On the Roman Catholic Church being a Church, She being Apostate, her Baptism being Valid, that the Reformers’ Ministerial Calling was Valid, the Necessity of Separation from Her & Whether Romanists may be Saved

“…that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

2 Thess. 2:3-4

“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Rev. 18:4

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Order of Contents

Intro
On the RCC being a Church
.      Articles  6
.      Quotes  5
On the Nature of the Apostasy of Rome  1

On Romish Baptism
.      Collection  1
.      Articles  4
.      Quotes  8+
.      History in the Church of Scotland  2

On the Lawful Calling of Protestant Ministers at the Reformation  6+
.       On Rome’s Ordination & Ministry  5
On the Legitimacy & Necessity of Separation from Rome  20+
Whether Romanists may be Saved?  7

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Intro

The Views

During the Reformation and puritan eras, the position that the Roman Catholic Church was not a Church and that the calling of her ministers was not valid was the position of the Separatists and Congregationalists.  They were staunchly opposed by the near universal consensus of the established Reformed Churches and Presbyterians of that age.  It is a historical fact that the national reformed Churches were not wholesale re-baptizing the mass of the people baptized under Romanism (though they no doubt would have if they believed Scripture required it).  The persons who did believe that Roman baptism was not valid, and were (notoriously) rebaptizing people, were the Anabaptists.†  The Reformed through these eras in fact defended the validity of the initial calling of their ministers as deriving in large part from Romanism.

† Notable Separatists and Congregationalists, such as John Robinson and Thomas Hooker respectively, held that Romish baptism was valid, though her ministry was not, which, on the face of it, is a plain contradiction of terms, insofar as baptism flows from a valid ministry and the latter is a necessary requisite of the former (WCF 28.2).

On the other polemical front, against Romanism itself, the Reformed and Presbyterians argued that separation from her was morally necessary and that partaking in the papal hierarchy or in the act of her baptism was sinful.  In recognizing many necessary distinctions and not departing to the left or to the right, the Reformed held the razor’s edge of Biblical and natural truth with regard to the apostate, Roman part of Christ’s visible Church.

Those numerous distinctions were gradually lost after the scholastic era of the 1600’s, and by the mid-1800’s, James H. Thornwell (d. 1862), the prominent American, Southern presbyterian, made the old position of the Separatists, that the Roman Catholic Church was not a Church, and the position of the Anabaptists, that Roman baptism was not valid, to have growing popularity in Presbyterianism.

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The Main Distinction

The issue is often popularly framed (simplistically) that something is either (1) a Church or (2) not a Church.  This bifurcation does not represent the complexities of Scriptural categories.  Rather, something may be either (1) a Church, (2) an Apostate Church, or (3) not a Church.  The middle category was ably exposited by John Calvin in his Institutes, bk. 4, ch. 2, sections 7-12, where he showed the remarkable parallel between the Roman Church and apostate, idolatrous, Northern Israel of old.

On the one hand, after Jeroboam rebelled and lead the northern tribes into systemic apostasy, God yet continually called Northern Israel ‘my people’ through his prophets (Hos. 4:6,12; 11:7) and He, their God (Hos. 9:1; 13:4-6,9,16), He spoke of his Covenant with them (Hos. 6:7; 8:1-3), they had the light of God’s Word and Gospel (though greatly bruised and darkened) in the midst of them, and their circumcision was valid.  On the other hand, their ministry and institutions were greatly corrupted, they festered in rank idolatry, the curse of God’s Covenant laid hold on them (1 Kings 13:1-9; Isa. 24:5-6; Hos. 10:9-10), and the prophets, from the beginning, called his people out of her, that they were to have no communion with her (1 Kings 13:1-9).

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A Valid Baptism & an Invalid Mass

It is sometimes wondered how the Reformers and puritans could so vehemently condemn the Roman form of the Lord’s Supper, the Mass, as invalid and to be separated from (being formal idolatry), and yet hold that Roman baptism is valid.  This is possible in the same way that Northern Israel’s communion sacrifices were condemned by the prophet (1 Kings 13:1-9), and yet her circumcision was still valid, they yet remaining externally in Covenant with God (Hos. 4:6,12; 6:7; 8:1-39:1; 11:7; 13:4-6,9,16).

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Christ’s Church & the Papacy Distinguished

Another key, exegetical distinction that the reformers and puritans recognized was that between Christ’s Church (which He is the sole Head and King of) and the usurping Papal line and hierarchy.

Paul says in 2 Thess. 2:1-8, that ‘the mystery of iniquity’ was already at work in his day (v. 7) in the apostolic Church.  Paul then says that ‘he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  And then that Wicked One be revealed…’  This thing preventing the rising of the Antichrist in Paul’s day, according to the Reformation and puritan historicist viewpoint, was the then Roman civil government, which hindered the flourishing of the Church by persecution.  However, in the 300’s A.D., beginning with Constantine, the State first allowed Christianity, and then became Christian.  Just after the Roman Civil government collapsed in the late-400’s and 500’s, Pope Boniface III in 1607 attained the title of ‘Universal Bishop’ over the whole Christian world.

Paul had said from his day, that before Christ would come again, there must come ‘a falling away first, and that the man of sin be revealed’. (v. 3)  This apostasy would occur in the Church, as v. 4 describes the Man of Sin sitting and reigning ‘in the temple of God’, the Church.  As the Man of Sin ‘opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God’ so his reign is a usurpation and tyranny over Christ’s Church.

The Antichrist cannot only be one person, but rather must have both a personal and corporate aspect, as he must endure from the time of the progress of apostasy from the early Church until Christ’s coming again, when Christ will ‘consume [him] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming’. (2 Thess. 2:8)

Thus the usurping papal line must be held to be distinguishable in some regard from the poor Church of Christ that she tyrannizes over and holds in bondage.

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Does Romanism Have & Teach the Gospel?

As the fundamental mark of the Church is the holding forth of the Gospel in a settled way, so if Romanism has the Gospel, she is a Church, and if she doesn’t have the Gospel, she is no Church at all.

In contrast to much of the simplistic and reductionistic argumentation that so often surrounds this controverted question, the puritans made numerous pertinent distinctions.  The gospel can Scripturally be defined more broadly in terms of the content of God’s saving work through Biblical history, the life, ministry and teachings of Jesus, and the other exhortations and teachings of Scripture relating to or tending towards salvation, or the gospel can be Scripturally defined more narrowly, focusing on the direct promises and calling of salvation, Christ’s atonement, the doctrine of justification by faith alone, etc.

The fundamentals of the Gospel defined in both of these ways are clear in Scripture, which Romanism has and holds forth (though in a darkened and obstructed way).  Most of the distinctive errors of the papal hierarchy (as distinguished from the Church of the body of the people) are superadded additions to these fundamentals, which do tend towards overturning the fundamentals themselves.  However, nonetheless, the fundamentals of the Gospel are present and available in Romanism (especially through her history) if persons have a true spiritual desire to believe them.  The Holy Ghost has in fact effectually called many people to salvation, in a settled way, through the rudiments of the gospel taught in Scripture in Romanism and even through her corrupt ministry (WCF 25.3; 27.3).

