Monday, April 18, 2011

God's Evaluation of the Judgment of an Individual Church

The world places a low value on the judgment of a church. Even churches today, or professing Christians, do not consider the decisions of a church to be worthwhile. But what does God think? Can we know what He thinks? We have a passage of scripture in which we receive the Divine point of view: 1 Corinthians 6:1-4.

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.


The church of Corinth was thinking like the world (1 Corinthians 1:11-2:16). The members had allowed the world's leaven, the old, unconverted lifestyle, to leaven their lump, when God wanted them to be a new lump (1 Corinthians 5:6-7). They were operating in various worldly ways that reflected their former way of doing things.

Greek culture was litigation mad, much like the United States today. Everyone was his own lawyer. Rich tradition in Greek logic and rhetoric is due their responsibility to argue for themselves in court. Their whole society was built upon arbitration of disputes before various assemblies. The converted Corinthian church was no longer to continue this practice.

Paul makes strong statements about it in chapter 6. He starts with "How dare you?" and later in v. 5, he continues with "Shame on you!" He's clear that he doesn't want church members to take other church members to secular court. Why? His first overall reason in vv. 1-6 is because of the authority of the church itself. If you read vv. 2-4, you see that he asks rhetorical questions to make the point, and in so doing he reveals God's evaluation of the authority of a New Testament church. Our evaluation of the authority of a church, an assembly, should be the same as God's. Are we more wise than God in our evaluation? (see vv. 5-6) Of course not.

The rhetorical questions of Paul in those three verses (2-4) offer four separate arguments. First, God will have saints judge the world later because God sees saints as having greater judging ability and capacity than the secular world (v. 2a). Second, God will have saints later judging even greater matters than the ones that churches are dealing with now that God wants them to judge, so they are certainly able, in God's eyes, to judge the lesser matters now (v. 2b). Third, God will even have saved people to judge angels, who are superior beings to people, so if these saved people can judge angels, they can judge these church matters (v. 3). Fourth, God considers even the least esteemed church members can judge matters pertaining to this present life in comparison to their future responsibilities in the whole world (v. 4).

These four arguments are devastating on the overall point Paul (on behalf of God) is making. The typical contention against church judgment relates to disrespect of the individual church. Paul is saying that even the least esteemed in a church, the least respected, and we are talking here about the Corinthian church, can make a better decision than the world. Why do you think? Because a church will rely on the Bible, God's Word, for decisions. Believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, God Himself.

We can see in the verses that this is the judgment in a church between church members, solving a dispute, even a legal one, between church members. In v. 4, he says "the least esteemed in the church." Members of a church are who he is talking about. God respects the least esteemed members of the church of Corinth to make a better decision in matters than the secular world.

Let's say that, even though God says what He says here, it is actually true that those least esteemed members couldn't make a better decision than the world, because the world has been trained in law and with advanced degrees and with a lot of respect from the world. Should we go ahead and go outside of the church into the world? V. 4 is a command, an imperative---"set them to judge." God wants church members to sit in judgment over church members. He commands it. He doesn't want the perceived quality of the judges in the church to stop the church from doing this. This is a matter of trusting God, trusting God's authority.

God respects the judgment of a church. He evaluates it higher than the world. I've been writing about this recently here at What Is Truth. The biggest argument against accepting the discipline of an individual church, according to opponents of what I wrote, was that we can't respect the judgment of an individual church. The only scriptural exegesis given for this, the only Bible referred to as a basis for disrespecting a church, was the example of the trumped up witnesses of Jezebel in the case of Naboth in 1 Kings 21. This man (who goes by the anonymous handle of "Anvil") said that we can't accept the judgment of a church because a church could have false witnesses against a disciplined member, like that in the case of Naboth with Ahab and Jezebel. Later I'm going to show how that this example is really the point for leaving it in the hands of believers in the church. It is a bogus argument, a total twisting of the Bible to overturn what we see is a biblical mandate in 1 Corinthians 6.

How can we know which church could get a judgment right, so should be trusted? Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth, which most would say was a "bad church" at the time, certainly not the best with all its problems. But God wants trust in this church's judgment. The one criteria seems to be that the members were saints, that they were true worshipers of God, that they had believed a true gospel. What is dismissed here are the other problems. When I talked about this before, a few opponents intimated that the judgment of our church should be rejected because we used the King James Version and that the women of our church wore clothing with designed gender distinction. Our church does not add those two items to the gospel. We don't believe that in order to be saved, one must use the KJV and have these kinds of dress standards. But that is irrelevant anyway. The question should be, "Are the people in the church saved?" Do they demonstrate Christian testimony of salvation? I wouldn't question the authority of a church, unless I believed that church taught a false gospel, so that there weren't saints to do judgment in that church. That is the case with some churches, so I think it is a legitimate concern, but it isn't one with our church, unless someone could demonstrate that. I, for one, would be happy to hear how it is that we preach a false gospel, if that were the case. We are very careful in our soteriology.

If a church is truly a church of saints, with a regenerate membership, its authority should be trusted by other churches. God trusts it. God demands it. How dare you not trust church authority? Shame on you if you don't trust authority. And I mean the opposition to our church when I say that. Shame on you!

That lack of a trust in a church, which is required by scripture, I see as coming out of fundamentalist and evangelical politics. Fundamentalist and evangelicalism are willing to disrespect the church discipline, the judgment of an individual church of regenerate members, for sheer political reasons that relate to a larger, unscriptural group think. Jesus loves His church. These outside factions do not love the church. They love their own opinions, which contradict the Bible. They truly think of themselves more highly than they ought to think.

Let God be true and every man a liar.

Addendum on 1 Kings 21 and the Witnesses for Jezebel

1 Kings 21 represents two world views, a biblical world view and a secular world view. The biblical view of the world comes from Naboth and Elijah. The secular one comes from Jezebel, her sycophantic supporters, and her compliant husband, Ahab.

Ahab wanted Naboth's land. Naboth would not give it up because (vv. 2-3) God's law would not allow it. It was not his inheritance to give away, based on laws in Numbers and Deuteronomy. He said (v. 2), "The LORD forbid it me." God wouldn't let him make the deal with Ahab.

Of course, Ahab does not take the correction of God's Word very well. I find this with fundamentalists and evangelicals. They love their opinions so much that they think you're being "mean" when you point out what the Bible says about their views. He went home and sulked. Jezebel noticed and she asked him what the problem was.

Jezebel didn't see kings as "under the law" as the Bible taught. Deuteronomy 17 says that the Israelite king needed to write out by hand his own copy of the law. He was to rule under the law of God and he was to subject himself to those laws. That is foundational to Judeo-Christian ethics. Jezebel, a pagan, a secularist, saw kings in her tradition as just taking what they wanted. They didn't have to ask. They didn't have to sell. So she brought her Phoenecian world view into this matter.

