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Two or More Are Gathered

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  • humbled.learner
    I would like to have the opinions of anyone OUTSIDE the RPNA (GM), or those who were excommunicated, to provide any additional reference material using
    Message 1 of 38 , Jun 17, 2007
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      I would like to have the opinions of anyone OUTSIDE the RPNA (GM), or
      those who were excommunicated, to provide any additional reference
      material using scripture, history or reason, as to what the word
      "gathered" means.

      Specifically, do you believe that only two or three can be gathered
      together face-to-face with Christ is in the midst, or could it be
      possible that two or three are gathered beyond face-to-face contact
      and, yet, Christ is still in the midst?

      On Bob's website
      (http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dfpdhc2h_36dxbgkh), he recently
      (6/13/07) wrote the following Scriptural explanation to defend his (as
      well as perhaps others) particular view:

      "Scripture
      The exposition of Matt. 18:20 (pp. 4-6) again ignores and glosses over
      what the text assumes. The two or more officers that meet to
      constitute a court, meet in one place in person face to face. That is
      the grammatical historical meaning of “sunago” in assembling or
      gathering together, from which the term “sunagoge" or "synagogue” is
      derived from in the Greek. As for Acts 15 (pp.7-9), not only is the
      extraordinary congregational court usurping the power of and
      impersonating a national or international synod, the apostles and
      elders personally accompanied the written edict from the synod at
      Jerusalem in order to preach, teach and answer questions about it
      personally face to face. But that is ignored as the PP cherry picks
      its way to the predetermined end. The synod could have just as well
      sent out its decision in writing alone, which was the technology of
      the day, just as the PP was sent out by email alone. But it did not.
      Something that important merited a better presentation and personal
      face to face treatment, which, need we say, is easier done today than
      in those days."

      In comparison, Pastor Price wrote the following:

      "Dear brother, indeed, the ordinary use of the word "congregation" is
      that of a group of people gathered in one specific location for
      worship. However, the word "congregation" also has a more
      extraordinary sense of God's people in general (even dispersed over a
      larger piece of real estate) as we see in 2 Chronicles 24:6 as
      compared with 2 Chronicles 24:5 (in which the Levites were commanded
      to gather offerings to refurbish the temple from the cities of Judah
      and "of all Israel" in verse 5, but in verse 6 the king inquires why
      the offerings have not been collected out of Judah, Jerusalem, and "of
      the congregation of Israel"). Thus, just as the congregation of
      Israel may be dispersed over all of Palestine (as well as the Elders
      of that congregation), so may we use the term "congregation" in an
      extraordinary sense of the people of God within the RPNA (GM) that are
      spread over vast area of real estate (as well as the Elders of that
      congregation). We are one big congregation (in an extraordinary
      sense) in that we share the same Terms of Communion and are under the
      inspection and government of the same Eldership. Just as the term
      "church" may be used in a localized sense of God's people meeting in
      one location or in a more broad sense of God's people in a larger
      provincial, national, or universal sense, so likewise may the term
      "congregation" be so used (and is so used by the Holy Spirit).

      As we have discussed in our Position Paper on Sessional Authority, we
      are not claiming that we are an ordinary Session, but an extraordinary
      Session. Just as the Church of Scotland had "Common Sessions" that
      were extraordinary in that these "Common Sessions" were not over one
      particular congregation (as is ordinarily the case), so we may
      likewise use the term "Session" in an extraordinary sense (rather than
      in the ordinary sense). Where is the historical precedent for the
      office of "Superintendent" or "Reader"? Yet, they were used
      extraordinarily in the Church of Scotland for a period of time. Where
      is the historic precedent of the "Commission" of the General Assembly
      that could function with the power and authority of the General
      Assembly in the Church of Scotland between meetings? Where is the
      historical precedent for "General Meetings" prior to December 1681?

