Associate professor of church history princeton theological seminary baker book house



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and the their actual relations; it accom­

plishes its destiny by means of the

external preaching of the word, and announces

itself by external fruits. The church, on the other

head, although like other associations of men it is

an external union, is what it is only by virtue of its

inner connection with Christ, who remains in the

midst of it. There is nothing of an external nature

which (if the words of Jesus ass the only criterion) is

necessary to the existence of the church which does

not also belong to the realization of the kingdom.

It is commonly said that the church was defi­

nitely founded with the descent of the Holy Ghost

on the day of Pentecost, and in fact it did on that

day enter upon its career with full powers. But it

must not be forgotten that the gathering was com­

posed of the disciples who had already formed a

coherent body in the name of Christ; to whom he

had already said " Receive ye the Holy Ghost "

(John xx. 22); and from whose number, by a, cor­

porate act, the number of the apostles had been

filled out after the fall of Judas. It had thus

already been living and working, at first as as

association within the larger one of Israel, though

with its own meetings for worship and its own

officers. The name ekklesia. was undoubtedly

applied to it very early, before the beginning of

Paul's ministry, since he uses it as the universally

current title for both Jewish and Gentile asso­

ciations. It is commonly applied to the separate

local bodies of which he spoke, but he used it in

the same way for the whole body of Christians

whenever he had occasion to mention it, in the

older epistles (Gal. i. 13; I Cor. x. 32, xii. 28, xv.

9) as well as in that to the Epheaia,na, which some

have tried to separate in this particular from the

others; and it is so used in Acts ix. 31.

Whether general or local, the church consisted of those who were " sanctified in Christ Jesus " (I CoF. i. 2) or " called to be saints " (Rom. i. 7), with a possible allusion to the etymological con­nection between kletoi, " called," and



6. teem  ekklesia. Paul's conception was charac 

bership of terized by a deep sense of the unity the

Church. censtauted by the possession of " one

Land, one faith, one baptism " (Eph.

iv. 5); and elsewhere the entrance into this united

fellowship, both with Christ and with each other, was attached to baptism (Gal. iii. 27; I Cor. xii. 13). If the question is asked whether the church as an

 ,  V_11 ~r,9*VAMMd1VAW




79 RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Church, The Christian

institution stands outside and above those who compose it, or simply consists of them, the answer must be that in the apostolic use of the word it is regarded as having its existence wholly in those who are called, not as though it had come to them from without but as though they were, by their calling and reception of the message of salvation and baptism, united with each other and with Christ into one body. Paul indeed spoke once of a " Jerusalem which is above " (Gal. iv. 26) as the mother of Christians, and therefore as preexistent; but this is not the same thing as the earthly church. He had in mind a common Jewish and apostolic conception, difficult now to realize, of a reality preexistent in heaven which was the prototype of the Old Testament theocracy, which had for its offspring the members of the church on earth, who were born from above, which, finally, was one day to descend in its completeness when the full reve­lation of the kingdom takes place (Heb. xii. 22; Phil. iii. 20; Rev. xxi. 2). The name " church " was applied solely to the earthly fellowship, not to the company of the departed saints (as in the later conception of " church triumphant ") though in a sense to them, as to the heavenly Jerusalem, the faithful on earth " are come " already. The vari­ous vital functions and activities of the church relate to mutual edification in God, whose word is to " dwell in them richly " (Col. iii. 16); to the promotion of the moral and religious life in the individual members by loving admonition, en­couragement, and care. All the members of the church were regarded as having (just as under the old covenant, Ex. xix. 6) a priestly position before God (I Pet. ii. 5, 9; Rev. i. 6, v. 10); they were to offer to him themselves, their bodies, their acts of praise, thanksgiving, and brotherly love as a sacri­fice (Rom. xii. 1; Heb. xiii. 15, 16). Each mem­ber had his own part in the common work of edi­fication; but the special gifts which enable him to perform it varied (see CHARIBMATA).

