Second Part of the System of Doctrine: Explication of the Facts of the Religious Self-Consciousness, as they are determined by the Antithesis of Sin and Grace
Second Aspect of the Antithesis: Explication of the Consciousness of Grace
Second Section: The Constitution of the World in Relation to Redemption
Second Division: The Subsistence of the Church alongside of the World
First Half: The Essential and Invariable Features of the Church
§127 The Christian fellowship, in spite of the mutability inseparable from its coexistence with the world, is, nevertheless, always and everywhere self-identical, inasmuch, first, as the witness to Christ remains in it ever the same, and this is found in Holy Scripture and in the Ministry of the Word of God; inasmuch, secondly, as the formation and maintenance of living fellowship with Christ rests upon the same ordinances of Christ, and these are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; inasmuch, finally, as the reciprocal influence of the whole on the individual, and individuals on the whole, is always uniformly ordered, and this is seen in the Power of the Keys and in Prayer in the Name of Jesus.
First Doctrine: Holy Scripture
§128 The authority of Holy Scripture cannot be the foundation of faith in Christ; rather must the latter be presupposed before a peculiar authority can be granted to Holy Scripture.
§129 The Holy Scriptures of the New Testament are, on the one hand, the first member in the series, ever since continued, of presentations of the Christian Faith; on the other hand, they are the norm for all succeeding presentations.
§130 The individual books of the New Testament are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the collection of them took place under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
§131 As regards their origin the New Testament Scriptures are authentic, and as a norm for Christian doctrine they are sufficient.
§132 The Old Testament scriptures owe their place in our Bible partly to the appeals the New Testament Scriptures make to them, partly to the historical connexion of Christian worship with the Jewish Synagogue; but the Old Testament Scriptures do not on that account share the normative dignity or inspiration of the New.
Second Doctrine: The Ministry of the Word of God
§133 Those members of the Christian fellowship who maintain chiefly the attitude of spontaneity perform by self-communication the Ministry of God’s Word for those who maintain chiefly the attitude of receptivity; and this ministry is partly an indeterminate and occasional ministry, partly formal and prescribed.
§134 There is in the Christian Church a public Ministry of the Word, as a definite office committed to men under fixed forms; and from this proceeds all organization of the Church.
§135 The public worship and service of the Church is in all its parts bound to the Word of God.
Third Doctrine: Baptism
§136 Baptism as an action of the Church signifies simply the act of will by which the Church receives the individual into its fellowship; but inasmuch as the effectual promise of Christ rests upon it, it is at the same time the channel of the divine justifying activity, through which the individual is received into the living fellowship of Christ.
§137 Baptism bestowed according to the institution of Christ confers, along with citizenship in the Christian Church, salvation also as conditioned by the divine grace in regeneration.
§138 Infant Baptism is a complete Baptism only when the profession of faith which comes after further instruction is regarded as the act which consummates it.
Fourth Doctrine: The Lord’s Supper
§139 Christians partaking of the Lord’s Supper experience a peculiar strengthening of the spiritual life; for therein, according to the institution of Christ, his body and blood are administered to them.
§140 With regard to the connexion between the bread and wine and the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, the Evangelical (Protestant) Church takes up an attitude of definite opposition only, on the one hand, to those who regard this connexion as independent of the act of participation, and, on the other hand, to those who, regardless of this connexion, would not admit any conjunction between participation in the bread and wine and spiritual participation in the flesh and blood of Christ.
§141 Participation in the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper conduces in the case of all believers to confirm their fellowship with Christ.
§142 Unworthy participation in the Lord’s Supper conduces to judgment for the partaker.
Appendix to the Last Two Doctrines: The Name ‘Sacrament’
§143 The Evangelical (Protestant) Church uses the name ‘Sacrament’ only for these two institutions, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which were instituted by Christ Himself and which represent His Priestly activity.
Fifth Doctrine: The Power of the Keys
§144 By reason of its coexistence with the world there exists in the Church a legislative and an administrative power, which is an essential influence from the kingly office of Christ.
§145 The Power of the Keys is the power in virtue of which the Church decides what belongs to the Christian life, and disposes of each individual in the measure of his conformity with these decisions.
Sixth Doctrine: Prayer in the Name of Christ
§146 The right prevision which it befits the Church to have of what will be salutary for it in its coexistence with the world naturally becomes prayer.
§147 Every prayer in the name of Jesus—but only such prayer—has the promise of Christ that it is heard.
The information on this page is copyright ©1994 onwards, Wesley Wildman (basic information here), unless otherwise noted. If you want to use text or ideas that you find here, please be careful to acknowledge this site as your source, and remember also to credit the original author of what you use, where that is applicable. If you have corrections or want to make comments, please contact me at the feedback address for permission.