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Featured Christians Shun

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by Israel Khan, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Hi Guys,

    In a few threads I have brought up the issue of shunning.

    Therefore I would like to get others opinion on the bibles view of the issue:

    What scriptures say that Christians should shun/excommunicate/disfellowship ex-Christians?

    Do you understand excommunicating and disfellowshipping members or ex members of Christianity to mean that one mustn't even talk to them even it is a family member?

    And do the scriptures the pro-shunning Christians use as their foundation for the practice have other alternative interpretations by other groups?

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  2. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    Which Christians shun outside of the Amish? Excommunication in the Catholic Church deprives one of the Sacraments. But they are expected to attend church and accept conversion. Upon death the excommunication is lifted.
     
    #2 pcarl, Jul 22, 2019
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  3. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Apparently the Catholic used to have a form of excommunication called excommunication Vitandi in which members that to shun certain excommunicated members. It was hardly ever used.

    Jehovah's Witnesses shun all ex-JWs who are either disfellowshipped because they "unrepentedly" did something wrong (unrepentent as decided by the elders in charge), left because they were disillusioned or speak out against the group and become apostate.

    There are many other smaller groups which also shun. But they are fringe groups.
     
  4. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    As per my last comment there seems to be a difference between excommunication and shunning. I understand excommunication to be depriving one of the sacraments. Are members of the church still able to communicate with excommunicated members or ex-members who just left the church?
     
  5. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    There are two main approaches to a basis for shunning. There is the Bible-only approach and the Church+Bible approach. These are two different things. The institutional churches clearly have some kind of excommunication rules which are not merely extracted from a modern study of scripture, however many protestant and modernized churches will only accept anything mentioned in canon. So you have in some churches the argument from tradition but from others only an argument from canon.

    The approach strictly from canon leads I think to a local, not an institution-wide form of shunning. In other words it should be as private as possible. In addition there is a prohibition against involving government in disagreements, which means the shunning should not be governmental. The person should hear 'No' and be excluded from a small group, then if they go to another group they should hear it from that group separately. The idea as I gather it is to get them to reconnect rather than to humiliate and cut them off. I'm unable to extract from canon any advice that suggests writing letters to all churches to have someone excluded worldwide. That has to be from some sort of tradition, which may or may not be an innovative practice. I suspect its somewhat political rather than practical.

    I also don't understand about hiding pedophiles. I'm not sure what the basis is for that. One would think that this would be a 'Give to Caesar what is Caesars' kind of situation, but I haven't deeply investigated it.

    Here are a couple of verses of interest in addition to the usual ones about shunning:

    Romans 16:20 "Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." This alludes to the story of Eden where Eve is promised that her seed will crush the head of the serpent. The author here suggests that being wise about good and being innocent is how Satan is destroyed. His phrase translated 'God of peace' invokes that the principle of peace will accomplish this. If there is to be a shunning it should be done peacefully.

    Jude 1:4 criticizes 'Certain individuals'. Notice it doesn't name anyone, and there are two objections that these people both promote immorality and speak against anything they don't understand. These come into the church, made up supernatural experiences that excuse lasciviousness and malign anyone who disagrees with them about anything. It may be that Jude is not even talking about anyone in particular but is warning people not to be this way, although the form of his speech is one of criticism. Who though has not been tempted to behave in this way and to do the things he talks about? "For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." (Jde 1:4 NIV) "Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct--as irrational animals do--will destroy them." (Jde 1:10 NIV)
     
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  6. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Great response!

    A few things I would like to clarify:

    - What is meant by "local shunning" being as "private" as possible?

    - Does that shunning include total non-communication with them inside and outside the local group? And does this extend to family members?
     
  7. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    My opinion is that if somebody is sinning secretly then there's no call to shun them, and I reason from there. First you shouldn't accuse people of things, unless its important. You shant slander them either. Thirdly if you do shun someone there should be a path for them to return. Fourth if you shun someone you should soften the blow so they aren't destroyed.