This leads to the question of offices in the apostolic church. The word diakoniai, " minis­tries," in I Cor. xii. 5, denotes special functions incumbent upon definite members of the body in the service of the whole. While the word " office " is generally applied more strictly to functions com­mitted to a particular man, whether by church or state, the New Testament has no word for offices in this sense. The functions coming under this head would naturally cover the external direction of the church, in so far as this required definite institutions and formally appointed and recognized officers. So the elders, or episcopoi, stood at the head of the churches, and deacons were charged with the care of material needs and especially of the poor. Formal appointments or election and formal installation occurred; but the



8. Church New Testament nowhere gives a law

Oboes De  prescribing this course. The needs of

b9~ h the church determined the arrange 

Neede. went. Thus the apostles, originally

appointed by Christ to the headship

of all his disciples were obliged to abandon first the

detailed care of the poor, and then, under the pres­

sure of their wider tasks and frequent absence from

Jerusalem, the regular direction of the internal affairs of the church there. Besides the offices mentioned, prophecy was allowed to work freely under the impulse of the Holy Spirit. For the exercise of the function of teaching or admonition, the possession of the necessary charisma was held to suffice. The elders naturally took a prominent part in the instruction and exhortation that found place in the gatherings (I Tim. iii. 2, v. 17), but participation in it was by no means confined to them. The office of the apostles was unique, rest­ing upon its special institution by the Lord, con­cerned with the establishment of his kingdom and the original spread of the Gospel, and thus inca­pable of transmission to others.

There was a notable difference between the churches of Jewish and those of Gentile origin, the former desiring to give the latter only such a position in the church of God as the proselytes of the gate held under the old dispensation, while Paul, on the contrary, regarded both classes alike as saints and members of the body of Christ. The association of the various local communities into one church was not expressed by any formal con­stitution, but by the free communion of fraternal love. At the close of the apostolic period, the epistles of John, while insisting strongly on the necessity of this loving union, laid down no rules governing external unity and said nothing of eccle­siastical forma. Nor is there any warrant [accord­ing to the views of some modern scholars] for see­ing in the " angel " of Rev. ii., iii. the early stage of an episcopal office; they are not the heads and rulers of the seven churches, but rather represent in each case the characteristic spirit of the particular church. See ORGANIZATION OF THE EARLY CHURCH.

III. The Church in Traditional Christianity.­1. In Primitive Catholicism: Out of the ekklesia of the apostles, and principally on the territory covered by Jewish Christianity, grew up a post­apoatolic development which is called the Catholic Church. From the Evangelical standpoint we can but recognize in its conception of the way of salva­tion and the nature of the church a notable declen­sion from the original principles, which continued progressively down to the Reformation. Chris­tianity maintained itself, indeed, as an organic whole against the assaults of persecution on one aide and heresy on the other; it set up as a per­manent standard for its religious belief the New Testament writings admitted to be apostolic, together with the canon of the Old Testament; and it undertook on the basis of these to formulate a summary of the common faith in its Rule of Faith

(q.v.). But even in the subapoatoliC period there

is evident a general weakening of the original spirit,

a lack of vital comprehension of the plan of salva­

tion as at first revealed, and a tendency toward a

legalistic conception and regulation of Christian life,

as well as to a conception of the church

1. Tend  which found its essence in external

ency ordinances. And these ordinances, ea­

toward pccially as pertaining to the govern­



Le~lism. ment of the church and the priest­

hood, continued to develop until they ended in what

is known as Roman Catholic Christianity. The




Church, The Christian THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG 80

