Matthew 18:15-20

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by seekingthetruth, May 13, 2012.

  1. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    I don't know if this has been debated before on the BB, I couldn't find it if it has.

    I would like to know how you read these verses, which are the Words of Jesus.


    Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
    Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
    Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
    Mat 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
    Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.


    It is clear to me that verses 18, 19 and 20 are simply saying that in the case of needed church discipline towards someone that if two or more people come together in prayer in order to make a decision about what is to be done, that Jesus will be in their presence, and will honor their decision.

    Many people interpret this as a broad general statement about the "power of prayer" when two people agree on anything being prayed about (not just church discipline), and as a promise from Jesus to grant the prayer (Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:)

    What say you?

    John
     
  2. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    First off, when I plead a general prayer request to God, does He need one or more others to pray the same thing before He answers the prayer?

    The reason for requiring 'two or more' in verse 16 is for the sole purpose of having witnesses to the process of deciding the discipline.

    Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

    And in verse 19 is the promise of Jesus to honor the decision. Jesus is simply saying that two are needed to make that decision.

    Mat 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven

    The idea that two people can "touch and agree" on something, and God being bound to grant it is bordering (in my opinion) on witchcraft. God does not respond to rituals, He responds to prayers.

    John
     
  3. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland
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    I've never been a member of a church that excommunicated someone. Have you? Perhaps this is an indictment on the identity of our churches, that people who need to be excommunicated are gone far before a church could get around to excommunicating them! So is this passage impractical today, are churches in complete disobedience to it, and, in general, can practical application of verses 19-20 still be gained apart from its historical-critical context? The extreme danger of the historical-critical method is that, in general, NOTHING has any lasting applicable value since the Sitz im Leben, the original setting of the original listeners, often is so different from today's audience that the application may simply be ignored as not meant for us but for people of another time.
     
  4. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    My church removed the pastor's own brother from his Sunday School teaching position for moving in with his girlfriend and admitting intimate relations with her.

    A deacon was removed from office for posting he had been at a night club all night on Facebook. Not the kind of image God's servants need to project.

    And this passage of scripture was the process that was followed to do it. So yes, it is still valid today. Everything in the Bible is still as valid today as when it was written, whether it be in practice or just principle.

    These situations were several years apart, but were handled biblically.

    BTW, even if the passage was obsolete, (which it is not) would that be a valid reason to change the meaning of it to "the power of prayer"?

    John
     
    #4 seekingthetruth, May 13, 2012
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  5. jonathan.borland

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    Removing a Sunday school teacher from teaching and a deacon from being a deacon is far from excommunication. Has your church ever excommunicated anyone who refused to repent, or are such people long gone before the action is even necessary?
     
  6. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    By the way, the pastor's brother was given a oppurtunity to correct the situation but refused to. He chose his girlfrirnd over his teaching position. the relationship with the g/f ended about six months after that but he still is not a teacher to this day.

    The deacon was defiant and insisted that what he did outside of the church was his own business.

    In both cases they were biblically counseled to correct the situation but were defiant, and refused. That is why Matthew 18 was used to remove them from their positions.

    John
     
  7. seekingthetruth

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    We have refused membership many times because of unbiblical behavior. In fact, a person is not even considered for membership until they have settled into the church and are sure they are comfortable with our teachings and beliefs. You won't come to a couple of services and become a member, it will take months. My pastor does not believe that adding to the membership roles is as important as giving the gospel and feeding the sheep.

    And what is your point? Removing people from church positions is still church discipline and comes under the instructions of Matthew 18.

    Why do you think that excommunication is the only form of discipline dispensed by the church? if someone needed to be excommunicated then Matthew 18 would be the biblical way to do it, but just because i can't name an instance of excommunication in my church does not make Matthew 18 obsolete.

    What other scriptures can we declare as "obsolete" and ignore, or change?

    John
     
  8. freeatlast

    freeatlast
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    The verse are limited to the context that passage and saying that it takes at least two people to do church business. It is simply saying that when they are doing the Lord's business and it is carried out as He has set up that He will be in agreement of what ever they decide.
     
  9. jonathan.borland

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    If I understand you correctly, the verses on prayer and the Lord's presence should not be applied except in direct relationship to binding/loosing/treating someone as a sinner, ie excommunication. Why didn't you excommunicate the defiant ones in accordance to the passage?
     
  10. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    Where does it say excommunicate? It doesn't say that we have to excommunicate them.

    Excommunication would be an extreme last resort.

    I think that the reason church discipline rarely goes as far as excommunication is that the person being disciplined can plainly see that being a part of the membership requires that certain behavior not be tolerated.....and they either correct the problem or they leave on their own.

