Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The True Church Is Found in Christ

In the Church itself, infinite is the multitude of the wicked who oppress it.  Therefore, in order that we may not despair, but may know that the Church will nevertheless remain, likewise that we may know that, however great the multitude of the wicked is, yet the Church will remain, and that Christ provides those gifts which He has promised to the Church—to forgive sins, to hear prayer, to give the Holy Spirit—this article in the [Apostle's] Creed presents us these consolations.

But just as the Church has the promise that it will always have the Holy Spirit, so it has also the warnings that there will be wicked teachers and wolves.*  But that is the Church in the proper sense which has the Holy Spirit.  Although wolves and wicked teachers run rampant in the Church, yet they are not properly the kingdom of Christ.  Just as Lyra also testifies, when he says:
The Church does not consist of men with respect to power, or ecclesiastical or secular dignity, because many princes and archbishops and others of lower rank have been found to have apostatized from the faith.  Therefore, the Church consists of those persons in whom there is a true knowledge and confession of faith and truth.†
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Articles VII and VIII: The Church 9, 22

*  Acts 20:29
†  Nicholas of Lyra (c. 1270–October 1349) who was born into a Jewish family and converted to Christianity, later entering a Franciscan order in 1291.

No comments: