Friday, December 28, 2012

Thoughts on Church Discipline

A conversation I was having the other day turned to the subject of excommunication. Such is not necessarily the most pleasant of topics. There are some who think that excommunication is a terrible thing.

The Church of Jesus Christ is an organization of those who have made certain covenants with God. Those who have made the covenant of baptism are members of the Church. The covenant is voluntary. We do not baptize infants or those who are not judged to have the intellectual capacity to enter the covenant. Of course, since none of us can see the future, we do not have a full understanding of what the covenant we enter into entails when we enter into it. But when we enter school we also do not have a full understanding of what that will entail either. Those of us who have entered the covenant have an obligation to keep the covenant that we have made.

The Church would rather have everyone who enters the covenant keep the covenant that they made with God. Not everyone who has entered the covenant keeps the covenant. The Church then has to decide what to do with those who have broken their covenant. Excommunication is simply an acknowledgement by the Church that an individual has left their covenant and so the Church releases them from being bound by the covenant that they have already abandoned.