Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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"Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them" (Mt 18:19-20). I have a number of points that need clarification:

  • Does this verse address the apostles only or is it for the clergy as well as laymen?

  • It’s content is not fulfilled. I have agreed with a fellow Christian once on something and it has never come through.

  • How can we distinguish between what is addressed to the apostles, clergy and laymen?

In Matthew 18:18 our Lord Jesus Christ was talking to the disciples giving them the authority to bind or loosen on earth, telling them "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." This authority was clearly restricted to the disciples, the apostles and those whom they laid their hands on, giving them this authority i.e. bishops and priests today. Then the Lord continues in a general form, verse 19 is addressed to all Christians and is subject to the will of God. Here our Lord shows us the power of prayer and unity in prayers with others. However, we should note that not everything we ask for is to be granted to us the way we want it to be. God always knows what is best for us and will respond to our needs in the way He sees fit. This is why whenever we pray, we should say ‘according to your will’. If what we gather and agree upon contradicts the will of God, we should not expect to have it fulfilled.

We can distinguish among the domains of the apostles, the clergy and all Christians by the Apostolic Tradition.
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