What does this Verse Mean to Non Catholics

In order for this passage to have any meaning, there must be an identifiable Church to appeal to.

I believe this makes an explicit case for a single, hiearchical Church.


Matthew 18

17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

Among Friends the church is the assembled body of believers. The “Church” exists where two or three are gathered together in his name.

If a Friend has issue with another Friend, it is brought before the meeting and probably would be put before a “Clearness Committee” to discuss, pray and meditate upon, then their recommendation would be given to the Meeting. The Meeting would then reach some consensus and give their “judgement”. In some Meetings the appointed Elders would “elder” the offending Friend…in some cases if that Friend persisted in an “unQuakerly” fashion, they would be “read out of Meeting”.

To me it’s clear it is the local meeting of the church/assembly/congregation/community that is spoken of here…but I’m not a Catholic, so I wouldn’t necessarily hold to your views on the subject.:slight_smile:

How would this verse make sense if, for example, a baptist and a methodist had a dispute?

Good point.

I would think that since Methodists and Baptists have a similar view of what the Church is, body of believers, they would be able to do what Friends do…take it to a body of faithful believers and ask them for guidence and counsel. I’m not sure, but I’ve read something about “Christian mediation”…to me that would fulfill the “spirit” of the verse…but this is just my opinion, perhaps a Methodist or Baptist could answer with more clarity.

I think he means between a Baptist and a Methodist.

I’m talking about two individual believers, ie. brothers in Christ.

Jesus gives a method for resolving these disputes.

However, his guidance only makes sense if there is a common understanding regarding who the Church is.

The Methodist and Baptist in this example have no common Church hierarchy that can resolve their dispute.


So I guess we should all be treated like pagans then.

True.(It’s better than a tax collector!)

How did Jesus treat pagans?

With love and understanding in the hope of guiding them to the truth.

error in post sorry

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