Associate professor of church history princeton theological seminary baker book house

Download 4.04 Mb.
Size4.04 Mb.
1   ...   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   ...   38

Teaching. the communion of saints," taking the word " saints " in its Pauline sense. These (al­though sin may still cling to them) are sanctified by God through his word and eatramente  saera­ments not depending upon an organized, episco­pally ordained clergy, but committed to the church as a whole; it is their faith, called forth by the word of God, which makes them righteous and accepted members of Christ and heirs of eternal I life. Thus the Lutheran and, in general, the Calvin 

ist conception of the church depended from the I first upon the doctrine of justification by faith. In harmony with Luther's teaching, the Augsburg Confession defines the church as " the con­gregation of saints in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments are rightly adminis­tered." In one sense the church is invisible, since the earthly eye can not tell who has true faith and in this sense is a " saint," but in another it is visible, since it has its being here in outward and visible vital forma, ordained by God, in which those who are only " saints " in appearance have an external share. The church, too, always has need of some sort of external forma, of human ordinances, in which to clothe the administration of the means of grace, the preaching of the word, and public wor­ship; but these must not claim divine sanction or unconditional obligation. There was, however, one thing on which Luther insisted as eeeential­that the public administration of the means of grace entrusted to the church by God should be performed only by persona duly called to that function, who were to feed the flock with the word of God. His conclusion of its necessity is drawn not from any divine revelation or law, but from the nature of the case and the need of a settled order. The division of offices, the placing of superintend­ents or bishops over the pastors of the local churches, was considered a matter of variable human arrangement. While Luther rejected the papal claim to condition salvation by its forms and ordinances, declaring them anti Christian and opposed to Cod's will, he recognized the possibil­ity of sanctified believers and true members of

the body of Christ living within the Roman

Church, because even there, in spite of all corrup­tion, the power of the word and sacraments was still working. Here is a difference between the Reformation view and other postapostolic con­ceptions of the church. For the first time there were two bodies with opposite religious principles, each accusing the other of grievous error, and yet one of them admitting a communion in

grace with the other, and indeed with all Chris­tians of whatever name who cling to the funda­mental elements in the message of salvation. It was in this sense that the Reformers taught one catholic church, spread throughout the Christen­dom of all times and places, the unity of which ladled external organisation, but was sufficiently established by its possession of one invisible head, one faith; one baptism. Its holiness is shown by the fact that Christ is its head, and that the sancti­fying grace of God works within it; its apostolicity, by its original foundation at the hands of the apos­tles and its continued resting upon their word.

The view here set forth left unsettled a number of questions which then came up for the first time and influenced later theological movements. To what extent the pure preaching of the Gospel and due administration of the sacraments was necessary; how far the name of a church of Christ might be given to a particular church which was lacking in these requisites; how far an effort should be made to attain a pure expression of Evangelical truth in the shape of creed and dogma these were some of the questions. The last led to the distinction be­tween essentials and non essentials, and to that between the Gospel, or the simple preaching of the word of God as a source of life sad grace, and theo­logical dogma. Another question was the external government of the church. If it was not regarded as s matter of divine institution, who was to establish and exercise it? Who

dons Left was to organic the churches that


tled were springing up outside the ancient

~~ or traditional Christendom? Luther

seems to havecontemplated originally

a free organization by these true believers them­

selves into a church with simple, Evangelical wor­

ship and discipline; but historical circumstances

led to this function, as well as the continued direc­

tion of the church, being left largely to secular

princes and magistrates, as charged by God with the

maintenance of morality and order among Chris­

tian people and with the enforcement of the first as

well as the second table of the decalogue. This

result was brought about partly by the fact that

for years a hope was cherished of a reunion with

the old episcopate, and such institutions as were

set up were regarded as to some extent provisional.

