I heard variations of this theme a lot lately – there is nothing wrong with this church that a few deaths or excommunications wouldn’t take care of”.  This usually in churches that can’t pay their bills and their Pastor but………..

I got a kick out of this cartoon although I am not sure why and I am not sure what brought the cartoon about.  I am sure that for some reason I am hearing a lot of excommunication talk out there and it is a bit frightening especially when the excommunicated are not the “wicked and impenitent”, but those who might have disagreed with a preacher.  We have some cute ‘slight of hand” things done with constitutions and bylaws that talk about self-exclusion and self excommunication and yet some feel the need to still bring it to the voters.

One of the Presidents of our Synod, H.C. Schwann wrote this…..

What has kept us together until now was not our Constitution, as  good as it is, not the personality of those who bear the highest synodical  offices. No, it was something radically different, something which God Himself  has given us. This was the unity of spirit and faith. We remain together  outwardly because we are one inwardly. Because of this, districts, congregations  and individuals can never be careful enough in whatever they are doing to  maintain the bond of unity. Even though they may have the best intentions in  undertaking certain items, if these are not properly thought through, and are  not properly considered on the backdrop of love to others and with due respect  to the welfare and furtherance of the whole [this unity cannot be maintained].   As long as we by God’s grace remain one in heart and soul through the Word and  faith, our bond of fellowship at the continued existence of the Synod will not  be seriously challenged. If this [spirit] is ever lost, then no constitution  will coerce those who rebel, and the resulting cooperation will be of no value. (p. 133)

We might want to think hard about what the definition of “rebellion” is and what he meant by “the welfare and furtherance of the whole”.