Personal Stories, Spiritual Abuse

What Happened When You Shared Your Abuse Story with Someone for the First Time?

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What Happened When You Shared Your Abuse Story with Someone for the First Time? Did They Believe you?

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This is the fourth time I’ve started this post. I can tell when something is triggering me when I lose my writing mojo. Last week, the media reported additional women speaking out about being sexually violated/raped by Bill Cosby, a man who has been so highly esteemed in show business as a comedian and actor, and a respected father figure in his very popular and successful television show, The Cosby Show. The news stories were shocking, did Bill Cosby really do that?

But these women, some after decades, have finally spoken out. Their stories are remarkably similar in details and their reason for silence makes sense. Who would believe their story? Everybody loved Cosby. It wasn’t worth the risk to disclose.

I’ve gotten into some debates with people about this – some have been with my friends  – about these women who finally came out and told their stories. As I debated with these people, I realized it has been hitting me emotionally.

It brings me back to the time I first shared my story of abuse, first as a child who experienced physical abuse growing up, and then later, as an adult experiencing spiritual abuse and being sued by my former pastor. As I read the accounts from the alleged Cosby victims, I was emotionally connecting with these women whom I’ve never met, who were brave and speaking out. It got me thinking back to when I shared my story of abuse with someone. Just thinking about the responses I received brought me back to that very lonely and dark place. I never felt so alone.

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This “coming out” process is always so difficult and this picture represents what it was like to me – like an uphill battle with ominous clouds.

We don’t know what is on the other side. What will we face if we share? Will we be better off having shared our story, or should we have remained quiet?

It doesn’t matter whether the abuse was sexual, spiritual, physical, emotional, the patterns are very similar. There are many obstacles to overcome before we get to the point of sharing. It’s our word against someone else’s word and reputation. Will they believe me? Will they think I’m nuts?

Many of us have experienced different kinds of abuse and eventually got away from the abuse and maybe eventually shared our story.

I thought it might be helpful to hear some of these kinds of stories. What was your experience when you decided to share that you were abused? Did people believe you? Did they help you? I’d like to hear your story.

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As always, you are free to use any pseudonym when sharing here.

photo credit: xlordashx via photopin cccac

172 thoughts on “What Happened When You Shared Your Abuse Story with Someone for the First Time?”

  1. My first experience was Sunday on here. Although I have not named the church or the pastors (I am trying to decide if I should and I have a rolling text line of excuses from the main pastor delaying a meeting who I have asked to speak with in person before I out them), I must say that it was very freeing and I felt a wide range of emotions. I must also say that the incredible, loving and supportive comments I recieved were very affirming. I was touched deeply and I have no doubt God was in it all the way. Thank you Julie Anne.

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  2. The first time I shared my story beyond my husband was in a small group of women who were in a class with me in the church where the abuse happened. They were confused. How could this happen in a church that preached grace and where the pastor and leadership was considered exemplary? But, these women also each had their own stories of pain and suffering – some in churches, some in their families or communities or jobs. So, on a certain level, mine wasn’t so special and didn’t garner any extra attention.

    The next time I told was to a counselor who immediately asked me why I wanted a relationship with people who did not respect me? That really woke me up. Though I knew it was spiritual abuse – or looked like spiritual abuse – I was still making excuses for the pastor for not stepping in and helping me, setting things right, etc. The counselor so clearly showed me the lack of respect that I could not longer deny the abuse.

    Then I shared my story on my then-blog and the support and encouragement were astounding. BUT, the people (only a couple) from my church whom I shared my blog with did not have the same enthusiasm for supporting me that those outside the church had. And, of course, when the leadership found out about my blog, they tossed me out of the church (a favor, I must say).

    Over all, those who read my blog but don’t know me personally are very encouraging. Women who read my blog and know me are also supportive. But men who have read my story and “sort of” know me (a cousin, a church leader) are quite judgmental toward me. My cousin (distant) is a former pastor and he has his own issues with churches, but he also has a way of putting down everyone to make himself look better.

    The church leader is in the position of having to support the pastors in order to maintain his own position.

    I do have one person whose friendship with me began after leaving the church. She believes every bit of my story because she has had her own “interesting” encounters with my former church leadership. But, her husband does not believe it even though he has a negative impression of the church leadership and won’t attend there because of it.

    So overall, my experience says that women are more likely to believe my story and men not so much. I wonder if that’s because the men think that if it really happened, I would have walked away years earlier (because hindsight is 20/20 and that’s what they would have done). Or they are just naturally part of that good ol’ boys club and think we women are all just Jezebels anyway. Lol.

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  3. Here is a song that I heard for the first time a couple of days ago. It gives an inside view of abuse from a child’s perspective. Not sure if it fits in this thread but it really moved me to sadness, anger and a number of other emotions. I think sometimes those that have not suffered abuse first hand can not comprehend what those that have suffered have gone through. This song gives one just a taste.

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  4. I have a family member who has always touched me inappropriately. I learned from a young age to dissociate or depersonalize unpleasant touching and comments. It wasn’t until several months ago my 25 year old son saw this behavior I was unable to excuse it. He confronted this relative and told him never touch her like that again. As time passed, I would think, ” Well maybe it wasn’t so bad”, but then I would remember the look on my son’s face and that kept bringing me back to reality. I no longer have that “defense” so I now am learning to stand up. I haven’t spoken to this family member, but I do know he doesn’t get it. If only we could all have a witness to reflect back to us the value we have and the truth that none of us deserve unwelcome advances. I thank God everyday for my beautiful son.

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  5. My experience was that a babysitter gave my brother and I an impromptu sex ed lesson. No touching, just indecent exposure to which I responded to every question with “uric acid” for some reason. It was a grace that I was clueless, I thnk. When My brother or I mentioned it to my parents, they had the babysitter and his parents over, and it turned out that he, and his brother I think, were being abused much more directly by my 5th grade teacher’s husband, who was also a teacher.

    The end of the matter for my babysitter was that he was no longer my babysitter, and his family made very sure that the abuser no longer taught in the district–the bummer was that he was not prosecuted. I don’t know how well he would have been prosecuted around 1980, but the fact of the matter is that they didn’t try.

    Second time I remember mentioning was when I was about 30, and I was learning the basics of child abuse prevention in church, and I realized that what had happened was not just a ” that was weird”, but actual abuse. Described it to the leader, and he said “yup, you were abused.”

    Suffice it to say that it’s my hope and prayer that everyone honestly reporting abuse would receive the same kind of hearing I did, and not the “circling the wagons” I’ve heard of elsewhere.

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  6. Responses: Really?, Bill abused you? Never would have guessed that; he *seems* like a nice guy. And the one remark everyone seems most interested in : “was it physical abuse?”

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  7. I had lunch with my absolute best friend. I had lived with him most of college, wore each others clothes, shared meals and heartbreak. Taught him to play guitar a little better as he blossomed as a songwriter.

    He was the brother I never had.

    As we ate at my favorite pizza joint, I told him the unvarnished truth of how my wife and I had been treated abusively by a pastor and his wife in our church.

    He listened, asked questions….but ultimately placed the blame on my wife and I for the abuse we endured. He eventually stopped taking to me shortly after out lunch together. He chose to trust men in authority, whom he did not know well to a man that had offered him a place to live when he was living in his car.

    I often found that people did not believe me when I described some of the things that happened to our family in our old SGM church. Posting on SGM Survivors was one of the first times that I knew I wasn’t crazy and discovered others that had experienced abuse in the same way.

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  8. He listened, asked questions….but ultimately placed the blame on my wife and I for the abuse we endured. He eventually stopped talking to me shortly after our lunch together. He chose to trust men in authority, whom he did not know well to a man that had offered him a place to live when he was living in his car.

    I often found that people did not believe me when I described some of the things that happened to our family in our old SGM church. Posting on SGM Survivors was one of the first times that I knew I wasn’t crazy and discovered others that had experienced abuse in the same way.

    What a sad story, christianagnostic. What a perfect example of idolizing authority figures. He was not a real friend, afterall 😦

    I’m glad you found SGM Survivors. I, too, found SGM Survivors and thought someone had the wrong church name at the top of the website.

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  9. So overall, my experience says that women are more likely to believe my story and men not so much. I wonder if that’s because the men think that if it really happened, I would have walked away years earlier (because hindsight is 20/20 and that’s what they would have done). Or they are just naturally part of that good ol’ boys club and think we women are all just Jezebels anyway. Lol.

    That’s interesting, Ellen. Over the years, I’d say I’ve had an equal amount of support from men and women. I think spiritual abuse, in general, is a more complicated matter to discuss because it is not as widely understood as other abuse issue (sex abuse, domestic violence, etc). I have found that even trained counselors are lacking in knowledge when it comes to spiritual abuse, sadly.

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  10. I must also say that the incredible, loving and supportive comments I recieved were very affirming. I was touched deeply and I have no doubt God was in it all the way. Thank you Julie Anne.

