
                        > > publicly declare her to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and
                        > > judicially declare in the name of Jesus Christ that she 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 her
                        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 Dee Dee, but because we love her and
                        earnestly
                        > > desire her repentance and reconciliation."
                        > >
                        > > If one is delivered unto Satan for the destruction of their
                        flesh, what does that mean? If it says "that the spirit may be saved
                        in the day of the Lord Jesus" does that not imply that the spirit is
                        not saved? Else how can one who is already saved, be saved? Am I
                        missing something? If I don't 'repent and reconcile' is it not
                        logical to conclude (by the above wording) that my spirit is not
                        saved?
                        > >
                        Can someone who is not directly related to the rpna (past or present)
                        please objectively define (from a reformed historical perspective)
                        sins worthy of excommunication, and what it means to be cast out of
                        the visible church?
                        > >
                        > > Your Grieving Sister in Christ,
                        > >
                        > > Dee Dee
                        > >
                        Tim comments-I don't think we must conclude that Paul's phrase "that
                        the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" necessarily
                        implies that an excommunicated person is not yet regenerate. It is a
                        biblical certainty that Christians sin (1 John 1:8,9), and Jesus
                        tells us that it is a "brother" who is excommunicated in Matt. 18:13-
                        18).

                        Blessings
                        Tim Cunningham
                      • nocost2great
                        ... Thanks Jerry. I appreciate you taking the time. I am not trying to beat a dead horse, but I want to clarify my understanding so that I am sure we are on
                        Message 11 of 23 , May 20, 2007
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                          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                          <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Dee Dee,
                          >
                          > Please forgive me for the great length of time that past since you
                          > asked this, until now when I offer my response.

                          Thanks Jerry. I appreciate you taking the time. I am not trying to
                          beat a dead horse, but I want to clarify my understanding so that I
                          am sure we are on the same page (as I think we are.)


                          > 1. That the elders can be taken at their word, when they say that
                          > they love you. I'm not saying that you have been treated with
                          love,
                          > but that I believe that they are sincere

                          I wholeheartedly agree with you (in as much as they can love a
                          person they do not know.) I really only have a personal relationship
                          with one of them. I haven't spoken with GB in years, and have only
                          spoken with LD once or twice - during my membership interview(s).
                          Sincerity without truth is every man doing what is right in his own
                          eyes. Saul was zealous without knowledge... let us pray for a
                          Damascus road experience for those who are under the bondage of
                          deception.


                          > 2. Excommunication, in my understanding, means that you are being
                          > judged to be obstinate in your refusal to submit to Christ, whom a
                          > lawful court of Christ represents. Excommunication assumes that
                          > unless you repent, you shall perish in your obstinate sin. They
                          are
                          > not saying that you are not a Christian, but they are suggesting
                          that
                          > you are acting as if you are not a Christian, and that you should
                          not
                          > be called a Christian (as in you should not be a member of any
                          > Christian church), and that if you are truly a Christian, you will
                          > repent of your sin.

                          So are you saying that it means I can die unrepentant and obstinate
                          in this particular sin, and still be considered a Christian by those
                          who agree with/support the excommunication, OR are you saying that I
                          was truly not a Christian if I didn't repent before death? This is
                          my hang-up. One can't believe the first, and still hold to the
                          doctrine of the perseverance of the Saints while believing that I
                          have sinned a sin worthy of excommunication - can they? In my mind I
                          can't, and if I understand reformed doctrine, then it would be a
                          grave error to extend excommunication to sins that would not condemn
                          one to hell lest they repent. If I am wrong, I would appreciate
                          someone expounding on how one can believe differently based on the
                          doctrine of perserverance of the saints.

                          And to move away from the dead horse (a little bit anyway) would
                          anyone care to discuss occasional hearing? :) I am still of the
                          opinion that we should not attend unto teaching that leads to error.
                          Where do you draw the line? When can charity cover error? We will
                          never be united until we concede that some of the minor issues
                          aren't worth being divided over. But the biggest problem is
                          defining 'minor'. What are major issues versus minor... and why?

                          Just as a note - I generally don't check the emails on this group
                          until the Lord's day. It is my 'fellowship'. Our baby will probably
                          come sometime this week, so it may be a couple of weeks before I get
                          a chance to read your replies unless I move the computer downstairs
                          which is a distinct possibility! :)

                          Standing for the Truth,

                          Dee Dee
                        • gmw
                          Hi Dee Dee, My responses are below... ... And this is no small qualification, as much of the issue lies in whether or not their duties can be performed from
                          Message 12 of 23 , May 20, 2007
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                            Hi Dee Dee,

                            My responses are below...

                            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "nocost2great"
                            <manna4free@...> wrote:

                            > > 1. That the elders can be taken at their word, when they say that
                            > > they love you. I'm not saying that you have been treated with
                            > love,
                            > > but that I believe that they are sincere
                            >
                            > I wholeheartedly agree with you (in as much as they can love a
                            > person they do not know.)

                            And this is no small qualification, as much of the issue lies in
                            whether or not their duties can be performed from such a great
                            distance, with such infrequent contact, with such scarce personal
                            interaction. But even so, their zeal is not in question here, and
                            when they say they are doing what they are doing because they love
                            you, I believe that they are sincere in saying that, though again, I
                            do not believe they say it or believe it according to knowledge. What
                            damage they do, and what unlove they are showing, is, I believe, not
                            intended by them.

                            > > 2. Excommunication, in my understanding, means that you are being
                            > > judged to be obstinate in your refusal to submit to Christ, whom a
                            > > lawful court of Christ represents. Excommunication assumes that
                            > > unless you repent, you shall perish in your obstinate sin. They
                            > are
                            > > not saying that you are not a Christian, but they are suggesting
                            > that
                            > > you are acting as if you are not a Christian, and that you should
                            > not
                            > > be called a Christian (as in you should not be a member of any
                            > > Christian church), and that if you are truly a Christian, you will
                            > > repent of your sin.
                            >
                            > So are you saying that it means I can die unrepentant and obstinate
                            > in this particular sin, and still be considered a Christian by those
                            > who agree with/support the excommunication, OR are you saying that I
                            > was truly not a Christian if I didn't repent before death?

                            I am saying the latter. Excommunication can be a severe spanking by
                            God for his children... if this is the case, the child shall repent.
                            Or, Excommunication can be the death blow to the reprobate, in which
                            case we would expect them to continue on in their sin.

                            When you were excommunicated, it was implied that while they hope that
                            this sentence will prove to be for your salvation in the end (provided
                            you repent), yet you are cast out of the visible church where there is
                            no ordinary means of salvation, and if you do not repent and come back
                            to the church on their terms, you will perish in outer darkness. This
                            is my understanding of excommunication. They are hoping you will
                            repent and show yourself a Christian, but if you do not repent you are
                            showing that you were never a Christian.

                            > I am still of the
                            > opinion that we should not attend unto teaching that leads to error.

                            I am (apparently one of the few) who would agree with that statement.

                            > Where do you draw the line? When can charity cover error?

                            Charity covers error all the time. I have friends who are Roman
                            Catholics, Anabaptists, Reformed Baptists, Evangelical (with or
                            without a charismatic tinge), etc. etc. I love them despite their
                            errors, and so charity covers these errors. However, this is not the
                            same as Ecclesiastical Membership/Fellowship. I cannot rightly
                            profess to be of the same body of those of a different
                            Confession/Profession. I love my old friends at the Baptist Church of
                            my youth, but I cannot attend worship there, nor become a member
                            there, again. This is not because of my lack of love for them, but
                            because of my love for the truth (against which they sin in their
                            constitution, doctrine, and practices).