explanation of this early development is not to be found, as the Tubingen school attempted to show, in a fusion of Jewish and Pauline Christianity. It is rather to be sought in the fact that with the decay of the apostolic spirit and the wide expansion of Christianity the forces prevalent among men be­fore Christ's coming, which had been for a while held in check, resumed their sway as primitive fervor decayed. The postapoatolic church needed, in view of its position in the world, a more definite external organization; it is in the meaning and form given to thin that a perversion of primitive Christi­anity is discerned. In the first stage of this de­velopment there was a diversity of tendencies in regard to the doctrine concerning the church. Clement of Rome, admonishing the Corinthians to unity and subjection to those who are over them, drew a parallel between the organization of the ruling office in the church (i.e., of an episcopate as yet identical with the presbytery) and the di­vinely appointed ordinances of the old law; between the gifts which the presbyters brought to God in prayer and the sacrifices of the Jewish priests. Somewhat later, however, a free prophetic voice was heard in the Shepherd of Herman, which ven­tured to rebuke and warn the officers of the church. Its main subject was the purification of the church by repentance. The high place which the church had taken in the minds of Christians is shown by the idea that (recalling Paul's " Jerusalem which is above ") it existed before the world, and that the world had been created for it.

Presently, in Ignatius and in the Muratorian

Fragment, a "catholic church" appears. The

original significance of this phrase has been much

discussed, and is still uncertain. Even at the date

of these passages, it had already developed more

than one sense. The church was called catholic

when it was spoken of as constituting a united

whole made up of different parts; and these parts

were both local churches and single members.

Ignatius compared the relation of the local church

to its bishop with that of the catholic

2. gignia_ church to Christ; and similarly the canoe of Muratorian Fragment speaks of a "Catholio catholic church whose edification the Church." writers of the epistles had in mind even when addressing local churches or individuals. $ut the idea of a universal church comes out moat strongly in contrast with the here­tics who by their personal beliefs and practises separated themselves from the great body of Chris­tians. With this catholicity was connected the idea that this church alone had the necessary character of embracing all true believers, the love that holds fast to unity, and the primitive Christian truth. The epithet " catholic " designates here not its extension throughout the whole world, but the inclusion within it of all Christians, whereso­ever they dwell. As yet the definite sense applied to the term by Roman Catholicism was not ex­pressed by it. This is met first in the question of what constituted valid membership in this church; and according to the Catholic conception there was required the recognition of a definite exter­nal organization, ordained by God, and the ac 

ceptance of a confession of faith sanctioned by the church.