So by degrees the organ of the supreme direction of

the Lutheran Church came to be in the hands of

consistories appointed by the local secular govern­

ment, and the share of the other members of the

I church was reduced to an assumed tacit ConBefit to

legislation. Melanchthon's later teaching differed

somewhat from Luther's. He was influenced by

a fear of spiritualistic fanaticism and s desire to

see the Evangelical religion firmly and practically

established. He considered the Christian church

~ visible on the ground of its self expression in the

~ preaching of the word and administration of the

sacraments; and he emphasized its institutional

character much more than Luther. He clung as

long as possible to the desire for reunion with the

great, firmly established traditional church. Among

Lutheran theologians it was not till after Chemnita

that the doctrine appeared and prevailed which

Church, The Christian


distinguished between the visible church as the " assembly of the called " and the invisible church existing within this, as the sum of all the really faithful or sanctified or regenerate. This distinc­tion belonged originally to the Calvinists (see below); though, unlike them and Wyclif, the Lutheran theologians had in mind not the predes­tined, but all who were within the real, existing inner body. The idea of the objective and external use of the means of grace is thus no longer connected, as by Luther, with the idea of a church which is still proclaimed invisible, but with that of a visible church within which the saints also, partake of those means of grace. The Lutheran Church is thus in its essence an institution existing for the communication of grace by these means, in relation to which the individual members assume a receptive attitude.

The Reformed leaders also designated the church as the congregation of believers or saints, and made the preaching of the pure word of God a condition of its existence. But they laid stress on the dis­tinction between the visible and the invisible church, taking their conception of the latter from Wyclif and Huss. Zwingli not only allowed the significance of the sacraments to drop out, but even minimized that of the revealed word, outside of the sphere of influence of which he believed that there were elect among the heathen. Of this last belief Calvin knew nothing, though he, too, considered the church as the invisible fellowship of the predestined; and he emphasized much more than Zwingli the neces­sity of the word and sacraments, laying besides a peculiar stress on the exercise of government and discipline, through teachers, pastors, and elders. The definite Calvinistic conception found ex­pression more or less in the various confessions.

Thus the Heidelberg Catechism de­4. Calvin  lea the church generally as " a iatia Doc  company elected to life," assembled trine of the by God through his Spirit and his

Church. word. That of Geneva has the phrase " body of the faithful whom God predestinated to eternal life "; but besides this church, which is recognized by faith alone, it speaks of a visible church with definite signs. The Westminster Con­fession mentions both visible and invisible aide by side. The great difference between Lutheran and Calvinist views lay in their attitude toward the means of grace. The church could not be to the Calvinist an institution for conveying grace, on account of his idea of the absolute sovereignty of God and the operation of the Spirit as entirely independent of created means. Again, the ener­getic effort to sanctify God's people for his service led to a sort of new legalism in both corporate and individual life among the Calvinists; while Luther­anism tended either to a Quietism in which the church contented itself with offering the means of grace and the individual with receiving them, or to a worldly spirit which abused the liberty of the children of God.

As to the question of external organization and government, Zwingli wished discipline to be exer­cised not by special ecclesiastical organs, but by those who stood in general at the head of the Chris 

tian people, thus leading to Erastianiam (see Exasxus). The theory of necessary independence of the state was a later growth. As for organiza­tion, different theories were held. Presbyterianism developed its teaching and ruling elders, and its general synodal constitution based on the local presbyteries; the Independents or Congregational­ists erected no general organization, identified the functions of pastor and elder, and put discipline and the decision of questions affecting the church into the hands of the local churches; Quakerism

denied that any such forms or laws 6. Post  were permissible, appealing to Scrip 

Reforma, ture in support of its contention. The tion Doc 

trines of the Church of England is a

the of peculiar one. While the doctrine of

Church. its Articles on the Lord's Supper is

distinctly Calvinistic, it defined the church, under the influence of Melanchthon's later teaching, is " a visible congregation of faithful men " with the pure word of God and due administration of the sacraments. With ita'episcopal organization, it preserved more the character of official Christianity than any other Protestant body; but the doctrine of the necessity of the apostolic succession supposed to be there preserved was not stated in the Articles, and did not become influential until a later period.

