The more I began to grow in the discipline of scripture interpretation something kept nagging at me. For quite some time I could not put my finger on it, but it was there, creating enough discomfort to cause me to pursue it.
One of the principles of scripture interpretation requires the interpreter to determine the genre of the scripture under consideration. The underlying idea is that different genres are interpreted differently. At best, it is meant that the passage in question is interpreted in light of its particular genre.
I have come to understand that the gospels are a unique genre of scripture. I do believe that 2 Timothy 3:16 is as accurate and applicable today as the day the Apostle Paul penned it to Timothy. However, I no longer understand the gospels as specifically pertaining to the church or to the church age. I believe they were written for the primary benefit of the Jews, particularly the Jewish believers. Granted Mark and Luke seem to have been directed towards Gentiles. Mark seems to be writing for the benefit of the Romans and Luke wrote to Theophilus.
I am not saying that we in the church should jettison the gospels, and nor am I denying any application, direction, wisdom, benefit, or profit to the church. I do not see the church anywhere in the gospels. I certainty do not mix or confuse the coming Kingdom of God with the church in this parenthetical church age.
I would contend that the word ekklhsia was mistranslated. I think it should have been translated as assembly. I do not think the disciples had any idea about the coming church or church age. They were rightfully looking for the promised kingdom of God.
I believe we must be careful in taking Christ’s teachings, principles, doctrines, and directives and “force” them into the church body and into church life. When we do mix them together we often come to incorrect conclusions.
For example, some would teach very strongly that there should be no discipline or removal of sinning believers from the assembly because Christ told the disciples not to remove the tares from the assembly lest they tear up the wheat. Of course that is not meant for the church, we need to put unrepentant sinning believers out of the assembly. The purpose is at least two-fold; the influence of sin must be removed and the repentance of the sinning believe is sought.
Another misconception is that “church discipline” is the duty and or responsibility of the church body. I don’t think that is actually correct. What I mean by this statement is that I don’t think that “unoffended” believers are to initiate the process outlined in Matthew 18.
…to be continued, Lord willing.