She forged signatures and recruited trumped up witnesses in order to testify against Naboth, and they killed Naboth and, we know from later, also his sons. Ahab took what he wanted with Jezebel's guidance. The secular, pagan view of the world was that king's were not under the law. Ahab could take the property of Naboth without repercussions. Of course, this act led to the death of Naboth and all his sons, so it wasn't true. God's law was still operating, which is a major them in 1 Kings itself if you work your way through there.

Enter our opponent, Anvil, from the comment section. He doesn't respect the authority of our church because our witnesses could be the very type that Jezebel, the pagan queen, recruited to offer her talking points. Unsaved witnesses. Not saints. Offering secular judgment. Of course, in this picture, I am Jezebel. And our church are these two witnesses. This is Anvil's view of our church. And this is a view that is supported by a chunk of fundamentalism. They accede to this view in order to operate how they want, for their own convenience. We are railroading a church member out of the church with trumped up charges for what reason? The analogy doesn't work very well here, but who cares? We needed to take something from him? We needed something he had? We wanted to get rid of him? Actually no to all that. It doesn't work in any way in parallel with what Jezebel did. We just wanted to obey 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 and 1 Timothy 5:8, among other places. And God tells our church to make those types of judgments as saints who will some day judge the world and angels, even the least of our members should be able to judge.

How dare you?!? Shame on you who view the regenerate membership of a church like the secular, pagan view of the world! Woe unto you who call good evil and evil good!

26 comments:

Scott Leigh said...

OK I'll take the bait. I suppose thats right seeing you and Mr. Webb have compiled 4 articles with direct or partial reference to me. ("At least two readers questioned the veracity, integrity, or credibility of our church. They argued...As I've written this whole story, some have commented that just because there are these kinds of problems all over fundamentalism,...I have been reproved by 2 writers for sarcasm and a “sniping attitude”. ...When I talked about this before, a few opponents intimated that..)

Granted only Anvil was named by you albeit he is posting anonymously. And if I were to guess it seems Anvil got under your skin the most so maybe I'm just an afterthought. I did though show up directly under Mr. Webb's 'Open Letter' here on your blog so perhaps its right that I jump in for a moment since I've been repeatedly referred to in one way or another either with or without Anvil.

So why reply? I hope it isn't so much the 'Shame on you! or How dare you?! or being told I have a 'cavalier approach to Scripture' statements that motivates me but more a seeking to return you and this whole blog to What is Truth? Tall order I know. And, I know 'How dare I! Shame on me!' Humor me for a moment as I display my 'cavalier approach to Scripture.'

You said you did what you did in discipline according to various passages. In fact the blog shifted subject matters dramatically and church discipline, your church's discipline is what this whole thing has become either a description of and a defense of multiple times. You said it was based on two places specifically and others unmentioned (likely Matt 18 and perhaps some I Cor. 5 and 6 for good measure?) Here are your words. You said, "We just wanted to obey 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 and 1 Timothy 5:8, among other places." So let's consider briefly those two places but also as they relate to Matt 18 and I Cor.5 and 6.

II Thes. 3:6-15 begins with a Christian found idle and meddling into things and ends with a call for a personal separation, a warning, but being told to treat them as a brother. A brother is how it ends. Church discipline in Matt. 18 on the other hand begins with someone who sins against someone and ends with a renunciation of them as a brother. This is an important contrast to Matt. 18 which you insist on doing along with II Thes 3. ("Our church voted to treat their church in the manner we treated our disciplined member. We used Matthew 18:15-17 as a model for how to deal with the other church.") There is another difference in the II Thes. passage to Matt. 18. No sin is done to the other person except perhaps against their family but even that isn't mentioned. Yes, lets agree its a sin. But we'd be hard pressed to claim as Matt 18 states that the man sinned against us. We'd be harder pressed to say the end of II Thes 3 and Matt 18 are the same.

Let's allow you the privilege though to interpret as you feel right and to separate from the so-called idle homeschool Dad. Whatever. It should've ended with a broken fellowship and yet no church discipline ala Matt 18, I Cor. 5, which must treat them as unsaved as a publican and tax collector, as leaven. II Thes. 3 -brother. Matt. 18 - Not a brother. I Cor. 5-leaven, ie not a brother. So first problem I see is you mixed Matt. 18 into the matter and throw a little I Cor. 5 for good measure. "Third, the disciplined member was leaven in our lump (see 1 Cor 5). We got rid of the leaven,...Here's what had happened. We removed the leaven from our lump (1 Cor 5)."

Scott Leigh said...

Cont. part 2
You said two times (maybe more) he was leaven even though II Thes 3 says you need to heed the fact he is a brother (ie not leaven) and part of the Lord's lump even if he's no part of yours. You write a whole article to prove that I Cor. 5 was applicable. "Observations about Church Discipline from 1 Corinthians 5 - Part five of my story about how I left fundamentalism engendered some controversy in the comment section of the post about a few points therein." Again Kurt how can you treat someone Paul said to treat as a brother as an both a publican and tax collector as well as unbelieving leaven? Would church discipline based on erroneous teaching be held up in heaven too?

There was errant judgment led by yourself in the first place if you used II Thes. 3 as a basis for church discipline. He also didn't sin against you as Matt. 18 stipulates. You should've said goodbye, warning him of his indolence and yet saying 'Bye brother.' If it was church discipline he would be told 'Bye unbeliever.' 'Bye leaven.' They are vastly different disciplines. No? Confusing the two has brought about great misfortune all around. That's error #1.

That's just the first problem though, now there's #2. You also based your case by appealing to I Tim. 5:8. It should be clear in reading the actual context of v. 8 that it is surrounded by talk of widows from v. 1 past 8 to 9 and beyond, old people who need to be taken care of in old age. The direct link is to those who shun their aged relatives, these are the targets of Paul's thoughts who are worse than infidels. To stretch that to include those of II Thes 3 is wrong. Again the I Tim 5:8 text says this one is worse than an infidel. How can we treat them as a brother AND an infidel? Do you actually do that?

To further complicate it by mixing in the Matt 18 and some I Cor. 5 and 6 to make it full blown church discipline is horrendous. You wrote numerous articles defending yourself from those like me but this is exactly the reasons why those like myself are not inclined to accept your blanket church disciplines of others in the first place when they are unscripturally applied and censoriously at that.

I would also hasten to add your reasons for discipline were dubious to me. Most commentators would argue that the idle person was sponging off the good graces of the church in II Thes. 3. That doesn't appear to be the case in your situation. The family was not in any danger of not eating or needing to sponge off the church from the father's 'idleness.' And if not, How can II Thes even be applied? Just because he is idle by your collective definitions? And what about I Tim. 5:8? How is it to be applied? That text directly applies to one's treatment of their aged relatives and yet even if the meaning is stretched beyond what is there it surely depends on a family not being taken care of. His family was being taken care of.

