PB Doctrine of the Church by Elder Jimmy Barber





          In the outlines and appendixes presented here, I tried to show, first, some broad views and differences concerning the church, and why there is so much confusion about this doctrine. Second, after studying all the passages where the word evkklhsia, is found in the New Testament, it is seen that essentially every time it is mention it cannot be questioned but that the meaning refers to a local congregation. All rules of Biblical interpretation teach that the clear must interpret the obscure. (Since the Greek word evkklhsia, always referred to an assembly or congregation prior to the writing of the New Testament, why should we think that the meaning changed in the New Testament? Where is the verse or verses which states that God changed the meaning of the word?) Third, I have presented the passages in the New Testament which connect the word body to evkklhsia, and sought to prove that the word body is never used to indicate anything but a congregation. Fourth, I tried to set forth the difficult passage of Heb 12:23 in its context. This passage refers to when saints of God shall be congregated together in glory. Fifth, I presented what is meant by the generic or institutional usage of the word church. Sixth, I refer to the history of how the London Confession of Faith in 1689 came to be written. Seventh, a study of the London Confession in connection with the Westminster and Savoy Confession proves that there were definite differences in their beliefs concerning the doctrine of the church. There is a difference in the meaning and the usage of a word.

          The second outline shows the nature of the congregation, that it was in existence prior to Pentecost, and that the commission was given to the congregation. In connection with this, there is a third outline which is a study concerning the ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s supper). In this outline I tried to set forth the nature of the ordinances and where they reside. Therefore, since the commission and ordinances were given to the church, it is the church (congregation) which is to guard, defend, preserve, and maintain them until the Lord returns (1Co 11:26). Since the Scriptures are our only guide and they never show a congregation of people which did not previously have connection with another congregation or congregations, we are persuaded that this is what God would have us believe as to how the church is to be perpetuated.

          If the above is true, we can agree on the following syllogism.

1. The church is a congregation of people gathered together by God for His glory.

2. The commission and ordinances were given to the congregation to be kept pure until the return of the Lord.

3. Therefore, the Word of God, the commission, and the ordinances are to be perpetuated by congregations and only congregations which have these Divinely given articles have the authority to deliver them to others.

Note what the government of the United States of America had to say about Baptists in 1926.

“It is a distinct principle with Baptists that they acknowledge no human founder, recognizes no human authority, and subscribe to no human creed. For all these things, Baptists of every name and order go back to the New Testament. And while no competent Baptist historian assumes to be able to trace a succession of Baptist churches through the ages, most of them are of one accord in believing that, if we could secure the records, there would be found heroic groups of believers in every age who upheld with their testimonies and, in many cases, with their lives, the great outstanding and distinctive principles of the Baptist churches of today.”

From the Bureau of Census for 1926

United States Department of Commerce

          In conclusion, these notes were not written for the intention of being published for the public. They were written as an outline to systematically teach to others. However, over the years others have requested copies and I have tried to make changes with each printing to better serve those who might read them. Therefore, since these notes were written for my usage and not for instructing others, there is no doubt some places where it is not clear as to why the outline is written as it is. Please overlook this, as well as the writer’s rustic style and mannerisms. Hopefully, the reader will benefit from this work. If so, all the glory belongs to the Lord of glory, the Head of the congregation.

Copyright by Veritas Publications 1999




A.   The doctrine of the church is one of the most misunderstood (if not the most) subject of this day. James Bannerman said, “Many, perhaps indeed most, of the controversies which have arisen in connection with ecclesiastical theology, are to be traced back to fundamental differences of opinion regarding the essential nature and character of that society which Christ has instituted.” The Church of Christ, Vol. I, p. 5.

B.   Various concepts of the church (This is very broad.).

1.    Roman Catholic Concept (universal visible) – the church is a world-wide hierarchal organization under the head of the pope. Sometimes (though rarely) the Roman Catholics expand their concept to all the faithful which existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist to the end of time.

2.    National Concept – a national institution with the national boundaries as the borders, and the king, or head of the nation, being the head of the “church.”

3.    Denominational Concept (Connectional and/or Aggregate Concept) e.g. the Methodist – This type is the combined voice of all the churches (societies). Under this philosophy, the church means the aggregation of local congregations subscribing to a common creed.

4.    The Universal Concept (universal invisible) – all the saved, whether now living or dead; or, all the saved from a given time to the return of Christ.

5.    The Baptist Concept (Congregational Concept) – a local congregation of saints meeting together for the honor and glory of God.

6.    Miscellaneous ideas – building; Christianity/Christendom; religion; schools; worship; etc.

7.    Cf. Bannerman, Vol. I, pp. 5-17 (Appendix A)DocChurch: DC.05 APPENDIX A. This shows utter confusion of the subject and how some divide the subject unlawfully.

C.   Why so much confusion? – Three Reasons.

1.    The Greek word evkklhsia, was not translated.

a.     King James would not allow some words to be translated. Note Rules 3 and 4 which were given to the translators. “The third rule requires ‘the old ecclesiastical words to be kept,’ such as ‘church’ instead of ‘congregation.’ The fourth rule prescribes, that where a word has different meanings, that is to be preferred which has the general sanction of the most ancient Fathers, regard being had to ‘the propriety of the place, and the analogy of faith.’” Translators Revived, Alexander McClure, p. 67.

b.    William Tyndal properly translated evkklhsia, in his New Testament. He translated it congregation. Tyndal’s translation of the New Testament was used heavily by the 1611 translators but King James I would not allow them to follow Tyndal with reference to this word. King James I, though a member of the Church of England, was a Roman Catholic at heart.

2.    If, when reading the Scriptures, one would substitute the word congregation in the place of the word church, there would not be any confusion as to the meaning of the word.

3.    The origin of the English word church. 

a.     Church, n. [Gr. kuriakh, or kuriakon; kurij, lord; A.S. circe, or cyrice; Dut. kerk; Ger. kirche; Sw. kyrka; Dan. kirke; Scotch kirk. This word appears to have been originally derived from the Greek, through the Anglo-Saxon. The Goths on the Lower Danube, as stated by Dr. Trench, were first converted to Christianity by Greek missionaries from Constantinople, who imparted to them the word kuriakh or kuriakon, church; and the Goths lent the word to other German tribes, including the Anglo-Saxons. “The passage,” says Dr. Trench, “most illustrative of the parentage of the word is from Walafrid Strabo (about 840), who writes thus: ‘Ab ipsis autem Graecis Kyrch … Kyrios – et alia multa accepimus. Sicut domus Dei Basilica, i.e. Regia … Rege, sic etiam Kyrica, i.e. Dominica … Domino nuncupatur.’”] – From Joseph E. Worchester's A Dictionary of the English Language, 1864, p. 241.

b.    Church, n. [ME. chirche, cherche; A.S. circe, cyrce; Late Gr. kyriakon, a church, from Gr. kyriake (supply doma, house), the Lord's house, from kyriakos, belonging to the Lord or Master; kyrios, lord, master; kyros, supreme power, authority.] – From Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged-Second Edition, 1970, p. 324.

4.    The opinions and prejudices of men.


A.   From the etymology of the word evkklhsia, is from ekklhtoj, which means call out or forth.[1]

B.   Properly it means a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place; an assembly; so used 1. among the Greeks from Thucydides (423 B.C.) [c.f. Herodotus (484-408 B.C.) 3, 142] down, an assembly of the people convened at the public place of council for the purpose of deliberating, Ac 19:39. 2. in the Sept. often equiv. to qahal, the assembly of the Israelites, Jg 21:8; 1Ch 29:1, etc., esp. when gathered for sacred purposed, De 31:30; Jos 8:35; etc.; in the N. T. thus in Ac 7:38; Heb 2:12. 3. any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance or tumultuously; Ac 19:32,41. 4. in the Christian sense ... – Thayer.

C.   Evkklhsia, – is used 115 times in the N. T.; 112 times it is translated church or churches, 3 times it is translated assembly.

1.    Christ used evkklhsia, 22 times.

a.     Mt 16:18; 18:17,17.

b.    Re 1:11,20,20-2:1; 2:7-8,11-12,17-18,23,29-3:1; 3:6-7,13-14,22; 22:16.

2.    Luke used evkklhsia, 24 times.

a.     Ac 2:47; 5:11; 7:60-8:1; 8:3; 9:31; 11:22,26; 12:1,5; 13:1; 14:23,27; 15:3-4,22,41; 16:5; 18:22; 20:17,28.

b.    Ac 19:32,39-40.

3.    Paul used evkklhsia, 62 times, and if he wrote the Book of Hebrews, he used it 64 times.

a.     Ro 16:1,4-5,16,23.

b.    1Co 1:2; 4:17; 6:4; 7:17; 10:32; 11:16,18,22; 12:28; 14:4-5,12,19,23,28,33-34,35; 15:9; 16:1,19.

c.     2Co 1:1; 8:1,18-19,23-24; 11:8,28; 12:13.

d.    Ga 1:2,13,22.

e.    Eph 1:22; 3:10,21; 5:23-24,25,27,29,32.

f.       Php 3:6; 4:15.

g.    Col 1:18,24; 4:15-16.

h.     1Th 1:1; 2:14.

i.        2Th 1:1,4.

j.        1Ti 3:5,15; 5:16.

k.     Phm 25.

l.        Heb 2:12; 12:23.

4.    James used evkklhsia, 1 time, Jas 5:14.

5.    John used evkklhsia, 4 times.

a.     3Jo 14,14,14.

b.    Re 1:4.

D.   Ac 19:37, robbers of churches — robbers of temples (Greek: ierosuloj).

E.   Summation of previous study and conclusions.

1.    The translators were not allowed to translate evkklhsia, by order from King James I.

2.    The English word church originated from the Greek word kuriakon, which means the Lord's or the house of the Lord.

3.    The lexicons give the meaning of evkklhsia, as assembly.

4.    Evkklhsia, had the meaning of assembly as far back as the time of Thucydides (423 B.C.). If the word always meant the same prior to New Testament times, where did it change in meaning in the New Testament?

5.    Out of the 17 books in the N. T. where evkklhsia, (church) is found, without question 10 always use the word to signify a local congregation or congregations.

6.    Out of the 23 times the Lord used evkklhsia, , without question, 22 times it means a local congregation or congregations.

a.     John always used it as a local congregation(s).

b.    James always used it as equating a local congregation.

c.     Luke always used it depicting a local congregation or congregations.

d.    Out of the 62 times listed under Paul's usage, without question, 46 times it denotes a local congregation(s) [really 51 times without question].

e.    Only one of the two times in Hebrews is it questioned.

f.       Therefore, out of the 115 times evkklhsia, is used in the N. T., at most only 17 times can it be questioned as to the meaning. (In fact the number is smaller than 17.)


A.   The word that is translated body is the Greek word swma. It is found 146 times in the N. T., and it is used in connection with the church 34 times. The other 112 times it refers to the human body.

1.    There is another word translated body which refers to the church. It is found only 1 time in the N. T. – Eph 3:6. It is susswmoj, and it is translated of the same body.

2.    By studying the 35 times the word body is used in conjunction with the word church, it is seen that the word body cannot be used to describe something invisible, universal, provincial, or national, but only something visible and local.

B.   Ro 12:4-5.

1.    Ro 12:3, “to every man that is among you,” not to everybody everywhere.

2.    Ro 12:4, the human body is meant here.

3.    Ro 12:5, “We” (no matter what group to which we belong or are among, Ro 12:3), “being many are one body in Christ, and every (lit. each) one members one of another.

4.    Therefore, Ro 12:4-5 does not teach about any universal, invisible body. When viewed in context, it teaches about the life and function of any local congregation.

C.   1Co 10:17; 12:12,12,12-13,14-15,15-16,16-17,18-19,20,22-23,24-25,27, it is used 19 times.

1.    1Co 10:17 is concerning the Lord's Supper. It does not concern our study at this time whether closed or open communion is correct. When one participates in a communion service, it is usually done in a congregation – never universally nor invisibly. (It is not to be done individually either.)

2.    1Co 12:12-27.

a.     Paul is not teaching what the church is in this passage, per se, but he is teaching unity within the congregation.

b.    1Co 12:12 begins by using the human body as a standard of unity as to how the congregation should be. In other words, Paul was saying that Christ is not divided, but is in perfect unity like a human body.

c.     1Co 12:13's meaning is to be understood by the context.

d.    1Co 12:14-25 are definitely referring to the human body.

e.    1Co 12:26, or may not, be referring to the human body. In either case, it is speaking of the care that the members in the body should have for each other.

f.       1Co 12:27 definitely states that the saints at Corinth were the (literally A) body of Christ.

g.    Out of the 18 times that body is used in 1Co 12:12-27, only 2 times does it refer to the church. The other 16 times refer to the human body.

(1) 1Co 12:13 is a local body–congregation.
(2) Baptism is into one body; that is, it is into a congregation.
(3) Literally 1Co 12:13 should read, “For in (not by) one spirit ...”
(a) The Greek phrase (en eni pneumati) trans. in one spirit is found in Php 1:27 and Eph 2:18.
(b) The phrase in Php 1:27 is teaching congregational unity.
(c) The phrase in Eph 2:18 is translated by one Spirit. The context in Ephesians is too teaching congregational unity. While some may think that this is a forced interpretation, note the following quotes.

(i)    After affirming that the access to the Father is “through” or “by means of” Christ, Lenski writes: ‘The Greek is able to add the apposition to the “we” by means of the verb ending after the object “peace,” thereby helping to emphasize the apposition: “we – the both (of us),” Gentiles and Jews alike. They come to the Father, not by two roads, but by one. Hence also the phrase “in one spirit.” One hesitates to leave the consensus of the commentators who here translate “in one Spirit” as do our versions. This consensus also finds the Trinity in Paul's wording: “through him” (Christ) – “in one (Holy) Spirit” – the Father.” Yet, attractive as this appears, we question its soundness. In Eph 2:16 we have “in one body” to which there is now added as the complement, “in one spirit.” This correspondence extends much farther when we note that “one” recurs together with “both” (“two”): Eph 2:14, “both the parts one part”; Eph 2:15, “the two men one new man”; Eph 2:16, “the both of them one body”; now, “the both of us in one spirit.” In this chain of four “both – one,” one part, one man, one body, the last link is surely one spirit (not one Spirit). Not the thought that God or Christ or the Spirit are one fits into the chain, but one spirit, a unit mind and heart filled with one life and one faith by Christ, his blood and his cross, his gospel preaching of peace does. The decisive word is “one.”
  ‘“The access to the Father” implies that the Ephesian Gentiles and Jews have an approach to him as his children and sons,
oikeioi, “household members.” All the rights of children are theirs as also all the gifts that this divine Father bestows. All come to him as a unit, come “in one spirit,” and are thus in one and the same blessed relation and position, no matter if they once were two, some of them Gentiles, others Jews. Pros is the face-to-face preposition; “there is something almost intimate as well as personal in some of the examples” (R. 624, etc.), it is so in fact.’ The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians, pp. 447-448.

(ii)  Though Salmond, in The Expositor's Greek Testament, maintains that the word spirit refers to the Holy Spirit, he insists it be translated in one Spirit: ‘The en is not = by, but in, with reference to the element in which alone we have the access. As that right is ours only through Christ ..., so it is made ours in actual experience only in the Spirit, by Jew and Gentile have it alike because it is one and the same Spirit that works in both. Vol. 3, p. 298.

(iii)Fausset, in Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary, agrees with Salmond. Vol. 6, p. 405.

(iv)A. T. Robertson and William Hendriksen also maintain that it should be translated in one Spirit.

(v)  The American Standard Version and the New American Standard Version translated it in one Spirit.

(4) The Holy Spirit never baptizes.
(5) When John Bunyan and William Kiffin were debating the question of open communion, neither Bunyan nor Kiffin differed on this passage. Both believed 1Co 12:13 referred to water baptism, and that those who maintained Spirit baptism with this passage were teaching a new interpretation.[2]

3.    The word body in I Corinthians is never used to denote anything universal or invisible, but is used to describe a congregation of people or a human body.

a.     The phrase “the body of Christ” designates a local congregation like the one at Corinth, Ephesus, Colosse, or at any other place.

b.    So far, out of the 21 times the word body is used in the N. T. (2 in Romans and 19 in I Corinthians) it only refers to the church four (4) times.

D.   Eph 1:23; 2:16; 3:6; 4:4,12,16,16; 5:23,30 the word body is found 9 times.

1.    The word body is found in Ephesians 10 times. In Eph 5:28, it refers to the human body.

2.    While studying this book, be mindful that Paul wrote to a congregation in the city of Ephesus. This is the same congregation which Paul said was purchased with the blood of God or Jesus Christ in Ac 20:28.

a.     Ac 20:28 does not eliminate other congregations. Paul was only asserting a fact about this church at Ephesus.

b.    Also remember that Paul was stressing unity in the church at Ephesus. He was not teaching about anything universal, invisible, etc.

3.    Eph 1:23.

a.     The body here is the church.

b.    The word church (evkklhsia, ) means an assembly or congregation.

c.     A body of any sort is always local and not universal or invisible.

d.    Christ is the head of (the authority over) each congregation. (At least He should be.)

e.    According to 1Co 12:27, the congregation is the (lit. a) body of Christ.

f.       Why should the meaning of evkklhsia, and/or body change in meaning here? If evkklhsia, always means the same prior to Ephesians, why should the meaning change in this book? Likewise, if evkklhsia, always meant congregation prior to New Testament times, why should we believe the meaning changed when the New Testament was written?

g.    The church is not the fullness in that it (the church) is universal. The fullness of Christ that is found in the congregation derives from it being the “habitation of God through the Spirit,” (Eph 2:22).

h.     The fullness of Christ is found in His body, the congregation.

i.        Any individual who degrades, undermines, belittles, or disdains the congregation of God degrades, etc., the fullness of Christ. Any person who does not desire to assemble with the local congregation, each and every time it meets, does not desire to know the fullness of Christ, nor to go where that fullness is.

4.    Eph 2:16.

a.     Eph 2:11-22 and following are teaching unity – oneness.

b.    This oneness was through (by) the death of Christ in his body – the physical body of Christ, Eph 2:16, cf. Col 2:22.