    You’re very welcome, John. That’s what this place is for.

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  11. Julie Anne, the Cosby stories got me thinking about our sad church ordeal also. I believe the woman who have come forward and it is sickening. Another example of the powerful abusing those they can control…we have thrown out all our Cosby shows. Thanks for writing about this.

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  12. the first time i told anyone i lied about the effect it had on me and i lied in that i made it sound far less horrifying than it was. i was sexually abused at home, and violently abused by nuns in an orphanage. i lied in that i made the orphanage kind of sound like a huckleberry finn adventure and just minimalized everything. so, i told, but i lied. just made me feel worse.

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  13. I was a teenager and told my boyfriend what my unsaved stepfather was doing to me. He walked aimed at my house with a knife in his hand. I stopped him and walked with him back to his house. I believe that was the day I became a target. He never said that he believed me or not. I married him 2 years later when he went into the Navy. From there on the abuse continued with my church member husband instead of the step father. When I went to the church I was told that I must stay with him even though there were multiple adulteries and abuse. That pastor never said whether he believed me or not. After 6 years I left that church and the h. It has been a long journey, but God has used it for my good even though some days it doesn’t feel like it. I can now see a red flag flying from a good distance. I saw a huge one just a couple of days ago.

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  14. Maura,
    When we are young we find ways to make the hurt go away. Wanting to minimize the pain I think is normal. It probably doesn’t help in the long term, but we somehow have a mistaken notion at that point that we did something to cause or deserve what happens to us. Hugs and prayers going out to you.

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  15. I agree with Brenda, Maura. I think it’s normal for us to minimize our experience when sharing, perhaps because we are afraid how our story will be perceived. Will they reject the story? Will they reject us? I gave little bits of info out at a time, testing their responses. If they were receptive, I gave more info.

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  16. One thing that strikes me here–and I am not saying I’m a perfect communicator by any means–is that quite frankly I get confused while reading some of the stories. It brings to mind an important question; what is important? Is it to have the story heard, or is it to bring justice to the perpetrators?

    I’d hope that there would be at least a hint of “bring justice” on everyone’s part–to tell your story without exercising the Matthew 18 process can quickly devolve into mere gossip–and it strikes me that doing this well may be helped if we use a list (well organized if possible–here are the classifications of sin involved, etc..) that makes it easy for the hearer to figure out the significance of the allegation.

    Granted, not an option for the person who, God bless her, comes to the pastor crying after “the last straw” abuse, but if one has been waiting to tell, it can be extremely helpful.

    And when I hear such a thing–I’m not a pastor but for some reason sometimes people want me to listen–I’ll try and ask to figure out of the peson wants justice, and then maybe I’ll ask if they’d like a hand writing things down, and how we can demonstrate the allegations are true.

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  17. Bike Bubba, if course justice is so important, but in the Cosby case, it is unlikely because of the statute of limitations. But being heard and believed is absolutley crucial. I think I need to do a post on this topic. I’ve been stewing about it already, so thanks for bringing it up.

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  18. Is it to have the story heard, or is it to bring justice to the perpetrators?

    Bike Bubba, There may be no justice for many this side of heaven. Pastors don’t listen or have no idea how to handle abuse. What Matthew 18 process? More than likely the victim is seen as unforgiving and that person is thrown out of the church. Then there is the good-ole-boys club that says man is entitled to rule his roost in any manner he chooses. We want to be believed and have someone show some compassion.

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  19. JA, Brenda, I’ve been there–fully understood. There are times where we need to be satisfied with a sliver of justice instead of the slice we deserve, and losing a TV show pales before what a rapist and druggie ought to get. And certainly a lot of churches bobble Matthew 18 pretty badly. I’ve certainly seen it, and yes, it does have to do with the old boys’ club.

    I’m speaking simply very narrowly to the case where someone wants justice and needs to state the case clearly.

    And Marsha, I’m going to gently disagree. Unless there’s a serious reason not to confront, Matthew 18 is still how it ought to be done, as badly as many (most? sigh) churches do it.

    After the confrontation, sure, tell your story. Bad actors (like Mr. Cosby) need to be outed. But please; absent physical threats or something, confront.

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  20. Bike Bubba, Fortunately, we don’t have to get into those types of details here. Doing that could be like being abused all over again. I do not believe Matthew 18 ever should be used in cases of abuse. Abusers can come off very articulate and the victim looks like a depressed zombie, which they may very well be by the time the situation is addressed. Coming out of the fog and getting through the confusion can take a long time. I would recommend Barbara Roberts book. “Not Under Bondage” and Leslie Vernick’s “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”.

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  21. First, I am dropping aka as scared. I am over feeling scared to speak out against pastors. Will just be Gail from here on out.
    This happened 20 some years ago, my pastor had just preached a sermon on why he thought it was a shame that so many Christians were using anti-depressants. You all know the drill, taking meds. undermining the sufficienty of the scriptures, blah,blah, blah…
    My doctor had just prescribed them because I was having horrific nightmares & anxiety with panic attacks.
    Made the huge mistake of scheduling counseling appt. with him to try to find some peace, & assurance that I wasn’t sinning by taking my medicine.

    Poured my heart out to him, included what my father did to me at five, an uncle at 8yrs.old, explained how my father beat my mom & me & my sibs. Shared how I was sitting next to my buddy a neighbor at 8 years old when he found my dads gun under the front seat of the station wagon when my mom took all of us to a parade, when buddy took the gun and pointed it at his twin brothers head and blew his brains out. It doesn’t take a genius to understand how all that trauma impacted my mental health, but I didn’t understand that 20 years ago.

    Talked & sobbed for 45 minutes.
    His response was, put the past in the past with a bunch of scripture. But, then he brought up a person we were both close to *Sue* and said to me, you know Sue, she suffered more abuse than any of us, and she is fine, because Jesus made her whole. ( I was loyal to Sue, so I didn’t tell him she wasn’t fine, she was cutting, had several alters)

    Oh how I wish I could go back and tell this hard, cold, dictator a thing or two about PTSD, makes me sick to think how he shamed & scolded me for not being like Sue, and telling me to pray & be in the word about taking my meds.

    Long story, sorry guys. I did go back to my Christian Dr. To discuss with him if it was biblical for me to take anti-depressants. He was awesome. Thank-God I llistened to him & stayed on meds.

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  22. The Matthew 18 process is for the kind of interpersonal offenses or private sins that can be forgiven, not for crimes and sins from which the public must be protected.

    When I overheard a fellow church member tell someone that I had priced items cheaply at the youth group garage sale and then gotten bargains, I took her aside and told her that because I had been asked to price the items, I had not purchased anything at all. She had just heard me and another woman talking about the bargains we got at a sale the day before and jumped to the conclusion that we were talking about the church sale from months before! We resolved this and I did not share it with the church.

    However, a friend and her husband found that her bookkeeper was embezzling from their business. The woman seemed sincerely repentant and promised to pay it back in installments. They forgave her and did not call the police. Unfortunately, the woman got another bookkeeping job and stole $100,000 before being caught. The public was not protected.

    And what about sins that may not be prosecutable? If a pastor seduces a woman he is counseling, that may not be prosecutable depending on the state, but she shouldn’t confront him and forgive him and leave it there. He has disqualified himself from his position and other women need to be protected.

    Abusers know what they are doing is wrong. No one has to confront them in a Matthew 18 process and tell them that they didn’t like being drugged and raped or hit or molested. They already know.

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  23. Marsha,, point well taken. In criminal cases, it is often/generally more appropriate to press charges, especially if sex or assault are involved.

    But to use the example of the bookkeeper, I’d argue that Matthew 18 is applicable, especially if the agreement of the parties is in writing and includes a provision that the information will become public if (a) the agreement is broken or (b) the offender commits the crime again. Imagine going to court for a subsequent embezzling case and having that agreement shown to the jury.

    And to use the example of pastoral sexual misconduct, Matthew 18 is 100% applicable. Again, if done correctly (IF, as the Spartans told Philip), it creates the paper trail that can protect people.

    Yes, it’s a process that’s very often done poorly or abused. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

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  24. Brenda R posted about Leslie Vernick’s book. I had tweeted this earlier today. It’s a great webinar with Leslie Vernick and Pastor Chris Moles geared to pastors, but I enjoyed it.

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  25. JA, I listen to all of there webinars no matter who they are meant for. I think there are probably more like me, who are trying to get pastors to listen, rather than the actual pastors listening. It doesn’t stop me from emailing the links on though. : )

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  26. Ugh – I wish I could watch webinars, but I can’t. Too triggering. My to-be-ex-husband is one of the most highly-respected, well-known people in the world teaching others how to give good webinars. I even wrote about 1/3 of his book a few years back.

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  27. I’ve been trying to figure out how to answer the question JA posed. I’ve got more than one abuse story, unfortunately, and from many different times of my life, involving different people.