      As the Apostle Paul served as a member of a Church Court from a
      distance (1 Corinthians 5) and could use the technology of that day to
      call a meeting of the Church Court and to be present with them in
      spirit (by way of his letter) so we as a Session can call a meeting
      and be present by voice (by way of a telephone). What can we not do
      by phone or video conference that is essential to a formal meeting
      that can be done face-to-face? When the Lord Jesus says that He would
      be with two or three that gather in His name (Matthew 18:20), there is
      no spatial limitation or boundary that confines such a meeting to one
      that is face-to-face. The only qualification stated by Christ is that
      the two or three gather "in my name." In fact, the Presbyterians of
      the Westminster Assembly made it clear to the Independents that the
      word for "gather" (sunago) does not necessarily refer to a spatial
      gathering face-to-face in one place. For they state against the
      Independents that Acts 4:26,27 where the word "gather" (sunago) is
      used twice, there is no reference to "a convention of persons in one
      place... but only a consent of minds in one thing" (_The Grand
      Debate_, p.17). Thus, likewise, the two or three that are gathered
      (sunago) in Christ's name (Matthew 18:20) does not require that they
      be in the same place or meet face-to-face when they have the
      technology to meet in Christ's name by way of telephone or by way of a
      video conference. The Presbyterians say later on against the
      Independents, "We are not to prescribe to God how much he shall be
      present with his Servants in such or such a way" (p.160).

      My dear brother, I don't believe it is necessary to rewrite what is
      stated by many different Presbyterian divines as to the authority of
      two or three that are gathered in Christ's name (since that has
      already been done in the Session's Paper on Sessional Authority).
      Christ Himself invests two or three who are gathered in his name with
      the full use of the Keys of the Kingdom. We need no greater authority
      to determine controversies of faith or cases of conscience than the
      authority of Christ (Matthew 18:20). But you may also consult our
      Paper on Sessional Authority where you will find that two or three
      Elders may in extraordinary circumstances ordain, excommunicate, and
      have all authority communicated to them by Christ to do whatever is
      necessary for the good and well-being of the Church.

      Of course it is not a sin to test our practice against Scripture,
      history, and reason. The sin is in not receiving the truth that has
      been presented to you in writing and by phone."

      I am not wanting to start any arguments or mud throwing, but I would
      like anyone outside the controversy (especially any Minister or Elder)
      who believes they could act neutral to the controversy, whether they
      are Independent or Presbyterian, to offer any additional views on the
      word "gathered" in this context of our controversy.

      May the Lord temper our tongue!

      Walt.
    • Tim Cunningham
      ... thread. ... t=20844&highlight=deductive+i ... t=20844&highlight=deductive+ ... Tim-Granted Mr. Winzer errs in his understanding of logic and perhaps in
      Message 38 of 38 , Jul 13, 2007
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        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, alcunius
        <no_reply@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > It does not seem that clear to me by what Winzer wrote.
        >
        > This same Matthew Winzer that your speaking of seems to have some
        > confusion on Deduction and Induction at the same Board different
        thread.
        >
        >
        > http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php?
        t=20844&highlight=deductive+i\
        > nductive
        > <http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php?
        t=20844&highlight=deductive+\
        > inductive>
        >
        > And at the same web board he seems to be defending the Perpetual
        > Virginity of Mary
        >
        Tim-Granted Mr. Winzer errs in his understanding of logic and perhaps
        in his understanding of whether or not Mary remained virgin after the
        birth of Jesus, but these errors are irrelevant if one is questioning
        his readings of the Divines he cites.

        Why do you think Winzer does not make his case?

        Tim


        > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Coldwell"
        > <naphtali@> wrote:
        > >
        > > This has been a problem for some time. For instance, Matthew
        Winzer
        > > clearly demonstrates a problem in Barrow's CRD in comprehending
        > > Rutherford (and others) correctly, specifically on the "being" vs.
        > > "well-being" of the church.
        > > http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php?t=14397
        > > Sincerely,
        > > Chris Coldwell
        > > Naphtali Press http://www.naphtali.com
        > > The Confessional Presbyterian journal http://www.cpjournal.com
        > > Member Lakewood Presbyterian Church (PCA)
        > >
        > > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Larry Bump
        > > lbump@ wrote:
        > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > > > Makes one wonder how they read these books...
        > > >
        > > > Indeed. And if this is an honest example of the reading
        > comprehension
        > > > and exegesis they apply to books in order to come up with a
        > > self-serving
        > > > argument, one must wonder if that "style" may have been applied
        > > > elsewhere, as well.
        > > >
        > > > Larry
        > > >
        > >
        >
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