For Non-Catholics - what is the Church allowed to Bind and Loose


#1

We know from ancient Israel that “binding and loosing” meant the authority to make rules and release rules on the faithful of Judea, in order to determine what was lawful or unlawful.

We see Jesus giving this authority first to Peter, then as a group to all the Apostles.

My question is, what exactly is the Church allowed to bind and loose? It seems every time it happens, someone says “if its not in Scripture, then its a man-made tradition and wrong”. So, if Scripture says the Church can Bind and Loose, why is it rejected by those who follow just Scripture?

Am I making any sense, here?


#2

Bump…


#3

Yes; except that I think you’re using the term binding and loosing outside of the context that it is used throughout the Old and New Testament. The Church’s gift of binding and loosing is directly related to her role in preaching the gospel, baptizing, and discipleship. It does not equate to making doctrine, since doctrine was once for all delivered to us during the apostolic ministry.

Imagine the kingdom of heaven to be a door. The Church through its preaching either opens that door or closes it. If someone is unrepentent and disbelieves, the church binds the door to the kingdom (this also relates to Jesus’ use of ‘the keys of the kingdom’). Conversely, if someone repents of their sins and believes in Him who was raised, the church looses the door. This “key” “binding and loosing” motif is also seen in the Book of Revelation. This charism of the Church also appears in John when Christ breathes the Spirit on the apostles and commands them to remit or retain the sins of those to whom they preach. In a very real way, when the Church pronounces that someone is either forgiven of their sins, or if they will be consigned to perdition, it is true.


#4

Yes. I think that authority is limited to what God has commanded, within the limits of the freedom He has already allowed.

For example, God has chosen only males to be priests, and we have no revelation from Him that this can be otherwise, so we do not deem that we have the authority to go beyond what has been revealed.

Any binding and loosing must be done in accordance with the wishes of the HS, as has been indicated in Scripture:

Acts 15:28
" For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…"

I am sure there is a lot more to be said on this point, but those are some preliminary thoughts. Now that I have written this, I see it was addressed to non-Catholics. I will go ahead and submit it anyway,because even non-Catholics will agree that binding and loosing cannot contradict how God has revealed Himself in scripture.

What we will be in disagreement about is how that scripture is interpreted and, and their belief that revelation is contained in the pages.


#5

I’ll look at my notes on “binding and loosing”, but it was a term used for the Phariseeic law-making. As a matter of fact, it had gotten out of control by the time of Jesus, with one group of Pharisees making something binding, and then a rival group of Pharisees releasing this.

But in regards to it in Scripture, the 4 Noahide Laws that James makes binding on the Gentile Converts is something that immediately comes to mind. This law is lifted, as is evidenced by St. Paul in Galatians.

So, either the Bible contradicts itself, or the early Church had the authority to Bind and Loose.

Head coverings for women in Mass is another example, I would presume. I’ll see if I can find the book where I originally read about the Judaic custom of binding and loosing.

Imagine the kingdom of heaven to be a door. The Church through its preaching either opens that door or closes it. If someone is unrepentent and disbelieves, the church binds the door to the kingdom (this also relates to Jesus’ use of ‘the keys of the kingdom’).

Am I reading you right, here? The Church by doing this, condemns the person to hell? Can She do that? Please clarify if I’m mistaken you.


#6

So, the authority to limit the priesthood (at least normally) to celibate, non-married men was incorrect?


#7

No, but your interpretation of the scripture is. :smiley:

This is a discipline of the Latin Rite, and does not apply to the other 22 Catholic Rites.

It is not abnormal, either for there to be married priests in the Latin Rite. They are not made Pastors of parishes, though, especially if they have families, because this is considered a full time vocation in itself.


#8

So, Guanny, the authority to bind and loose is not in Scripture, if I understand your gentle chiding correctly. :wink: (BTW, what IS a good nickname fro guanaphore? I actually refrained from using my typical nickname - Guano. :p)

But, as I hinted at before, binding and loosing was a common practice in Jesus’ time.

I got this from Stephen Ray’s Upon This Rock:

Flavius Josephus, a Jewish Historian writing in the 1st Century AD - “And now the Pharisees joined themselves to her to assist her in the government… But these Pharisees artfully insinuated themselves into her (Alexandras’s) favour by little and little, and became themselves the real administrator of the public affairs: they banished and reduced whom they pleased; they bound and loosed at their pleasure; and, to say all at once, they had the enjoyment of the royal authority”. *War of the Jews *- 78
AD

Notice the author differentiates between banishing and reducing and binding and loosing.

