The Visible Church as Mother of Believers

Calvin on the visible church:

But because it is now our intention ot discuss the visible church, let us learn even from the simple title “mother” how useful, indeed how necessary it is that we should know her. For there is no other way to enter into life unless unless this mother conceive us in her womb, give us birth, nourish us at her breast, and lastly unless she keep us under her care and guidance until, putting off mortal flesh, we become like the angels. Our weakness does not allow us to be dismissed from her school until we have been pupils all our lives. Furthermore, away from her bosom one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation, as Isaiah and Joel testify. Ezekiel agrees with them when he declares that those whom God rejects from heavenly life will not be enrolled among God’s people. On the other hand, those who turn to the cultivation of true godliness are said to inscribe their names among the citizens of Jerusalem. For this reason, it is said in another psalm: “Remember me, O Jehovah, with favor toward thy people; visit me with salvation: that I may see the well-doing of thy chosen ones, that  Imay rejoice in the joy of thy nation, that I may be glad with thine inheritance.” By these words God’s fatherly favor and the especial witness of spiritual life are limited to his flock, so that it is always disastrous to leave the church.

–Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV.I.iv.

It puts the Westminster Confession of Faith’s statement in context:

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; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

III. Unto this catholic visible Church Christ has 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 does, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto.

–Westminster Confession of Faith, XXV.ii-iii.

Advertisements
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: