Brethren Archive Exploring the history of some of those known as "Plymouth Brethren", and a few other things.

Wednesday February 15, 2017

Interesting 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.

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

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