(1) Some believe that the body in this place refers to all the saved. If this is so, all the saved have not met yet as a congregation.
(2) Some maintain it is the local assembly.
(a) Ac 20:28.
(b) Eph 2:19-22, fellowcitizens; household; building; an holy temple.

5.    Eph 3:6.

a.     Paul is still maintaining the theme of unity, and that the Gentiles are included in this unity.

b.    The church being one is to uphold and proclaim the Word of God, cf. 1Ti 3:15.

c.     The word body here refers to the congregation.

6.    Eph 4:4,12,16.

a.     Paul is continuing to teach peace, oneness, and unity.

b.    What is meant by “one body”? Is there really only one body? Are there not many bodies, i.e. many different kinds of bodies?

(1) Each human has a body: the same of animals; plants; stars; etc. There are many bodies, cf. 1Co 15:38-40.
(2) Same for spirit: human spirit; animal spirit; evil spirit; etc.
(3) True for lords, faiths, baptisms, gods, etc.
(a) 1Co 8:5; 1Jo 2:18; 4:1-3; 2Jo 13; Heb 6:2.
(b) Concerning Heb 6:2, though sprinkling and pouring are not baptisms (biblically speaking), modern thinking calls them such.
(4) However, when we speak of the human body in the broad or general scope, we speak of it as one body; that is, one in kind. The make-up or the anatomy of the human body is the same regardless of race, color, nationality, age, or gender.
(a) See Ac 17:26; yet, there are different types of blood, but the blood of man is of one kind compared to that of animals, etc.
(b) This same distinction is made concerning body, 1Co 15:39. Why did the translators add kind in 1Co 15:39, but not in Eph 4:4? Because they were swayed by rules 3 & 4 given to the translators and their own beliefs concerning “church.”
(5) When Paul said, “one body,” he was saying that there is only one kind of body, i.e., the church (congregation) of God, the local assembly.
(6) The Scriptures state that the church (assembly) at Corinth was a body, and there is only one body (Eph 4:4). Therefore, according to the Scriptures, it is the congregation. Cf.  1Co 12:27.[3]

7.    For Col 1:18,24; 2:17,19; 3:5, see Appendix D.


A.   A difficult passage, but the obscure must be interpreted in light of the clear.

B.   We have seen that evkklhsia, , according to definition and usage, means assembly or congregation. Why should it be different here? (Cf. Heb 2:12, The only time it is recorded where Christ sang was the night He instituted the Lord’s supper with those He was assembled, Mt 26:30.)

C.   We have seen that the body of Christ is one (one in kind), and that it is a local congregation.

D.   Some maintain that Heb 12:22-23 refers to the worship in each congregation.

1.    Angels attend the worship in each congregation, 1Co 11:10; Eph 3:10.

2.    On the surface, this appears to be the interpretation.

E.   A closer study seems to indicate that this is referring to when all the redeemed are congregated together in glory.

1.    General assembly panhgurij a festal gathering of the whole people to celebrate public games or other solemnities; a public festal assembly. – Thayer.

a.     From pan + ageirw.

(1) Pan from paj, all, the whole, entire, etc.
(2) Ageirw, to bring together, to gather together, to put things together, etc.

b.    The panhgurij is different from evkklhsia, , in that evkklhsia, denoted an assembly coming together for the transaction of business. The panhgurij on the other hand, was a solemn assembly for purposes of festal rejoicing; and on this account it is found joined continually with eorth,[4] as by Philo, Vit. Mos. ii. 7; Eze 46:11; cf. Ho 2:11; 9:5; and Isa 66:10, where panhgurizein = eortazein: the word having given us ‘panegyric,’ which is properly a set discourse pronounced at one of these great festal gatherings. Business might grow out of the fact that such multitudes were assembled, since many, and for various reasons, would be glad to avail themselves of the gathering; but only in the same way as a ‘fair’ grew out of a ‘feria,’ a ‘holiday’ out of a ‘holy-day.’ ... Keeping this festal character of the panhgurij in mind, we shall find a peculiar fitness in the word's employment at Heb 12:23, where only in the N. T. it occurs. The Apostle is there setting forth the communion of the Church militant on earth with the Church triumphant in heaven, – of the Church toiling and suffering here with that Church from which all weariness and toil have for ever passed away (Re 21:4); and how could he better describe this last than as a panhgurij, than as the glad and festal assembly of heaven? Trench's Synonyms, pp. 6-7.

c.     See Appendix E: B. H. Carroll's ECCLESIA, pp. 44-46.

2.    What about ye are come in Heb 12:22?

a.     Proselhluqate (perfect active indicative).

b.    As used at that time, the perfect tense denoted complete action. “Its basal significance is the progress of an act or state to a point of culmination and the existence of its finished results. That is, it views action as a finished product. Gildersleeve significantly remarks that it “looks at both ends of the action” ... . It implies a process, but views that process as having reached its consummation and existing in a finished state. The point of completion is always antecedent to the time implied or stated in connection with the use of the perfect. ... In the indicative” (and it is so used in this passage) “the perfect signifies action as complete from the point of view of present time. Its exact meaning is often difficult to render, because of a blending of the sense with the English simple past.” After giving more explanations, Dana and Mantey state, “The significance of the perfect tense in presenting action as having reached its termination and existing in its finished results lies at the basis of its uses.” A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament by H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, pp. 200-201.
          In short, the writer of Hebrews is standing in the present and viewing the future as having come to its culmination or completion. This is what some refer to as the “glory church” or the assembly of the whole family of God in glory. However, this is still a congregation or assembly.

3.    From the context of the book this appears to be the interpretation.

a.     The theme of Hebrews – Better and Christ superior to the Old Testament.

b.    Review Heb 1 - Heb 7Heb 8:1, the summation.

(1)  Heb 8:1, in the heavens (cf. Heb 8:6ff.).
(2)  Heb 9:11-12, a greater and more perfect tabernacle ...
(3)  Heb 9:22-28Heb 9:24, heaven itself.  Heb 9:28, the second time.
(4)  Heb 10:11-13, cf. sat down ... till.
(5)  Heb 10:19-25, cf. enter the holiest; the day approaching.
(6)  Heb 10:32-37, cf. ye have in heaven; recompense of reward; he that shall come will come.
(7) Heb 11:1,10,13-16,35, (better resurrection).
(8)  Heb 12:1-17, Let us run to the end looking for the same and not be like Esau.

c.     Heb 12:18-29.

(1)  Heb 12:18-21, Ye are not to come to Sinai again; not to the old, but the new covenant.
(2) Ye are come to Sion – the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. 
(a)  Heb 11:10,16.
(b)  2Pe 3:13.
(c)  Re 21:1-5,10-11,22ff.
(3) ... to an innumerable company of angels.
(a)  Mt 16:27; 25:31.
(b)  Re 19:14, cf. Re 4 & Re 5.
(4) ... general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.
(a)  Lu 10:20.
(b)  Re 13:8; 17:8; 20:15.
(c)  Mt 8:11; Lu 13:28-29; 22:18,30 (Till He comes.). Cf. the festal Feast of Tabernacles and Lu 9:28-33. Panhgurij was used in the Septuagint to denote the three festal gatherings of Israel each year.
(5) ... to God the Judge of all.
(a) Cf. Ex 24:9-11,13.
(b)  Mt 5:8.
(c)  Re 22:3-4a, Re 22:6a.
(d)  1Jo 3:2.
(6) ... spirit of just men made perfect (the spirits are not complete until with the body.),  1Th 4:14.
(7) And to Jesus, 1Th 4:16-18; 2Th 2:1.
(8) The great and notable day of His coming, Heb 12:25-29.

F.    Therefore live according to Heb 13:10-16.

1.    Ro 12:1-2, bodies a sacrifice, Heb 13:10.

2.    Heb 13:15, sacrifice of praise.

3.    Heb 13:16, sacrifice of giving.


A.   Summarize points I-IV.

1.    Many views and King James' rules.

2.    Meaning and use as found in the N. T.

3.    The body of Christ.

4.    The passage of Heb 12:23.

B.   The meaning of generic or institutional.

1.    General sense, i.e. of or pertaining to the typical and abstract; not concrete; universal is a synonym of generic. However, when “the generic or abstract finds concrete expression, or takes operative shape, it is always a particular assembly” or congregation. From B. H. Carroll.

a.     “For example, if an English statesman, referring to the right of each individual citizen to be tried by his peers, should say: ‘On this rock England will build her jury and all power of tyrants shall not prevail against it,’ he uses the term jury in an abstract sense, i. e., in the sense of an institution. But when this institution finds concrete expression, or becomes operative, it is always a particular jury of twelve men, and never an aggregation of all juries into one big jury.
  “Or if a law writer would say: ‘In trials of fact, by oral testimony, the court shall be the judge of the law, and the jury shall be the judge of the facts,’ and if he should add: ‘In giving evidence, the witness shall tell what he knows to the jury, and not to the court,’ he evidently uses the term ‘court,’ ‘jury’ and ‘witness’ in a generic sense. But in the application the generic always becomes particular–i. e., a particular judge, a particular jury, or a particular witness, and never an aggregate of all judges into one big judge, nor of all juries into one big jury, nor of all witnesses into one big witness. Hence we say that the laws of language require that all abstract and generic uses of the word ecclesia should be classified with the particular assembly and not with the general assembly.” Ecclesia–The Church, by B. H. Carroll, p. 9.

b.    Today’s generic “brands” of food. If I get generic peas, they are always peas and never potatoes or anything else.

C.   Though I have given my views on the following passages, yet, they are sometimes used in the generic sense. But when used so, they never contradict the meaning or idea of assembly or congregation.

1.    Passages used by some in an institutional sense.

a.     Mt 16:18.

b.    Ac 8:3; 12:1.

c.     1Co 10:32.

d.    Ga 1:13; Php 3:6.

2.    There may be others, but the above are given for examples.


A.   Read from Joseph Ivimey's A History of the English Baptist, Vol. I, pp. 478-511 (Appendix F).

B.   Note: There is a difference in the meaning of a word and the use of it.


A.   Compare the London, Savoy, & Westminster Confessions.

1.    Westminster – 6 articles; Savoy – 5 articles; London – 15 articles.

2.    A major difference on the doctrine of the church.

3.    The London Confession knows nothing of a universal visible church – neither does it maintain that the catholic or universal “invisible” church has yet met.

a.     It is true that the Baptist referred to the elect as the church, but this is by way of a figure – the same as house, family, bride, sheep.

(1) Though men used the word church in this way, we must remember that there is a difference between the meaning of a word and the usage of a word. We have seen that the Bible always uses evkklhsia, in agreement with it meaning.

b.    The Scriptures declare (by meaning and use of the word) it to be a congregation or an assembly.

(1) Usually a word will have one basic and general meaning.
(2) A word may be used in many ways different from its meaning.
(3) When a word is used in such a way that the literal meaning is not intended, the meaning is descriptive of the usage.

c.     Some give wild interpretations to the confession as some do the Bible.

B.   The confession maintains churches in every age from the time of Christ until the end of time.



[1] That ekklhsia does not mean the called out is demonstrated by the following verses: Ac 9:31; 13:1; 14:23; 15:4,22,41; 16:5; 19:37; 20:17; Ro 16:4-5,16,23; 1Co 6:17,4; 7:17; 11:16,18; 12:28; 14:19,23,28,33-34,35; 16:1,19; 2Co 8:1,18-19,23-24; 11:28; 12:13; Ga 1:2,22; Eph 5:27; Php 4:15; 1Th 2:14; 2Th 1:4; 1Ti 5:16; Heb 2:12; Jas 5:14; 3Jo 9-10; Re 1:4,11,20; 2:7,11,17,29,29; 3:6,13,22; 22:16.

[2] See Appendix B.

[3] See Appendix C.

[4] Eorth, to keep a feast; amusement, play, sport, enjoyment. Greek-English Lexicon, Liddell & Scott, p. 484.





A.   It is true that the church is an organism (i.e. a living body), yet every living organism which functions normally has organization and it is organized; e.g., the human body.

1.    Its services are to be decently and orderly, 1Co 14:40.

2.    It has deacons for the purpose of communicating, or distributing the funds systematically, Ac 6:1-6.

3.    It has gifts for the purpose of perfecting the saints so that the saints might edify the body, Eph 4:11-16. For an explanation of this point concerning Eph 4:11-12, see the “Introduction” in the pamphlet Preaching As It Relates To The Work & Obligation Of The Pastor – Appendix G DocChurch: DC.11 APPENDIX G.

4.    It has a treasurer, Joh 13:29; 12:6.

5.    The church has discipline, Mt 18:15-18; 1Co 5.

6.    It has a list of members, Ac 1:13-15, cf. Mt 10:2-4.


A.   It has a DIVINE FOUNDER ‑ Jesus Christ ‑ which is seen in

1.    His miraculous birth, Isa 7:14 (cf. Jer 31:22); Lu 1:26-35; Ga 4:4; Heb 2:9,14; 10:5.

2.    His sinless life, Joh 8:46; Heb 4:15.

3.    The miracles which He performed, Joh 20:30-31; Ac 2:22.

4.    His resurrection, Ac 2:29-31; Ro 1:4.

5.    His Father's testimony, Mt 3:17; Lu 9:35; Joh 12:28.


1.    1Co 3:11.

2.    Eph 2:20.

3.    Mt 16:18 (The Rock).

4.    Isa 28:16.


1.    Mt 16:18, Christ said, “I will build.”

a.     Cf. Eph 2:20; Ps 127:1.

b.    Cf. Mt 7:27.

c.     Cf. Re 18:1-2,10. This was not built by Christ, nor was its foundation sure.

D.   It has a DIVINE TEACHER & GUIDE: Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit, Joh 14:16-18; 16:13-14.

E.   It has Divine Material, 1Jo 3:1-2,8-10; 5:19.

F.    It has a DIVINE Mission & Commission.

1.    Eph 3:21, It exists for the purpose of glorifying God. When it fails to do this, it is a hinderance to the glory of God (Lu 11:23).

2.    Eph 3:10, It is to make known the manifold wisdom of God by

a.     Being a witness of Jesus Christ, Ac 1:8.

b.    Preaching the gospel, Mr 16:15.

c.     Making disciples of all nations through being a witness and the preaching of the gospel, Mt 28:19. Some argue that the commission was given only to the apostles, that it was not to continue to this age, and it was to cease with the apostles. If this is so, why baptize with the formula found in Mt 28:19-20? Why maintain that Christ is with us today according to Mt 28:20? What is the church to do? What is our commission today as a church?

d.    Baptizing each new convert into the faith and fellowship of a New Testament congregation, Mt 28:19.

e.    Teaching the converts to observe all things commanded by the Lord, Mt 28:20.

f.       Edifying, exhorting, and conforting, and thereby, strengthening and perpetuating the congregation as God's witness in the world, 1Co 14:3,12; Eph 4:11-16.

3.    1Ti 3:15, It is to preserve and maintain the truth; not only the Scriptures, but also the truths which the Scriptures teach. This includes the ordinances and the proper mode of observing them. See 1Co 11:23.

G.  It has a DIVINE MESSAGE ‑ the Bible, the Word of God, the Divine revelation of God's will to man, 2Ti 3:16-4:2.

1.    The Word was given by “inspiration” (i.e., it was God-breathed).

2.    The Word is profitable for “doctrine,” “reproof,” “correction,” and “instruction.”

3.    The Word was given so that the child of God may be “throughly furnished unto all good works.”

4.    The Word is to be “preached.”

5.    The Word is for the purpose of “reproof,” “rebuke,” “exhortation,” and “doctrine.”


A.   Mt 16:19; 18:18. If we were to translate these passages in clearer words, they would read thus: And whatever thou mayest bind on the earth, shall have already been bound in the heavens; and whatever thou mayest loose on the earth, shall have already been loosed in the heavens, cf. Joh 20:23.

B.   Jesus told the church that He had “all authority;” therefore, go . . . (Mt 28:18-20), thus giving the church authority to go.

C.   The church is to judge those within her ranks or assembly, 1Co 5:3-13; 6:1-8. See also 2Th 3:6,14. If a congregation does not have the right to judge members of another assembly, then it cannot administer, nor withhold, the Lord's Supper to a member of another assembly, cf. 1Co 5:5,11.

D.   All this authority given to the church is “judicial authority” NOT “legislative authority.” ONLY CHRIST has legislative authority; the church only has judicial authority.


A.   Militant by its readiness and willingness to fight ‑ though not with swords of steel and arms of flesh ‑ the fight of faith.

1.    1Ti 6:12, cf. 2Ti 4:7.

2.    2Pe 2 & 2Pe 3.

3.    1Jo 2:18-24; 2Jo 13; 3Jo 14.

4.    Jude 25,25.

B.    Missionary by its spreading of the Word of God.

1.    Ac 5:42; 8:4,26,40.

2.    Ro 1:8.

3.    1Th 1:7-10.


A.   Baptized believers, Ac 1:21-22.

B.   An assembly, Lu 6:12-16.

C.   They (the assembled believers) had the gospel, Mr 1:1. It was the same gospel, Mr 1:4; Mt 3:2; Mr 1:14-15; Mt 10:7; Ac 10:37-39; 28:23,31; 1Ti 3:15.

D.   They had the HEAD, Eph 5:23.

E.   They had baptism, Joh 4:1-2.

F.    They had organization ‑ Discipline and A Treasurer, Mt 18:15-18; Joh 12:6; 13:38.

G.  They had the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, Lu 22:19-20; Joh 13:1-30; 1Co 11:23.

H.   They had the commission to preach the gospel, Mt 28:19-20; Mr 16:15.

I.       They had the Word of God, Joh 17:8,14, cf. 1Ti 3:15.

J.     They had prayer meetings, Ac 1:14; Mt 21:13.

K.   They had a business meeting, Ac 1:15-26 (selected Judas’ successor). That this action was valid see Ac 2:14,32,37; 6:2,4,6.

L.    They had a pastor – first, Christ; then, Peter.

1.    Christ – Mt 26:31-32; Mr 14:27-28.

2.    Peter – Joh 21:15-17, esp. Joh 21:16 (poimainw, to shepherd, pastor, tend, feed). See also Ac 1:15; 2:14,37; 3:1,3-4,6,12; 4:8,13,19; 5:3,8,29.