    By local shunning I mean they should only be shunned by those with whom they interact whom they affect, whenever possible. Suppose Ed keeps talking in church about how he's got two wives and how great it is to be drunk all the time. Well, he shouldn't do that in church promoting lascivious living; and he should be directed to leave until he stops. This informs him both that his lifestyle is unacceptable and that he should stop trying to promote it. If he keeps it to himself there's no need for a wanted poster in the post office or for someone to follow Ed to see if he's changed his ways.

    He should apologize for disrupting and encouraging sin. After that it should be forgotten, but suppose he won't shut his big mouth and tries to have his two women with him in church. He'll be shunned until he repents.

    Local: If Ed gets shunned by his church on Thunder and Brambleton, he should be able to go down the street and go through the same process or correction and shunning. Those down the street will, not knowing his past, greet him. If he, then, is shunned again he will have 2 groups that have told him to correct his ways. This is how it should be, rather than Church A writing to everybody else "This guy is always talking about his two women in church and brings them with him if you let him..." That's not going to win the person back. What's going to win them back is if they go to the next place and get to know people and those same people reject the same action.

    Suppose though you're talking about someone who is a danger to people. Well then that is different I think. If they're dangerous then you have a duty to inform not to shun. Shunning is lower level, not as urgent. You call the police or do what's necessary; but an adulterer is not a murderer. They aren't a walking time bomb. They just shouldn't be allowed to promote it in the church and to church people.
     
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  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    I would like to clarify more things and it would be great if you have scriptures to back your answers up for these (unless it is a tradition):

    - When Ed repents, should he repent to elders or just the congregation as a whole?

    - Should Ed's reason's for being shunned be revealed to everyone in the local church or is it a confidential matter between him and those he confessed to or were caught by? Or does the requirements for shunning mean that the whole group knows already?

    - Does shunning only apply to people who advertise their sin? (Also a scripture to back up not shunning people who sin in private)

    - Is there scriptural reason to support the idea that a report of Ed's deeds shouldn't be passed on to the other church?

    - If someone is a danger to people, why NOT shun them?
     
  9. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    Of course. their choice.
     
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  10. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Good to know.

    What is your stance against shunning? (please support with scriptures if you can.)

    And would you consider the scriptures usually used to support shunning as meaning something other than shunning?
     
  11. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I think its viewed as a malady. The elders anoint them. Its probably public or as public as the shunning was? I assume the elders are the ones who are responsible for shunning the person from the meeting. I don't think their original sin has to be announced.
    "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven." (Jas 5:14-15 NIV)

    No, I don't think so. If he's excluded from the whole meeting then in the first place children should not be informed, because children don't understand. Individual men should probably not be informed, and they should be responsible to react individually. Suppose he wants to get some advice from an individual? Are you going to punish them for being merciful to him individually? That doesn't seem right. Its the same as the local shunning but in miniature. If he starts talking about how great it is to be lascivious than its up the that individual to then say "I don't want to hear it." The more times this happens the better. So if Bob doesn't know that Edgar has been shunned by the meeting and has Edgar over for dinner, that's Ok with me. Don't punish Edgar or make Edgar the enforcer for the meeting. It will work out.

    Important references: I Corinthians 5, I Corinthians 6, 2 Corinthians 2. The references in I Corinthians are about expelling someone, and the one in 2 Corinthians is about forgiving and being careful not to destroy them in the process. Peace is the goal and keep the person is the goal. Don't irradiate them like a cancer. Rather, treat them like a bent reed. Put some tape on it.

    Remember Peter's original name is 'Reed'. Isaiah 42:3 "A bruised reed he will not break and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out..." The person may be bent or smouldering, so straighten them out carefully or gently blow to fire them back up. Remember all the stories about reeds who have become mountains.