    I guess the one I would most associate with a site like this is my marriage, which I only realized was abusive this year. I have been very cautious whom I’ve told, and which details I’ve shared, partly because I am still figuring it all out myself, partly (mostly) because I know very well that I will be written off by some as rebellious and sinful for divorcing.

    When I shared some details about my husband’s alcohol abuse with various pastors between 1-4 years ago, I received vague assurances and no help. Then I sat and listened to sermons about submission, and the sanctity of (the institution of) marriage, and felt crushing guilt for having shared at all…he was apparently not really required to love me unless I made sure he felt respected, and he did not feel respected when I shared.

    When things came to a head early this year, I got the same kinds of murmurs from church leader types. Some wanted to support me, but when push came to shove and I filed for divorce, felt they needed to “be there for him.”

    I have begun to share more with a select few. I have done this knowing that I cannot predict who will be supportive of me as an abused wife taking back her life, and who will judge. I can make some educated guesses, but I will sometimes be wrong. This has served me well so far. There has been only one family who has chosen my husband over my kids and me, even knowing details of his abuse, and although they are some I never would have guessed would have done that, and it hurts tremendously, at least I never naively assumed it could never happen.

    The church we attend has been shockingly supportive, even seeing through my husband’s extreme charm, intelligence, and biblical literacy, to the narcissist underneath who refuses to take responsibility for his actions. But even still, I know that could change. He could find an elder who believes him, and advocates with those who don’t. Those who have supported me could begin to have doubts, based in faulty understanding of Scripture. They could decide they don’t want to get involved.

    So my abuse story is still unfolding. The one thing that has saved me so far is expecting nothing, while hoping for belief and support. Sites like this and A Cry for Justice have been lifesavers.

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  28. Persephone – I have completely changed my thoughts on divorce since reading and connecting with Jeff and Barbara. I would have been one of those “but that’s not biblical” crowd – basing it on one verse by Jesus without looking at the whole Bible in context and considering that God is a loving and merciful God. I am glad you are sharing your story here (as much as you can) because there are others who are being abused in their marriage and being held in that spiritual prison of what I now believe to be wrong interpretation of scripture. Your story here will likely benefit someone.

    It doesn’t make sense to me that God, who throughout the Bible demonstrates that He cares for the defenseless and oppressed, would force an abused wife to remain forever with her abuser in marriage, meanwhile her abusing husband suffers no consequences. For those who also have been hung up on the verse that an abused wife can only get divorced if her unbelieving spouse leaves her or if her spouse commits adultery, please check out A Cry for Justice blog.

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  29. I find it absolutely fascinating when someone simply keeps on insisting that they are right – very triggering. When you get into the whole “you gotta do Matthew 18” thing, I am a master. I begged for a Matthew 18 process for years. But I digress. JA’s question was “What happened when you shared your abuse story with someone for the first time?” She wasn’t asking for judgment about what a person said or what happened to them or if they had followed Matthew 18. Focus on the question. Not on badgering people because you think you have all of the scriptural answers.

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  30. BikeBubba,

    I fully disagree with your use of Matthew 18…all of it.

    I think that you have a misguided use and purpose of Matthew 18, as do a ton of church’s do. First off, you don’t take your claims to the pastor, or the elders, or the deacons, or the bishops, or the ushers, or the, well, you get the picture…you take it to the whole assembly, which is ecclesia, which is “the church”, which is everybody in the pews. Second, if you take it to the assembly, there must be at least two witnesses. And since there are usually no witnesses in abuse, the Matthew 18 process is null and void.

    Many abuse victims are ashamed, or threatened that if they tell anyone, other bad things will happen, their reputations will be tarnished, etc. Most times, no one will believe them, or are threatened with eternal damnation if they don’t forgive, which brings on feigned forgiveness, and the perp walks away.

    Yes, Matthew 18 is NOT the answer. It is an abused interpretation of use.

    The answer is not Matthew 18, it is 911 on the telephone dial. That is the first step to a paper trail.

    Ed

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  31. Matthew 18 is the absolute favorite scripture of every abusive Christian I have ever known. It gives them a procedural out, so to say….ie, you didn’t bring your complaint in the correct way, so I don’t have to respond.

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  32. Christianagnostic,

    Yep, and I am still confused as to why many believe that Matthew 18 is a disciplinary action. I am even more confused as to why people preach that “the church”, in Matthew 18 is “the pastor”. Doesn’t anyone use a concordance anymore? Who re-wrote the meaning of “ecclesia” to mean “pastor” or “leader”, or “elders”?

    What is a heathen, as mentioned in Matthew 18? Again, doesn’t anyone use a concordance anymore? Christianity is an exclusive club, heathens are to be booted out…YES, THE BABY AND THE BATHWATER, Bike Bubba.

    Bike Bubba, You want to use Matthew 18 as a determination to distinguish whether the accuser is telling the truth as opposed to spreading gossip? Are you kidding me?

    Ed

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  33. One last thing before I go to eat turkey, Bike Bubba,

    If the accused brings accusations to the pew sitters, uh, which is, “the church”, there was already a minimum of two witnesses to begin with. By the mouth of two or three may every word be established. There is no need whatsoever to determine if the accuser is telling the truth, or is gossiping. You sound as if you want to cross examine the abused?

    Discipline is a corrective action. Matthew 18 is not a corrective procedure.

    Your steadfast adherence to a non-existent Matthew 18 disciplinary process is abusive to the already abused. Please reconsider your position.

    Ed

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  34. Hey Ed,

    You hit a home run with your description of how Matt. 18 has been used and abused on a regular basis and how there are better ways of approaching these situations. Right on, bro!

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  35. Wow. So much here in this discussion! With the chemo I am having cognitive difficulties on top of the comas and head injuries and being resuscitated etc, so much I want to say but can keep up. I apologize in advance if i get a name wrong. no computer and using a phone makes it hard to keep scrolling to check. Just a couple of quick thoughts and my opinion, could be very wrong.
    Marsha, wonderful insight and comments! I agree.

    Gail, so proud of you for dropping the “scared”! It’s ok to be, I noticed it last week and couldn’t help feeling bad for you for what was behind it. Awesome Gail!

    Julie Anne , great points, can’t wait for the post you have been thinking about!

    Ann, praying for you. I rarely had fear or anxiety through 32 years of law enforcement, or as I prefer and lived through actions, public service, a privilege granted from God to serve. Then after and during major health and divorce issues, wow, anxiety, PTSD etc took over. So many triggers, I agree. Trying to replace some meds with natural things provided by God in nature. Dr. Michael Murray an excellent trusted resource for anyone interested. His website a wealth of info. His book on Cancer incredible.

    General thoughts on Mathew 18 and justice. Learned a lot here about Mathew 18 from most if you. I realized I have been held captive by thinking about it wrong. Thank you. Still waiting for a meeting with the lead pastor thinking I needed to do that first before I name names, and other possible legal options. He certainly knows that his and his other pastors talking with my wife daily and late at night was wrong, wrong, wrong. Certainly as he heard one of his staff pastor threaten to “kick my a..” While recovering from heart surgery was wrong, over two years if secret talks with my STBX and without my knowledge and judging me without even speaking with me, shocking, and truly, God only knows what else. Just got another “excuse” text why he cannot meet. The power of legalism. As far as good old boys, yes, does exist for sure. Men can be victims too though. And a final thought on justice, after watching and being involved in it for over 3 decades, I seriously wonder about justice this side of heaven. I really do. One brief case, a rape of a 4 year old girl. Done by an insider uncle stage as a burglary, a black neighbor falsely accused. As a young detective I asked to be added on the case while I was seeing the neighbor get railroaded. Long case, make it short. Two 8 hour interviews with the uncle, non custodial, requested by him! A confession. The presiding judge ruled the child competent to testify, the youngest in Florida history. Later the judge ruled the confession illegal, disallowing it to be used. He walked and a year later was charged with raping 6 young girls in a church. In the elevator I asked the prosecutor what i did wrong. He said, the judge caught a lot of flack from his peers for ruling a young child competent, previous age was seven. He said” John, it’s like a football game. You did nothing wrong, it was brilliant work. But when a referee makes a questionable call early in the game he later makes one for the other side to even things up.” I was devastated and said this is not a football game. That created my cynical outlook for the next 25 years of my career. Justice. I think not. And telling ones story on a place like this is not gossip, just my humble opinion.

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  36. @Gail:

    Talked & sobbed for 45 minutes.

    His response was, put the past in the past with a bunch of scripture.

    i.e. Recite the Party Line. Literally Chapter-and-Verse.

    But, then he brought up a person we were both close to *Sue* and said to me, you know Sue, she suffered more abuse than any of us, and she is fine,

    i.e. “You Think You Have It Bad?” Shaming by comparison with The Perfect One.

    Not far off from the parent-to-child telling him “I HAD TO WALK FIFTY MILES A DAY TO SCHOOL! UPHILL BOTH DIRECTIONS!”

    because Jesus made her whole.

    In this context, shouldn’t that be “JEESUS” with two “E”s?

