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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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An ecclesiastical penalty, by which they who incur the guilt of any heinous sin, are separated from the church, and deprived of its spiritual advantages. Thus the Jews "put out of the synagogue" those they deemed unworthy John 9:22 12:42 16:2 . There were two degrees of excommunication among them: one a temporary and partial exclusion form ecclesiastical privileges, and from society; the other a complete excision form the covenant people of God and their numerous privileges, and abandonment to eternal perdition. See ANATHEMA .

The right and duty of excommunication when necessary were recognized in the Christian church by Christ and his apostles, Matthew 18:15-18 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 16:22 Galatians 5:12 1 Timothy 1:20 Titus 3:10 . The offender, found guilty and incorrigible, was to be excluded from the Lord's supper and cut off from the body of believers. This excision from Christian fellowship does not release one from any obligation to obey the law of God and the gospel of Christ; nor exempt him from any relative duties, as a man or a citizen. The censure of the church, on the other hand, is not to be accompanied, as among papists, with enmity, curses, and persecution. Our Savior directs that such an offender be regarded "as heathen man and a publican;" and the apostles charge the church to "withdraw from" those who trouble them, and "keep no company with them," "no, not to eat;" but this is to be understood of those offices of civility and fraternity which a man is at liberty to pay or to withhold, and not of the indispensable duties of humanity, founded on nature, the law of nations, and the spirit of Christianity, 2 Thessalonians 3:6,15 2 John 1:10-11 .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Excommunication'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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