                            > We will never be united until we concede that some of the minor
                            > issues aren't worth being divided over. But the biggest problem is
                            > defining 'minor'. What are major issues versus minor... and why?

                            Some may take it upon themselves to define biblical doctrines and
                            practices as major or minor. I am not qualified to do so. I know
                            that dividing over the color of the carpet is minor. Everything else,
                            I defer to the Confession and Larger Catechism as helps.

                            Also, I am very concerned about calling something that faithful
                            Christians were once tortured and slaughtered over as being "minor,"
                            even if a couple hundred years have gone by.

                            > Standing for the Truth,

                            Stand strong!

                            gmw.
                          • forisraelssake
                            ... Since the purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error , because of the incompleteness of our sanctification and imperfection in our
                            Message 13 of 23 , May 20, 2007
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                              > And to move away from the dead horse (a little bit anyway) would
                              > anyone care to discuss occasional hearing? :) I am still of the
                              > opinion that we should not attend unto teaching that leads to error.
                              > Where do you draw the line? When can charity cover error? We will
                              > never be united until we concede that some of the minor issues
                              > aren't worth being divided over. But the biggest problem is
                              > defining 'minor'. What are major issues versus minor... and why?
                              >


                              Since "the purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture
                              and error", because of the incompleteness of our sanctification and
                              imperfection in our knowledge, therefore it is necessary that there
                              will be error in even the purest churches you find. So as to the
                              general rule it can't be its mere presence that is grounds for
                              withdrawal and disfellowshipping. I think you have to get back into
                              the old distinction between true and false churches (cf. Scottish
                              Confession of Faith ch. 18; Belgic Confession of Faith article 29) to
                              demarcate the line between communion and withdrawal.


                              > Just as a note - I generally don't check the emails on this group
                              > until the Lord's day. It is my 'fellowship'. Our baby will probably
                              > come sometime this week, so it may be a couple of weeks before I get
                              > a chance to read your replies unless I move the computer downstairs
                              > which is a distinct possibility! :)
                              >
                              > Standing for the Truth,
                              >
                              > Dee Dee
                              >

                              I pray everything goes well Dee Dee with your labor. :)

                              Chris
                            • nocost2great
                              ... wrote: ... error. ... statement. ... else, ... being minor, ... Dee Dee replies: Please don t think that I was suggesting that we
                              Message 14 of 23 , May 20, 2007
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                                --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                                <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
                                Dee Dee wrote:
                                > > I am still of the
                                > > opinion that we should not attend unto teaching that leads to
                                error.
                                >
                                Jerry replied:
                                > I am (apparently one of the few) who would agree with that
                                statement.
                                >

                                > Some may take it upon themselves to define biblical doctrines and
                                > practices as major or minor. I am not qualified to do so. I know
                                > that dividing over the color of the carpet is minor. Everything
                                else,
                                > I defer to the Confession and Larger Catechism as helps.
                                >
                                > Also, I am very concerned about calling something that faithful
                                > Christians were once tortured and slaughtered over as
                                being "minor,"
                                > even if a couple hundred years have gone by.

                                Dee Dee replies:

                                Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the
                                doctrines that delineate us as covenanters! One of my main unspoken
                                concerns over the years is that we have not united with others (like
                                you) who hold to the exact same terms of communion. Now in
                                hindsight, I realize that our terms of communion were never static -
                                and always subject to change based on the rulings of the elders. I
                                was blind to that for many years! However, I guess one of the things
                                that has always bugged me is that it was said we were not united
                                because of headcoverings. I see now that it is much more than that.
                                So, would headcoverings be 'minor'? Would you worship at a church
                                where they practiced the RPW with the same understanding you have,
                                and they had the same beliefs as far as government and doctrine, but
                                they didn't insist that the women wear dresses only, or they didn't
                                dictate that headcoverings be worn... or call all movies and plays
                                unlawful, etc. These, to me, are minors. In fact, I have long
                                questioned (in my heart) the degree of worldliness that is
                                acceptable in the RPNA(GM) but didn't feel it was an issue to
                                separate over (although it did cause some problems with my teenagers
                                comparing our rules to the rules of others, particularly elder
                                families.)
                                I am rethinking the idea that God is going to bring in the millenium
                                with a bride that is completely united on all issues so that there
                                are no disagreements or compromises. I am not saying that I think
                                that we will lower the common denominator so that we can be united,
                                but surely we can agree to disagree on *some* things and still
                                commune with one another around the Lord's table.

                                Standing Strong for the Truth,

                                Dee Dee
                              • gmw
                                Greetings Dee Dee, ... Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up... IF YOU
                                Message 15 of 23 , May 23, 2007
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                                  Greetings Dee Dee,

                                  --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "nocost2great"
                                  <manna4free@...> wrote:

                                  > Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the
                                  > doctrines that delineate us as covenanters!

                                  Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated
                                  is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up...

                                  IF YOU ARE REMAIN COVENANTER, I MEAN "THE SIX TERMS OF COMMUNION" TYPE
                                  OF REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN, AND HAVE EITHER BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED OR
                                  OTHERWISE ARE UNABLE TO JOIN WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN GOOD
                                  CONSCIENCE, PLEASE EMAIL ME PRIVATELY -- ragingcalvinist@...
                                  -- I have an idea I want to talk about.

                                  > However, I guess one of the things
                                  > that has always bugged me is that it was said we were not united
                                  > because of headcoverings. I see now that it is much more than that.
                                  > So, would headcoverings be 'minor'? Would you worship at a church
                                  > where they practiced the RPW with the same understanding you have,
                                  > and they had the same beliefs as far as government and doctrine, but
                                  > they didn't insist that the women wear dresses only, or they didn't
                                  > dictate that headcoverings be worn... or call all movies and plays
                                  > unlawful, etc. These, to me, are minors.

                                  I can only speak of my own opinion on this matter. My wife covers her
                                  head, and does so because we believe the Bible requires it. She will
                                  not be uncovering her head for any man but me. A church that REQUIRES
                                  her to go uncovered (i.e. the RPNA), cannot be an option for us. It
                                  has become ~major~ in such a case -- requiring us to do that which we
                                  believe to be sin. But if there were an existing church whose
                                  Confession of Faith, Terms of Communion, etc., we were in agreement
                                  with, except that they allowed woman to go with their heads uncovered,
                                  I do not think this would be enough to keep me from going there. My
                                  wife would continue to cover her head, but in such a case as this it
                                  would not be ~major~ to me.

                                  As far as the movies, plays, and other worldly things, I wish I were
                                  more free from the stains of this world than I am. But it may
                                  interest you to see what the REAL Reformed Presbytery said on this
                                  topic: http://tinyurl.com/3exd22

                                  I would wish, for my own sake, for the sake of my family, and for the
                                  sake of other Christians, that churches would have a more united view
                                  against worldliness. I've attended sermons that have referenced
                                  movies as illustrations, I've read sermons that were pretty much based
                                  on sermons, and I've heard it suggested by some that attending movies
                                  is actually a Christian thing to do as it exposes us to the thinking
                                  of the world (I guess this is to assist our apologetics) -- in such
                                  cases, the issues is more ~major~. But, if, again, we find that
                                  church with which were are in complete agreement, yet they are not so
                                  firmly warning against theater attendance as much as they ought, I
                                  don't believe this alone would prevent my attendance/membership... in
                                  such a case it would be more of a ~minor~ to me.