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Condemning Justification by Faith Alone

Some persons have made the historical argument that John Calvin could hold that the Roman Church was a Church because the Roman Council of Trent (which anathematized Justification by Faith Alone) did not end until 1563, whereas the last edition of Calvin’s Institutes was published in 1559, and if Calvin had lived after Trent, it is claimed, he would have held the Roman Church to be no Church at all.

However, Trent’s session on Justification, the results of which were widely publicized, was completed in 1547.  The fallacious argument also does not take into account that the later puritans in the 1600’s, and the large share of Westminster divines, also still held, after Trent, that the Roman Church was a Church.

Though the tyrannous papal line condemned justification by faith alone, so did Jeroboam with the Northern Ten Tribes of Israel in adding golden calves, man’s works, to the God-ordained picture in their animal sacrifices of a free and gracious, God-wrought atonement and substitution, to be received by faith alone.  The teaching ministry of the Jews in Christ and Paul’s day likewise largely denied justification by faith alone, and yet this did not annul the teaching and operation of the oracles of God in their possession and in their administration of God’s ordinances.  What was said of the corrupt Jews may equally be said of corrupt Romanism:

“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises…” – Rom. 9:4

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?  Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.  For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid.” – Rom. 3:1-4

The false teaching of the Jewish elders about justification did not immediately un-Church them.  The Jews were only fully given over to be divorced by God after their continued and hardened rejection of Jesus as the Christ led to their unrestrained blaspheming (Acts 18:6).  Despite Romanism’s apostasy and heresies, nonetheless, they yet nominally affirm Jesus to be the Messiah, to be of his religion and be in Covenant with God (Hos. 8:1-3); and God has not fully removed his Gospel and ordinances from their midst, as He did with the Jews.  For a very clear and Scriptural delineation of the nature of Romanism’s apostasy, while yet remaining a Church, see Davenant below.

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Where is the Line upon which One Ought to Separate?

The puritans found themselves pressed on both sides:  Rome called them to union with herself, and claimed that separation was a sin and schism, even if she had corrupted the fundamentals of the Gospel.  The Protestant Separatists held that one ought to separate from nearly any error or corruption, even from the established Reformed Churches.

The reformed answer to this dilemma was that a full separation of external communion was only legitimate from a Church tended to overturn the fundamentals of Christianity.  This was grounded on two main factors: (1) that union to such a Church was in itself sinful, and their practices may likely cause one to sin, and (2) the infectious nature of their errors and corruptions were dangerous to a person’s well-being and salvation.  Both of these reasons are stated by God for calling his people out of Romanism in Rev. 18:4:

“Come out of her, my people, that [1] ye be not partakers of her sins, and that [2] ye receive not of her plagues.”

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For More

If one finds the distinctions we have made from Scripture helpful, one will find the dozen or more necessary and Biblical distinctions that the puritans made regarding different degrees of Church purity, being in Covenant, with the seals thereof, schism, communion and Church government even more enlightening.  We especially recommend to you the writings of Samuel Rutherford below.

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On the Roman Catholic Church being a Visible Church
in Some Respect

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Articles

1500’s

Calvin, John – Institutes, bk. 4, ch. 2, ‘Comparison Between the False Church & the True’  trans. Beveridge  (1599)  especially sections 11-12

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1600’s

Hall, Joseph – The Reconciler: or An Epistle Pacificatory of the Seeming Differences of Opinion Concerning the True Being and Visibility of the Roman Church, Enlarged with the Addition of Letters of Resolution for that Purpose from some Famous Divines of our Church  (London, 1629)

Hall (1574-1656) was the well-known Bible commentator and important Anglican bishop who argued for the divine right of episcopacy.

Hall affirms and argues that the RCC is a Church, and includes letters from other important divines of his day to the same effect, such as the Anglican professor, John Prideaux, and the famed, reformed Parisian preacher, Gilbert Primrose.  Hall signs his letters ‘IOS. EXON.’, the latter word referring in Latin to Oxford.

Rutherford, Samuel – ch. 10, pp. 127-132  of A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642)

Durham, James – Lecture 3, ‘Concerning the Unity of the Catholic Visible Church’  in A Commentary upon the Book of the Revelation…  (Edinburgh, 1658)

“2. The Gospel-Church before Antichrist, during his reign and what follows, is still one Church…  This consideration shows the continuance of the Church and ordinances, and how that series is not interrupted by Antichrist’s sitting down in the Temple, 2 Thess. 2, but it continues to be the Church notwithstanding, and after his removal is to be acknowledged for the same Church that it was before he did set himself down therein.” – p. 539

Turretin, Francis – Institutes, vol. 3, 18th Topic, Q. 14, ‘Can the Church of Rome of Today be Called a True Church of Christ?  We Deny Against the Romanists.’, pp. 121-37

“III.  The Church of Rome can be regarded under a twofold view (schesi): either as it is Christian, with regard to the profession of Christianity and of gospel truth which it retains; or papal, with regard to subjection to the pope, and corruptions and capital errors (in faith as well as in morals) which she has mingled with and built upon those truths besides and contrary to the Word of God.

We can speak of it in different ways.  In the former respect, we do not deny that there is some truth in it; but in the latter (under which it is regarded here) we deny that it can be called Christian and apostolic, but Antichristian and apostate.  In this sense, we confess that it can still improperly and relatively be called a Christian church in a threefold respect.

First, with respect to the people of God or the elect still remaining in it, who are ordered to come out of her, even at the time of the destruction of Babylon (Rev. 18:4).

(2) With respect to external form or certain ruins of a scattered church, in which its traces are seen to this day, both with respect to the Word of God and the preaching of it (which, although corrupted, still remain in her); and with respect to the administration of the sacraments and especially of baptism, which is still preserved entire in her as to substance.

(3) With respect to Christian and evangelical truths concerning the one and triune God, Christ the God-man (theanthropo) Mediator, his incarnation, death and resurrection and other heads of doctrine by which she is distinguished from assemblies of pagans and infidels.” – p. 121

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1800’s

Hodge, Charles 

Is the Church of Rome a Part of the Visible Church?  HTML, from the Princeton Review, Apr., 1846

Hodge’s answer to the question is ‘]Yes’.  Unfortunately, Hodge also taught that Protestants ought to seek to build up the churches of Rome (contra the classic reformed view) in the following piece:

A Solemn Question!  Can the Protestants Conscientiously Build up the Churches of the Pope?  (1873)  one page.  There is a 13 page reply by Rev. Charles Chiniquy.

While the Church of Rome is a visible Church in some respect, yet God’s people are to separate and come out of her in order not to partake of her plagues.  God predicts his righteous satisfaction in the destruction of Romanism in Rev. 18, and we are not to pray for the Man of Sin (2 Thess. 2) or for a blessing on the work of such false teachers (2 Jn. 10-11).

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Quotes

The Church Order of Dort  1618-19

“9.  Novices, priests, monks and those who leave any sect shall not be admitted to the ministry except with great care and caution after they have also first been tested for a certain time.”