After the dominion of Protestant orthodoxy, which marked the period with both its strength and its weakness, followed another in which the newly aroused subjective piety departed more or less from the rigid forma of corporate church life. The tendency of Pietism was rather to erect " little churches" for the satisfying of spiritual needs;

and the devotion which thus found e. Pietistic expression took on a narrow, legal 

istic, and rather Calvinistic character.


alistic Doo  Then came rationalism with its relig 

trines. ious indifferentism and lack of belief

in the importance of the church, as

that importance had been understood in both early

and Reformation times. To it the church was

merely an association on a par with other human

and earthly societies, and it asserted with great

positiveness that Christ himself had no intention

of founding a church in the received sense of the

word. But it would require far too much apace to

trace in detail all the later variations of local or

individual attitude toward the complicated ques­

tions which have been here discussed. It may,

however, be remarked that the tendency to form

churches wholly independent of the state and

receiving no support from it is characteristic espe­

cially of the Reformed bodies, though, as we have

seen, it can not be traced back to Zwingli or to

Calvin. Connection of any kind with the state

was felt to be prejudicial to the liberty of self­

expression claimed for the Christian Spirit. The

" free church " movement manifested itself first

and most forcibly in Scotland, in the Secession

Church of 1733, the Church of Relief of 1752, the

union of both under the name of United Presby­

terian Church in 1847, and particularly the Free

Church of 1843, the two last having effected a

further union in 1900. See CHURCH AND STATE.



Church Diet

BIBLIOGRAPHY: On the early church and its constitution the beat book is E. Hatch, The Growth of Church Institu­tions, London, 1887. Consult further: W. 3clater, Orig­inal Draught of the Primitive Church, Oxford, 1840; $. Davidson, Ecclesiastical Polite of the R'. T., London. 1850; L. Coleman, Ancient Christianity Exemplified, Phil­adelphia, 1852; 'T. Witherow, The Form of the Chris­tian Church . , the Constitution of the N. T. Church, Edinburgh, 1888; C. J. Vaughan, The Church of the First Dare, London, 1890; J. Hammond, What does the Bible sag about the Church, ib. 1894; O. Pfleiderer, Christian Origins, New York, 1906; J. C. V. Durell, The Historic Church. An Essay on the Conception of the Christian Church . . , in the sub Apostolic Age, Cambridge. 1906; K. Adam, Der Kirchenbegrijf Tertulliana, Paderborn, 1907; DCG, i. 324 330.