                                  > In fact, I have long
                                  > questioned (in my heart) the degree of worldliness that is
                                  > acceptable in the RPNA(GM) but didn't feel it was an issue to
                                  > separate over (although it did cause some problems with my teenagers
                                  > comparing our rules to the rules of others, particularly elder
                                  > families.)

                                  This is another issue -- when the worldliness becomes so widespread
                                  among the children, then those worldy children become the kind of kids
                                  that I don't want my kids hanging around with too much, then this
                                  causes all kinds of problems.

                                  > I am rethinking the idea that God is going to bring in the millenium
                                  > with a bride that is completely united on all issues so that there
                                  > are no disagreements or compromises.

                                  Perhaps not. But as far as issues of doctrine, the "whatsoever I have
                                  commanded thee" that Christ spoke of, we are commanded "Now I beseech
                                  you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak
                                  the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye
                                  be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same
                                  judgment." With weakness and infirmity, we are to forbear. With
                                  honest error, we are to correct and educate. With anti-scriptural and
                                  un-scriptural doctrine obstinately held, we are to be firm and
                                  uncompromising.

                                  gmw.
                                • Tim Cunningham
                                  ... TYPE ... Tim-Hi Gerry: Whatever your idea is, I hope it will be a blessing to all the unjustly X d. ... her ... will ... Tim-Granted that I am not from a
                                  Message 16 of 23 , May 24, 2007
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                                    --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                                    <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "nocost2great"
                                    > <manna4free@> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the
                                    > > doctrines that delineate us as covenanters!
                                    >
                                    > Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated
                                    > is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up...
                                    >
                                    > IF YOU ARE REMAIN COVENANTER, I MEAN "THE SIX TERMS OF COMMUNION"
                                    TYPE
                                    > OF REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN, AND HAVE EITHER BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED OR
                                    > OTHERWISE ARE UNABLE TO JOIN WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN GOOD
                                    > CONSCIENCE, PLEASE EMAIL ME PRIVATELY -- ragingcalvinist@...
                                    > -- I have an idea I want to talk about.

                                    Tim-Hi Gerry:
                                    Whatever your idea is, I hope it will be a blessing to all the
                                    unjustly X'd.
                                    >

                                    > I can only speak of my own opinion on this matter. My wife covers
                                    her
                                    > head, and does so because we believe the Bible requires it. She
                                    will
                                    > not be uncovering her head for any man but me.

                                    Tim-Granted that I am not from a covie background and so may not know
                                    how the relevant passage of 1 Cor. 11 has been interpreted in that
                                    tradition, but this appears to imply that your wife wears a head
                                    covering at all times. Am I reading you correctly? If I am, I wonder
                                    about something. As I read the relevant passage, Paul seems to be
                                    mandating covering in the worship service of the church not as
                                    something to be done at all times. Is there a reason that your wife
                                    is extending the practice beyond church walls?

                                    Just curious
                                    Tim



                                    A church that REQUIRES
                                    > her to go uncovered (i.e. the RPNA), cannot be an option for us. It
                                    > has become ~major~ in such a case -- requiring us to do that which
                                    we
                                    > believe to be sin. But if there were an existing church whose
                                    > Confession of Faith, Terms of Communion, etc., we were in agreement
                                    > with, except that they allowed woman to go with their heads
                                    uncovered,
                                    > I do not think this would be enough to keep me from going there. My
                                    > wife would continue to cover her head, but in such a case as this it
                                    > would not be ~major~ to me.
                                    >
                                    > As far as the movies, plays, and other worldly things, I wish I were
                                    > more free from the stains of this world than I am. But it may
                                    > interest you to see what the REAL Reformed Presbytery said on this
                                    > topic: http://tinyurl.com/3exd22
                                    >
                                    > I would wish, for my own sake, for the sake of my family, and for
                                    the
                                    > sake of other Christians, that churches would have a more united
                                    view
                                    > against worldliness. I've attended sermons that have referenced
                                    > movies as illustrations, I've read sermons that were pretty much
                                    based
                                    > on sermons, and I've heard it suggested by some that attending
                                    movies
                                    > is actually a Christian thing to do as it exposes us to the thinking
                                    > of the world (I guess this is to assist our apologetics) -- in such
                                    > cases, the issues is more ~major~. But, if, again, we find that
                                    > church with which were are in complete agreement, yet they are not
                                    so
                                    > firmly warning against theater attendance as much as they ought, I
                                    > don't believe this alone would prevent my attendance/membership...
                                    in
                                    > such a case it would be more of a ~minor~ to me.
                                    >
                                    > > In fact, I have long
                                    > > questioned (in my heart) the degree of worldliness that is
                                    > > acceptable in the RPNA(GM) but didn't feel it was an issue to
                                    > > separate over (although it did cause some problems with my
                                    teenagers
                                    > > comparing our rules to the rules of others, particularly elder
                                    > > families.)
                                    >
                                    > This is another issue -- when the worldliness becomes so widespread
                                    > among the children, then those worldy children become the kind of
                                    kids
                                    > that I don't want my kids hanging around with too much, then this
                                    > causes all kinds of problems.
                                    >
                                    > > I am rethinking the idea that God is going to bring in the
                                    millenium
                                    > > with a bride that is completely united on all issues so that
                                    there
                                    > > are no disagreements or compromises.
                                    >
                                    > Perhaps not. But as far as issues of doctrine, the "whatsoever I
                                    have
                                    > commanded thee" that Christ spoke of, we are commanded "Now I
                                    beseech
                                    > you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all
                                    speak
                                    > the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that
                                    ye
                                    > be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same
                                    > judgment." With weakness and infirmity, we are to forbear. With
                                    > honest error, we are to correct and educate. With anti-scriptural
                                    and
                                    > un-scriptural doctrine obstinately held, we are to be firm and
                                    > uncompromising.
                                    >
                                    > gmw.
                                    >
                                  • gmw
                                    Hi Tim, I ve never been one to want to argue this subject, but I will not have my friend be curious, so I will explain my position with some help from Mr.
                                    Message 17 of 23 , May 24, 2007
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                                      Hi Tim,

                                      I've never been one to want to argue this subject, but I will not have
                                      my friend be curious, so I will explain my position with some help
                                      from Mr. Calvin.

                                      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Cunningham"
                                      <timmopussycat@...> wrote:
                                      > Tim-Granted that I am not from a covie background and so may not know
                                      > how the relevant passage of 1 Cor. 11 has been interpreted in that
                                      > tradition,

                                      There is nothing distinctly Covenanter about our (my wife's and my)
                                      position on headcoverings.

                                      > but this appears to imply that your wife wears a head
                                      > covering at all times.

                                      Not at all times. I'm not trying to be funny, but I've been asked
                                      whether or not I'm for headcoverings in the shower, in bed, moping
                                      around the house in our pajamas, etc. As Calvin notes in his sermons
                                      on 1 Corinthians, "St. Paul is not addressing what may take place at
                                      home; for, if a woman combs her hair, she will surely have it
                                      uncovered then, but she also retires to her place of privacy. So, St.
                                      Paul is not discussing what may happen with individuals at home."
                                      Again, Calvin notes that, "should a woman require to make such haste
                                      in assisting a neighbor that she has not time to cover her head, she
                                      sins not in running out with her head uncovered" [Institutes Book IV,
                                      Chapter 10, Sec. 31]. So, no, not at all times.

