Brethren Archive
Monday May 1, 2017

1889 Newspaper Clipping about Excommunication of a Young Lady


Mr George Scott was listed as the corresponding brother for this assembly in Scotland in the 1882 address list in the History Section.

In This Section

Peter Streitenberger said ...
So this young lady put the letter of her excommunication to the worldly newspaper - that speaks very loud in favor of the brethren regarding that there were serious problems within this lady. I don't think that there was an agreement to do so, private letters are not meant for all the public. What has the world to know that? It seems that she has connections to the world and serves them by providing a case (in her eyes) against the brethren.
Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 : 01:14
Tom said ...
Hi Peter,

Thanks for your comment; you may well be correct, but let me attempt to suggest a different interpretation.

Firstly, having known people who have been the victim of unjust and essentially 'evil' Brethren 'discipline', when this happens you can be in a state of shock and disbelief, as your mental & spiritual world is shattered, when what you had believed to be 'of God' is suddenly shown to be clearly not that. This can be very hard time, and difficult to take, and one of the reactions might be to believe it's right to "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them" (Eph 5:11), and thinking it's right to expose them might justify to a person the thought of warning as many people by putting it in a newspaper like this.

Also 'secrecy' I think is inherently Anti-Christian; "For nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known" .. and when there is a desire to hide a matter from scrutiny, that to me often serves as a good indicator of the rightness or wrongness of it. Thus coming to the letter, it doesn't mention what the charges were against her, and surely it should do? Maybe this was because the Brethren knew that they weren't justifiable reasons in the public (or even Christian) conscience, so declined to state them? And if there was just reason for the excommunication, then putting it in the paper would reflect very badly on herself - after all the only biblical reasons for excommunication are gross moral evil. So the fact she was prepared to do this suggest maybe she felt public opinion would side with her against the Brethren.

All speculation but the somewhat pompous and arrogant way the letter is written, and the lack of any appeal in it to turn away from anything that might be real 'sin' suggests to me it was most likely the Brethren were at fault, and not the young lady!
Sunday, Mar 19, 2017 : 09:13
Don Shaver, Thunder Bay, Ontario said ...
Is the purpose of church discipline not restoration through repentance and genuine change? This letter to the "young girl" does not even hint at restoration to the body of believers.
Another possibility with the publishing of the expulsion letter, is that she did not divulge the letter herself. Perhaps it was her parents or other person who saw the vitriol in the note.
Discipline is necessary, but it is to be administered with love as are all things in the church. love for the Lord, His church and the offender.
Monday, Oct 30, 2017 : 17:12
Tom said ...
Agreed .. I get the impression though that they'd probably sussed that she had seen the light and "escaped their clutches" by this point. I could be wrong but it reads like later Taylor exclusion letters.
Friday, Nov 10, 2017 : 18:33
Harrison Musonda said ...
To Whom it May Concern

Re: Hugh Cunningham and Kamapanda Mission 1923-1940


Allow me to introduce myself; My name is Harrison Musonda and I am currently working on a research document for my dissertation on the works of Missionary Hugh Cunningham who opened Kamapanda Mission Station in 1923.

My request from you is to ask for any documentation that you may have in form of letters, reports, pictures or anything that will make my research complete on his works and from any other missionaries who may have served at Kamapanda Mission Station in the then Northern Rhodesia, currently Zambia.

Your kind help will be highly appreciated.

I remain in the Lord's service.

Harrison Musonda
5385 W. Rosebud Ct SE
Kentwood, MI 49512, USA
Sunday, Dec 24, 2017 : 18:04
Stewart said ...
OK friends, it is easy for you to stand back and judge the brethren for an action that may appear on the surface as 'arrogant' or 'offencive'; I'm not saying you're right or conclusively wrong. My objection to the accusers of the 'brethren' is that all christian groups or churches sometimes face difficult circumstances and decisions. The wider your outlook is the more you are likely to condemn a deciion that appears to be final or shall we say, somewhat definite? I can think of instances that have been done in all types of churches; some take no action, some offer absolution or penance and some chase and outside even their own church, faith or religion. However, the extent to which any person or church is prepared to go on with sin or unrighteousness could require formal and decisive action, even disassociation, if true. e.g.
To the Church in Thyatira
Rev 2:18  And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 
Rev 2:19  I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 
Rev 2:19  I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 
Rev 2:20  Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 
Rev 2:21  And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 
Such was the the case at Corinth, I recall.
So far as I am aware brethren were fairly circumspect up until about 1960, I think. Until the emmergence of one J Taylor (junior). I do not intend to discredit any Christian church or group except to point out that the Catholic Church did many an evil deed; yet it is still held in respect by many today and contains many true christians. If I joined any one particular sect, I should be discredited by the rest. A thing that I have stopped doing. Why?
I have seen where it leads to. The world is watching and ready to give christians bad publicity, and it affects us all; yes wherever you may be. Remember, that the rulers of this world put Christ on the cross and have no conscience about persecuting His followers and bring the righteousness of God into doubt. We should be careful when judging these matters. The world is watching us.
In the 1990's the Red Army shot and killed christians by the hundreds; Chinese troops regularly persecute believers, even today. The world watches on.
Friday, Nov 9, 2018 : 20:12
Tom said ...

Hi Stewart, Thanks for your comment. Agree completely that many cases of discipline, in the Brethren, or elsewhere are Biblically necessary. However the Brethren have long had a history of describing people as "wicked persons" in this manner, not for any moral matter, but merely breaking some ecclesiastical rule, such as fellowshipping with other Christians. This went on long before the 1960s, and although one cannot be certain, to me the letter reads in a way to suggest it was most likely this, rather than anything which would commend itself to wider judgement.

Saturday, Nov 10, 2018 : 06:38
Josiah said ...
Our failure to learn deeply what flesh is in man is very obvious in our words! I have read a little about the brethren from the beginning through their divisions up to their present state. Concerning the several divisions that happened among the brethren, I have done a simple test for myself. I have put myself in their shoes and ask myself questions in the light of the scripture. I don't blame anybody for the divisions because I might have done worse,but the truth remains that several of the divisions were caused by the flesh rather than the love of Christ. The later reunion shows that God was not happy about the divisions though purposively allowed it. I don't think excommunication can be done by brethren without proper warning first. So haven't they warned the lady?
Well, as for me, I don't care what people may think but sincerely, I have no right to start a new assembly or fight for my right if excommunicated whether rightly or wrongly. It's obvious God is the author of the brethren Assembly in His wisdom. Can't I wait on Him in prayer to lead me on what to do? Do I have the right to expose Assembly's dealings with me to the world? If I'm disappointed and destabilized by the Assembly decision over my matter, am I ever told in His word to announce it to the world or to tell God my request so that He may grant me His own peace Phil 4:6-7? Do we even value the Assembly of God at all? Can we prove that the ladies action is from the Spirit?May God help us to always identify flesh in us and others never to justify but condemn it.
Moreover, the website should be only for edification and points should be clearly stated bearing the word of God in mind to guide our thought rather than mere suggestions. May God be with us all.
Thursday, Dec 15, 2022 : 06:48

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