No, shunning doesn’t rule.
These are the unspoken rules of shunning over doctrinal disagreements.
- The church is always right. Shunning is just one way of ensuring people don’t lose faith in the church.
- If you think the church is wrong, refer back to rule number 1, or you may be in danger of getting shunned yourself.
- If you have a doctrinal disagreement with another believer, don’t shun him/her as long as he/she keeps his/her mouth shut about what he/she believes. It’s okay to disagree, but if he/she disagrees publicly, then he/she has crossed the line.
- It is Biblical to shun a believer who publicly opposes church doctrine, because it’s immoral and evil for him/her to disagree with the church’s orthodox interpretation of the Bible.
- Some weak, soft-hearted people who are uncomfortable with the idea of shunning may point out that orthodox interpretations vary from church to church. Don’t listen to them. If they are vocal or over insistent about it, you may need to shun them too. Talk to your pastor or elders if you’re not sure whether it is appropriate to shun. Since your pastor and elders are the highest authority in the church (see rule number 1), you can be sure that whatever decision they make will glorify Jesus Christ.
- It is your duty as a Christian to shun a believer who publicly opposes church doctrine. Others might hear what he/she has to say and start questioning orthodoxy. It’s dangerous to keep a rebellious believer around. The church must maintain its testimony of unity to a sinful, broken world.
- When you shun a believer who publicly opposes church doctrine, you can privately share this with a few close, trusted friends, so that they can pray for his/her godly sorrow and repentance — but don’t go around announcing that you’ve shunned him/her. It makes the church look bad.
- If you have already shunned a believer who publicly opposes church doctrine, and you think others ought to do the same, refer to rule number 7.
- If you experience feelings of guilt or remorse over shunning a believer who publicly opposes church doctrine, remember that shunning is an act of love. If you continue to feel guilt or remorse, it is NOT the conviction of the Spirit of God, it is Satan trying to deceive you. Reread the rules of shunning every morning and evening to renew your mind and bring your thoughts into subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Part of being a follower of Christ is doing what Jesus did. While it is true that Jesus never shunned anyone and made a habit of openly challenging orthodoxy, some of His followers said we should do otherwise. And although those followers were fallible human beings, they wrote the Bible. So, follow the Bible and the church’s interpretation of it, and keep your mouth shut if you disagree, because this is how we love one another as Christ loved us. (See rule number 5.)