Vol 87 Issue 02

Results 1 to 7 of 7

Unity in Diversity: The Ecumenical Spirit of the Great Synod

The “great synod,” for anyone of the Dutch, Reformed tradition, is the Reformed, ecumenical synod that met in Dordrecht in 1618-19. This is the synod that dealt decisively with the Arminian errors. This synod was striving for unity. For the great breach in the church was the Arminian heresy. Luther and the Reformers understood that false doctrine divides. Indeed, long before them, Paul warned the saints at Rome, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). Notice, the divisions were caused by departures...

The Westminster Confession and Church Unity (1)

“The Nearest Conjunction and Uniformity in Religion” The assembly of divines or theologians meeting in Westminster Abbey in London in the 1640s was passionately concerned with true church unity.¹ King Charles I (1625-1649), with his “divine right of kings,” and William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury (1633-1645), with his “divine right of bishops,” zealously sought to impose a different sort of unity in Britain: a unity in Erastian, Episcopalian, high church, ritualistic, Romanising Arminianism! Eventually the opponents of Charles I and Laud—Presbyterian Scotland and, south of the border, the Puritans (chiefly for religious reasons) and the parliamentarians (mainly on political...

Ecclesiastical Isolationism

The Reformed faith always requires a believer to walk a narrow path between two extremes. He must eschew liberalism that seeks to draw away the church into worldly-mindedness. But he must also detest the reaction to liberalism that results in legalism, an attempt to regulate the life of the child of God by robbing him of his freedom in Christ. The Reformed church must flee from the loathsome disease of Arminianism when calling sinners to repentance and faith, but it must likewise run from the opposite extreme of hyper-Calvinism, which denies God’s serious call to all to turn from sin...

John Calvin: Lover of the Church Catholic

It can be said that whereas Luther was used by God to enable Christ’s church to break with Rome and begin anew with the gospel restored, it was Calvin whom the Lord used to keep His church, once loosed from Rome, from fragmenting into a thousand pieces. It was Calvin, more than any other, whom the Lord used to reinstitute His church as the church Catholic. No one can read Calvin’s Institutes, and especially his letters, and then deny that Calvin, in spite of all the labors and demands placed upon him by Geneva the cantankerous and uncooperative, yet had...

More Wonderful Work In Jesus Name: The World Communion of Reformed Churches.

Sadly, in this issue devoted to the ecumenical spirit of the Reformation, it is necessary to consider another spirit among churches claiming this heritage. It is the spirit of apostasy foretold to come before the day of Christ (II Thess. 2:3). Although ecclesiastical, it is the spirit of this world, and of the Antichrist. Although religious, this spirit forsakes the truth in willful unbelief and disobedience. It is also an ecumenical spirit that unites its own in order to prophesy, cast out devils, and do many wonderful works in Jesus’ name (Matt. 7:22). But it is a false ecumenical spirit...

The Ecumenical Spirit of the Reformation: Unity in the Truth.

I believe one holy catholic and apostolic church. That confession is found in the Nicene Creed, the first ecumenical creed adopted by the church. The church of Jesus Christ is one, and it is ecumenical. The root meaning of the word ecumenical is universal. The one church is Christ’s church, and He gathers His church out of all the nations. The true church of Christ on this earth constantly seeks to manifest that oneness. That is proper ecumenicity. The sixteenth century Reformation of Luther and Calvin is generally not known for having an ecumenical spirit. On the contrary, two of...

Calvin on Unity*

* Excerpted, by permission, from John Calvin’s Sermons on Ephesians,The Banner of Truth Trust, 3 Murrayfield Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6EL , UK, www.banneroftruth.org. This excerpt of Calvin’s Twenty Second Sermon on Ephesians treats especially verses 3-5 of Ephesians 4 and the call to keep the unity of the Spirit. Because of the length of the sermon, the first part was omitted. In it, Calvin movingly exhorts to godly attitudes towards others: “lowliness and meekness, with patience, bearing with each other in love….” Reading Calvin always comes with rich rewards. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye...

10/15/2010