                                      > As I read the relevant passage, Paul seems to be
                                      > mandating covering in the worship service of the church not as
                                      > something to be done at all times. Is there a reason that your wife
                                      > is extending the practice beyond church walls?

                                      If one assumes the woman is uncovered coming in to worship, then the
                                      direction seems to be that the woman put on the covering during
                                      worship. However, if one assumes that the woman is already covered
                                      coming in to worship, then the direction seems to be that the woman
                                      ought not to take it off during worship.

                                      Calvin interprets Paul as saying "that women should not go out in
                                      public with uncovered heads" (Institutes Book IV, Chapter 10, sec. 29).

                                      Without going into the specifics of 1 Cor. 11, of the sign of
                                      subjection, the respect to the angels, the headship and glory
                                      arguments (none of which necessarily cease outside of the walls of a
                                      church building), there are some other issues involved with the
                                      headcovering that factor into why my wife wears one whenever she goes
                                      in public --

                                      1. The difference between men and women:

                                      "They forget their nature: for women ought to be modest. If there be
                                      no shame, but that they will needs be out of order: it is a very
                                      beastliness. That is the effect of God's intent in saying that men
                                      ought not to put on women's apparel, nor women ought not to be clothed
                                      in men's apparel: For it is good reason that there should be a
                                      difference between men and women. And although there were no law
                                      written, doth not even nature teach it us? And when Paul (1 Cor.
                                      11.5,) telleth us that women must come to the Church with their heads
                                      covered & not with their hair about their ears: he sheweth the same
                                      thing. What saith he? have we need to speak to you of such things? For
                                      if a woman were polled , durst she shew her head abroad? A man may
                                      well be bold to shew his head bare, though he be polled: and shall a
                                      woman do so too? That were a shame, everybody would mock at her, and
                                      she should be fain to hide her head. Now since ye know this without
                                      any scripture or word written: do ye not see how God hath shown as it
                                      were a seed of modesty in you, to the intent that every man should
                                      have a regard to that which is comely for him? So then, let us mark
                                      that here God intended to shew us that everybody's attiring of
                                      themselves ought to be such, as there may be a difference between men
                                      and women." -Calvin's sermon on Deut. 22:5-8.

                                      2. The immodesty and impropriety of my wife showing you her long
                                      beautiful blonde hair:

                                      "Men use not to hang out a sign at a tavern, unless they meant men
                                      should come in who list. And while women deck and trim themselves
                                      after this sort, to draw men's eyes to them, and to have men stand
                                      gazing at them, what is this else but a spreading out of their nets? &
                                      therefore it is as much as if they kept open tavern of their own
                                      bodies. True it is, that all of them will not do so: but this is the
                                      end of their prancking, and it is not almost to be found, but that
                                      such gorgeous deckings, and such braveries do always bear one smack of
                                      bawdery with them although whoredom do not always follow. So then let
                                      us mark well, when Paul speaketh of this, shamefastness and modesty,
                                      that in correcting one fault he taketh away all those superfluities
                                      wherewith women are so set on fire, that they can keep no measure in
                                      them, & therefore it booteth not now, to reckon them up by piecemeal.
                                      And if this affection and perverse desire were well purged, no doubt
                                      women would deck themselves modestly, and we should see no more of
                                      these disguisings. See there cometh out a woman like a painted
                                      idol;—all our age is full of colours, there is nothing but laying on
                                      of gold, perukes and false hairs, and such like: again, we see such
                                      pomp, and bravery, that when such a Diana cometh forth, we may well
                                      judge and think that she is at defiance with all shame, with all
                                      modesty, with all honesty, as a stews, & strumpet, ready to say on
                                      this wise: 'I will show myself here as a salt bitch, I will be
                                      impudent and shameless, and show my filthiness to all the world.' We
                                      should I say, see no more of these things. If women observe this rule
                                      of modesty, they would not be so bespangled with gold as they are,
                                      they would not have their heads uncovered as now they have: to be
                                      short, they would not so exceed measure in gorgeousness as they do,
                                      wherein they do but fight against modesty & honesty, which Paul
                                      speaketh of in this place, if all this (as I said) were cut off." --
                                      Calvin's Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:9-11.

                                      And the more often quoted (and seemingly prophetic), "So if women are
                                      thus permitted to have their heads uncovered and to show their hair,
                                      they will eventually be allowed to expose their entire breasts, and
                                      they will come to make their exhibitions as if it were a tavern show;
                                      they will become so brazen that modesty and shame will be no more; in
                                      short they will forget the duty of nature... So, when it is
                                      permissible for the women to uncover their heads, one will say, 'Well,
                                      what harm in uncovering the stomach also?' And then after that one
                                      will plead something else: 'Now if the women go bareheaded, why not
                                      also this and that?' Then the men, for their part, will break loose
                                      too. In short, there will be no decency left, unless people contain
                                      themselves and respect what is proper and fitting, so as not to go
                                      headlong overboard." -- Calvin's Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3.

                                      Again, I do not intend to argue these points. I only wanted to let
                                      you know what the points are -- not just 1 Cor. 11 and worship, but
                                      also the differences in apparel for men and women, and modesty.

                                      gmw.
                                    • Tim Cunningham
                                      Hi Gerry Thanks for answering. I to don t intend to argue this one. As I said, I was just curious. Tim ... have ... know ... that ... sermons ... St. ... IV,
                                      Message 18 of 23 , May 25, 2007
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                                        Hi Gerry

                                        Thanks for answering. I to don't intend to argue this one. As I said,
                                        I was just curious.
                                        Tim

