I was lookin at the Book of Discipline of the FC Methodist Church which is where I attend worship and one of the questions asked of those who petition to join the church is "Have you ever been excommunicated from another Christian church?"
What is the point in that question?
I have never been excommunicated from any church but it makes me curious as to why they would ask that question, do other churches ask it?
If you are kicked out of one denomination are you banished from Christianity as a whole?


Surely that would depend on why you were excommunicated … for example if you were booted out of the Catholic Church because you said the Pope wasn’t infallible then certainly you’d be more than welcome in any other Christian denomination. If, on the other hand, you supported the ordination of gays or women I would imagine that would be a bit more problematic.


Makes sense, especially if you denied the Trinity or something of that nature. Apparently if you answer “yes” to the question they go to the church that excommunicated you and investigate you to some degree.


Well denial of the Trinity IS a denial of Christianity.


I understand those kinds of things to mean: If you were kicked out or even left, particularly on a “bad note” they would want you to go back and try to heal any problems before joining a new church.

Youre not banished from Christianity, but if you have problems everywhere you go, eventually you will banish yourself with a huge chip on your shoulder or a plank in your eye.


I’m not entirely sure that the Methodist understanding of excommunication, and the Catholic meaning of the term, are congruent.

Excommunication is not the same thing as what is sometimes referred to as “church discipline” in the denominations. Some groups use the term “disfellowshipping” to describe the process. Essentially, those in control declare the person is no longer welcome among them – boots them out, as it were.

Catholics who are excommunicated have excommunicated themselves through what they have done. When the Church pronounces on their excommunication, she does so primarily (there are other effects) to make the persons more fully aware of what they have done, in the hopes that the realization will lead to repentence. It is not just rejection of beliefs that can excommunicate a Catholic. Murder excommunicates the murderer through the very act.

Perhaps the question is being asked to try and find troublemakers?



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