On the idea of the church: K. Hackenachmidt, Anfgnge des katholiachen Rirchenbepri)ja, Strasburg, 1874; R. See­berg, Studien zur Geachichte des Beprd ffa der Kirche. Er­langen, 1885; W. Palmer, Treatise on the Church of Christ, 2 vole., London, 1842; W. G. Ward, Ideal of a Christian Church, ib. 1844; E. Sehdrer, Esquiaee dune fhtorie de Z'ipliae chrEtienne, Paris, 1845; J. J. White, Exposition of the Church and its Doctrine, Philadelphia, 1855; R. Whately, Kingdom of Christ Delineated. London, 1860; J. Bannermann, The Church of Christ, . . Nature. Powers, Discipline, and Government, 2 vole., Edinburgh, 1868; idem, Scripture Doctrine of the Church, ib. 1888; Ecce EccTeaio, . . the Essential Unity of the Church in all Ages, New York, 1868; H. R. Reynolds, Ecc7eaia, Church Problems, London, 1870; $. $. $ehmueker, Unity of Christ's Church, New York, 1870; J. J. McElhinney, Doctrine of the Church, Philadelphia, 1871 (with bibliog­raphy); J. KSatlin, Doe Weaen der,Kirche each Lehre and Geachichte des N. T.'a, Goths, 1872; E. M. Goulburn, The . . . Church; its divine Ideals, Ministry and Inatitu­tiona, London, 1875; A. de Gasparin, L'Pgliae aelon l'evangile. 2 vole., Paris, 1878 79; H. Schmidt, Die Kirche, Leipaic; 1884; E. D. Morris, Eateaiolopy, New York, 1885; W. Bornemann, Ksrchenideale and Kirchenrejor­men, Leipsie, 1887; H. J. Van Dyke, The Church, her Ministry and Sacraments, New York, 1890; F. A. Milne, Eccleaiology, Boston, 1894; A. Westphal, Qu'eeE.ce qu'une tpZiae, Paris, 1896; J. B. Johnson, The Church and tle Sacraments, London, 1898; E. A. Litton, Church o/ Christ in its Idea, Attributes and Ministry, ib. 1898; P. F. Jala­guier, De l'eglaae, Paris, 1899; C. Gave, The Church and the Ministry, London, 1900; G. D. Boardman, The Church (ecclesia), New York, 1901; J. Ireland, Church and Mod­ern Society, 2 vole., ib. 1903 04; H. Gallwita, Die Grund­lapen der Kirche, Leipaie, 1904; G. Vos, Teaching of Jesus concerning the . . . Church, New York, 1904; A. H. Charteris, Church of Christ, its Life and Work, London, 1905; E. C. Dargan, Eccleaiology, Louisville, 1906; J. W. Legge, Eccleaiological Essays, London. 1906; J. A. Kern, The Idea of the Church, Nashville, 1907.

On the constitution of the church: R. Parkinson, The Constitution of the Visible Church, London, 1839; F. D. Maurice, The Kingdom of Christ: . Principles, Cony atitution and Ordinances of the Catholic Church, 2 vole., ib. 1842; F. Brandea, Die Verfasaung der Kirche reach evangelisehen Grundatilzen, 2 vola., Elberfeld, 1867; G. A. Jacob, Ecclesiastical Polite in the New Testament, New York, 1874; J. Cunningham, The Growth of the Church in its Organizations and Institutions, London, 1888; J. H. Rigg, Comparative View of Church Organizations, Primitive and Protestant, ib. 1887; W. D. Killen, Framework of the Church, Edinburgh, 1890; J. Jebb, Divine Economy of the Church, Philadelphia, n.d.

On the aim and mission of the church: J. Harris, The Great Commission, London, 1852; J. Sanford, Mission and Extension o/ the Church, ib. 1862; W. H. Fremantle, The World as the Subject of Redemption .... the Func­tions of the Church, ib. 1885; J. M. Lang, The Church arid its Social Mission, New York, 1902.

CHURCH COUNCIL (conctZium ecclesite, Rir­chenrat): A meeting of the authorities of the Church to take counsel and make decisions in re­gard to church affairs. Councils may be ecumen­ical, of the whole Church, or of the Church of a single country, or of a province, or even of a single church,

in which case it is a committee chosen from a congregation to represent it (see COUNCILS AND SYNODS). In the Roman Catholic Church origi­nally the laity had no share in the councils, but in the course of time assistants had to be found among them for the clergy, especially in financial matters. These assistants were at first chosen by the church authorities; only in the nineteenth century have the laity had a right to take part in the selection. In regard to councils in the Evangelical churches,


(F. H. JACOasoNt.)


A convention of delegates from the Evangelical churches of Germany the Lutheran and Re­formed, the churches of the Union, and the Mora.viana. Originating in 1848, its chief aims were: (1) to unite the German Evangelical churches; (2) make provision for the Church in case of a sep­aration of Church and State; (3) to oppose 'the unbelief of the time; and (4) to ameliorate the mis­erable condition of the people. The real conductor of the whole undertaking was Von Bethmann­Hollweg, professor of law at Bonn, who presided over the first session and was the leader until the last meeting. In 1848 he published a treatise, Yorschlag einer cvangelischen Kirchenverstzmmlung im laufenden Jalare 18.8, in which he advocated a call to all Evangelical Christians of the German nation. Simultaneously and independently, the idea occurred to Philipp Wackernagel (q.v.), of Wiesbaden, and two of his friends, P. Heller, pastor of Kleinheubach on the Main in Bavaria, and Dr. Haupt, then pastor of Rimhorn in the Hessian Odenwald. Their ideas found ready acceptance at a conference of ministers from Frankfort and the neighboring states, Nassau, Hesse, and a part of Bavaria; and a commission was appointed to " dis­cuss and prepare the convocation of a general eccle­siastical convention of Evangelical Germany."

