What does Church mean in the Bible?

Greek / Hebrew Translation Occurance
ἐκκλησίας a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place 25
ἐκκλησίᾳ a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place 21
ἐκκλησίαν a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place 19
ἐκκλησία a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place 8

Definitions Related to Church

G1577


   1 a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly.
      1a an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating.
      1b the assembly of the Israelites.
      1c any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance, tumultuously.
      1d in a Christian sense.
         1d1 an assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting.
         1d2 a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake.
         1d3 those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body.
         1d4 the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth.
         1d5 the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven.
         

Frequency of Church (original languages)

Frequency of Church (English)

Dictionary

1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Orthodox Church
(Greek: orthodoxos, right believer)
Name appropriated, some time before the 9th century, by the Christians of the largest group of the Non-Uniat or schismatical churches, to distinguish themselves from heretics. Originally comprising the four Eastern patriarchates, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, they were separated from the West in the schism of the 9th and 11th centuries. The Orthodox Church is subdivided into the following independent Churches, which, however, all recognize each other, and no other Christian Church, as Orthodox.
Church of Cyprus
Church of Greece (Modern)
Church of Mount Sinai
Greek Church in Australia
Greek Church in Western Europe (headquarters in London)
Greek Orthodox Church in the United States
Independent Greek Orthodox Church in America
Patriarchate of Alexandria (Egypt)
Patriarchate of Antioch (Syria)
Patriarchate of Constantinople
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Patriarchate of Moscow (Russia; largest of all Eastern Churches)
Patriarchate of Poland
Patriarchate of Rumania
Patriarchate of Serbia
Russian Church (Czarist: headquarters in Serbia)
The Living Church (Russia; new)
The majority of them have become national churches, governed by a Holy Directing Synod and absolutely independent upon the state.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Inventory of Church Property
(Latin: inventarium, list)
A detailed and accurate account of church property. All clerical administrators should in the beginning of their office draw up this document in which all goods should be accurately described and their value noted. If there be more than one administrator, all must sign it. Administrators should not accept an inventory already made unless a description of the goods lost or acquired in the meantime has been included in the document. A copy of this inventory must be kept in the local archives and another in the archives of the diocesan curia and any change in the property should be noted.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Christian Reformed Church in North America
A group who withdrew from the Reformed Church in America. They organized as a separate body at Holland, Michigan in 1857. In doctrine they adhere to the Belgic Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort. They are strictly presbyterian in government. Two weekly periodicals are published by them. In 1890 the True Protestant Dutch Reformed Church merged with them. The Protestant Reformed Church split off in 1924, and during the 1990's, another group split off as the United Reformed Churches in North America. They have a web site.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Methodist Protestant Church
A Protestant sect organized in Baltimore in 1830 as a result of a desire to develop sentiment in favor of "the right of the laity to an equal representation with the ministers in the lawmaking bodies of the church"; in accord with the Methodist Episcopal Church in matters of doctrine; in government, however, the Methodist Protestant Church had no bishops or presiding elders and no life officers of any kind. They published four periodicals. Foreign missionary work was carried on in Japan, China, and India. In 1939 it merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Methodist Episcopal Church to form the Methodist Church, which today is known as the United Methodist Church.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Moravian Church
A religious association formed near Kunwald, Bohemia, 1457, "to foster pure scriptural teaching and apostolic discipline." The Unitas Fratrom; Church of Brethren, or Unity of Brethren, known at the present time in England and America as the Moravian Church, was established, 1735. In 1734 the first Moravian missionary came to Pennsylvania, and an attempt was also made at missionary work in Georgia. An act of Parliament, 1749, recognized the Moravian Church as "an ancient Protestant Episcopal Church," giving it standing and privileges in all British dominions. During colonial times Bethlehem, Nazareth, and Lititz, in Pennsylvania, and Salem, North Carolina, were organized as exclusive Moravian villages. Between 1844,1856 this exclusive system was abolished and the church organization was remodeled to suit modern conditions. Having no doctrine of its own, it is broadly evangelical, and in harmony with Protestants on the essentials of Christian teaching. The Moravian principle is "in essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, and in all things, charity." Accepting the Apostles' Creed as formulating the prime articles of faith found in the Scriptures, it emphasizes the personal mediatorship of Jesus Christ as true God and true Man, in His life, sufferings, death, and resurrection. They practise infant baptism; and holy communion, which is celebrated about six times a year, is open to communicant members of other churches. The Moravian Church is a modified episcopacy in government. Foreign missionary work is carried on in North, Central, and South America, the West Indies, South Africa, Australia, the borders of Tibet, and among the lepers in Jerusalem. There are two other bodies: Evangelical Union of Bohemian and Moravian Brethren in North America, and Independent Bohemian and Moravian Brethren Churches.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Head of the Church
A title for Christ (Ephesians 4:15 ; Colossians 1:18 ). In Ephesians, the metaphor of Christ as head of His body, the church, is carefully developed. Headship includes the idea of Christ's authority (Ephesians 1:22 ; Ephesians 5:23 ) and of the submission required of the church (Ephesians 5:24 ). More is in view than a statement of Christ's authority. The focus is on the character of Christ's relationship with the church. Unlike self-seeking human lords (Luke 22:25 ), Christ exercises His authority for the church (Ephesians 1:22 NRSV, NIV), nourishing and caring for the church as one cares for one's own body ( Ephesians 5:29 ). Christ's headship also points to the interrelationship of Christ and the church. The mystery of husband and wife becoming “one flesh” is applied to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31 ), which is “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23 ). In Colossians 1:18 , the idea of Christ as head is again complex, including not only the idea of head as authority but of head as source (Colossians 1:15-20 ). The church is called to follow its head and to rest secure in its relationship with Him.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Christian Church, General Convention
After the Revolutionary War members of different Protestant churches united in evangelistic and sacramental services. In 1792Reverend James O'Kelley withdrew, with many others, from the Methodist Episcopal Church, and they organized under the name of "Republican Methodists." In 1794 they became known as "Christians," using the Bible as guide and discipline, and accepting Christian character as test of church fellowship. A similar movement began among the Baptists of New England under Dr Abner Jones who organized a church at Lyndon, Vermont, 1800; he was joined by Elias Smith, Baptist minister of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and many others. This same year the "Great Revival" started in the Cumberland Valley of Tennessee and Kentucky. Two ministers, Richard McNemar and John Thompson, with John Dunlavy, Robert Marshall, and Barton W. Stone, withdrew in 1803 from the Synod of Kentucky and organized the Springfield Presbytery, adopting the same principles as O'Kelley in the South and Jones in New England. In 1829 Alexander Campbell and followers separated from the Baptists of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Barton W. Stone, one of the original leaders of the "Christians," joined them in 1832 on condition that the Bible should be basis of union. The greater part of the original body remained, although a large number of "Christians" in Kentucky and Ohio followed Stone. In 1854, on account of a resolution adopted condemning slavery, delegates from the South to the general convention withdrew and formed a separate organization until 1890, when Southern delegates resumed their seats in the convention. They have no creed or doctrine other than the Bible. No follower of Christ is barred because of difference in theological belief, Christian character being the only test of church fellowship. They practise open communion, and labor to further the spirit of unity among Christians. The general government of the body is congregational, and each local church is independent in its organization. They publish six periodicals. Foreign missionary work is carried on in Japan and Puerto Rico.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Body of Methodist Episcopals organized at Jackson, Tennessee, December 16, 1870 with the name Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. This organization was made up of those Negroes who were not members of other Negro bodies and desired a church of their own. In doctrine they are in complete agreement with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also in polity, with a few necessary variations. Four weekly periodicals are published by them. In the 1950's the organization changed its name to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. See also,
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
CME Online
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Methodist Episcopal Church
Church body organized in the United States, c1785 It was Arminian in theology, its doctrines set forth in the "Articles of Religion," Wesley's published sermons, and his "Notes on the New Testament." The latter emphasize "belief in the Trinity, the fall of man and his need of repentance, freedom of the will, sanctification, future rewards and punishments, and the sufficiency of the Scriptures for salvation." The doctrine of sanctification implies "freedom from sin, from evil desires and evil tempers, and from pride." Baptism and the Lord's Supper were the two sacraments recognized. Baptism by sprinkling was preferred, although sprinkling, pouring, or immersion may be used. The ecclesiastical organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church included the local church, the ministry, and the system of conferences. They had two official periodicals, twelve English weeklies, and a German weekly. Foreign missionary work was carried on by a Board of Foreign Missions, and by the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, in southern and eastern Asia (India, Malaysia, Philippine Islands, China, Japan, and Korea); Africa (northern, western, southern, and Liheria); South America; Mexico; and 11European countries. In 1939 it merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Methodist Protestant Church to form the Methodist Church, which today is known as the United Methodist Church.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Oriental Church, Congregation For the
Deals with all matters concerning persons, discipline and rites of the Eastern Church, and questions arising from the relations with the Latin Church. This congregation has the same faculties for the Eastern Church which the other congregations, with the exception of the Holy Office, have in their various jurisdictions.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Free Church of Scotland
Ecclesiastical organization dating from 1843 when 47 lay and ecclesiastical members of the Established Church of Scotland severed their connection with that body as a protest against the encroachments of civilauthorities on the independence of the Church, especially regarding the matter of the presentation to vacant benefices. Ministers and professors renounced all claim to the benefices which they had had and built churches and colleges of their own for the training of their clergy. They adopted no new article of faith but represented the Presbyterian Church of the country enjoying its full spiritual liberty. They maintained, however, that the Church and State should be in intimate alliance. In 1876 they were joined by the Cameronians or Reformed Presbyterians and by the United Presbyterians in 1900 when they assumed the name of the United Free Church of Scotland. A small minority resisted fusion and these were successful in the House of Lords in claiming, as the original Free Church, nearly all the buildings. This was rectified by an Act of Parliament which permitted them to retain only such churches and other edifices as were proportionate to their need.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Nazarene, Church of the
