XX. Of the Authority of the Church.

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27 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:

    Authority is the premiere issue of religion and faith

  2. Anne Kohut says:

    Hmmm…”ought it not to enforce any thing to be believed for necessity of Salvation” possibly to frown on and rule out the use of torture, threat of death to force conversion as a form of “evangelism” ?

  3. Chile says:

    I was thinking along the same lines as Anne … The Crusades.

  4. Lutheran says:

    That’s my thinking, too — that it’s probably referring to the Crusades and other shameful, forced acts of the Christian church. Of course, Anglicans aren’t culpable because the Anglican Communion didn’t exist when the Crusades occurred.

  5. John Duncan says:

    Good topic.. Today every man is his own authority and many twist scripture as a habit. Who is the authority when it comes to interpretation .. Sadly today one can find a church to accept any and every crazy thing people come up with.
    We must love and want Truth more than life itself… The first parable is about those who have and love truth more will be given, but to those who don’t have it even what they do have will be taken away.. And I have seen that very process fulfilled more than once.. Those who yield to what seems a small error end up in total ruin as far as truth goes.. Go back and and think long on the parable of the sower it is the key to all parables and it ends with the solem warning that those who decide they have the right to twist scripture will in the end loose all truth God will take it from them

  6. The crusades is not in view here.

  7. The Crusades? Where did that come from?

    Right before the questioned part it says that the Church is the keeper of the holy scriptures – and then it says;
    1.) the Church must not decree anything contrary to the Scripture,
    2.) the Church must not enforce belief in anything additional to Scripture as essential to salvation.

  8. Nonnie says:

    When I read it, I got what MLD’s number 7 said.

  9. Jtk says:

    So talk to me about Paul and his authority to hand a fellow believer/congregant over to Satan to be taught not to blaspeme….

    That’s some unusual “authority” I doubt I’ve ever seen!

  10. I don’t like anything that deems “the church” as an institution rather than an organic body of believers.

  11. PP Vet says:

    Amateur hour Linkathon:

    Piper supports Mahaney:

    Richest Brazilian Preachers:

    Martyrdoms continue:

    Homeschool license demanded:

    Christian population stats (old news):

    Can Mormons speak well of anti-Semite Luther?:

    Secular perspective on Renewal move:

    BrD come home …

  12. Papias says:

    This article (20) goes back to last weeks, and will continue to the next two weeks, as they all have to do with the Church and its authority.

    “The Twentieth Article says, “It is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture that it be repugnant to another.” Ryle

    “The Church is not a building but a group of believing Christians. These articles also describe the role of denomination and the Church’s authority and its relationship with the bible.” – Donald Allister in his ‘Faith for Today’ series.

    This article is steeped in the Reformation.

    “In connection with this ministry of Word and Sacrament, Article 20 asserts that

    ‘The Church hath

    [1] power [from God] to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and

    [2] authority [from God] in Controversies of Faith’.

    In a commentary on the 39 Articles, E.J Bicknell draws attention to the different choice of words in Article 20, ‘power to decree’ (statuendi jus) and ‘authority’ (auctoritas). He suggests that the Church’s ‘power’ over rites and ceremonies (i.e worship) is legislative in character, whereas its ‘authority’ over controversies of faith (i.e doctrine) is judicial in character.

    The legislator may change the law, as circumstances demand. The judge may only declare what the law already is. Thus new forms of worship may be introduced by the Church, but not new doctrines. The Church can only declare or clarify existing doctrine (3rd edition 1955, pp.249-53).” http://ecclesiasticallaw.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/the-constitutional-doctrine-of-the-39-articles/

  13. Nonnie says:

    “Jesus paid it all,
    All to Him I owe;
    Sin had left a crimson stain,
    He washed it white as snow.”

    That’s what I get out of this article.

  14. Lutheran says:


    You nailed it!

  15. Papias says:

    Well… based upon this and the previous threads discussion, it would seem that if the Word doesn’t have ultimate authority in your life, then its sure that the Church’s authority would follow the same fate.

    We interpret our own Jesus and he fits our needs….

  16. from this corner says:

    #15 – wandering sheep, perhaps? or “of another flock?” uh … dunno about that one…

    we feed on the Word IMX – if it – the Word – is “burdensome,” we’re doing/teaching something wrongly

  17. Reuben says:


    To whom was that directed? Because I am looking over my shoulder, and only the cat is there…

  18. John Duncan says:

    In cc no membership = no authority no authority = no accountability . I think people like big churches because there is no accountability.and for many the failure of their leaders is a secret desire fulfilled. It endorses their sin.. Men want darkness and not light. Authority in any form brings accountability which brings light . So today in pratice the church and scripture hold no real authority.

