Critique of Dr. Cario’s Statement on Dr. Schulz

Dr. Cario hides behind the Bible passage of Matt. 18, but if he has read it, he does not understand it. Sin does not require permission to rebuke. I do ask the sinner if he wishes to hear the law, but tell them their sin. Every Christian (“brother” in Matt. 18) has the power of the Word to use in his daily life.
And if Dr. Schulz would not hear it, then Matt. 18 does not say “immediately suspend any professor who will not schedule a private appointment at your convenience.” Rather, it states: “But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.” Did Dr. Cario do that? If not, he has not followed Matt. 18.
Then, if that is unsuccessful, our Lord tells us: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” This is excommunication—a church matter for someone living an unrepentant, unchristian life. Was Dr. Schulz’ congregation involved in this disciplinary matter? Did the particular voter’s assembly act according to their constitution to call the sinner to repentance? Is Dr. Cario saying Dr. Schulz is not living as a Christian? Is he calling him a pagan “gentile”?
Do you see the charade? Matt. 18 starts with: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.” This is simply the normal, everyday private sin between Christians. We go to one who has either unintentionally or intentionally sinned against us privately to preserve his reputation. We do not want to make it public, for that does not “gain” anyone. The goal is always to forgive the repentant sinner. God removes the guilt and nothing more needs to be said.
Public suspension from teaching duties, without reason, is quite the opposite. Not only is Matt. 18 misapplied, Dr. Cario admits to breaking the very Word of God he is hiding behind! Who are the 2 or 3 he brought along? What is the public charge brought against the professor publicly suspended? How can we know if a person is unrepentant—if the public discipline occurs without a public charge. Dr. Cario: Tell it to the church, please.
In truth, the matter Dr. Schulz has been brave enough to speak on is not a private matter between two Christian brothers. It is not like Dr. Cario’s appearance was joked about. Dr. Schulz pointed to public statements on CUW’s own website, provided proof that the Presidential Search Committee acted beyond their synod-given authority in dismissing synod-approved candidates, and called a spade a spade in print! Matt. 18 has nothing to do with public sin. It is not the only passage in the Bible about dealing with sin, despite it being the favorite of heretics and let’s-all-just-get-alongers.
Gal. 2 is the passage we should be applying—and which Dr. Schulz actually had the courage to do. “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.” Paul opposed Peter publicly, before all, for his wrong public action. Refusing to eat with Gentiles, to appease heretics who called them unclean, despite confessing Christ, was a public matter, not a private one. So he spoke the truth publicly. He did not need to preserve Peter’s reputation, the world already had the evidence of false practice. He had publicly confessed it by his actions.
If Paul had applied Matt. 18, it would have lent credence to Peter’s public denial of the gospel. But the gospel is more important than not causing a ruckus. Everyone saw Peter eating with some, and not with others. This was not a private matter between two Christian brothers. Public sin demands a public response. Sin is not greater than the truth. A public error demands a stronger public correction—public relations be damned, if Christ’s universal truth is being silenced.
Matt. 18 is not the only Word on dealing with disagreement. Public sin deserves a strong and swift execution publicly. Matt. 18 knows of no arcane “church system and the legal system,” as Dr. Cario writes. If Matt. 18 applies, then actually follow it.
So, in final analysis of this statement, that states very little, one verse of Matt. 18 is unilaterally applied, while the rest is ignored. Saying “Matt. 18” a million times will not make this public action just and right. Despite the regret expressed and the statement that “personnel matters arise,” suspension from publicly teaching at a church college is not a private matter, nor is hiding behind man-made synodical process equivalent to telling it to the church or calling a sinner to genuine repentance. —ed.