Formerly Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene A religious movement which began in the United States towards the close of the 19th century, in New England, in New York City, and in Los Angeles, California. The founders were dissenters from the Methodist churches because they believed that full liberty to emphasize the doctrine of entire sanctification, called the "full gospel," was not allowed even in the Methodist churches. The organizations in New York and New England united as the "Association of Pentecostal Churches of America" in 1896. The Los Angeles body joined the others at the first convention of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, held in Chicago in 1907. This body is in accord with the Methodist Episcopal Church in its doctrine. Accepting the Apostles' Creed in general, it gives special emphasis to the doctrine of entire sanctification. It is congregational in its government. The Church of the Nazarene publishes four periodicals. Foreign missionary work is carried on by the General Foreign Missionary Board in Africa, China, Japan, India, Central and South America, Cuba, Mexico, and the Cape Verde Islands.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - International Holiness Church
Formerly the International Holiness Church, organized at Cincinnati, Ohio by the Reverend Martin W Knapp, 1897. Knapp withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church because he believed this body "was no longer completely Wesleyan in teaching or practise." They emphasize "belief in the Trinity and faith in the Holy Scriptures as divinely and supernaturally inspired, infallibly true as originally given, and as the only divinely authorized rule of faith and practise." As often as it is thought proper the Lord's Supper is observed. Individual opinion governs the mode of baptism. In government they corresponded closely to the Methodist Episcopal Church. Foreign missionary work was carried on in Africa, British West Indies, South America, Japan, and Korea. In 1968 the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged with the Wesleyan Methodist Church to become the Wesleyan Church.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Metal-Work in the Service of the Church
From the earliest times utensils and vessels of metal have been used in the liturgical rites of the Church. In the 3century there were donations to the Roman basilicas of golden chalices. To this period also belong bowls of silver for chrism and statuettes of precious metals. The altar and ciborium were adorned with gold and silver. Silver was used for the iconostasis, and lamps of gold, silver, and bronze illuminated the churches. The statues were either carved or made of wood overlaid with gold. The Byzantine work showed Oriental influence in the use of cloisonne enamel. In the 6th century gold work adorned with verrotorie cloisonnee (glass mosaic) was made in the West. Later the art of metal hammering was introduced. Workers of great skill were found among the monks. The Romanesque period (1050-1250) is the golden age of metal-work. Copper took the place of gold and champleve replaced cloisonne. The popular tendency was shown in the introduction of secular types of decoration. Metal was cast for making doors and fonts. The Gothic period revived the use of silver and introduced a translucent enamel. The tendency was for lightness and mobility of form. The arts had gradually passed into the hands of the laity. Cast bronze was used for candelabra and lecterns. Splendid doors were produced in France. During the Renaissance the most distinguished sculptors in Italy worked in bronze. For a long time the Gothic forms persisted, but the ornament was copied from antique models. The metal-work of the baroque period is clumsy in design; in the period of classicism the style is over rigid. The revival of the styles of medieval art in the 19th century has been beneficial to ecclesiastical metal work.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Great God, Whatever Through Thy Church
Hymn written by an anonymous author, and found in "Hymns for the Year," 1867.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Old Catholic Church in America
Religious body in the United States. The Lithuanian National Catholic Church in America, organized by the Right Reverend S. B. Mickiewicz, and the Polish Catholic Church in America have been merged into the Old Catholic Church in America. They accept the seven general councils, in accord with the Old Catholic churches in Europe, and use the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Christian Union Church of God
Religious organization founded in Tennessee, August 1886, under name "Christian Union," reorganized in 1902 under name "Holiness Church," and in 1907 adopted the name "Church of God." They follow the teachings of Arminius, and also are in accord with the Methodist bodies. The requisites for membership are "profession of faith in Christ, experience of being 'born again,' bearing the fruits of a Christian life, and recognition of the obligation to accept and practise all the teachings of the church." The Lord's Supper, water baptism by immersion, and foot-washing are the sacraments observed by this body. The government is described as "a blending of congregational and episcopal, ending in theocratical, by which is meant that every question is to be decided by God's Word." The chief ruler is the pastor of the local church. They publish one periodical. According to the last census there were in the United States 923 ministers, 666 churches, and 21,076 communicants.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Fathers of the Church
Saintly writers of the first centuries of the Christian era, whom the Catholic Church acknowledges as witnesses of her faith. To be numbered among the Fathers of the Church, four qualities are required of a writer. First, he must have lived when the Church was in her youth; hence Saint Gregory the Great (died 604) is generally regarded as the last Father in the West, Saint John Damascene (died 754), in the East. Secondly, he must have led a saintly life. Thirdly, his writings must not only be free from heresies, but also excel in the explanation and defense of Catholic doctrine. Lastly, his writings must bear the seal of the Church's approval. Though the majority of the Fathers were bishops, yet this is not true of all of them. Saint Jerome was a simple priest to the end of his days, Saint Ephraem a deacon, Saint Justin a layman. Not all Fathers have been proclaimed Doctors of the Church. In matters of faith and morals, the consent of the Fathers has always been held in high esteem by the Church. What they unanimously teach to be of faith, is of faith; what they unanimously reject as heretical, is heretical. Even the logical conclusions which they unanimously draw from the articles of faith, furnish us with a certain theological argument. Their authority is due not only to the fact that they were saints or bishops or eminent scholars and lived at a time when Christ's revelation was still fresh in the minds of men, but primarily to the approbation of the Church. What Christ said of the Apostles, "He that heareth you heareth me", the Church says in a manner of the Fathers. They are the mouthpiece of the infallible teaching body of the Church, and the Church acknowledges them as witnesses of her own faith. Hence, when anathematizing new heresies or defining new dogmas, the Councils appeal to the consent of the Fathers. The Council of Ephesus (431) declared in its first session that it would define nothing save what had been held unanimously by the ancient and holy Fathers. This approbation of the Church gives added authority even to the Fathers, considered singly, though in varying degrees. A general approbation given to a saintly writer of the first centuries implies that his doctrine in general is orthodox and worthy of recommendation. Sometimes, however, a certain Father's doctrine receives a special approbation as being exceptionally solid; such is Saint Augustine's fundamental doctrine on grace. Lastly, the highest degree of ecclesiastical approbation is reached when the Church takes the very doctrine of a Father and embodies it in her own official pronouncements, as, in the case of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, whose twelve anathematisms against Nestorius were adopted by the Council of Ephesus (431).
Sancte scriptores de le prime seculos del era Christian, qui le Ecclesia Catholic recognosce como testes de fide. A fin de numerava inter la Patros del Ecclesia, quatro qualitates son requirite de un scriptor. Prime, ildebe habeva vivite quando le Ecclesia era in su juventute; si Sancte Gregory le Grande (moriva 604) generalimente es reguardate como le supreme Patro in le Occidente, Sancte John Damascene (moriva 754), in le Oriente. Secunde, ildebe habeva vivite un vita sancte. Tertie, lor scriptos debe non ha heresias, e debe exceller in le explanation e defensa de doctrinas Catholic. Ultime, lot scriptos debe ha le approbation official del Ecclesia.
Le majoritate de le Patros era episcopos, ma non le toto. Sancte Jerome era un preste a le fin de su vita, Sancte Ephraem un diacono, Sancte Justin un laico. Non le toto de le Patros son Doctores del Ecclesia.
In re fide e morales, le consentimento de le Patros sempre era estimate elevatemente per le Ecclesia. Que illes unanimemente insenia es de fide, es de fide; que le unanimemente repudia como heresia, es heresia. Le conclusiones logic que illes unanimemente extrahe del articulos de fide nos forni con argumentos theologic. Lor autoritate deriva non solmente a causa de su vitas sancte, ni a causa de illos era episcopos o eruditos magne e viveva in le tempo quando le revelation de Christo era fresce in le mente de homines, ma primarimente ab le approbation del Ecclesio. Que Christo diriva del apostolos, "Il que vos audi, mi audi", le Ecclesio diri de le Patros. Illes parla del infallibile docente del Ecclesio, el Ecclesio les recognosce como testes de su fide. Si, quando le Concilios anathematisa neo heresias o defini neo dogmas, illes appella pro le accordo de le Patros. Le Consilio de Ephesus (431) declarava dum su prime session que illo non facerea definitiones si non assecurava unanimemente per le Patros ancian e sancte. Iste approbation del Ecclesio dona autoritate additional a le Patros, considerate solo, ma in quanto variante. Un approbation general dona a un scriptore sancte de le seculos prime insinua que le lor doctrina, in general, es orthodoxe et recommendable. Ma interdum, le doctrina de ali Patro recipeva un approbation special como exceptionalemte solide; tal es le doctrina fundemental re gratia per Sancte Augustine. Ultimemente, le grandissime mesura de approbation ecclesiastic es attingete quando le Ecclesio incarna le doctrina de un Patro in su pronunciamentos official, como in le caso de Sancte Cyril de Alexandria, de qui dece-duo anathemas contra Nestorius era adoptate per le Consilio de Ephesus (431).
Dictionario Catholic Neo
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Palmarian Catholic Church
Schismatic sect with its own anti-pope. Established in 1975 by Clemente Domínguez y Gómez, an insurance broker from Seville, Spain, who claimed the Virgin Mary appeared to him at a shrine outside the small village of El Palmar de Troya in Andalucia. In 1978 he announced that he had been crowned Pope by Jesus Christ in a vision, and established his own Holy See in Seville, taking the name Gregory XVII and naming cardinals. Domínguez later declared the Catholic Church a false church, and "excommunicated" Pope John Paul II; he canonized Francisco Franco and Christopher Columbus. Upon Domínguez' death in March 2005, Manuel Alonso Corral succeeded him, taking the name Peter II.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Methodist Episcopal Church, South
Separatist slaveholders from the Methodist Episcopal Church under the leadership of James O. Andrew who organized at Louisville, Kentucky, in May, 1845. It was in agreement with other Methodist bodies in its doctrine, emphasizing especially "the universality of the atonement, the witness of the Spirit, and the possibility of holiness in heart and life." In government it was in harmony with the Methodist Episcopal Church and particularly stressed the episcopate. They published twenty periodicals. Foreign missionary work was carried on by the General Board of Missions in China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, and Africa. In 1939 it merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church and Methodist Protestant Church to form the Methodist Church, which today is known as the United Methodist Church.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Influence of the Church on Civil Law
Since Christianity is an ethical religion it must influence the rules of human conduct. Ecclesiastics have assisted in legislation, government, and the administration of justice from the beginning of the Christian Era. They aided in framing laws for barbarians, e.g., the Lex Romana Visigothorum; dispensed justice in civiland criminal matters; and advised rulers, e.g., the lord chancellor of England was usually an ecclesiastic. The Church revolutionized legislation in regard to slavery, marriage, paternal authority, and legal procedure. The right of sanctuary and the "Truce of God" were innovations by the Church; and trial by ordeal was condemned by the following popes: Nicholas I (858-867), Stephen V (VI) (885-891), Alexander II (1061-1073), Celestine III (1191-1198), Innocent III (1198-1216), and Honorius III (1216-1218).
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Law, Influence of the Church on Civil Law
Since Christianity is an ethical religion it must influence the rules of human conduct. Ecclesiastics have assisted in legislation, government, and the administration of justice from the beginning of the Christian Era. They aided in framing laws for barbarians, e.g., the Lex Romana Visigothorum; dispensed justice in civiland criminal matters; and advised rulers, e.g., the lord chancellor of England was usually an ecclesiastic. The Church revolutionized legislation in regard to slavery, marriage, paternal authority, and legal procedure. The right of sanctuary and the "Truce of God" were innovations by the Church; and trial by ordeal was condemned by the following popes: Nicholas I (858-867), Stephen V (VI) (885-891), Alexander II (1061-1073), Celestine III (1191-1198), Innocent III (1198-1216), and Honorius III (1216-1218).