If the wife worked only because her husband was a idle man and she couldn't provide for her children any other way than working for him then there is precedent to apply the rule. I somehow suspect that isn't the case and that they couple were in agreement as to their mutual application of the 'breadwnning.' The man's cleaning skills sound atrocious but that wasn't what you disciplined him for was it even though I imagine they were mentioned in the church meeting? I digress.

Mentoring was justified, a rebuke even but forcing a person to accept your narrow view of the collective use of those texts which appear mighty misapplied from here is not a proper exercise of church discipline. You may feel the key is in your hand and the Perf. Pass. tense of heaven has approved of your actions but how can it be just when it is ill exegeted to begin with?

Scott Leigh said...

Cont.part 3

We cannot blame this on the sheep who merely listened to your leadership and responded. For misapplying a text meant for those abusing a social service done by their church (II Thes. 3) and mixing it with a charge meant to provide for the elderly (I Tim. 5:8) and stamping the whole thing with the authority vested in you by the state of heavenly key holding (Matt 18) leaven sifting (I Cor. 5) and preempt any disagreement with alot of being worthy of judging angels (I Cor. 6) is a tad over the top. To borrow your blog title, What is Truth?

Can these texts you claim to have sought to obey even be applied to this man's situation? And if so does it not behoove you to follow it and treat him as a brother and not run him out as a non-believer as you did? Can you stretch a text meant for caring for the elderly and make it a catch all for idleness? Surely Paul would've called the man 'worse than an infidel' in II Thes 3 if he was consistent and those passages lined up together no?

Let me refer to just the II Thes. 3 passage with a quote from a pretty average handling of the text in a a commentary. "One might expect that Paul would long ago have lost his patience with them, and would now advise their excommunication. However, we find nothing of the kind. The apostle still regards them as “brothers” (see verse 15), though erring brothers. To be sure, Paul and his fellow-workers are conscious of their authority, and they believe in discipline, personal, mutual, and church (discipline). But they do not believe in harsh intolerance, rash action, precipitate decision which cannot tolerate the light. They believe in honesty and integrity, and in the exercise of genuine love and patience! Hence, what they desire — and they are speaking by inspiration! — is this, that if all previous admonitions fail to effect their purpose, sterner measures must be resorted to. But even these measures are reformatory in character. They aim to reclaim, to lead to repentance, to save; not to destroy:"
Hendriksen, William ; Kistemaker, Simon J.: New Testament Commentary : Exposition of I-II Thessalonians. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1953-2001 (New Testament Commentary 3), S. 205

Surely one can see that the application of II Thes. 3 to the extreme of Matt 18 is unwarranted? As is I Cor. 5's goal of destroying the flesh for the saving of the soul. Please don't tell me that you tired to be 'reformatory' and then just had to apply Matt. 18. They simply aren't compatible. It should also make us wary of appeals to I Cor. 5 as well. This wasn't a case of excommunication Kurt as Matt 18 clearly lays out. To mix them creates a self-made concoction that if drunk from will poison the truth.

Oh and then there's how you decided to also treat a whole church and I suppose a large conglomeration of churches known as fundamentalism as publicans and tax collectors. "Our church voted to treat their church in the manner we treated our disciplined member. We used Matthew 18:15-17 as a model for how to deal with the other church." Do you really think the other church is unsaved or do you treat them as such? That would be really poor theology IMO.

Kurt, this is why you get those like myself disagreeing with your statements or challenging you to reexamine your Bible on these matters and properly apply them. It isn't a case of some fundamentalism disease spreading thru those like myself. Its seeking to pull you back to What is Truth? I challenge you to reexamine those verses you claimed to obey and see if just maybe you rubberized the Word past what it was intended and developed a principle out of general ideas rather than 'What is the Truth.'

Kent Brandenburg said...

Scott,

I'll deal with what you've written in a little more detail later, but what you've written has a lot of problems, which is why, I believe, you should trust another church, which believes a true gospel, when you don't know all the details. None of my dealings here have given them. Our church decided on what they saw, not on what you speculate had occurred.

I get your play on "What is Truth," as if what we're attempting to do here is not "the truth." You have made implications that just are not true about how we handled our discipline situation---and that is the truth. It will take awhile to point those out, since your commentary is so long.

Mt 18, 1 Cor 5, and 2 Thess 3 do all relate with one another. In the context of 1 Cor 5, the unrepentant member leavens the lump, which is why he is removed, but in reality it is the sin itself, the violation of God's Word, that is the leaven, but you can't separate that from the unrepentant one. Mt 18 doesn't say he's a publican and sinner, but you regard him as such. And 2 Thess 3 also says remove. All three say remove. 1 Tim 5:8 is someone who does not provide for his own---which isn't just widows, but includes true widows. A true widow doesn't have any family to take care of her.

You are off the theme of this post. It's about the authority of a church to make that judgment, and whether a true church should be trusted.

The pattern of Mt 18 is what we followed in dealing with the other church. It's a just and gracious pattern set by God in which you offer the opportunity of reconciliation, that is, you attempt to reconcile. We see the same pattern also in Titus 3.

I don't see anything you've written to undo what Paul wrote in 1 Cor 6.

Sponging off the church was just one of the problems with the people of 2 Thess 3, but we'll deal with the rest of that later.

d4v34x said...

Brother Brandenburg,

Thanks for the biblical approach and exhortation. I honestly cannot believe any church (or even individual Christian) would argue for simply ignoring the considered judgment of another church.

Can a church make a mistake? Conceivably yes. But can we dismiss their judgment out of hand, without examining the facts and their testimony of them?

I! Can't! See! How!

Kent Brandenburg said...

Scott,

You wrote 19 paragraphs, none of which dealt with this post. If God respects the authority of a church as He does to judge its own membership, then you should too.

Paragraphs 1-3—No comment.

Paragraph 4—We do see church discipline in Mt 18, 1 Cor 5, and 2 Thess 3.

Paragraph 5—2 Thess 3:6-15 starts with something more axiomatic. “Withdraw yourselves” is disfellowship, generally for “walking disorderly” and not after Paul’s apostolic teaching. Then Paul gives a specific example of this. In 1 Cor 5 Paul tells Corinth to do the same with someone in the church there, with a believer, not someone in the world. What is in common between all three passages is withdrawal, separation, disfellowship, each with church members who have sinned and not repented of the sin, each with nuances of difference, but very similar and parallel.

Paragraphs 6-8—The leaven in 1 Cor 5 isn’t unsaved. He makes that clear in v. 10, “yet not altogether with the fornicators of the world,” so separation from believers not unbelievers. The leaven was a believer bringing the old way of life into the church. I don’t interpret “as I feel right.” Please cut that kind of commentary out. We followed the pattern of Mt 18 with the three steps, and 1 Cor 5 and 2 Thess 3 applied. You haven’t overturned that. All you’ve shown is some interpretational difficulties for how a disciplined member should be treated. The passages harmonize. It is possible an unrepentant person is “bye unbeliever” or “bye believer,” but time will tell, the goal repentance and restoration either way.

