The Gospel for Christians

Category Archives: Ministry

Binding and Loosing, Part 2 (Matthew 16:15-19)

In my previous post, I sketched out an interpretation of Matthew 16:15-19 that hopefully helps to show that “binding and loosing” is not referring to “warfare prayer.” According to some, Matthew 16:19 allows us to personally “bind” Satan and his demons in specific situations and places.

I argued that “binding and loosing” refers to God’s people declaring with authority the truth about Jesus. Here in verse 16, Peter is the first to make this proclamation when he enthusiastically responds to the Lord’s question with the glorious words, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” When the truth about Jesus (the gospel message) is declared by God’s people, this proclamation frees some–“looses” them–to enter into eternal life. It is the key to the kingdom. For others, that same proclamation “binds” them, shutting them out of the kingdom as they choose to reject the truth.

Now that I have offered this as an interpretation, here is more detail why I think this is the correct way to understand binding and loosing. I also want to include in this post some thoughts on the implications of this interpretation for our efforts to complete the Great Commission and see Christ’s church advance to the ends of the earth.
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Binding and Loosing (Matthew 16:15-19)

“Satan, we bind you in the name of Jesus!”

What should we think of this prayer? Does God teach us in his Word to “bind Satan”? That is the question I want to take up in this post, based primarily on Matthew 16:19.

“Binding satan” has become a very common practice in certain circles of the evangelical church. Some Christian leaders are presenting this as the fundamental need in evangelizing the remaining unreached peoples of the world. Satan and his demons must be “bound,” they say, through prayer, so that people can be “loosed” from their captivity and come to Christ.

One thing is certain, more dependance upon God expressed in prayer is a very good thing, and I am convinced that without prayer my own work among an unreached people is going nowhere. But just as with anything else in our Christian faith, our prayer practices need to be grounded in what God himself has taught us about prayer.

I cannot say everything in this post that needs to be said about spiritual warfare nor treat all of the Bible passages relevant to this particular practice, but I want to show that Matthew 16:19 does not support the practice of “binding Satan.” To the contrary, I think that this brief study will show that such praying distracts us from what we should be doing, which is to declare the gospel, calling people to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ in faith, all the time clinging to God in prayer and asking him to do what only he can do, which is change sinners into saints. Continue reading

The Reproducibility Principle Reconsidered

This post may be more relevant to those who are involved in cross-cultural Christian ministry, but I think it can also apply to those who are seeking to reach those of their own culture with the gospel.

The principle of “reproducibility,” as it is usually presented, states that in missions, we should evangelize, disciple believers, and plant churches in such a way that the methods and practices we are using to do the work can be easily reproduced by those within the culture we are trying to reach.

Usually the focus falls on the methods and practices that we employ in ministry. For example…

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