The idea of the episcopate comes out with

remarkable definiteness and dignity in the Ignatian

epistles. Each local church was subject to its

bishop, who stood in the place of Christ, with his

presbyters about him like the apostles. Ignatius

left unanswered the questions how the bishops as a

class reached this position, how individual bishops

were raised to it, how far they were endowed with

special spiritual gifts and the churches assured

against error on their part. The extent to which

the elevation of the episcopate to

8. The such a position met a felt want of the

Ignatian times is shown by the calmness with

Epieoopate. which it was accepted universally,

with no record preserved of any dis­

cussion on the subject. [This circumstance is

naturally urged by Roman Catholic apologists,

together with other arguments, as proving the

apostolic and consequently divine origin of the

episcopal office.] In the general view (cf. es­

pecially Irenaeua and Tertullian), the bishops

stood in the place of the apostles, whose teaching

office they continued, and thus guaranteed the

preservation of the truth. Their succession from

the apostles involved a second " note " of the

church apostolicity. From the idea of a specially

guaranteed possession of the truth by the bishops

in virtue of their historical connection with the

apostles grew the belief in a particular charisma

attached to their office. From Tertullian can be

seen how the priestly title was attributed to the

rulers of the church, and especially to the bishops,

although the mediatorial functions later attributed

to them were of gradual development. The church

thus possessed a sacerdotal order, and the bishop

stood out as high priest, pontifex maximus (Ter­

tullian, Hippolytus, Apostolic Constitutions). The

Alexandrian theology, as in Clement and Origen,

did nothing to check this development. It did,

indeed, insist on the inner and spiritual aide of

the church, and claim independently to recognize,

in its Christian gndsis, the truth of the doctrines

handed down by the apostles. But it had no word

against the authority of the episcopal office, in

which it recognized the inheritance of the apostolic

pastoral function. Its philosophic and aristo­

cratic gnesis was not fitted to contend for the

spiritual character of true Christianity in the New

Testament sense. A vigorous reaction did set in

with the rise of Montanism, which attempted to

purify the church by casting out such members as

were stained with mortal sin and holding those

who remained to a high standard, in virtue of a

spirit from above which was not subject to these ex­

ternal offices. Thus Tertullian said, "The church

is essentially and chiefly spirit," and contrasts

this " church as spirit " with the " church as the

body of the episcopate." But the spirit of Mon­

taniam was not that of the New Testament; and

it could not alter the course of the Catholic Church,

which was then hard at work building up in the

world its well organized kingdom.

A powerful representative of the progress of the latter is found in Cyprian, for whom the bishops are






81 RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Church, The Christian

now essentially and without distinction the rulers of the church, endued with divine authority. The government of the whole church belonged to the episcopate as a whole. Such strong statements appear as " the bishop is in the church and the church in the bishop," " the church is a people united with the priest," " he can not have God as father who has not the church as mother." The last was uttered against Novatianism,

4. The to whose members Cyprian denied the

(3yprtanio possibility of salvation on the ground

Episcopate. of their schism, and the validity of

whose baptism he refused to admit.

In regard to the conception of priesthood, which

for him was centered in the bishop, it is observed

that in the Lord's Supper the priest stood in the

plate of Christ, did what Christ did, offered the

body of Christ (see Mess). Even if all his expres­

sions, like those of Augustine, can not be taken in

the sense in which the later Catholic Church would

understand them, they still lead up to the highest

function attributed by the latter to its priests.

But Catholicism owes to Augustine the most and the deepest of the statements which express its mind on the subject of the ch ch. Their occasion was a new separatist movement favor of enforced sanctity, that of the Donatists. ~ Augustine had a deep and vivid conception of the inner, spiritual being of the church, of the operate n of the Spirit of God in it and in its members, of hrist living in it and them, of all pervading and al uniting love. Consequently it was not a mere contro rsial argu­ment against the Donatists when he di tinguiahed in his doctrine of the church as the bod of Christ between " the true body of the Lord " and " con­fused " or " pretended " one, a distinction ' inter­preted by his opponents as though he belie ed in



6. Views two churches. According to his view

of of grace, it is entirely a matter of the



Augustine. free grace of God who. among the mem 

bers of the visible church is a member of the true body; and those who are predestined, even though they are outside the visible unity, yet belong to the invisible church. Still, it is the will of God to bring these into external communion, and participation in the blessings of salvation and real Christian love are possible only within this. He did not lay as much stress as Cypriau upon the divine right of the episcopate; but this was ad­mitted by his opponents and by himself, and against the Manicheans he did appeal to the " succes­sion of bishops " in the apostolic sees. The ques­tion then arose which of the two organizations, both provided with sacraments, priesthood, and episcopate, and both appealing to apostolic tra­dition, was the true Catholic Church. Augustine answered it by saying that the church had spread, according to the purpose of Christ, throughout the whole earth; and thus only that communion from which the Donatiats had severed them­selves could claim the title of Catholic  as­suredly not their small sect, confined to a few districts in Africa. He made the belief of the individual Christian depend upon the authority of the church as catholic in this sense of the word, God having confirmed it " partly by miracles, IIL 8



partly by the multitude of adherents "; indeed, he went so far as to say " I could not believe in the Gospel if the authority of the church catholic had not forced me." How the authoritative judgment of this Catholic Church upon questions of doctrine and the Christian life was to be expressed Augustine did not definitely state; he regarded the Church as represented in its episcopate, but did not name any constituted organ for a declaration of the truth by this episcopate as a unit.

