Shunning is evil and flies in the face of the Gospel. As a church, there is no quicker way to sow the seeds of your own destruction than to treat brothers and sisters with such a cruel and heartless “punishment”.
Paul warned us in II Corinthians 2 that this is the case. Treating brothers and sisters too harshly simply invites Satan to outwit you.
For such a one [this man was openly having a sexual relationship with his mother-in-law] this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. — II Corinthians 2:6-11
Not only does the Scripture warn the church, I also tried to. I did so repeatedly in private and in public.
But the outwitting of Satan had taken ahold of the men who led Mars Hill Church. The Mars Hill Church Board of Advisors and Accountability seem to be reasonable and good men. Why would they be so stubborn and mule-headed in the way they treated people?
Perhaps it was because their failure to end the harsh treatment of Paul Petry and hundreds of other members simply gave Satan the ability to outwit them.
It is my prayer that true repentance, the glorious antidote to Satan’s tactics, is applied to their hearts and minds very soon. It is not too late for these men to begin to end the havoc that their actions have allowed Satan to have.
I pray, for their sake and the sake of their dear families, that they will fall at the foot of the cross and cry out to Jesus to forgive them for the shunning of Paul Petry. Jesus, who is full of mercy, may reach out and wipe out the foothold these men allowed Satan to have in the life of the Mars Hill Church and (even they may think to the contrary) in their own lives.
God, may you intervene in the lives of these men, and lead them to a genuine understanding your gospel, your forgiveness, and your abundant life.