And again:

Disputes among (the Rabbis) were so numerous in Jesus’ time as to let the expression ‘to loose and to bind’ become a standard reference to the endless disagreements that raged a little earlier between the two main rabbinical authoritites, Shamma and Hillel. What the one loosed, the saying went, the other bound, and vice versa. - Stanly L. Jaki, The keys of the Kingdom

Evidently, Jesus put an end to the raging disputes over who has the real authority to bind and to loose. He gave it to Peter, the steward and vizier of his New Kingdom - Stephen Ray, Upon this Rock.


#9

So, I ask again. What would be an example of the Church exercising this authority within the bounds of Scripture? *If Jesus promised this, why is it denied *- is what I’m really trying to ask.


#10

It would be more accurate to say that the authority to bind and loose was given to the Apostles by Christ (the only possible source of it) and they passed it on to their successors. As with all authority, it comes from the one who has it. Since scripture does not have authority in and of itself (holding authority requires a will and decision making ability) it is not the source.

Scripture, however, does document this authority, and authenticates it by testimony. :thumbsup:

I did not take that into consideration when choosing a nickname, sorry. No, “guano” is not good, because people get reprimanded! :eek: I kinda like guanny! Most people are safe using “guan”. I actually chose it because of the “guano”. It keeps me humble, and concentrating on being nutritious. :wink:

Do you think that it ended with Peter??


#11

I don’t think it ended with Peter. I’m pretty sure you don’t think it ended with Peter.

But I’m curious what other non-Catholics think. Since it’s Scriptural, it ought to be accepted, IMO.


#12

That is true vis a vie the rabbinic traditions of binding and loosing. What you need to do, however, in a case like Matthew 16, is look at the context of what Jesus is addressing. Binding and loosing is used several ways in Scripture. You mention law-making with the Pharisees, but it is also used of casting out demons, barring entrance into the kingdom of heaven, or casting unbelievers into Hades (Jesus states this of himself in Revelation). The Church, if you view it from a context of Pharisees law-making, would mean the Church proclaims a doctrine and heaven is bound to keep it. This would be a BAD interpretation because it places the onus on the Church as a determiner of Law; Only God can do this because the Law is His standard which He communicates to His people. The Church proclaims it, but doesn’t determine it.

When we view the context of Matt. 16 and continuing on into chapter 18, we see that it is the institution of the Office of the Keys. The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to his Church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to with-hold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent. The authority works like a key to open heaven by forgiving sins, or to close heaven by not forgiving them. The Office of the Keys is a special God-given way of applying the Gospel to an individual (Matt. 18:20, 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9).

Am I reading you right, here? The Church by doing this, condemns the person to hell? Can She do that? Please clarify if I’m mistaken you.

Strictly speaking, of course, the person’s sin and unrepentance are the reason they will be damned to Hell. However, when the Church publically proclaims this, we should believe that it is also true from God’s perspective. The Church states to the person what is already true, basically. Excommunication is the most obvious form of this function of the Keys. If the person repents (like any other sinner), it uses the Key of the Gospel to publically declare the person a member of the church again.


#13

I disagree with your “result” of your conclusion. The Church can do this, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, of course. That’s exactly what Jesus promised.

When we view the context of Matt. 16 and continuing on into chapter 18, we see that it is the institution of the Office of the Keys. The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to his Church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to with-hold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.

I’m sorry but I disagree. With Matthew 16, you see a replay of Joseph’s induction as Grand Vizier of Egypt (Genesis) and Eliakim’s induction as Prime Minister of Israel (Isaiah). The context is simply law-giving. Although John 20 allows Catholics to add “forgiveness/retention” to the authority of binding and loosing, it is simply not in this text (Matthew 16’s).

The authority works like a key to open heaven by forgiving sins, or to close heaven by not forgiving them. The Office of the Keys is a special God-given way of applying the Gospel to an individual (Matt. 18:20, 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9).

That is correct. And with today’s society it is important to have that Divine Authority to bind and loose in dealing with Stem Cell Research and other perils to our souls.

Strictly speaking, of course, the person’s sin and unrepentance are the reason they will be damned to Hell. However, when the Church publically proclaims this, we should believe that it is also true from God’s perspective. The Church states to the person what is already true, basically. Excommunication is the most obvious form of this function of the Keys. If the person repents (like any other sinner), it uses the Key of the Gospel to publically declare the person a member of the church again.

Again, that is ONE of the three strictures of this authority.

Matthew 16, however, brings up a different one.