Besides Augustine's statements, there is another important definition in the Commonitorium of Vincent of Lerina, which is. in substantial agree­ment with them. According to him, there is a " test of universal understanding," by which we are bound to believe good semPer, good ubique, good ab omnibus creditum eat. Here, instead of an authority of the Church as one whole, an over­whelming majority must suffice, which comes more definitely to a majority of ,the " sacerdotal orders " and " rulers." Vincent contemplated further definition of the traditional doctrine; and this led to the questions how such a consensus is to be attained in order to assure people of the truth of such later definitions, and how far what is sup­posed to have been contained implicitly in the original deposit may be elevated to the rank of as article of faith. The Church as itself an object of faith requiring formal recognition was made a part of the formula of the African baptismal confes­sion, and directly introduced into' the Con­stantinopolitan supplement to the Nicene Creed (381), "in one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church," and into the Apostles' Creed.

8. Later (or Roman) Catholicism in East and West: The foregoing has traced the development of the idea of one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church, with its priesthood and episcopate, which was common to both Eastern and Western Christi­anity. But the East laid much less stress upon the sacerdotal and episcopal office as a system of gov­ernment analogous to the legal discipline of the state; and it is noteworthy that both the schisms which arose out of questions relating to such or­ganization (Novatianism and Donatism) were of

Western origin. The Greek Church 1. Eastern dwelt more on the idea of communion

Church with the Incarnate Savior in devout Xyatioal• contemplation and knowledge, and

upon the representation of the work of redemption in the rich mysteries of the liturgy: Thus the priestly and episcopal organization never attained an established external unity for the whole church; and, without objection from the East, the " one Catholic Church " developed there into a number of communities belonging to various states or countries and closely allied in their supreme government with the secular polity. To the Ka­man claims it opposed the idea of Christ as the sole head of the Church; and it developed no infal­lible organ for the decision of questions of faith. The possibility of development of the original sacred deposit, as maintained by Vincent of Lerins, was no longer strongly'affirmed,.and ultimately stagnation overtook any attempt at dogmatic inquiry.

In the West, on the other hand, the definite or 




Church, The Christian THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG 82

ganization of the church at large took shape in the

papal monarchy; the further history of Catholicism

and its idea of the church is really a history of the

Roman primacy (gee POPE, PAPACY, AND PAPAL

SYSTEM). Irenasus had placed the Roman church,

as founded by Peter and Paul, in the forefront of

his appeal to apostolic succession and tradition,

finding in it the preeminent survival of primitive

leadership, and on this ground requir­

9. Western lag from the other churches agreement

Church with it. This historical basis

~, for deference tpurely Roe developed into

dogmatic insistence on the supremacy

and infallibility of the church founded by Peter;

just as Cyprian's view of the unity of the church

as represented by and summed up in Peter and the

authority given to him grew into the assumption

and the dogma that this unity must have its per­

manent visible representatives in the successors of

Peter, each of whom becomes the visible head of the

church, the representative of Christ. Pope Leo I.

claimed for his see the " cure of the church univer­

sal," making it the head of the body from which

the other members can not be separated and live.

Though he thought of discipline and polity, not of

the communication of grace or of the establishment

of doctrine, his statements are strong enough to

afford a basis for all the later claims of the papacy.

It found powerful support in the recognition of its

primacy by the emperors (cf. especially an edict

of Valentinian in 445), and in the political position

of Rome, while the German emperors in their day

built up their whole ecclesiastical fabric on the as­

sumption of subordination to one central authority.

The process waa a logical continuation of the im­

pulse which had early endeavored to bring Chris­

tianity to expression and to s firm position in the

world by a solid constitutional organisation. More­

over, the medieval nations, both Latin and Teu­

tonic, had a marked craving for a representation of

the divine and the heavenly by visible and tangible

things of the one heavenly Lord by the one Roman

vicegerent, the crucified Savior by the host in the

mass, the blessings of salvation by the sacraments.

