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Westminster Confession of 1646: Of Synods and Councils

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Chapter XXXI. Of Synods and Councils

I. For the better government, and further edification of the Church, there ought to be such assemblies as are commonly called synods or councils, (Act 15:2, 4, 6).

II. As magistrates may lawfully call a synod of ministers, and other fit persons, to consult and advise with, about matters of religion, (Isa 49:23; 1Ti 2:1-2; 2Ch 19:8-11; 2Ch 29; 2Ch 30; Mat 2:4-5; Pro 11:14; so, if magistrates be open enemies to the Church, the ministers of Christ, of themselves by virtue of their office, or they, with other fit persons upon delegation from their Churches, may meet together in such assemblies, (Act 15:2, 4, 22, 25).

III. It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith, and cases of conscience; to set, down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of His Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in His Word, (Act 15:15, 19, 24, 27-31; Act 16:4; Mat 18:17-20).

IV. All synods or councils, since the Apostles’ times, whether general or particular, may err; and many have erred. Therefore they are not to be made the rule of faith, or practice; but to be used as a help in both, (Eph 2:20; Act 17:11; 1Co 2:5; 2Co 1:24).

V. Synods and councils are to handle, or conclude nothing, but that which is ecclesiastical: and are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate, (Luk 12:13-14; Jhn 18:36).



DISCLAIMER: Creeds, catechisms, and confessions do not replace Scripture, nor the authority of Scripture. The creeds, catechisms and confessions are included herein for purposes of reference. Blue Letter Bible aims to provide resources that cover a range of traditional, orthodox, conservative Christianity, for the benefit of all of our users. The inclusion of the creeds, catechisms, and confessions does not necessarily mean that the ministry agrees with each and every point in each, since some are coming from different Christian perspectives of faith, practice and worship. The user may find them useful as tools to assist in understanding or teaching the Scriptures, since they were drafted based upon Scripture. Used in their proper context, they can continue to aid us as much today as they did for our forefathers in centuries past.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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