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.

1 comment:

  1. Poem – What is love?

    Two men came to Jesus
    With different motivations.
    They asked Him the same question
    Relevant to all the nations:

    Which is the Most Important?
    The answer was the same.
    Jesus did not manipulate
    He was not there to play a game.

    “Love the Lord your God” said Jesus
    as He quoted from The Law –
    to fulfill and not abolish
    was His purpose, full of awe.

    Jesus did not make all Scripture
    Into one new great commandment.
    He summarized The Law and Prophets
    “First and Greatest” and “The Second.”

    The Love of God is higher
    Than the love of any man.
    Receive from God, give back to God-
    Then to others, that’s His plan.

    The Love of God involves much more
    Than simply “love your fellow man.”
    Worship, trust, and pray to God,
    and obey Him – that’s His plan

    To worship and pray to neighbors,
    Whoever they may be,
    Or trust and obey our enemies
    Would be idolatry.

    The love of God is first and greatest,
    And the love of man is second.
    “All we need is love” are words
    of dead Beetles on the pavement.

    “The entire law is summed up in a single command”
    are not the words of Jesus our Salvation.
    It’s false teaching of Paul the Pharisee
    “an accuser of our brethren.”

    “Love” without God is Satan’s word through Paul
    in his chapter to the Corinthians.
    “I will show you the most excellent way”
    is the road to eternal perdition.

    Where is God in Paul’s chapter on love?
    Nowhere in view of the eye.
    Paul sings about himself like a Mexican Mariachi
    “I, I, I, I.”

    Jesus is The Most Excellent Way
    Not the words of a Pharisee.
    The words of Jesus are very clear.
    Jesus said, “You must follow ME.”