In ire way the papacy did indeed, in its greatest

representatives, a Gregory VII. or an Innocent III.,

accomplish much to fulfil this ideal., They held

the church together amid all the wid tumults of

the life of their day; they protected true moral

and religious interests against the invasion of the

world, and they stood for the maintenance of

ethical discipline though it is also true that they

identified these interests with their own claims,

that human ambition sad avarice was not always

excluded from their acts, and that finally the eternal

commandments of God were subordinated to human

decisions.

The high papal conception of the church's con­stitution was not yet, however, a dogma sanc­tioned by a formal decision on the part of the church. Against its prevalence were not only the secular power (which endeavored to reverse the process and subject the church to itself) and the national spirit on which that power could rely (as m France against Boniface VIIL), but also the consciousness on the part of the bishops of the meaning of their office



and a recollection of the earlier history of the church; while the inequalities of papal character and the great schism tended to stir up a spirit of protest and rebellion. Thus the so called 8. 61 Papal 99 « episcopal system " (see EPI8C0 

„ ~ ~  PACY) was worked out mainly by

copai'$ French theologians, such as Gerson and

Systems. D'AillY, and represented in the great

councils, where the theory was heard

of a " universal catholic church " distinct from the

Roman. The latter, consisting of pope, cardinals,

bishops, and clergy, might err, and was subject to

the authority of general councils, which represented

not only the classes named, but also all true mem­

bers of the body of Christ, and in which Christian

princes and delegates of the universities were to

have a voice.

But the papal theory raised its head once more when the councils had succeeded in restoring unity, and dominated the Lateran Council under Leo X. The Thomist Sylvester Prierias (q.v.) maintained against Luther the proposition " The Church uni­versal is essentially the assembly of all believers, practically the Roman Church and the pope; repre­sentatively the Roman Church is the college of cardi­nals, practically it is the pope." Of this view the Jesuits were the principal upholders. Bellarmine maintained against the Protestants the definition of the church as " the company of men bound together by confession of the same Christian faith under the rule of legitimate pastors and especially of the one vitas of Christ on earth." The Council of Trent did not venture to make an outspoken decision between the papal and episcopal theories; and such a decision was expressed only after the latter had repeatedly tried to enforce its claims (see GALLICAN1sM; Eats, CONGRESS OF; JAN9ExD3T Cauxca), in the Vatican Council of 1870.

IV. Protestant Doctrine of the Church: The

first medieval Christian body which, while holding

fast to the general Christian faith, abandoned that

doctrine of the church sketched above was the

Waldenses. They considered themselves members

of the church of Christ and partakers of his salva­

tion, in spite of their exclusion from organised

Christendom, recognizing at the same time a

" church of Christ " within the organization whose

heads were hostile to them. There is not, however,

in their teaching any clear definition of the nature

of the church or any new principle in reference to it.

The first theologian to bring forward a conception

of the church radically opposed to that which had

been developing was Wyclif; and Huss followed

him in it. According to him the church is the

" totality of the predestinated

1. Wyoli!'s there, as in his doctrine of grace, he

followed Augustine, but took a stand­

point contrary as well to Augustine's

as to that of later Catholicism in his account of the

institutions and means of grace by which God

communicates the blessings of salvation to the

predestined, excluding from them the polity of

priest, bishop, and pope. He denied the divine

institution both of papal primacy and of the epis­

copate as distinct. from the presbyterate, and attrib­

uted infallible authority to the Scriptures alone.






88 RELIGIOUS ENCYCLOPEDIA Church, The Christina

The idea of both Wyclif and Ruse was thus not of an actually existing body of united associates, but merely the total of predestined Christians who at any time are living holy lives, scattered among those who are not predestined, together with those who are predestined but not yet converted, and the faithful who have passed away.

Luther defended Wydif's definition at the Leip­sie Disputation of 1519, in spite of its condem­nation by the Council of Constance. But his

own idea was that the real nature of !d. Lu  the church was defined by the words ther's following its mention in the creed 

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