Two or More Are Gathered
- 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
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:
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 âsunagoâ in assembling or
gathering together, from which the term âsunagoge" or "synagogueâ 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!
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, alcunius
> 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
> inductive>Tim-Granted Mr. Winzer errs in his understanding of logic and perhaps
> And at the same web board he seems to be defending the Perpetual
> Virginity of Mary
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?
> --- In email@example.com, "Chris Coldwell"Winzer
> <naphtali@> wrote:
> > This has been a problem for some time. For instance, Matthew
> > 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, Larry Bump
> > lbump@ wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > > > Makes one wonder how they read these books...
> > >
> > > Indeed. And if this is an honest example of the reading
> > > 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
> > >