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Disestablishment of the Anglican Church
Specifically, the depriving the church of its right, privileges, or position as the Established Church of the United Kingdom. As such it received the support, through taxation, of British subjects regardless of creed; and many, in order to exercise freedom of conscience, were forced to support it in addition to the Church of their convictions. The system was manifestly unfair and movements to disestablish the Anglican Church resulted in the Irish Church Act, 1869, granting autonomous powers to the Irish Protestant Episcopal Church and making it dependent upon its adherents alone; and the Welsh Church Acts 1914, which, owing to the War required further legislation, 1920, to complete the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales. The movement in England itself has been strengthened by controversies resulting from the book, "Foundations," 1912, which displayed a trend towards doctrinal indifference; the Church of England Assembly (Power) Act, 1919, which secured greater freedom for the episcopacy.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Marks of the Church
The Church is a means necessary for all men unto salvation. Now there are many societies which claim to be the Church of God. Hence, since there is an obligation imposed on men to enter the Church of Christ, this obligation presupposes the possibility of distinguishing the true Church of Christ from all other societies falsely claiming this prerogative. The Church is materially and formally visible. Hence there must of necessity be something in the Church which visibly manifests this society to be the true Church of Christ. This visible sign is what we call a mark of the Church. We may define a mark to be an essential characteristic which is proper to the true Church alone, and visibly manifests it to be the Church of Christ. The Church itself points to four such marks in the Creed promulgated at the Council of Constantinople (381). These marks are: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. Although theologians have at times multiplied the number of marks which distinguish the Church, they are reducible to these four. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, published in 1566, with the highest official sanction, adopted this more simple arrangement of the four marks. Today this arrangement has won universal acceptance.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Mind of the Church
The Church's attitude and teaching with regard to matters not solemnly defined as dogmas of Faith, but declared by her serious pronouncements and by the teaching of her approved theologians. To think and to act with the Church in matters not solemnly defined, is characteristic of a loyal member of the Church. Lack of respect for the mind of the Church incurs danger of complete loss of Faith.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Latin Church
The name applied to that vast portion of the Catholic body which comprises the Patriarchate of the West, which obeys the pope, the supreme head of Christendom, as its patriarch, and which adheres to the Latin Rite. Because it is the largest patriarchate many erroneously apply the adjective Latin (or Roman) to all Catholics, regardless of whether they follow Latin Rite, or the various Eastern rites.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Maintenance, Church
The support of the ministers, institutions, services, and buildings of the Church. This duty is incumbent ou the laity today just as it was under the Old Law and in Apostolic times. The method of fulfilling it varies in different localities and ages. The Church has always endeavored to prevent any abuses or exactions on the part of her ministers, and regulations have been laid down especially by national and provincial councils which the clergy must obey. In the British Isles and the United States the money is usually raised by pew rents or charges for seats, together with special collections; but admission to the church must be free. In parts of Canada a tax based on the civilauthorities assessment is levied. In certain European countries the governments pay a small stipend for the clergy's support; this, however, is done not out of generosity, but in pursuance of an agreement with the Holy See to make restitution for the Church properties and revenues already stolen by the civilauthorities.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Feudalism And the Church
When the Church turned from the Roman Empire to the nations of the West and gradually fashioned a civilization out of barbarian chaos, she earned the gratitude of kings and emperors who endowed her with vast property, although often as fiefs. It was in this manner that the Church took its place in the feudal system. This ecclesiastical property brought evil in its train. Disputed ecclesiastical elections followed, with coveted church property as the bone of contention; while secular princes claimed the right of investiture of spiritual offices. Owing to the great revenues coming from the landed estates attached to bishoprics and abbeys, members of the noblest families sought to buy these spiritual offices from the king or prince who granted the fief. They were willing to meet every demand of their lord if they received an office from him. Prelates holding feudal lands became governmental vassals. The secular rulers expected the Church to share the national burdens and duties, inasmuch as she was sharing the land-grants. The Church was in danger of becoming an annex of the State. Instead of being a universal Church, she was threatened with separating into a number of national churches under territorial princes. Feudalism was dragging her into a mire of secularization which culminated in the captivity of Avignon. Pope Nicholas II, in 1059, issued a decree which took the election of the pope once and for all out of the hands of the emperor and the people of Rome, and placed it in the hands of the cardinals. This was the first step toward freeing the Church from the control of secular power. Pope Gregory VII, who ascended the papal throne in 1073, continued the work of reform by attacking the practise of simony, by forbidding married clergy to perform religious functions, and by depriving kings and feudal lords of their influence over the choice of bishops and abbots, evils which had resulted from the feudal system in its relation to the Church.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Doctors of the Church
Writers who received this title from the Church, owing to their eminence in theology and holiness. They are extolled by the Church not primarily as witnesses of her faith (as are the Fathers), but on account of their brilliant exposition and skilful defense of Catholic doctrine. Unlike the titles of Doctor subtilis; Doctor resolutissimus; Doctor irrefragabilis, which enthusiastic scholars of the Middle Ages bestowed on renowned professors, this title is official. The first to confer it was Pope Boniface VIII, who in 1295 declared four Fathers the great Doctors of the Latin Church: Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, Saint Gregory the Great. The next to be declared a Doctor was Saint Thomas Aquinas in 1567. Since then more than twenty renowned theologians, all of them canonized saints, have received the same seal of approval, either from some pope or from the Sacred Congregation of Rites; the latest are Saint Peter Canisius and Saint John of the Cross, who received this honor from Pius XI. Owing to their title, the Doctors of the Church enjoy a special authority in the Church, though not all in the same degree nor in the same manner. As a rule, the range and degree of their authority are set forth in the decree by which the title is conferred. Thus Saint Alphonsus of Liguori is recommended to theologians as master of moral theology, Saint Jerome as biblical scholar, Saint Bonaventure as eminent in scholastic theology. Still, their writings are not therey pronounced infallible throughout, but they are proposed as safe guides, so that their doctrines are to be preferred unless solid reasons favor the opposite.
The following are Doctors of the Church:
Albertus Magnus
Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
Ambrose of Milan
Anselm of Canterbury
Anthony of Padua
Athanasius
Augustine of Hippo
Basil the Great
Bede the Venerable
Bernard of Clairvaux
Bonaventure
Catherine of Siena
Cyril of Alexandria
Cyril of Jerusalem
Ephrem of Syria
Francis of Sales
Gregory Nanzianzen
Gregory the Great
Hilary of Poitiers
Isidore
Jerome
John Chrystostom
John Damascene
John of the Cross
Lawrence of Brindisi
Leo the Great
Peter Canisius
Peter Chrysologus
Peter Damian
Robert Bellarmine
Teresa of Avila
Therese of Lisieux
Thomas Aquinas
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Catholic Church Extension Society
Association founded in Chicago, 1905, to develop missionary spirit among Catholics and for the support of churches in poor localities of the United States. Among its activities are the building of churches in poor districts and the support of priests in such parishes, the education of students for missionary work, and the circulation of Catholic literature. An interesting feature of the society are the chapel cars, which enable missionaries to work at distant points along the railroad lines. "The Extension Magazine" is published monthly and has a circulation of 273,732. Tbe women's auxiliary and the "Child Apostles" are affiliated associations. The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada publishes the "Catholic Register" weekly.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada
Association founded in Chicago, 1905, to develop missionary spirit among Catholics and for the support of churches in poor localities of the United States. Among its activities are the building of churches in poor districts and the support of priests in such parishes, the education of students for missionary work, and the circulation of Catholic literature. An interesting feature of the society are the chapel cars, which enable missionaries to work at distant points along the railroad lines. "The Extension Magazine" is published monthly and has a circulation of 273,732. Tbe women's auxiliary and the "Child Apostles" are affiliated associations. The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada publishes the "Catholic Register" weekly.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Church, the
Definition of the Church . The New Testament word for "church" is ekklesia [ Acts 19:32,39,41 ).
The most important background of the term ekklesia [1] is the Septuagint, which uses the word in a religious sense about one hundred times, almost always as a translation of the Hebrew word qahal [2]. While the latter term does indicate a secular gathering (contrasted, say to eda [3], the typical Hebrew word for Israel's religious gathering, and translated by the Greek, sunagoge [4]), it also denotes Israel's sacred meetings. This is especially the case in Deuteronomy, where qahal [2] is linked with the covenant.
When we come to the New Testament, we discover that ekklesia [ Matthew 16:18 ; 18:17 ), it is of special importance in Acts (23 times) and the Pauline writings (46 times). It is found twenty times in Revelation and only in isolated instances in James and Hebrews. We may broach the subject of the biblical teaching on the church by drawing three general conclusions from the data so far. First, predominantly ekklesia [ Acts 8:3 ; 9:31 ; Ephesians 1:3-1480 ; 15:9 ; especially in the later Pauline letters, Ephesians 1:22-23 ; Colossians 1:18 ). Third, the ekklesia [ Haggai 2:1-977 ; 2 Corinthians 1:1 ; etc.).
The Nature of the Church . The nature of the church is too broad to be exhausted in the meaning of the one word, ekklesia [1]. To capture its significance the New Testament authors utilize a rich array of metaphorical descriptions. Nevertheless, there are those metaphors that seem to dominate the biblical picture of the church, five of which call for comment: the people of God, the kingdom of God, the temple of God, the bride of Christ, and the body of Christ.
The People of God . Essentially, the concept of the people of God can be summed up in the covenantal phrase: "I will be their God and they will be my people" (see Exodus 6:6-7 ; 19:5 ; Leviticus 26:9-14 ; Jeremiah 7:23 ; 30:22 ; 32:37-40 ; Ezekiel 11:19-20 ; 36:22-28 ; John 1:32-34 ; 2 Corinthians 6:16 ; Hebrews 8:10-12 ; Luke 1:9-1197 ; etc.).Thus, the people of God are those in both the Old and New Testament eras who responded to God by faith, and whose spiritual origin rests exclusively in God's grace.
To speak of the one people of God transcending the eras of the Old and New Testaments necessarily raises the question of the relationship between the church and Israel. Modern theologies prefer not to polarize the matter into an either/or issue. Rather, they talk about the church and Israel in terms of there being both continuity and discontinuity between them.
Continuity between the Church and Israel . Two ideas establish the fact that the church and Israel are portrayed in the Bible as being in a continuous relationship. First, the church was present in some sense in Israel in the Old Testament. Acts 7:38 makes this connection explicit when, alluding to Deuteronomy 9:10 , it speaks of the church (ekklesia [ Exodus 25:40 ; Acts 7:44 ; Galatians 4:26 ; Hebrews 12:22 ; Philippians 2:6-11 ; cf. 1618101507_3 ; etc.).
Second, Israel in some sense is present in the church in the New Testament. The many names for Israel applied to the church establish that fact. Some of those are: "Israel" (Galatians 6:15-16 ; Ephesians 2:12 ; Hebrews 8:8-10 ; Revelation 2:14 ; etc.); "a chosen people" (1 Peter 2:9 ); "the true circumcision" (Romans 2:28-29 ; Philippians 3:3 ; Colossians 2:11 ; etc.); "Abraham's seed" (Romans 4:16 ; Galatians 3:29 ); "the remnant" (Joel 2:28-296 ; 11:5-7 ); "the elect" (Romans 11:28 ; Ephesians 1:4 ); "the flock" (Acts 20:28 ; Hebrews 13:20 ; 1 Peter 5:2 ); "priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9 ; Revelation 1:6 ; 5:10 ).
Discontinuity between the Church and Israel . The church, however, is not coterminous with Israel; discontinuity also characterizes the relationship. The church, according to the New Testament, is the eschatological Israel incorporated in Jesus Messiah and, as such, is a progression beyond historical Israel (1 Corinthians 10:11 ; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 ; etc.). What was promised to Israel has now been fulfilled in the church, in Christ, especially the Spirit and the new covenant (cf. Ezekiel 36:25-27 ; 1618101507_99 ; with Acts 2 ; 2 Corinthians 3 ; Romans 8 ; etc.). However, a caveat must be issued at this point. Although the church is a progression beyond Israel, it is not the permanent replacement of Israel (see Romans 9-11 , esp. Romans 11:25-27 ).
The Kingdom of God . Many scholars in this century have maintained that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God, producing an overlapping of the two ages. The kingdom has "already" dawned, but is "not yet" complete. The first aspect pertains to Jesus' first coming and the second aspect relates to his second coming. In other words, the age to come has broken into this age and now the two exist simultaneously. This background is crucial in ascertaining the relationship between the church and the kingdom of God, because the church also exists in the tension that results from the overlapping of the two ages. Accordingly, one may define the church as the proleptic appearance of the kingdom. Two ideas flow from this definition: (1) the church is related to the kingdom of God; (2) but the church is not equal to the kingdom of God.
The Church and the Kingdom of God Are Related . The historical Jesus did not found or organize the church. Not until after his resurrection does the New Testament speak with regularity about the church. However, there are adumbrations of the church in the teaching and ministry of Jesus, in both general and specific ways. In general, Jesus anticipated the later official formation of the church in that he gathered to himself twelve disciples, who constituted the beginnings of eschatological Israel, in effect, the remnant. More specifically, Jesus explicitly referred to the church in two passages: Matthew 16:18-19,18:17 . In the first passage, Jesus promised that he would build his church despite satanic opposition, thus assuring the ultimate success of his mission. The notion of the church overcoming the forces of evil coincides with the idea that the kingdom of God will prevail over its enemies, and bespeaks of the intimate association between church and kingdom. The second passage relates to the future organization of the church, particularly its method of discipline, not unlike the Jewish synagogue practices of Jesus' day.
The Church and the Kingdom of God Are Not Identified . As intimately related as the church and the kingdom of God are, the New Testament does not equate the two, as is evident in the fact that the early Christians preached the kingdom, not the church (Hebrews 4:14-5 ; 19:8 ; 20:25 ; 28:23,31 ). The New Testament identifies the church as the people of the kingdom (1 Corinthians 16:1-20 ; etc.), not the kingdom itself. Moreover, the church is the instrument of the kingdom. This is especially clear from Matthew 16:18-19 , where the preaching of Peter and the church become the keys to opening up the kingdom of God to all who would enter.
The Eschatological Temple of God . Both the Old Testament and Judaism anticipated the rebuilding of the temple in the future kingdom of God (ez 40-48 1618101507_5 ; 1 Enoch 90:29 ; 91:3 ; Jub 1:17,29; etc.). Jesus hinted that he was going to build such a construction (Matthew 16:18 ; Mark 14:58 ; John 2:19-22 ). Pentecost witnessed to the beginning of the fulfillment of that dream in that when the Spirit inhabited the church, the eschatological temple was formed (Acts 2:16-36 ). Other New Testament writers also perceived that the presence of the Spirit in the Christian community constituted the new temple of God (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 ; Ephesians 2:19-22 ; cf. also Galatians 4:21-31 ; 1 Peter 2:4-10 ). However, that the eschatological temple is not yet complete is evident in the preceding passages, especially with their emphasis on the need for the church to grow toward maturity in Christ, which will only be fully accomplished at the parousia. In the meantime, Christians, as priests of God, are to perform their sacrificial service to the glory of God (Romans 12:1-2 ; Hebrews 13:15 ; 1 Peter 2:4-10 ).