M.  The COMFORTER was promised to them, Joh 14:16-17,26; 15:26-27; 16:7,13, cf. Mt 28:20.

N.   It (the church) was added unto on the day of Pentecost, Ac 2:41,47.

O.  The first gift of the church was placed in it before Pentecost, 1Co 12:28; Lu 6:13-16; 9:1-2.

P.   The second, third, fourth, and fifth gifts were placed in the church before Pentecost, 1Co 12:28; Lu 10:1-12.

Q.  Fulfilled Scripture confirms the church prior to Pentecost, Heb 2:12, cf. Ps 22:22.

1.    Declared the name to the brethren, Joh 17:6,26.

2.    Sung in the congregation, Mt 26:30; Mr 14:26.

R.   It had a membership roll, Mt 10:2-4; Ac 1:13-15.

S.   It had Divine authority, Mt 16:19; 18:18; 28:18-20; Joh 20:23.

T.    It had instruction concerning church authority, Mt 18:15-20.

U.   It had the Holy Spirit, Joh 20:23.

V.   It had the corner-stone, Christ, Mt 16:18; Eph 2:20.

W.It had equality of members, Mt 23:8-12.

X.   It had the essentials, Mt 18:20.

Y.    It had the foundation, Eph 2:20-21.

Z.    Since Christ died for the church, it was in existence at the time of His death, Eph 5:25; Ac 20:28.


A.   There are only three possibilities as to whom (or to what) the commission was given.

1.    To the apostles alone.

a.     If the commission was given to the apostles, then, it ceased with the apostles, for they had no successors. The same holds for baptism. Some claim that it was given to the apostles as preachers. See NO. 3 below.

b.    OR, if the commission was given to the apostles, the apostles delivered it to the churches (or to leaders in the churches to be taught to the churches) as they did all other instructions, Ac 16:4; 20:27; 1Co 11:23; 2Ti 2:2.

c.     However, the apostles were in the church and not separate and apart from it, 1Co 12:28.

2.    To all believers indescriminently. If the commission was given to believers indescriminently there is no authority at all. If all believers are free to evangelize, baptize and teach, regardless of identity or belief, there are no guidelines for truth. Eventually each will do that which is right in his own eyes, cf. Jg 17:6; 21:25.

3.    To the company of believers designated as Christ's church. (To those who maintain that it was given to apostles as preachers, remember that the first gift set [placed] in the church was the apostles, 1Co 12:28. Today the ministers are raised up in the church and the church recognizes them as they are called by God, cf. Ac 13:1-4; 1Ti 1:3, with 1Ti 3:1-15.) This is the only Scriptural conclusion.

B.   The commission was given to the church three (3) times.

1.    In Jerusalem, Lu 24:33-48, cf. Joh 20:19-23.

2.    In Galilee, Mt 28:16-20 (cf. Mt 26:32; 28:7,10,16; Mr 14:28; 16:7).  Mr 16:14-18 may be a combination of 1) and 2).

3.    At the Mount of Olives, Ac 1:4-11.

4.    Somewhere it was given to the 500, 1Co 15:6 (In Galilee?).

C.   All authority is given to the church, the pillar and ground of the truth, 1Ti 3:15. He who goes without the authority of the church, the congregation of the Lord, goes without the authority of God. (It is obvious that the congregation must be of God and acting according to Scripture. WOE to the church that hinders one that God has called!)

1.    Balaam went without God's authority. He went to curse, but he could only bless.

2.    The end does not justify the means. Results are not proof that the method was correct, Nu 20:8,11-12 (Moses).

3.    Evangelism is done by ordained ministers. God qualifies those whom He has called.

4.    However, it is true that all believers are to witness and spread the Word of God in their daily lives.






A.   When a group of people covenant together (or form themselves in some way) for the purpose of conducting worship services, they do this with the idea that they have the right (authority) to do so.

B.   When a group of people carry out the ordinances/commission, they perform them with the idea that they have the right (authority) to do so.

C.   All Bible believers must go to the Scriptures in order to know how to perform these functions according to God's will. Though one (individual or group) may believe that he is correct, he can only be certain that he is correct if his ways are according to the Biblical pattern.

1.    It is self-evident that the members of any society (congregation) must be of the same mind (i.e. hold to a system of faith) if they are to have fellowship one with another.

2.    A congregation must have a system of truth which is derived from the Scriptures. Therefore, that system, being divinely given, is not an option for Christians.

D.   When believers assemble together for the purpose of observing the ordinances of Christ, they form a visible society distinguished from the rest of mankind. United among themselves, they partake of the same external rites as an expression of their holding the same faith.

1.    Since believers form a distinct society when they assemble and express their faith in worship (which includes partaking of the ordinances), they must follow the instructions given in the Scriptures as to who should participate, when, where, and how this is to be fulfilled, and the guidelines as to how the congregation of the Lord is to be kept pure.

2.    1Ti 3:15 definitely teaches that the congregation is given the authority to uphold and maintain the truth: the truth of the gospel; the truth of baptism; the truth of the Lord's Supper; namely, all truth.

II.       BAPTISM:

A.   In order for baptism to be valid it must meet the Scriptural pattern. There is only one baptism, Eph 4:4.

1.    Scriptural mode.

a.     Immersion.

(1) The word baptizw means immersion. Thayer states, “... to dip repeatedly, to immerge, submerge, ... to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water ....” Later he gives its meaning with regard to the metaphorical use: “to overwhelm ... to be overwhelmed with calamities ....” Lexicon, p. 94.
(a) Baptizw is used 80 times in the New Testament. It is translated baptize 76 times, wash 2 times, baptist 1 time, baptized 1 time.

(i)    Baptize.

[a]  Mt 3:6,11,11,13-14,16; 20:22,22-23,23*; Mt 28:19.

[b]  Mr 1:4*, Mr 1:5,8,8-9; 10:38,38-39,39*; Mr 16:16.

[c]  Lu 3:7,12,16,16,21,21; 7:29-30*; Lu 12:50.

[d]  Joh 1:25-26,28,31,33,33; 3:22-23*, Joh 1:23,26; 4:1-2.

[e]  Ac 1:5,5; 2:38,41; 8:12,12,16,36,38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 11:16,16; 16:15,33*; Ac 18:8; 19:3-4,5; 22:16.

[f]    Ro 6:3,3*.

[g]  1Co 1:13-14,15-16,16-17; 10:2*; 1Co 12:13; 15:29,29.

[h]  Ga 3:27*.

(ii)  Wash.

[a]  Mr 7:4.

[b]  Lu 11:38.

(iii)Baptist, Mr 6:14*.

(iv)Baptized, Joh 10:40.

(b) Baptisma is used 22 times and is always translated baptism.

(i)    Mt 3:7; 20:22-23*; Mt 21:25.

(ii)  Mr 1:4*; Mr 10:38-39*; Mr 11:30.

(iii)Lu 3:3; 7:29*; Lu 12:50*; Lu 20:4.

(iv)Ac 1:22; 10:37; 13:24; 18:25; 19:3-4.

(v)  Ro 6:4*.

(vi)Eph 4:5.

(vii)Col 2:12.*

(viii) 1Pe 3:21.

(c) Baptistej is used 14 times and is always translated Baptist.

(i)    Mt 3:1*; Mt 11:11*, Mt 11:12; 14:2*, Mt 14:8; 16:14; 17:13.

(ii)  Mr 6:24-25; 8:28.

(iii)Lu 7:20,28*, Lu 7:33; 9:19.

(d) Baptw is used 3 times and is always translated dip.

(i)    Lu 16:24*.

(ii)  Joh 13:26.

(iii)Re 19:13*.

(e) Baptismoj is used 4 times and is translated washing 3 times and baptism 1 time.

(i)    Washing.

[a]  Mr 7:4,8.

[b]  Heb 9:10.

(ii)  Baptism, Heb 6:2.

(2) Many lexicons can be quoted to prove that this is definitely the meaning of the word. Agreeing with the lexicons, multitudes of writers (including men like Luther and Calvin) admit to this meaning of the word.

b.    Immersion in water.

(1) That it is so universally accepted that water is used, it seems ludicrous to mention it.
(2) The Scriptures plainly show that it is in water and not with water.
(3) Every time a Greek preposition is used in connection with baptism it is always en which should be translated in.
(a) The Greek preposition (en) is used 2,781 times in the New Testament.

(i)    It is translated in 1,874 times.

(ii)  It is translated with 135 times.

(iii)If King James I had not given the translators the rule stating that “the old ecclesiastical words to be kept,” the word en (as well as baptizw) might have been properly translated in reference to baptism. Since King James I was a Roman Catholic at heart, he would only allow “the old ecclesiastical words” such as used and understood by Roman Catholics.

(b) A look at Mr 1:4-5.
(c) A study of the Greek of those passages marked (*) above.
(4) There are sixteen (16) Greek words that are translated with. The following statistics come from J. B. Smith's Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament.

(i)    Ama is used 10 times and trans. 1 time with.

(ii)  Apo is used 656 times and trans. 4 times with.

(iii)Dia (with the genitive) is used 383 times and trans. 16 times with.

(iv)Dia (with the accusative) is used 257 times and trans. 1 time with.

(v)  Eij is used 1,773 times ans trans. 1 time with.

(vi)Ek is used 921 times and trans. 25 times with.

(vii)En, is used 2,781 times and is trans. 135 times with.

(viii)Epi (with the dative) is used 203 times and is trans. 6 times with.

(ix)Epi (with the accusative) is used 473 times and is trans. 2 times with.

(x)  Ecw is used 709 times and is trans. 1 time with.

(xi)Kata (with the accusative) is used 404 times and is trans. 3 times with.

(xii)Meta (with the genitive) is used 371 times and is trans. 345 times with.

(xiii)Para (with the dative) is used 56 times and is trans. 42 times with.

(xiv)Peri (with the genitive) 293 times and is trans. 1 time with.

(xv)Proj is used 711 times and is trans. 43 times with.

(xvi)Sun is used 125 times and is trans. 125 times with.

(xvii)Upo (with the genitive) is used 181 times and is trans. 14 times with.

(xviii)Oj is used 492 times and is trans. 1 time with.

(b) Only three (3) [meta, para, sun] of the sixteen (16) words have the basic meaning of with and none of them are used in connection with baptism – water or spirit.

2.    Scriptural subject.

a.     The candidate must be regenerated.

b.    Every person baptized in the New Testament gave evidence of repentance and/or belief prior to being baptized.

3.    Scriptural administrator.

a.     The administrator was baptized himself (John the only exception).

b.    The New Testament declares that the administrator was baptized, and it teaches that the administrator was a leader of some kind in the congregation of the Lord.

4.    Scriptural design/purpose.

a.     Scriptural baptism will teach the truth.

(1) Baptism is a figure, picture, type of the real thing, 1Pe 3:21; Ac 22:16.
(2) Baptism must accurately picture the truth concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ – the way of salvation.
(3) If baptism is not Scripturally performed, it does not teach what it is ordained to teach, and therefore, is not Scriptural baptism.

b.    Being identify with a system of belief.

(1) When one is baptized, he identifies himself with a system of truth.
(a) Mt 28:19, “baptizing them eij the name ...”
(b) Ac 2:38, “be baptized every one of you epi the name ...”
(c) Ac 8:16; 19:5, “baptized eij the name ...”
(d) Ac 10:48, “baptized en the name ...” 
(e) Ac 13:24; 19:4, “baptism of repentance”
(f)   Ro 6:3-4, “baptized eij Christ Jesus, eij his death
(g) 1Co 10:2, “baptized eij Moses
(h) 1Co 15:29, “baptized uper the dead
(i)    Ga 3:27, “baptized eij Christ
(2) It is never found in the Scriptures where an individual was baptized that did not believe something.

c.     Being identify with a group, 1Co 12:13.

(1) Though there are exceptions to this rule (e.g. the eunuch, Ac 8:39), the consensus of the Scriptures teach that those who were baptized were connected with a congregation. Though we assume that the eunuch went back to Ethiopia, the scriptures only say that “he went on his way rejoicing.” Is it possible that he joined himself with a New Testament congregation somewhere?
(2) The Scriptural rule is that after a congregation was established by apostles or other leaders from another congregation, those who were baptized identified themselves with the congregation (or leaders in the congregation) that baptized them.

B.   The conclusion is that if baptism does not follow the Scriptural pattern it is not baptism.

C.   The Scriptures plainly reveal that Christ's congregation is to be composed of baptized believers.


A.   The Lord's supper was instituted in the congregation of the Lord, cf. Mt 26:30; Mr 14:26 with Ps 22:22; Heb 2:12.

B.   The Lord's supper must be conducted according to the Scriptural pattern, Mt 26:26-30; Mr 14:22-26; Lu 22:17-20; Joh 13:1ff.; 1Co 11:18-34.

1.    Scriptural elements: Bread and wine.

a.     Unleavened bread was used to picture the purity of the sacrifice (sinless), cf. 1Co 5:7-8).

b.    That the fruit of the vine was wine is indicative of the fact that wine was used in their feasts which was being observed at that time as it was with the unleavened bread. However, it is further established by the fact that some of the Corinthians were getting drunk at the Lord's supper, 1Co 11:21. People do not get drunk with grape juice.

c.     Wine, like unleavened bread, denotes purity in the sacrifice. Christ, who is our sacrifice, was and is pure in every way.

2.    Scriptural subject.

a.     Baptized believers.

(1) It is never found in the Scriptures where an unbaptized person participated in the Lord's supper.
(2) It is never commanded in the Scriptures that an unbeliever is to eat the Lord's supper.

b.    Members of a congregation.

(1) Since the Lord's supper was instituted in the congregation (cf. Mt 26:30 with Ps 22:22; Heb 2:12), only the congregation can administer it.
(2) According to the teaching of 1Co 5:4-13, and other passages referring to discipline in the congregation, only members of a congregation ought to partake of the Lord's supper.
(a) If a congregation does not have the authority to discipline an individual, it does not have the right to administer the Lord's supper to him, nor withhold if from him.
(b) Open or closed communion.
(3) It is never seen in the Scriptures where an individual who is not identified with a congregation engaging in the Lord's supper.
(a) The closest thing that approximates otherwise is Ac 20:7.

(i)    A close study of this passage indicates that there was a congregation at Troas.

(ii)  Some question whether the breaking of bread at Troas was the Lord's supper due to the definite article not preceding the word loaf (bread) in the Greek text. This is questioned because those passages which definitely refer to the Lord's Supper have the definite article prior to the word for bread.

(b) A fundamental rule of Biblical interpretation is, the clear must interpret the obscure. Therefore, Ac 20:7 must give way to the clarity of all the passages concerning the Lord's Supper.

3.    Scriptural design/purpose.

a.     To show the Lord's death.

(1) 1Co 11:26.
(2) Mt 26:28; Mr 14:24; Lu 22:19-20.
(3) The Lord's supper (like baptism, 1Pe 3:21) shows the Lord's death in a picture, type, figure.

b.    To cultivate fellowship within the congregation.

(1) 1Co 10:16-17,21.
(2) 1Co 11:33.

c.     To cultivate holiness.

(1) 1Co 5:7-8.
(2) 1Co 10:21.
(3) 1Co 11:28-32.

4.    Scriptural administrator.

a.     The authority lies in the congregation, and it is normally administered by an officer of the congregation.

b.    In the New Testament, the Lord's supper is always performed in a congregation.

C.   If the Lord's supper is not performed according to the Scriptural pattern it is not the Lord's supper.


A.   Concerning baptism.

1.    Are baptisms by sprinkling or pouring valid?

2.    Are baptisms by unbaptized preachers valid?

3.    Are baptisms which identifies a person to a system of error valid?

4.    Are baptisms which originate out of a society which is unbaptized valid?

B.   Concerning the Lord's Supper.

1.    Can an unbaptized society administer the Lord's Supper?

2.    Can an unbaptized preacher/believer administer the Lord's Supper?

3.    Can a society which believes a false gospel partake of the Lord's Supper?

4.    Can a society which does not use the proper elements partake of the Lord's Supper?

5.    Can individuals partake of the Lord's Supper on their own? If so there is no pillar and ground for the Lord's Supper.

C.   This shows the direct relationship of the commission and ordinances, and that they stand or fall together.


          NOTE:  R. L. Dabney in his Systematic Theology, pp. 774-775, has clearly described the issues.


          The odious ecclesiastical consequences of the Immersionist dogma should be pressed; because they form a most potent and just argument against it. All parties are agreed, that baptism is the initiatory rite which gives membership in the visible Church of Christ. The great commission was: Go ye, and disciple all nations, baptizing them into the Trinity. Baptism recognizes and constitutes the outward discipleship. Least of all, can any immersionist dispute this ground. Now, if all other forms of baptism than immersion are not only irregular, but null and void, all unimmersed persons are out of the visible Church. But if each and every member of a paedobaptist visible Church is thus unchurched: of course the whole body is unchurched. All paedobaptist societies, then, are guilty of an intrusive error, when they pretend to the character of a visible Church of Christ. Consequently, they can have no ministry; and this for several reasons. Surely no valid office can exist in an association whose claim to be an ecclesiastical commonwealth is utterly invalid. When the temple is non-existent, there can be no actual pillars to that temple. How can an unauthorized herd of unbaptized persons, to whom Christ conceded no church authority, confer any valid office? Again: it is preposterous that a man should receive and hold office in a commonwealth where he himself has no citizenship; but this unimmersed paedobaptist minister, so-called, is no member of any visible Church. There are no real ministers in the world, except the Immersionist preachers! The pretensions of all others, therefore, to act as ministers, and to administer the sacraments, are sinful intrusions. It is hard to see how any intelligent and conscientious Immersionist can do any act, which countenances or sanctions this profane intrusion. They should not allow any weak inclinations of faternity and peace to sway their consciences in this point of high principle. They are bound, then, not only to practise close communion, but to refuse all ministerial recognition and communion to these intruders. The sacraments cannot go beyond the pale of the visible Church. Hence, the same stern denunciations ought to be hurled at the Lord's Supper in paedobaptist societies, and at all their prayers and preachings in public, as at the iniquity of “baby-sprinkling.” The enlightened immersionist should treat all these societies, just as he does that ‘Synagogue of Satan,’ the Papal Church: there may be many good, misguided believers in them; but no church character, ministry, nor sacraments whatever.













