177. Who should the Lord’s church exclude from the Lord’s Supper?
Whoever is unrepentant, unforgiving and self-righteous, who arouses public scandal by his walk because he lives in open sin: he does not belong at the Lord’s table. The Lord’s Supper becomes a curse for him.
The church is obliged, for the Lord’s sake, to watch that the unworthy stay away. The church must exclude unbelievers and the ungodly, as far as they are known as such. Otherwise, the church will become complicit in the abuse of the Lord’s Supper and bring judgment down upon itself.
- Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:15-18)
With these words the Lord gave the duty of church discipline to His disciples.