Friday, September 05, 2008

A commendation of Presbyterian Church Government

"The Presbyterial Government; wherein is to be found such ample provision, and that according to the Word of God, for comely order against confusion; for peace and unity of the Church against schism and division; for truth of the faith against all error and heresy; for piety and unblameableness against all impiety and scandal of conversation [conduct]; for equity and right gainst all maladminitrations, whether ignorant, arbitrary or tyrannical; for the honour and purity of all Christ's ordinances against all contempt, pollution and profanation; for comfort, quickening and encouragement of the saints in all the ways of Christ; and consequently for the honour of God and our Lord Jesus Christ in all the mysterious services of his spiritual sanctuary".

From Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici, or The Divine Right of Church Government, by sundry Ministers of London (c. 1646). James Bannerman in The Church of Christ says this “work contains an extremely able, thorough, and satisfactory discussion of most of the points relating to the nature of Church government as a Divine institution, and to the power or authority of the Church, its seat and exercise.”
It can be purchased here. It is a book that seeks to address the issues in a careful and positive way. It opens by statings this "Things are handled rather by way of Positive Assertion than Polemical Differentiation (which too commonly degenerates into verbal strifes, 1 Tim. 6:3-4, 2 Tim. 2:23, and vain-jangling, 1 Tim. 1:6); and where any dissenting opinions or Objections are repelled, we hope it is with that sobriety, meekness and moderation of spirit that any unprejudiced judgement may perceive we had rather gain than grieve those that dissent from us. We endeavor rather to heal up than to tear open the rent, and we contend more for Truth than for victory."