          Many, perhaps indeed most, of the controversies which have arisen in connection with ecclesiastical theology, are to be traced back to fundamental differences of opinion regarding the essential nature and character of that society which Christ has instituted. The different or opposite notions which men have professed to gather from Scripture, in regard to the origin and essential principles of the Christian Church, have necessarily led to conclusions widely different in regard to its functions, its authority, its ordinances, and its government. It is highly important, therefore, to lay down at the outset those scriptural principles as to the nature and character of the Church of Christ, which may prove to us guiding principles in our subsequent investigations into its powers, and the offices it is appointed to discharge. And the first question which naturally arises is regarding the meaning which ought to be attached to the word “Church.” Different societies or associations of Christians are found claiming to themselves, and denying to others, the character and privileges of a Church of Christ; and opinions widely differing from each other are held as to the meaning of the designation. In such circumstances we must have recourse to the Word of God, in order that, by an examination of its statements, we may ascertain in what sense, or in what senses, the term Church is to be understood by us.

The word evkklhsi,a , which is translated Church in our version of the New Testament, in its primary meaning denotes any as-/6sembly gathered together from a promiscuous multitude, whether it be or be not regularly organized, and whether it be for civil or ecclesiastical purposes. Examples both in classical and inspired writers are at hand to prove the extensive meaning of the term;[2] and the same wide signification belongs to the corresponding word in the Hebrew of the Old Testament.[3] In the application of the term to secular assemblies, we find it used to signify the city council, convened in an orderly manner by the magistrate for the determination of civil matters; as in Ac 19., where the townclerk of Ephesus is represented as addressing the citizens: “If Demetrius, and the craftsmen who are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye inquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined (en th ennomw evkklhsia, ) in a lawful convention.” In a similar application of the term to secular assemblies, we find it employed to denote a riotous assemblage of people, gathered together in a disorderly crowd, for purposes of tumult; as in the same chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, when it is said, in regard to the mob who assaulted Paul and his companions: “Some therefore cried one thing, and some another, for (h evkklhsia, ) the assembly or crowd was confused.” With this wide use of the term, as applied to secular assemblies, it is plain that the precise signification of the word, in any given instance, is to be gathered from the manner in which it is employed, and from the context. The same is true in regard to the use of the term evkklhsia, , when applied to sacred or ecclesiastical assemblies of people. Here, too, the range of its application is a wide one; and the precise meaning of the word, in any particular case, must be ascertained from the general sense of the passage and from the context. There are five different but closely allied meanings of the term “Church” to be gathered from Scripture.

I. The word Church signifies the whole body of the faithful, /7 whether in heaven or on earth, who have been or shall be spiritually united to Christ as their Saviour.

There are many examples in Scripture of the use of the term in this wide sense. The first occasion on which the word occurs in the New Testament is one of these, when our Lord declares that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church,”[4] – language which plainly refers to the society or association of all those who had believed or should believe in Him. All history proves that particular and local Churches may fall away from the faith into complete and final apostasy. The promise of our Lord can apply to no special community except the universal Church of Christ, invisible to human eye, and known only to His, consisting of all true believers, and of none else. Again, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, we are told that Christ “loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”[5] That society of men for whom Christ died, and who shall, each one of them, be presented at last holy and without spot before God, is plainly a society the members of which no man can number or declare by any external mark; which can be restricted to no geographical locality, and can be recognized by no features visible to the outward eye. It is the society of the elect, and not identical with any outward Church or Churches of whatsoever name. It is the spiritual and invisible Church of the Redeemer, known only to Himself, of which Scripture thus speaks; and in entire accordance with this use of the term Church in Scripture to denote a society comprehending the whole body of the elect, and none else, are other names or titles given to it in the New Testament. The Church is at one time spoken of under the mysterious name of the Bride or Spouse of Christ,[6] – an expression which can apply to no local or particular Church – to no society, indeed, at all, measured and recognized by the eye of man under any form, or under all forms, of Christian profession, – but must be intended to mark out those, and those only, who have been espoused to Christ through the holy union of His Spirit with theirs. At another time it is spoken of as “the temple of the Holy Ghost,” /8 “a spiritual house,” “an habitation of God through the Spirit,”[7] – language plainly designed to mark out a society defined by no outward limits, but identical with the whole number of spiritual Christians of whatsoever society throughout the world, who have been quickened by the Spirit.

And, finally, the Church is described as “the body of Christ,” all the members of which are united to Him as the Head of life and influence and grace to them,[8] – a description not applicable to any outward body of professing Christians made up of any or all communions, but only to be realized in that great multitude which no man has seen or numbered, who make up the invisible Church of the Redeemer, and whose names are written in heaven. In these passages, and in many others, we have a society defined and described, which embraces the whole number of Christ's elect, and none but they, – a society not identical with any known on earth, and not to be recognized by any local names or notes or boundaries, – a society marked out from any other by the possession of certain high and mysterious privileges, and standing in a very close and peculiar relation to Christ, but unseen and unknown of man, – a society whose members are unreckoned and unobserved on earth, but all of whom are numbered and know in heaven. Such is the invisible Church of the Redeemer. “The catholic or universal Church,” says the Confession of Faith, “which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect that have been or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”[9]

II. The term Church is made use of in Scripture to denote the whole body throughout the world of those that outwardly profess the faith of Christ.

Over and above that unseen society, consisting of the whole number of the elect, who are spiritually united to Christ, there is set forth to us in Scripture another society, externally con-/9 nected with Christ, and standing out visibly before the eyes of the world. This is the visible Church of Christ, known to men by the outward profession of faith in Him, and by the practice of those Church ordinances and observances which He has appointed for His worshippers. It is not to be identified with the invisible Church, for men may belong to the one society, who do not truly belong to the other; and the relation in which the one body stands to Christ is different from the relation occupied by the other. Neither are the two to be wholly placed in opposition to each other; for they form, not so much two separate Churches, as one Church under two distinct and different characters or aspects, – the invisible Church being spiritually united to Christ, the visible being externally united to Him for the sake of the other. This outward society of professing Christians is frequently spoken of and delineated in Scripture under the term Church. It is spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles, when it is said that “the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.”[10] It is spoken of in the Epistle to the Corinthians, when mention is made by Paul of the outward provision which God has made for the order and government and edification of the Church: “And God has set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”[11] It is spoken of again, in reference to the same matter, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, when the same inspired writer says that Christ, “gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”[12] In such passages, it is plain that a visible society of professing Christians is referred to, known and marked out among men by certain outward ordinances and observances peculiar to them, but not to be confounded with the invisible Church made up of the elect. Under the outward form of the visible Church, the invisible society of true believers may to a great extent lie concealed; but under that outward form there may be multitudes also, not truly members of the body of Christ, and only joined to Him by external profession and external ordinances.

That a Church visible and outward, known and recognized by the profession of the faith of Christ and the administration of /10 Christ's ordinances, and yet not to be identified with the invisible society of true believers, is acknowledged and described in Scripture, may be distinctly ascertained, from a careful consideration of the various acceptations in which the word Church is made use of in the New Testament. But if additional evidence were desired on this point, it would be found in various parables of our Lord, in which He more especially describes the visible Church under the expressive title of “the kingdom of heaven.” “The kingdom of heaven,” said our Lord on one occasion, “is like unto a net that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.”[13] This separation of the good from the evil in His kingdom or visible Church is to take place, as He expressly adds, “at the end of the world,” when “the angels shall sever the wicked from among the just,” – the visible Church in this world being made up, in the meantime, of a multitude of true and feigned believers under one common profession, and yet being recognized by Christ as His Church. “The kingdom of heaven,” said our Lord in another parable, “is like unto a man which sowed good seed in this field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the also.” And was this introduction of the tares into the visible Church inconsistent with its character as a Church, and immediately to be remedied by their removal? “Nay,” continues the parable, “lest, while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.”[14] To exactly the same effect is that remarkable similitude, in which our Lord likens the relation between Himself and His Church to the union subsisting between the vine and the branches. “I am the true vine,” said He, “and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.”[15] It is plain that in such language our Lord recognized a twofold union to Himself, – one, a living union, like that of the fruitful branch in the vine; the other, a dead or mere external union, such as the unfruitful branch in the vine, /11 that was cast forth and withered; and such precisely is the twofold connection with Christ, exemplified in the case respectively of the invisible and the visible Church. Those who are united to the Saviour by a living union, – unseen indeed of men, but known to Him, – constitute that society of believers spoken of in Scripture as the spiritual or invisible Church of Christ. Those, on the other hand, who are united to the Saviour by an external union of outward profession and outward privileges, known and seen of men, numbering among them the true believers in Christ, but not exclusively made up of true believers, constitute the visible Church. “The visible Church,” says the Confession of Faith, “which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children, and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.”[16]

III. The term Church is frequently employed in Scripture to denote the body of believers in any particular place, associated together in the worship of God.

This third meaning of the word lies on the very surface of Scripture, and requires almost no illustration. Even in the case of two or three professing Christians, met together for prayer and worship, whether publicly or in private houses, the term evkklhsia, is applied to them in the New Testament; and that, too, before such a congregation might be organized, by having regular office-bearers and minister appointed over them. In the Acts of the Apostles we are told that Paul and Barnabas “ordained them elders in every Church” as they journeyed through Lystra and Iconium and Antioch,[17] – language which plainly recognizes the congregation of professing believers as a Church, even previously /12 to the ordination of office-bearers among them. The body of believers in any particular place associating together for worship, whether numerous or not, have the true character of a Church of Christ. Thus the Apostle Paul on some occasions recognizes as a Church the meeting of believers in the private house of some one or other of his converts. “Greet,” says he in the Epistle to the Romans, “Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus; likewise greet the Church that is in their house.”[18] In his epistle to the Corinthians the same apostle sends to his converts, first, the salutation of the Churches of Asia, and second, the salutation of the congregation or Church assembling in the house of Aquila and Priscilla. “The Churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the Church that is in their house.”[19] In like manner, in the Epistle to Colossians, we hear, “Salute Nymphas, and the Church which is in his house;” and in the Epistle to Philemon, “To the Church in thy house: grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ;”[20] – so numerous and distinct are the testimonies to this third meaning of the term Church, as a company of professing Christians, however small, associated together in any one place for the worship and service of God.

IV. The word Church is applied in the New Testament to a number of congregations associated together under a common government.

It is not necessary to suppose that the term “Church,” when used in reference to the society of professing Christians belonging to one locality, was limited to a single congregation meeting in one building. On the contrary, there seems to be the strongest evidence for assuming that a plurality of congregations, meeting for worship in separate houses, but connected together under one ecclesiastical order, was designated by the general term of a Church. It is not necessary at this stage to enter at length into the discussion of a point, which will more naturally fall to be argued when we come to speak of the government of the Church. It may be enough at present simply to indicate the kind of argument by which it can be shown that the word Church is not restricted in its application to a single congregation, but is used in reference to more that one connected together under one common ecclesiastical arrangement. This will sufficiently appear if we /13 take the case of the converts at Jerusalem, who are spoken of under the general name of “the Church at Jerusalem,” but who, nevertheless, must have constituted more than one congregation in that city. There is enough recorded in the Acts of the Apostles regarding the vast number of Christians at Jerusalem, to forbid the supposition that they could have met all together in one congregation, or under one roof, for their ordinary religious services. On one occasion – that of the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost – we are expressly told that “there were added” to the number of believers previously at Jerusalem “about three thousand souls.” After this it is declared that “daily the Lord added to the Church such as should be saved.”[21] At a later period still, when Peter had preached after healing the lame man at the gate of the temple, we are told that “many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of the men (andrwn) was about five thousand,”[22] – a number evidently exclusive of women. Even this vast number of converts was still further augmented; for in the next chapter we are told that “believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.”[23] And at a subsequent date we have the testimony of James, speaking to Paul respecting the converts at Jerusalem: “Thou seest, brother, how many thousands (literally, myriads, posai muriadej) of Jews there are which believe.”[24] With such facts as these before us regarding the multitudes of converts at Jerusalem, it seems impossible to maintain that the Church there consisted of no more than one solitary congregation, worshipping together under a single roof. No one building could have contained the many thousands of believers that crowded Jerusalem at that time in the fulness of a Pentecostal harvest; nor is it possible, except under the influence of some misleading theory, to believe that they formed no more than one congregation. The conclusion, then, seems to be inevitable, that when we read of the Church at Jerusalem, we find the term applied, not to a single congregation of believers, but to a plurality of congregations, connected together as one body or Church by means of a common government. An examination of the cases of the Church at Corinth and the Church of Ephesus would lead to a similar conclusion, and would justify us in affirming that the word Church in these instances also denotes, not a single congregation of worshippers, but several con- /14gregations associated together by vicinity of place, but still more by a common ecclesiastical rule and order. I do not stop at present to inquire under what form of government separate congregations were thus connected together. The fact that they were so is all that is necessary for us to know in assigning to the term Church this fourth signification.

V. The word Church is applied, in the New Testament, to the body of professing believers in any place, as represented by their rulers and office-bearers.

The principle of representation is fully and frequently recognized in Scripture as having a place in the dispensations of God, as well as in the ordinary transactions of life; nor can it seem anything new to find the body of believers in any given place represented by their office-bearers, and the term primarily descriptive of the one applied to the other. An example of this application of the term Church is to be found in Matthew xviii., when our Lord is laying down the principles on which a Christian ought to proceed in the case of a brother who has trespassed against him. If, after dealing with the offender as to his fault, first in private with himself alone, and then in the presence of two or three witnesses, he shall still neglect to hear and acknowledge his offence, the command of our Lord is to “tell it to the Church.” In such an injunction our Lord referred to the synagogue Court known and established among the Jews, which had its elders and officers for the decision of such matters of discipline; and in the expression “the Church,” which He made use of, the Jews who heard Him must have understood the authorized rulers, as distinct from the ruled, to be the parties who were to determine in such controversies. An impartial consideration of this text in its connection seems to justify the assertion that the word Church is in Scripture, among its other meanings, employed to denote the rulers or office-bearers of the Christian society.

Such are the five different senses in which the word Church is used in the New Testament Scriptures; and it is not unimportant to remark the connection between them, and the order in which they stand related to each other. The primary and normal idea of the Church, as set forth in Scripture, is unquestionably that of a body of men spiritually united to Christ, and, in consequence of that union, one with each other, as they are one with Him. From this fundamental idea of the universal invisible Church of /15 Christ, all the others are derived. Add to this first idea of a Church, as indicated in Scripture, an outward provision of government, ordinances, and office-bearers, appointed for the purpose of ministering to the edification of its members, and you have the visible Church, as laid down in the New Testament, – an outward society formed upon the inward and spiritual one, and established and maintained in the world for its benefit. Add to this second scriptural idea of a Church the further notion of locality, so that instead of being viewed in its universal character as extending over all the world, it is viewed in its local character as existing in certain places, and limited to them, – and you learn the third meaning of the term as found in the New Testament, namely, a body of professing Christians assembling together in one place for the worship and service of God. Further still, annex to this third notion of the Church, as existing in particular localities and congregations, the additional idea of co-operation and union under some one form of ecclesiastical government, and you arrive at the fourth meaning of the word Church in Scripture, – a number of particular congregations associated together under one Church order and authority. And lastly, to this fourth idea of a Church conjoin the principle of representation, so largely developed both in the dispensations of God and in the arrangements of civil society, and you reach the fifth and final use of the term as found in the Bible, namely, to denote a society or societies of professing Christians, as represented by their office-bearers and rulers. From the single germ of one believer or of several believers, vitally united to a Saviour, and in the enjoyment of the privileges belonging to that union, it is not difficult to trace the Church of Christ under all the different yet closely allied characters in which it is defined and delineated in Scripture.[25]

It is of great importance, at the outset, to fix with some measure of precision the different significations in which the word Church is used in Scripture, because of the opposite opinions entertained /16 by different parties as to this matter, – opinions which cannot fail to bear directly or indirectly upon every step in our subsequent discussions. For example, the Romanist sets himself in opposition to the first of those meanings which we have found to be attached in Scripture to the term Church. He is prepared to deny altogether, or, if not to deny abstractly, yet practically to set aside, the idea of an invisible Church as the primary and fundamental one, and to substitute that of a visible Church in its stead. Bossuet, in his Variations of the Protestant Churches, goes so far as to charge upon the Reformers the invention of the idea of a Church invisible, with a view to meet the alleged difficulty, so often urged by Romanists, of the visible existence of no Church, identical in principles and character with the Reformed before the Reformation.[26] And more recent Romanist controversialists, if they do not in so many terms deny the existence of a Church invisible, endeavour to substitute in its stead that of a visible body as the leading and normal idea of the Christian society. Now, concede to Romanists the position they are so anxious to assume, and deny that there is an invisible and spiritual Church at all, or at least that this is the primary and leading idea of the Christian society; grant that the outward and visible Church is the source from which the inward and invisible is derived, – and you open up the way for some of the worst and most characteristic errors of Popery. That single admission with respect to the fundamental idea of the Christian society, prepares the way for making communion with an outward Church take the place of a spiritual reality, and substituting the external charm of priestly arts and sacramental grace for the living union of the soul to the Saviour.[27]

/17 Or, take another example from the case of the Independents. Independents deny the second of the five meanings which we have found ascribed to the word Church in Scripture. They repudiate altogether the idea of a visible Church, sustaining a real, although external, relation to Christ, and composed of His professing people. Now, concede to the Independents this position, and set aside the idea of a visible Church with its outward order and privileges, and you concede to them at the same time all that is necessary to determine in their favour the question regarding the character and qualifications of Church members, and to establish their principles on the subject of “pure communion.” In like manner the Independents reject the fourth and fifth meanings of the word Church. They deny that it is ever found in Scripture to signify either a plurality of congregations under one government, or simply the representatives or office-bearers of the congregation as contradistinguished from the congregation itself. Here, too, the difference of opinion in regard to the use and meaning of the term in Scripture is a fundamental one, giving rise to other and no less fundamental differences at future stages of the discussion. Admit the narrow position taken up by the Independents in regard to the true meaning and nature of a Church as defined in Scripture, restrict the term to one or other of the two significations of either the invisible Church at large, or a single congregation of believers in a particular locality, and you, in fact, concede every principle that is necessary for them to establish their views as to the form of the Church, and the nature of its government. There cannot be, in fact, a more important question, or one in the determination of which more fundamental principles are involved, than that in regard to the real nature of the Christian Church, as delineated in Scripture; and if we have succeeded in discovering the meaning of the term according to New Testament usage, we shall have done much to prepare the way for our future discussions.[28]

[1] This appendix is chapter I (pages 5-17), from vol. I, of James Bannerman's work The Church of Christ. Bannerman was a member of the Church of Scotland and lived from 1807 to 1868. Due to the different format of the pages, the footnote numbers will not exactly correspond to the numbers in Bannerman's book. While the Greek words are spelled out with the Greek letters, the accent and breathing marks are not included; the Hebrew letters are changed to English because I could not print out the Hebrew letters with this program. Pages are noted with a /n, with the n being the page number.