The Bride . The image of marriage is applied to God and Israel in the Old Testament (see Isaiah 54:5-6 ; 62:5 ; Hosea 2:7 ; etc.). Similar imagery is applied to Christ and the church in the New Testament. Christ, the bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be his bride (Ephesians 5:25-27 ). Her responsibility during the betrothal period is to be faithful to him (2 Corinthians 11:2 ; Ephesians 5:24 ). At the parousia, the official wedding ceremony will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and his wife will be actualized (Revelation 19:7-9 ; 21:1-2 ).
The Body of Christ . The body of Christ as a metaphor for the church is unique to the Pauline literature and constitutes one of the most significant concepts therein (Romans 12:4-5 ; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 ; Ephesians 4:7-16 ; Colossians 1:18 ). The primary purpose of the metaphor is to demonstrate the interrelatedness of diversity and unity within the church, especially with reference to spiritual gifts. The body of Christ is the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45 ), the new humanity of the endtime that has appeared in history. However, Paul's usage of the image, like the metaphor of the new temple, indicates that the church, as the body of Christ, still has a long way to go spiritually. It is "not yet" complete.
The Sacraments of the Church . At the heart of the expression of the church's faith are the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. The former symbolizes entrance into the church while the latter provides spiritual sustenance for the church.
Baptism . Baptism symbolizes the sinner's entrance into the church. Three observations emerge from the biblical treatment of this sacrament. First, the Old Testament intimated baptism, especially in its association of repentance of sin with ablutions (Numbers 19:18-22 ; Psalm 51:7 ; Ezekiel 36:25 ; cf. John 3:5 ). Second, the baptism of John anticipated Christian baptism. John administered a baptism of repentance in expectation of the baptism of the Spirit and fire that the Messiah would exercise (Matthew 3:11 /Luke 3:11/3:16 ). Those who accept Jesus as Messiah experience the baptism of fire and judgment. Third, the early church practiced baptism, in imitation of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17 /Mark 3:13-17/1:9-11 /1618101507_3/3:21-22 ; see also Acts 15:14 ; cf. Matthew 28:19 ; Acts 2:38 ; 8:16 ; Romans 6:3-6 ; 1 Corinthians 1:13-15 ; Galatians 3:27 ; Titus 3:5 ; 1 Peter 3:21 ; etc.). These passages demonstrate some further truths about baptism: (1) baptism is intimately related to faith in God; (2) baptism identifies the person with the death and resurrection of Jesus; (3) baptism incorporates the person into the community of believers.
The Lord's Supper. The other biblical sacrament is the Lord's Supper, variously called "communion" (1 Corinthians 10:16 ), "eucharist" (the prayer of thanks offered before partaking of the elements Matthew 26:27 ; 1 Corinthians 11:24 ), and the "breaking of the bread" (Acts 2:42 ; 20:7 ). This rite symbolizes Christ's spiritual nourishment of his church as it celebrates the sacred meal. Two basic points emerge from the biblical data concerning the Lord's Supper. First, it was instituted by Christ (Matthew 26:26-29 ; Mark 14:22-25 ; Luke 22:15-20 ; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 ). According to these passages, Jesus celebrated the Passover on the night before his betrayal. That commemorative meal would probably have included the following: the cup of wine, calling "blessing"; the four questions of the child concerning the nature of Passover; the second cup, called "deliverance"; the singing of the first part of the Hallel (Psalm 113-14 ); the Passover meal; the third cup, called "redemption"; the eating of the dessert; the fourth cup, called the "Elijah cup"; the singing of the second part of the Hallel (Psalm 115-18 ). Jesus introduced two changes into the Passover seder. He equated his body with the bread of affliction and his blood, which was to be shed on the cross, with the cup of redemption.
Second, the early church practiced the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42,46 ; 1 Corinthians 11:23 ; etc.), probably weekly, in conjunction with the agape [ 1 Corinthians 11:18-22 ; cf. Jude 12 ). A twofold meaning is attached to the Lord's Supper by the New Testament authors. First, it involves participation in Christ's salvation-believers are to "do this in remembrance of me" (Luke 22:19 ; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 ). A couple aspects of this celebration call for comment. (1) Historically, the Lord's Supper was a rite commemorating Christ's redemptive death, even as the Passover was a remembrance of God's deliverance of Israel from Egyptian slavery (Exodus 12:14 ; 13:3,9 ; Deuteronomy 16:3 ). In remembering Christ's death, believers actualize its effects in the present. (2) Eschatologically, the Lord's Supper anticipates Christ's return (Matthew 26:29 ; Mark 14:25 ; Luke 22:16,18 ; 1 Corinthians 12:28 ) and, with it, the heavenly messianic banquet of the kingdom of God (Matthew 22:2-14 ; Luke 14:24 ; Revelation 19:9 ).
Second, the Lord's Supper involves identification with the body of Christ, the community of faith. Two aspects of this reality are touched upon in the New Testament, one positive, the other negative. Positively, the Lord's Supper symbolizes the unity and fellowship of Christians in the one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 ). Negatively, to fail to recognize the church as the body of Christ by dividing it is to participate in the Lord's Supper unworthily and thereby to incur divine judgment (1 Corinthians 11:27-33 ).
The Worship of the Church . The ultimate purpose of the church is to worship God through Christ. The early church certainly recognized this to be its reason for existence (Ephesians 1:4-6 ; 1 Peter 2:5,9 ; Revelation 21:1-22:5 ; etc.). Five aspects of the New Testament church's worship can be delineated: the meaning of worship; the time and place of worship; the nature of worship; the order of worship; the expressions of worship.
The Meaning of Worship . Although the Bible nowhere provides a definition of worship, one is left with the general impression therein that to worship God is to ascribe to him the supreme worth that he alone deserves.
The Time and Place of Worship . Although many Jewish Christians probably continued to worship God on the Sabbath, the established time for the church's worship came to be Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7 ), because Christ had risen from the dead on that day (Revelation 1:10 ). With regard to the locale, the early church began its worship in the Jerusalem temple (Acts 2:46 ; 3:1 ; 5:42 ), as well as in the synagogues (Acts 22:19 ; cf. John 9:22 ; James 2:2 ; etc.). At the same time, believers met in homes for worship (Acts 1:13 ; 2:46 ; 5:42 ). When Christianity and Judaism became more and more incompatible, the house-church became the established place of worship (Romans 16:15 ; Colossians 4:15 ; Philippians 2 ; 2 John 10 ; 3 John 1,6 ; etc.). The use of a specific church building did not occur until the late second century.
The Nature of Worship . The biblical teaching on the worship of the church involves three components, which are rooted in the Trinity. First, worship is directed toward God; God the Father is the central object of worship, both as creator (Acts 17:28 ; James 1:17 ; Revelation 4:11 ; etc.) and redeemer (Ephesians 1:3 ; Colossians 1:12-13 ; 1 Peter 1:3 ; Revelation 5:9-14 ; etc.). Second, worship is mediated through Christ, the Son (Matthew 18:20 ; Romans 5:2 ; Ephesians 1:6 ; 1 Timothy 2:5 ; Acts 8:12:10 ; 10:20 ; etc.). Third, worship is actualized by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 2:28-29 ; 8:26-27 ; Ephesians 2:18 ; Philippians 3:3 ; Jude 20 ; etc.).
The Order of Worship . Both the language and the order of the early church's worship were rooted in Judaism. With regard to the former, the church utilized Old Testament terms like "high priest" (applied to Jesus, Hebrews 4:12-16 ), "priests" (applied to christians, 1 Peter 2:5-9 ), "sacrifice" (applied to Christ's death on the cross, Hebrews 9:23-28 ; 10:11 ), and "temple" (applied to the church, 1 Corinthians 3:16 ; 6:19 ). With regard to the order of worship, the early church incorporated into its worship the main elements of the synagogue service: praise in prayer (Acts 2:42,47 ; 3:1 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:2 ; 5:17 ; 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ; etc.) and in song (1 Corinthians 14:26 ; Revelation 21:11 ; Colossians 1:15-20 ; 1 Timothy 3:16 ; Revelation 5:9-10 ; etc.); the expounding of the Scripture (Acts 2:42 ; 6:4 ; Colossians 4:16 ; 1 Thessalonians 2:13 ; 1 Timothy 4:13 ; etc.); and almsgiving to the needy (Acts 2:44-45 ; 1618101507_18 ; 2 Corinthians 8-9 James 2:15-17 ; etc.).
Expressions of Worship . The main ingredient of worship in the Bible is sacrifice. David put it well: "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing" (1 Samuel 24:24 ). In the New Testament, there are three main expressions connected with the worship of the early church, each of which is based on sacrifice: the sacrifice of one's body to God (Romans 12:1-2 ; cf. Romans 15:16 ; Philippians 1:20 ; 2:17 ; 2 Timothy 4:6 ); the sacrifice of one's possession for God (Matthew 6:2 ; Luke 6:38 ; 2 Corinthians 8-9 1 Timothy 6:10 ; etc.); and the sacrifice of one's praise to God (Acts 16:25 ; 1 Corinthians 14:26 ; Ephesians 5:19 ; Colossians 3:16 ; Hebrews 13:16 ; James 5:13 ; etc.).
The Service and Organization of the Church . We conclude the topic of the biblical teaching on the church by briefly calling attention to its service and organization. Five observations emerge from the relevant data. First, the ministry of the church centers on its usage of spiritual gifts (charismata ), which are given to believers by God's grac
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Catholic Church, the
Founded by Christ, propagated by His apostles, from Jerusalem through Asia Minor to Rome as its permanent world center, from which it spread throughout the world according to the mandate of its Divine Founder:
"Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28).
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Catholic Church Extension Society of England And w
Founded in London, 1887, by the Reverend Philip Fletcher and Lister Drummond, a metropolitan police magistrate. Its headquarters are in London. The three special intentions of the Guild are:
the conversion of England and Wales in general, and of individuals in particular;
the rescue of apostates and those in danger of apostasy;
the forgotten dead, who, owing to the Reformation, or to being isolated converts, or other causes, are without special Masses and prayers.
