Sunday, April 17, 2011

The True Church (Continued)


This week's installment from The Fundamentals

Sola's Note: This was actually to have been posted a few weeks ago, and as you can see, I didn't get around to it. I'm thankful that I'm not blogging for a living! Anyway, enjoy part two of this segment by the late Bishop Ryle.

The true Church is a church whose existence does not depend on forms, ceremonies, cathedrals, churches, chapels, pulpits, fonts, vestments, organs, endowments, money, kings, governments, magistrates, or any act of favor whatsoever from the hand of man. It has often lived on and continued when all these things have been taken from it; it has often been driven into the wilderness or into dens and caves of the earth, by those who ought to have been its friends. Its existence depends on nothing but the presence of Christ and His Spirit; and they being ever with it, the Church cannot die.

This is the Church to which the Scriptural titles of present honor and privilege, and the promises of future glory, especially belong; this is the body of Christ; this is the flock of Christ; this is the household of faith and the family of God; this is God's building, God's foundation, and the temple of the Holy Ghost. This is the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven; this is the royal priesthood, the chosen generation, the peculiar people, the purchased possession, the habitation of God, the light of the world; the salt and the wheat of the earth; this is the "Holy Catholic Church" of the Apostle's Creed; this is the "One Catholic and Apostolic Church" of the Nicene Creed; this is that Church to which the Lord Jesus promises, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," and to which He says, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 16:18, 28:20).

This is the only Cburch which possesses true unity. Its members are entirely agreed on all the weightier matters of religion, for they are all taught by one Spirit. About God, and Christ, and the Spirit, and sin, and their own hearts, and faith, and repentance, and necessity of holiness, and the value of the Bible, and the importance of prayer, and the resurrection, and the judgment to come—about all these points they are of one mind. Take three or four of them, strangers to one another, from the remotest corner of the earth; examine them separately on these points; you will find them all of one judgment.

Next installment: The Church which possesses true sanctity.

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