Matthew 18 — Private or Public?

Here at Lighthouse Trails we are sometimes asked the question, "Did you go to that person first before exposing that person's false doctrine?"

We believe that the scriptural approach to dealing with false teachings and false doctrines differs than the dialectic approach that is so popular today. Our focus is to send out a warning to those who are being misled. Dialogue with those who are spreading false doctrines would only be beneficial to those persons and ministries; it would not benefit the ones being hurt. If you are in a lifeboat and people around you are drowning, will you focus on the shark who is devouring the people in the water or will you pull as many into the lifeboat as possible? For us, we have chosen the latter and will leave dialogue up to someone else. That said, we are always willing to send a complimentary copy of A Time of Departing or Faith Undone to any person or organization we have written about and we do seek to offer whenever given the opportunity.

The following articles have done an excellent job discussing the matter of Matthew 18 and give a clear answer to that question.

"Every now and then I get a terse email from someone who has taken exception to my candid comments on Rick Warren, asking questions like: “Have you ever spoken with him personally about your objections and concerns and tried to work through your differences privately as scripture teaches, rather than attack him publicly as you do?” The scripture they usually cite is, of course, Matthew 18:15-17"—by Paul Proctor, Read Entire Article, Heretics and Hypocrites

"Why did Paul confront Peter publicly "before them all"? Because he "saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the Gospel" and their words and actions were causing others to be led astray. Therefore, we see a clear-cut Biblical precedent for public rebuke where it concerns aberrant teachings which depart from the truth of the Gospel."by Debra Bouey, Read entire article: "Matthew Eighteen": A Viable Contention Where Principles of the Gospel are Concerned?

 Many times, after publishing an article that disputes the claims of someone’s published work, I am asked if I had talked to the person privately. There are those who claim that debating ideas in the public arena should not happen unless there was a prior Matthew 18 process of adjudication. It is my position that Matthew 18 does not apply to the public interaction of theological ideas. In this paper, I shall examine various New Testament passages that explain what we must and must not judge.

It is not surprising that people are confused about the matter of passing judgment because some scriptures tell us we must make judgments and discern, and others warn us not to judge. We will see that Scripture provides straightforward, objective guidelines concerning making judgments and that both the commands to judge and the commands not to judge are understandable – and they are to be obeyed. - by Bob DeWaay. Read entire article: Defining the Believer’s Biblical Call to Judge

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