The White Cross Ransomer, a priest, pledges himself to offer up the Holy Sacrifice at stated intervals for the intentions of the guild, and the laity undertake to say daily the special "Ransom" prayer. Blue Cross Ransomers obligations are purely spiritual. Red Cross Ransomers engage in some active work for the conversion of England and Wales, e.g., outdoor speaking from Evidence Guild platforms. The Ransom Guild is responsible for organizing annual processions through the streets in about 40 parishes in Greater London, and also the famous "Tyburn Walk" from the site of old Newgate Prison to Marble Arch, in honor of the martyrs who there suffered for the faith. Nine English pilgrimages are also conducted annually:
Canterbury
Chelsea (Blessed Sir Thomas More)
Chichester
Glastonbury
Hastings
King's Lynn (the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham)
Padley Wood
Saint Albans
York
The Guild of Ransom engaged in outdoor preaching for some 30 years before the Catholic Evidence Guilds were established. Between these different organizations there is now sympathetic cooperation. The Ransom Guild has developed a most important activity in the form of church extension work. Funds are collected for the building of churches and for the maintenance of priests in poor districts, grants being made from time to time to the bishops of various dioceses according to their needs. The guild has a constitution approved by the hierarchy of England and Wales, and is controlled by an elected executive committee of which the Reverend John H. Filmer, Master of the Guild, is chairman. The president is His Holiness Pope Pius XI, who on a number of occasions has shown a cordial personal interest in the work. In recent years the Guild has obtained permission from the different local authorities for the celebration of Mass on the site of the high altar in a number of the ruined abbeys of England. Its activities are recorded in the monthly magazine "The Second Spring." Contact information:
31Southdown Road
Wimbledon
London
SW20 8QJ
vox/020 8947 2598
fax/020 8944 6355
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Church
The Greek word εκκλησια , so rendered, denotes an assembly met about business, whether spiritual or temporal, Acts 19:32 ; Acts 19:39 . It is understood also of the collective body of Christians, or all those over the face of the earth who profess to believe in Christ, and acknowledge him to be the Saviour of mankind; this is called the visible church. But, by the word church, we are more strictly to understand the whole body of God's true people, in every period of time: this is the invisible or spiritual church. The people of God on earth are called the church militant, and those in heaven the church triumphant. It has been remarked by Dr. John Owen, that sin having entered into the world, God was pleased to found his church (the catholic or universal church) in the promise of the Messiah given to Adam; that this promise contained in it something of the nature of a covenant, including the grace which God designed to show to sinners in the Messiah, and the obedience which he required from them; and that consequently, from its first promulgation, that promise became the sole foundation of the church and of the whole worship of God therein. Prior to the days of Abraham, this church, though scattered up and down the world, and subject to many changes in its worship through the addition of new revelations, was still but one and the same, because founded in the same covenant, and interested thereby in all the benefits or privileges that God had granted, or would at any time grant. In process of time, God was pleased to restrict his church, as far as visible acknowledgment went, in a great measure, to the seed of Abraham. With the latter he renewed his covenant, requiring that he should walk before him and be upright. He also constituted him the father of the faithful, or of all them that believe, and the "heir of the world." So that since the days of Abraham, the church has, in every age, been founded upon the covenant made with that patriarch, and on the work of redemption which was to be performed according to that covenant. Now wheresoever this covenant made with Abraham is, and with whomsoever it is established, with them is the church of God, and to them all the promises and privileges of the church really belong. Hence we may learn that at the coming of the Messiah, there was not one church taken away and another set up in its room; but the church continued the same, in those that were the children of Abraham, according to the faith. It is common with divines to speak of the Jewish and the Christian churches, as though they were two distinct and totally different things; but that is not a correct view of the matter. The Christian church is not another church, but the very same that was before the coming of Christ, having the same faith with it, and interested in the same covenant. Great alterations indeed were made in the outward state and condition of the church, by the coming of the Messiah. The carnal privilege of the Jews, in their separation from other nations to give birth to the Messiah, then failed, and with that also their claim on that account to be the children of Abraham. The ordinances of worship suited to that state of things then expired, and came to an end. New ordinances of worship were appointed, suitable to the new light and grace which were then bestowed upon the church. The Gentiles came into the faith of Abraham along with the Jews, being made joint partakers with them in his blessing. But none of these things, nor the whole collectively, did make such an alteration in the church, but that it was still one and the same. The olive tree was still the same, only some branches were broken off, and others grafted into it. The Jews fell, and the Gentiles came in their room. And this may enable us to determine the difference between the Jews and Christians relative to the Old Testament promises. They are all made to the church. No individual has any interest in them except by virtue of his membership with the church. The church is, and always was, one and the same. The Jewish plea, is, that the church is with them, because they are the children of Abraham according to the flesh. Christians reply, that their privilege on that ground was of another nature, and ended with the coming of the Messiah: that the church of God, unto whom all the promises belong, are only those who are heirs of the faith of Abraham, believing as he did, and are consequently interested in his covenant. These are Zion, Jerusalem, Israel, Jacob, the temple, or church of God.
2. By a particular church we understand an assembly of Christians united together, and meeting in one place, for the solemn worship of God. To this agrees the definition given by the compilers of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England: "A congregation of faithful men, in which the true word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinances, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same," Acts 9:31 ; Acts 20:17 ; Galatians 1:2 ; Galatians 1:22 ; 1 Corinthians 14:34 ; Colossians 4:15 . The word is now also used to denote any particular denomination of Christians, distinguished by particular doctrines, ceremonies, &c, as the Romish church, the Greek church, the English church, &c.
3. On the subject of the church, opinions as opposite or varying as possible have been held, from that of the Papists, who contend for its visible unity throughout the world under a visible head, down to that of the Independents, who consider the universal church as composed of congregational churches, each perfect in itself, and entirely independent of every other. The first opinion is manifestly contradicted by the language of the Apostles, who, while they teach that there is but one church, composed of believers throughout the world, think it not at all inconsistent with this to speak of "the churches of Judea," "of Achaia," "the seven churches of Asia," "the church at Ephesus," &c. Among themselves the Apostles had no common head; but planted churches and gave directions for their government, in most cases without any apparent correspondence with each other. The Popish doctrine is certainly not found in their writings; and so far were they from making provision for the government of this one supposed church, by the appointment of one visible and exclusive head, that they provide for the future government of the respective churches raised up by them in a totally different manner, that is, by the ordination of ministers for each church, who are indifferently called bishops, and presbyters, and pastors. The only unity of which they speak is the unity of the whole church in Christ, the invisible head, by faith; and the unity produced by "fervent love toward each other." Nor has the Popish doctrine of the visible unity of the church any countenance from early antiquity. The best ecclesiastical historians have showed, that, through the greater part of the second century, the Christian churches were independent of each other. "Each Christian assembly," says Mosheim, "was a little state governed by its own laws, which were either enacted, or at least, approved, by the society. But in process of time, all the churches of a province were formed into one large ecclesiastical body, which, like confederate states, assembled at certain times in order to deliberate about the common interests of the whole." So far indeed this union of churches appears to have been a wise and useful arrangement, although afterward it was carried to an injurious extreme, until finally it gave birth to the assumptions of the bishop of Rome, as universal bishop; a claim, however, which, when most successful, was but partially submitted to, the eastern churches having, for the most part, always maintained their independence. To very large association of churches of any kind existed till toward the close of the second century, which sufficiently refutes the papal argument from antiquity. The independence of the early Christian churches does not, however, appear to have resembled that of the churches which, in modern times, are called Independent. During the lives of the Apostles and Evangelists they were certainly subject to their counsel and control, which proves that the independency of separate societies was not the first form of the church. It may, indeed, be allowed, that some of the smaller and more insulated churches might, after the death of the Apostles and Evangelists, retain this form for some considerable time; but the larger churches, in the chief cities, and those planted in populous neighbourhoods, had many presbyters, and, as the members multiplied, they had several separate assemblies or congregations, yet all under the same common government. And when churches were raised up in the neighbourhood of cities, the appointment of chorepiscopi, or country bishops, and of visiting presbyters, both acting under the presbytery of the city, with the bishop at its head, is sufficiently in proof, that the ancient churches, especially the larger and more prosperous of them, existed in that form which, in modern times, we should call a religious connection, subject to a common government. This appears to have arisen out of the very circumstance of the increase of the church, through the zeal of the first Christians; and it was doubtless much more in the spirit of the very first discipline exercised by the Apostles and Evangelists, (when none of the churches were independent, but remained under the government of those who had been chiefly instrumental in raising them up,) to place themselves under a common inspection, and to unite the weak with the strong, and the newly converted with those who were "in Christ before them." There was also in this, greater security afforded both for the continuance of wholesome doctrine, and of godly discipline.
4. Church members are those who compose or belong to the visible church. As to the real church, the true members of it are such as come out from the world, 2 Corinthians 6:17 ; who are born again, 1 Peter 1:23 ; or made new creatures, 2 Corinthians 5:17 ; whose faith works by love to God and all mankind, Galatians 5:6 ; James 2:14 ; James 2:26 ; who walk in all the ordinances of the Lord blameless. None but such are members of the true church; nor should any be admitted into any particular church without some evidence of their earnestly seeking this state of salvation.
5. Church fellowship is the communion that the members enjoy one with another. The ends of church fellowship are, the maintenance and exhibition of a system of sound doctrine; the support of the ordinances of evangelical worship in their purity and simplicity; the impartial exercise of church government and discipline; the promotion of holiness in all manner of conversation. The more particular duties are, earnest study to keep peace and unity; bearing of one another's burdens, Galatians 6:1-2 ; earnest endeavours to prevent each other's stumbling, 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 ; Hebrews 10:24-27 ; Romans 14:13 ; steadfast continuance in the faith and worship of the Gospel, Acts 2:42 ; praying for and sympathizing with each other, 1 Samuel 12:23 ; Ephesians 6:18 . The advantages are, peculiar incitement to holiness; the right to some promises applicable to none but those who attend the ordinances of God. and hold communion with the saints, Psalms 92:13 ; Psalms 132:13 ; Psalms 132:16 ; Psalms 36:8 ; Jeremiah 31:12 ; the being placed under the watchful eye of pastors, Hebrews 13:7 ; that they may restore each other if they fall, Galatians 6:1 ; and the more effectually promote the cause of true religion.
6. As to church order and discipline, without entering into the discussion of the many questions which have been raised on this subject, and argued in so many distinct treatises, it may be sufficient generally to observe, that the church of Christ being a visible and permanent society, bound to observe certain rites, and to obey, certain rules, the existence of government in it is necessarily supposed. All religious rites suppose order, all order direction and control, and these a directive and controlling power. Again: all laws are nugatory without enforcement, in the present mixed and imperfect state of society; and all enforcement supposes an executive. If baptism be the door of admission into the church, some must judge of the fitness of candidates, and administrators of the rite must be appointed; if the Lord's Supper must be partaken of, the times and the mode are to be determined, the qualifications of communicants judged of, and the administration placed in suitable hands; if worship must be social and public, here again there must be an appointment of times, an order, and an administration; if the word of God is to be read and preached, then readers and preachers are necessary; if the continuance of any one in the fellowship of Christians be conditional upon good conduct, so that the purity and credit of the church may be guarded, then the power of enforcing discipline must be lodged some where. Thus government flows necessarily from the very nature of the institution of the Christian church; and since this institution has the authority of Christ and his Apostles, it is not to be supposed, that its government was left unprovided for; and if they have in fact made such a provision, it is no more a matter of mere option with Christians whether they will be subject to government in the church, than it is optional with them to confess Christ by becoming its members. The nature of this government, and the persons to whom it is committed, are both points which we must briefly examine by the light of the Holy Scriptures. As to the first, it is wholly spiritual:— "My kingdom," says our Lord, "is not of this world." The church is a society founded upon faith, and united by mutual love, for the personal edification of its members in holiness, and for the religious benefit of the world. The nature of its government is thus determined; it is concerned only with spiritual objects. It cannot employ force to compel men into its pale; for the only door of the church is faith, to which there can be no compulsion;— "he that believeth and is baptized" becomes a member. It cannot inflict pains and penalties upon the disobedient and refractory, like civil governments; for the only punitive discipline authorized in the New Testament, is comprised in "admonition," "reproof," "sharp rebukes," and, finally, "excision from the society." The last will be better understood, if we consider the special relations in which true Christians stand to each other, and the duties resulting from them. They are members of one body, and are therefore bound to tenderness and sympathy; they are the conjoint instructers of others, and are therefore to strive to be of "one judgment;" they are brethren, and they are to love one another as such, that is, with an affection more special than that general good will which they are commanded to bear to all mankind; they are therefore to seek the intimacy of friendly society among themselves, and, except in the ordinary and courteous intercourse of life, they are bound to keep themselves separate from the world; they are enjoined to do good unto all men, but "especially to them that are of the household of faith;" and they are forbidden "to eat" at the Lord's table with immoral persons, that is, with those who, although they continue their Christian profession, dishonour it by their practice. With these relations of Christians to each other and to the world, and their correspondent duties, before our minds, we may easily interpret the nature of that extreme discipline which is vested in the church. "Persons who will not hear the church" are to be held "as Heathen men and publicans," as those who are not members of it; that is, they are to be separated from it, and regarded as of "the world," quite out of the range of the above mentioned relations of Christians to each other, and their correspondent duties; but still, like "Heathen men and publicans" they are to be the objects of pity, and general benevolence. Nor is this extreme discipline to be hastily inflicted before "a first and second admonition," nor before those who are "spiritual" have attempted "to restore a brother overtaken by a fault;" and when the "wicked person" is "put away," still the door is to be kept open for his reception again upon repentance. The true excommunication of the Christian church is therefore a merciful and considerate separation of an incorrigible offender from the body of Christians, without any infliction of civil pains or penalties. "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which ye have received from us," 2 Thessalonians 3:6 . "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump," 1 Corinthians 5:7 . "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner: with such a one, no not to eat," 1 Corinthians 5:11 . This then is the moral discipline which is imperative upon the church of Christ, and its government is criminally defective whenever it is not enforced. On the other hand, the disabilities and penalties which established churches in different places have connected with these sentences of excommunication, have no countenance at all in Scripture, and are wholly inconsistent with the spiritual character and ends of the Christian association.
