Form for the Excommunication of Non-Communicant Members

First Announcement

Beloved in the Lord:

The consistory has the sad duty of informing the congregation that a brother (sister), by baptism incorporated into the Christian church, is guilty of sin against the. . . commandment and that he (she), in spite of many earnest admonitions, did not show evidence of true repentance. Therefore the consistory, to its great sorrow, is obliged to deal further with this brother (sister), and, if he (she) persists in his (her) sin, to proceed to his (her) excommunication. The consistory is making this known to you for the first time and seriously exhorts you to pray for him (her) continually, that it might please the Lord to bring him (her) to repentance.

Second Announcement

Beloved in the Lord:

The consistory, having taken the advice of classis, has the sad duty of informing the congregation that _____ , by baptism incorporated into the Christian church, in spite of continual earnest admonitions, obstinately persists in sinning against the . . . commandment. Unless he (she) within . . . shows repentance and amendment of life, the consistory will be obliged to exclude this brother (sister) from the communion of the church because of his (her) wilful disobedience to the covenant of God. The congregation is exhorted to admonish this member with affection and to pray the Lord for his (her) conversion.

The Excommunication

Beloved in the Lord:

The consistory previously had the sad duty of informing the congregation that _____ , by baptism incorporated into the Christian church, in spite of continual earnest admonitions, obstinately persisted in sinning against the. . . commandment, and that the consistory would be obliged to exclude this brother (sister) from the communion of the church, unless he (she) showed repentance and amendment of life.

The consistory must now inform the congregation that _____ , in spite of many earnest admonitions, obstinately denies the communion with Christ and his church, which was signified and sealed to him (her) in holy baptism.

Therefore, we as the elders of the church of God in this place, assembled in the name and authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, declare before you all that for these reasons we hereby excommunicate _____ from the church of the Lord and that, as long as he (she) persists obstinately and impenitently in his (her) sins, he (she) is excluded from the fellowship of Christ and all the spiritual blessings and benefits which God promises to and bestows upon his church; and that he (she) is therefore to be accounted by you as a Gentile and an outcast, according to the command of Christ, who says that whatever his ministers shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.1

Further we exhort you, beloved Christians, not to associate with him (her), that he (she) may be ashamed. Do not look on him (her) as an enemy but warn him (her) as a brother (sister).2

In the meantime, take care lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, departing from the living God.3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother(this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:1-4). Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders (1 Pet 5:5).

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the worldthe desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessionsis not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides for ever (1 Jn 2:15-17).

But since it is God who works in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure,4 let us call upon his holy name with confession of our sins.

Prayer

Righteous God and merciful Father, before your holy majesty we accuse ourselves because of our sins. We acknowledge that we have deserved the sorrow and grief caused by the excommunication of our brother (sister). Yes, we all are worthy to be excluded from your presence because of our many transgressions.

But, O Lord, be gracious to us for Christ's sake. We repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. Work in us by your Spirit, so that we may endeavour to serve you more and more. Grant that we may shun pollution by the world and by those who have strayed from you.

Grant that the excluded member may become ashamed of his (her) sins and return to you, for you have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Therefore we, your people, will always welcome those who return to you. Kindle in our hearts love and zeal that, by our admonitions as well as by our example, this excommunicated brother (sister) and others who live in unbelief may be brought back to you.

Bless our endeavours, that we may have reason to rejoice again over him (her) for whom we now must mourn, so that in this way your holy name be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

(Or: . . . through our Lord Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray,

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.)

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