Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sept. 7, 2008 (J. Evan Kreider)

Evan Kreider, in his message on Matthew 18:15-22 quoted Scottish minister William Barclay, who insisted that these difficult and legalistic words are almost certainly not Jesus’ original words. For instance, Jesus could not have said “Take it to the church” (v. 17), because there was no church as yet. Barclay notes Jesus’ words sets tax collectors and Gentiles aside as unredeemable, but later passages in Matthew note that these are exactly the people Jesus was called to save. Critically, Barclay states this passage implies limits to forgiveness. Evan, in examining discipline in the church, nevertheless found his faith strengthened in the wisdom of some of the added words. He pointed out that limits to forgiveness exist only in people’s minds and our social constructions, not in faith. Using examples from his university, Evan contrasted secular practice with the wisdom in the text. The wisdom of the added text suggests that when you are angry, first put your complaint into words rather than brooding about it. Then meet face-to-face to resolve it. Last, take an elder (read: mature) person with you, not to bear witness against someone (Deut. 19:15), but to help you to listen, to discuss what was heard, and for support. Evan pointed out that the Deuternomic model destroys secular institutions, and would destroy the church if we allowed it in. He further notes that the last suggestion - to “take it before the whole church” - should rarely be used, and only for major sin that affects the whole church, not just a few individuals. Jesus argued against legalism. Let the Holy Spirit help us not to bring it into the church with us in the guise of the words of Jesus. [AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday Sept. 7th, 2008 using your browser's preferred media player.



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