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  37. @BrendaR:

    I do not believe Matthew 18 ever should be used in cases of abuse. Abusers can come off very articulate and the victim looks like a depressed zombie, which they may very well be by the time the situation is addressed.

    Especially if the victim has been gaslighted and third-party authorities have been previously “groomed” by the abuser as friends and allies.

    “GO AHEAD AND SQUEAL, TATTLE-TALE! NOBODY WILL EVER BELIEVE YOU! BECAUSE YOU’RE JUST THE CRAZY KID AND I’M THE SWEET LITTLE ANGEL!”

    Successful abusers (like successful pedophiles and successful sociopaths) are masters at camouflaging what they really are. We only hear about the dumb ones who slipped up and got caught.

    Like

  38. @Ann:

    Responses: Really?, Bill abused you? Never would have guessed that; he *seems* like a nice guy.

    Re above about Successful Abusers & Sociopaths.

    Like

  39. My husband has slowly started sharing his story of emotional abuse by his ex-wife to his family. So far his family members have sided with the ex-wife and seem to think she did nothing wrong. This tells me that perhaps they share the same behavior characteristics of the ex-abuser or they fail to see the damage that has been done. He has shared his story with a couple of very close friends and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Same when he told my family – their response has been to surround him in love and support and prayers and total acceptance. He does have PTSD and most likely depression that is being exacerbated by a highly toxic work environment. He has a power-hungry interim general manager who sounds way too much like his ex-abuser, which is triggering all sorts of negative flashbacks. All of the criticisms he hears sound just like what his ex said for 15 years. Last night he broke down in tears at our dinner because he felt like such a failure. I see the many ways in which he is not a failure but when you have been programmed for 15 years to see yourself as such and then you have a poisonous boss… I think that some people fail to understand that no one chooses to be abused and no one chooses to suffer from PTSD. All any person wants is to be treated with respect and to have stories believed. And we never know just how deep the valley is or when we will start climbing back out.

    Like

  40. “First, I am dropping aka as scared. I am over feeling scared to speak out against pastors. Will just be Gail from here on out.’

    Gail, this is wonderful news. You have made my day!!!

    Like

  41. “Matthew 18 is the absolute favorite scripture of every abusive Christian I have ever known. It gives them a procedural out, so to say….ie, you didn’t bring your complaint in the correct way, so I don’t have to respond.”

    Yep. Here is a classic blog post about trying to apply Matt 18 in a mega church. I can relate to this one as Matt 18 was trotted out by the leadership in dealing with every complaint, concern, question, etc.

    http://coffeetradernews.blogspot.com/2007/09/adventures-of-matthew-18-in-mega.html

    I got so sick of hearing it that I did an indepth study on it myself in context. Ed and I are close in agreement.

    Like

  42. Ok, try this one on for size…

    Telling a relative you trusted about some abuse that happened many years ago, only to have that person turn right around and blab to a parent you’re still living with. Not that the story shouldn’t have ever come out, but there may be good reasons to be very careful about who finds out. Plus the (adult) victim should be the one to decide who are told and when. Violating their confidence like that does nothing to help (assuming the victim is in no danger) and will just cause them to clam up.

    Have also been in an intense, emotionally/psychologically abusive situation with a former “friend” I made the mistake of trying to share living quarters with. What kept me on an even keel was my boyfriend (now my husband) who knew this person well enough to know I wasn’t exaggerating. He provided me with critical emotional support during that time, aside from the romantic stuff. Finally had to cut this friend out of my life completely for the sake of my sanity, although I felt guilty, like I wasn’t forgiving as a Christian should by cutting off all contact. The sheer enormity of the emotional battering I had taken (which was minimized by the culprit) required it, however. Reading the blog by pastor Crippen has helped and had me nodding and saying “yep” more than once, even though this was not an “intimate partner” domestic violence situation.

    Like

  43. I just spent 8 years in an abusive, authoritarian church (non-denominational, Bible church that was a church plant and has grown to several hundred members). I didn’t know that they believed in blind “obedience” and “submission” and that we were to “obey” them and as grown adults act like idiots. (They practice an authoritarian, un-Biblical shepherding model from the 1970’s, which even its founders later apologized for and the damage it caused in peoples’ lives.)

    I made the mistake of going to my pastors/elders for Biblical counseling/advice as to how to handle a couple of abusive women at the church, who were horrible to me and to others. The pastors/elders were useless, minimized, blamed, screamed, used Bible verses, etc. They demanded that I be friends with the first woman. No thanks, she’s an active alcoholic who needed an intervention and treatment. The pastors/elders bungled that (and she lost out, her adult children, the people around her, and those of us in the church). The next woman also had a lot of rage, put downs, etc. No stopping her. The pastors/elders bungled that and tried to make us be friends. No thanks: She needs to go to see a professional Christian counselor to resolve her rage about her childhood, then she’ll stop taking out her unresolved anger on the rest of us. (I don’t choose unhealthy, abusive people as “friends”.)

    The pastors/elders formally unchurched and ordered that a Godly Christian doctor be shunned by the members (a man who has been married for 40+ years to his wife, good husband, good father, stand-up guy). I was stunned when it happened this past year. Some trumped up charge. Nothing about infidelity, etc. Many families quietly left after that.

    Then I discovered, while doing a legal project for a former prosecutor, that a current church member was a convicted sex offender on Megan’s List. I reported it to the pastors. They met with me, screamed and yelled at me, and told me that it wasn’t a big deal and he was a friend of theirs. They have placed him in positions of authority and even invited him to volunteer at our children’s summer basketball camp! None of the parents know he’s on Megan’s List! What a betrayal to parents, those that go to the church and those who entrust their children to us and aren’t members.

    The pastors/elders said they permitted him to become a member because he said he was “coming off Megan’s List” of sex offenders. His supervising law enforcement agency, The Sheriff’s, called that “a total lie”. The Sheriff called the California Attorney General which runs Megan’s List for our state: The Attorney General confirmed it was “a total lie” and this convicted sex offender is NOT coming off Megan’s List.

    The pastors/elders ordered me to: a) never have contact with the Sheriff’s again;
    b) never have contact with the Attorney General’s again; c) never reveal the name of the church or the names of the pastors/elders; and d) they refused to meet with the sex offenders’ task force as the Sheriff’s task force had asked. (The Sheriff’s demanded to know what kind of church I went to that threatened me into silence and refused to meet with this sex offender’s supervising law enforcement agency. Great question, Sheriff’s!)

    The pastors/elders and I are legally mandated child abuse reporters under the California Penal Code. It’s a crime for us not to report. According to the pastors/elders they call the shots and the law won’t be obeyed…by them or by people like me. This was just sick and crazy!

    So they recently ordered me to apologize to them for my lack of submission and for bringing “an accusation against an elder without cause.” I didn’t bring the accusation – the Sheriff’s and the Attorney General’s did! The pastors/elders banned me from church services, church property, from having contact with church members, and ordered that I too be shunned and they stripped me of my church membership on some trumped up charge.

    There is an epidemic of child sexual abuse in evangelical churches and this is reported by Church Mutual, the largest insurer of churches. We have pastors/elders who don’t follow any child safety practices and gave a Megan’s List convicted sex offender access to kids. (Many insurance companies are refusing to insure churches that don’t have child safety policies and special meetings announcing the sex offenders in their midst.)

    So a godly doctor is kicked out, I’m kicked out, and a convicted sex offender is welcomed with open arms as are other abusive people.

    I guess I’m not sick enough to belong!

    Like

  44. Michaela, that is one unhealthy church and you are better off out of there. what you have experienced is not out of the ordinary, unfortunately.

    Like

  45. “The next woman also had a lot of rage, put downs, etc. No stopping her. The pastors/elders bungled that and tried to make us be friends. No thanks: She needs to go to see a professional Christian counselor to resolve her rage about her childhood, then she’ll stop taking out her unresolved anger on the rest of us. (I don’t choose unhealthy, abusive people as “friends”.)”

    Oh my gosh…that sounds almost exactly like my situation with my “friend” I tried to share an apartment with. I finally had to accept that regardless of the reasons, somewhere along the way she had morphed into an abuser in her own right. Different types of abuse than what she had been subjected to, but there it was. I knew in hindsight I shouldn’t have allowed myself to become a close friend to someone with that extreme an anger issue, but every time I tried to gradually back off and drift away, she would find ways to pull me back into her orbit. Long story. At least I didn’t have anyone else trying to force us to remain friends.

    Regarding your church situation, Michaela, have you reported this church’s name to the Sheriff’s office? The pastor and elders of this anti-church have no power to enforce any demands for your silence. If they try to sue you, and THEY’RE the ones on the wrong side of the law…well, just ask Julie Anne. 😉 Even if every single adult still at the church abides by the command to shun you and won’t listen to your warnings, the civil authorities should at least know what’s going on because other children are still at risk. These jerks need to find out the hard way they are not above the law.