#14

It should be stressed that the binding and loosing by God in heaven precedes the binding and loosing on earth by the church. Theologian Wayne Grudem explains: ‘Both Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 use an unusual Greek verbal construction (a periphrastic future perfect). It is best translated by the NASB, “Whatever you shall bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”’ (Grudem W, Systematic Theology, Zondervan, 1994, p. 891).

Therefore the sequence of events is as follows:

  1. Sin and obstinacy; 2. God’s binding in heaven; 3. Church’s binding on earth.

And in the case of repentance, the sequence is:

  1. Repentance; 2. God’s loosing in heaving; 3. Church’s loosing on earth.

The church’s action on earth reflects God’s judgment in heaven. It is the church that follows God, and not the other way around.


#15

Well, of course, God knows in advance what the Pope and Christ’s Church are going to bind, so He guides the Holy Spirit to follow His Will. And since heaven is timeless, it would be fruitless to ask “which came first…”.

I’m not sure if your interpretation is correct, for its the only translation that has this, although the KJV uses it as an alternate.

Let me ask you a question Kaycee, how does this resolve with two issues of binding and loosing:
a) the 4 Noahide laws that James proclaims in Acts 15.
b) the head covering for women that Paul talks about in Corinthians.

Your point that this was preceded in heaven doesn’t exactly make sense because the binding and loosing can change according to the times and the culture.


#16

Disbelievers bind the door themselves, nobody has to do it for them.
Remitting or retaining can happen only if there’s priesthood. In protestant denominations there’s no priesthood so you can’t do any of those.
“The Church” does not exist. There are many churches and denominations. What if their leaders don’t agree on some issues? Jesus obviously knew about the future divisions between his desciples and established the papacy by appointiong Peter to be the leader of his Church. He and his successors have the right to bind and loose. Otherwise too many people would like to open the door for those who don’t follow the Scritpure properly, like for example Lutheran preachers who bless gay couples or even participate in gay parades.


#17

Dear Triune - in all fairness I think you should qualify your answers - it is obvious that you aren’t qualified to answer for the Catholic Church if you are a practicing Protestant. It is kinda, let’s see, what’s the word I’m looking for, misleading. It is great that you join in the discussion, but perhaps it would have been better to say, “In my Lutheran Church we interpret this to mean…‘In a very real way, when the Church pronounces that someone is either forgiven of their sins, or if they will be consigned to perdition, it is true.’” rather then allow some folks to misunderstand for whom you were speaking.

Peace,

Gail


#18

Off the top of my head I think a superb example of the use of the authority to bind and loose is our Code of Cannon laws. Take a look and you will see very clearly spelled out what some of the things we are supposed to do and be about are. Another example is the Church’s ability to hear the vows of persons, either to the religious life or married life and witness to them as binding on the persons who enter into them. Still another is the ability to dispense someone from the same, either vows in religious life or in the case of marriage, annulment. Comes to mind also the Ex Cathedra pronoucements of the Pope, our Holy Father. Then there is the binding that is contained in Ordination. Oaths of fidelity are another example. All our Doctrines are binding on us and we give assent to them each Sunday at Mass when we say the Creed together and pronouce amen! I think you don’t have to look far for the trellis that the branches of the vine cling to for their life. Without a trellis a vine would die and our “rules,” which we seem to excell in making, are just that, a trellis that helps the branches reach up to the sun and bloom!

There are many who question the authority of the Church both within her and without. Scripture contains the answer to the problem in Romans 13:1-2: “1 Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.
2 Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.” usccb.org/nab/bible/romans/romans13.htm

Obedience is a virtue, but I think it went out of vogue in the sixites! LOL

Peace,

Gail


#19

With regards to binding and loosing…
I think…it is in reference to dogmatic teaching. That is, things that CATHOLICS must believe and ascent to, or else be in a state of mortal sin. A simple example of that is denying the assumption of Mary.

Now, as far as what limitations the Pope and his magesterium has on binding and loosing…I don’t think they have ANY limitations, however, since they are guided by the HOLY SPIRIT, they will never Err on any formal dogmatic teaching w.r.t Morality and spirituality.


#20

Actually anything the Pope or the Pope and Bishops in union with him declare to be binding and to be a clear Doctrine explained… in the area of Faith and Morals…

is bindind on all Christians everywhere for all ages.

So if the Pope declares the Assumption to be Doctrine, all Christians, yep even our Baptist brethren, are bound to that Truth.

The Truth never changes. All Truth is in heaven.

as a poster presented a few posts back… “…whatsoever you shall bind on earth… shall have been bound in heaven…”

So, non-Catholics are bound… they just fail to recognize the Authority of Chirst on earth as found in HIS vicar, the Pope.

.


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