If thy brother does thee wrong, go at once and tax him with it, as a private matter between thee and him; and so, if he will listen to thee, thou hast won thy brother. If he will not listen to thee, take with thee one or two more, that the whole matter may be certified by the voice of two or three witnesses. If he will not listen to them, then speak of it to the church; and if he will not even listen to the church, then count him all one with the heathen and the publican.
I’ve been meditating on Scripture, often opening my mind to multiple interpretations of a passage, in order to better understand other Christian denominations (even if I disagree with their interpretation), and even multiple interpretations within the Catholic Church Herself. Today this passage in the Gospel of Matthew caught my attention.
I’m wondering if any of our Protestant Brothers in Christ can explain how they can reconcile this passage with their belief in the “purely” invisible Church.
As far as I’m aware, Jesus only uses the word for Church in Scripture twice, here and in Matthew 16:18. I’ve tried to find a way to interpret Matthew 18:17, but the phrase seem to implicitly assume at least some aspect of a visible Church, with some kind of authority, so that it seems that Jesus cannot be interpretated to having a Invisible Church in mind here. Or, in other words, this passage cannot makes sense, at least to me, under a Invisible Church theology; if the Jesus meant what Protestants seem to mean by the invisible Church, He wouldn’t have told His disicples to go to the Church for conflicts, as the Church isInvisible: how would they know where to find it? I don’t think He can mean the “mere” congregation either, because He specifically uses the term for church, and everyone in a congregation, as I see Protestants understand it, are not necessarily part of the Church (Parable of the Wheat and Weeds).
I’m admitting upfront that I might be misunderstanding what Protestants mean by Invisible Church. If so, correction for mutual understanding is appropriate