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Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries...  (1644),

pt. 1, p. 236

“I answer that [if] the true Church was only at Jerusalem radi­cally [during the time Israel was divided in the O.T.], as you [the Separatist John Robinson] say, [then it] would import that the 10 Tribes revolting from David’s house ceased to be a Church, which is false:

[1.] Israel, though all the land were in Covenant with God, had circum­cision and the Passover, and so were a true visible Church, even when they did meet in their synagogues.  The altar, sacrifices, Temple, are not the essentials of a visible Church; they were a Church and did pray toward the Temple even in Babylon, and were to profess the true God before the heathen, Jer. 10:11.

2.  There be typical reasons to hinder men why they cannot be capable of the priesthood [1 Kings 12:31], that did not exclude them from Church-state; but this hinders not but if the seals administered by a minister be true seals, then is the minister thereof cate­nus, insofar, a true minister.”

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pt. 2

p. 219

“…nor is it inconvenient to say that Papists as baptized & under that reduplication are members of the visible Church, though as baptized thus and thus, they be not members of the true visible Church, professing the sound faith.”

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pp. 229-230

“2. [John] Robinson [a Separatist] says, ‘fundamental truths are holden and professed by as vile heretics as ever were since Christ’s days; a company of excommunicates may hold, teach and defend fundamental truths, yet are they not a true Church of God?’

[Rutherford’s] Answer.  Papists hold fundamentals, and so do Jews hold all the Old Testament, and Papists hold both New and Old, but we know they so hold fundamentals that by their doctrine they overturn them; and though there be fundamentals taught in the Popish Church which may save if they were believed, yet they are not a true and ministerial Church simply, because, though they teach that there is one God, they teach also there is a thousand Gods whom they adore, and though they teach [that] there is one Mediator, yet do they substitute infinite Mediators with and besides Christ, so that the truth is, not a formal, ministerial and visible active external calling is in the Church of Rome, as it is a visible Church, in the which we can safely remain, though fundamentals be safe in Rome, and the books of the Old and New Testament be there, yet are they not there ministerially as in a mother whose breasts we can suck; for fundamental points falsely exponed, cease to be fundamental points; yea as they be ministerially in Rome, they be destructive of the foundation, though there be some ministerial acts valid in that Church, for the which the Church of Rome is called a true Church, [in Greek], in some respect, according to something essential to the true Church, yet never sine adjecto [without the adjunct], as if it were a true Church where we can worship God.

Fundamentals are safe in Rome materially in themselves, so as some may be saved who believe these fundamentals; but fundamentals are not safe in Rome, Ecclesiastice, Ministeraliter, Pastoraliter [ecclesiastically, ministerially, pastorally], in a Church way, so as by believing these from their chairs so exponed, they can be saved who do believe them.”

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On John Owen

Owen speaks of the ‘Church of Rome’ around 25 times in The Church of Rome, No Safe Guide, or, Reasons to Prove that No Rational Man, who Takes Due Care of his own Eternal Salvation, can give Himself up unto the Conduct of that Church in Matters of Religion  (London, 1679)

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On the Nature of the Apostasy of Rome

Article

1600’s

Davenant, John – Question 21, ‘The Church of Rome an Apostate Church’  in The Determinations, or Resolutions of Certain Theological Questions, Publicly Discussed in the University of Cambridge  trans. Josiah Allport  (1634; 1846), pp. 334-337  bound at the end of John Davenant, A Treatise on Justification, or the Disputatio de Justitia...  trans. Josiah Allport  (1631; London, 1846), vol. 2

“…when we call this Roman Church apostate, we mean not a full and entire defection from the Christian profession, such as we perceive in those who follow Mahomet; but a departure from the truth and purity of the Christian religion, which the Apostle [Paul] charges upon some among the Galatians and Corinthians (Gal. 3:1; 1 Cor. 15:12). [see also Gal. 5:4; Heb. 3:12]

Nor must this word apostate be thought too severe, which Paul in 1 Tim. 4:1, uses in the same sense.  Some (to adopt the words of Cyprian) shall apostatize from the faith; and yet they had not renounced Christianity, but mingled heresies with the Christian faith.

We, therefore, say that the Roman Church is apostate, both because the Prelates of the Papacy have infected the doctrine of the Gospel with their poisoned errors, and more especially, because the people of the Papacy, through that blind obedience which they yield to their pastors, have eagerly imbibed the same errors.” – p. 334

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On Romish Baptism

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Collection

Peru Mission – The Reformed Churches and Roman Catholic Baptism – An Anthology of Principle Texts  PDF  106 pp.

This anthology includes quotes and brief analyses of the French Confession of Faith (1559), Calvin, Knox, Beza, Perkins, Rutherford, the Westminster Confession of Faith, Baxter, Turretin, and Hodge, all of which affirmed the validity of RCC baptism.

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Articles

1600’s

Rutherford, Samuel – A Peaceable and Temperate Plea, ch. 10, pp. 120-131  (1642)  The whole chapter is here typeset at Naphtali Press.

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Outline

Ch. 10 – Whether or not it is lawful to separate from a true, visible Church for the corruptions of teachers and wickedness of pastors and professors, where faith is begotten by the preaching of professed truth? [No]

8 distinctions.

Conclusions:

1. We are to separate in the true visible Church from all communion wherein necessarily we cannot choose but sin, though we do not separate from the Church.

2. Separation in part from some acts of public worship in a true Church wherein we cannot but choose to sin is lawful.

3. About separation from Rome.

Considerations:

1. It is most false which Bellarmine says, that Churches all withered as branches separated from trees when they separated from Rome.

2. The faithful before Luther made a negative separation from Rome and did neither hold, nor profess their gross idolatries, though they did not erect a new Church because the separation was not ripe for harvest.

3. Rome made the separation from the Reformed Churches, and not we from them, as the rotten wall falls from the house.

4. We separate not from acts of love to have the reliques of Babel saved, though we have separated from communion in faith and worship.

5. The essential ingredients and reasons of a lawful divorce are here: 4 listed.

6. The Church of believers might lawfully use a necessary defense for salvation and forsake her corrupt guides and choose others. So we had the consent of the Church to the separation, and a voice from Heaven, ‘Come out of her my people.’ (Rev. 18:4)

7. A collateral and sister-Church, such as Rome ever was, is not said to separate from another. The lesser separates always from the greater, the member from the body. Yet this is not the case with sister-Churches.

8. We separate not from men but from errors. We separate from Papism properly and totally; from Christian articles, in no sort.

About our reformers deriving their ministerial calling from Rome: 3 distinctions.

Objection: An Antichristian Church cannot ordain Christian ministers.  Answer. Distinctions.

Our reformers were ‘extraordinary doctors’; 2 reasons.

