Monday, September 21, 2015

Matthew 18: Principles and Not Procedures

An old blog post I remember (after long forgetting) has just resurfaced. Kevin Johnson at the old - and no longer available - Reformed Catholicism posted about understanding the meaning of Matthew 18. His contention is that most people are not aware that Matt 18 has a specific context - church leaders dealing with each other. And, that many people are taught, unfortunately, that Matt 18 is a procedure to follow for laymen in dealing with sinning brothers, even when abused people try to confront their abusive religious leaders.

But, as Johnson points out, we are a people that live by wisdom and principles, and not detailed formulas. Neither Jesus nor Paul followed this pattern when rebuking the religious leaders of their day. We don't have to, either. It is odd that the Matthew 18 Nazis of today expect even abuse victims to follow Matt 18, especially in light of the fact that one of the possible outcomes Jesus assumes in telling this to his disciples is repentance. Something that well-oiled religious systems and their rigid leaders show very rarely.

Read Johnson's old post, preserved and re-posted by the Under Much Grace blog.