[2] See Schleusner, Lexicon Nov. Test. in voc. ekklhsia.

[3] .lhq  (from lh;q\ = in Hiph. to call together), “congregation,” “assembly,” LXX. ekklhsia and sunagwgh, twice to plhqoj, and once sunedrion; and hd[  (from d[;q = to appoint, and in Niph. to come together, “congregation,” “assembly,” LXX sunagwgh, once parembolh, and once episustasij; arq.mi, again (from arq = kalew), “convocation,” “assembly,” LXX. klhtoj, epiklhtoj, is always restricted, in the Old Testament, to an assembly for religious purposes.

[4]Mt 16:18

[5]Eph 5:25-27

[6]Song 2:10 ff, Song 4:7,9 ff.; Eph 5:32; Re 21:2,9; 22:17.

[7]Eph 2:21-22; 1Co 3:16-17; 2Co 6:16; 1Pe 2:5.

[8]1Co 12:27; Eph 3:6,12,16; Col 1:18; 2:19.

[9]Conf. chap. xxv. 1 [Caput in Illo homine agnoscimus, qui natus est de Maria Virgine, etc. Hoc est caput Ecclesiae. Corpus hujus capitis Ecclesia est, non quae hoc loco est, sed et quae hoc loco et per totum orbem terrarum; nec illa quae hoc tempore, sed ab ipso Abel usque ad eos qui nascituri sunt usque in finem et credituri in Christum, totus populus sanctorum ad unam civitatem pertinentium, quae civitas corpus est Christi, cui caput est Christus. Aug. in Ps 90:1. Opera, ed, Migne, tom. iv. Pars ii. p. 1159.]

[10] Ac 1-28.

[11] 1Co 12:28.

[12] Eph 4:11-12.

[13] Mt 13:47-49.

[14] Mt 13:24-30,36-43.

[15] Joh 15:1-8.

[16] Conf. chap. xxv. 2. [Comp. also the Second Book of Discipline, chap. i. 1. “The Kirk of God is sumtymes largelie takin for all them that professe the Evangill of Jesus Christ, and so it is a Company and Fellowship not onely of the Godly, but also of Hypocrites professing alwayis outwardly ane true Religion; uther Tymes it is takin for the Godlie and Elect onlie.” – Dunlop's Collection of Confessions of Faith, Catechisms, Directories, Books of Discipline, etc. Of Publick Authority in the Church of Scotland, Edinr. 1722, vol. ii. p. 759. “Ecclesia consistit in illis personis in quibus est notitia vera et confessio fidei et veritatis.” – Nicolas de Lyra (ob. 1340), quoted by Melanchthon in the Apol. Conf. Aug. chap. 4.

[17] Ac 14:23.

[18] Ro 16:3-5.

[19] 1Co 16:19.

[20] Col 4:15; Phm 25.

[21] Ac 2:41,47.

[22] Ac 4:4.

[23] Ac 5:14.

[24] Ac 21:20.

[25] Compare with these five meanings of the term Church those given by Mr. Palmer, who may be taken as a representative of the English High Church party: Treatise on the Church of Christ, Lond. 1838, vol. i. pp. 4, 5. [Also Wordsworth's Theoph. Angl., Lond. 1863, part i. chaps. i. ii. iii. Nitzsch, System der christl. Lehre, 6te Ausg. <185> 187: Die Kirche ist zuerst, und ehe sie etwas anders ist, die Gemeinde der Geheiligten, und insofern selbst ein Gegenstand des Glaubens, u. s. w. Comp. Melanchthon in Apol. Conf. Aug. art. iv.: Ecclesia est principaliter societas fidei et Spiritus Sancti in cordibus.]

[26] Bossuet, Variations of the Protestant Churches, Dublin 1836, vol. ii. pp. 281, 290, 2d ed.

[27] “Nostra autem sententia est,” say Bellarmine, after reviewing the opinions of the Reformers regarding the Church visible and invisible, “Ecclesiam unam tantum esse, non duas, et illam unam et veram esse cætum hominum ejusdem Christian‘ fidei professione, et eorundem Sacramentorum communione colligatum, sub regimine legitimorum pastorum, ac pa‘cipue unius Christi in terris Vicarii Romani Pontificis. Ex qua definitione,” he most justly adds, “facile colligi potest qui homines ad Ecclesiam pertineant, qui vero ad eam non pertineant.” Bell. Opera, tom. ii. lib. iii. chaps. ii. xi. xii., where he distinctly denies the existence of an invisible church, and argues against it at length. See also M”hler, Symbolism, Robertson's Trans., vol. ii. pp. 5 f. 108; 2d ed. [Comp. also Nitzsch's protestantische Beantwortung der Symbolik M”hler's, pp. 232, 233; Schliermacher's christliche Glaube, Berlin 1830, Band i. p. 145, 2te Ausg.

[28] .Principal Cunningham's Works, Edin. 1863, vol. ii. pp. 9-20. Apollonius, Consideratio Quarund. Controv. etc., Lond. 1664, chap. iii. pp. 27-51; Engl. Transl., Lond. 1645, A Consideration, etc., chap. iii. pp. 24-43. Mastricht, Theologia Theoretico-Practica, lib. vii. cap. i.






William Kiffin was writing against John Bunyan for his practice of open communion. Kiffin maintained that open communion was a new practice not only for the Baptist but also for other parties within the borders of Christianity. History clearly reveals that Bunyan’s practice was a novel occurrence, and that it was later popularized by Robert Hall.

John Bunyan wrote:

Now that baptism is essential to church communion, I prove from 1Co 12., where we shall find the apostle labouring to prevent an evil use that might be made of spiritual gifts, as thereby to be puffed up; and to think that such as wanted them, were not of the body, or to be esteemed members; he thereupon resolves, that whoever did confess Christ, and own him for his head, did it by the Spirit, (1Co 12:3,) though they might not have such a visible manifestation of it as others had, and therefore they ought to be owned as members, as appears, 1Co 12:23. And not only because they have called him Lord by the Spirit, but because they have by the guidance and direction of the same Spirit been baptized, 1Co 12:13, “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body,” &c. I need not go about to confute that notion that some of late have had of this text, viz., that the baptism here spoken of is the baptism of the Spirit, because you have not owned and declared that notion as your judgment; but, on the contrary, all of you that I have ever conversed with have declared it to be understood of baptism with water, by the direction of the Spirit. If so, then it follows, that men and women are declared members of Christ's body by baptism, and cannot be by Scripture reputed and esteemed so without it; which farther appears from Ro 6:5, where men by baptism are said to be planted into “the likeness of his death;” and in Col 2:12 we are said to be buried with him by baptism: all which, together with the consent of all Christians, (some few in these latter times excepted,) do prove that baptism is necessary to the initiating persons into the church of Christ.[1]

William Kiffin said:

Object. 4. Whereas some infer from 1Co 12:13. By one Spirit we are baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, Bond or Free, and have been all made to Drink into one Spirit, &c. That Baptism is the Inchurching Ordinance, the conclusion is impertinent, for not Water Baptism, but the Baptism of the Spirit is there meant.

Ans. That Baptism was of so constant and Universal use to the Enchurching of all sorts Ranks and Degrees, is fairly deduced from this Text, however excepted against, and that none were Inchurched without it, unless any man can find or name some persons that were neither Jews nor Gentiles, Bond nor Free, which denotes plainly, that all sorts were receiv'd by Baptism: the Jews though before Circumcised, yet were Baptized; the Gentiles, some times a People a far off were upon their believing by Baptism received. If free, as Masters, yet not admitted without it; If Bond, as Servants, yet by this Ordinance they were made equally of the same Church Priviledge by Baptism, Ga 3:1; 6:18,18.

And that Water Baptism is here meant is the Judgment of the most Learned Expositors: and the next words do make it Appear, We have been all made to Drink into one Spirit. By being baptized into one body and made to Drink into one Spirit. The Apostle shews the Communion which Believers have with the Holy Spirit in the Two Ordinanced, Baptism and the Lords Supper. For what else can be intended by Drinking into one Spirit, but the Saints Communion in the Spirit, in, and by the Supper [Drinking] by a Synecdoche being put both for Eating and Drinking: And if so, why must we not as well understand the First Ordinance in its proper Sense for Water Baptism in the former part, as the Later Ordinance, the Supper in the first part of the Text.

2. If the Baptism of the Spirit had been meant, then the being Baptised into one Body, and Drinking into one Spirit, must be one and the same thing, but surely Baptising and Drinking are no more the same, than the Body and the Spirit are the same, into which they are said respectively to be Baptised, and to Drink. But it is clear the Apostle hereby intends to mind those Corinthians, how that by means of the same Spirit working upon all their Hearts, they became Members of the same Body by Baptism, and that being of the Body, they came to have Communion in Spirit, or with the Spirit in the Supper.

It cannot be the Baptism of the Spirit, because the Spirit is here set forth by the Apostle, as the Agent or working Cause, and Baptism as the Effect; and it is ridiculous to make Cause and Effect the same thing. It is true the Scripture speaks elsewhere of a being Baptised with the Spirit, but when it doth so, it still declares either Jesus Christ, or God the Father as the Agent of Baptising with the Spirit, but never as making the Spirit both the Subject Matter wherewith, and the Agent whereby, men are Baptised in the same Baptism, see Mt 3:11; Mr 1:8; Lu 3:16; 24:49; Ac 11:4-5,16.

We find in Scripture that when God chargeth men for sin, he tells them, They did that which he commanded not, neither did it enter in his heart. Now that this was the order of Administration with respect to these Ordinances, viz. I. To Teach, then Baptise, and then Admit to Church-Communion, is else where fully Evidenc'd from Precept and Example, Mt 28:19; Ac 2:41. &c. And if that be the stated Method of God, and the Universal Practise of the Primitive Christians, we may Rationally infer that the contrary Practise is a Deviation form the Divine Rule, and a thing which God Commanded not.

The Apostle according to the Rule of Christ, first at Jerusalem, put this Commission in Execution, Lu 24:47. And did Act according to it, and certainly their punctual Conformity to it, ought to be taken by us as the Interpretation of this grand Precept, and their Example a sufficient Pattern for succeeding Christians; unless we will suppose them to depart from it as soon as they began to Act in pursuance of it, which supposition includes a very strange Uncharitableness, and a very unbecoming Opinion of these Holy men. For nothing can be more plain than that Addition to the Church (or Church-Fellowship) followed after Baptism, and did not go before it: and why men now find a greater good in their own way than in his, is not to be easily resolved. Baptism in those days did certainly precede Church-Enjoyments, for it was esteem'd (as it still ought to be) a means of implanting men into Christ, or the Body of Christ the Church, Ga 3:1; Ro 6:3. Now let it be considered what a Planting together imports; It must be certainly the first putting of Christians together, in order to their Growing together in Christ, and yet all this was done by Baptism: and may we not suppose Trees to grow together before they are Planted together, as this Spiritual Plantation of Christ, viz. the Church, or Society of Christians, who were, and should still be Planted together by Baptism, not into this or that Particular Church; but into that one Church of Christ, which is distributed into several parts and particular Societies. Hence Baptism is called one of the Principles or beginning Doctrines of Christ, and part of the Foundation, Heb 6:1-2.  Now there is no House can stand without its Principle, or can be Erected without a Foundation. See 1Co 12:13 where we have an account of all being Baptised into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, Bond or Free, which comprehended all Ranks and Degrees of Christians, as is elsewhere demonstrated.[2]

Kiffin quoted several writers throughout this work whereby 1Co 12:13 was given to show water baptism.

Even the Westminster Confession uses 1Co 12:13 in connection with water baptism. See Chapter XXVIII, Art. 1.

[1] From “An Exhortation To Peace And Unity,” as found in The Complete Works of John Bunyan, (Marshallton, DL: The National Foundation for Christian Education, 1968), Four Volumes in Three, Vol. IV, p. 396.

[2] From A Sober Discourse of RIGHT to Church-Communion. Wherein is proved by Scripture, the Example of the Primitive Times, and the Practice of all that have Professed the Christian Religion: That no Unbaptized person may be Regularly admitted to the Lords Supper, London, 1681, pp. 132-138.






Did God give apostles to an invisible, or visible body? Did Christ ascend up on high to give prophets to a universal, or local body? Did the Lord of glory place the gift of evangelists in a national, or local body? Did Jesus place pastors and teachers in anything universal, invisible, national, or provincial, or did He put them in the “one body,” the local assembly? Who ever heard of someone pastoring or teaching in an invisible congregation? Who ever heard of teachers edifying an invisible, universal body? Therefore, “the body of Christ,” in Eph 4:12, and “the whole body” in Eph 4:16, is nothing more than the local assembly, the congregation of God.

Someone may object to this interpretation being given to the phrase “the whole body” in Eph 4:16. The objectors are quick to point out that “the whole body” implies more than a local body. I think not. Look at Ac 15:22. Here is the phrase “the whole church.” Does this phrase imply that there was not another congregation upon the earth at that time but the one assembled at Jerusalem? Of course not. There was the congregation at Antioch in Syria (Ac 13:1), the church at Antioch in Pisidia (Ac 13:14; 14:21-23), the church at Iconium (Ac 13:51; 14:21-23), the church at Lystra (Ac 14:6,21-23), the church at Derbe (Ac 14:20-23), and at many other places. The phrase “the whole church” in Ac 15:22, refers to nothing more than the entire membership of the congregation at Jerusalem (cf. Ro 16:23). In like manner, the phrase “the whole body” in Eph 4:16, refers to nothing more than all the members of the body or congregation at Ephesus. By way of application, it will apply to all the members of any body at any place. Therefore, there is only one body and when the word “whole” is added to the word “body,” the meaning or usage of the word “body” is not to be changed.

The body is to edify itself and this can only be done by connection; that is, the members of the body must come in contact with each other in order to edify or build up one another. Can a member edify or be of any benefit to another member if the two members never come in contact with each other in any way? Of course not. Therefore, universal, invisible members, if there is such a thing, cannot be of any benefit to the body of Christ, but local, visible members of a particular congregation can, and that body can and should edify or build up itself.

By this it is seen that the passages found in Eph 4 do not teach about a body being something universal, invisible, national, or provincial.

CONCERNING Eph 5:23-33.

Many people use these verses to assert that the body is composed of all for whom Christ died and shall be with Him in glory. If this is true, that body has not yet assembled, and, therefore, cannot be a body in the concrete form. When it does assemble, it will not be universal nor invisible, but it will be a local assembly. Though these verses may be used to teach this opinion, the term “body” would be used in the same sense as the term “church;” that is, in the generic or abstract form. However, I do not believe that this is the intent of Paul's lesson.

Paul is teaching the relationship of the husband and wife, and this is clearly seen by reading and studying this passage in the light of the context. While teaching this lesson, Paul is so descriptive of the wondrous union between Christ and the church that some people err in their interpretation of these verses.

As Paul stated earlier that there is only “one body,” so is it here. God's Word does not contradict itself. Peter said in 2Pe 1:20, “... that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” The interpretation must be such that all passages within God's Word must harmonize, and one passage of the Scriptures is not to be interpreted separate and apart from the rest. Therefore, Eph 4:4; 1Co 12:27; and, Eph 5:23-33, do not contradict each other.

Some may ask, “How can this be? Did not Christ die to save His people? Does it not say in Eph 5:23 that Christ ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it’? How can the body and the church be limited to a congregation when Christ died for more than one congregation? and there are some (such as the Old Testament believers and others of N. T. times) who never held membership in any New Testament church, for whom Christ also died?”

By saying that Christ died for the church (His body) and by claiming that Christ shall present the church to Himself spotless and without blemish, does not mean, nor imply, that His death was limited only for this one thing. For instance, if I say, “Christ loved me and gave Himself for me; that He might sanctify and cleanse me with the washing of water by the Word; that He might present me to Himself a glorious person, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that I should be holy and without blemish;” am I saying that Christ did not die for others? No. I am only asserting the fact of Christ's death in reference to myself. This is all that Paul is saying in Eph 5, when speaking of the church and its connection with Christ. In Ac 20:28, Paul stated to the elders from the church at Ephesus that God purchased the church at Ephesus with His own blood: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock (at Ephesus), over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God (at Ephesus), which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Was Paul excluding the church at Corinth, or any other congregation, by this statement? No. He was only asserting the fact concerning the congregation at Ephesus. It is equally true that as Christ purchased the congregation at Ephesus with His own blood, He purchased any congregations which He established, or will establish. Note Ga 2:20 in this light. When Paul said that Christ loved him and gave Himself for him, Paul was not excluding others.

There are many things obtained by the death of Christ. His death saved us from: (1) our sins – in part now, and completely in the future; (2) this untoward generation; (3) this present evil world, or age; (4) the curse of the law; (5) the fear of death; and many other thing. (See Mt 1:21; Ac 2:40; Ga 1:4; 3:13; Heb 2:15.) When one of these truths is stated, the other things which He accomplished by His death are not excluded. By this, when someone says that Christ died for the church, he is not excluding other things which were accomplished by His death.

Therefore, the word “body,” as used in Eph 5:23-33, does not teach about a universal, invisible, provincial, or national body.



The remaining five times which the word “body” is used with reference to the church is in the book of Colossians, a parallel epistle to the book of Ephesians. This book does not teach contrary to the previous usages of the word “body.”