Suppose the call of our reformers was from the Roman Church, yet we have a true ministry, per these distinctions:

1. The court of Roma and clergy vs. the seduced people.

2. There is (1) a teaching court professing and teaching Popery and obtruding it on the consciences of others, (2) a people professing and believing this with heat and zeal, (3) a people misted, ignorant, not doubting, but following, (4) there is a people of God, “Come out of her my people…” therefore there is a covenanted people of God there, as Antichrist sits in the temple of God. (2 Thess. 2:4)

3. There is a true Church in verity of essence, as a sick man is a true man and has a reasonable soul, vs. a true Church morally true that is a whole, pure Church professing the sound faith. Rome is the former.

4. Either a teaching and ministerial Church professing Christ, the Word and Baptism, vs. a believing Church and Spouse of Christ.

5. Rome being relatively a wife in comparison of other Churches, or considered absolutely in herself.

6. If Rome be by right and merit a spouse or a harlot, vs. a wife not having received a bill of divorcement as the Church of the Jews.

7. If Rome according to some parts be a spouse and keeps any marriage kindness to her husband, or if she be according to other parts a cast off whore.

8. If Rome be materially a Church having in it the doctrine of faith, or if it formally be no Church, having no professed faith that has the nature of faith.

Hence, Rome as Popish is the falling-sickness of the Church, not the Church. But the same court teaching something of Christ, baptism, good works, etc. has something of the life and being of a Church, howbeit her skin is leprous and polluted. Reasons:

1. In a Church that is no Church, there cannot be a true seal of God’s Covenant, but in Rome there is true baptism. New Testament and Old Testament reasons.

2. The Word of God, and so the contract of the Covenant, is professed amongst them, and so there is an external active calling there (the Word of the Covenant being found amongst them), and there is a passive calling also as many secretly believe and obey.

3. Many fundamental truths are taught that may beget faith, and so there are true and valid pastoral acts in the Church.

Further distinctions.

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Turretin, Francis – Institutes, vol. 3, 19th Topic, ‘The Sacraments’

Q. 15, ‘Is Baptism Administered by Heretics Lawful?  We Distinguish’, pp. 396-98

Q. 18, ‘Is the True Doctrine Concerning Baptism Retained in the Roman Church?  We Distinguish.’, pp. 405-410

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2000’s

Fesko, J.V. & Ryan McGraw – ‘A Debate Over the Validity of Roman Catholic Baptism’  in The Confessional Presbyterian, 9 (2013), pp. 188–99

Fesko argues for the classic reformed position.  McGraw argues in the vein of Thornwell and many of the Southern presbyterians that the RCC is not a Church and her baptism is not valid.

McGraw cites two main historical examples in order to call his view a minority position in the classical reformed era, namely (1) the Scottish Confession of Faith of 1560 and (2) Francis Gomarus. 

For the opposite interpretation of the Scottish Confession of Faith of 1560, contra McGraw, see the argument of John MacPherson (1903) below under the section on Scottish Church History.  Regarding the terminology of ‘false Church’ that Gomarus uses, this disjunction between the True Church and False Church was also used by Calvin, Rutherford, Turretin and many others who held to the classic reformed position, and highly qualified the usage of those terms in accordance with classic reformed view.

McGraw, Ryan – ‘A Translation: Franciscus Gomarus on Roman Catholic Baptism’ in The Confessional Presbyterian, 9 (2013): pp. 216–23

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Quotes

1500’s

Knox, John – ‘Answer to Some Questions on Baptism’, pp. 254-255, in Select Practical Writings of John Knox

The French Confession of Faith – Article 28  1559  in Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, or the Acts, decisions, decrees and canons of those famous national councils of the reformed churches in France, vol. 1, p. xii  1692

The Discipline of the Reformed Churches of France – Ch. 11, ‘Of Baptism’, Canon XIII  1559  in Synodicon in Gallia Reformata, vol. 1, p. xlvi  1692

This demonstrates that though a previous baptism in the Roman Church was considered valid, yet to voluntarily have one’s child baptized in the Roman Church was considered sinful and a disciplinable offense.

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1600’s

Bucan, William  1606

Institutions of Christian Religion, pp. 704-6, 714, 738-9

“Whether may that baptism be allowed which is administered by heretics or Papists?

If it be meant of such heretics as deny the principles of heavenly doctrine and utterly corrupt the essential form of baptism (as the Arians, Samosatians, Manichaeans and Macedonians) which are not sincere in the doctrine of the Trinity, baptizing so in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, that they deny nevertheless that the Son and Holy Ghost are coeternal, coessential and of equal honor with the Father, or that the Son of God did truly assume the human nature; then such baptism is not to be ratified, but to be accursed.  For the essential form being once taken away, the matter itself is also taken away.  And therefore it is to be thought that such are not so much to be rebaptized, but as that indeed they should rather be first consecrated with true baptism, who being converted to the knowledge of the truth, desire to be engrafted into the orthodox Church.  And this agrees with the decree of the Nicene Council.

But we must judge otherwise of the baptism of some other heretics: as the Novatians and Donatists, who delivered the true doctrine of the Trinity, or of Papists (who are out of the way of truth in some part of doctrine, and who possess the place of pastors and use the public ministery, either by common error, by long sufferance or by force, though they be not to be accounted as truly called).  Wherein, although there be many things needless and superstitious, yet still Christ is retained and held, at least in title, to be the matter itself, the chief head and essential form of the institution, and the native meaning (without idolatry) of the words of baptism, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost,” is retained.  Moreover it pleased God in mercy to conserve a remnant of his Church in the midst of Popery itself, even as the Israelites continued the use of circumcision though they embraced a false and impious service of God; and the vows are made in the name of Christ and not of Antichrist, or of any idol.  Therefore that baptism is not void, but of value and force: for it is the ministry of those person, but of the Church as yet covered or hidden in Popery.

They, I grant, did sprinkle the head or body, but Christ baptized inwardly.  And therefore such baptism [is] neither to be annihilated, neither does it require Anabaptistical rebaptizing.  But, forasmuch as they teach wickedly in other matters, they give just cause why the faithful should necessarily depart from them, as it is written, 1 John 5:21, “Flee idols.”

Whether may they that are truly instructed in Christian religion with good conscience bring their children to be baptized of Popish priests?

No:

1. It is one thing, the validity of a thing received, and another thing to seek that [which] is falsely and [in] many ways superstitiously administered.

2.  Because we should give no occasion by our example to approve and confirm the corruptions both of the doctrine and of the sacraments, as also of the superstitious worship of the false and unlawful calling of the ministers of Antichrist: for that we must abstain from all appearance of evil and from communicating with the sins of other men.

3.  Because whatsoever we take in hand, even in things indifferent, that is in things mean, indifferent and least matters, as meat and drink, with a doubting conscience, not being assured of the lawfulness thereof by the Word of God, it is sin, Rom. 14:5,23. We must not do evil that good may ensue thereof, Rom. 3:8.  And it becomes us to to profess Christ and not always to flatter our own weakness too much.

4.  Because we are bidden to fly from the temple of idols and to take heed of idols, to hold accursed whosoever teach any other Gospel, Gal. 1:8, to hear the voice of Christ, not to hear a stranger’s voice, but to fly from it, Jn. 10:3-5,27; and finally, to beware of the leaven, that is the pestilent doctrine of the Pharises and Sadducees, Mt. 16:6,11-12. The Galatians, joining the observation of ceremonies to their profession of the Gospel, are said by the apostle to have forsaken the Gospel, to have rejected Christ and to have received his grace in vain, although they acknowledge Him for their Savior.

