Thursday, September 3, 2009

We withdrew from Rome to come to Christ

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 4 of 4 - External Means by which God Invites Us into the Society of Christ and Holds Us Therein

Chapter 2 - Comparing the false and true church
1-6 - Departing from true doctrine and worship, Rome's claim to be the true church is false
1. The apostles taught to "entrust salvation to Christ alone." This is the foundation of the church - Eph 2:20; 1 Tim 3:15.

2. Rome is full of lies, idolatry and sacrilege. There is no danger of leaving the church in leaving this. They say any who leave are schismatics, based on their history of succession of bishops. What about Greece [Eastern Orthodox], then? Rome's condemnation of Greece is a vain pretense.

3. Rome is presumptuous, like Israel used to be. Jer 7:4; Rom 9-11; Gal 4:22. Rome has no boast in outward signs or antiquity, as Ishmael was circumcised and older than Isaac. Caiaphas wasn't a true priest just because he succeeded in an unbroken line from Aaron! "Nothing is more absurd than to lodge the succession in persons alone to the exclusion of teaching."

4. Rome scares the simple asserting temples and priests, but the Church is found where the Word is heard - John 18:37; 10:4-5, 14, 27; 8:47. "Those are lying words by which the Kingdom of Christ is imagined to exist apart form His scepter (that is, His most holy Word)."

5. The church is held together by "agreement in sound doctrine and brotherly love." Heretics violate the truth; schismatics violate the loving fellowship. Our fellowship can only be genuine if "our minds agree in Christ." Eph 4:5; Phil 2:1, 5; Rom 15:5.

6. The church is one in Christ's headship alone. Her various members are "indivisible" with one another and with Him. We separated from Rome because they couldn't "bear the pure profession of truth.... it behooved us to withdraw from them that we might come to Christ."

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