7. As to the persons to whom the government of the church is committed, it is necessary to consider the composition, so to speak, of the primitive church, as stated in the New Testament. A full enunciation of these offices we find in Ephesians 4:11 : "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." Of these, the office of Apostle is allowed by all to have been confined to those immediately commissioned by Christ to witness the fact of his miracles, and of his resurrection from the dead, and to reveal the complete system of Christian doctrine and duty; confirming their extraordinary mission by miracles wrought by themselves. If by "prophets" we are to understand persons who foretold future events, then the office was from its very nature extraordinary, and the gift of prophecy has passed away with the other miraculous endowments of the first age of Christianity. If, with others, we understand that these prophets were extraordinary teachers raised up until the churches were settled under permanent qualified instructers; still the office was temporary. The "Evangelists" are generally understood to be assistants of the Apostles, who acted under their especial authority and direction. Of this number were Timothy and Titus; and as the Apostle Paul directed them to ordain bishops or presbyters in the several churches, but gave them no authority to ordain successors to themselves in their particular office as Evangelists, it is clear that the Evangelists must also be reckoned among the number of extraordinary and temporary ministers suited to the first age of Christianity. Whether by "pastors and teachers" two offices be meant, or one, has been disputed. The change in the mode of expression seems to favour the latter view, and so the text is interpreted by St. Jerom, and St. Augustine; but the point is of little consequence. A pastor was a teacher, although every teacher might not be a pastor; but in many cases his office might be one of subordinate instruction, whether as an expounder of doctrine, a catechist, or even a more private instructer of those who as yet were unacquainted with the first principles of the Gospel of Christ. The term pastor implies the duties both of instruction and of government, of feeding and of ruling the flock of Christ; and, as the presbyters or bishops were ordained in the several churches, both by the Apostles and Evangelists, and rules are left by St. Paul as to their appointment, there can be no doubt but that these are the "pastors" spoken of in the Epistle to the Ephesians, and that they were designed to be the permanent ministers of the church; and that with them both the government of the church and the performance of its leading religious services were deposited. Deacons had the charge of the gifts and offerings for charitable purposes, although, it appears from Justin Martyr, not in every instance; for he speaks of the weekly oblations as being deposited with the chief minister, and distributed by him. These pastors appear to have been indifferently called BISHOPS and PRESBYTERS, and with them the regulation of the churches was, doubtless, deposited; not without checks and guards, the principal of which, however, was, in the primitive church, and continues to be in all modern churches which have no support from the magistracy, or are made independent of the people by endowments, the voluntariness of the association. A perfect religious liberty is always supposed by the Apostles to exist among Christians; no compulsion of the civil power is any where assumed by them as the basis of their advices or directions; no binding of the members to one church, without liberty to join another, by any ties but those involved in moral considerations, of sufficient weight, however, to prevent the evils of faction and schism. It was this which created a natural and competent check upon the ministers of the church; for being only sustained by the opinion of the churches, they could not but have respect to it; and it was this which gave to the sound part of a fallen church the advantage of renouncing, upon sufficient and well-weighed grounds, their communion with it, and of kindling up the light of a pure ministry and a holy discipline, by forming a separate association, bearing its testimony against errors in doctrine, and failures in practice. Nor is it to be conceived, that, had this simple principle of perfect religious liberty been left unviolated through subsequent ages, the church could ever have become so corrupt, or with such difficulty and slowness have been recovered from its fall. This ancient Christian liberty has happily been restored in a few parts of Christendom. See EPISCOPACY and See PRESBYTERIANISM .
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Year
(See CHRISTIAN YEAR).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Militant
(See CHURCH CATHOLIC, THE).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Building Fund
A very important and helpful organizationexists in the American Church known as "The American ChurchBuilding Fund Commission." It was established October 25th, 1880,by the General Convention and consists of all the Bishops, andone clergyman and one layman from each Diocese and MissionaryJurisdiction appointed by the Bishop thereof, and of twentymembers-at-large appointed by the Presiding Bishop. Its object isto create by an annual offering from every congregation, asrecommended by the General Convention, and by individual gifts,a Fund of One Million Dollars, portions of the principal to beloaned, and of the interest given, to aid the building of churcheswherever needed. In order to hold property and carry on the workof loaning money on mortgage in a safe and legal manner, it wasnecessary to organize a corporation and this was done under thelaws of the State of New York, the title of the organization beingthat given above. This commission is one of the most efficientagencies in Church extension; many a mission through its aid beingenabled to erect a House of Worship, which otherwise would havehad to give up in despair and abandon all hopes of having theChurch's worship and administration of the Sacraments.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Colors
Also called Liturgical colors. From the most ancienttimes it has been customary to deck the Church's Altar with hangingsof rich material which vary in color with the Church Season. Ascommonly used at the present time the Church colors are five innumber, viz., white, red, violet, green and black. Their use may bebriefly set forth as follows: White is used on all the greatFestivals of our Lord, of the Blessed Virgin, and of those Saintswho did not suffer martyrdom; it is also the color for All Saints'Day, and the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels; white is thesymbol of joy and purity. Red is used on the Feasts of Martyrs,typifying that they shed their blood for the testimony of Jesus; itis also used at Whitsun Tide, symbolizing the cloven tongues offire in the likeness of which the Holy Ghost descended on theApostles. Violet is the penitential color and is used in Advent,Lent, the Ember and Rogation Days, on the Feasts of the HolyInnocents, etc. Green is the ordinary color for days that areneither feasts nor Fasts as being the pervading color of nature; itis chiefly used during the Epiphany Tide and the long period of theTrinity Season. Black is made use of at funerals and on GoodFriday. This use of the colors applies to the stole as well as tothe Altar hangings. The black stole is always out of place,incongruous, except at funerals and on Good Friday. Where they areused, the cope, chasuble, maniple, dalmatic and tunic also varywith the Season in the same manner. The use of the Church colors,besides "decking the place of His Sanctuary" is also most helpfulto the devotions of the people, in that it teaches them by the eyethe various Seasons of the Church's joy or mourning.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Congress
An organization of the Clergy and Laity in theAmerican Church having for its object the general discussion ofliving questions of the day and the application of Revealed Truthto the needs of our modern life. It was organized in 1874 on themodel of the English Church Congress which, no doubt, suggestedsuch an organization for the Church in the United States. It isnot a legislative body, but rather an "Open Court" for the free exchange of views. Meetings are held annually and an elaborateprogramme of subjects is prepared for each meeting, with appointedessayists and speakers, and volunteer speakers are permitted. Theproceedings of each Congress are published in book form, of whichthe Rev. Dr. Wildes for so many years the General Secretary says,"The proceedings, addresses and speeches of the several sessionsembodied in annual reports form a thesaurus of ripe learning,vigorous thought and eloquent utterance upon great questions ofthe times, of which the Episcopal Church may well be proud. To thestudent in Theology and its cognate topics, no less than to clergymenand thoughtful laymen, these volumes will be found most valuable."
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Greek Church
Comprehends in its bosom a considerable part of Greece, the Grecian Isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Nubia, Libya, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, and Palestine, which are all under the jurisdiction of the patriarchs of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. If to these we add the whole of the Russian empire in Europe, great part of Siberia in Asia, Astracan, Casan, and Georgia, it will be evident that the Greek church has a wider extent of territory than the Latin, with all the branches which have sprung from it; and that it is with great impropriety that the church of Rome is called by her members the Catholic or universal church. That in these widely distant countries the professors of Christianity are agreed in every minute article of belief, it would be rash to assert; but there is certainly such an agreement among them, with respect both to faith and to discipline, that they mutually hold communion with each other, and are, in fact, but one church. It is call the Greek church, in contradistinction to the Latin or Romish church; as also the Eastern, in distinction from the Western church.
We shall here present the reader with a view of its rise, tenets, and discipline. I. Greek church, rise and separation of. The Greek church is considered as a separation from the Latin. In the middle of the ninth century, the controversy relating to the procession of the Holy Ghost (which) had been started in the sixth century) became a point of great importance, on account of the jealousy and ambition which at that time were blended with it. Photius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, having been advanced to that see in the room of Ignatius, whom he procured to be deposed, was solemnly excommunicated by pope Nicholas, in a council held at Rome, and his ordination declared null and void. The Greek Emperor resented this conduct of the pope, who defended himself with great spirit and resolution . Photius, in his turn, convened what he called an aecumenical council, in which he pronounced sentence of excommunication and deposition against the pope and got it subscribed by twenty-one bishops and others, amounting in number to a thousand. This occasioned a wide breach between the sees of Rome and Constantinople.
However, the death of the emperor Michael, and the deposition of Photius, subsequent thereupon, seem to have restored peace; for the emperor Basil held a council at Constantinople in the year 869, in which entire satisfaction was given to Pope Adrian; but the schism was only smothered and suppressed a while. The Greek church had several complaints against the Latin; particularly it was thought a great hardship for the Greeks to subscribe to the definition of a council according to the Roman form, prescribed by the pope, since it made the church of Constantinople dependent on that of Rome, and set the pope above an aecumenical council; but, above all, the pride and haughtiness of the Roman court gave the Greeks a great distaste; and as their deportment seemed to insult his imperial majesty, it entirely alienated the affections of the emperor Basil. Towards the middle of the eleventh century, Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, opposed the Latins, with respect to their making use of unleavened bread in the eucharist, their observation of the sabbath, and fasting on Saturday, charging them with living in communion with the Jews. To this pope Leo IX. replied; and, in his apology for the Latins, declaimed very warmly against the false doctrine of the Greeks, and interposed at the same time, the authority of his see. He likewise, by he legates, excommunicated the patriarch in the church of Santa Sophia, which gave the last shock to the reconciliation attempted a long time after, but to no purpose; for from that time the hatred of the Greeks to the Latins, and of the Latins to the Greeks, became insuperable, insomuch that they have continued ever since separated from each other's communion.
II. Greek church, tenets of. The following are some of the chief tenets held by the Greek church:
They disown the authority of the pope, and deny that the church of Rome is the true Catholic church. They do not baptize their children till they are three, four, five, six, ten, nay, sometimes eighteen years of age: baptism is performed by trine immersion. They insist that the sacrament of the Lord's supper ought to be administered in both kinds, and they give the sacrament to children immediately after baptism. They grant no indulgences, nor do they lay any claim to the character of infallibility, like the church of Rome. They deny that there is any such place as purgatory; notwithstanding they pray for the dead, that God would have mercy on them at the general judgment. They practise the invocation of saints; though, they say, they do not invoke them as deities, but as intercessors with God. They exclude confirmation, extreme unction, and matrimony, out of the seven sacraments. They deny auricular confession to be a divine precept, and say it is only a positive injunction of the church. They pay no religious homage to the eucharist. They administer the communion in both kinds to the laity, both in sickness and in health, though they have never applied themselves to their confessors; because they are persuaded that a lively faith is all which is requisite for the worthy receiving of the Lord's supper. They maintain that the Holy Ghost proceeds only from the Father, and not from the Son. they believe in predestination. They admit of no images in relief or embossed work, but use paintings and sculptures in copper or silver. They approve of the marriage of priests, provided they enter into that state before their admission into holy orders. They condemn all fourth marriages. They observe a number of holy days, and keep four fasts in the year more solemn than the rest, of which the fast in Lent, before Easter, is the chief. They believe the doctrine of consubstantiation, or the union of the body of Christ with the sacrament bread.
III. Greek church, state and discipline of. Since the Greeks became subject to the Turkish yoke, they have sunk into the most deplorable ignorance, in consequence of the slavery and thraldom under which they groan; and their religion is now greatly corrupted. It is, indeed, little better than a heap of ridiculous ceremonies and absurdities. The head of the Greek church is the patriarch of Constantinople, who is chosen by the neighbouring archbishops and metropolitans, and confirmed by the emperor or grand vizier. He is a person of great dignity, being the head and director of the Eastern church. The other patriarchs are those of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria. Mr. Tournefort tells us, that the patriarchates are now generally set to sale, and bestowed upon those who are the highest bidders. The patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops, are always chosen from among the caloyers, or Greek monks. The next person to a bishop among the clergy, is an archimandrite, who is the director of one or more convents, which are called mandren; then comes the abbot, the arch-priest, the priest, the deacon, the under-deacon, the chanter, and the lecturer. The secular clergy are subject to no rules, and never rise higher than high-priest. The Greeks have few nunneries, but a great many convents of monks, who are all priests; and (students excepted) obliged to follow some handicraft employment, and lead a very austere life.