Paragraph 9—Who is “his own” in 1 Tim 5:8? It is more than widows, but includes them. Before a church is responsible to take care of a widow, a son should take care of his widowed mother. If he is responsible for her, he’s responsible for his wife and children, i.e., his own. We would understand that this behavior is worse than that of an infidel. Paul uses the same kind of comparison with the behavior of the saved man in 1 Cor 5:1—unbelievers wouldn’t even do this. You argue like someone who is just denying these passages. We’re required to do them if we love God.

Paragraph 10—I judge your judgment of us to be horrendous.

Paragraphs 11-12—I don’t agree that most commentators would say what you do about 2 Thess 3. The man we disciplined was not imitating Paul’s example of earning a living or of his labor and travail (vv. 7-9). Even as a stay at home dad, his house was a dump, he was a busybody (v. 11) and was not eating his own bread (v. 12), but his wife’s, because he wouldn’t work. You say his family was taken care of. Families at Thessalonica were “taken care of” too by other than the dad/husband. This man needed to change and our church judged that. You “somehow suspect that isn’t the case.” You do digress—big time—and seem to defend the behavior of the deadbeat dad. In other words, you would rather a church would disobey 2 Thess 3:6-15. That doesn’t help him or the church.

Paragraph 13—I included in my initial story that we attempted to mentor the man. How about hearing a matter before you answer it? Our church does have authority to make this decision.

Paragraph 14—You are essentially calling our church a bunch of dupes, when we’ve got obedient, mature people from years of discipleship and exposition. When have I ever referred to Mt 18 “key holding” to which you refer? You never answer 1 Cor 6, just mock it.

Paragraph 15—We didn’t “run him out.” He ran out. We tried to get him to stay. He wanted his own way, which isn’t unusual today, and something you seem to support.

Paragraph 16—Why assume we were rash and intolerant? Wow. That’s rash and intolerant.

Paragraph 17—All wrong.

Paragraph 18—I answered the Mt 18 pattern in dealing with the other church. It’s a gracious and merciful pattern that attempts reconciliation.

Paragraph 19—No comment.

Scott Leigh said...

You mixed Matt 18, I Cor. 5 and II Thes 3 and I Tim. 5:8 together which is a fallacy IMO. I really don't need to know the details of the man and his idleness, response, your mentoring offers, etc. I already allowed you to exercise that discipline. But that stops with a separation, warning, and treating them as a brother. Not ordering his flesh to be Satan's next job in I Cor. 5 or treated as a heathen in Matt. 18. You can't reconcile those texts, not now, not ever.

And why should I trust another church? Will my own not be enough? Whether you believe that or not you are just as obligated to believe my church's authority and its true gospel. Yours doesn't trump mine and I can say that with all the details needed from God's Word. Maybe we're the 'bad' church of the analogy you used but that doesn't discount our own authority to interpret as we are led by the Holy Spirit without being dictated to. One important reason why trying to use Matt. 18 against another church is flawed IMO. Use your I Cor 6 here not Matt 18. I Cor 6 gives no ends so its just controlling the conflict and keeping it in house.

"Mt 18, 1 Cor 5, and 2 Thess 3 do all relate with one another." Yes in that they deal with sin and sinners. No in that they have vastly different ends that I noticed you pretty much ignored. A traffic ticket, jail and prison all relate to one another too. For all the same reasons-sin and sinners and their discipline. But to send the traffic ticket finee to prison isn't right. II Thes 3 ends with the church or whoever is exercising the discipline treating them as a brother. An admonishment even to preclude them being treated otherwise. If I read what you said right the man didn't accept your Matt 18 judgment. If so you must bring him before the church and treat him as a heathen. There's no way to reconcile these two ends Kurt. Either you discipline him as Matt 18 says and treat him a a heathen or you follow II Thes 3 and treat him as a brother. And then you take a text meant for offenses between individual brethren and stretch it to be applied to your church having more authority to discipline another? Bizarre.

You can evade answering this overtly different set of ends to the discipline and speak of them being the same but they aren't. Solution?

To the Man -should've been told 'We think you should work not your wife to provide for the family and since you refused our remedy we're parting company brother. We cannot in good faith recommend you as a missionary.'

To the church-'Dear Brethren, We recently heard you have Mr. Idleness in your fellowship. We felt it wise to advise you that we perceived him as someone we disciplined acc. to II Thes.3 and want to warn you of
this brother. We realize you must as Christ's body there in SF must decide these matters for yourselves with the authority Christ has given you and we pray that the Lord can use this communication for His glory and that these matters have even been already rectified in his life.'

To mission board-cc of above to them

Kurt, please respect the other churches preaching 'true gospels' or you might risk developing a paranoia of the whole of Christ's body and tend to think that the truth can only come from your now isolated sect. Kind regards.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Scott,

There are differences between Mt 18, 1 Cor 5, and 2 Thess 3. Mt 18 is known by one person. 1 Cor 5 at least is commonly reported, as 2 Thess seems to be. I believe you make too much out of the various afterwards words---publican, sinner, leaven, enemy, brother. Each of them is a withdrawal, separation, disfellowship, excommunication. All three. They are the same in that way. 1 Cor 5 says we have no company with brothers in unrepentant sin, not unbelievers. So we conclude they are all believers subject to church discipline---they're not going to contradict.

We regard them as publicans and sinners---they aren't church members any more (cf. I Jn 2:19). We admonish them as brothers under church discipline, not enemies. We have no company with any of them. They all three harmonize.

Disobeying 1 Tim 5:8 is a sin. Without repentance, it receives discipline, like any other disorder or continued violation of apostolic teaching.

If your church took in our disciplined member, we would treat you the same as he. You don't respect our church anyway, so this wouldn't be a problem for you. But you should consider your problem with God.

There is no verse that teaches a body any larger than local---1 Cor 12:27.

Using a term like bizarre is nothing more than rhetoric. It's non-scriptural and emotional. But I do see it as one of your better arguments.

Gary Webb said...

Brother Brandenburg,
I just wanted to write & commend your initial post on "God's Evaluation ...". It is simple & shows that God anticipated the type of objections people would have to obeying the commands of Scripture. Also, after having had fellowship with some pastors this past weekend, I know that many others read, agree with, & appreciate what you write, though they do not post here.

Kent Brandenburg said...

First, D4,

Thanks for the comment. The whole dismissing the judgment out of hand---yes, major point. Thanks.

Second, Gary Webb,

Thanks. I appreciate the comment.


Third, anyone,

I'm not paranoid about all this. I recognize that you judge what you see. I don't believe in judging what you speculate. That's where paranoia comes in. The paranoia is the thought that churches just can't judge, just won't judge correctly, so we can't trust their judgment. That's paranoia.

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Using a term like bizarre is nothing more than rhetoric. It's non-scriptural and emotional. But I do see it as one of your better arguments.