In Col 1, the word “body” is found two times with reference to the church. The first place is in Col 1:18, and the second is in Col 1:24. Col 1:18 states, “... and he is the head of the body, the church .…” Many try to use this passage to support a universal, invisible body. A close study of this verse in context will not support such a position. The book of Colossians will stand alone if such a concept is taught within it because the previous usages of the word “body” do not suppose a universal, invisible body.

The surrounding context reveal that Paul is not teaching about the church. He is teaching about the excellencies of Christ Jesus. Paul ends Col 1:13 by speaking about Jesus, the Son of God. In verses fourteen through twenty, Paul enlarges on the glories, majesties, wonderments, virtues, and honors of Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul was not teaching about what the body was per se, he was teaching Christ's dominion over all things. One thing in particular over which Christ had dominion was the church. To make the body or church in verse eighteen consist of those for whom Christ redeemed and secured forgiveness of sins, as mentioned in verse fourteen, is to disregard common sense in interpreting the Scriptures, as well as violating the common rules of Bible interpretation.

An example of this may be seen by taking the term “all things” in verses sixteen, seventeen, and twenty, and make it mean the same thing. In fact, it would be more logical to do so because the word, or words, used is the same – “all things,” – whereas in verses fourteen and eighteen three different words would be used – the redeemed, “the body,” and “the church.”

CONCERNING Col 1:16-17,20.

In Col 1:16-17, Paul states that “all things were created” by Jesus Christ. In Col 1:20, Paul states that Christ reconciled “all things unto himself.” Only universalists, and other cults, would be so foolish to say that the term “all things” included the same thing in both places. It is true that every thing that has an existence was created and made by and for Jesus Christ, but every thing that was created and made by Jesus Christ is not, and has not been, and shall not be reconciled to Christ. Those who shall be in hell, both men and angels, have not been reconciled unto Christ. Therefore, the term “all things” cannot mean the same thing in both places. Likewise, because Paul mentioned the redeemed in verse fourteen and “the body” in verse eighteen, it does not mean that both words refer to the same thing.

Paul said that there is only “one body” in Eph 4:4. In 1Co 12:27, he stated that the “body” is a local congregation of people. And even if Paul had said that Christ was the head of every redeemed person, that could not be used to support a universal, invisible body. If the Bible is to be interpreted like that, then each and every man would have to make up an invisible, universal man according to 1Co 11:3. There it states that Christ is the head of every man. Who ever heard of anyone saying that all men are mystically joined together to make up a universal man. This is the same reasoning of those who endeavor to teach a universal, invisible body or church from such passages as these in Colossians.

Just as Christ is the head of every man, so is He the head of every body, or congregation. Though the headship is not in the same capacity, still Christ is the head.

In Col 1:24, Paul makes the statement that the body to which he is referring is the church. In Col 1:22, Paul refers to the body of Christ, and there it is not the church, but Christ's human body, or “the body of his flesh.” In Col 1:24, Paul mentions again the body of Christ. There he is referring to the church; therefore, Paul added the statement “which is the church” to distinguish it from the body in Col 1:22 above.

In Col 2:17,19, the term “body” is used again, and it refers to the church of God, the assembly of the saints. When studying this passage in connection with the book of Ephesians, it is seen that Paul is teaching essentially the same thing in both places. He is teaching that the body, or congregation, is to function as a complete whole or unit, and it is to perform in such a way so that it will be building up and strengthening itself. Paul is teaching that the worship service of God in the congregation is not to be a service of ordinances and commandments as under the law, and that worship unto God is not a service of neglecting the body – the human body, verse twenty-three. In verse seventeen, Paul may have used the word “body” as he did in verse twenty-three. However, in order not to neglect one instance of the use of the word “body” in reference to the church or congregation, I will submit that verse seventeen is referring to the church. In either case, Col 2:17,19, does not support a universal, invisible, national, or provincial body or church.

In Col 3:15, Paul is teaching unity within the body as he does in Ephesians. As previously stated, the two epistles of Ephesians and Colossians parallel each other, and Paul did not teach in Colossians contrary to what he wrote in Ephesians. All of the Scriptures of God's Word always comply with one another and never run counter to each other. Therefore, it is not necessary to go into detail again with regard to this passage. This passage will be understood by going back and studying Appendix C. DocChurch: DC.07 APPENDIX C

In conclusion, the word “body,” as used with reference to the church, is never used to refer to anything invisible, universal, national or provincial. However, it is used to designate a congregation, whether it be the one at Corinth, Ephesus, Colosse, or wherever there is a congregation of the Lord. In addition, the word “body” is used in common everyday English to designate such things as a company, band, party, society, association, corporation, and such like. It is not far-fetched to common usage to assert that the body of Christ is nothing but a congregation of people assembled together for the purpose of carrying out the commands which Christ gave it.




Ecclesia. Primary meaning. An organized assembly of citizens, regularly summoned, as opposed to other meetings.

Thucydides 2:22:    “Pericles, seeing them angry at the present state of things . . . did not call them to an assembly (ecclesia) or any other meeting.”

Demosthenes 378, 24:    “When after this the assembly (ecclesia) adjourned, they came together and planned . . . For the future still being uncertain, meetings and speeches of all sorts took place in the marketplace. They were afraid that an assembly (ecclesia) would be summoned suddenly, etc.” Compare the distinction here between a lawfully assembled business body and a mere gathering together of the people in unofficial capacity, with the town-clerk's statement in Ac 19:35,40.

Now some instances of particular ecclesia of the several Greek states –

Thucydides 1,87:    “Having said such things, he himself, since he was ephor,[2] put the question to vote in the assembly (ecclesia) of the Spartans.”

Thucydides 1,139:    “And the Athenians having made a house (or called an assembly, ecclesia) freely exchanged their sentiments.”

Aristophanes Act 169:    “But I forbid you calling an assembly (ecclesia) for the Thracians about pay.”

Thucydides 6,8:    “And the Athenians having convened an assembly (ecclesia) . . . voted, etc.”

This historical reading concerning the business assemblies of the several petty but independent, self-governing Greek states, with their lawful conference, their free speech, their decision by vote, whether of Spartans, Thracians, Syracusans or Athenians, sounds much like the proceedings of particular and independent Baptist churches today.

Panegyros    A general, festive assembly of the people of all the Greek states.

Decret. ap. Demos: 526,16    “Embassies to the festal assemblies (panegyros) in Greece.”

Plato, Hipp. 363:    “Going up to Olympia, the festal assemblies (panegyros) of the Greeks.”

Pindar:    “the general assembly (panegyros) in honor of Zeus (Jupiter).”

Isocrates 41 A:    “I often wondered at those who organized the general festivals (panegyros).”

Aeschylus Theb. 220:    “May this goodly, general company (panegyros) of gods never fail the city in my life time.”

Thucydides 5,50:    “And fear was produced in the general assembly (panegyros) that the Lacedaemonians would come in arms.” Upon this usage note how bright and discriminating the Greek mind.

This general assembly was not for war but peace. Let not the Spartans come to it with arms in their hands. It was not for business but pleasure  – a time of peace, and joy and glory.

In the happy Greek conceit all the heavenly beings were supposed to be present. How felicitously does an inspired apostle adapt himself to the Greek use of the word, and glorify it by application to the final heavenly state. God the judge, not Zeus, is there. Myriads of angels, not Greek demi-gods and inferior deities, are there.

There is a general assembly in magnitude, multitude and constituency, transcendantly [sic.] above the poor limitations of a small Greek nation – this is made up of every tribe and tongue and kindred, Jew, Roman, Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond and free. Here warfare is over and rest has come. Here crowns are awarded, not of fading wreaths of time, but crowns of life, righteousness, joy and glory.

[1] From Ecclesia – The Church by B. H. Carroll, pp. 44-46.

[2] Ephor. A magistrate in various ancient Dorian states; esp., one of a body of five Spartan magistrates.” – Webster]












Including an Investigation of the










To which are Prefixed,
















Printed for the Author:


And sold by







The next year was a memorable one for England, and especially to the protestant dissenters, who were by the events which occurred, delivered from all the misery and oppression they had so long endured. On November the 5th, the Prince of Orange landed at Torbay; and in a very little time the body of the nation discovered their inclination so evidently, that the king lost both head and heart at once. The city of London was in confusion. Reports were spread that the Irish would cut all the throats of the protestants all over the nation in one and the same night, which awakened the fears of the people, and put them all night upon their guard. When this fright was over, the mob rose and pulled down the popish mass-houses, and burned the materials in the streets. Father Petre, with the priests and jesuits who had swarmed about the court, disappeared, and retired into foreign parts, and several of the king's arbitrary ministers absconded. Jefferies was taken at Wapping in a sailor's habit, and would have been torn in pieces by the mob, if he had not been conducted by a strong guard to the tower, where he died before he came to his trial. Soon after, the tyrant James being left almost alone, departed the kingdom, and fled to France. The throne was declared abdicated; and on February 13, 1688-9, William and Mary were proclaimed king and queen of England, to the joy of the nation.

One of the first measures of government was to pass the Act of Toleration, the Magna Charta of the Protestant /478 Dissenters, by which they were relieved from all pains and penalties for separating from the church of England. Thus a stable foundation was laid for the preservation of their liberties, and an effectual restraint imposed upon their enemies, who wished to destroy their privileges.

Liberty being thus afforded to all denominations of dissenters, the Baptists seem to have taken immediate steps to improve their privileges by enquiring into the state of the churches, and to have adopted means to promote their prosperity. To convene a general meeting of the Particular Baptist churches, a circular letter was sent, signed by some of the London ministers. The following is a copy of that sent to the church at Luppitt in Devonshire, the place where the present church at Upottery then met.

London, July 22, 1689.

To the Church of Christ in Luppitt, kind Salutations.

“WE the elders and ministering brethren of the churches in and about London, being several times assembled together to consider of the present state of the baptized congregations, not only in this city, but also in the country, cannot but first of all adore the divine wisdom and goodness of Almighty God, in respect of his late most gracious providence, for our deliverance from that dismal dispensation, which threatened us from the continual and unwearied attempts and designs of the enemy of our sacred religion and civil liberties; by which means our sinking and drooping spirits are again revived, and our earnest hopes and long expectations raised, and afresh quickened, in respect of the more full and perfect deliverance of the church of God, and his more glorious appearance, for the accomplishing of those gracious promises and prophecies contained in the holy scripture relating to the latter days.

/479 “But, in the second place, we cannot but bewail the present condition our churches seem to be in; fearing that much of that former strength, life, and vigour, which attended us is much gone; and in many places the interest of our Lord Jesus Christ seems to be much neglected which is in our hands, and the congregations to languish, and our beauty to fade away (which thing, we have some ground to judge, you cannot but be sensible of as well as we); and from hence we have been put upon most mature and serious considerations of such things that may be the cause thereof, and amongst others are come to this result: That the great neglect of the present ministry is one thing, together with that general unconcernedness there generally seems to be, of giving fit and proper encouragement for the raising up and able and honourable ministry for the time to come; with many other things which, we hope, we are not left wholly in the dark about, which we find we are not in a capacity to prevent and cure (as instruments in the hand of God, and his blessing attending our christian endeavors) unless we can obtain a general meeting here in London of two principal brethren (of every church of the same faith with us) in every county respectively. We do therefore humbly entreat and beseech you, that you would be pleased to appoint two of your brethren – one of the ministry, and one principal brother of your congregation with his – as your messengers; and send them up to meet with the rest of the elders and brethren of the churches in London, on the 3rd of September nest; and then we hope we shall have that before us, and be also helped to consider such things that may much tend to the honour of God, and further the peace, well-being, establishment at present, as also the future comfort of the churches. We hope you will readily, notwith/480 standing the charge, comply with our pious and christian desire herein, and in the mean time to signify your intentions forthwith in a letter, which we would have you direct to our reverend and well beloved brethren, Mr. H. Knowles or Mr. W. Kiffin. This is all at present from us, your brethren and labourers in God's vineyard, who greet you well in our Lord Jesus Christ, and subscribe ourselves your servants in the gospel.

“WILLIAM KIFFIN,                          BENJAMIN KEACH,

HANSARD KNOLLYS,                   EDWARD MAN,

JOHN HARRIS,                               RICHARD ADAMS”


Brother Kiffin lives in White's alley, Little Moorfields.* 

This letter was attended with considerable effect. The ministers, or messengers, of more than a hundred churches assembled at the time proposed. The meetings, which were continued for eight or nine days, were peculiarly solemn and interesting; and the business transacted was of real importance to the welfare and prosperity of the churches. The greatest order and unanimity was preserved, as they all appear to have been animated and governed by the apostolic injunction, “Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace; and the things wherewith one may edify another.”

The transactions of this Assembly are related by themselves in a pamphlet entitled, The Narrative Of The Proceedings Of The General Assembly Of Divers Pastors, Messengers, And Ministering Brethren, Of The Baptized Churches, Met Together In London, From September 3–12, 1689, from divers /481 parts of England and Wales; owning the doctrine of personal election and final perseverance; sent from, and concerned for, more than one hundred congregations of the same faith with themselves.

The General Epistle for the Churches.


Beloved in our Lord Jesus Christ!

IT doth not a little affect our souls, to see how ready you were to comply with that Christian and pious invitation you had, to send one or two worthy brethren, as your messengers, to meet with the rest of us in this great assembly; for which we return you our hearty thanks; hoping, that not only we, and the churches of the saints to whom we are related, at this present time will cause to bless, praise, and magnify the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort and consolation upon this account, but that the ages to come may have some grounds to rejoice and praise his holy name, through a divine blessing upon our consultations. Our endeavours in this assembly were chiefly to consider of the present state and condition of all the congregations respectively under our care and charge; and what might be the causes of the spiritual decay, and loss of strength, beauty, and glory, in our churches; and to see (if we might be helped by the Lord herein) what might be done to attain to a better and more prosperous state and condition.

And now, brethren, in the first place, with no little joy we declare unto you how good and gracious the Lord has been to us in uniting our hearts together in the spirit of love, and sweet concord in our debates, consultations, and resolves, /482 which are sent unto you; there being scarcely one brother who dissented from the assembly in the sentiments of his mind, in any one thing we have proposed to your serious considerations, either in respect of the cause of our witherings, or what we have fixed on as a means of recovery to a better state, if the Lord will.

And therefore, in the second place, be it known unto you, that we all see great cause to rejoice and bless God, that after so dismal an hour of sorrow and persecution, in which the enemy doubtless designed to break our churches to pieces, and not only us, but to make the whole Sion of God desolate, even so as she might become as a plowed field; the Lord was pleased to give such strength and power in the time of need, to bear up your souls in your testimony for Jesus Christ, that your spirits did not faint under your burdens in the time of your adversity; so that we hope we may say, in the words of the church of old, Though all this is come upon us, yet we have not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way. Though thou hast sorely broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death, Ps 44:17-18,19. Yet nevertheless we fear Christ may say, I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love, as he once charged the church of Ephesus, and may possibly most churches in England; it is therefore good to consider from whence we are fallen, and repent and do our first works, Re 2:5.

We are persuaded one chief cause of our decay is want of holy zeal for God, and the house of our God; few amongst us living up, we fear, to what they profess of God, nor answering the terms of that sacred covenant they have made with him; the power of godliness being greatly /483 decayed, and but little more than the form thereof remaining amongst us. The thoughts of which are enough to melt our spirits, and break our hearts to pieces, considering those most amazing providences of the ever blessed God under which we have been, and more especially now are exercised, and the many signal and most endearing obligations he is pleased to lay us under. The spirit of this world, we clearly discern, has got too, too much into the hearts of most Christians and members of our churches, all seeking their own, and none, or very few, the things of Jesus Christ; if, therefore, in this there be no reformation, the whole interest of the blessed Lord Jesus will still sink in our hands, and our churches will be left to languish, whilst the hands of poor ministers become as weak as water, and sorrow and grief seize upon their spirits.

Thirdly, We cannot but bewail that great evil, and neglect of duty in many churches concerning the ministry.

1. In that some, though they have brethren competently qualified for the office of pastors and deacons, yet omit that sacred ordinance of ordination, whereby they are rendered incapable of preaching and administering the ordinances of the gospel so regularly, and with that authority which otherwise they might do. Those who have failed herein, we desire would, in the fear of God, lay it to heart and reform.

2. In neglecting to make [due] gospel provision for their maintenance, according to their abilities; by which means many of them are so incumbered with worldly affairs, that they are not able to perform the duties of their holy calling, in preaching the gospel, and watching over their respective flocks.

Fourthly, We find cause to mourn, that the Lord's day is not more religiously and carefully observed, both in a con/484 stant attendance on the word of God in that church to which members do belong, and when the public worship is over, by a waiting on the Lord in family duties, and private devotion.

But because we have sent unto you the whole result of this great assembly particularly, we shall forbear to enlarge further upon these causes of our withering and decays.

One thing you will find we have had before us, and come to a resolve about, which we are persuaded will prove an exceeding great blessing and advantage to the interest of Jesus Christ in our hands; and if the Lord enlarge all our hearts, give a revival to the sinking spirits of the mourners in Sion, and to languishing churches too; which is that of a general or public stock or fund of money to be raised forthwith. First, by a free-will offering to the Lord: and secondly, by a subscription, every one declaring what he is willing to give, weekly, monthly, or quarterly to it.

