message boards and Matt 18:15-35

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mont974x4, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. mont974x4

    mont974x4
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    Here is the text for easy reference:
    Mat 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
    Mat 18:16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
    Mat 18:17 "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
    Mat 18:18 "Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
    Mat 18:19 "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
    Mat 18:20 "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
    Mat 18:21 Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"
    Mat 18:22 Jesus *said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
    Mat 18:23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.
    Mat 18:24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
    Mat 18:25 "But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.
    Mat 18:26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.'
    Mat 18:27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.
    Mat 18:28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.'
    Mat 18:29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.'
    Mat 18:30 "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.
    Mat 18:31 "So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.
    Mat 18:32 "Then summoning him, his lord *said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
    Mat 18:33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'
    Mat 18:34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.
    Mat 18:35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." (NASB)


    Question 1:
    Is the person who sinned a brother?
    Maybe. We must admit that our churches have saved and unsaved people involved in their services and ministries. Activity level or position does not guarantee that someone is actually our brother or sister. The same is true of message boards.

    Question 2:
    Who is responsible for going to the person in private? Does it have to be the person directly offended or can it be a witness? In the case of a message board there are mods task with discipline and policing the boards. Does the person reporting a post have to be the one offended directly, or witness who is offended indirectly?
    I would suggest since the text of Matthew does not specify then neither should we.

    Question 3:
    How do we call witnesses?
    Message boards vary on this. Some moderator threads are open enough for witnesses.

    Question 4:
    How do you take someone before the church?
    This is a moderator task on message boards. I have yet to see this done publicly.

    Question 5:
    Does the offended have to report an offense? Or, considering the teaching on forgiveness in the context of this can we not choose to forgive and move on?
    I would say that not only can we just forgive and move on but it is better, in light of verse 35, to do so....assuming we are talking about a brother. I would suggest that choosing to forgive and not be offended is the better option is especially true if you hold to the belief that we cannot hold unbelievers (non-brothers) accountable like we do a brother...in which case the outline for church discipline does not apply anyways.
     
  2. Aaron

    Aaron
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    Matthew 18 only applies to the local church. If the offender is not a member of the same body as the one offended, there is no recourse.
     
  3. mont974x4

    mont974x4
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    I am in general agreement wit you. Do you think that means the principals do not apply, or at least inform our conduct, in some way in other situations?
     
  4. Aaron

    Aaron
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    No, I don't believe the principles apply outside the church.
     
  5. 12strings

    12strings
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    Would you not say that the simple principle of addressing a grievance privately, even with an unbeliever, is something that would please the Lord...rather than immediately making that grievance known to others?

    Would this not be valid, even if the two parties were not part of a local church?
     
  6. mont974x4

    mont974x4
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    I think you make a good point. By going privately to someone you show love and respect by avoiding public embarrassment. I don't know that I would say it's a "have to" but it's a good thing.

    I don't remember where I first heard it but the ideal fits....."Praise in public, criticize in private". Remember there is such a thing as helpful and constructive criticism. This is especially important in marriage.

    There is still a couple of related questions:
    Does the person directly offended have to respond by going to the person?
    Can someone who witnesses the offense go to the sinner?




    Thanks for a great discussion.
     
  7. Aaron

    Aaron
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    Sure, but I didn't need Matthew 18 to learn that principle from the Scriptures. Matthew 18 is about serious offenses for which one must be justly excommunicated. It isn't about private irritations, the commanded response to which is to turn the other cheek.
     
  8. mont974x4

    mont974x4
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    That's a good point too. The passage is specific in its regard to sin.
    What do you think the relation of the debt is in regards to sin? Or was I mistaken in including it as part of the context?
     
  9. Aaron

    Aaron
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    It seems to me there is a difference between sin and debt. Only God can forgive sins, and the Psalmist was quite clear when he confessed, "against thee, thee only have I sinned."

    The Law prescribed separate sacrifices for sin and debt (tresspass). They were the sin offering and the tresspass offering respectively. In one, the sin was atoned for, in the other, the debt was paid. (These are all part of Christ's one sacrifice).

    If I steal 50 dollars, the sin is stealing, that my brother was injured and deprived of his property is the tresspass. So when we say, "forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us," we are not asking our Father (and note that we call Him Father, meaning we are born of Him) to make his forgiveness of our sins conditional upon our works of forgiveness. We are asking Him to treat us here upon earth as we treat others, because all things whatsoever we would that men should to us, we are to do unto others.

    That's how I see it, anyway.
     

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