Matthew 12:30 vs. Mark 9:40?

Passages like Mark 9:38-40 and Numbers 11:25-29 have been interpreted by many Catholics to mean that Christ is not in favor of the Catholic Churches insistence on being exclusive and separate from other Christian churches and groups. Can you please explain these passages especially in the light of Matthew 12:30 which seems to contradict Mark 9:40?

Why don’t you post the verses for us?


The Catholic Church has no insistence on being separate from other Christian communities. Rather, they have separated themselves from the Church. If they repent and seek reconciliation, they would be welcomed. Indeed, this is happening now with the Anglican Ordinariates.

Let’s take a quick look at the verses:

The person discussed in Mark was doing the work of Christ (driving out demons in the name of Jesus). It is clear that Jesus was teaching His Apostles that this man was counted among those who “gather” with Him. Thus, the man could not be one who “scatters.”

"He who is not with me is against me… (Mt. 12:30)

Maybe it would help to focus on the word “Me.” If a christian is baptized in the Trinitiarian formula with water, he receives the Holy Spirit and belongs to the Mystical Body of Christ (Me). This is why new converts to Catholicism do not receive a second baptism. Theirs was valid, since the gift of the Holy Spirit was bestowed upon them.

Now if the Holy Spirit is given to them, it is true that any works they do with His help and grace are recognized as valid. This is the meaning of Numbers and Mark, where some were upset by works being performed by those not of their company, as if they had the exclusive right to perform them - and no one else.

I’m wondering how well acquainted you are with the teaching in Vatican II, that recognizes the presence of the Holy Spirit in christians who are baptized in other faiths? Even so, it is always our hope that they will embrace our faith, and it does not excuse our mission of evangelization to bring them into the Church, wherein lies the fullness of truth and sacramental life they are so much in need of.

They are entirely different situations. In one, the disciples think that everyone has to be in their group and Jesus says no, that’s not correct. That directly addresses the question of who is included in the Body of Christ…

The Matthew is about blaspheming the Holy Spirit:

Jesus and Beelzebul.*22k Then they brought to him a demoniac who was blind and mute. He cured the mute person so that he could speak and see. 23*l All the crowd was astounded, and said, “Could this perhaps be the Son of David?” 24*m But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man drives out demons only by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons.” 25n But he knew what they were thinking and said to them,* “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand. 26And if Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself; how, then, will his kingdom stand? 27And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people* drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28*o But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29* How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his property, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house. 30*p** Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.**31q Therefore, I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit* will not be forgiven. 32And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

We must be careful about interpreting a single verse or passage in the light of other passages. For example:

Mark 9:
38 John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is for us. 41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.

Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

It’s clear from the contrast of these texts that whether someone is in Jesus Christ has nothing to do with their external actions. Their status is not determined by activity. Therefore I would say that it is sketchy at best to associate either verse with inclusion/exclusion.

Now, if we look at Matthew 12:
30 He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. 31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Because verse 31 starts with the word, “Therefore,” we cannot interpret verse 30 without it. Jesus is using the form, “Statement of truth. Therefore, the following is also true.” The verses are connected. Verses 30-32 are a passage that cannot be separated for interpretation. If we choose to compare Matthew 12 with the other passages mentioned we are forced to bring into the discussion the controversial “unpardonable sin”.

I don’t see an obvious connection between these verses and the topic of discussion–inclusion and exclusion.

"Many Catholics".is not the Magisterium…ordinary or extraordinary…or the Pope in the Chair of Peter.

There is only one Church…either you are in full communion with it…or you are part of an imperfect communion…in a sect…a Protestant denomination or in an Orthodox Church.

If you are a baptized Christian…you are one or the other.

Pax Christi

I hope that the incident from Numbers is not being left out of this consideration, because it is very important. We see that there was indignation that two people who were not present in the “group” received the Spirit just as fully as the others, even though they were not there when the Spirit was poured forth. The jealous ones wanted Moses to stop them from exercising their gift. Very similar to the disciples wanting to stop the ministry of those outside their “group.”

We cannot confine the Holy Spirit’s working in others and say that He may only work in Catholics. Like Moses said, would that ALL would be filled with the Spirit!

The situation in Numbers is identical to that in Mark, so anything that is said about one applies to the other (excepting specific names).

Yes, I realize that - in fact, I posted both scriptures in another thread here at CAF just the other day, since I believed Our Lord was speaking strongly through these two readings on Sunday in connection with a similar matter.

But this thread kinda got locked into just the two incidences from the New Testament, whereas the one from Numbers is equally important, revealing a similar problem that men have with precedence and elitism.

Yes, everyone wants to be “in with the in crowd” but Jesus was more impressed with the widow and her penny.