5.  Because that the administration of pure baptism should be of such excellent estimation amongst godly men that they should spare no labor nor cost to obtain the same for their dear children and offspring.

6.  Because that if by reason of this godly purpose, baptism, being deferred (which indeed ought to be done) the children in the meantime die, yet notwithstanding they are partakers of God’s Covenant and are heirs of eternal salvation: for, not the privation, but the contempt of the sacrament does condemn.

Are the children of Papists to be admitted to the baptism of the true Church?

They are:

1. Because it is presumed, and that rightly, that the Church, though hidden, does yet continue under the dregs of the Papacy (in regard of the elect, who in their time get forth), for [in] 2 Thess. 2:4 it is said, he which opposes himself, that is, Antichrist, sits in the Temple of God, not in the Temple at Jerusalem, which never shall be built again, as Christ witnesses, but in the Church: according to that 2 Cor. 6:16, “You are the temple of God”:

2. As also because the earnest of Christianity, although blemished with many spots, is notwithstanding retained in its substantial form: yea, and the very doctrine of the foundation of Christianity (in that which belongs to the Trinity and the person of Christ), yea, a residue of the Covenant continues there on God’s part, as Paul speaks of the Jews, Rom. 3:3-4, and it is said to beget children unto God, but such as she exposes to Moloch and defiles with false worships. As it is said of the Church of Samaria and Israel which retained the sign of circumcision, and professed the Law, but in title only, and withal observed idolatrous worships of the Gentiles.

Therefore the children of the Papists are not in my opinion to be kept from baptism if any of the parents require it or if any be present which will promise for their right education.

What is contrary to this Doctrine?


8.  Of the Anabaptists, which do urge that they which are baptized of idolaters in the papacy are to be baptized again…

10.  The sin of them, which though they know the truth of the Gospel, yet deliver their children to be baptized of false pastors, in the Papacy.”

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Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642)

ch. 10, p. 123

“5. We have not separated from Rome’s baptism and ordination of pastors according to the substance of the act…  as they stand with relation of the mind and intent of the Holy Ghost, howbeit we have left the false interpretations of the lords of poor people’s faith and consciences.”

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ch. 12, p. 183

“Answer 1.  A promiscuous baptizing of all we deny:
It may import a baptizing of the infants of Turks, or
of Papists, who avow they will bring up the child
baptized in the Roman faith: In which case, it would
seem Baptism should be denied, as the learned Walleus
thinketh (in loc., commentary).”

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The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1

p. 186

“3rd Distinction.  It is one thing to receive ordination from a Prelate lawfully and another thing to receive lawful ordination.  The former we deny; ministers sin who receive ordination from a prelate, as they sin who receive baptism from the Romish Church; yet is the ordination lawful and valid, because prelacy, though different in nature from the office of a true pastor, is consistent in the same subject with the pastor’s office.”

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p. 235-6

“4.  [John] Robinson [a Separatist] and our [Independent] Brethren acknowledge that the Church of Rome hath true baptism, for ‘they retain the essen­tial causes of baptism, even as the vessels of the Lord’s house pro­faned in Babylon may be carried back to the Temple, but if these vessels were broken and mingled with brass and iron, and cast in another mold, they could not obtain their former place in the Temple.  Baptism is a vessel profaned in Babel, but not broken; but the ministry and priesthood of Rome is like the new melted and mingled vessel, and essentially degenerated from the office of pa­storship.’

But I answer, [1.] if baptism be valid in Rome so are the ministers baptizers, for if the ministers and priests be essenti­ally no ministers, the baptism administrated by the Romish priests is no ministry, and [that would be] all one as [if it were] administrated by mid­wives and private persons, who therefore cannot administrate the sacraments validly in the essential causes, because they are essentially no ministers.

If therefore Robinson will have the Romish priesthood essentially no ministry, by that same rea­son he must say, baptism administrated by Romish priests is no baptism, the contrary whereof he confesses: otherwise he must say baptism administrated, a non habente potestatem [by one not having the power], even by women and private men, is valid, and cannot be but esteemed lawful in the substance of the act.

2.  These have a ministry essentially entire who have power under Christ to preach the Gospel and administrate the sacraments, Mt. 28:19.  The Romish priests have this, and are called to this by the Church.

I answer, [1.] England may well separate from Rome everting the fundamental parts of faith, and not separate from Rome’s baptism, or ministry, in so far, as they be essentially the or­dinances of Christ…

2.  A ministry true in the essence may make a Church true, insofar; but because of many other substantial corruptions in Rome, it is a Church which we ought to forsake.”

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Intro

Thomas Hooker, a congregationalist, had erroneously thought that Rutherford taught that baptism was the formal cause of entrance into the visible Church.  Rutherford in this chapter is correcting him.  This is important, as the issue does not proceed from a valid baptism to a valid Church, but from a valid Church to a valid Baptism.

The congregationalists, holding to separatistic principles, held that the Roman Church was not a Church; Rutherford corrects him.

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A Survey of the Survey of that Sum of Church-Discipline Penned by Mr. Thomas Hooker  (1658), Book 1, ch. 21, pp. 119-120

“Mr. Hooker:  ‘It shall follow that the Church of Rome is a true Church, for all the members of that Church have true baptism, which is the formal cause of a true Church: but that is false, that that Church is a true Church.’

[Rutherford’s] Answer:

[1.]  The conclusion of the connex proposition is nothing against me, who deny Baptism to be the formal cause of Mem­bership.

2.  Such a Baptism that is valid, as touching the substance of the seal, as is in Rome: such a Church according to the meta­physic entity and being of a Church, is Rome a Ministerial Church, teaching necessary fundamentals, though darkening and contradicting all; but it is not morally a true Church, but leprous and unclean.  See what Junius, Whitaker, Calvin and Ri­vetus say hereupon:  Mr. Hooker is far from their sound expressions…”

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History in the Church of Scotland

Excerpt

ed. James Gordon, History of Scots Affairs, vol. 2 (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1841), bk. 3, ch. 49, p. 58 mid

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Quote

John MacPherson

Unity of the Church: the Sin of Schism  from The Doctrine of the Church in Scottish Theology  (1903)

“Our Scottish theologians were so generous in their conception of what constitutes a true church of Christ that, keen as their antagonism to Rome of necessity was, they did not seek to unchurch her, or to treat her baptism as invalid.  We might not have been surprised had they scrupled as to whether the priests of the Romish church should be recognized as minsters of the word.  But here again the recognition of the church in which they served as a branch of the church of Christ, notwithstanding her manifold and grievous corruptions, weighed so heavily with them that they did not raise the question as to the validity of the orders of the priests of Rome.   So little disposed were the divines of Scotland, and with them those of the Reformed churches generally, to question the validity of baptism administered within any Christian church that…  [they] introduced a distinction, useful though somewhat fine, between a valid and a lawful baptism…

In the application of this distinction, however, they carefully restricted themselves to the recognition of baptism administered by those who had some claim to be recognized as men ordained by the church.  Women and laymen, who presumed, in accordance with Romish practice in cases of emergency, to dispense the ordinance, were not only themselves dealt with as profaners of the holy sacrament, but their action was regarded as invalid as well as unlawful.  Any child who had received a so-called baptism from a woman or a layman must be presented in a regular way and receive baptism as a child not yet baptized.