                                        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "gmw"
                                        <ragingcalvinist@...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Hi Tim,
                                        >
                                        > I've never been one to want to argue this subject, but I will not
                                        have
                                        > my friend be curious, so I will explain my position with some help
                                        > from Mr. Calvin.
                                        >
                                        > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Cunningham"
                                        > <timmopussycat@> wrote:
                                        > > Tim-Granted that I am not from a covie background and so may not
                                        know
                                        > > how the relevant passage of 1 Cor. 11 has been interpreted in
                                        that
                                        > > tradition,
                                        >
                                        > There is nothing distinctly Covenanter about our (my wife's and my)
                                        > position on headcoverings.
                                        >
                                        > > but this appears to imply that your wife wears a head
                                        > > covering at all times.
                                        >
                                        > Not at all times. I'm not trying to be funny, but I've been asked
                                        > whether or not I'm for headcoverings in the shower, in bed, moping
                                        > around the house in our pajamas, etc. As Calvin notes in his
                                        sermons
                                        > on 1 Corinthians, "St. Paul is not addressing what may take place at
                                        > home; for, if a woman combs her hair, she will surely have it
                                        > uncovered then, but she also retires to her place of privacy. So,
                                        St.
                                        > Paul is not discussing what may happen with individuals at home."
                                        > Again, Calvin notes that, "should a woman require to make such haste
                                        > in assisting a neighbor that she has not time to cover her head, she
                                        > sins not in running out with her head uncovered" [Institutes Book
                                        IV,
                                        > Chapter 10, Sec. 31]. So, no, not at all times.
                                        >
                                        > > As I read the relevant passage, Paul seems to be
                                        > > mandating covering in the worship service of the church not as
                                        > > something to be done at all times. Is there a reason that your
                                        wife
                                        > > is extending the practice beyond church walls?
                                        >
                                        > If one assumes the woman is uncovered coming in to worship, then the
                                        > direction seems to be that the woman put on the covering during
                                        > worship. However, if one assumes that the woman is already covered
                                        > coming in to worship, then the direction seems to be that the woman
                                        > ought not to take it off during worship.
                                        >
                                        > Calvin interprets Paul as saying "that women should not go out in
                                        > public with uncovered heads" (Institutes Book IV, Chapter 10, sec.
                                        29).
                                        >
                                        > Without going into the specifics of 1 Cor. 11, of the sign of
                                        > subjection, the respect to the angels, the headship and glory
                                        > arguments (none of which necessarily cease outside of the walls of a
                                        > church building), there are some other issues involved with the
                                        > headcovering that factor into why my wife wears one whenever she
                                        goes
                                        > in public --
                                        >
                                        > 1. The difference between men and women:
                                        >
                                        > "They forget their nature: for women ought to be modest. If there be
                                        > no shame, but that they will needs be out of order: it is a very
                                        > beastliness. That is the effect of God's intent in saying that men
                                        > ought not to put on women's apparel, nor women ought not to be
                                        clothed
                                        > in men's apparel: For it is good reason that there should be a
                                        > difference between men and women. And although there were no law
                                        > written, doth not even nature teach it us? And when Paul (1 Cor.
                                        > 11.5,) telleth us that women must come to the Church with their
                                        heads
                                        > covered & not with their hair about their ears: he sheweth the same
                                        > thing. What saith he? have we need to speak to you of such things?
                                        For
                                        > if a woman were polled , durst she shew her head abroad? A man may
                                        > well be bold to shew his head bare, though he be polled: and shall a
                                        > woman do so too? That were a shame, everybody would mock at her, and
                                        > she should be fain to hide her head. Now since ye know this without
                                        > any scripture or word written: do ye not see how God hath shown as
                                        it
                                        > were a seed of modesty in you, to the intent that every man should
                                        > have a regard to that which is comely for him? So then, let us mark
                                        > that here God intended to shew us that everybody's attiring of
                                        > themselves ought to be such, as there may be a difference between
                                        men
                                        > and women." -Calvin's sermon on Deut. 22:5-8.
                                        >
                                        > 2. The immodesty and impropriety of my wife showing you her long
                                        > beautiful blonde hair:
                                        >
                                        > "Men use not to hang out a sign at a tavern, unless they meant men
                                        > should come in who list. And while women deck and trim themselves
                                        > after this sort, to draw men's eyes to them, and to have men stand
                                        > gazing at them, what is this else but a spreading out of their
                                        nets? &
                                        > therefore it is as much as if they kept open tavern of their own
                                        > bodies. True it is, that all of them will not do so: but this is the
                                        > end of their prancking, and it is not almost to be found, but that
                                        > such gorgeous deckings, and such braveries do always bear one smack
                                        of
                                        > bawdery with them although whoredom do not always follow. So then
                                        let
                                        > us mark well, when Paul speaketh of this, shamefastness and modesty,
                                        > that in correcting one fault he taketh away all those superfluities
                                        > wherewith women are so set on fire, that they can keep no measure in
                                        > them, & therefore it booteth not now, to reckon them up by
                                        piecemeal.
                                        > And if this affection and perverse desire were well purged, no doubt
                                        > women would deck themselves modestly, and we should see no more of
                                        > these disguisings. See there cometh out a woman like a painted
                                        > idol;—all our age is full of colours, there is nothing but laying on
                                        > of gold, perukes and false hairs, and such like: again, we see such
                                        > pomp, and bravery, that when such a Diana cometh forth, we may well
                                        > judge and think that she is at defiance with all shame, with all
                                        > modesty, with all honesty, as a stews, & strumpet, ready to say on
                                        > this wise: 'I will show myself here as a salt bitch, I will be
                                        > impudent and shameless, and show my filthiness to all the world.' We
                                        > should I say, see no more of these things. If women observe this
                                        rule
                                        > of modesty, they would not be so bespangled with gold as they are,
                                        > they would not have their heads uncovered as now they have: to be
                                        > short, they would not so exceed measure in gorgeousness as they do,
                                        > wherein they do but fight against modesty & honesty, which Paul
                                        > speaketh of in this place, if all this (as I said) were cut off." --
                                        > Calvin's Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:9-11.
                                        >
                                        > And the more often quoted (and seemingly prophetic), "So if women
                                        are
                                        > thus permitted to have their heads uncovered and to show their hair,
                                        > they will eventually be allowed to expose their entire breasts, and
                                        > they will come to make their exhibitions as if it were a tavern
                                        show;
                                        > they will become so brazen that modesty and shame will be no more;
                                        in
                                        > short they will forget the duty of nature... So, when it is
                                        > permissible for the women to uncover their heads, one will
                                        say, 'Well,
                                        > what harm in uncovering the stomach also?' And then after that one
                                        > will plead something else: 'Now if the women go bareheaded, why not
                                        > also this and that?' Then the men, for their part, will break loose
                                        > too. In short, there will be no decency left, unless people contain
                                        > themselves and respect what is proper and fitting, so as not to go
                                        > headlong overboard." -- Calvin's Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3.
                                        >
                                        > Again, I do not intend to argue these points. I only wanted to let
                                        > you know what the points are -- not just 1 Cor. 11 and worship, but
                                        > also the differences in apparel for men and women, and modesty.
                                        >
                                        > gmw.
                                        >
                                      • Willena Flewelling
                                        ... doctrines that delineate us as covenanters! Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated is of your opinion anymore. Which brings
                                        Message 19 of 23 , May 30, 2007
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                                          Jerry wrote:

                                          > Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the
                                          doctrines that delineate us as covenanters!

                                          Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up...

                                          IF YOU ARE REMAIN COVENANTER, I MEAN "THE SIX TERMS OF COMMUNION" TYPE OF REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN, AND HAVE EITHER BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED OR OTHERWISE ARE UNABLE TO JOIN WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, PLEASE EMAIL ME PRIVATELY -- ragingcalvinist@ verizon.net -- I have an idea I want to talk about.


                                          Tim wrote:

                                          Hi Gerry:
                                          Whatever your idea is, I hope it will be a blessing to all the unjustly X'd.


                                          And I sincerely hope so too, Jerry. I can only speak for myself and not others who have been excommunicated, but as one who has made some decisions recently that would likely disappoint you deeply, I can say that none of those decisions were easy ones. With all my heart I wish it were possible for me to stand visibly and unwaveringly on the covenanter doctrines, which I still own. But the last two years have been very difficult in many ways, and losing membership in the RPNA was a deeper blow with far greater repercussions than I thought possible. The battle did not end with my excommunication, but is ongoing, with one daughter still a member in good standing, and confusion tearing at some of my other children. I am so thankful that none of them are having problems with assurance of salvation, but it could come to that.

                                          Excommunication and rejection by the elders of the RPNA has placed me in an even more difficult and isolated position than most of you who worship alone, for not only am I without any elder or pastoral oversight at all, but I am without a spiritual leader in my home. I have spent the past eleven years alienated from my husband. I gave up everything we had in that realm, as a wedge was driven between us. And for what? To be cast out of the visible church of Christ? I don't have it in me to fight any more, or to stand alone.

