Thursday, October 15, 2009

I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven

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 11 - Jurisdiction of the Church and its abuse as seen in the Papacy
1-5 - Church jurisdiction found in the power of the keys
1. We looked at the church's authority in setting doctrine in chpts 8-9, in making church law in chpt 10, and now in its jurisdiction in chpt 11, which "pertains to the discipline of morals." Paul mentions this as the office of rule - 1 Cor 12:28; Rom 1:8; 1 Tim 5:17. This office isn't the civil magistrate, but the elder. The source is the keys given to the apostles - Matt 18:15-18. It is also given in Mt 16:19; John 20:23 where there is a more "general doctrinal authroity" given them to preach the Word. Forgiveness and eternal life are not in their power to give, but they minister it through preaching.
2. Binding and loosing in Matt 18:17-18 is similar to Matt 16:19, but refers specifically to excommunication. Rome tries to get confession, indulgences and the primacy of Peter out of these passages, but the key won't fit the lock.
3. These verses still apply to the church today, though magistrates be Christian. For the church may still need to excommunicate a man for a sin and crime, even after the state punishes him for it. There's a big difference between church and state power, but they should work in tandem with each other.
4. The church's jurisdiction doesn't end when the magistrate converts. "A good emperor is within the church, not over the church."
5. The purpose of church discipline is to resist sin and remove scandal. It shouldn't be enforced with the sword, nor come to by one man, but a plurality of elders. Yet this power is real - 1 Cor 5:4-5; 10:4-6.

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