It should not indeed be overlooked that the Scottish Confession of Faith of 1560 lays down two things as requisite to true baptism: (1.) That it be ministered by lawful ministers, preachers of the word, chosen thereto by some kirk, and (2.) that it be ministered in such elements and in such sort as God has appointed.  Then it proceeds to declare the Papistical ministers are no ministers of Christ Jesus [ch. 22], Yea (which is more horrible) they suffer women, whom the Holy Ghost will not suffer to teach in the congregation, to baptize, and also they adulterate the Sacrament by using oil, salt, spittle, and such-like inventions of men.  And so in theory they make Romish baptisms not only unlawful but also invalid.

In an exactly contemporary document, however, the First Book of Discipline [1560], drawn up by the same six Reformers, it is only enjoined [in the Second Head] that the introducers of these inventions be punished.¹  So far as appears, even from the beginning of the Reformation in Scotland, the idea of the unity of the church so prevailed that even in regard to Romish baptism, against which so much could be said, only its lawfulness, but not its validity, was called in question.

¹ Laing’s KnoxUt sup. p. 187. Dunlop, Ut sup. p. 521. Such as would presume to alter Christ’s perfect Ordinance you ought severely to punish.


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On the Lawful Calling of Protestant Ministers at the Reformation

Articles

Rutherford, Samuel

ch. 10, pp. 124-127  of A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642)

Question 5, ‘From whence had Luther, Calvin and our Blessed Reformers their Calling to the Pastoral Charge?’  under pt. 1, ch. 8, section 8, ‘Of Election of Officers’  in The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1, pp. 205-241

Baxter, Richard – A Second Sheet for the Ministry, Justifying our Calling Against Quakers, Seekers & Papists and all that deny us to be the Ministers of Christ  (London, 1657)  16 pp.

Baxter was a puritan and congregationalist, which theory of calling and ordination is not wholly accurate.

Durham, James – Lecture 5, ‘Concerning the Constituting of True Churches by Reformation out of such as have been Corrupt’  in A Commentary upon the Book of the Revelation…  (1658)

Durham was a Scottish divine.

Turretin, Francis – Institutes, vol. 3, 18th Topic

Q. 12, ‘Is the Truth of Doctrine which is Held in any Assembly, or its Conformity with the Word of God by the Pure Preaching & Profession of the Word, and the Lawful Administration and Use of the Sacraments, a Mark of the True Visible Church?  We Affirm Against the Romanists.’, pp. 86-96

Q. 15, ‘Are the Evangelical & Reformed Churches True Churches of Christ?  We Affirm’, pp. 137-46

Q. 25, ‘Was the Call of the First Reformers Legitimate?  We Affirm Against the Romanists.’, pp. 235-46

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Book

Forbes, Patrick – A Defense of the Lawful calling of the Ministers of Reformed Churches Against the Cavillations of Romanists…  (Middleburg, 1614)  66 pp.

Forbes (1564-1635) was a puritanical Scottish bishop.

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Quotes

Theodore Beza

on Acts 14:23, as quoted in Sidrach Simpson, Diatribe: Wherein the Judgment of the Reformed Churches & Protestant Divines, is Shown Concerning Ordination, Laying on of Hands in Ordination of Ministers, & Preaching by Those who are Not Ordained Ministers  (London, 1647), pp. 14-15.  Simpson was an Independent and Westminster divine.

“Some choose to refer this [Acts 14:23] to laying on of hands, as if it also were altogether necessary, and under this pretense say, Our calling is null, because the Ordinaries [in the RCC] (as they call them) have not laid hands on us, or because we are not consecrated in the Church of Rome.

I answer, by those Canons which they boast of, the consecration is null, where there was not first a lawful choice, or which was done by one who is excommunicated: Let them show but one in all their hierarchy who is lawfully chosen, yea who is not by the very law a hundred times excommunicate[d], if they will stand to their own synods.

Why should we therefore desire hands to be laid on us by them?  Or by what law can they do it?  But we have by the blessing of God certain marks of our calling, being (through the grace of God) adorned with the lawful testimony of our life and doctrine from our Churches, and after that by calling upon the name of God confirmed in our ministry, which God I hope will bless, and cast out both the thieves and hirelings.”

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Samuel Rutherford

A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642), ch. 10, p. 123

“5. We have not separated from Rome’s baptism and ordination of pastors according to the substance of the act…  as they stand with relation of the mind and intent of the Holy Ghost, howbeit we have left the false interpretations of the lords of poor people’s faith and consciences.”

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The Due Right of Presbyteries...  (1644), pt. 1, pp. 180-81

“Without officers, believers may not separate themselves from the world and come out of Babel [Romanism] by a positive and authoritative separation, to erect a new Church without pastors, or in an ordinary way; though as Christians they may separate from Rome negatively and touch no unclean things.”


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On Rome’s Ordination & Ministry

Excerpt

Rutherford, Samuel – ch. 10, p. 125  of A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642)

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Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries  (1644), pt. 1

pp. 186-97

“3rd Distinction.  It is one thing to receive ordination from a Prelate lawfully and another thing to receive lawful ordination.  The former we deny; ministers sin who receive ordination from a prelate, as they sin who receive baptism from the Romish Church; yet is the ordination lawful and valid, because prelacy, though different in nature from the office of a true pastor, is consistent in the same subject with the pastor’s office.

5th Distinction.  The substance and essence of ordination (as we shall after hear) consists in the appointing of such for the holy ministry by persons in office.  All the corrupt rites added to this by Papists take not away the essence and nature of ordination.

For the Greek Church, even this day at Rome, receives ordination by imposition of hands and not by the reaching a cup and a platter, and that with the Pope’s goodwill.  Whereas the Latin Church have far other ceremonies following the decree of Euginius IV, and the common way of Rome, approved by Innocentius III, and yet they grant both ways of ordinations lawful, because as Bellarmine, Uasq••, Joan. de Lugo, the Pope’s professor this day at Rome, says, these are but accidents of ordination; and because (say they) Christ ordained that this sacrament should be given by some material sign, but whether by imposition of hands or otherwise, He has not determined in individuo (particularly): see for this, Peter Arcudius, his reconciliation of the Eastern and Western Church in the Council of Florence.  The Greek Church is not blamed, though imposition of hands be commanded in the Council of Carthage.  See that variations may be in a sacrament and yet such as make not the sacrament invalid, in Sotus, Suarez, Vasquez, Ioan. de Lugo, Scotus.

But since [John] Robinson [the Separatist] grants that the Baptism of the Romish Church is not to be repeated, ordination of pastors is of that same nature, and must stand valid also.”