And now, brethren, we must say, the Lord is about to try you in another way, than ever you have been tried to this day, because till now no such thing was settled amongst us, and so not propounded to you. It will be known now, whether you do love Jesus Christ, and his blessed interest, gospel and church, or no; whether you love him more than son or daughter. Oh that you would at this time shew your zeal for God, and let all men see the world is not so in your hearts, but that Jesus Christ hath much room there: 'Tis to be given towards God's holy temple, to build up his spiritual house, which hath a long time lain as waste. Remember how willingly the Lord's people offered upon this account formerly; 'tis some great as well as good thing the Lord, and we his poor and unworthy servants and ministers, do expect from you. God has wrought a great work for us; Oh let us make some suitable return of duty to him, and act like a /485 people called, loved, and saved by him. Shall so much be spent needlessly on your own ceiled houses, on costly attire and dresses, and delicious diet, when God's house lies almost waste? We are therefore become humble supplicants for our dear Master, and could entreat you on our bended knees, with tears in our eyes, to pity Sion, if it might but move your heart to Christians bounty and zeal for here and the Lord of Hosts. We fear God did let in the enemy upon us, to consume us, and waste our substance, because to this day we have withheld it from him, when his cause, gospel, and churches, called for more than ever yet you parted with; and that a blast has been upon our trades and estates, for our remissness in this matter. May we not say, Ye looked for much, and lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home the Lord did blow upon it! Why, because, saith God, of mine house that is waste, and ye run every one to his own house. Hag 1:9. But if now we reform our doings, and shew our zeal for Christ and his gospel, and love to him, and act as becomes a willing people professing his name, you will see you will be no losers by it; For I will, saith the Lord, open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Mal 3:10. If the worth of souls, the honour of God, the good of the church, the glorious promulgation of the gospel in the nation, the credit of your profession, your own peace, and the weight of eternal glory be upon your spirits, we doubt not but you will give evidence of it at this time; and so shall you build the old waste places, and raise up the foundations of many generations, and be the repairers of the breaches, and restorers of paths to dwell in. Isa 58:12.

We, to these great and good ends, have thought upon and appointed a solemn day to fast and mourn before the Lord, /486 and to humble ourselves, and seek his face, that a blessing may attend all that we have done, and you with us may yet further do for his holy name's sake.

A general Fast appointed in all the Congregations on the 10th of October next, 1689, with all the causes and reasons thereof:

The main and principal evils to be bewailed and mourned over before the Lord on that day, are as follow:

First, Those many grievous backslidings, sins, and provocations, not only of the whole nation, but also of the Lord's own people, as considered in our public and private stations; particularly that great decay of first love, faith and zeal for the ways and worship of God; which hath been apparent, not only in our churches, but also in private families.

Secondly, That this declension and backsliding hath been, we fear, for a long series of time, and many sore judgments God has brought upon the nation; and a strange death of late come upon the Lord's faithful witnesses, besides divers painful labourers in Christ's vineyard called home, and but few raised up in their stead; little success in the ministry; storms of persecution having been raised upon us, a new war commenced by the beast, (through the divine permission of God, and hand of his justice,) to a total overcoming, to appearance, the witnesses of Christ in these isles; besides his more immediate strokes by plague and fire, &c. God blasting all essays used for deliverance, so that we were almost without hope; therefore, our sins that provoked the righteous and just God to bring all these evils upon us, we ought to bewail and mourn for before him. But withal not to forget his infinite goodness, who, when he saw that our power was gone, and that there was none shut up or left, that he should /487 thus appear for our help and deliverance, in a way unexpected and unthought of by us.

Thirdly, The things we should therefore in the next place pray and cry to the Lord for, are, that he would give us true, broken, and penitent hearts, for all our iniquities, and the sins of his people, and wash and cleanse away those great pollutions with which we have been defiled; and also pour forth more of his Spirit upon us, and open the mysteries of his word, that we may understand whereabouts we are, in respect of the latter time, and what he is doing, and know our work, and that a blessing may attend all the churches of his saints in these nations, and that greater light may break forth, and the glory of the Lord rise upon us, and that the word may not any more be as a miscarrying womb and dry breasts, but that in every place multitudes may be turned to the Lord, and that love and sweet concord may be found among all the Lord's people in these nations, that the great work begun therein so unexpectedly, may go on and be perfected to the praise of his own glory.

Likewise to put up earnest cries and supplications to the Lord for the lineal seed of Abraham, the poor Jews, that they may be called, and both Jews and Gentiles be made one sheepfold, under that one shepherd Jesus Christ.

These are some of the things we have though good to lay before you, and which we hope we shall be helped with you to spread before the Lord on that day, with whatsoever else you or we may be helped to consider of; hoping you will not forget your pastors and ministers in your prayers, and what we have been enabled to come to a resolve about, so that all may be succeeded with a glorious blessing from the Almighty; that the present churches, and those saints who shall come after us, may have cause to praise his holy name: /488 Which is the unfeigned prayer and desire of us, who subscribe ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.


WILLIAM KIFFIN,                           JAMES WEBB,

ANDREW GIFFORD,                     JOHN HARRIS,

ROBERT STEED,                          THOMAS WINNELL,

THOMAS VAUXE,                          JAMES HITT,


JOHN TOMKINS,                            RICHARD SUTTON,

TOBY WILLES                                ROBERT KNIGHT,


BENJAMIN KEACH,                       EDWARD PRICE,

DANIEL FINCH,                              WILLIAM PHIPS,

JOHN CARTER,                             WILLIAM FACEY,

SAMUEL BUTTALL,                       JOHN BALL,

ISAAC LAMB,                                 WILLIAM HANKINS,


ROBERT KEATE,                           PAUL FRUIN,

In the name and behalf of the whole assembly.

Memorand: 'Tis agreed to by us, that the next general assembly be held at London, on that day which is called Whitsun-Monday, 1690.

The Narrative of the Proceedings, &c.

Whereas we the Pastors and Elders of the several churches in and about London, did meet together, and seriously take into our consideration the particular states of the baptized churches among ourselves; and after a long persecution, finding the churches generally under great decays in the power of godliness, and defects of gifts for the ministry; /489 also, fearing that the same decays and defects might be among the churches of the same faith and profession throughout England and Wales, many of their ministers being deceased, many have ended their days in prison, many scattered by persecution to other parts, far distant from the churches to which they did belong: from a due sense of these things did, by a letter dated July 28, 1689, write to all the aforesaid churches throughout England and Wales, to send their messengers to a general meeting at London, the third of the seventh month, 1689. And being met together, the first day was spent in humbling ourselves before the Lord, and to seek of him a right way, to direct into the best means and method to repair our breaches, and to recover ourselves into our former order, beauty, and glory. In prosecution thereof, upon the fourth day of the same month, we, the Elders, ministring Brethren, and Messengers of the churches in and about London; and Elders, ministring Brethren, and Messengers of the several churches from several parts of England and Wales, hereafter mentioned; being again come together, after first solemnly seeking the Lord by prayer, did conclude upon these following preliminaries, and lay them down as the foundation of this our assembly, and rules for our proceedings; wherein all the messengers of the churches aforesaid, in city and country, as well for the satisfaction of every particular church, as also to prevent all mistakes, misapprehensions and inconveniencies that might arise in time to come concerning this general assembly, do solemnly and unanimously profess and declare:

1. That we disclaim all manner of superiority and superintendency over the churches, and that we have no authority or power to prescribe or impose any thing upon the faith or practice of any of the churches of Christ. Our whole in/490 tendment is to be helpers together of one another, by way of counsel and advice, in the right understanding of that perfect rule which our Lord Jesus, the Bishop of our souls hath already prescribed, and given to his churches in his word, and therefore do severally and jointly agree,

2. That in those things wherein one church differs from another church in their principles or practices, in point of communion, that we cannot, shall not impose upon any particular church therein, but leave every church to their own liberty to walk together as they have received from the Lord.

3. That if any particular offence doth arise betwixt one church and another, or betwixt one particular person and another, no offence shall be admitted to be debated among us, till the rule Christ hath given, in this matter, be first answered, and the consent of both parties had, or sufficiently endeavoured.

4. That whatever is determined by us in any case, shall not be binding on any one church, till the consent of that church be first had, and they conclude the same among themselves.

5. That all things we offer by way of counsel and advice, be proved out of the word of God, and the scriptures annexed.

6. That the breviates of this meeting be transcribed, and sent to every particular church with a letter.

7. That the messengers that come to this meeting, be recommended by a letter from the church to which they belong, and that none be admitted to speak in this assembly, unless by general consent.

The letters from several churches being read, the meeting was dismissed till next day, and concluded in prayer.

/491 September 5, 1689.

After solemn seeking the Lord, all the Elders, ministring Brethren, and Messengers aforesaid, considered, debated, and concluded, that a public fund or stock was necessary, and came to a resolve in these three questions: 1. How to raise it? 2. To what uses it should be disposed of? 3. How to secure it?

Q. 1. How or by what means this public fund or stock should be raised? Resolved,

1. That it should be raised by a free-will offering. That every person should communicate, for the uses hereafter mentioned, according to his ability, and as the Lord shall make him willing and enlarge his heart; and that the churches severally among themselves do order the collection of it with all convenient speed, that the ends proposed may be put into present practice.

2. That for the constant carrying it on, there be an annual collection made in the several churches, of a half-penny, penny, two-pence, three-pence, four-pence, six-pence per week, more or less, as every person shall be willing; and that every congregation do agree among themselves to collect it, either weekly, monthly, or quarterly, according to their own convenience; and that ministers be desired to shew a good example herein. Ex 35:4-5; 1Ch 29:14; Mal 3:10; Hag 1:9; 2Co 8:11-12.

3. That every particular church do appoint their deacons, or any other faithful brethren, to collect, and to acquaint the church with the sum collected, and remit it quarterly into the hands of such persons as are hereafter nominated and appointed to receive it at London; the first quarterly payment to be made on the 5th of December next.

4. That the persons appointed to receive all the aforesaid /492 collections, be our honoured and well-beloved brethren, whose names we have sent you in a printed paper by itself, all living in and about London; and when any of these aforesaid brethren die, then the major part of the survivors of them shall nominate and appoint another brother in his stead, to be confirmed or refused at the next general meeting of this assembly. And that the said nine brethren shall disburse it from time to time for the uses hereafter mentioned, according to the satisfaction they, or the major part of them, shall have from the information and testimony of any two churches in this assembly, or from the testimony of any particular association of churches in the country, or from the satisfaction they shall have by any other means whatsoever.

Q. 2. To what uses this fund or public stock shall be disposed of? Resolved,

1. To communicate thereof to those churches that are not able to maintain their own ministry, and that their ministers may be encouraged wholly to devote themselves to the great work of preaching the gospel.

2. To send ministers that are ordained, or at least solemnly called to preach, both in city and country, where the gospel hath, or hath not yet been preached, and to visit the churches; and these to be chosen out of the churches in London, or in the country, which ministers are to be approved of, and sent forth by two churches at the least, but more if it may be.

3. To assist those members that shall be found in any of the aforesaid churches that are disposed for study, have an inviting gift, and are sound in fundamentals, in attaining to the knowledge and understanding of the languages, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. These members to be represented to the nine brethren in London, by any two of the churches that belong to this assembly.

/493 Resolved, the money collected be returned, as is expressed in a printed paper before mentioned, to one of the nine brethren mentioned in the said paper.

Resolved and concluded, that every quarter of a year an account shall be taken by those nine brethren in London, nominated in the printed paper aforesaid, of all the receipts and disbursements belong to this aforesaid fund or stock; and an account signed by them, or the major part of them shall be transmitted to one church in every county, and from that church be communicated to all the rest of the churches aforesaid within the same county with all convenient speed. The first account to be made, and sent the 5th of January next.

Resolved, that what charges soever the said nine brethren are at in the service of this assembly, shall be discharged out of the aforesaid stock.

The question proposed from the several churches, debated, and resolved.

Q. Whether it be not expedient for churches that live near together, and consist of small numbers, and are not able to maintain their own ministry, to join together for the better and more comfortable support of their ministry, and better edification one of another.

A. Concluded in the affirmative.

Q. Whether it is not the duty of every church of Christ to maintain such ministers as are set apart by them, by allowing them a comfortable maintenance according to their ability?

A. Concluded in the affirmative, 1Co 9:9-14; Ga 6:6.

Q. Whether every church ought not to endeavour not only to provide themselves with an able ministry for the preaching /494 of the word, but also to set apart to office, and in a solemn manner ordain such as are duly qualified for the same?

A. Concluded in the affirmative. Ac 14:23; Tit 1:5.

Q. Whether baptized believers are not at liberty to hear any sober and pious men of the Independent and Presbyterian persuasions, when they have no opportunity to attend upon the preaching of the word in their own assembly, or have no other to preach unto them?

A. Concluded in the affirmative. Ac 18:24-25,26.

Q. Whether the continuing of gifted brethren many years upon trial for eldership, or any person for the office of a deacon, without ordaining them, although qualified for the same, be not an omission of an ordinance of God?

A. Concluded in the affirmative.

Q. What is the duty of church members when they are disposed to marry, with respect to their choice?

A. To observe the apostle's rule, to marry only in the Lord, 1Co 7:39.

Q. Whether when the church have agreed upon the keeping of one day, weekly, or monthly, besides the first day of the week to worship God, and perform the necessary services of the church, they may not charge such persons with evil that neglect such meetings, and lay them under reproof, unless such members can shew good cause for such their absence?

A. Concluded in the affirmative, Heb 10:25.

Q. What is to be done with those persons that will not communicate to the necessary expenses of the church whereof they are members, according to their ability?

A. Resolved, that upon clear proof, the persons so offending, as aforesaid, should be duly admonished; and if no reformation appears, the church ought to withdraw from them, Eph 5:5; Mt 25:42; 1Jo 3:17.

/495 Q. What is to be done with those persons that withdraw themselves from the fellowship of that particular church whereof they are members, and join themselves to the communion of the national church?

A. To use all due means to reclaim them by instruction and admonition; and if not thereby reclaimed, to reject them. Mt 18:17; Lu 9:62; Heb 10:38; Jude 25.

Resolved, that the like method to be taken with those that wholly forsake the fellowship of that congregation to which they have solemnly given up themselves.

Q. Whether believers were not actually reconciled to God, actually justified, and adopted, when Christ died?

A. That the reconciliation, justification, and adoption of believers, are infallibly secured by the gracious purpose of God, and merit of Jesus Christ. Yet none can be said to be actually reconciled, justified, or adopted, until they are really implanted into Jesus Christ by faith; and so by virtue of this their union with him, have these fundamental benefits actually conveyed unto them. And this, we conceive, is fully evidenced, because the scripture attributes all these benefits to faith as the instrumental cause of them, Ro 3:25,1,11; Ga 3:26. And gives such representation of the state of the elect before faith, as is altogether inconsistent with an actual right in them. Eph 2:1-2,3,12.

Q. Whether it be not necessary for the Elders, ministring Brethren, and Messengers of the churches to take into their serious consideration those excuses that are found among their members, men and women, with respect of their apparel?

A. In the affirmative – That it is a shame for men to wear long hair, or long perewigs, and especially ministers, 1 Cor. /496 xi. 14 (1Co 11:14). or strange apparel, Zep 1:8, That the Lord reproves the daughters of Zion, for the bravery, haughtiness, and pride of their attire, walking with stretched out necks, wanton eyes, mincing as they go, Isa 3:16. As if they affected tallness, as one observes upon their stretched-out necks; though some in these times seem, by their high dresses, to out-do them in that respect. The apostle Paul exhorts, in 1Ti 2:9-10 that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety: not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but with good works, as becometh women professing godliness. And 1Pe 3:3-4,5. Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is, in the sight of God, of great price: for after this (fashion, or) manner, in old time, the holy women who trusted in God adorned themselves. And therefore, we cannot but bewail it with much sorrow and grief of spirit, that those brethren and sisters, who have solemnly professed to deny themselves, Mt 16:24, and who are by profession obliged in duty not to conform to this world, Ro 12:2, should so much conform to the fashion of this world, and not reform themselves in those inclinations that their natures addicted them to in days of ignorance, 1Pe 1:14. From these considerations, we earnestly desire that men and women whose souls are committed to our charge, may be watched over in this matter, and that care be taken, and all just and due means used, for a reformation herein; and that such who are guilty of this crying sin of pride, that abounds in the churches as well as in the nation, may be reproved; especially considering what time and treasure is foolishly wasted in adorning the body, which would be better spent in a careful endeavour to /497 adorn the soul; and the charge laid out upon those superfluities, to relieve the necessities of the poor saints, and to promote the interest of Jesus Christ. [Note by JB: In that day women did not wear pants, tight dresses, mini-skirts, shorts (neither did men) see-through blouses, nor as a rule, low cut dresses.] And though we deny not but in some cases ornaments may be allowed, yet whatever ornaments in men or women are inconsistent with modesty, gravity, sobriety, and prove a scandal to religion, opening the mouths of the ungodly, ought to be cast off, being truly no ornaments to believers, but rather a defilement; and that those ministers and churches who do not endeavour after a reformation herein, are justly to be blamed.

Q. Whether it be not the duty of all Christians, and churches of Christ, religiously to observe the Lord's day, or first day of the week, in the worship and service of God, both in public and private?

A. It is concluded in the affirmative: – Because we find that day was set apart for the solemn worship of God, by our Lord Jesus, and his holy apostles, through the infallible inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

1st. Because it appears that the Son of God, who was manifested in the flesh, had authority to make a change of the solemn day of worship, being Lord of the Sabbath. Mt 12:8

2dly. It is manifested that our blessed Lord and Saviour arose on that day, as having completed and confirmed the work of our redemption, Mt 28:1; Lu 24:1; Joh 20:1. whereby he laid the foundation of the observation of that day.

3dly. Our Lord Jesus did then, on that day most plainly and solemnly appear to his disciples, teaching and instructing them, blessing them, and giving them their commission, breathing on them the Holy Ghost. Lu 24:13,27,36; Joh 20:19-23, – Moreover on the next first day of the /498 week, he appeared to them again, giving them a further in;fallible proof of his glorious resurrection; and then convinced the apostle Thomas, who was absent the first day before, but was now with them, Joh 20:26. Whereby it appears he sanctified and confirmed the religious observation of that day by his own example.

4thly. Our Lord and Saviour remained with his disciples forty days after his resurrection, speaking to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, Ac 1:3. And we question not but he then gave command about the observation of this day.

5thly. For a further confirmation hereof, it appears that after his ascension, when his disciples or apostles, were assembled together solemnly with one accord, on the day of Pentecost, which by all computation, was the first day of the week: recorded, Ac 2:1-2. – He then poured out his Holy Spirit in a marvellous and an abundant measure upon them.

