go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector."
I have only one question for my Protestant/Evangelical friends:
"To *which church* are we to take our brother?"
If you say "Go to the 'elders' of your church," what if they are not in agreement w/ the 'elders' at my church? Or the elders at my friend's church? Then what? Truth is at stake here ... and so are souls. Think about it. Ponder this.
There is only "One Church" and it's been around since 33 A.D. It's not been "planted" only 2 years ago, 2 weeks ago, or 2 days ago by "John Doe or Joe Blow Bible Christian" down the street. It had better be the Church Jesus built that we go to, the One "planted" by Christ, w/ His anointed and appointed Vicar, the Pope, its head, (on earth) and the Magisterium, i.e. authority under that vicar of Christ, that is guided by the one, HOLY SPIRIT, who cannot deceive or be deceived. If it's not that Church to which we go, we're all pretty much on shaky ground, and or 'thin ice' as the saying goes, because if we can just go to "any church" who has "elders," what about the ones that only have one pastor and no elders? What about the new 'Emerging' church nonsense, being widely thrown about Christendom these days, that says, "You don't even *need* to go to a church?" Then what?!? Are we to go to a church where only partial truth is taught, but not the Fullness of Truth?
Yes, we all need to seriously consider Pilate's age-old question: "What is Truth?" And mine, "Where is Truth?"
It can't be the 'bible alone' as the 'sole authority' (according to Pastor So & So,) because every church "planted" and pastored by "John Doe/Joe Blow Bible Christian" is built on *his own* self-interpretation of the bible, and guided by his own opinion(s). That cannot mean, at all times, that he is necessarily always 'led' by the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Holy Spirit will not and cannot lead anyone astray and He cannot be 'reduced' down to a man's or woman's 'whim.' Man on the other hand, can and does, lead many astray! Like sheep we wander and wander, scattered all about, everyone going 'his own way' getting itching ears delightfully tickled, but then what? What about when a serious sin is committed by someone against another? Where do we go to settle a theological or faith based dispute? Many really do go astray 'out in the fray' and find themselves on the road to perdition (headed straight to hell) when it could have been so easily avoided, and settled by the 'authority' Jesus gave His Church.
When we've left the One Shepherd Jesus placed in His Church, to go off on our own path, to those more 'fun' and seemingly more friendly fellowships, what we are doing is nothing less than 'dissing' our Beloved Savior! He and His Church are One. The Church is not ONLY a 'spiritual body' of believers, but is also a physical entity, a governing Holy Institution, located at this point in time and as for centuries existing in Rome. It is the Church of Christ that is 'seen' by all!
2nd Peter 1:16-21
16We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."a]">[a] 18We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.
19And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.Not every "John Doe/Joe Blow Bible Christian" is 'carried along by the Holy Spirit' or there'd not be the chaos in Christendom we see today, with the plethora of thousands of denominations and sects, all teaching different things/doctrines, hardly agreeing on two 'basics' of True Christian Doctrine! Try discussing 'baptism' and see how far you get and how many 'definitions' are bantered about in 'this or that church.' You will be stunned! And if you're desiring and seeking 'true' Truth, you'll hopefully be alarmed and stunned enough to 'find' it where it is.
That's the way God planned it - or if you prefer, "planted" it.