Passages like Mark 9:38-40 and Numbers 11:25-29 have been interpreted by many Catholics to mean that Christ is not in favor of the Catholic Churches insistence on being exclusive and separate from other Christian churches and groups. Can you please explain these passages especially in the light of Matthew 12:30 which seems to contradict Mark 9:40?

  1. Mt. 12:30 “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.”

  2. Mk. 9:40 “For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”

  3. Numbers 11:21-29 “And Moses said: There are six hundred thousand footmen of this people, and sayest thou: I will give them flesh to eat a whole month? Shall then a multitude of sheep and oxen be killed, that it may suffice for their food? or shall the fishes of the sea be gathered together to fill them? And the Lord answered him: Is the hand of the Lord unable? Thou shalt presently see whether my word shall come to pass or no. Moses therefore came, and told the people the words of the Lord, and assembled seventy men of the ancients of Israel, and made them to stand about the tabernacle. And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spoke to him, taking away of the spirit that was in Moses, and giving to the seventy men. And when the spirit had rested on them they prophesied, nor did they cease afterwards.

26 Now there remained in the camp two of the men, of whom one was called Eldad, and the other Medad, upon whom the spirit rested; for they also had been enrolled, but were not gone forth to the tabernacle. And when they prophesied in the camp, there ran a young man, and told Moses, saying: Eldad and Medad prophesy in the camp. Forthwith Josue the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, and chosen out of many, said: My lord Moses forbid them. But he said: Why hast thou emulation for me? O that all the people might prophesy, and that the Lord would give them his spirit!

Dear friend in Christ;

As a life long Catholic I have never heard this position before.

It is NOT, my friend the CC teaching of ONLY One God; One Faith [set of Faith beliefs] and Only One church; rather it is God’s OWN position as often expressed in the Bible.

Mt. 16:18-19 Christ giving the key’s to heaven’s access are given ONLY to Peter and through Peter the CC [Mt. 28:18-20 and Jn. 20:21-22] is precise, and exclusively for the Apostles and through them the CC. The NT alone has over 100 references to “ONLY One Church“; and history supports the fact of ONLY One “church” until the Great Eastern Schism in the early 11th. Century. There were “temples” and “synagogues” but the term “church” is an invention of Christ; first used in Mt. 16:15-19.

John.10: 16 “And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd”

Eph. 2:19-20 “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [SINGULAR] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; [SINGU:LAR] in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

YOUR passages explained

  1. One cannot at the same time be “for and against God”

  2. While not proclaiming any sort of equality in faith and truth; nevertheless charity is expected of all; and all shall be rewarded for their good works. Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.” THERE is NO contradiction here.

  3. The “Numbers” Story of Moses and the Spirit shows ONLY that God is in charge.

He promised HIS Apostles alone, the Holy Spirit in Jn.14: 16-17 and FULFILLED this promise in John 20: 19-22. And like in Mt. 18-20 Christ commands ONLY the CC to Teach, Preach, and be protected in Her [Mother Church] Teachings on All Faith and Moral issues.

I look forward to your reply.

God Bless,
Pat /PJM

[quote=pjm]He promised HIS Apostles alone, the Holy Spirit in Jn.14: 16-17 and FULFILLED this promise in John 20: 19-22. And like in Mt. 18-20 Christ commands ONLY the CC to Teach, Preach, and be protected in Her [Mother Church] Teachings on All Faith and Moral issues.


However, you are forgetting Jesus’ words, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13.

Translate “those” to me, pjm. Does that only refer to card-carrying Catholics? I think not. The proof in recent documentation is in the teaching of Vatican II, where the Council affirmed that there are lawfully baptized christians in other faiths who are part of the Mystical Body of Christ and who have received the Holy Spirit. Granted, they are not yet fully one with us, and it is the Church’s hope that we will continue our mission of evangelization so that they one day may receive the fufllness of truth and partake of the sacraments that they are so much in need of to help them on their journey.

That may be the missing link in the scriptures quoted in this thread. There ARE others who have received the Holy Spirit, not just Catholics, but this bestowal flows from Our Lord’s paschal sacrifice enabling them to partake of the Kingdom with us, even though not yet in perfect unity.

You know, it’s interesting how the things Jesus said to His disciples, we so often take to be things he meant for us all to understand, and for us all to practice or avoid. That the words were spoken at a dinner in a room with only a limited number of persons in attendance, doesn’t mean the words are ONLY for those people. Or only Priests would ever receive the Eucharist.

Jesus also told us of the Good Shepherd who would leave His flock to go save a single lost lamb because God wants all to be saved. Who needs to be in the sheepfold, kept safe by a fence? The unruly sheep most likely to get into trouble. And the Shepherd goes out to others because as Jesus told us: God wants everyone to be saved.

Even the guy persecuting Him.

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