Sizzle.

Robert said...

You are disrespecting the judging of an individual church that wanted to loose what you had bound. I suspect from the details of the story you have told that you and your church were right and they and their church were wrong about the individual in question.

But if you want to argue that God always supports the judgment of a local church, why can't they use that same argument?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Robert,

There is only one truth. God doesn't deny himself. So let's say they were right, even though they communicated zero with us, yet still wanted us to consider ourselves in fellowship with them. (That seems to put them on higher ground in our commenter Scott's opinion.) We could have at least got together to sort out "the truth" (there is only one).

However, it is true that church has authority from God, but not authority to do what is wrong. We don't have liberty to sin. We shouldn't take leaven into our lump. And last, by exercising their prerogative the way they did, they broke fellowship with us. That was fine with them, so all in all, there wasn't fellowship there anyway. But in the end, God will deal with it. :-D

Thanks.

Titus,

Uh-huh.

Scott Leigh said...

Amazing (better than bizarre?) that you can claim to treat a man as both a brother (II Thes. 3) and a heathen (Matt. 18). To say he is both part of the lump that is Christ’s as a saved person and yet treat him as leaven (I Cor. 5). and a “wicked person.” v. 13. To say he is an infidel (I Tim. 5:8) and yet a believer. "--they're not going to contradict." Ahh yes they most definitely do despite saying they don't. The wording cannot be hidden from. It doesn't lie.

"We regard them as publicans and sinners---they aren't church members any more" To regard as a heathen (Matt 18) isn't to just see them as non-church member believers. Seriously? Can you back that with any recognized anybody? I Tim. 5:8 "infidel' ie unbeliever isn't just a believing non-church member. They are antonyms for crying out loud. Have you seriously have looked at II Thes 3 and the admonition to treat as a brother? Brothers aren't heathen or infidels nor do they EVER get treated as such nor referred to as ‘wicked persons.’ When a 'professing brother' (I Cor. 5:11) has his life contradict his testimony we are to treat them as heathen since they have demonstrated a heathen life. They aren't treated as brothers but heathen. Again when you tried to use I Cor. 5:11 as proof for the saved nature of the offenders you erred. The verse merely limits a church's discipline to those who profess Christ not the whole world. We separate from erring brethren II Thes 3 never losing sight that they are brothers and separate from those professing themselves to be brethren who are very likely unsaved due to their sinful lives. I Cor. 5:11 isn't some proof text that the person being disciplined is treated as a brother. They lost that treatment when they persisted in sin. They are referred to as 'evil persons' or as you prefer ‘wicked person.’ I Cor. 5:13. That's hardly a way to refer to those who are the new lump which is Christ. They can only gain the fellowship and treatment as a brother back by repentance. The sin of II Thes 3 didn't fall in that category. One that's 'not even named among the Gentiles' (I Cor 5:1) does fall into that category of excommunication. You must be quite the mental juggler.

Church discipline isn't all the same. It doesn't all end in excommunication. Matt. 18 and I Cor. 5 do. No so II Thes 3. Separation in Matt 18 and I Cor. 5 is corporate as a body. That doesn't appear to be the case in II Thes. 3. I Tim. 5:8 doesn't discuss the discipline except to say he is worse than an unbeliever. ‘Younger widows’ ‘they bring judgment on themselves.’ (I Tim. 5:11-12. You could've easily just appealed to II Thes 3 and been within your grounds of scriptural example. To force a Matt 18 end result of excommunicating and treating as heathen since he didn't repent isn’t in any kind of harmony on a passage (II Thes. 3) that doesn't permit that by cautioning that they be treated as a brother. Its amazing that you would simply say they are all the same and you somehow I suppose you see all church discipline as an amalgam of all passages dealing with the subject. Like saying parking tickets, jaywalking, thefts and murders all end up getting the death penalty ignoring the myriad of other penal ends besides the ultimate (Matt. 18:17-“ let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Claiming that heathen and publicans are just non-church member believers is astounding exegesis.

Scott Leigh said...

Cont.

"There is no verse that teaches a body any larger than local---1 Cor 12:27." Why I needed this bit of Landmarkishness I don't know. I half expected to see you go one verse further and try and prove the church began with the apostles (I Cor. 12:28 sic!) and of course that line of thinking ends with some sop named “various kinds of tongues” being the eigth member to join. They always cut the verse off after the ‘first the apostles’ part and ignore the rest since it shows rank not original church members who started a church back in Matt. 16. But you and I digressed.

I will let you know in case the sun isn't shining on this bit of info that the local church only theology makes your church discipline lose much on the way of interconnectedness with those of us who realize the body of Christ is located everywhere believers are found. Christ is omnipresent and all those in Christ are in His body, the church (“which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Eph. 1:23). I will not argue your more marginalizing aspects only to say that because of that it shouldn't be something you find anything but normal for other churches to be suspect of your 'judgments' when they know your theology in many ways isolates you from the rest of the body. You come across somewhat incredulous that others wouldn't accept your church discipline but as you said "it is true that church has authority from God, but not authority to do what is wrong." Exactly. What do you think they were thinking about you?

Which is why you would be ignored if it is felt in their minds that you have done wrong persistently and in more than one area theologically and were already a fringe part of the group that put up with you (pl.) for the sake of Christ to begin with. Because of your 'strong' beliefs you disenfranchised yourselves so that other churches would be so inclined to avoid contention when you spelled out your church’s discipline since they don't respect your alienation from the whole.

Scott Leigh said...

Your theology preceded the problem being handled as it did and should you have been a unified part of the whole vs being estranged from the one accord that is shared among the others it would likely have a different outcome especially as to communication. Your movement from fundamentalism is merely a realization on your part that the fundamentalists are moving away from being dominated from KJVO, Baptist only, deniers of the spiritual body of Christ, (local church only) etc. It is a welcome transition that the major schools are also in process of working thru and while you see yourself as healthier for it, I too see the whole healthier for it being detached further from the constant state of disunity that existed all the while you held to views not shared by the wider body of churches. “so all in all, there wasn't fellowship there anyway.” Not here wasn’t. You take the position that you are the true north (what you've written has a lot of problems, which is why, I believe, you should trust another church, which believes a true gospel,) from which the rest have drifted away.

"But you should consider your problem with God." We (God and I) meet every day for that very reason. I hope you will follow my example.

“Using a term like bizarre is nothing more than rhetoric. It's non-scriptural and emotional.” Hmm. Just rhetoric. Perhaps it is “effective or persuasive speaking or writing.” It does seem to have effected something. Since bizarre is something very strange or unusual. I applied that to the fact that you said you modeled what you did with the other church after Matt. 18. That text was designed for sins committed against individuals who must bring it up the ladder with each step of refusal to repent. From one to the many as the final judge. For you to take Matt. 18 and even apply it as a model would mean you would have to send you 3 dates letter asking for them to meet and get it right. When they refuse or ignore then you must take another with you. Did you get another church tor two o go with you to have two of three witnesses? Nah. You skipped right from go to your brother (church) to excommunication or the equivalent whatever that is in you mind when people are both heathens and believers both. You didn’t even follow the model you claimed to use. To use a verse meant for brethren to solve their matters and keep unity and purity in the body you did something unusual, strange even. Bizarre. Is there some historical precedent you feel makes your actions normal and not unusual?

