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Westminster Confession of 1646: Of the Church

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Chapter XXV. Of the Church

I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all, (Eph 1:10, 22-23; Eph 5:23, 27, 32; Col 1:18).

II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, (1Co 1:2; 1Co 12:12-13; Psa 2:8; Rev 7:9; Rom 15:9-12); and of their children, (1Co 7:14; Act 2:39; Eze 16:20-21; Rom 11:16; Gen 3:15; Gen 17:7): and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, (Mat 13:47; Isa 9:7); the house and family of God, (Eph 2:19; Eph 3:15); out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation, (Act 2:47).

III. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto, (1Co 12:28; Eph 4:11-13; Mat 28:19-20; Isa 59:21).

IV. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible, (Rom 11:3-4; Rev 12:6, 14). And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them, (Rev 2; Rev 3; 1Co 5:6-7).

V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error, (1Co 13:12; Rev 2; Rev 3; Mat 13:24-30, 47); and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan, (Rev 18:2; Rom 11:18-22). Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to His will, (Mat 16:18; Psa 72:17; Psa 102:28; Mat 28:19-20).

VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ, (Col 1:18; Eph 1:22). Nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof: but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God, (Mat 23:8-10; 2Th 2:3-4, 8-9; Rev 13:6).



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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