Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Test all spirits by the standard of God's Word

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 9 - Councils and Their Authority
12-14 - Don't follow blind guides; recent councils faulty in light of Scripture
12. They say we must follow them - Heb 13:17. But they are commanded to follow the Word - Josh 1:7-8 - and we are warned not to listen to false prophets - Jer 23:16; Matt 7:15; 1 John 4:1; Gal 1:8; Matt 15:14.
13. Councils should convene "if anyone disturb the church with a strange doctrine, and the matter reach the point that there is danger of greater dissension." This was the case against Arius, Eunomius, Nestorius, etc. But there isn't always an Athanasius to prevail against the false. "Truth does not die in the church, even thought it be oppressed by one council."
14. Councils have contradicted Scripture, ruling that Communion be forbidden to all but the priest (Matt 26:27-28), and that marriage may be prohibited to some [priests] (1 Tim 4:1-3; Heb 13:4. They say councils had the power to approve Scripture. But why then did councils appeal to Scripture before an official list was ruled the canon?

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