                                          Jerry, your email confuses me, because I am ashamed of myself for not having the strength to stand alone. It doesn't bother me to stand against the elders or my daughter, for I believe they are in the wrong and are the ones who have wronged us. But you and Deejay and a number of others stand alone. You have not allowed your circumstances to dictate your actions. You know what you believe, and you are standing on it in the face of oppositon from all sides. I feel as if I have let you all down by apparently ditching some of our covenanter doctrines. But if I adhere strictly to the six terms of communion as we have been led to understand them, I stand alone. Responsible for seven children, three of whom are still under my care, with no husband. I have already spent twelve years doing what "true" covenanters think I should do, and I am no longer sure it is the right thing. With children looking up to me, I don't want to make any more mistakes. We need fellowship. We need accountability. We need guidance outside of our family.

                                          We can no longer afford to drive the family to the city and back each week to worship with our excommunicated brethren. To worship at home alone would mean my husband worshipping with us, and therefore taking the lead, which would be no different from worshipping with others of conflicting beliefs. And that is only one small part of my dilemma, which I cannot begin to express here. Let it suffice to say the months since my excommunication have been ones of deep struggles, not only in myself but in my children, and the struggles are far from over. There are brick walls everywhere I turn. We don't even have the option of a good Reformed church within reasonable driving distance. I am still asking the question... when will it end? The confusion, the battering, the uncertainty, the not knowing???

                                          I said when I started attending a local church with my husband and children, that God knows my heart, and my desire to glorify and enjoy Him... and I can trust Him not to strike me down dead or otherwise judge me harshly, but to show me in His loving ways, if I am doing wrong. It has been seven weeks now. My husband is happy and taking over his rightful role as head and leader in our home. My children are happy, with the exception of a few. All are seeking Him in ways we haven't done for a long time. I don't see my doubts at this point, as being His still small voice. I do see my husband's peace and contentment as His still small voice. I look forward to the day when I am happy and content too, knowing with my whole heart in agreement that I am truly walking in the way He has set before me.

                                          My story is my own, and I speak for no one else. But I ask all of you who are able to stand on your covenanter convictions, please PLEASE not to j
                                          udge the rest of us too harshly. No one knows the struggles each one is going through, or the way the Lord is leading each of us. I pray that all of us will learn to do what we understand the scriptures to be telling us to do, without judging others when they come to a different understanding... even if we supposedly "know better."

                                          Willena

                                        • Heart Aflame
                                          Hi Willena, (I made a more personal comment to this at Come out) but as I see I got an honourable mention, (at Jerry s group!!) I just wanted to say, I for
                                          Message 20 of 23 , May 31, 2007
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                                            Hi Willena,

                                             

                                            (I made a more personal comment to this at Come out)  but as I see I got an honourable mention, (at Jerry’s group!!) I just wanted to say, I for one think no less of you for the decisions you’ve made.

                                             

                                            Like yourself my circumstances are pretty unique in other ways  But being the bloody minded person I am, ;-)  because those who have added to my affliction are not of Covenanted Reformation principles locally, its made me dig my heels in further, to stand alone and hold to them.  The opposite of your own trouble in that respect. .  But there again, bloody mindedness or not, it was circumstances which dictated, much like yourself.  Of course that’s an edited version, but, it is part of it.

                                             

                                            ~Deejay

                                             


                                            From: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com [mailto:covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Willena Flewelling
                                            Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 7:18 AM
                                            To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: major versus minor & (ATTENTION COVENANTERS)

                                             

                                            Jerry wrote:

                                            > Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the
                                            doctrines that delineate us as covenanters!

                                            Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up...

                                            IF YOU ARE REMAIN COVENANTER, I MEAN "THE SIX TERMS OF COMMUNION" TYPE OF REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN, AND HAVE EITHER BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED OR OTHERWISE ARE UNABLE TO JOIN WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, PLEASE EMAIL ME PRIVATELY -- ragingcalvinist@ verizon.net -- I have an idea I want to talk about.


                                            Tim wrote:

                                            Hi Gerry:
                                            Whatever your idea is, I hope it will be a blessing to all the unjustly X'd.


                                            And I sincerely hope so too, Jerry. I can only speak for myself and not others who have been excommunicated, but as one who has made some decisions recently that would likely disappoint you deeply, I can say that none of those decisions were easy ones. With all my heart I wish it were possible for me to stand visibly and unwaveringly on the covenanter doctrines, which I still own. But the last two years have been very difficult in many ways, and losing membership in the RPNA was a deeper blow with far greater repercussions than I thought possible. The battle did not end with my excommunication, but is ongoing, with one daughter still a member in good standing, and confusion tearing at some of my other children. I am so thankful that none of them are having problems with assurance of salvation, but it could come to that.

                                            Excommunication and rejection by the elders of the RPNA has placed me in an even more difficult and isolated position than most of you who worship alone, for not only am I without any elder or pastoral oversight at all, but I am without a spiritual leader in my home. I have spent the past eleven years alienated from my husband. I gave up everything we had in that realm, as a wedge was driven between us. And for what? To be cast out of the visible church of Christ? I don't have it in me to fight any more, or to stand alone.

                                            Jerry, your email confuses me, because I am ashamed of myself for not having the strength to stand alone. It doesn't bother me to stand against the elders or my daughter, for I believe they are in the wrong and are the ones who have wronged us. But you and Deejay and a number of others stand alone. You have not allowed your circumstances to dictate your actions. You know what you believe, and you are standing on it in the face of oppositon from all sides. I feel as if I have let you all down by apparently ditching some of our covenanter doctrines. But if I adhere strictly to the six terms of communion as we have been led to understand them, I stand alone. Responsible for seven children, three of whom are still under my care, with no husband. I have already spent twelve years doing what "true" covenanters think I should do, and I am no longer sure it is the right thing. With children looking up to me, I don't want to make any more mistakes. We need fellowship. We need accountability. We need guidance outside of our family.

                                            We can no longer afford to drive the family to the city and back each week to worship with our excommunicated brethren. To worship at home alone would mean my husband worshipping with us, and therefore taking the lead, which would be no different from worshipping with others of conflicting beliefs. And that is only one small part of my dilemma, which I cannot begin to express here. Let it suffice to say the months since my excommunication have been ones of deep struggles, not only in myself but in my children, and the struggles are far from over. There are brick walls everywhere I turn. We don't even have the option of a good Reformed church within reasonable driving distance. I am still asking the question... when will it end? The confusion, the battering, the uncertainty, the not knowing???

                                            I said when I started attending a local church with my husband and children, that God knows my heart, and my desire to glorify and enjoy Him... and I can trust Him not to strike me down dead or otherwise judge me harshly, but to show me in His loving ways, if I am doing wrong. It has been seven weeks now. My husband is happy and taking over his rightful role as head and leader in our home. My children are happy, with the exception of a few. All are seeking Him in ways we haven't done for a long time. I don't see my doubts at this point, as being His still small voice. I do see my husband's peace and contentment as His still small voice. I look forward to the day when I am happy and content too, knowing with my whole heart in agreement that I am truly walking in the way He has set before me.