The first general convention was held Sept. 21, 1848, at Wittenberg. Five hundred participated in it, the leaders being such prominent men as Von Bethztlann Hollweg, Stall, Wackernagel, Schmie­der, Dorner, Nitz6ch, Muffler, and Krummacher. Of the resolutions adopted the following are the most important: (1) The Evangelical communities of Germany meet for the purpose of forming a church alliance. (2) The Evangelical Church Alli­ance is not a union which obliterates the confes­sional churches, but a confederation of churches. (3) The Evangelical Church Alliance comprises all ecclesiastical communities which stand upon the basis of the Reformed confessions, especially the Lutheran, the Reformed, the Union, and the con­gregations of Brethren. (4) Each community which joins the Alliance retains its relations to the State and its independence in matters of teaching, service, and constitution. (5) The aim of the Evangelical Church Alliance i6 the care and advancement of all common interests of the church communities be­longing to it. The Eiacnach Conference (q.v.), which was called into life in 1851, did not come up fully to the idea of the church alliance, but the Congress for Home Missions was an immediate

Church Discipline THE NEW SCHAFF HERZOG 88

result of the efforts for a church alliance. The Church Diet was at first held every year, later every second year. In 1872 the last Diet was held at Halls. Although it did not bring about church alliance, it was for a quarter of a century a rally­ing point of living church ford.


I. In the Apostolic and PoetsDOetolio Periods. II. In the Roman Catholic Church. III. In the Lutheran Churches. Methods and Results (I i). Modern Requirements (J 2). IV. In the Reformed Churches. The Zwingfian System (¢ r). Calvin's Basal Principles (¢ 2). Genevan Ecclesiastical Tribunals (13). In France (¢ 4): In Great Britain (¢ b). In Holland and Germany (¢ 8). Modern Modifications (¢ 7). V. In the United Steles.

Church discipline is a means of securing and maintaining the spiritual purity of the Christian Church. This exercise arises from the fact that the Church is a human institution, the members of which are subject to the limitations and weaknesses of humanity. The Christian congregation, there­fore, like every other community, needs a means of self protection in order to suppress or eliminate whatever might impair or destroy its life. But, from the constitution of the Church, the character of its discipline is purely spiritual. Therefore the only means which can properly be employed is exclusion, partial or total, of those whose acts jeopardize it.

I. In the Apostolic and Postapostolic Periods: The center of the Scriptural doctrine of ecclesi­astical discipline is Matt. xviii. 15 18; and its practical application in the apoatolical church is learned from I Cor. v. and II Cor. ii. 4 8. A mem­ber of the Corinthian congregation had married his stepmother, and the congregation had suffered the deed. Paul then wrote to the Corinthians that the offender should be excommunicated, and " delivered unto Satan." His words produced such an impression, not only on the congregation, but also on the offender, that, when he wrote again to the Corinthians, Paul could recommend mercy. It is, however, not only for such flagrant offenses as the above that Paul demands punish­ment, but also for minor failings by which a man is made a burden to his fellow men (II Them. iii. B); and he warns the congregations against heresy, for it eats like a canker (II Tim. ii. 17). A heretic, after admonishing him once or twice in vain, avoid (Tit. iii. 10); do not even bid him Godspeed (II John 10, 11). The punishment, however, moat never be administered in a spirit of retaliation. Church discipline, though necessary for the self­protection of the church, has as its aim the recla­mation and reconciliation of the offender; hence in the spirit of love it moat dictate its punishments (II Cor. ii. 6 8). That the discipline is exercised by the Church is indicated in all the passages cited except that from Titus, where the direction is given for personal guidance alone (cf. verse 9). The

