House Church Talk - Re: Two or three gathered

Sean Kelly seank at
Mon May 10 17:48:57 EDT 2004

Just to convey the other side. I am one of those who uses this verse to
point to what constitutes a church. Specifically because this passage is
the only one in scripture where Jesus uses the word church (in Mat
18:17, which is a very poor translation of the Greek word ekklesia, but
that's a whole other discussion) Outside of sacred texts this word is
used to refer to the town meetings where residents were 'called out' of
their homes to gather for the purposes of making decisions that effect
the whole community. In fact you can see this word used in Acts 19:32,39
to describe the assembly called by the silversmiths against Paul at
Ephesus. Additionally the Greek word to describe the gathering in Mat
18:20 is the same as that used in Acts 15:6, 15:30, 20:7-8, 1Cor 5:4,
and Rev 19:17. So to me the context is very much that of a church
gathering. Otherwise how could you say whatever you bind on earth shall
be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in
heaven unless you are talking about the work of a body whose head is
seated at the right hand of the Father?

Just my two cents,

-----Original Message-----
From: House Church Talk -bounces at
[mailto:House Church Talk -bounces at] On Behalf Of Glenn Frank
Sent: Sunday, May 09, 2004 3:32 PM
To: House Church Talk
Subject: House Church Talk -  Re: Two or three gathered

Just as a side comment...

I would like to says something about Mathew 18:20 and how is is often
Often I hear this verse quoted... "For where two or three come together
in my name, there am I with them."

It seems that every time I hear this verse quoted by someone, it is
being used to try and say something almost mystical about when
Christians gather that there in that place exists some incarnation of
the church and Christ magically appears and it is like a 'church
meeting'... Or something like that. It almost seems that house church
people like to use this to justify small gatherings (which don't need
justifying... Small gatherings of Christians are totally legitimate
forms of fellowship and worship). And IC church people like to use this
verse to justify that Christ is there with them even if them to pray for
something (as if a bigger more official gathering had more power in
prayer to God).

But I think both of these uses of the verse are out of context...

If one examines the context of this verse they will see is is not in the
context of a "church gathering" or even a "fellowship" of friends... nor
in some description of a 'house church' or prayer meeting of two or

It is mentioned at the end of a section where the context is that of
resolving sin and conflict among brothers -- how to deal with each
other, how to handle forgiveness and Christian relationships, how to
handle 'church discipline' if you will.

Verse 20 in this context is saying that when two brothers resolve
differences and agree together... THERE... God is in the midst of that!

God desires that we rightly handle our disagreements and RESOLVE them
rather than separate over them. There in he midst of two or three who
have forgiven each other and resolved conflict do we see God working.

Sorry for the rabbit trail... Or the soap box speech... But I just had
to mention that since I hear it mentioned all the time.

Glenn Frank

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