expansion and in that they make very much of the symbolism of the ordinances.
(e) From the power of the whole church to exercise discipline. Passages, which show the right of the whole body to exclude, show also the right of the whole body to admit members.
<401817> Matthew 18:17 ? ?And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican. Verily I say unto you, What things soever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and what things soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.? These words are often improperly inscribed over Roman Catholic confessionals since they refer, not to the decisions of a single priest, but to the decisions of the whole body of believers guided by the Holy Spirit. In <401817>Matthew 18:17, quoted above, we see that the church has authority, that it is bound to take cognizance of offenses, and that its action is final. If there had been in the mind of our Lord any other than a democratic form of government, he would have referred the aggrieved party to pastor, priest or presbytery. In case of a wrong decision by the church, would have mentioned some synod or assembly to which the aggrieved person might appeal. But he throws all the responsibility upon the whole body of believers. Cf.
<041535> Numbers 15:35 ? ?all the congregation shall stone him with stones? ? the man who gathered sticks on the Sabbath day. Every Israelite was to have part in the execution of the penalty.
<460604> 1 Corinthians 6:4, 5, 13 ? ?ye being gathered together...to deliver such a one unto Satan...Put away the wicked man from among yourselves?; <470206>2 Corinthians 2:6, 7 ? ?Sufficient to such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the many; so that contrariwise ye should rather forgive him and comfort him?; 7:11 ? ?For behold, this self same thing...what earnest care it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves...In every thing ye approved yourselves to be pure in the matter?; <530306>2 Thess. 3:6, 14, 15 ? ?withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed. And yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.? The evils in the church at Corinth were such as could exist only in a democratic body and Paul does not enjoin upon the church a change of government but a change of heart. Paul does not himself excommunicate the incestuous man but he urges the church to excommunicate him.
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?