apoatolical institutions of Excommunication (q.v.) and reconciliation lived on in the poatapoatolic church, and during the period of persecution be­came even more peremptory. Under Decius, whose goal seems to have been the total destruction of Christianity, there occurred, by the aide of the most admirable examples of faithfulness, so frequent instances of defection that a special regulation for the reconciliation of the lapsed became a neces­sity. This regulation, which continued valid down to the fifth century, established a course of penance which ran through various stages, and comprised a period of several years; but its severity naturally called forth devices of evasion and subterfug~e, such as the libelli of the con­fessors (see LAPSED), and church discipline became somewhat lax. A reaction toward greater severity followed, and the Moataniata declared that the excommunicated ought to remain for their whole life in a state of penance, while the Novatiana affirmed that the Church had no right at all to forgive the lapsed, though the Lord might be willing to do so. Meanwhile the developing organization of the Church had reached the department of discipline, and the penitents, who had been excommunicated. and desired to be received back into fellowship, were divided into four classes and compelled to pass through as many stages of penance (see Excola­MUNICATION).

II. In the Roman Catholic Church: The union of Church and State led to developments in dis­cipline, the moat important of which was the im­position of civil penalties for spiritual offenses. This was carried to the extreme of capital punish­ment, inflicted for heresy in the case of the Spanish bishop Priacillian and six companions, 385 A.D. The many sentences of deposition from office accompanied with exile during the controversial period attest the alliance of Church and State in the infliction of church discipline. Penitential disci­pline in its four grades was continued from the earlier period and was sanctioned by the councils of the fourth century. Yet the alliance of Church and State and the controversial activities produced a concentration of disciplinary attention upon her­esy which allowed grave offenses against morals to go unpunished. A noteworthy exception to this was the refusal 'of Ambrose of Milan to administer the communion to Theodosius I. because of a mas­sacre by the ratter's soldiers in Theesalonica. In the early Middle Ages the extension of the Church among the barbaric races brought about further systematization. Discipline. was administered by the bishops through synodical courts. The Peni­tential Books (q.v.), particularly the Liher yceni­tentialia of Halitgariua of Cambrai, were written for the guidance of confessors. Besides excom­munication, the penalties of the Anathema and the Interdict (qq.v.) were developed. Penance (see PENANCE, REPENTANCE), including auricular con­fession (see CONFESSION OF Slxa) and priestly abso­lution, became a sacrament, and the system of Indulgences (q.v.) was originated which later be­came so great a scandal and was one of the primary causes of the Reformation. GEO. W. Gnalox>s.

III. In the Lutheran Churches: According to


the Evangelical Lutheran conception, exclusion from the sacraments forms the core and center of church discipline. The employment of this disci­pline (the power of the keys) is a part of the prac­tical duties of the pastor. The pastor who admin­isters the sacrament dare not knowingly admit an unworthy person, since to do so is to participate in the sin. But on the basis of Matt. aviii. and I

Cor. v. the congregation has a right to :. Methods cooperate in church discipline since it and may not tolerate offense in its midst.