Hope you get it all figured out. Sincerely.

Anvil said...

I think you have either misunderstood or misconstrued my arguments or both.

I'm going to ignore the actual validity of the action your church took against the member, since I have already agreed your church had the right to take that action, and since my church doesn't have to deal with this former member in any fashion, I don't have to delve deeper into the action taken by your church or how our church would treat the action taken. In other words, I'm not judging that action in particular -- I have always been trying to look at the whole situation and how it fits into your argument that fundamentalism is wrong. I think the most I said in that whole other thread about your example, was that if our church had been in that situation, we would have to evaluate it separately, and that the decision of your church would not be binding on ours if our finding was different.

Your posts in the "Why I left fundamentalism" series have not just asked for judgment on the actions of a single church, but to judge between *two* churches (and a mission board, but since a mission board has no NT authority, lets leave them out of this discussion for now, especially since I believe they were right to ask the churches to work this out), neither of which is known by myself and probably the majority of commenters on your site. Further, you have called not just for a judgment between those churches but, based on the actions of a few individuals from those fundamental organizations, for a judgment *against* fundamentalism, which represents thousands of churches (churches that are following the Bible to the best of their knowledge, same as you) just in the USA alone. And, you have asked us to make that judgment only on your say-so, without being able to review all the facts, including the letter you wrote to the other church, the letter they wrote you back, without being able to speak to the pastor of the other church, etc. In short, although you may not see it this way, you have called for a rush to judgment, based on your personal integrity, and that of your church, and when we refuse to do so, you label us people who "don't respect the authority of [your] church." I will have to disagree with your evaluation -- this is not attempting to avoid in any way the commands of scripture -- it's an attempt to "judge righteous judgment."

If we judge the actions of your church to be right, it seems we must necessarily then judge the actions of the other church to be wrong. Why wouldn't that be disrespect for the authority and decisions of the other church? You stated "I wouldn't question the authority of a church, unless I believed that church taught a false gospel, so that there weren't saints to do judgment in that church." If the other church had authority to judge, didn't they judge wrongly from your view? Are you respecting their judgment when you separate from them? How can someone looking at this situation from the outside respect the authority of both local churches involved when one of them must be wrong? If the other church is capable of a wrong judgment, why is yours incapable of it? In short, I still believe any church, even while doing what they believe is right from scripture, is capable of making a wrong judgment, for any number of reasons, including members not 100% in tune with God, not knowing all the facts, etc. Joshua, a man who followed God and loved him with his whole heart, made one mistake with the Gibeonites, and was forced to live with the consequences of his wrong judgment. If you are claiming a "non-false-gospel" church is completely protected from this, I would have to disagree. Facts and history tell a different story. Further, I see nowhere that God promises that every judgment made by a church would be right -- only commands that they should judge.

Continued in next post ...

Anvil said...

...

I think you misunderstood the thrust of my example of Naboth, and you further tried to allegorize it to make it seem as if I thought you were Jezebel, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. I apologize if I was unclear, so let me clarify. The example was given *only* to show that wrong judgments can still be made even when God's laws are followed. If you read my post that mentioned this example, you will note that I said "a" church can make a wrong judgment, not that your church did. Naboth was judged and stoned for a completely different issue than his refusal to sell his land to Ahab, even though that certainly figured into Ahab's and Jezebel's motives. Whether or not he committed blasphemy is completely unrelated, legally, to other ways in which he acted with integrity. Unless you would believe that Naboth could not sin, or that he was necessarily a better person than David (the man after God's own heart, who was still capable of great sin worthy of death) or other similar heroes of the faith, then it is certainly possible from the perspective of the people, that he could have been guilty of blasphemy, however unlikely that might have been. And it's also possible that the false witnesses hired by Jezebel were their day's equivalent of the O.J. Simpson legal team. After all, she could afford to hire the best. And of course, all the nobles and leaders of Naboth's town were in on it. Even though the case against Naboth was instigated for a wicked purpose, since we don't have the details of the case, it's impossible for us to say that the people judging Naboth ruled unrighteously from what they knew and were presented. You argue from my example that I'm calling good evil, and evil good. However, since I was referring to the judgment of the people, not the actions of Ahab, Jezebel, the town nobles, etc., that assertion is nothing but a straw man.

It's really interesting to me that you think my disagreeing with you on your blog (and not even about the decision your church made to remove a member) makes me an opponent of you and of your church. I guess I could be considered an opponent in the "sparring opponent" sense, but in reality I am neither an advocate nor an opponent of your church. I simply commented/questioned/gave an example in order to dig further -- something I believe is reasonable to do in search of truth.

I find it more than a bit ironic that some of the wrong actions you describe in your last post (which I thought was a great post, by the way), are similar to what you are calling for in your "Why I left fundamentalism" posts. Some fundamentalists acted badly, so that must mean fundamentalism is wrong, just as those other sites are saying that IFB is wrong because of the actions taken by some in IFB churches (I noticed you left out the F in IFB in your post, since presumably, you find the F wrong too). And similar to those other sites demanding that their side of the story be accepted as 100% true and and completely representative of the facts, and claiming that not believing them means that the reader is part of the problem, you are essentially demanding the same. If we don't accept your account without considering the other side *and* we don't judge fundamentalism to be wrong because of it, then we don't accept the authority of a local church, and further, we even disrespect it. I know you've now written that you left fundamentalism for principled, doctrinal reasons, but by the argumentation in your last post, your example of being treated badly by fundamentalists should then be irrelevant to whether fundamentalism is right or not. It is certainly true that wanting to know all the facts before blindly believing one side in a dispute is a biblical approach (see Proverbs) and contrary to your assertion, not an indication that the authority of the church is not being respected.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Scott,

Paragraph 1: Let’s consider some grammar in all of the passages, and I think it will help you see the parallels and the lack of conflict between the three passages. We’ll go in order. Mt 18—“let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Not that he IS either of those, but AS. Notice the “as.” “As” does not mean “equals.” He is clear that in 1 Cor 5 that Corinth was dealing with someone “that is called a brother” (v. 11). 2 Thess 3:15—“admonish him as a brother.” Again, AS a brother. It’s not saying he is a brother, but here is someone that professes to be a brother, so we admonish him as one—as one. 1 Tim 5:8 is not a church discipline passage, but violating the teaching is a sin. Unrepentant sin is a basis of church discipline. If you don’t think so, then that, my friend, is the big difference here between you and me. 1 Tim 5:8 says that he is “worse than an infidel,” not that he “is” an infidel. In the context, it means that not providing for his own is worse than something that infidels do. Infidels would take care of their widowed mothers.