    Like

  46. And I have good news, My husband has slowly let his coworkers know who is ex-wife/ex-abuser is by name (she is very well known in their unique sales community). Since she is so well known, his coworkers are automatically able to see how she emotionally abused him. These coworkers are now changing how they approach my husband in difficult/stressful situations so as not to trigger my husband. What a blessing. This has all happened in the last few days and the difference is tremendous. Well, that and losing a toxic interim general manager helped too. 🙂 I’m also finding that the more confident my husband and I are, the less the abuser is able to land her poisonous arrows on us. I hope that makes sense.

    I started my new job as a part-time receptionist in the same ownership group at the store next door to my husband’s, about 30 hours a week. We were both worried about how this would affect my health but having my husband so close helps us both. After talking with the top managers, we have decided to give the current schedule a 6 week trial period after which we will re-evaluate. If it looks like my health is suffering at all we will drop the schedule down to 20 hours a week. At the same time, I’m pretty nervous because we all feel like my husband is being led by God to take a job in another state. We have until mid-February to accept the job so we will be spending many many hours in prayer until then.

    Like

  47. Mandy you are blessed to have the option to drop hours if you need to at work. I have to work 40 and would love to go down to 30/32. I have health issues, but can’t cut down. I need the insurance.

    Like

  48. Mandy,

    I’m so thrilled to hear of your recent updates with your husband’s job situation in how co-workers are now responding, and also your new job ventures and the respect/flexibility they are showing you. You seem very happy. Yea! You’ve waited a long time for this.

    Like

  49. Ed Chapman is really missing something here; Matthew 18:15-19 is really pretty simple. If it is possible, when you are wronged (notice it does not say what the wrong is; it’s not just “little stuff” as some would assume), go to the perpetrator and be reconciled, then take another to establish the facts of the matter, and then go before the elders and the whole church. If reconciliation is not achieved, then the person is to be treated as an unbeliever–and then secular courts could certainly come into play per 1 Cor. 6.

    Note that there is no “get out of jail free” card for the person whose accuser hasn’t followed the plan perfectly. Rather, the response is “let’s run this through the Biblical process lest greater harm result.”

    And yes, manipulators and bad actors will take refuge behind a misinterpretation of Matthew 18, just as they would (and do) take refuge behind the gullibility of police officers when confronted, or any other refuge they could find or contrive. It happens. The solution is not to abandon the process God has given us for reconciliation, but rather to train people as to its proper use, and where appropriate perhaps even provide counsel to those going through it.

    And for those, like Michaela, who find themselves in places where Matthew 18 is not used well–well, that’s your hint to get out. If pointing out a problem gets you shouted down–and it happened to me about three months back, I know it happens–that’s your hint that church leadership lacks discernment and self-control.

    And Michaela, please, please, PLEASE go to a lawyer and file an affidavit about what you know. Remember that the first meeting is customarily free, and if money is an issue, they can direct you to gratis services available for the kind of note you need to make.

    Make sure, if you know the insurance company they use, to ask that lawyer about contacting the church’s insurance company. Megan’s List doesn’t mean the police will come calling, but Megan’s List plus “working with children in church” is a great way to get the interest of Church Mutual, if you catch my drift. Even reprobate church leadership responds to insurance cancellations.

    Like

  50. Thank you for the encouragement JA and Brenda. I wouldn’t say that happy is the right word right now. I think secure sounds a little better. The past 6 weeks have been an extreme trial in life and are weeks that I do not ever want to repeat. My husband and I are still struggling to pay bills but have hope now that I am working part-time and we should have our extreme child support payments reduced by quite a bit. The abuse from the ex hit a peak at the same time my husband’s store was in transition with a poisonous interim gm. There were days that we honestly thought we would have to take the job offer in the other state and move on just a week’s notice – that is how desperate things got. We may still take the job if God leads us there. I entered a major flare-up with my arthritis and whatever other syndrome I have so we are trying to find a wheelchair for occasional use. There is so much more that happened, so much that I hesitate to say that we have hit the bottom. We are simply taking it one hour at a time. I think the biggest relief has been having a permanent gm named and having a few coworkers understand his past with the ex.

    Like

  51. Mandy – one day at a time is a helpful way of looking at things when the future is uncertain. I have to think that way with my school work. If I look at the big picture, it’s quite overwhelming.

    Like

  52. Oh, the new gm figured out a way for the store to pay for me and hubby to go to Las Vegas one or two nights a month on the company’s dime (driving a monthly delivery). For that reason alone I hope we can keep the job as the new guy recognizes the need for a regularly scheduled break from a high-stress job. 🙂

    JA, I know what you mean about school. I hope it continues to go well for you. I’d like to go back for my MBA in a couple of years, just not now. 🙂

    Like

  53. And yet again, this is why I don’t want to live in a theocracy, because think how awful life would be if BB’s interpretation of Matthew 18 became the law of the land. Christian criminals could travel all over the country embezzling, molesting children, and generally breaking the law, carefully selecting Christian victims, followed by repenting, reconciling and then doing it again elsewhere where no ones knows about the previous transgression. Non-Christians would of course just get arrested, prosecuted, found guilty, and punished by being sent to prison, protecting the public. The public would remain unprotected from Christians, however; we wouldn’t be held accountable – we are special! Just think how popular Christianity would be with the next victim!

    Christianity IS popular in the prison system, however. I have spent a lot of time in prisons in the course of my volunteer and consulting work. Most of the prisoners I met have found Jesus. They also sign up for rehabilitative programs. The ones who think they should have their sentences commuted because they have changed, tend to be the ones who reoffend.

    Liked by 1 person

  54. Bike Bubba,

    You have a problem with the 2 witness thing. There is NO WAY that anyone can complete the process in the first place without witnesses. The ONLY recourse is to dial 911.

    There will never be a witness to an abuse, so if she does try to reconcile, and the perp denies it…THEN WHAT? She cannot take it to the ASSEMBLY, because there is NO WITNESSES.

    DIAL 911.

    Wow, I cannot comprehend your thinking.

    Ed

    Like

  55. Bike Bubba,

    A victim is scared to death of their abuser, and you are gonna expect that the victim goes to someone that she is scared to death of to reconcile? Do you REALLY think that this is what God wants from a victim? Do you? Do you? Wow.

    I’m just not getting your logic at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  56. @Marsha:

    Dr. Jay Adams (Presbyterian/seminary teacher/author of many books) has a very good little book called Handbook of Church Discipline: A Right and a Privilege of Every Church Member. Be comforted, while BB means well…BB is incorrect in the application of Matthew 18:15-17. If Step 1 doesn’t work, a face to face confrontation, then Step 2 is to take place (which involves 2 people to make certain that the person is properly confronted).

    No where are our laws, including criminal laws, dispensed with. It was the Lord Himself who called for justice, including for murder, rape, kidnapping, theft, etc. Even our bankruptcy laws come from the Bible. In fact, we are required to take action to prevent others from being hurt.

    Here’s an article by Rev. Billy Graham’s grandson Boz (a Christian, a former child sex crimes prosecutor, a law school professor, and the founder of G.R.A.C.E. – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment). http://boz.religionnews.com/2014/06/27/4-lessons-learn-church-just-doesnt-get/

    Additionally, criminal laws make clergy mandated reporters of child abuse and elder abuse in most states. Clergy, and those who work in their offices, can be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for not reporting.

    Like

  57. I have to agree with Ed on this one. All of the cases that I know of that went through church steps to restore only made things worse. The abusers use what is said to enable them to commit even more abuse as the wife is being told that she needs to submit more, allow him to be the man AKA Enable him. When one type of abuse no longer works, an entire new maneuver starts. I’ve lived it. After many years I finally recognized that the answer was between me and God alone. The Bible has so much to offer about oppressors and very little on actual marriage. If we could stick to those few concepts the world would be such a wonderful place, but it isn’t. There are more abusers and patriarchs with a whip in their hand against their women. I stayed silent and submissive for many years while objects were being thrown at me and glass shattering on me. My ears being pulled because I didn’t move fast enough. My nose being pulled because to hear him tell it it was the size of an elephants trunk. I now realize that I have an average nose for a woman my size. Being tied to the bed while I slept to be awakened to this anti husband playing death marches on the iron bars of the bed. Crazymaking and threatening it was. How do you prove such things? It is his word against mine. This weekend I received 103 texts from the X-AntiHusband. Even though the divorce has been final for over a year, he still believes that I belong to him and can do what he wants. He has done nothing that shows any heart change and even if he did, I would not risk going back. I could never allow him to touch me again. There are too many bad memories. Better to stay alone, if that is what God deems my fate.

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  58. @Brenda: Amen. (I suggest you get a copy of Gavin De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear and put it in to practice.)

    Like

  59. Micaela,

    I’m afraid that I need a bit of clarification.

    You had said:
    ” then Step 2 is to take place (which involves 2 people to make certain that the person is properly confronted).”

    Properly confronted? I am having a problem with your stated purpose of the 2 people.