Results. The ban, even if uttered by the pastor,

always proceeds in the name of the congregation; but participation by the congrega­tion in church discipline is little developed in Lu­theran state churches in consequence of the peculiar organization of the congregations. Instead of the congregations, the coneistories received authority to assist the pastor in this exercise. The early practise was that a member of the congregation, charged with public sine, was at fist admonished by the pastor as his confessor, and if he did not change his conduct, he was excluded from the Lord's Supper; this was called the small ban. If the sinner remained stubborn, he was excluded from churchly  communion altogether, was put under the so called great ban. If he were in any way com­promised before the congregation, the permission of the consietory had to be obtained, and the so­ealled great ban could be pronounced by the con­sietory or the state only after investigation. The whole procedure was looked upon not as a real punishment, but as a means of discipline. The ban could be nullified when the sinner showed repentance. He was readmitted on condition of publicly asking the forgiveness of the congregation. This procedure was called church penance, which is consequently not an act of punishment, but of reconciliation. If the sinner died without church penance, he was buried in a separate place without the services of the minister and the congregation. Church discipline so conducted was doomed to failure because it was not rooted in the conscious­ness of the congregation. During the seventeenth century, from an act of reconciliation church pen­ance degenerated into an act of punishment which at first was imposed by the consistories and then by secular courts. Attempts were made by men like Johann Valentin Andrea and $pener to restore the old church discipline, but without success. Pietism produced no changes in this exercise, and rationalism completed its destruction. In most states church discipline was expressly abolished, and today there are only sporadic instances of it.

With the reawakening of churchly life a desire for the reintroduction of church discipline made itself felt. $chleiermacher's draft of a church constitution contained propositions to this effect; during 1840 80 the question was earnestly dis 

!a. >etodera cussed because of the reproach which

the lack of discipline caused the

meats. churches and sects, also because of

the social element which crept into

the old church constitutions. Since the intro­

duction of civil marriage and the abolition of com­

pulsory baptism there has been felt anew the need

of measures against such as despise ecclesiastical marriage and baptism. The state dote not oppose the imposition of church discipline as long as it is of a purely religious nature and is not public.

(G. Uarsoxrr.t)

N. In the Reformed Churches: The Reformed Church has always emphasized that faith without moral submission to the law of God is inconceiv­able, but it was only Calvinism that laid the re­sponsibility for the regulation and discipline of the moral life of the members upon the church. Accord­ing to the common Evangelical view, the power of the keys was exercised by the preaching of the Word, but Calvinism found it expressed chiefly in Chris­tian penitential discipline as divinely "ordered.

The German Swiss Reformation brought about not only religious knowledge, but an immediate ethical renovation of popular life. There existed, however, as yet no churchly discipline. Zwingli

tried to preserve it from the medieval

1. The Church in so far as it aid not conflict

with the new doctrines, but the secular


tem. authorities were much more successful

in influencing the moral education of

the people. An authoritative position in regard to

matrimonial matters only was assumed apart from

the civil authority in 1525. A tribunal was created

consisting of two secular priests, two members of the

larger council, and two members of the smaller

council; but this institution was still far removed

from an organisation of the ecclesiastical congre­

gation, it simply reported its findings to the secular

authority. Although there existed a desire for an

independent church discipline also in the sphere of

the German Swiss Reformation, Zwingli was satis­

fied with the discipline carried through by the

Christian secular authorities, as he deemed the

discipline itself of more importance than the

method by which it was attained. The sermon,

he thought, gave the idea, while the civil authority

was the executing organ in the union of State and


In strong contrast with this surrender of eccle­siastical independence, there reappeared in Geneva under the guidance of Calvin the original type of strict moral discipline, based entirely upon the church. Calvin laid down his dogmatic views con­cerning ecclesiastical organization and discipline in his Institutio, especially after 1543, in great de­tail, and they form the basis of his practical efforts. The normal form of the church must be shaped according to Scripture. The body of Christ (" In­stitutes," IV. iii. 2) must be governed according to that political order and form which Scrip­ture prescribes (IV. vi. 9; of. x. 1, i. 15, iv. 1; " Gal­lican Confession," 29). Thus discipline or govern­ment becomes the third constituting function of the right church (Opera, xiii. 283; " Belgic Confes­sion," 29). But apart from depend 

W Calvin's eats upon Biblical forms, Calvin had the conviction that the church could not exercise her educational function without a corresponding organisation. Discipline aims primarily to prevent desecration of Christ's congregation and his holy sacrament, the betterment of the individual is considered second.

1   ...   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   ...   38

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page