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Matthew 18:15

The Matthew 18 Church

I worked with a congregation that called itself a “Matthew 18 church.” They said they managed conflict by following the guidelines of Jesus as laid out in Matthew 18. Those guidelines spell out a process whereby a person who has sinned is confronted first by an individual, and if the “sinner” remains unconvinced, then by individuals not involved in the dispute, and if still not convinced, then by the entire congregation.

Unfortunately, this “Matthew 18 church” simply used this method to vent anger at one another. An angry member would seek out a person who annoyed him, berate the person for his rude and thoughtless conduct, and then escape from further conversation. People didn’t seek to understand one another, let alone compromise. It was simply hit and run.

Mastering Conflict and Controversy, Edward G. Dobson, Speed B. Leas, Marshall Shelley, (Portland: Multnomah Press, 1992), p. 106