All those who hear the word of the Lord and keep it by faith (Jesus'
definition of a disciple, and echoed by the Augsburg Confession's
emphasis that all which is needed for Christian unity is agreement in
the Gospel and the Sacraments) are the truly united Body of Christ,
joined together by the One Christ as branches to His Vine. Since
Christian unity is a work of the Holy Spirit rather than men and the
bureaucracies of men in denominational church structures, we assume
and confess a Baptismal unity with all Christians. For those
individuals, congregations, dioceses, synods or church bodies which
have expressed public, scandalous, and unrepentant apostasy or sin,
which has justly put them under the ban of excommunication from the
One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, we shall consider them out
of fellowship until repentance and faith are restored.