Is Tradition Trumping The Word In Your Life?

Posted on March 29, 2015


Jesus said that a level of vanity is being exercised when our spiritual walk is living out commandments of men and repetitive behaviors, most of which we could label as traditions associated with a particular denomination or movement of people. A tradition in itself is not wrong but when a tradition trumps the actual Word of God that becomes a problem. We not only have non-scriptural traditions but inaccurate and traditional interpretations of the Bible.  In this writing I want to talk about a few of those inaccurate and traditional interpretations of the Bible.

Would You Agree With Me In Prayer?

From the local church to the TV preacher everyone is asking for someone to agree with them in prayer and encouraging the power of agreement.  This false doctrine, yes false doctrine, comes from the inaccurate interpretation of Matthew 18:19.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

With this passage setting by itself it would fit the common doctrine of two or more people agreeing in prayer adds powers to a prayer, so much power in fact that you can get anything you want. When a person reads the passage in context and uses the Bible to interpret the Bible, going to the earliest passages on the subject and looking for examples in the stories of the Bible you find the common teaching to be completely false.

Examples of Agreement

There are no biblical examples of agreement in prayer in the Bible, period.  If this was what Jesus was trying to tell us why did he not give specific examples himself or in the epistles of Paul why is there not at least one example.  Now for some of you your power of unity buzzer is going off and you are thinking I have to be wrong.  Unity is great but is not the method of getting things from God specifically, especially in prayer.  The closest example of unity and agreement accomplishing big things was the tower of Babel. They did not get this power from unified and agreeing prayer for God but through unity in human effort.

Genesis 11: 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

So there is no example or other teaching anywhere in the Bible to specifically agree in prayer with two or more people.  This lack of biblical example should be enough to through this false doctrine out.  Realize many good people with good intentions have taught this principal or heard it all there life so it is hard to let it go or believe it is wrong. Think of all the powerful miracles that took place in both the Old and New Testament and not one of them can you find an example of someone stopping and asking for agreement in prayer.  Look at Peter at the Gate Beautiful that on impulse just releases the power of God to heal, how peculiar it would have been if he stopped and asked someone to agree with him in prayer so the miracle could happen.

The Roots of Two or Three

Always, and I repeat always, it is important to find the roots of a subject in the Bible and that will be the foundation God is building on. The roots here and the context is about two or three gathered in God’s name and coming to agreement on a subject.  Gathering and agreeing first appears in the Law of Moses and just like in the words of Jesus, it is about resolving conflict.

Deuteronomy 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Under the law it was required when someone made an accusation against another person that this charge was validated by two or three witnesses.  This is the roots of two or three gathered before God to resolve a matter and coming to agreement on what should happen.

Jesus Taught Agreement In Resolution Too!

The passage used to create the agreement in prayer doctrine is really about using what Moses, inspired by God, wrote to resolve conflicts. Backing up from Matthew 18:19 to the beginning of the paragraph you find the teaching obviously is about resolving conflict.

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The opening verse is about a trespass; someone has offended or harmed another person.  Jesus encourages people to work things out one on one and if it does not work then two or three witnesses need to be pulled in to hear the stories.  Jesus then says if you do things the way I have ordained them to be done, I am there with you supporting you in the resolution of this problem and whatever you agree on, Jesus says he will support that outcome and what two or three witnesses have agreed on here on earth, heaven also agrees with that outcome.

Paul Taught on Two or Three Also

The Apostle Paul mentioned this principal found in the Law of Moses and taught by Jesus several times.  Two or three witnesses was encouraged to validate a problem and even a prophecy!

1 Corinthians 14:27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Hebrews 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

From cover to cover witnesses are to validate things never to agree for things in prayer.

One of the Best Examples of Agreement

In the story of Ruth is one of the best examples of agreement among witnesses.  Boaz has an opportunity to be the kinsman redeemer for Ruth but there is another relative that is a closer kinsman. So Boaz went to the gate of the city which is a picture of open heavens and God’s presence and once there he met with the other kinsman and the elders of the city and they came to an agreement that was agreed upon on earth and in heaven.

Ruth 4: 1  Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. 2  And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down. 3  And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: 4  And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it. 5  Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. 6  And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7  Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. 8  Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe. 9  And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. 10  Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. 11  And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:

This story could have had another possible outcome so the people had to come into agreement and they did so with the elder witnesses of the city to validate and document the agreement. Gates as first given to us by Jacob often refer to a place of open heaven and the meeting was at the gate with God also as a witness to the event. Doing things the way God intended is fearful for us mostly because we may not be used to it but a heavenly blessing is on everything we do when we follow God’s ways.

Consequences of Agreement In Prayer Doctrine

There will be some that will say I do this all the time and it works for me, there always are some. Praying is always a good thing and getting two or more people to pray about something is even better.  The problem is miss-use of the Word of God.  How could anyone feel good about intentionally twisting the Word of God even for a seemly good purpose.  If we are in line with God’s purposes, God supplies all our needs with or without agreement.

Philippians 4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I could go on and on with passages that would come against this false doctrine of agreement in prayer for things. How many, young in the Lord Christians, have gone about getting people to agree with them in prayer with no results which is the common example and they have become discouraged and lost faith.  Sadly agreeing in prayer is so common place that it just comes out of mouths as religious tradition and will continue to do so even by some who see it as wrong, just by habit.

Continue Next Week With Other Traditions

I will continue next week with some other poor interpretations of the Word that have created other very popular traditions of action and beliefs.

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