    As an American I don’t even like the word submit. But I find it taught all through the Bible. So am I to only submit only to MY understanding of the Bible, or is there more to submission than that

    The cults feed off of this total breakdown because people in some way deep inside want authority .. They want to abigate their personal responsibility to an authority.. So again we see in the US it is East against West.. The Far East ( Wathcman Nee) bring a tradition of unquestioning submission blind submission to authority while the West brings constant revolt or you might say constant death and resurrection .. The Far East influence is bringing much confusion… To who wnd to what should me submit.

  19. from this corner says:

    Pastor John, if the Bible is our authority, we stand a good chance of being discerning in what/who we submit to … so many good and godly men such as Watchman Nee are elevated in the way you describe; people abdicating personal responsibility for discernment and calling it “submission” … God help us to understand the difference between our brains (Your gift) and our egos (don’t where we got those)

  20. John Duncan DNW says:

    From this corner. I agree to a point, but after all the years I spent in ministry I have heard people who claim the Bible as their only authority go totally wacko – if they just sit alone with the Bible and never study any great doctrines or other godly readings on how to understand what they are reading they end up going cherry picking through the Bible and taking what fits their comfort zone and ignoring the rest. I just happen to believe we need to be submitted to a local fellowship of true believers. If in the forest you are asked to draw a plumb line, you would find it impossible unless you found something you already knew was plumb and level. and being out of fellowship with only the Bible is in a way like being in the forest trying to figure out what is level and plumb. Now if you are in regular fellowship even in a home fellowship and you start to lean out of plumb people will point out to you that your thinking is getting off. I just happen to believe in the Bible as the final authority when it is subject to a fellowship of believers. Tradition is not to be taken as the authority, but neither ix tradition to be thrown out as nothing. We need the 2000 years of of Church history with all it’s problems and all its wonders. And I might also while I am at it an education be it self educated like me, or better yet go to a real seminary — and at least learn how to know the areas of difference and why you believe what you believe. It is the Calvary Chapel just read your bible mixed with an anti education bias that leads many that I have run into into error .

    and the battle of east verses west is just getting started. The blind submission or constant revolts leading to more and more denominations daily – too much order over chaos – there must be a place in between. But that’s the rub… does the church have authority to call heresy heresy.. I say yes it does and therefore it has authority to to establish dogma abd scriptural traditions and clear teachings saying the Word says thus and so with authority. If not then we are left with chaos or blind submission.

  21. from this corner says:

    Pastor John, i hear you … one can only go just so deep into understanding the Word on their own – we need access to teachers – teachers who are good learners, themselves
    something deep in my bones says, “don’t let anyone become a dictator – don’t let anyone get between you and your Lord.” but that doesn’t mean that i don’t need to be taught or that i don’t need the Holy Spirit’s working in me bringing the Word to life – moments of discernment are a joy

    prayer continues for you folks

  22. DMV says:


  23. DMW -- john says:

    I have seen people take what some CC pastor says about being your own authority in the things of the Bible — and watch people make such a mess of their lives because they don’t like something on sexual sin and twist scripture to their own liking and I have seen the ruined lives being that I was part of a group that encouraged this for so long. We all need guidance from those who have gone before G K Chesterton said that Tradition is giving the dead a vote.. oh hell we don’t even let those still alive give a vote anymore

  24. from this corner says:

    Pastor John, probably not following you too well – i don’t think clearly after 3 in the afternoon 🙂

    when i say that i resist being dictated to, i don’t mean that i don’t like to be taught – line upon line, making sense and fitting together – working and workable, mercy and truth and surrounded by grace, not license

    i love the comfort of Tradition, but only after i have approved the tradition – good Chesterton quote

    i appreciate your teaching here … time for me to call it a day

  25. JD says:

    The why was written because I was in moderation all day and asked why the moderation had nothing to do with our talk

  26. JD says:

    BTW I know longer believe that through the Bible teaching alone is the way to produce mature believers I believe we must teach doctrine classes and much more on the attributes of God. I think a blend would be much better

  27. from this corner says:

    Pastor John, i read every word you write here and i suspect you would agree quite a bit with the pastor who rooted and grounded my faith – the late R.B. Thieme Jr. … an outspoken, controversial figure among his contemporaries as he supported and championed our military (to a fault, perhaps) during a time when they were being painted with the broad brush of our outrage against a terrible political war machine (which, probably, is still with us) … now that outrage is aimed at anyone wearing the uniform of an evangelical … or so it seems to me

    i don’t put labels on my fellow Believers – pew sitters like me and teachers like yourself and others here – but i pray to hear what our hearts are truly saying and searching …

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