                                            My story is my own, and I speak for no one else. But I ask all of you who are able to stand on your covenanter convictions, please PLEASE not to j
                                            udge the rest of us too harshly. No one knows the struggles each one is going through, or the way the Lord is leading each of us. I pray that all of us will learn to do what we understand the scriptures to be telling us to do, without judging others when they come to a different understanding. .. even if we supposedly "know better."

                                            Willena

                                          • Willena Flewelling
                                            Dear Susan, Deejay and others who responded privately... I want to thank all of you for your love and support. I did not mean I have felt judged by anyone per
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                              Dear Susan, Deejay and others who responded privately... I want to thank all of you for your love and support. I did not mean I have felt judged by anyone per se (and that includes you, Jerry)... but it seems to be written into our code as covenanters to be judgmental of anyone who does not agree with us... and for some of us it has become an impossible situation. I very much appreciate all of you.

                                              Willena

                                              Susan Wilkinson wrote:

                                              Dear Willena,

                                               

                                              Tom and I would like to say that we understand that you are in a very difficult circumstance and we do NOT feel harsh judgment of you at all. In fact, I can think of 2 other women in very difficult circumstances with children to consider and no husbands at all. I think that anyone who wants to judge harshly should be ready with an answer for you as to what you ~should~ do. Personally, Tom and I don’t know what you should do nor do we know what we would do in your circumstances. Our hearts go out to you and we pray that the Lord will sustain you and guide you and unite your family in truth.

                                               

                                              Susan

                                               

                                               

                                               


                                              From: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com [mailto: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com ] On Behalf Of Willena Flewelling
                                              Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 2:18 AM
                                              To: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com
                                              Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: major versus minor & (ATTENTION COVENANTERS)

                                               

                                              Jerry wrote:

                                              > Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the doctrines that delineate us as covenanters!

                                              Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up...

                                              IF YOU ARE REMAIN COVENANTER, I MEAN "THE SIX TERMS OF COMMUNION" TYPE OF REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN, AND HAVE EITHER BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED OR OTHERWISE ARE UNABLE TO JOIN WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, PLEASE EMAIL ME PRIVATELY -- ragingcalvinist@ verizon.net -- I have an idea I want to talk about.


                                              Tim wrote:

                                              Hi Gerry:
                                              Whatever your idea is, I hope it will be a blessing to all the unjustly X'd.


                                              And I sincerely hope so too, Jerry. I can only speak for myself and not others who have been excommunicated, but as one who has made some decisions recently that would likely disappoint you deeply, I can say that none of those decisions were easy ones. With all my heart I wish it were possible for me to stand visibly and unwaveringly on the covenanter doctrines, which I still own. But the last two years have been very difficult in many ways, and losing membership in the RPNA was a deeper blow with far greater repercussions than I thought possible. The battle did not end with my excommunication, but is ongoing, with one daughter still a member in good standing, and confusion tearing at some of my other children. I am so thankful that none of them are having problems with assurance of salvation, but it could come to that.

                                              Excommunication and rejection by the elders of the RPNA has placed me in an even more difficult and isolated position than most of you who worship alone, for not only am I without any elder or pastoral oversight at all, but I am without a spiritual leader in my home. I have spent the past eleven years alienated from my husband. I gave up everything we had in that realm, as a wedge was driven between us. And for what? To be cast out of the visible church of Christ ? I don't have it in me to fight any more, or to stand alone.

                                              Jerry, your email confuses me, because I am ashamed of myself for not having the strength to stand alone. It doesn't bother me to stand against the elders or my daughter, for I believe they are in the wrong and are the ones who have wronged us. But you and Deejay and a number of others stand alone. You have not allowed your circumstances to dictate your actions. You know what you believe, and you are standing on it in the face of oppositon from all sides. I feel as if I have let you all down by apparently ditching some of our covenanter doctrines. But if I adhere strictly to the six terms of communion as we have been led to understand them, I stand alone. Responsible for seven children, three of whom are still under my care, with no husband. I have already spent twelve years doing what "true" covenanters think I should do, and I am no longer sure it is the right thing. With children looking up to me, I don't want to make any more mistakes. We need fellowship. We need accountability. We need guidance outside of our family.

                                              We can no longer afford to drive the family to the city and back each week to worship with our excommunicated brethren. To worship at home alone would mean my husband worshipping with us, and therefore taking the lead, which would be no different from worshipping with others of conflicting beliefs. And that is only one small part of my dilemma, which I cannot begin to express here. Let it suffice to say the months since my excommunication have been ones of deep struggles, not only in myself but in my children, and the struggles are far from over. There are brick walls everywhere I turn. We don't even have the option of a good Reformed church within reasonable driving distance. I am still asking the question... when will it end? The confusion, the battering, the uncertainty, the not knowing???

                                              I said when I started attending a local church with my husband and children, that God knows my heart, and my desire to glorify and enjoy Him... and I can trust Him not to strike me down dead or otherwise judge me harshly, but to show me in His loving ways, if I am doing wrong. It has been seven weeks now. My husband is happy and taking over his rightful role as head and leader in our home. My children are happy, with the exception of a few. All are seeking Him in ways we haven't done for a long time. I don't see my doubts at this point, as being His still small voice. I do see my husband's peace and contentment as His still small voice. I look forward to the day when I am happy and content too, knowing with my whole heart in agreement that I am truly walking in the way He has set before me.

                                              My story is my own, and I speak for no one else. But I ask all of you who are able to stand on your covenanter convictions, please PLEASE not to j
                                              udge the rest of us too harshly. No one knows the struggles each one is going through, or the way the Lord is leading each of us. I pray that all of us will learn to do what we understand the scriptures to be telling us to do, without judging others when they come to a different understanding. .. even if we supposedly "know better."

                                              Willena



                                            • Heart Aflame
                                              Hi Willena, I agree with what you say in lots of ways, about judging being written into our code in some way. But, I also think too often, folks fail to
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                                Hi Willena,

                                                 

                                                I agree with what you say in lots of ways, about judging being written into our code in some way.  But, I also think too often, folks fail to remember that when folks hit difficulties or hardships, that there but for the grace of God could be any of them too.  I think lots of folks would do a lot better, if they remembered that, and tried to ponderize or wonder what THEY would do if in similar straits, instead of being judgemental and making a bad situation worse for the person in hardship.  I’m speaking personally here too, so, understand where you are coming from.

                                                 

                                                 

                                                ~Deejayß-who will still judge bowing down to the popish mass and other similar issues!

                                                 

                                                 


                                                From: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com [mailto:covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Willena Flewelling
                                                Sent: 05 June 2007 09:22
                                                To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
                                                Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: major versus minor & (ATTENTION COVENANTERS)

                                                 

                                                Dear Susan, Deejay and others who responded privately... I want to thank all of you for your love and support. I did not mean I have felt judged by anyone per se (and that includes you, Jerry)... but it seems to be written into our code as covenanters to be judgmental of anyone who does not agree with us... and for some of us it has become an impossible situation. I very much appreciate all of you.

                                                Willena

                                                Susan Wilkinson wrote:

                                                Dear Willena,

                                                 

                                                Tom and I would like to say that we understand that you are in a very difficult circumstance and we do NOT feel harsh judgment of you at all. In fact, I can think of 2 other women in very difficult circumstances with children to consider and no husbands at all. I think that anyone who wants to judge harshly should be ready with an answer for you as to what you ~should~ do. Personally, Tom and I don’t know what you should do nor do we know what we would do in your circumstances. Our hearts go out to you and we pray that the Lord will sustain you and guide you and unite your family in truth.

                                                 

                                                Susan

                                                 

                                                 

                                              • Willena Flewelling
                                                Susan, I m not quite sure what you are asking, but I ll try to answer. I mean only what I wrote in my original email, which is still at the bottom of this one.
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                                  Susan, I'm not quite sure what you are asking, but I'll try to answer.

                                                  I mean only what I wrote in my original email, which is still at the bottom of this one. Perhaps I should have used the same terminology you did, and said "for some of us it is a very difficult situation." For me it FEELS like an impossible situation in that I can't please everyone... someone on one side or the other or both, is going to think I am being unfaithful no matter what I do. I have even met with criticism for worshipping with my fellow excommunicated brethren who live an hour away, "because they are unfaithful." Like I was not considered to be in the same category as they? Like I was supposed to stay at home and worship alone? And exclude my husband, since he would inevitably expect to be included, and also take the lead? For some of us it's a no win situation.

                                                  All of the above is from the human standpoint only. I know it is not impossible in God's eyes... He has a solution for each of us... a biblical solution... and we need to ask for His wisdom to see it, and the courage to do it, no matter what anyone in any camp has to say about it.

                                                  Willena  

                                                  Susan Wilkinson wrote:

                                                  Dear Willena,

                                                   

                                                  Can you help me understand what you mean by, “…for some of us it has become an impossible situation”? I tend to want to gently disagree with that statement, but I’m not sure exactly what you mean so I won’t yet.

                                                   

                                                  Susan

                                                   


                                                  From: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com [mailto: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com ] On Behalf Of Willena Flewelling
                                                  Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 4:22 AM
                                                  To: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com
                                                  Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: major versus minor & (ATTENTION COVENANTERS)

                                                   

                                                  Dear Susan, Deejay and others who responded privately... I want to thank all of you for your love and support. I did not mean I have felt judged by anyone per se (and that includes you, Jerry)... but it seems to be written into our code as covenanters to be judgmental of anyone who does not agree with us... and for some of us it has become an impossible situation. I very much appreciate all of you.

                                                  Willena

                                                  Susan Wilkinson wrote:

                                                  Dear Willena,

                                                   

                                                  Tom and I would like to say that we understand that you are in a very difficult circumstance and we do NOT feel harsh judgment of you at all. In fact, I can think of 2 other women in very difficult circumstances with children to consider and no husbands at all. I think that anyone who wants to judge harshly should be ready with an answer for you as to what you ~should~ do. Personally, Tom and I don’t know what you should do nor do we know what we would do in your circumstances. Our hearts go out to you and we pray that the Lord will sustain you and guide you and unite your family in truth.

                                                   

                                                  Susan

                                                   

                                                   

                                                   


                                                  From: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com [mailto: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com ] On Behalf Of Willena Flewelling
                                                  Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 2:18 AM
                                                  To: covenantedreformati onclub@yahoogrou ps.com
                                                  Subject: Re: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: major versus minor & (ATTENTION COVENANTERS)

                                                   

                                                  Jerry wrote:

                                                  > Please don't think that I was suggesting that we ditch any of the doctrines that delineate us as covenanters!

                                                  Good, but I understand that not everyone who has been excommunicated is of your opinion anymore. Which brings something up...

                                                  IF YOU ARE REMAIN COVENANTER, I MEAN "THE SIX TERMS OF COMMUNION" TYPE OF REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN, AND HAVE EITHER BEEN EXCOMMUNICATED OR OTHERWISE ARE UNABLE TO JOIN WITH OTHER CONGREGATIONS IN GOOD CONSCIENCE, PLEASE EMAIL ME PRIVATELY -- ragingcalvinist@ verizon.net -- I have an idea I want to talk about.


                                                  Tim wrote:

                                                  Hi Gerry:
                                                  Whatever your idea is, I hope it will be a blessing to all the unjustly X'd.


                                                  And I sincerely hope so too, Jerry. I can only speak for myself and not others who have been excommunicated, but as one who has made some decisions recently that would likely disappoint you deeply, I can say that none of those decisions were easy ones. With all my heart I wish it were possible for me to stand visibly and unwaveringly on the covenanter doctrines, which I still own. But the last two years have been very difficult in many ways, and losing membership in the RPNA was a deeper blow with far greater repercussions than I thought possible. The battle did not end with my excommunication, but is ongoing, with one daughter still a member in good standing, and confusion tearing at some of my other children. I am so thankful that none of them are having problems with assurance of salvation, but it could come to that.

                                                  Excommunication and rejection by the elders of the RPNA has placed me in an even more difficult and isolated position than most of you who worship alone, for not only am I without any elder or pastoral oversight at all, but I am without a spiritual leader in my home. I have spent the past eleven years alienated from my husband. I gave up everything we had in that realm, as a wedge was driven between us. And for what? To be cast out of the visible church of Christ ? I don't have it in me to fight any more, or to stand alone.

                                                  Jerry, your email confuses me, because I am ashamed of myself for not having the strength to stand alone. It doesn't bother me to stand against the elders or my daughter, for I believe they are in the wrong and are the ones who have wronged us. But you and Deejay and a number of others stand alone. You have not allowed your circumstances to dictate your actions. You know what you believe, and you are standing on it in the face of oppositon from all sides. I feel as if I have let you all down by apparently ditching some of our covenanter doctrines. But if I adhere strictly to the six terms of communion as we have been led to understand them, I stand alone. Responsible for seven children, three of whom are still under my care, with no husband. I have already spent twelve years doing what "true" covenanters think I should do, and I am no longer sure it is the right thing. With children looking up to me, I don't want to make any more mistakes. We need fellowship. We need accountability. We need guidance outside of our family.

                                                  We can no longer afford to drive the family to the city and back each week to worship with our excommunicated brethren. To worship at home alone would mean my husband worshipping with us, and therefore taking the lead, which would be no different from worshipping with others of conflicting beliefs. And that is only one small part of my dilemma, which I cannot begin to express here. Let it suffice to say the months since my excommunication have been ones of deep struggles, not only in myself but in my children, and the struggles are far from over. There are brick walls everywhere I turn. We don't even have the option of a good Reformed church within reasonable driving distance. I am still asking the question... when will it end? The confusion, the battering, the uncertainty, the not knowing???

                                                  I said when I started attending a local church with my husband and children, that God knows my heart, and my desire to glorify and enjoy Him... and I can trust Him not to strike me down dead or otherwise judge me harshly, but to show me in His loving ways, if I am doing wrong. It has been seven weeks now. My husband is happy and taking over his rightful role as head and leader in our home. My children are happy, with the exception of a few. All are seeking Him in ways we haven't done for a long time. I don't see my doubts at this point, as being His still small voice. I do see my husband's peace and contentment as His still small voice. I look forward to the day when I am happy and content too, knowing with my whole heart in agreement that I am truly walking in the way He has set before me.

                                                  My story is my own, and I speak for no one else. But I ask all of you who are able to stand on your covenanter convictions, please PLEASE not to j
                                                  udge the rest of us too harshly. No one knows the struggles each one is going through, or the way the Lord is leading each of us. I pray that all of us will learn to do what we understand the scriptures to be telling us to do, without judging others when they come to a different understanding. .. even if we supposedly "know better."

                                                  Willena

                                                   


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