Of the Church.
I. The catholick or universal
church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect that
have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the
head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all
a Eph. 1:10,22,23;
Eph. 5:23,27,32; Col. 1:18.
II. The visible church, which
is also catholick or universal under the gospel, (not confined to one nation,
as before under the law,) consists of all those throughout the
world that profess the true religion,b
together with their children;c
and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,d the house and family of God,e out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.f
b 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Cor.
12:12,13; Ps. 2:8; Rev. 7:9; Rom. 15:9-12.
c 1 Cor. 7:14; Acts
2:39; Ezek. 16:20,21; Rom. 11:16; Gen. 3:15; Gen. 17:7.
d Matt. 13:47; Isa.
e Eph. 2:19; Eph.
f Acts 2:47.
III. Unto this catholick
visible church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God,
for the gathering and perfecting of the saints in this life, to the
end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit,
according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.g
g 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph.
4:11-13; Matt. 28:19,20; Isa. 59:21.
IV. This catholick church hath
been sometimes more, sometimes less visible.h And particular churches, which are members
thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is
taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and publick worship performed
more or less purely in them.i
h Rom. 11:3,4; Rev.
i Rev. chap. 2, 3; 1
V. The purest churches under
heaven are subject both to mixture and error;k and some have so degenerated, as to become no churches of
Christ, but synagogues of Satan.l
Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth to worship God according
to his will.m
k 1 Cor. 13:12; Rev.
chap. 2, 3; Matt. 13:24-30,47.
l Rev. 18:2; Rom.
m Matt. 16:18; Ps.
72:17; Ps. 102:28; Matt. 28:19,20.
VI. There is no other head of
the church but the Lord Jesus Christ:n nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense, be head
thereof; but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that
exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is
n Col. 1:18; Eph.
o Matt. 23:8-10; 2
Thess. 2:3,4,8,9; Rev. 13:6.
Confession of Faith (index)