    What about Jesus reaction to the leper? He was not concerned with contracting leprosy. He touched them. The meaning is that you shouldn't be afraid of their ideas and words. Its just the behavior mentioned in Jude that is really unacceptable. Its when they are promoting lascivious behavior and are slandering and opposing anything or anyone they don't understand. You can't keep peace under those conditions. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. (Luk 5:13 NIV) Based upon this the idea of shunning shouldn't be used to exclude people that you are afraid will corrupt your pristine group with strange ideas. What is the gospel if not a strange idea coming from no authority? Who gives us permission to do what we do? Its a bit rich for us to then criticize over a difference of opinion.

    Its about keeping peace, first. That is how Satan is crushed. Hopefully the elders are clever enough to know when to act, and I mean the local elders. Anything beyond that is from church tradition not strictly extracted from the canon, and then you should also be applying other traditions if you go that route -- the route of bishops and hierarchies.

    I'm not sure if all of these are applicable, but they seem to be in the ballpark:

    If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another's confidence,
    (Pro 25:9 NIV)

    Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb 13:4 NIV)

    For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. (2Co 12:20 NIV)

    On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, (1Co 12:22-23 NIV)


    I don't think there is specific advice for that in the canon except to use wisdom. There are a couple verses in the Torah which you could apply, but its not a direct comment. There is a law about dangerous animals. If your bull kills another bull, and you let it live and it kills again then you are responsible (have been negligent). Exodus 21:35-36. If someone is charged with murder they have to stay in a city of refuge until they are cleared, found guilty or the presiding high priest dies. Numbers 35. Its form of imprisonment, but the canon doesn't reveal the details of how harsh it is. So I guess there is some wisdom in that which can be applied by some kind of transmutation into modern times. Obviously in my opinion a dangerous person can't be allowed free reign.
     
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  12. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    I was shunned in 2004. In 2016 the church apologized. My forgiveness was hard coming but there is no choice is there?
     
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  13. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    I think some instances are more towards avoiding as to actual shunning, if by shunning is meant to bring public shame.
    Mt 10:14 Shake the dust from your feet: this gesture indicates a complete disassociation from such unbelievers.

    1Cor 5:11


    But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."
     
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  14. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    IMHO, that is a very dangerous passage and it has been used often to hurt folk unjustly. It is one of the reasons that I question the existence of part of the NT. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John feel genuine, but from Acts on I view them with a jaundiced eye. The killing of Ananias and Sapphira seem out of character to me. Then the way that most Christians completely ignore the admonishment in 1 Cor 11, and the idea of "Praying constantly" in 1 Thes. 5. It seems that Christians pick and choose...
     
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  15. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    This confuses me a bit. If children and individual men do not have to be informed and can hang out with the person then what is shunning really?
     
  16. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    If I remember correctly, you were left Christianity because its response to 911? Why did the church apologize?
     
  17. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    Not associating and eating with someone does not mean shun then if shun is:

    Shunning would be absolutely no talking to them whatsoever unless it is essential that you must have dealings with them.

    So for instance, one wouldn't want their children to hang around children who are bad influences, and eating would be a form of socializing with them. But that doesn't mean that one's children wouldnt be able to talk to them at all.

    (edit) I do see that the verse says not to associate with anybody who "bears the name of brother" so it seem like this wouldn't apply to persons who left Christianity and do not consider themselves a brother?
     
    #17 Israel Khan, Jul 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  18. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Active Member

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    I agree. Having researched cults and the negative psychological affects of ostracism and groups "weaponizing" shunning I am also beginning to question parts of the NT. How did God NOT see that it would be used for negative purposes?
     
  19. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    I had a serious Mental Breakdown because of PTSD, and our Government's actions aggravated it. The church said I had fallen deep into sin, and started very painful meetings. I left, but then years later they said their actions were inappropriate.
     
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  20. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Remember, Paul authored all that train of thought. I question his being called by God, so it is not God's Fault.
     
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