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Confession of Faith, 1632
XVII. Of Shunning the Separated
Concerning the withdrawing from,
or shunning the separated, we believe and confess, that if any
one, either through his wicked life or perverted doctrine, has
so far fallen that he is separated from God, and, consequently,
also separated and punished by the church, the same must, according
to the doctrine of Christ and His apostles, be shunned, without
distinction, by all the fellow members of the church, especially
those to whom it is known, in eating, drinking, and other similar
intercourse, and no company be had with him that they may not
become contaminated by intercourse with him, nor made partakers
of his sins; but that the sinner may be made ashamed, pricked
in his heart, and convicted in his conscience, unto his reformation.
I Cor. 5:9-11; II Thess. 3:14.
Yet, in shunning as well as in
reproving, such moderation and Christian discretion must be used,
that it may conduce, not to the destruction, but to the reformation
of the sinner. For, if he is needy, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick,
or in any other distress, we are in duty bound, necessity requiring
it, according to love and the doctrine of Christ and His apostles,
to render him aid and assistance; otherwise, shunning would in
this case tend more to destruction than to reformation.
Therefore, we must not count
them as enemies, but admonish them as brethren, that thereby
they may be brought to a knowledge of and to repentance and sorrow
for their sins, so that they may become reconciled to God, and
consequently be received again into the church, and that love
may continue with them, according as is proper. II Thess. 3:15.
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