6thly. Accordingly, afterwards, we find this day was solemnly observed by the churches, as appears, Ac 20:7. where we have the churches assembling on that day plainly asserted, with the solemn duties then performed, which were preaching and breaking of bread; and all this recorded as their usual custom which could be from no other cause but divine and apostolic institution. And it is most remarkable, and worthy the most serious observation of all the Lord's people, that although the holy apostles, and others that were preachers of the gospel, took their opportunities to preach the word on the Jewish sabbath-day, and on other days of the week as they had convenient seasons afforded; yet we have no example of the churches then assembling together to celebrate all the ordinances of our Lord Jesus pe/499 culiar to them, but on the first day of the week; which manifest practice of theirs is evidently as plain a demonstration of its being a day set apart for religious worship, by the will and command of our Lord Jesus, as if it had been expressed in the plainest words. Forasmuch as they did nothing in those purest primitive times in the sacred worship of God, either as to time or form, but by a divine warrant from the holy apostles, who were instructed by our Lord Jesus, and were guided in all those affairs by his faithful and infallible Holy Spirit.

7thly. In like manner the solemn ordinance of collection for the necessities of the poor saints, was commanded to be performed on that day, 1Co 16:1-2. by an apostolic ordination; which without question, by reason of their observing that day for their holy assembling and worship, was then required.

Lastly. It is asserted by all the considerate and able expositors of the holy scriptures, that the denomination or title of Lord's day, mentioned Re 1:10. was attributed to the first day of the week, as the usual distinguishing name given to that solemn day by the Christians, or churches, in the primitive times; and as being a day to be spent wholly in the service and worship of the Lord, and not in our own worldly and secular affairs, which are lawful to be attended unto on other days of the week.

From all which, laid together and considered, we are convinced that it is our duty religiously to observe that holy day in the celebration of the worship of God.

Q. Whether the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit be not sufficient to the making and continuing of an honourable ministry in the churches?

A. Resolved in the affirmative, Eph 4:8-9; 1Co 12:7.

/500 Q. Whether it be not advantageous for our brethren now in the ministry, or that may be in the ministry, to attain to a competent knowledge of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues, that they may be the better capable of defending the truth against opposers?

A. Resolved in the affirmative.

Q. Whether an elder of one church may administer the ordinance in other churches of the same faith?

A. That an elder of one church may administer the ordinance of the Lord's supper to another of the same faith, being called so to do by the said church; though not as their pastor, but as a minister, necessity only being considered in this case.

We the Ministers and Messengers of, and concerned for, upwards of one hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales, denying Arminianism, being met together in London from the third of the seventh month to the eleventh of the same, 1689, to consider of some things that might be for the glory of God, and the good of these congregations; have thought meet, for the satisfaction of all other Christians that differ from us in the point of Baptism, to recommend to their perusal the confession of our faith, which we own, as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice; and do desire that the members of our churches respectively do furnish themselves therewith.

Moreover, this assembly do declare their approbation of a certain little book; lately recommended by divers elders dwelling in and about the city of London, entitled, The Ministers Maintenance Vindicated. And it is their request, that the said treatise be dispersed among all our respective congregations; and it is desired that some brethren of each church take care to dispose of the same accordingly.

/501 The elders and messengers of the assembly, in consequence of illiberal aspersions cast upon their connections, concluded the narrative of 1689, declaring their abhorrence of the late king's absolute and dispensing power, as well as their united and most hearty determination “to venture their all for the protestant religion, and the liberties of their native country:” “And we do,” say they, “with great thankfulness to God, acknowledge his special goodness to these nations, in raising up our present king William, to be a blessed instrument in his hand, to deliver us from popery and arbitrary power; and shall always, as in duty bound, pray that the Lord may continue him and his royal consort long to be a blessing to these kingdoms; and shall always be ready to the utmost of our ability, in our places, to join our hearts and hands, with the rest of our protestant brethren, for the preservation of ;the protestant religion, and the liberties of the nation.

“WILLIAM KIFFIN,                          ROBERT KEATE,


ANDREW GIFFORD,                     JAMES WEBB,

ROBERT STEED,                          JOHN HARRIS,

THOMAS VAUXE,                          THOMAS WINNELL,

JOHN TOMKINS,                            JAMES HITT,

TOBY WELLS,                                EDWARD PRICE,


BENJAMIN KEACH,                       WILLIAM FAGEY,

SAMUEL BUTTALL,                       JOHN BALL,

ISAAC LAMB,                                 WILLIAM HANKINS,


The persons appointed to receive all the collections made in the respective congregations for the general fund or public /502 stock, are our honoured and well-beloved brethren, Mr. William Kiffin, Mr. Robert Bristow, Mr. Morice King, Mr. John Leader, sen. Mr. Isaac Marlow, Mr. John Skinner, Mr. Richard Hallowell, Mr. John Collet, and Mr. Edward Harrison.

Resolved, That the money be remitted from the country, to our beloved brother Mr. Edward Harrison, (one of the nine brethren before mentioned,) living at the sign of the Hen and Chickens, in Cheapside, London; with another letter signifying the same, to our beloved brother Mr. Morice King, living at the sign of the Mermaid in Lawrence Lane, Silkman, another of the nine brethren aforesaid.

We, whose names are subscribed, testify, that the persons aforenamed were unanimously chosen by the whole Assembly, September 12, 1689.


ROBERT STEED,                          RICHARD ADAMS,

WILLIAM COLLINS,                       WILLIAM PHIPS,

ANDREW GIFFORD,                     JOHN BALL,

THOMAS VAUXE,                          RICHARD RING,

JOHN HARRIS                                CHARLES ARCHER,

BENJAMIN KEACH,                       JAMES HITT,





WILLIAM HANKINS,                       PAUL FRUIN,

EDMOND WHITE,                          RICHARD SUTTON,

DANIEL FINCH,                              ROBERT KEATE,

JOHN TOMKINS,                            JOHN CARTER,

EDWARD MANN,                           ROBERT KNIGHT.

JAMES WEBB,                              

/503 To preserve all the conciseness which is possible, we print the list which was published in 1692, with that for this year. The reader is desired to remark that those churches distinguished by an asterisk are Welsh Churches.

AN Account of the several Baptized Churches in England and Wales, owning the Doctrine of Personal Election and Final Perseverance, that sent either their Ministers or Messengers, or otherwise communicated their state in our General Assembly at London, on the 3d and 4th, and so on to the 11th day of the 7th month, called September, 1689.

The list of September, 1689.                                    The list of the 3d Month, 1692.

     Churches.                               Ministers and Messengers

                                      1689.                                                1692.


READING                William Facey, pastor                   Jo. Ward, min.

                                  Reyamire Griffin, mess.

Farringdon               Richard Steed, min.                      Richard Steed, min.

                                  William Mills, min.                          William Mills, min.

Abington                   Henry Forty, pastor

                                  John Tomkins                                John Tomkins, min.

                                  Philip Hockton


Wantage                  Robert Keate, min.                        Robert Keate, min.

Longworth                John Man, preacher                      John Man, preacher

                                  Peter Stephens


Steventon                 Step. Howtherne, past.                 Step Howtherne, past.

                                  John Carver

Evershall                  Edward White, past.                     Edmond White, pastor


Haddington              Peter Tyler                                     Peter Tyler

Stukely*                    Robert Knight, past.                      Robert Knight, pastor

                                  1689.                                                     1692.


Cambridge               Thomas Cowlinge                         Thomas Cowlinge

Wisbich                    Wm. Ricks, preacher                    Wm. Rix, preacher




Looe                         Tho. Cowling, min.                        Thomas Cowling, min.


Bovey Tracey          Clement Jackson, min.                 Clement Jackson, min.

Dartmouth                Philip Cary, min.                                   Philip Cary, min.

Exon                         Wm. Phipps, pastor                      Mr. Simpson, min.

                                  Richard Adams

Ladswell                   Samuel Hart, min.                          Samuel Hart, min.

Luppit                       Thomas Halwell                                    Thomas Halwell

Plymouth                  _______ Holdenby, past.             James Hitt, min.

                                  Samuel Buttall, min.                      Samuel Buttal, min.

South Molton            Thos. Stoneman, mess.

Tiverton                    John Ball                                               Richard Tidmarsh, min.

                                  Tristram Truvin, min.


Dorchester               Thomas Cox, min.                         Thomas Cox, min.

/505 Dalwood             James Hitt, preacher

                                  Thos. Payne, preacher                 Thomas Payne, min.

Lyme                        Simon Orchard, min.                     Simon Orchard, min.


Muggleswick            John Ward                                     John Ward, min.

                                  Henry Blackhead                           Henry Blackett, min.


Hadfield-                  Wm. Collins, pastor                      Wm. Collins, past.


Harlow                      Wm. Woodward, past.                  Wm. Woodward, past.

                                  James Newton

Colchester is mentioned in 1692. John Hammond, past.


Morton-in-                 John Goring, pastor                      John Greening, past.

      marsh                 Anthony Freeman

                                  1689.                                                     1692.

Cirencester              Giles Watkins, min.                       Giles Watkins, min.

Dimmock                  Wm. Hankins, past.                       Wm. Hankins, pastor



Nimpsfield                Robert Williams                            Robert Williams


Tewkesbury             Eleaz. Harringe, past.                   Eleazer Herringe, past.

                                  Edward Canter


Swansea*                 Lewis Thomas, pas.                     Lewis Thomas, past.

                                  Robert Morgan


Hempstead              Samuel Ewer, past.                       Samuel Ewer, past.

                                  William Aldwin

/506Kingsworth          James Hardinge, min.                   James Hardinge, min.

                                  Daniel Finch, min.                         Daniel Finch, min.


Theobalds                Jos. Masters, past.                       Joseph Masters, past.

                                  Joseph Seward

Tringe                       Richard Sutton, past.                    Richard Sutton, past.

                                  John Bishop


Christ-Church           Joseph Brown                               Joseph Brown

                                  John Lillington


South Hampton        Richard Ring, past.                       Richard Ring, past.

                                  John Greenwood

Whitchurch               Richard Kent, mess.                     Richard Kent, min.

                                  Stephen Kent, mess.



Hereford                   Edward Price, past.                      Edward Price, past.

Weston and             Rich. Perkins, preach.                  Rich. Perkins, preach.



Sandwich                 Thos. Fecknam, past.                   Thos. Fecknam, pastor

                                  Edward Taylor


                                      1689.                                                1692.


Warrington               ________ Loe, past.                    Thos. Loe, pastor


Kilbey                       Ilen, Coleman, past.                      Henry Coleman, min.

                                  Benjamin Winkles



Broken Wharf          Hansard Knollys, past

                                  Robert Steed, past                       Robert Steed, past

                                  John Skinner

                                  Thomas Lampet

Devonshire-             Wm. Kiffin, past.                           William Kiffin, past.

       Square              Morris King                                    Richard Adams, past.

                                  William Clark

Joyners Hall             John Harris, past.                          Tobias Russel, min.

                                  Samuel Boncal                              Thomas Mariet, min.

                                  William Dicks

                                  John Merriot

Houndsditch             Edward Man, past.                        Edward Man, pastor

                                  John Burkes

                                  Richard Hollowell

Petty France            Wm. Collins, past.                         Wm. Collins, pastor

                                  John Collet

                                  Thomas Harrison                          Thomas Harrison, min.

Lime-house              Leon. Harrison, past.                    Leonard Harrison, past.

                                  Samuel Booth

                                  John Hunt

Mile-end                   George Barret, past.                     George Barret, pastor

       Green                Isaac Marloc

                                  John Putipher

                                  Daniel Hawes

Culman Green                                                                Culman Green, not

                                                                                            inserted this year.

Penington                 Isaac Lambe, pastor

      Street                 Humph. Burroughs                        Hum. Burroughs, mess.

                                  John Giller

Wapping                  Hercul. Collins, past.                     Hercules Collins, pastor

                                  Humph. Hutchings

                                  John Overinge




                             1689.                                                1692.


Horse-lie down        Benj. Keach, pastor                      Benj. Keach, pastor

                                  John Leader

                                  Thomas Dawson

                                  Edward Sandford

Mayes Pond                                                                    Sumuel Mee, minister

Shad Thames          Richard Adams, min.

                                  Nath. Crabb                                   Winchester House.

                                  John Bernard                                 Richard Baxter, min.

                                                                                         David Towler, min.


Abergavenny           Chris. Price, min.                           Christoph. Price, min.

Blaenau*                   Wm. Prichard, past.                      William Prichard, past.

Llanwenarth*            Francis Giles



Pulham Market         Henry Bradshaw                            Henry Brett, pastor

Norwich                    _________ Austin, pastor           Edward Austin, pastor

                                  Thomas Flatman, min.                  Edward Williams, past.


Newcastle-               Richard Pitts, pastor                     Richard Pitts, pastor

      on-Tyne              John Turner


Finstock                   John Carpenter, min.                    John Carpenter, min.

                                  Joshua Brooks

Hooknorton              Charles Archer, pastor                 Charles Archer, pastor

Oxford city               Richard Tidmarsh, min.


Neare, or                  Griffith Howel                                 Griffith Howel

      Rushacre*          William Jones, pastor                   William Jones, pastor


Bath Haycomb         Richard Gay, min.                         Richard Gay, minister

Bridgwater                Tobias Wells, pastor                    Tobias Wells, pastor

                                  Wm. Coleman


Broadmead             Tho. Vaux, pastor                          Thomas Vaux, pastor

                                  Robert Bodmam

Fryers                       Andrew Gifford, pastor                 Andrew Gifford, pastor

Chard                       Wm. Wilkins, min.                         Wm. Wilkins, min.

                                      1689.                                                1692.

Charton                    Wm. Woodman                             Wm. Woodman

Dunster and


Froome                    Wm. Randalfe

Hallitraw                    John Andrews

Hatch                        Jeremiah Day                                Jeremiah Day

Kilmington                Robert Cox, min.                           Robert Cox, minister

Taunton                    Thos. Winnell, pastor                    Thos. Whinnell, pastor

Wedmore                 George Stant, min.                        George Stant, minister

Wells                        Tim. Brooke, min.                          Timothy Brooke, min.

Yeoville and             Thomas Miller, pastor                   Thomas Miller, pastor



Framingsham           Thos. Mills, minister                      Thomas Mills, minister

/510 SURREY.

Guildford                  John Ward

Richmond                Hezekiah Brent, min.

                                  John Scot, minister                       John Scot, minister


Aulcester                  John Willis                                     John Willis, min.

                                  John Higgins                                    (Copy falsely Wills)

Warwick                   Paul Fruin, min.                             Benjamin Boyer, min.

                                  Robert Paule


Bradford                   John Flouret                                  John Flouret



Devizes                    James Webb

Ecclestocke             William Aldridge

                                  Edward Froud

Knoyle                      John Williams, past.                      John Williams, pastor

Malmesbury             ________ Arch, past.                   _________ Arch, pastor


Porton                      Walter Pen

                                  John Andrews

Southweeke             Joseph Holton

                                  John Layes

Warminster              John Werell, pastor

                                  1689.                                                     1692.

Westbury                 Roger Cator


Bromsgrove             John Eccles, past.                        John Eccles, pastor

/511 Hearty thanks are returned to you for your great love and charity towards our poor brother, Richard Dorwood, upon the account of his loss by fire.”

[1]This appendix is a selection from volume I of Joseph Ivimey's History of the English Baptists. It includes the title page and pages 477-511. Pages are noted with a /n, with the n being the page number. It outlines the proceedings of the meetings whereby the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith was written.

* Baptist Register for 1695, p. 260.











Very few Bible students enjoy the high privilege and tremendous advantage of being able to work beneath the surface of an English translation in the added richness and accuracy of interpretation which is found in the text of the Greek New Testament. ... For instance, he is studying Eph 4:11-12, and he reads in the Authorized Version, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” He would never suspect that there are only four individuals mentioned in Eph 4:11. The student of the English Bible could never know that the words, “pastors” and “teachers,” are in a construction in the Greek text called Granville Sharp's rule which is stated as follows: “When two nouns are in the same case, connected by the word kai (and), the first noun having the definite article, the second noun without the article, the second noun refers to the same person or thing to which the first noun refers and is a further description of it.” Not knowing this rule, he would fail to see that Paul was only referring to one individual when he spoke of pastors and teachers. Thus, he would miss the important truth that God's ideal pastor is a teaching pastor, one who specializes in expository sermons, one whose ministry is a teaching ministry. He would fail to grasp the fact that God gives to every man whom He calls to be a pastor, a teaching gift which he is to develop by use. A knowledge of this would revolutionize the ministry of many pastors. Again, the student of the English Bible, not familiar with Latin, would not know that the word “pastor” is from a Latin word meaning “shepherd,” and not conversant with Greek, would be ignorant of the fact that the word in the Greek text was the Greek word for a shepherd. Thus, he would miss the practical illustration of the shepherd in the East who always leads his flock, never drives it. The story goes that a traveller in the East once saw a man driving a flock of sheep. He said to the man, “I thought that eastern shepherds always led their flocks, never drove them.” Replied the man, “Oh, I am not the shepherd. I am the butcher.” All of which means that the pastor who attempts to drive God's flock to the living of a holy life, only works havoc amongst this people, but the pastor who leads the people by a Christlike life, attains his purpose.

Again, the English reader studies verse twelve, and sees that the pastor has three responsibilities, to perfect the saints, to do the work of the ministry, and to edify the body of Christ. That means that the pastor does all the work in the local church, and his parishioners pay him for doing it, and sit back and do nothing. He could never know that the Greek New Testament has four different words which mean “perfect,” and that the particular word used here means “to equip someone in order that he might be able to perform a certain piece of work.” He would naturally think that the word “ministry” referred to the ordained minister, since the word is so used today. He would never suspect that the Greek word of which it is the translation refers to the rendering of service. Thus, he could never know that Paul's idea was, “He gave some, teaching pastors for the equipping of the saints for ministering work with a view to the building up of the body of Christ.”

But that clearer, more accurate translation and understanding of Paul's Greek here, would again revolutionize the ministry of a pastor. He would see that God called him to be a specialist. He was not to do all the work of the church, nor even a large part of it. He was to specialize in training the saints in the pews to engage in Christian service, and he would thus be multiplying himself and his efforts, and instead of being a superintendent of an old people's rest home, he would be nurturing a beehive of activity. He would begin to be in God's eyes, a successful pastor.[1]

[1] This information is taken from the preface to The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, as found in the four volume edition of his Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. Permission to print this in the introduction of a pamphlet entitled “Preaching as it Relates to the Work & Obligation of the Pastor”, by Jimmy K. Barber, was granted by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 225 Jefferson, S. E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49502.