Paragraph 2: You are confused. “As” again means “as,” not “are.” Your call for me to “back it with someone recognized” says something about how you see the world. Recognized by whom or what? There are tons of commentators that see it just like I’m explaining, but let’s keep it to what the text says. 1 Cor 5 is very clear. This man was a brother who was delivered to Satan for the destruction of his flesh. The end of the chapter makes it abundantly clear that it is separation from a believer. Later in 2 Cor, when he repents, they take him back into the church. You are going beyond what 2 Thess 3, when you say “treated as a brother.” Two parts—“admonished as a brother,” and “as,” not “is.” Mental juggler? Another case of good writing?

Paragraph 3: 2 Thess 3 is disfellowship. Look up “withdraw yourselves” in v. 6 and study that. Study “have no company with him” in v. 14. 1 Tim 5:8, not a discipline passage, but a basis for discipline when someone is unrepentant. Eph 4:29 isn’t a discipline passage, but if someone continues in corrupt communication, he’ll be disciplined too.

Paragraph 4: Please just take 1 Cor 12:27 at its word. The name calling doesn’t accomplish anything. Deal with the passage. If the body of Christ was all believers, then Paul wasn’t in the body of Christ. He says “ye are the body of Christ,” because the body is local only.

Paragraph 5: I’m waiting for the verse that proves that the body analogy used by Paul refers to all believers. You should be able to show that from the Bible if it’s in there. I showed you one that proves that it doesn’t—1 Cor 12:27. Ephesians 1:23 doesn’t prove that “body” is all believers. The church, generic singular noun, the assembly, which is His body. The church is Jesus body on earth, over which He is the head. That does not mean there is one church or body in number. In Ephesians 5:23 Paul says “the husband is the head of the wife.” Is there only one wife and one husband in the world? It is a generic singular noun. You asked: “What do you think they were thinking about you?” I don’t know. They didn’t say. We didn’t talk. They wouldn’t.

Paragraph 6: They never pointed out any theological or practical error. And second, you don’t know what you are talking about as far as who we are or what our relationship was with that church.

Paragraphs 7 & 8: No comment.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Anvil,

My series of posts is called “When I Left Fundamentalism,” not “Why.” I’ll explain why in the end, but I haven’t yet. It’s a story.

Paragraph 2: And your basis for not accepting the witness of our church was the example of Jezebel’s two trumped-up witnesses. What other basis did you provide besides that we’re all sinners and we can all make mistakes. Your church should require him to come and settle with our church. If you don’t do that, how would you expect to remain in fellowship with our church?

Paragraph 3: You can only judge based on the facts that I presented. I’m guessing that you do that rather frequently when you read something. Could I be lying? Yes. But why would I be lying? How would you know I was lying? You’ll have to judge. True. But I’m saying you are wrong. These weren’t “trumped up” charges. They don’t even read like some conspiracy against the guy we disciplined. It’s really a simple matter. You are making it too complicated. You can disrespect our church’s judgment, but you don’t have a scriptural basis for doing so.

Paragraph 4: It is true the other church does not have to respect our judgment, but we won’t remain in fellowship any longer when they don’t. It is true a church could do a Jezebel judgment, but wouldn’t you try to sort it out with that church if you were wanting to get to the bottom of that? And if someone didn’t even try, you are going to give them the benefit of the doubt for taking in our disciplined member? The only way you could judge differently is if this was a work of fiction. If what I am telling is true, then you couldn’t be coming to the judgment you are based upon scripture. If the other church were making a sound judgment, then they should tell us their basis for making it. They didn’t do that. You seem to be fine with that. Even BWM agreed with us exactly one year before about this missionary, who, by the way, never made it to the field. He never made it to one church on deputation. He would never have made it in his condition. How can someone looking at this situation from the outside respect the authority of both local. Churches can be wrong, but that is not a basis for distrusting individual witnesses and the witness of a whole church. That comes across as your policy.

Paragraph 5: I am Jezebel in your analogy, the leader of the trumped up charges. You can’t use that example because we are not pagan idol worshipers who want to murder a man and steal his property. We are a sacred church honoring God and attempting to help a man. You don’t help yourself with the OJ Simpson legal team.

Paragraph 6: You weren’t supporting us. Jesus said if you aren’t for Him, you’re against Him. There is no middle ground in this. You weren’t for us. You opposed us.

Paragraph 7: “When I Left Fundamentalism”—purposefully NOT why. I haven’t really explained why yet. It’s just “when.” I’ll be clear on why by the time I’m done. I think you should read me and believe me, like if I read you, I would believe you. I think you should start by considering me as a truth-teller. If interpret scripture wrong, that’s something else, but when I state what happened, unless you really do know otherwise, you should believe it. And if you can’t believe it, then feel free to sort it out and come with an actual basis why what I’m saying isn’t true. But you haven’t done that.

Scott Leigh said...

I’m surprised you would bring up the grammar since it actually says the opposite Kurt. Mt. 18: 17 “as an heathen ” You said, “Notice the “as.” “As” does not mean “equals.” Here’s where the grammar really speaks loudly. The Greek word for ‘as’ is hosper. A comparative adv. with two parts. hos the usual word for ‘as’ and per. Strong’s says ὥσπερ 5618 hṓsper (an emphatic adverb, derived from 4007 /per, "indeed" intensifying 5613 /hōs, "as") – "indeed just as," "just exactly like." "just exactly like." vs “As” does not mean “equals.” You contradict the grammar.

So there are 36 uses of hosper in the NT. Mt. 6:2 the 1st is very similar to Mt. 18:17. It says, “Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do…” The idea is that sounding a trumpet to announce their deeds is exactly like the hypocrites or as Strong’s has ‘Just exactly like’ the hypocrites.

How about John 5:26? “For as the Father has life in himself, even so he gave to the Son also to have life in himself.
” Again the idea is that the Son’s life in Himself is “Just exactly like” the Father’s. We are to think of the Son’s life as, just as, no just exactly as we think of the Father’s. We could go on of course. The word is an intensified use of ‘as’ that means ‘just exactly as.’ So when referring to the one being put out of the church they are to be treated exactly as we treat the heathen. Equal to a heathen.

With the use of this particular adv. Jesus makes a comparison that isn’t dependent on the reality within the man’s heart as a brother or not since only God knows that but the comparison and our response depends on the demand He gives that they be seen to be, treated as if they as just like, and equal to a heathen in our estimation. That is our responsibility in church discipline to treat the person as equal to a heathen. So in this case the grammar was not on your side.