    And again, these verses are not about prayer at all, they are about church discipline. It says that Jesus will honor a decision, not that He will answer a prayer. Yes, it takes prayer to make a Godly, biblical decision, but prayer is not the focal point of these scriptures.

    And Jesus is not promising to answer any prayer here, he is simply promising to honor the decision of the two or more that come to an agreement on church discipline.

    The Greek word that was translated here actually.

    If two of you shall agree - ΣυμφωνηϚωσιν, symphonize, or harmonize.


    Which simply means that when a decision is made by and agreed to by two or more people regarding church displine and they are in harmony that Jesus will honor their decision.

    John
     
    #10 seekingthetruth, May 13, 2012
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  11. seekingthetruth

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    And yes, in the context of these verses, these principles only apply to church discipline. Nothing else.

    I am not saying that the Lord is not present except for church discipline, I am simply saying that in the context of these verses it is only speaking of a certain situation.

    The Lord is certainly present anytime people meet in His name. But in this context, Jesus is focusing on making sure that the people deciding church matters do so in prayer.

    John
     
  12. jonathan.borland

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    On what basis do you delineate the context? That it has its own little paragraph title in the NIV? Say for instance that Matt 18:19-20 applies only to verses 17-18. In this case would they relate only to excommunication (i.e., treating someone as a tax collector/heather = unbeliever)? What if the context actually includes seeking the lost (earlier in the chapter) or forgiveness (later in the chapter), both of which take up far more of the chapter than "church discipline." Just a few more questions: if it's related to "church discipline," why does it mention that only 2 or 3 are necessary? Does this mean that 2 or 3 in a church can excommunicate someone? Or that 2 or 3 can constitute a church? What do you think that "anything" in 18:19 means? Only whether or not to relieve someone of their deaconly duties or Sunday school lessons? Or only something more grave such as excommunication? Or does it apply also to seeking the lost or forgiving sins?
     
  13. seekingthetruth

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    You have taken this so far out of context that your questions are not only irrational, but appear to be posted for the sake of being argumentitive.

    This passage is one of my pet peeves when it comes to scripture. So many people add to it what is not there.

    I suggest you actually study verse by verse and look at some commentaries.

    BTW, i don't use the NIV so i don't know what "little paragraph" you are speaking of.

    John
     
  14. jonathan.borland

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    I'd rather not take away from the passage what IS there. I think the power and presence of God is emphasized more in the worldwide mission of forgiveness and remission of sins than simply in church punishment only. Look at the whole chapter, nay, the whole Gospel!
     
  15. seekingthetruth

    seekingthetruth
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    :BangHead::BangHead::BangHead:
     
  16. seekingthetruth

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    Is there anybody else with thoughts on this scripture?

    Pastors? Is this one of the scriptures like in Corinthians 13 and 14 that we just avoid so that we dont offend any pentecostal brethren or stir up any controversy in the church ?

    You all know the truth of these verses, why arent you here to proclaim the truth?

    Why do Baptist preachers avoid teaching on these scriptures?

    Where are you pastors?

    One of the main shortcomings of the Baptist church is the fear of offending anyone and driving them off, even if it means neglecting some biblical teaching.

    Stop worrying about what people think and just teach/preach the truth....the whole truth.

    I believe in Baptist doctrine, but it is hard to accept that some Baptist pastors neglect to teach the whole truth, just part of it.

    I know that most of you Baptist preachers see that Matthew 18:18-20 is about church discipline and not "the power of prayer" as many falsely teach....so why don't you stand up for the truth?

    Why don't you help to coreect this false teaching and heresy?

    John
     
  17. Baptist in Richmond

    Baptist in Richmond
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    I think you are correct on this, John.

    If someone is clearly living in sin, then they should be given the chance to repent. For example, my former church had a Sunday School teacher that had left his wife to live with a woman he met online at a "chance encounter" website. He was approached by one of the Pastors (along with two deacons, I think), and he told them it was his business. The Pastor advised him that he was no longer a Sunday School teacher, and they were extricating him from the congregation. Of course, that didn't bother him at all, and from what I hear he divorced his wife, married his live-in girlfriend, and is teaching at another church in the area. My former church embraced his ex-wife and their children through this whole ordeal, and they are still in the church.

    Now, should he repent and ask for forgiveness from all involved, I think he should be restored; however, as of the time I am writing this, he shows no interest in doing that.

    IMO, a church should never tolerate something like this, or anything with respect to heresy/blasphemy/slander of a brother/sister in Christ. The nightclub scenario listed on FaceBook (noted elsewhere) is a different story. That would depend upon the situation. I had to go to a nightclub for a corporate party, though it was a different set of circumstances (i.e. closed party for employees and their families). Sometimes things are not what they appear to be.

    This being said (or written), it should be a last resort.

    Regards, hope you are well,
    BiR
     

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