    Verse 16 states the word “witnesses”. They must have seen the trespass.

    Do you advocate that the two must have seen, with their own eyes, the trespass?

    By the mouth of two or three may every word be established

    There are many so stated sentences in the Bible, one of which is in verse 16.

    Here is one of the first times:

    Deu 19:15
    One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

    Ed

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  60. Hi Ed,

    Good questions. Dr. Jay Adams devoted an entire (short) book to
    the topic of church discipline.
    Unfortunately I am leaving for work
    and don’t have time to give an indepth
    answer, which I need to quote from Dr.
    Adams’ book. Hopefully by tomorrow I will have time.

    Liked by 1 person

  61. Michaela,

    I just wanted to show a few more references in regards to Matthew 18:16, which states:
    “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”

    Numbers 35:30
    Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.

    Deu 17:6
    At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

    In regards to accusing Jesus:

    Matthew 26:60
    But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

    2 Cor 13:1
    This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

    1 Timothy 5:19
    Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

    Hebrews 10:28
    He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

    Notice if you will that 1 Timothy 5:19 is played by the SAME EXACT rules as everybody else. So, it isn’t a separate issue about an elder, as it is with the average pew sitter.

    Witness. Very important word in Matthew 18.

    Ed

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  62. Michaela,

    Just for the record, I do not believe in a Matthew 18 church discipline. There was only 2 choices in Matthew 18. Forgive, or kick out. Discipline is a corrective action, and there are no corrective actions outlined in Matthew 18.

    Ed

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  63. OK, first of all, since when have I said that the legal process ought to be cut out here? In fact, I’ve said just the opposite a few times. Honestly, Ed, you really need to read what I’ve actually written. If God intended for Matthew 18 to preclude possible criminal liability, Jesus would have SAID SO in Matthew 18. He didn’t.

    For that matter, Christ is addressing a Jewish audience at that point, one that would not fail to connect the principle of repentance and sorrow for sin with the Mosaic principles of restitution, atonement offerings, and punishment for criminal sin. So to argue that Matthew 18 does not provide for punishment simply ignores the culture in which He spoke those words–and I would further posit that the abuse of Matthew 18 that often occurs in churches also derives significantly from the fact that those trying to carry the reconciliation and discipline process out don’t understand the cultural context.

    It is also worth noting that for the Jews who were listening to Christ at that point, the punishment of being treated as a tax collector or pagan is terrifying–it meant they’d be cast out of the synagogue, and there is a reason John 16:2 uses that analogy in tandem with being killed. It was that central to their thinking. So again, to say there is no punishment…..only says that the writer really has no clue about Jewish society at the time.

    And yes, I am fully aware that testifying about one’s victimization can be like reliving the crime. But that said, in criminal courts, the 6th Amendment guarantees the right to confront the evidence presented against the accused, so one can hardly say that it is any different in church discipline than it is in criminal court, really.

    And let’s be honest here. There is such a thing as false allegations–Salem witch trials, trial of Christ, numerous child molestation allegations, and the like. If you think things are Hell with the system of confrontation, just watch how nasty things get when the manipulators know that they won’t be cross examined. Put gently, it is no accident that Roman kings were both master manipulators and sexual perverts as a rule.

    The proper course of action is not to abandon Matthew 18, God’s chosen way of dealing with sins in the church. It is to put it in its proper historical and societal context and significance, and train deacon/elder boards on how to take allegations and evidence seriously.

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  64. Ed

    I kinda agree…
    “ I do not believe in a Matthew 18 **church discipline.**”

    The Main Reason is – I can NOT find “church discipline” in the Bible… 😉
    Sounds like a way for “self proclaimed pastors” to control and manipulate.

    And, It seems, Mat 18:15-17, is about Two Brothers…
    And, I have many questions about how these verses are to be understood.
    And, could there be more than two choices here?

    I do NOT know what it means when
    MY Brother, “neglects to hear the church,” and I, Amos, his brother, is to…
    “let him be unto **thee** (ME) as an heathen man and a publican.”

    How did Jesus, treat a “heathen man and a publican?”
    Didn’t Jesus hang out with the sinners, wine bibbers, and publicans?
    Aren’t WE, His Sheep, asked to go the heathen and publicans?

    Gal 1:16
    To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among “the heathen”…

    Gal 3:8
    And the scripture, foreseeing that God would
    justify “the heathen” through faith…
    ———–

    Mat 18:15-17 KJV
    15 Moreover if **thy brother** shall trespass against thee,
    go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:
    if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained **thy brother.**

    16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more,
    that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

    17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: (assembly)
    but if he neglect to hear the church, (the Called Out Ones, His Body)
    let him be unto **thee** as an heathen man and a publican.
    ————

    Seems it’s up to me (thee) how I treat MY brother, the trespasser.
    And, Love covers a multiple of sins… Is another option…

    Pro 10:12
    Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

    Maybe the test is for me?

    Will I love my enemies? Bless those who curse me?
    Pray for those who despitfully use me?

    Will I still love the heathen man and publican? MY Brother?

    Like

  65. Ed

    You ask Micaela @ DECEMBER 1, 2014 @ 9:42 PM

    “Properly confronted?
    I am having a problem with your stated purpose of the 2 people.”

    “Verse 16 states the word “witnesses”. They must have seen the trespass.”

    “Do you advocate that the two must have seen,
    with their own eyes, the trespass?”
    ————

    Ed – Could the “purpose of the 2 people” (take with thee one or two more,)
    be a witness, or witnesses, to the 2nd confrontation?

    And, NOT necessarily a witness to the trespass, offense, sin?

    When you “tell it unto the church”
    Do you expect all “The ekklsia,” all “the Called Out Ones”
    to be a “Withness” to the trespass?

    Like

  66. Amos; church discipline is not referred to in the Scriptures in so many words, but the principle is that when one’s behavior is not in line with the faith, the church steps in and implementing penalties, up to and including expulsion from the church body. People disciplined in Scripture this way include Alexander the Coppersmith and probably Diotrophes. One can also make an argument that the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira were rapid cases of church discipline, along with those referred to in 1 Corinthians 11 as “falling asleep” because they did not take the Lord’s Supper seriously. You can also see it when Paul tells the Corinthians to expel the sexually immoral man in 1 Cor. 5.

    Since Matthew 18 shows our Lord endorsing face to face meetings to figure out the actual sins committed, and verse 17 tells Jews to treat offenders as a heathen or tax collector, it’s pretty clear that Matthew 18 is one of a body of passages which describe processes of church discipline–primarily the phase of “discovery of evidence”, but it would also include punishment (verse 17).

    One key here is that the root word for discipline is disciple–so a great portion of church discipline is not about lording it over anyone, but rather teaching people to be disciples of Christ. Obviously this fact has not penetrated the skulls of many errant church leaders who use discipline as a bludgeon.

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  67. Bike Bubba

    I agree when you write…
    “church discipline is not referred to in the Scriptures.”

    I dis-agree when you write…

    1 – “…verse 17 tells Jews to treat offenders as a heathen or tax collector,
    2 – it’s pretty clear that Matthew 18 is one of a body of passages
    3 – which describe processes of church discipline–primarily
    4 – the phase of “discovery of evidence”,
    5 – but it would also include punishment (verse 17).

    Because, what you write here is NOT in the scriptures either. 🙂

    1 – NOPE – I see verse 17 telling ME, the brother trespassed against…
    to treat MY Brother as a “heathen and a publican.”
    Verse 17 is NOT telling Jews. Jews are NOT mentioned in v 17. 😉
    Heathens and Publicans need Jesus, Love, and Mercy. NOT punishment.

    2 – NOPE – NOT clear to me “that Matthew 18 is one of a body of passages”
    3 – NOPE – “processes of church discipline” is NOT in the Bible.
    4 – NOPE – the phase of “discovery of evidence” is NOT in the Bible.
    5 – NOPE – “punishment” is NOT mentioned in verse 17.

    That’s what happens when you use terms NOT found in the Bible.
    Now you have to use other terms NOT found in the Bible to explain them.

    Maybe verse 17 is telling ME, the offended brother, to act like Jesus?
    Jesus sat down and ate with the heathens and publicans. NOT punish them.
    And the Pharisees, “Religious Leaders,” did NOT like that.

    Mat 9:10-13
    And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house,
    behold, many publicans and sinners came
    and sat down with him and his disciples.
    And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples,
    Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

    But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them,
    They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
    But go ye and learn what that meaneth,
    I WILL HAVE MERCY, and not sacrifice:
    for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

    Maybe verse 17 is telling ME, the offended brother, to have Mercy like Jesus?

    Me thinks I should show mercy and NOT be like the Pharisees.

    Will I love my enemies? Bless those who curse me?
    Pray for those who despitfully use me?

    Will I still love the heathen man and publican? MY Brother?

    Like

  68. Amos, no quibbles at all with the point that we are to love the heathen and tax collector. The trick regarding church discipline is that until they repent (agree with God) about their sin (idolatry, extortion, whatever), they’re not in the church.