Again why you keep referring to I Cor. 5:11 as a proof text for the man being a brother is perplexing. He is professed to be a brother and that is what that text says we limit our church discipline to, professing brothers not the whole wide world of sinners. Whether they are possessing brothers or not we don’t know and thankful for this man he was in the end, and thus discipline is seen with the example of I Cor. 5 and II Cor. to be effective. But at no time were they to think that this was a brother. He was professing to be a brother. Big difference between professing and possessing. You teach that right? They were to treat him as a “wicked person.” (v. 13) That’s hardly a way to refer to a brother.

Scott Leigh said...

Cont.

You said, “Your call for me to “back it with someone recognized” says something about how you see the world.” Kurt I thought it was obvious since we are operating in a biblical context that one such as myself would use that in the sense it is biblically meant. Its how I see the Bible not the world. I suppose these things get so emotional a proof text is needed every time we say something to avoid having it misread. I am sure you are aware that the Bible teaches that our ideas should be able to pass the test of the wider array of counsel to be established. Prov. 15:22 “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.” Proverbs 11:14 “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” So my sense is can you appeal to anybody who we could recognize as having biblical counsel ability and establish your ideas?

As to the Landmarkishness (name calling? serious? is there another one word description of this position I can use that suits your fancy? If so I’d be happy to use it) You said, “Deal with the passage. “ I asked why you brought it up in the first place so I saw no reason to ‘deal with it’ since it speaks for itself. You choose to do some mental preconception on the issue which I cannot imagine I would budge you from but I took the errant bit of digression and saw it could be helpful. I don’t see the point in digressing. I only did so to help you see that this bit of theological disconnect from the fundamentalism whole precipitated the events that led up to a church ignoring you. You say ‘I don’t know.’ I might know more than you think. I do know what you've told us and that is enough.

You refused to comment on the last 2 para.s and I'm pretty sure you know this was so. You aleready KNOW what they think of your KJVO, BaaptistO, local onlyO theology and can't really be surprised they would draw the line at some point if you made issues that challenged their own authority. Again IMO it would've been best to pass on the info letting the man know you were doing so and why and let them deal with it. How they handle it isn't your responsibility and you can't vote against them by treating them as heathen. That's just incredible still for me to fathom.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Scott,

I'm hoping you are kidding me about "as." When the text says that the Father does something "as" the Son or the Son "as" the Father, it is not saying that the Father "is" the Son. They are not the same Person, hence, "as." Saying someone is "as an unsaved person" or "as a saved person" does not mean they "are" an unsaved person. So I'm going to stop there. You really are going to need to assent to this easy point or it will be obvious we can go no further. "As" does not mean "is." You can find out what the Greek word is from Strong's Concordance, and it doesn't change that---it's the same in Greek, French, Spanish, and English. If you keep defending yourself here, it will be obvious to all what you are all about. If you were really concerned about your credibility, which seems to be important to you, you would retract this quickly and give-in on this one.

I had no comment to your last two paragraphs, because they weren't true as is the present mind-reading that you are doing. And no, just because you are local only in your ecclesiology doesn't mean you are a "landmarker." That shows a good bit of ignorance on your part.

Scott Leigh said...

This all gets more and more convoluted. You say, "When the text says that the Father does something "as" the Son or the Son "as" the Father, it is not saying that the Father "is" the Son." Did I anywhere ever infer that the Father 'is' the Son? Why do you introduce something that was never claimed to begin with? Nobody especially me is saying that they are they same person. Why act as if that was even claimed on my part? To argue against something I never claimed is ridiculous.

I need not assent to something I never claimed. Somehow you think that 'as' if challenged like church discipline was means I believe something false that you introduced errantly into the discussion. Let me be super clear since it still isn't. I don't think 'as' means 'is.' But that's not the argument.

One doesn't have to say 'as' means 'is.' Its a comparative adv. The Father is compared to the Son. The Son 'is'n't the Father but He does act 'as' the Father.Their roles are/is equal. The persons are different but the actions the same. There's no attempt on my part to fail to distinguish between a state of being (is) being identical which isn't what's being told to you with the word 'as.' The church is told to treat them 'as' heathen, not as believers which is what you claim.

Just as Anvil clearly told you the point of his analogy with the Naboth thing wasn't to compare you to anybody but to compare the people who may not get all the facts. That was the sum total of the comparison not to be extended to every possible imaginative cynical possibility in the story. He limited the possibilities to the people's judgment being given only certain facts and while you insist on seeing yourself as Jezebel/Ahab it is a fabrication on your part to make something out of nothing just as you keep trying to say I am confusing the difference between 'as' and is.'

Scott Leigh said...

As to your believing the disciplined person In Mt. 18 is to be seen as a believer wording to the contrary consider the multitude of 11 counselors that I asked you if you had any to back your views:

But just as foreigners and tax-collectors who are still unconverted must be considered as being as yet outside the kingdom of God, so also this impenitent person must now be viewed as being in the same class. - Hendriksen, William ; Kistemaker, Simon J

The most obvious meaning of this expression is that he should be looked upon as being outside the sphere of the church. Though he may be a true believer, he is not living as one, and should therefore be treated accordingly. Though still in the universal church, he should be barred from the privileges of the local church. Such discipline is a serious action; it temporarily delivers a believer to the power of Satan “for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5). - MacDonald, William

Let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector, as one who stands outside the circle of faith. What is envisioned is not isolation from the sinner, but a radical redefinition of the relationship. From this point on, the community will no longer relate to the person as a fellow disciple, but as someone of the world who has yet to be discipled. - Gardner, Richard B

He cannot be treated as a spiritual brother, for he has forfeited that position. He can only be treated as one outside the church, not hated, but not held in close fellowship. - Wiersbe, Warren W

If all else fails, the Christian community must publicly dissociate itself from a habitually sinning professed Christian: neither outsiders nor the sinner should continue under the delusion that this person is truly saved. - Keener, Craig S

Jesus’ point was that a believer who persists in impenitence is to be put out of the church and treated as an unbelieving, unrepentant outsider. - MacArthur, John

To treat a person as a “pagan or a tax collector” means to treat him or her as unredeemed and outside the Christian community. - Blomberg, Craig

He has taken the role of the pagan and the tax collector.52 Both these expressions stand for people outside the people of God, people who have sinned and not repented,- Morris, Leon

If he turns a deaf ear to the authoritative reproof of the Church, let him be regarded no longer as a brother, but as a heathen and an outcast. - Spence-Jones, H. D

A “pagan or a corrupt tax collector” (Matt. 18:17) served as a metaphor for unbelievers. - Hughes, Robert B

Thus the unrepentant offender is not simply put out of the community but categorized as among the worst sort of persons. - Hagner, Donald A

Kent Brandenburg said...

Scott,

Matthew 18 doesn't say that the offender is an unbeliever. It says he is to be to the church as one. As one. None of your commentators say anything different on this. The Father and the Son do not have the same roles, which you say in your comment, which is why 1 Cor 11:1 says that the head of Christ is God. They don't have the same roles. They are not equal in roles. We're done, Scott. You're welcome to comment here, but don't comment on this post any longer. I'll just delete them.