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p. 240

“‘But’ says [John] Robinson [the Separatist], ‘How can England forsake the Church of Rome and forsake the ministry, which is in the Church as in the subject, especially seeing you teach that a true ministry makes essentially a true Church?’

I answer, England may well separate from Rome everting the fundamental parts of faith, and not separate from Rome’s baptism, or ministry, insofar as they be essentially the ordinances of Christ: and I retort this argument: How can Separatists separate from both us and Rome, and yet retain the baptism in both our Church and Rome?

2.  A ministry true in the essence may make a Church true [in Greek], insofar; but because of many other substantial corruptions in Rome, it is a Church which we ought to forsake.”

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p. 241

“…if Rome’s baptism be lawful in its essence, so is Rome’s ministry.”

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pp. 286-7

“We make not the naked presence of Word and sacraments true marks of the Church; but a settled, professed, erected, feeding by shepherds, feeding with knowledge, we make a mark of the shepherds’ tents; which way neither Philistines nor Indians have the Word of God: and for the Church of Rome, we cannot deny but she retains so much of the essence of a ministerial Church as makes baptism administrated by them to be true baptism, that is, a valid seal, though she cannot be called a true ministerial Church.”

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On the Legitimacy & Necessity of Separation from Rome

Articles

1500’s

Calvin, John – Institutes, bk. 4, ch. 2, sections 9-10  (1599)

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1600’s

Fenton, Roger – ‘A Treatise Against the Necessary Dependence upon that one Head of Rome, and the present reconciliation to that Church’  39 pp.  in A Treatise Against the Necessary Dependence upon that one Head, and the present reconciliation to the Church of Rome. Together with certain sermons preached in public assemblies…  (London, 1617)

Fenton (1565-1616) was a reformed, Anglican clergyman and one of the translators of the Authorised King James Version.

Taylor, Thomas – Two Sermons, the one, A Heavenly Voice, Calling All God’s People out of Romish Babylon; the other, An Everlasting Record of the Utter Ruin of Romish Amalek  (London, 1624)  26 pp.

Taylor (1576-1632) was an English puritan, of whom it was said that he was ‘as a brazen wall against popery.’

Rutherford, Samuel – ch. 10, pp. 120-124, ch. 11, pp. 151-52 & ch. 15, p. 224  of A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642)

Beverley, Thomas – The Command of God to his People to Come out of Babylon, Rev. 18:4, Demonstrated to Mean the Coming out of the Present Papal Rome with a most Earnest Persuasive to all to Come Out who are in it…  (London, 1688)

Beverley (d. 1702) was a puritan.

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2000’s

Adeyemi, Seni – ‘6 Reasons Protestants & Catholics can Never Unite’  2016  50 paragraphs

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Books

1600’s

Beard, Thomas – A Retractive from the Romish Religion, containing Thirteen Forcible Motives Dissuading from the Communion with the Church of Rome: wherein is Demonstratively Proved that the now Romish Religion (so far forth as it is Romish) is not the True Catholic Religion of Christ, but the Seduction of Antichrist  (London, 1616)

Beard (c.1568-1632) was a reformed Anglican clergyman with puritan characteristics; he was also a school-master of Oliver Cromwell in his youth.

Hakewill, George – An Answer to a Treatise written by Dr. Carier by way of a letter to his Majesty wherein he lays down sundry politic considerations by which he pretends himself was moved, and endeavors to move others to be reconciled to the Church of Rome and embrace that religion which he calls catholic  (London, 1616)

Hakewill (1578-1649) was a reformed Anglican clergyman and author.

“Of strongly anti-Catholic and pro-Calvinist religious views, Hakewill was one of the two clergymen appointed in 1612 to preserve Prince Charles ‘from the inroads of popery.’  He wrote strongly in defense of the then Calvinist position of the Anglican Church.” – Wikipedia

Wotton, Anthony – Run from Rome, or a Treatise showing the Necessity of Separating from the Church of Rome, Disputed in these Terms: Every Man is Bound upon Pain of Damnation to Refuse the Faith of the Church of Rome  (London, 1624)

Wotton (c.1561-1626) was a reformed puritan and a professor of theology in Gresham College, England.

Hammond, Henry – Of Schism, a Defence of the Church of England Against the Exceptions of the Romanists  (London, 1653)

Hammond was an Anglican, latitudinarian, Erastian, Arminian royalist.

A certain B.P., a Romanist, responded to this work in a letter (1654).

Hall, Joseph – No Peace with Rome, wherein is proved that, as terms now stand, there can be no reconciliation of the Reformed Religion with the Romish, and that the Romanists are in All the Fault…  (d. 1656; London, 1852)  ToC

Hall (1574-1656) was the well-known Bible commentator and important Anglican bishop who argued for the divine right of episcopacy.

Squire, William

The Unreasonableness of the Romanists Requiring our Communion with [the] Present Romish Church, or, A Discourse Drawn from the Perplexity and Uncertainty of the Principles, and from the Contradictions betwixt the Prayers and Doctrine of the Present Romish Church to Prove that ’tis Unreasonable to Require us to Join in Communion with it  (London, 1670)

Squire (d. 1677)

Some More Considerations Proving the Unreasonableness of the Romanists in Requiring us to Return to the Communion of the Present Romish-Church  (London, 1674)

Davis, John & Edward Coke – England’s Independency upon the Papal Power Historically & Judicially Stated by Sir John Davis…  & by Sir Edward Coke…  in Two Reports, Selected from their Greater Volumes; with a Preface Written by Sir John Pettus, Knight  (London, 1674)

Davis (1569-1626).  Coke (1552-1634) was an English barrister, judge and politician who is considered to be the greatest jurist of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras.

Fullwood, Francis – Roma Ruit [Rome Ruined], the Pillars of Rome Broken: wherein all the several pleas for the Pope’s Authority in England, with all the material defences of them, as they have been urged by Romanists from the beginning of our Reformation to this day, are revised and answered; to which is subjoined A Seasonable Alarm to all Sorts of Englishmen Against Popery, both from their Oaths and their Interests  (London, 1679)

Fullwood (d. 1693) was a reformed Anglican archdeacon and Oxford scholar, who held to certain presbyterian principles (see the title of this work).  In a title to one of his works he calls himself a ‘conformable non-conformist’.

Clagett, William – The Difference of the Case Between the Separation of Protestants from the Church of Rome and the Separation of Dissenters from the Church of England  (London, 1683)  71 pp.

Clagett (1646–1688) was an Anglican minister, controversialist, and a chaplain both to King Charles II and King James II.  Clagett disputed in print certain parts of John Owen’s work on the Holy Spirit.

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Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries...  (1644)

pt. 1, p. 59

“…we by preaching, writing, and synodical constitutions proclaim the common enemy of all the Churches to be the Antichrist, his doctrine and the doctrine of that body whereof he is Head to be false and heretical; by writings we call all the people of God to come out of Babel, and we renounce external communion with Rome, in doctrine, discipline, ceremonies and rites, all which are Church-acts of external communion with the reformed catholic visible Churches…”

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pt. 2

pp. 229-230

“2. [John] Robinson [a Separatist] says, ‘fundamental truths are holden and professed by as vile heretics as ever were since Christ’s days; a company of excommunicates may hold, teach and defend fundamental truths, yet are they not a true Church of God?’

[Rutherford’s] Answer.  Papists hold fundamentals, and so do Jews hold all the Old Testament, and Papists hold both New and Old, but we know they so hold fundamentals that by their doctrine they overturn them; and though there be fundamentals taught in the Popish Church which may save if they were believed, yet they are not a true and ministerial Church simply, because, though they teach that there is one God, they teach also there is a thousand Gods whom they adore, and though they teach [that] there is one Mediator, yet do they substitute infinite Mediators with and besides Christ, so that the truth is, not a formal, ministerial and visible active external calling is in the Church of Rome, as it is a visible Church, in the which we can safely remain, though fundamentals be safe in Rome, and the books of the Old and New Testament be there, yet are they not there ministerially as in a mother whose breasts we can suck; for fundamental points falsely exponed, cease to be fundamental points; yea as they be ministerially in Rome, they be destructive of the foundation, though there be some ministerial acts valid in that Church, for the which the Church of Rome is called a true Church, [in Greek], in some respect, according to something essential to the true Church, yet never sine adjecto [without the adjunct], as if it were a true Church where we can worship God.

Fundamentals are safe in Rome materially in themselves, so as some may be saved who believe these fundamentals; but fundamentals are not safe in Rome, Ecclesiastice, Ministeraliter, Pastoraliter [ecclesiastically, ministerially, pastorally], in a Church way, so as by believing these from their chairs so exponed, they can be saved who do believe them.”

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p. 232

“In this division we are united to the true apostolic, to the ancient Church, to the true ancient Church of Rome, which opposed the apostate Church of Rome…”

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p. 242

“Papists, Anabaptists, idolaters, are disavowed by us, and from them we separate, because though they profess the true God as Edom did, yet they closely do evert the fundamentals; neither we, nor the reformed Churches, in words or by consequence, do evert the fundamentals and necessary points of salvation…”

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pp. 253-4

“3rd Consideration.  There is a separation from the Church in the most part, or from the Church in the least and best part.  In Ahab’s time, Israel, and the Church thereof, for the most part, worshipped Baal; Elijah, Micah, Obadiah and other godly separated from the Church of Israel in the most part: Jeremiah wished to have a cottage in the wilderness (no doubt a godly wish) that he might separate from the Church all then for the most part corrupted, yet remained they a part of the visible Church and a part in the visible Church, and therefore did he not separate from the Church according to the least and best part thereof;

The godly in England who refused the Popish ceremonies and Antichristian Bishops did well not to separate from the visible Church in England, and yet they separated from the mainest and worst part [in the Roman fold], which cannot be denied to be a ministerial Church.

5th Consideration.  I see not but we may separate from the Lord’s Supper where bread is adored, and from baptism where the sign of the cross is added to Christ’s ordinances, and yet are we not separated from the Church, for we professedly hear the word and visibly allow truth of the doctrine maintained by that Church which do pollute the sacraments, and we are ready to seal it with our blood, and it is an act of visible profession of a Church to suffer for the doctrine mentioned by that Church.

6.  We may well hold that Ambrose says well that a Church wanting the foundation of the apostles is to be forsaken.

7.  There is a forced separation through tyranny from personal communion, and a voluntary separation; David was forced to leave Israel and was cast out of the Inheritance of the Lord; the former is not our sin, and our separation from Rome has something of the former, the latter would be wisely considered.”

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Whether Romanists may be Saved?

Articles

1600’s

Rutherford, Samuel – ch. 10, p. 131  of A Peaceable & Temperate Plea…  (1642)  Rutherford gives nine distinctions from Voet.

Guild, William – ‘An Answer to that other Common & Customable Question of the Romanists…  What Became of the Souls of All our Predecessors who Died in the Time of Popery Before the Reformation?’  being an appendix to The Novelty of Popery Discovered & Chiefly Proven by Romanists out of Themselves  (Aberdeen, 1656)

Guild (1586–1657) was an episcopal Scottish divine who made a qualified acceptance of the National Covenant (1638) and conformed to presbyterianism at that time.

Guild also answers the question with regards to after the Reformation, there being a difference.

Durham, James – Lecture 3, ‘Concerning the Difficulty of Salvation under Popery’  in A Commentary upon the Book of the Revelation…  (Edinburgh, 1658)

Durham was a Scottish puritan minister.

Turretin, Francis – Institutes, vol. 3, 18th Topic, Q. 14, ‘Can the Church of Rome of Today be Called a True Church of Christ?  We Deny Against the Romanists.’, section 31, p. 137

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With Regard to Apostatizing from Protestantism to Romanism

Articles

Constant, Leonard – ‘A Christian & Wholesome Admonition Directed to the Frenchmen which are Revolted from True Religion, and have Polluted Themselves with the Superstition and Idolatry of Popery’  (London, 1587)

Constant (d. 1610).  Areas in France at this time were split between the reformed religion and Romanism.

Dodwell, Henry – Q.1, ‘Whether Anyone Going From the Church of England, and Dying a Roman Catholic can be Saved?’  appended to Two Short Discourses Against the Romanists  (London, 1676)

Dodwell (1641-1711) was an Anglican-Irish scholar, theologian and controversial writer (who defended the non-juring bishops).  Edward Gibbon spoke of his learning as ‘immense’ and that his ‘skill in employing facts is equal to his learning,’ although he severely criticized his method and style.

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Quotes

Samuel Rutherford

The Due Right of Presbyteries...  (1644), pt. 2, p. 230

“Papists hold fundamentals, and so do Jews hold all the Old Testament, and Papists hold both New and Old, but we know they so hold fundamentals that by their doctrine they overturn them; and though there be fundamentals taught in the Popish Church which may save if they were believed, yet they are not a true and ministerial Church simply, because, though they teach that there is one God, they teach also there is a thousand Gods whom they adore, and though they teach [that] there is one Mediator, yet do they substitute infinite Mediators with and besides Christ, so that the truth is, not a formal, ministerial and visible active external calling is in the Church of Rome, as it is a visible Church, in the which we can safely remain, though fundamentals be safe in Rome, and the books of the Old and New Te∣stament be there, yet are they not there ministerially as in a mother whose breasts we can suck; for fundamental points falsely exponed, cease to be fundamental points; yea as they be ministerially in Rome, they be destructive of the foundation, though there be some ministerial acts valid in that Church, for the which the Church of Rome is called a true Church, [in Greek], in some respect, according to something essential to the true Church, yet never sine adjecto [without the adjunct], as if it were a true Church where we can worship God.

Fundamentals are safe in Rome materially in themselves, so as some may be saved who believe these fundamentals; but fundamentals are not safe in Rome, Ecclesiastice, Ministeraliter, Pastoraliter [ecclesiastically, ministerially, pastorally], in a Church way, so as by believing these from their chairs so exponed, they can be saved who do believe them.”

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