    And that is the “end game” for the unrepentant in church discipline. They will be treated….as if they do not belong to the church. And, as Ananias, Saphira, Alexander, Diotrophes, and others would tell you, that’s a terrifying thing to contemplate for a believer.

    See what I’m getting at here? Treating someone as an unbeliever is an act of love if in fact their life indicates that they are not walking with Christ, because that will bring them to Christ.

    And I would appreciate it greatly if you would refrain from taking my words out of context. The point was not that there is no such thing as church discipline in the Scriptures, but rather that the Biblical principle is not stated in so many words, like many other Biblical concepts like the Trinity. The fact that the Church has developed a theological shorthand for a Biblical concept does not mean the concept does not exist in the Scriptures.

    Like

  69. Bike Bubba

    You write…
    “but the principle is that when one’s behavior is not in line with the faith, the church steps in and implementing penalties, up to and including expulsion from the church body.”

    Was wondering…

    Who determines “when one’s behavior is NOT in line with the faith?”

    How does “the church step in?”
    Who in “the church steps in?”

    How does the church go about “implementing penalties?” What penalties?

    Like

  70. Well, you could try reading Matthew 18:15-19 and find out, couldn’t you, Amos?

    Seriously; it’s in the Scriptures. What is, and is not, sin is detailed there. How the church deacons and elders present a case for excommunication is detailed in the Scriptures, too.

    Where it goes right, it’s done according to the Scriptures. Where it’s done wrong, it’s where men close ranks around friends and ignore what God’s Word has to say. Nothing complicated about it. Difficult, yes, but not complicated.

    Like

  71. Bike Bubba,

    I have read what you have written, and it makes no sense. You really amuse me, Bubba. Really. Then you go off on tangents about a Jewish audience. Negative. The audience was disciples of Jesus, regardless of nationality. If you are in Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile. Now that I am a disciple of Jesus, I am the audience. I am a Gentile. But since I am in Christ, I am a brother, not a Gentile.

    You make it sound as if the Matthew 18 process is like a grand jury, in order to find out if there is probable cause to dial 911. You want it to go to the church first and foremost, before it gets to the authorities.

    I have said this more than once, and I will say it again. Hear this, because this is the key to the whole thing:

    ********************Witnesses. There must be a minimum of two. Without two witnesses, there is no Matthew 18 process that can ever take place. Period. There will never be witnesses to abuse, so your logic is null and void. There is no Matthew 18 process period. How did you miss that in regards to witnesses?********************************************************************************

    However, if the victim wishes to reconsile, the victim can visit the perp while he/she serves his/her prison time, AFTER the legal process take place.

    You, however, want the legal process to take place AFTER the church determines probable cause. That is what makes your use of Matthew 18 abusive and reckless, and not even biblical. Your interpretation, as with most church’s interpretation is way off base.

    Second. How is it that you define the word discipline as kicking a person out of a church? The word discipline is corrective action to correct a deficiency. Kicking a person out of the church is NOT discipline, period. Kicking a person out of a church does NOT correct a deficiency. Look up the word. Discipline does not apply in Matthew 18. Why do you people insist on disciplining church members in the first place?

    Next, you had told A Amos Love that the church steps in to implement penalties.

    Where in God’s name did you find that in scripture? The church has NO AUTHORITY to implement penalties of any kind, to anyone, for any reason. Never Never Never Never.

    I can’t believe the nonsense that I hear from you. Really.

    Ed

    Like

  72. Bike Bubba,

    You had said:
    “And let’s be honest here. There is such a thing as false allegations–Salem witch trials, trial of Christ, numerous child molestation allegations, and the like. If you think things are Hell with the system of confrontation, just watch how nasty things get when the manipulators know that they won’t be cross examined. Put gently, it is no accident that Roman kings were both master manipulators and sexual perverts as a rule.”

    My response:

    You are right. False witnesses, however, does not negate out the need for “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”, false or true.

    But, if you recall about Jesus, Jesus had to get to that cross. And the only way that he was gonna get there was by the TWO false WITNESSES.

    But, this does not negate out the need for 2 or 3 witnesses in a Matthew 18 process. They are needed. Without them, Matthew 18 cannot proceed.

    Somehow, you FORCE it to proceed without witnesses. I just don’t get your logic.

    Ed

    Like

  73. A Amos Love

    You had said:
    :Ed – Could the “purpose of the 2 people” (take with thee one or two more,)
    be a witness, or witnesses, to the 2nd confrontation?

    And, NOT necessarily a witness to the trespass, offense, sin?

    When you “tell it unto the church”
    Do you expect all “The ekklsia,” all “the Called Out Ones”
    to be a “Withness” to the trespass?

    My response:
    I provided all the references in regards to witnesses (PLURAL). One witness only cannot tesitfy to anything. A minimum of two is needed. Witnesses must have seen the trespass. All of the references that I provided shows that.

    No, the ecclesia is not witnesses. Only the people who saw the trespass are witnesses, hence the word witness. The ecclesia makes the decision to keep or kick out. The victim makes the decision to BIND or LOOSE, that is to say, not forgive, or forgive.

    But if the victim BINDS, that is NO GROUNDS TO kick the victim out of the church. The victim has the choice to bind or loose.

    Whatever the victim binds on earth is bound in heaven. The perp can get forgiveness from God alone. The perp does NOT need the victim to forgive him/her at all. And yet, the victim gets punished again for not adhering to someones twisted interpretation of Matthew 18, which includes, BIND AND LOOSE, which is a God given right to do either.

    Ed

    Like

  74. Ed, if you’re truly convinced that Matthew 18 has nothing to do with church discipline, restoration, reconciliation, and the like, it’s worth noting that many/most of the great theologians of history, from a range of denominations, clearly view Matthew 18 in exactly this way. As such, you might do well to entertain the possibility that the one with a large exegetical/hermeneutic problem looks at you when you shave.

    You witness to this difficulty, by the way, by simply dismissing how the Jewish audience Christ had in Matthew 18 by pointing to your status as a Gentile. OK, fine, but a basic principle of sound exegesis is the question what did this passage mean to its original hearers? You’d never read Homer or Shakespeare that way, at least not if you wanted to get something out of it.

    Having failed to adhere to the most basic principle of exegesis, you proceed to make noise about the need for two witnesses in a criminal trial–OK, now you’re assuming that every story of fabuse is a criminal issue. OK, so you’re going to put the guy who gave me the undesired sex ed lesson onto Megan’s List, and then criminalize a number of other non-criminal interactions.

    See the problem with what you’re doing here? You seriously need to review some of the basic principles of exegesis and hermeneutics before you accuse others of not understanding Scripture. Your writing is replete with unforced errors like this.

    Like

  75. Again, BikeBubba,

    If you read the first verse of Matthew 18, the word is disciples, not Jews. Anyone who reads the bible, they are reading something addressed to them alone. I read it, and so therefore, it is addressed to me.

    Now, in regards to theologians, have you ever read the story in regards to Bereans?

    Bereans are their own theologian. They decide. How do they decide? They alone search the scriptures daily to see if THOSE THINGS are so.

    And, I might add, that because they did that, they were more noble. Therefore, I could care less about what theologians say.

    I can read. I can comprehend. I can dissect sentences and words. I got very good grades in school in regards to how sentences are structured, etc. Your exegesis is out of whack.

    I don’t base my belief on what someone else decided for me. I am non-denomination. Dead people decided what denominations are to believe, hence the Catholics had numerous “confessions”, as did the Lutherans, and the Calvinists.

    I mean, really, 2000 years later they are still in conflict about how to baptize people. Them oh so great theologians cannot even decide amongst themselves. And somehow you want me to believe theologians?

    Be a Berean, and you will find out things are NOT what they say that they are. Believe that!

    Ed

    Like

  76. Bike Bubba,

    May I ask, why are you posting here? SSB is a safe place for folks who have been ruined, crushed, by so called theologians & doctrines of dead men, along with those who misinterpreted scripture, according to their pet doctrine….

    I am so sick of certainty, long winded, pontificating, experts. You kinda come across that way.

    Meanwhile, I know only one thing, love never fails, and I was born to bless.

    Liked by 2 people

  77. Bike Bubba,

    “A victim is scared to death of their abuser, and you are gonna expect that the victim goes to someone that she is scared to death of to reconcile? Do you REALLY think that this is what God wants from a victim? Do you? Do you? Wow.
    I’m just not getting your logic at all.
    Bike Bubba,

    “A victim is scared to death of their abuser, and you are gonna expect that the victim goes to someone that she is scared to death of to reconcile? Do you REALLY think that this is what God wants from a victim? Do you? Do you? Wow.

    I’m just not getting your logic at all.”

    Excellent, Bravo ED! Being that I use to be Gail aka scared. Words & more words wear me out.

    Liked by 2 people

  78. Bike Bubba

    You write @ DECEMBER 2, 2014 @ 12:49 PM
    “Well, you could try reading Matthew 18:15-19 and find out,
    couldn’t you, Amos?

