Friday, October 16, 2009

Not in one man's possession; not the same man's task

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
6-10 - Abuses of power by the bishops
6. In the beginning of the early church, "the people were not excluded from deliberation." This degenerated to the bishop alone presiding, over time. But Cyprian did nothing "without the advice of the clergy and the consent of the people." Some elders were ordained to teach, others to rule and discipline over morals.
7. Church officials have become involved in earthly matters, excommunicating men for not paying monetary debts, while fornication and drunkenness go unaddressed.
8. Rome thinks it has the power of the sword, because they aren't thinking as pastors of the church. They think their authority is mutilated unless they have opulence and titles. But "Moses carried both offices [state and church, as] a temporary arrangement, until.... the civil government is left to Moses; he is ordered to resign the priesthood to his brother (Ex 18:13-26)." Ambrose said, "To the emperor belong the palaces; to the priest the churches."
9. The bishops assume the civil office of judge, when they have enough work to do in their church office, full-time, which they neglect. Instead they violate Matt 20:25-26; Mark 10:42-44; Luke 22:25-26; 12:14; Act 6:2. "To be both a good bishop and a good prince is not the same man's task." The apostles didn't even try this. The result is always neglect of the church.
10. This power grew gradually, through manipulation, intimidation and naive secular rulers. Ancient pious bishops were sought as judges for their integrity and to keep matters out of ungodly courts. Political instability often made the bishop a protector, then a lord. They should have followed 1 Cor 10:4.

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