Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

           

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

Sermons & Study Guides

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government Pt. 2 - Of The Church.

James Dodson

Form Of Presbyterial Church-Government

Of The Church. 

There is one general church visible, held forth in the New Testament. The ministry, oracles, and ordinances of the New Testament, are given by Jesus Christ to  the  general  church  visible,  for  the  gathering  and perfecting  of  it  in  this  life,  until  his second coming. Particular  visible  churches,  members  of  the general  church,  are also  held  forth in  the New  Testament.    Particular  churches  in  the  primitive  times  were  made up  of  visible saints, viz. of such as, being of age, professed faith in Christ, and obedience unto Christ, according  to  the  rules  of  faith  and  life  taught  by  Christ  and  his  apostles;  and  of  their children. 

Question 1.—Is there one general church visible, held forth in the New Testament? Answer.—Yes.  1  Cor.  12:12,  13,  28.    Thus  do  the  Latitudinarians  and  many  of  the Sectaries err who maintain that the Scriptures hold forth no Church which by divine right is that which ought to exist to the exclusion of all others.  They are confuted for the following reasons:  1.)  The  various  Scriptures  which  use  the  word ἐκκλησία [ekklesia]  (church)  in such a full latitude and extensive completeness, as properly signifying not any one single congregation  or  particular  church,  but  one  general  visible  Church  manifest  this,  Matt. 16:18;  1  Cor.  10:32;  15:9;  Gal.  1:13;  1  Tim.  3:15; Eph.  3:10;  Heb.  2:12.    2.)  Those passages   which   evidently   compare   all   visible   professors   and   members   of   Christ throughout  the  world  to  one  organic  body  having  eyes,  ears, etc.,  various  organs, instruments, officers, etc., in it for the benefit of the whole body, Eph. 4:11, 12; Rom. 12:4-9.    The  context  of  these  and  similar  verses  plainly  demonstrate  that  all  Christ’s  visible members in the world, Jews or Gentiles, etc., are members of one and the same organicbody  of  Christ,  which  organic body  of  Christ is  the  general  Church  visible.   The  invisible Church is not organic.Question  2.—Are the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of the New Testament, given by Jesus Christ to the general church visible, for the gathering and perfecting of it in this life, until his second coming? Answer.—Yes.  1  Cor.  12:28;  Eph.  4:4,  5,  10-13,  15,  16.    Thus do  the  Quakers,  and certain  sects  of  Anabaptists  err  maintaining  that  under  the  New  Testament,  the  Church consists  only  of  spiritual  graces  and  not  of  ministry,  oracles  or  ordinances.    They  are confuted  for  the  following  reasons:  1.)  The  ministry  is primarily  given  to  the  general Church  visible,  Eph.  4:11-13;  Rom.  12:4-9.    2.)  The  oracles  are  primarily  given  to  the general Church visible, 1 Tim. 3:15.  The Church is to be the receptacle of the truth from Christ, that she may be, in the words of Beza, “the witness, nurse, and conserver of truth 11 Cor. 12:12,13,28. 21 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:4,5,10-13,15,16. 3Gal. 1:21,22; Rev. 1:4,20; 2:1. 4Acts 2:38,41,47; compared with Acts 5:14; 1 Cor. 1:2; compared with 2 Cor. 9:13; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14; Rom. 11:16; Mark 10:14; compared with Matt. 19:13,14; Luke 18:15,16. 
among  men.”    Therefore,  that  saying  of  Paul  is  suitable  to  this,  Eph.  3:10.    3.)  The ordinances of the New Testament are primarily given also for the general Church visible, Matt. 16:18, 19; John 20:21-23; Matt. 28:18-20.  For if the oracles, wherein the ordinances are  contained,  and  the  ministry,  who  are  entrusted  by  Christ  with  the  managing  and administration of those ordinances are primarily given to the general Church visible, then the  ordinances  must  necessarily  be  given  for  the  general  Church  visible,  Rom.  12:4-9; Eph. 4:11-13. Question  3.—Are particular visible churches, members of the general church, also held forth in the New Testament? Answer.—Yes.  Gal.  1:21,  22;  Rev.  1:4,  20;  2:1.    It  is  evident  by  the  Scripture  that Jesus Christ has on earth many particular visible churches, Gal. 1:2; Rom. 16:5; Philem. 2;  1  Cor.  14:34;  Rom.  16:4;  1  Cor.  7:17;  14:33;  2  Cor.  11:28.    While  it  is  true  that  the Scriptures  recommend,  for  the  more  convenient  edification  of  the  saints,  the  erection  of distinct  congregations,  and  of  distinct  judicatories,  Acts  15:41;  it  is  the  sin  and  loss  of professed Christians to establish distinctions which destroy the unity of the visible Church, Jas.  3:16;  since,  according  to  the  institution  of  Christ,  the  Church  is  ONE  among  all nations, Eph. 4:3,4. Question 4.—Were particular churches in the primitive times made up of visible saints, viz.of such as, being of age, professed faith in Christ, and obedience unto Christ, according to the rules of faith and life taught by Christ and his apostles; and of their children? Answer.—Yes. Acts 2:38, 41, 47; compared with Acts 5:14; 1 Cor. 1:2; compared with2  Cor.  9:13;  Rom.  11:16;  Mark  10:14; compared with  Matt.  19:13,  14;  Luke  18:15,  16.  Thus do Anabaptists and others err maintaining that only invisible saints (i.e., those who are  regenerated)  are  those  who  compose  the  membership  of  particular  churches.    They are  confuted  for  the  following  reasons:  1.)  The  officers  of  the  visible  church  must  act according to law.  They sit in judgment, not upon the state of a person in the sight of God, but upon his profession, and his character, in the sight of men, 2 Cor. 10:13.  We are not to  receive  a  man  to  communion,  merely  because  he  is regenerate,  nor  are  we  to  reject him,  merely because he is unregenerate.  Saintship is the criterion of membership in the invisible Church, not the visible Church, Heb. 12:14.  2.) It is impossible that regeneration is the criterion of membership in the visible church: no mere  man can  judge the heart, 1 Sam.  16:7.    3.)  It  is  presumption  to  say  that  saintship  is  the  criterion  of  visible membership.  It condemns the conduct of Christ, and of the apostles.  Christ admitted as a member,  and  ordained  as  a  minister,  Judas,  whom  he  knew  to  be  unregenerate,  John 17:12.  Simon the sorcerer was a baptized church member, while in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity, Acts 8:13, 21-23.  Here is our example, that private suspicions, yea, certain knowledge, unless founded upon some overt acts capable of proof, is not the rule of  judgment.    4.)  By  a  divine  constitution,  the  church  of  the  Jews  included  some unregenerate men, Rom. 9:6.  The holiness of God is the same at all times, Ps. 93:5.  5.) The   Christian   visible   church,   according   to   Christ’s   account   of   it,   embraces   some unregenerate  men,  Matt.  13:24,  25.   In contrast—6.)  No  adult  person  whatever  is  to  be received  into  the  Christian  Church,  or  admitted  to  any  of  its  privileges,  unless  he knowingly  profess  a  belief  of  the  doctrine  of  Christ,  Acts  8:37.    7.)  He  must  promise submission to all his institutions, Gal. 5:22, 23.  8.) He must evidence repentance of all his sins, Acts 26:20.  9.) He must manifest no prevailing inclination to any kind of wickedness, Ps. 24:3, 4.  10.) Additionally, their children are included, Acts 2:39; 1 Cor. 7:14.