The Church

“Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife…”

Rev. 21:9

“…even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Eph. 5:25-27

“Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.  God is known in her palaces for a refuge…  Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.  Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.”

Ps. 48:2-3, 12-13




Church Membership

Church-State Relations

Ladies in the Church

Apostolic Succession

Works Against the Roman Apologist Bellarmine (who treated of the Church)

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Visible Church being Outwardly in the Covenant of Grace



Order of Contents

That the Church Only has Power unto Edification




Berkhof, Louis

Nature of the Church, 1950, 31 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

Scriptural Names of the Church and the Doctrine of the Church in History, 1950, 13 paragraphs, from his Systematic Theology

Cunningham, William

The Church and The Council at Jerusalem [Acts 15], 1863, p. 9 and 43 respectively, 32 pages and 35 pages respectively, Chapters 1 & 2 from his Historical Theology, vol. 1.  

Church Power: the Power of the Keys, 1863, p. 235, 20 pages, Chapter 9 from his Discussions on Church Principles

Dabney, Robert – The Changes Proposed in our Book of Discipline  1859  48 pp.

Girardeau, John

The Discretionary Power of the Church, a Sermon on Matt 28:20, 1907, extracted from Sermons, ed. Rev. George A. Blackburn. The editor of these sermons says, “This is not the most eloquent, but it is the most valuable and the most timely sermon in this volume. It was preached before the General Assembly, at St. Louis, May 20, 1875. The author called it a testimony.”

What is the discretionary power of the church?  It is that she only has the authority given to her by Christ and no more, “she can utter no new doctrine, make no new laws, ordain no new forms of government, and invent no new modes of worship.”

Individual Liberty and Church Authority, a Sermon on Rom. 14:121889, 18 pages

Hodge, Charles – The Revised Book of Discipline  1858  30 pp.




Binnie, William – The Church  Buy  1882  188 pp.

An excellent short work on doctrine of the Church.  If the two volumes of Bannerman are too long for you, this is the next best thing.

Buchanan, James – On the “Tracts for the Times”  1843, 112 pp.  being seven letters critiquing the Tractarian Movement at Oxford, England

Very relevant today as many people are being attracted to “High Church” Christianity.  Read here why High Church views are unBiblical.

Cunningham, William – Discussions on Church Principles: Popish, Erastian and Presbyterian  Buy  1863  565 pp., with a four page preface by James Buchanan and James Bannerman

Many people are aware of Bannerman’s Church of Christ, which positively expounds the doctrine of the Church from scripture.  Cunningham’s work is more polemical, against the errors of alternative views.  Both are needed.  This is his main work on the Church.

Hodge, Charles

Discussions in Church Polity  Buy  1878  560 pp.

This and his Essays and Reviews are the main source for Hodge’s important and influential writings in church theory and practice, especially in the context of the 1800′s debates between the northern and southern presbyterians.  

In it you will find him defending the historic reformed view that the Roman Catholic Church is part of the Visible church, that her baptism is valid, and that baptized infants are under the discipline of the church.  On the other hand he argues against the historic reformed view of the Establishment Principle for a Voluntary position with regard to Church and State, and for an Americanized three office view of church government.  In his day the new issue came up of church boards, which he defends, as opposed to the more rigorously Biblical view of Thornwell against them.  Many other interesting points of polity are also discussed.

Essays and Reviews  1857  661 pp.

In this you will find Hodge taking up the interesting subjects of Regeneration, the Atonement, Theories of the Church, that the Roman Church is part of the Visible Church, the Lord’s Supper, Slavery (which he is against) and Emancipation, amongst others.

Miller, Samuel – Letters to Presbyterians, on the present crisis in the Presbyterian Church in the United States  1833  340 pp.




John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

“Jesus is present – present in his church, as He is not in the world.  As eternal God, He filleth immensity with his presence; but as Mediator…  He is peculiarly, mystically, but really with his church.”

“Those who love the Lamb must love the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.  They have no true love to the Lamb who have no true love to the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

“To cleave to the Lamb – that’s the heart of the Bride.”

“He loved her!  And why?  I cannot tell: she cannot tell: angels cannot tell: He knows Himself.”

“The pulse of the Christian church beats from its heart in heaven.”

“We forget the best part of the church when we forget the church triumphant [already in Heaven].”



That the Church Only has Power & Authority from Christ unto Edification, & None Else

The Tetrapolitan Confession  1530

in ed. Dennison, Reformed Confessions of the 16th & 17th Centuries…  vol. 1 (2008), p. 153

Ch. 13, ‘Of the Office, Dignity & Power of Ministers in the Church

“Concerning the ministry and the dignity of the ecclesiastical order we teach: first, that there is no power in the Church except for edification.”




“Here are the treasures of Christ’s Church.”

The reply of Lawrence (258 A.D.), the treasurer of the church at Rome, as he presented the sick, the poor, and the lame to Emperor Valerian who had demanded of him to produce the treasures of the church, with the intent of confiscating it. For the remark Lawrence was slow roasted to death on a grid-iron.

“The true visible church, where God’s ordinances are set up as he hath appointed, where his word is purely preached, is the most beautiful thing under heaven, and there is God’s glory set forth and manifested more clearly than in all the Lord’s handiwork beside in heaven or earth.”

David Dickson




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