The Russians adhere to the doctrine and ceremonies of the Greek church, though they are now independent of the patriarch of Constantinople. The Russian church, indeed, may be reckoned the first, as to extent of empire; yet there is very little of the power of vital religion among them. The Roskolniki, or, as they now call themselves, the Starovertzi, were a sect that separated from the church of Russia, about 1666: they affected extraordinary piety and devotion, a veneration for the letter of the Holy Scriptures, and would not allow a priest to administer baptism who had that day tasted brandy. They harboured many follies and superstitions, and have been greatly persecuted; but, perhaps, there will be found among them "some that shall be counted to the Lord for a generation." Several settlements of German Protestants have been established in the Wolga. The Moravians also have done good in Livonia, and the adjacent isles in the Baltic under the Russian government.
See Mocheim, Gregory, and Hawies's Church History; King's Rites and Ceremonies of the Greek Church in Russia; The Russian Catechism; Secret Memoirs of the court of Petersburgh; Tooke's History of Russia; Ricaut's State of the Greek Church; Enc. Brit.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church of England
Is the church established by law in this kingdom. When and by whom Christianity was first introduced into Britain cannot perhaps be exactly ascertained. Eusebius, indeed, positively declares that it was by the apostles and their disciples. It is also said that numbers of persons professed the Christian faith here about the year 150; and according to Usher, there was in the year 182 a school of learning, to provide the British churches with proper teachers. Popery, however, was established in England by Austin the monk; and the errors of it we find every where prevalent, until Wichliffe was raised up by Divine Providence to refute them. The church of England remained in subjection to the pope until the time of Henry VIIi. Henry, indeed, in early life, and during the former part of his reign, was a bigotted papist: he burnt the famous Tyndal (who made one of the first and best translations of the New Testament;) and wrote in defense of the seven sacraments against Luther, for which the pope gave him the title of " The Defender of the Faith." But, falling out with the pope about his marriage, he took the government of ecclesiastical affairs into his own hand; and, having reformed many abuses, entitled himself supreme head of the church.
See REFORMATION.
The doctrines of the church of England, which are contained in the thirty-nine articles, are certainly Calvinistical though this has been denied by some modern writers, especially by Dr. Kipling, in a tract entitled, "The Articles of the Church of England proved not to be Calvinistic." These articles were founded, for the most part, upon a body of articles compiled and published in the reign of Edward VI. They were afterwards ratified anew in the year 1571, and again by Charles I. The law requires a subscription to these articles of all persons who are admitted into holy orders. In the course of the last century disputes arose among the clergy respecting the propriety of subscribing to any human formulary of religious sentiments. An application for its removal was made to parliament, in 1772, by the petitioning clergy; and received the most public discussion in the house of commons, but was rejected in the house of lords. The government of the church of England is episcopal. The king is the supreme head. There are two archbishops, and twenty-four bishops. The benefices of the bishops were converted by William the Conqueror into temporal baronies; so that every prelate has a seat and a vote in the house of peers. Dr. Hoadley, however, in a sermon preached from this text
"My kingdom is not of this world, " insisted that the clergy had no pretensions to temporal jurisdiction; which gave rise to various publications, termed by way of eminence, the Bangorian Controversy, because Hoadley was then bishop of Bangor. Dr. Wake, archbishop of Canterbury, formed a project of peace and union between the English and Gallican churches, founded upon this condition, that each of the two communities should retain the greatest part of their respective and peculiar doctrines; but this project came to nothing. In the church of England there are deans, archdeacons, rectors, vicars, &c.; for an account of which, see the respective articles. The church of England has a public form read, called a Liturgy. It was composed in 1547, and has undergone several alterations, the last of which was in 1661. Since that time, several attempts have been made to amend the liturgy, articles, and some other things relating to the internal government, but without effect. There are many excellencies in the liturgy; and, in the opinion of the most impartial Grotius (who was no member of this church, ) "it comes so near the primitive pattern, that none of the reformed churches can compare with it."
See LITURGY. The greatest part of the inhabitants of England are professedly members of this church; but, perhaps, very few either of her ministers or members strictly adhere to the articles in their true sense. Those who are called methodistic or evangelical preachers in the establishment are allowed to come the nearest.
See Mr. Overton's True Churchman; Bishop Jewel's Apology for the Church of England; Abp. Potter's Treatise on Church Government; Tucker's ditto; Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity; Pearson on the Creed; Burnet on the Thirty-nine Articles; Bishop Prettyman's Elements of Theology; and Mrs. H. More's Hints on forming the Character of a young Princess, vol. 2: ch. 37. On the subject of the first introduction of Christianity into Britain, see the 1st vol. of Henry's History of Great Britain.
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Church: Her Glory in Tribulation
One will at a certain hour of a bright day be surprised to see a rainbow making an entire circle, surrounding the fall like a coronet of gems, or a ring set with all the brilliants of the jeweller. Every hue is there. We saw two such bows, one within the other, and we fancied that we discovered traces of a third. We had looked upon such a sight but once before, and were greatly delighted with 'that arch of light, boom of the spray, and colored by the sun.' It was a fair vision to gaze upon, and reminded us 'of the mystic rainbow, which the seer of Patmos beheld, which was round about the throne, for it strikes us that it was seen by John as a complete circle, of which we see but the half on earth; the upper arch of manifest glory we rejoice to gaze upon, but the lower and foundation arch of the eternal purpose, upon which the visible display of grace is founded, is reserved for our contemplation in another world. When we read in the first verse of the tenth chapter of Revelation,' I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head,' it greatly assists the imagination to conceive of a many-colored circlet, rather than a semicircle.
We lingered long watching the flashing crystal, dashed and broken upon a hundred craggy rocks, and tossed into the air in sheets of foam, to fall in wreaths of spray; we should not have tired for hours if we could have tarried to admire the harmonious hues of that wheel within a wheel,
'Of colours changing from the splendid rose,
To the pale violet's dejected hue;'
but we were on a journey, and were summoned to advance. As we mounted our mule and rode silently down the pass, mid the pine forests and the over-hanging mountains, we ompared the little stream to the church of God, which in peaceful times flows on like a village brook, quiet and obscure, blessed and blessing others, but yet little known or considered by the sons of men. Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, .re greater than all the waters of Israel, and the proud ones of the earth despise that brook which flows 'hard by the oracle of God,' because her waters go softly and in solitary places; but when the church advances over the steeps of opposition, and is dashed adown the crags of persecution, then, in her hour of sorrow, her glory is revealed. Then she lifts up her voice, like the sea, and roars as a boiling torrent, quickening her pace till that mighty river, the river Kishon, sweeps not with such vehemence of power. Her sons and daughters are led to the slaughter, and her blood is cast abroad, like the foam of the waters, but onward she dashes with irresistible energy, fearing no leap of peril; and then it is that the eternal God glorifies her with the rainbow of his everlasting grace, makes the beauty of her holiness to shine forth, and, in the patience of the saints, reveals a heavenly radiance, which all men behold with astonishment. The golden age of true religion is the martyr period; war breeds heroes, and suffering unto blood in striving against sin draws forth men of whom the world is not worthy. So far from enduring loss by opposition, it is then that the cause of God receives its coronation. The rainbow of the divine presence in the fullness of majesty encircles the chosen people when tribulation, affliction, and distress break them, as the stream is broken by the precipitous rocks adown which it boldly casts itself, that its current may advance in its predestined channel. When, at any time, our forebodings foretell the coming of evil times for the church, let us remember that before the Spirit revealed to the beloved disciple the terrible beasts, the thundering trumpets, the falling stars, and the dreadful vials, he bade him mark with attention that the covenant rainbow was round about the throne. All is well, for God is true.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - French Church
See CHURCH GALLICAN.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Reformed Church
See CHURCH REFORMED.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Romish Church
See CHURCH, and POPERY.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Eastern Church
The collective term by which is designated theChurches which formerly made part of the Eastern Empire of Rome.The Greek, Russian, Coptic, Armenian, Syrian and other easternchurches are those usually included in this Communion. But instrictness, the term "Eastern" or "Oriental Church" is applied onlyto the Graeco-Russian Church in communion with the Patriarch of Constantinople. The great Schism whereby the communion between theEast and the West was broken took place, A.D. 1054.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Catholic, the
The kingdom of Christ, partly visible hereon earth, partly invisible behind the veil. The Church Catholicembraces three great divisions:
I. THE CHURCH MILITANT, here on earth, struggling, fighting(which militant means) against sin to overcome it.
II. THE CHURCH EXPECTANT where the soul abides after death in astate of expectancy of the final Resurrection; called, also, theINTERMEDIATE STATE (which see).
III. THE CHURCH TRIUMPHANT in Heaven where the soul reunited tothe body has its perfect consummation and bliss in God's eternaland everlasting glory.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Wardens
The name given to two officers of a parish usuallydistinguished by the titles, Senior and Junior. In some Diocesesthey are elected directly by the people of the parish at the sametime the Vestrymen are elected. In other Dioceses they are appointedby the newly elected Vestry. The Senior Warden is usually appointedby the Rector and the Junior Warden is elected by the Vestry. It isthe special duties of the Wardens to see that the Church edifice iskept from unhallowed use; that it be kept clean and in good repair,duly lighted and warmed; to provide a sufficient supply of books andecclesiastical vestments to be used in the public ministrations bythe Minister, and to provide proper elements for the celebration ofthe Holy Communion and preserve due order during service. In theabsence of the Rector one of the Wardens presides at Parish andVestry meetings.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Consecration of Church Buildings
The service provided in thePrayer Book whereby a church building erected and paid for isseparated, by the administration of the Bishop from all unhallowed,ordinary and common uses and dedicated to God's service, for readingHis Holy Word, for celebrating His Holy Sacraments, for offering toHis glorious Majesty the sacrifices of prayer and thanksgiving, forblessing His people in His Name, and for all other holy offices. Thebuilding thus set apart becomes God's House and not man's, and assuch calls for acts of reverence on man's part as he enters it tomeet God where He has thus caused His Name to dwell there.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church
The word used in Holy Scripture for Church is ecclesia,from the Greek word ek-kaleo, meaning to call out. An ecclesia,therefore, is a body called out. The Rev. Francis J. Hall hasgiven the following explanation, "The Church is called theecclesia because her membership consists of those who are calledof God, and adopted as His children and heirs of everlastinglife. The name teaches that the origin of the church was due,not to any human act of organization, but to Divine operationsand a Divine ingathering of the elect. The mark by which theelect are distinguished in Holy Scripture is membership of theChurch by Baptism, although ultimate salvation requires furtherconditions." The use of the term ecclesia came originally fromthe calling out of Israel from Egypt; "out of Egypt have I calledmy Son;" this is the first use of the word. The true conceptionof the Church is a body called out from the world, and set apartto the service of God, as such it is called the Kingdom of God,over which God reigns and in which they who are called serve Him.(See UNITY, CHURCH; KINGDOM OF GOD; CHURCH CATHOLIC; also ANGLICANCHURCH).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Missions House
This is a name that ought to be familiar toevery American Churchman. It is the name given to the handsomebuilding which is the headquarters of "The Domestic and ForeignMissionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the UnitedStates of America." For many years the headquarters of the Societywere in rented rooms in the Bible House, New York City. By specialofferings given for the purpose by many generous Churchmen, theSociety was provided with the means to erect this beautiful andspacious building. The corner-stone was laid on the southeast cornerof Fourth Avenue and Twenty-Second Street in New York City onOctober 3, 1892. The building was occupied by the Society on NewYear's Day, 1894, and on the 25th of the same month, St. Paul'sDay, the building was formally dedicated. "Thus after more than seventy years, during which the Society had been a tenant, theSociety, representing our whole Church, was established in its ownbeautiful home." The Church Mission House is a perfect beehive ofChurch work. Here all the leading interests of the Church arecentred. In its spacious, well-lighted rooms are the offices ofthe Missionary Society. Here, too, are the headquarters of theWoman's Auxiliary, the American Building Fund Commission, theofficers of the General Convention, of the General Clergy ReliefFund, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, the Girls' Friendly Societyand other Church agencies. Here, too, in its beautiful Chapel thenoontide prayers are daily offered for the spread of the Gospel ofChrist throughout the world. The Church Missions House is well wortha visit by those who are visiting New York even for only a few days.(See DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETY).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Temperance Society
This Society was organized in 1881,and has for its object the promotion of temperance in itsstrict meaning. Its adult membership combines those who temperatelyuse and those who totally abstain from intoxicating liquors asbeverages. It works on the lines of moral as well as legal suasion,and its practical objects are: 1. Training the young in habits oftemperance. 2. Rescue of the drunkard. 3. Restriction of the saloonby legislation, and 4. Counteractive agencies, such as coffee-houses,working-men's clubs, reading-rooms and other attractive wholesomeresorts. The Church Temperance Legion deals with boys, seeking toinduce them to keep sober, pure, and reverent from the earliestyears of manhood and it endeavors to perpetuate those habits in men.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Club
Throughout the American Church there are a number ofChurch Clubs composed of laymen, associated together for thepurpose of discussing problems of Church work and belief andstudying out more thoroughly what this Church teaches and what itshistory is. In some of these clubs eminent Bishops and other clergyand laymen are invited to deliver lectures which are afterwardsprinted in book form. The Church Club has done much to raise up aclass of intelligent and well-informed Churchmen who are provingto be a great help and blessing to the Church.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Church Chronology
Under this head may be given certain datesand events which may be regarded as "Turning Points" in the historyof the Christian Church:
EVENT. DATE.Day of Pentecost, Birthday of the Church A.D. 33
Death of St. John at Ephesus 97
The Ten great Persecutions of Christians 64-313
I. General Council, at Nicea 325
II. General Council, at Constantinople 381
III. General Council, at Ephesus 431
IV. General Council, at Chalcedon 451
Leo the Great revised the Roman Liturgy 492
V. General Council, at Constantinople 553
Gregory the Great revised the Roman Liturgy 590
St. Augustine came to England 595
VI. General Council, at Constantinople 681
Venerable Bede died at Yarrow, England 735
Alfred the Great founded Oxford University 887
Final Separation of Church in East and West 1054
Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, revised English Liturgy 1081
Crusades began 1095
Bible divided into chapters 1252
Wickliffe and his work 1377-1384
First book printed, a Latin Bible, at Mentz 1450
Martin Luther and his work 1517-1546
John Calvin 1530-1564
English Reformation 1534-1559
First English Prayer Book set forth 1549
Present authorized version of the Bible 1611
Present English Prayer Book set forth 1662
Church introduced into America 1578-1607
Bishop Seabury consecrated in Scotland first  American Bishop 1784
Three additional Bishops consecrated in England for  American Church 1787-1790
Name changed to Protestant Episcopal 1789
American Prayer Book set forth Oct. 16, 1789
American Prayer Book revised 1883-1892
Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection - Church: to be Forged
When Oliver Cromwell was about to turn the Members of Parliament out of their chamber, he pointed to the mace, and cried, 'Take away that bauble!' When HE shall come, who will effectually purge the church, he will say much the same of many ecclesiastical ornaments, now held in high repute. Gowns, and altars, and banners, and painted windows, will all go at one sweep with 'take away those baubles.' Nor will the rhetorical embellishments and philosophies of modern pulpits be any more tenderly dealt with. 'Take away this bauble' will be the signal for turning many a treasured folly into perpetual contempt.