    Seriously; it’s in the Scriptures.”
    ———-

    Seriously Bike Bubba, most of what you write is NOT in the Scriptures. 🙂
    Haven’t you noticed?

    That’s why I asked you these questions…
    That you refused to answer…
    ———-

    Who determines “when one’s behavior is NOT in line with the faith?”

    How does “the church step in?”
    Who in “the church steps in?”

    How does the church go about “implementing penalties?”
    What penalties?
    —————

    And, best I can figure, you refuse to answer because…
    “You” can NOT find the answers in Scripture…

    NO – Mat 18:15-19, has nothing to do with “your” *church discipline.*
    That is promoted in “Today’s Abusive Religious System.”

    And is used to create fear of dis-agreeing with those with the “Titles.”

    When you believe the lie you start to die…

    Like

  79. Bike Bubba

    “NO – Mat 18:15-19, has nothing to do with “your” *church discipline.*”

    You write about church discipline @ DECEMBER 2, 2014 @ 12:25 PM…
    And mention “Ananias, Saphira.”

    “And that is the “end game” for the unrepentant in *church discipline.* They will be treated….as if they do not belong to the church. And, as Ananias, Saphira, Alexander, Diotrophes, and others would tell you, that’s a terrifying thing to contemplate for a believer.”

    Are you saying the deaths of Ananias, Saphira,
    was “your“ *church discipline?* In Action? – Now that’s scary…

    And – Where was Mat 18:15-19, “your” **church discipline,**
    used with Ananias, and Saphira, in Acts 5?

    Who went to Ananias and said “brother you offended me by lying.”
    Who were the “one or two more witnesses” brought to confront Ananias?
    Which church? Which assembly? Listened to the complaint?
    How did, the church, then, go about “implementing penalties?”
    A penalty of DEATH?

    Are you saying, WE, His Ekklesia, His Church, His Disciples, His Sheep…
    Have the ability, the authority, TO KILL folks who lie to the Holy Spirit?
    Have the ability, the authority, to remove folks from His Body, His Church?

    Are you saying, Today’s 501 (c) 3, Non-Profit, Tax $ Deductible, Religious $ Corporation, that the IRS calls church, The man made church you belong to, Can Kill folks when “Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?” And, youse guys can institute “expulsion from the church body.” Wow – Expulsion??? (Where is this in the Bible?)

    Wow – Youse guys gots a heavy responsibility…
    Figuring out who should live and who should die… For lying…
    Who should be included, NOT included, in His Body, His Church…
    When “your” 501 (c) 3, IRS Corp, goes about “implementing penalties.”

    BB – did “your” shepherds teach you these things about church discipline?
    Which are NOT found in the Bible?

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **THEIR shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  80. Bike Bubba

    You write about church discipline @ DECEMBER 2, 2014 @ 12:25 PM…
    And mention “Alexander”

    Now, Alexander is interesting – Could be more than one Alexander.

    If it was “Alexander the coppersmith?” There was NO one, NO church, “implementing penalties,” As per “your” *church discipline.*

    Seems Paul left it up to the Lord to reward “Alexander the coppersmith.”

    2Tim 4:14
    Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil:
    the Lord reward him according to his works:

    NO Mat 18:15-19, used here…

    Like

  81. Bike Bubba

    Now, if your “Alexander” is of the “Hymenaeus and Alexander” duo in…

    1 Tim 1:20
    Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    Seems Paul, delivered this Alexander unto Satan…

    Now, I do NOT know about you -BUT – I have NO idea what this means – Or how to do that – To have someone “delivered unto Satan.”

    Do you know how to do that? Have you ever done that?
    Ever seen anyone who believes in “your” *church discipline* do that?

    I never figured out “How” to do that. Or, “Who” has the authority to do that?
    Do you know who has authority to have someone “delivered unto Satan?”

    I never figured out “Who” determines which “unrepentant sin” gets you an audience with Satan? All “unrepentant sin?” Some “unrepentant sin?” Which “unrepentant sin” gets you an audience with Satan?

    For me, I think it’s God’s mercy on me, and others, that I never figured out how to do that. To have someone “delivered unto Satan.” 😉

    Do you know anyone today who has that ability, that authority?
    That’s a heavy duty responsibility for a “mere fallible human” to assume.

    I’ve made many mistakes when I was in leadership in the 501 (c) 3, IRS corp.
    “Today’s Abusive Religious System,” – big mistakes.

    I think I’ll leave having someone “delivered unto Satan” – And…
    “Removing unrepentant sinners” from His Church, His Body, to Jesus.

    Unless, of course, these “unrepentant sinners”
    are NOT agreeing with me, and my theology. 😉

    NOPE – NO Mat 18:15-19, used here either…
    NONE of “your” *church discipline* used here either…

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    Like

  82. Gail, I’m commenting here because I believe that the Bible does indeed teach that the church ought to police herself–Matthew 18:15-19 and 1 Cor. 6:1-11 are two great passages to start–and because I think that while churches have made a mess of discipline, trying to do it right offers the best chance for repentance and reconciliation.

    Really, if we want to stop abuse of all kinds–abuse of power, sexual abuse, physical abuse, whatever–we’ve got to use the tools God gives us. Church discipline is one of them.

    And I caution you against using Ed Chapman’s writing, as he has the nasty habit of trying to put words into my mouth (and the mouth of Scripture, for that matter). If you take a look at my previous comments, you’ll see that I repeatedly note that there are situations that ought to be taken directly to the police.

    Like

  83. Amos, it would be true that I am inferring that Alexander’s case went through some kind of church discipline process along the lines of Matthew 18:15-19 for the crazy reason that I would tend to believe that the Apostles would tend to listen to their Lord in this matter. Alexander had wronged Paul, and hence Paul would be called to confront him, confront him with others, confront him with the elders, and finally excommunicate him with the consent of the whole church.

    Along the same lines, notice that John, when writing to Gaius about Diotrephes in 3 John, says he will “call attention” to Diotrephes’ actions. He does not pull rank and use his apostolic authority to push Diotrephes out, but rather he notes that he will simply call attention to what Diotrephes is doing.

    In other words, he is going to present the complaints to the church in this matter per Matthew 18:15-19. If Diotrephes does not repent, then he will be expelled.

    More or less, it comes down to a simple question, a basic of exegesis, that you are to attempt, as much as possible, to put yourself in their way of thinking.

    Like

  84. Bike Bubba

    You write about church discipline @ DECEMBER 2, 2014 @ 12:25 PM…
    And mention “Diotrephes”

    Don’t know if you noticed but…
    Seems Paul did NOT like it when Diotrephes
    Did NOT receive the brethren…
    Fobidded those who would receive them…
    And **casteth them out of the church.**

    3 John 9:9-11
    9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,
    who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us NOT.
    10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth,
    prating against us with malicious words: and NOT content therewith,
    neither doth he himself receive the brethren,
    and forbiddeth them that would,
    and **casteth them out of the church.**
    11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good.
    He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

    Could it be? Paul is saying?
    When, with your “church discipline” like Diotrephes…
    you **casteth them out of the church.**
    You are “following that which is evil?”

    Hmmm?

    Like

  85. Amos, you could try reading 3 John, which was written by the Apostle John, not the Apostle Paul. And if you did, you could figure out that Diotrephes was in the wrong because he was casting believers who had committed no sin out of the church, that John wrote it, and the like.

    Now to be sure, Diotrephes could have abused church discipline procedures to achieve this. However, that does not negate the principle that God tells us to use church discipline in cases of sin against a brother.

    Like

  86. “However, that does not negate the principle that God tells us to use church discipline in cases of sin against a brother.”

    NOPE – God does NOT tell believers “to use church discipline” against a brother.
    The Bible does NOT tell believers “to use church discipline” against a brother.

    Bubba does – But – Bubba does NOT refer to scripture very often. 😉

    Like

  87. Bubba – Bubba – Bubba

    You have a great imagination, great inventiveness…
    But, why do you NOT just use the scriptures?

    You write….
    “Alexander had wronged Paul, and hence Paul would be called to confront him, confront him with others, confront him with the elders, and finally excommunicate him with the consent of the whole church.”

    1 – “Paul would be called to confront him”
    NOPE – One Alexander, Paul left to the Lord to take care of.
    And the other Alexander, Paul delivered unto Satan.

    2 – NO – “confront him with others,” in the Bible.

    3 – NO – “confront him with the elders” in the Bible.

    4 – NO – “and finally excommunicate him with the consent of the whole church.”

    Where, in the Bible…
    Is anyone “excommunicated with the consent of the whole church.”
    NOPE – NONE of this is reported in the scriptures for Paul and Alexander.

    Like

  88. Julie Anne – Brenda R

    That’s it – I’m offended by y’all.

    You trespassed on my conversation…
    You broke into the middle of a conversation – and you were only kidding…

    When I is being all seriousness and stuff.

    Like

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