Do Dave and Tom Violate Matthew 18?
Dave & Tom
Search the Scriptures Daily Program #2203c:
Gary: You are listening to Search the Scriptures Daily,
a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Still to come, Dave and Tom
continue their weekly in-depth study of the Doctrine of Salvation.
Please stay with us. Now, Contending for the Faith.
CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call.
Here’s this week’s question: “Dear Dave and T.A., I very much enjoy
your ministry and I was telling a friend about it when she responded
that you attack people in ministry without first going to them,
according to the scriptures, specifically Matthew 18. I don’t see you
attacking anyone, but I wonder, when you have doctrinal differences
with others if, indeed, Matthew 18, applies. Does it?”
Tom: I don’t think it does, Dave. Well, I know it doesn’t.
Dave: Well, Matthew
18, says, “If your brother trespass against you , go to him alone.”
This is a personal, private matter between two Christians—presumably
they are Christians; it says “your brother.” That’s nothing that you
would publish or that you would make public. You would keep it private.
Tom: You would deal with it before the Lord, as brother to brother. At least, you begin that way.
Dave: Right, but
when someone is publicly teaching false doctrine—things that aren’t
true— for example, we have just mentioned this lie, “Islam is peace.”
Well, what am I going to do? I’m going to go to President Bush
personally and say, “Brother Bush, that really isn’t right for you to
say that.” No, it has nothing to do with me personally. Or, Robert
Schuller says if he came back in a hundred years and found that all of
his descendants were Muslims it wouldn’t bother him. Am I going to take
that up with him personally? No, it has been broadcast to the world,
whether it’s in books or radio or television. It must be corrected
publicly. At least I have the right to give my opinion. They gave their
opinion—why can’t I give my opinion?
Tom: And many
people disagree with your opinion, Dave, and my opinion, and we would
say, “Well, that’s your opinion—search the Scriptures.”
Dave: Right. This is not a personal attack upon someone.
Tom: Although sometimes it does develop into that.
Dave: Well, it
shouldn’t. And I would not consider it an attack if someone tells me
what I’ve said that was not true—publicly. Please, whoever is listening
out there, if we have said things that are not true or that are not
biblical, please correct us! We don’t want to carry on like that.
So, Matthew 18, as you said, Tom, absolutely does not apply in these
instances. Paul said to Timothy, “Those that sin, rebuke before all,
that others also may fear.” Even in a fellowship of believers: somebody
is doing something—he is sinning; you don’t just go to them privately
and say: “I don’t think you ought to burgle any more houses,” you know,
or, “I don’t think you ought to commit adultery any more.” No, that has
to be exposed, and there must be repentance.
But that’s not what this is talking about. Something between two
brothers, you don’t gossip about it, you don’t pass it on to others,
you don’t spread it. In other words, the idea is, let’s confine
this problem to where it is at the moment. Let’s not make the
conflagration any greater, but let’s try to put it out. So you go to
your brother alone. If he will not hear you, then you take two
witnesses, and if he will not hear them, then you take it before the
church. I would take that to be the local church—you don’t broadcast it
to the church universal.
Tom: Well, Dave, along these lines, do you believe its been almost sixteen years since The Seduction of Christianity came out?
Dave: Don’t tell me, Tom, how old I am getting—time goes.
Tom: And the
reaction to that book, initially, and then down through the years,
people wrote and said: “Well, did you go to Robert Schuller? Did you go
to this person or that person?” Because Seduction
was one of the first books dealing with the issues that it dealt with
that actually named the names of the people who were—our concern was
that they were preaching these things, teaching these things, in error,
and they wanted to know if we went to them first.
Well, we certainly checked out what they had to say, and in some cases,
rare cases, we had an opportunity, but then after the book came, out it
seems like doors were opened for us to discuss some things. But Dave,
very few—I can only thing of one or two—instances in which we had an
opportunity to talk to the person after the fact, and there was any
change of heart or change of mind. In some cases, they agreed with us
but did nothing about their books—didn’t change one jot or tittle in
the books that we were concerned about.
Dave: Yeah, that
was the problem. You could sit down with someone, and in private they
would agree, “Yeah, you’re right,” but then not change what they had
already said publicly. Well, of what benefit is that? If people are
being led astray by the thousands, and perhaps even by the millions,
what is the point of talking with someone privately and coming to an
agreement? “Oh yes, what I said was wrong,” but then they don’t correct
it. So there’s only one way, and that is to deal with it publicly, and
Paul did it himself.
Galatians, chapter 2, it says, “When Peter was come to Antioch, I
withstood him to the face, and I said before them all, Peter, what you
are doing is wrong. You are not walking honestly according to the
Tom: Dave, look
what it did to Peter’s ministry: look, his donations went down, his
book sales, all those things were problematic, and that’s something…of
course, I hope you all know I am kidding! Look what Peter says in his
epistles about Paul.
Dave: “ Our beloved brother Paul,” and refers to his epistles as scripture.
Tom: We need correction; we need godly correction, but sometimes pride doesn’t let us receive it—or greed, or whatever it might be.
Dave: Tom, we all
know, 2 Timothy:3:16-17, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
it is profitable [or to be used] for doctrine, correction, reproof,
instruction in righteousness.” That’s what the Bible is for—it should
correct my life, and we should be able to correct others, and they
should be thankful for correction.
Tom: And earlier in 2 Timothy, it tells us how to go about it, in meekness, humility, and so on.