Webster's Dictionary - Coptic Church
The native church of Egypt or church of Alexandria, which in general organization and doctrines resembles the Roman Catholic Church, except that it holds to the Monophysitic doctrine which was condemned (a. d. 451) by the council of Chalcedon, and allows its priests to marry. The "pope and patriarch" has jurisdiction over the Abyssinian Church. Since the 7th century the Coptic Church has been so isolated from modifying influences that in many respects it is the most ancient monument of primitive Christian rites and ceremonies. But centuries of subjection to Moslem rule have weakened and degraded it.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Norwegian Lutheran Church
An organization resulting from a movement toward union which began among the Norwegian Lutheran Synods, 1887. Three synods were united, 1890, forming the United Norwegian Lutheran Church; and, 1917, the Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, organized, 1854, and the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in America merged together as one body.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Church
CHURCH . 1. The word ecclesia , which in its Christian application is usually tr. [1] ‘church,’ was applied in ordinary Greek usage to the duly constituted gathering of the citizens in a self-governing city, and it is so used of the Ephesian assembly in Acts 19:39 . It was adopted in the LXX [2] to tr. [1] a Heb. word, qâhâl , signifying the nation of Israel as assembled before God or considered in a religious aspect ( Jdg 21:8 , 1 Chronicles 29:1 , Deuteronomy 31:30 etc.). In this sense it is found twice in the NT ( Acts 7:38 RV [4] ‘church,’ Hebrews 2:12 RV [4] ‘ congregation ’). The term is practically equivalent to the familiar ‘ synagogue ’ which, however, was more frequently used to translate another Heb. word, ‘çdhâh . This will probably explain our Lord’s words in Matthew 18:17 . For ‘synagogue’ was the name regularly applied after the Babylonian exile to local congregations of Jews formally gathered for common worship, and from them subsequently transferred to similar congregations of Hebrew Christians ( James 2:2 ). ‘Tell it to the ecclesia ’ can hardly refer directly to communities of Jesus’ disciples, as these did not exist in the time of the Galilæan ministry, but rather to the Jewish congregation, or its representative court, in the place to which the disputants might belong. The renewal of the promise concerning binding and loosing in James 2:18 (cf. Matthew 16:19 ) makes against this interpretation. And the assurance of Christ’s presence in Matthew 16:20 can have reference only to gatherings of disciples. But it may well be that we have these sayings brought together by Matthew in view of the Christian significance of ecclesia . There is no evidence that ecclesia , like ‘synagogue,’ was transferred from the congregation of Israel to the religious assemblies which were its local embodiment. But, though not the technical term, there would be no difficulty in applying it, without fear of misunderstanding, to the synagogue. And this would be the more natural because the term is usually applied to Israel in its historical rather than in its ideal aspect (see Hort, Christian Ecclesia , p. 12).
2. Ecclesia is used constantly with its Christian meaning in the Pauline Epistles. Its earliest use chronologically is probably in 1 Thessalonians 1:1 . But the growth of its use is hest studied by beginning with Acts. Here the term first occurs in Acts 5:11 , applied to the Christians of Jerusalem in their corporate capacity. In Acts 1:15 St. Peter is represented as standing up ‘in the midst of the brethren.’ Thus from the first Christians are a brotherhood or family, not a promiscuous gathering. That this family is considered capable of an ordered extension is evident ( a ) from the steps immediately taken to fill a vacant post of authority ( Acts 1:25 ), and ( b ) from the way in which converts on receiving baptism are spoken of as added to a fellowship ( Acts 2:47 AV [6] ‘added to the church,’ but see RV [4] ) which continues in the Apostles’ teaching, and the bond of a common table and united prayer ( Acts 2:42 ; Acts 2:46 ). This community is now called ‘the assemblage of them that believed’ ( Acts 4:32 ), the word used, as compared with its employment elsewhere, suggesting not a throng or crowd but the whole body of the disciples. In Exodus 12:6 we have the phrase ‘the whole assembly of the congregation (Gr. synagôgç ) of Israel.’ When, therefore, it became necessary to find a collective name for ‘the believers,’ ecclesia , the alternative to ‘synagogue,’ was not unnaturally chosen. For the disciples meeting in Jerusalem were, as a matter of fact, the true Israel ( Galatians 6:16 ), the little flock to whom was to be given the Messianic Kingdom ( Luke 12:32 ). Moreover, they were a Christian synagogue, and, but for the risk of confusion, might have been so called. The name, therefore, as applied to the primitive community of Jesus, is on the one hand universal and ideal, on the other local and particular. In either case the associations are Jewish, and by these the subsequent history of the name is determined.
3. As Christianity spread, the local units of the brotherhood came to he called ecclesiæ ( Acts 9:31 ; Acts 13:1 ; Acts 14:23 ; Acts 15:41 ; Acts 20:17 etc.), the original community being now distinguished as ‘the ecclesia in Jerusalem’ ( Acts 8:1 ). Thus we reach the familiar use of the Pauline Epistles, e.g. the ecclesia of the Thessalonians ( 1 Thessalonians 1:1 ), of Laodicea ( Colossians 4:16 ), of Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 1:2 ); cf. 1 Peter 5:13 , Revelation 2:1 etc. They are summed up in the expression ‘all the ecclesiœ of Christ’ ( Romans 16:16 ). This language has doubtless given rise to the modern conception of ‘the churches’; but it must be observed that the Pauline idea is territorial, the only apparent departure from this usage being the application of the name to sections of a local ecclesia , which seem in some instances to have met for additional worship in the houses of prominent disciples ( Romans 16:5 , 1 Corinthians 16:19 etc.). The existence of independent congregations of Christians within a single area, like the Hellenistic and Hebrew synagogues (see Acts 6:1 ; Acts 6:9 ), does not appear to be contemplated in the NT.
4. The conception of a Catholic Church in the sense of a constitutional federation of local Christian organizations in a universal community is post-Apostolic. The phrase is first found in Ignatius ( c [8] . a.d. 115; see Lightfoot, Apost. Fathers , Pt. 2. ii. p. 310). But in the 1st cent. the Church of Jerusalem, as the seat of Apostolic authority ( Acts 8:1 ; Acts 8:14 ), still exercises an influence upon the other communities, which continues during the period of translation to the world-wide society. At Jerusalem Saul receives the right hand of fellowship and recognition from the pillar Apostles ( Galatians 2:9 ). Thence Apostles go forth to confirm and consolidate the work of evangelists ( Acts 8:14 ). Thither missionaries return with reports of newly-founded Gentile societies and contributions for the poor saints ( Acts 15:2 ; Acts 24:17 , 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 ). It is this community that promulgates decisions on problems created by the extension of Christianity ( Acts 15:22-29 ). Till after the destruction of the city in a.d. 71 this Church continued, under the presidency of James the Lord’s brother ( Galatians 2:12 , Acts 12:17 ; Acts 15:13 ; Acts 21:18 ), and then of other members of the Christian ‘royal family’ (Eusebius, HE iii. 11, 19, 20), to be the typical society of Jesus’ disciples.
5. But already in the NT that ideal element, which distinguished the primitive fellowship as the Kingdom of Messiah, is beginning to express itself in a conception of the ecclesia which, while it never loses touch with the actual concrete society or societies of Christians, has nevertheless no constitutional value. It is scarcely possible to suppose that the adoption of the name ecclesia for the Christian society was altogether unrelated to the celebrated use of the word by the Lord Himself in His conversation with the disciples at Cæsarea Philippi ( Matthew 16:13-20 ||). Two suggestions with regard to this passage may be dismissed. The first is that it was interpolated to support the growth of ecclesiastical authority in the 2nd cent.; this rests solely on an assumption that begs the question. The second is that ecclesia has been substituted for ‘kingdom’ in our Lord’s utterance through subsequent identification of ideas. But the occasion was one that Christ evidently intended to signalize by a unique deliverance, the full significance of which would not become apparent till interpreted by later experience (cf. Matthew 10:38 , John 6:53 ). The metaphor of building as applied to the nation of Israel is found in the OT ( Jeremiah 33:7 ; cf. Amos 9:11 , Psalms 102:16 ). There is therefore little doubt that Jesus meant His disciples to understand the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom; and that the use of the less common word ecclesia , far from being unintentional, is designed to connect with the new and enlarged Israel only the spiritual associations of Jehovah’s congregation, and to discourage the temporal aspirations which they were only too ready to derive from the promised Kingdom.
6. The Kingdom of God , or of Heaven, is a prominent conception in the Synoptic Gospels. It is rather the Kingdom than the King that Christ Himself proclaims ( Mark 1:14-15 , cf. Matthew 4:17 ). The idea, partially understood by His contemporaries, was broadened and spiritualized by Jesus. It had been outlined by prophets and apocalyptic writers. It was to realize the hopes of that congregation of Israel which had been purchased and redeemed of old ( Psalms 74:2 ), and of which the Davidic monarchy had been the pledge ( Micah 4:8 , Isaiah 55:3 etc.). