Wherever two or three are gathered…
By Randy Carson
Non-denominational Christians often reject the concept of a structured, hierarchical Church led by bishops, priests and deacons. One of their common objections is that the “church” exists wherever two or three believers are gathered in His name. Is this really how the Bible defines the Church? Let’s take a closer look at the Word of God to see if this is true.
19"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
From this passage, many Christians conclude that the “church” is composed of small groups of believers that come together from time to time. While it is true that Jesus has promised to be with believers who are gathered in His name, it is obvious from another passage that this is not how Jesus Himself defines the Church.
In fact, just a few verses earlier, Jesus had given a fuller picture of the Church when He said:
15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 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.”
If “two or three” believers gathered together really constitutes the “church” (as envisioned by those who reject “organized religion”), then it would not be necessary for us to refer the one who sins against us to “the church”. Doing so would be redundant! To the contrary, it is obvious in this passage that Jesus actually makes a clear distinction between the “two or three others” in verse 16 and “the church” in verse 17.
Clearly, Jesus does not consider that “two or three” constitute the Church that He Himself would build. Neither should we. Beginning with Peter, the rock, and the apostles, Jesus has built the Church just as He promised through their successors—the bishops, priests and deacons of the Catholic Church.
Thoughts and critiques welcomed. :tiphat: