One God | Salvation | Baptism | Faith
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Touch and Agree? | One Body? | One Liners
There is a teaching out there these days called "Touch and agree" which goes along these lines: If two believers on the earth will agree about anything then God has promised that He will honor that request. One of the by products of this doctrine is that certain proponents claim that they are "anointed" to agree with you in prayer for your needs and that if you will plant a "seed" in their ministry that the "increase" is assured. Is this truly what the Bible teaches?
Where do they get this doctrine? Aside: (by "they" I mean those that adhere to this doctrine.) The basis for this teaching is: 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." Sounds like it supports the doctrine above but let's look closer. The most common cause for misinterpretation of Scripture is to quote it out of context which establishes a wrong premise and then to build upon this poor foundation. This is the case here. Let's look at the surrounding passages and see if a context can be established.
In the passages prior to these that surround the base Scriptures for "touch and agree" Jesus had held up a child and said that to be saved one must become like a child with childlike faith. He then said it would bring horrible judgment upon any who offended such a person. What is the subject? The subject is the judgment of the offenders of those who have this childlike faith. Now let us consider: Matthew 18:15-21, "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. 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. 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. 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. 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. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." At the end of Jesus' exhortation Peter ask how often should he forgive an offender. The subject was still one of judgment but the focus of Peter's question was forgiveness for the offender who repented. Now to the passages in question.
Imagine if you will the process described in the intermediate passages: A brother or sister, not an unbeliever has committed an offense and you have gone to him yourself and have privately discussed the issue at hand. If he repents you are to forgive him and you have gained or restored your brother to fellowship, not only with you but with God. If your brother does not repent, what then? After the refusal of the offender you as the one to restore him are then to go and get one or two other believers to "establish" or witness to the facts of the case and to offer their judgment in the matter as to the brother's repentance. If he listens you are to forgive him. If he does not you are to call this brother (or sister) before the church and call the witnesses who have established "all things" through their examination. Now we are at the verse that is used to support the teaching of "touch and agree." Here we stand in front of the "called out body of believers" or the church with the unrepentant offender of one of his brothers with the childlike faith. I ask you, is this the time to take prayer request? Would a statement like "Would you like me to touch the Throne of grace and agree with you Sister Sorrow that you get a new house and a husband?" be appropriate at this juncture? I think not.
If the passage is taken in this the original context one quickly sees that the "two or three gathered in His name" are doing so as witnesses to the offense which a brother or sister has not yet repented of and the "all things" they are to agree to are the particulars of the charge and the accused's unrepentance. If the offender while in front of the church will repent he is to be forgiven and the process of restoration begins. If he does not then and only then does the aspect of "what so ever they shall ask" come into effect. This is the "binding and loosing" spoken of in the passages. The assertion is that what the assembly allows or permits or imposes as a sanction carries the same weight as if Jesus Himself had been one of the members that cast this judgment.
Any independent confirmation of this doctrine? Consider: Deuteronomy 17:8-13, "If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, [being] matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, [to] the right hand, nor [to] the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously." Now consider that we are the "Royal Priesthood" who are in Christ by baptism in His name and the indwelling of his Spirit and it should be clear as to the meaning of "touch and agree".
Is this the only argument that can be raised in rebuff of this doctrine? The Bible says: Hebrews 4:13-16, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. " and again: Matthew 7:11, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" and: Matthew 6:6-8, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. "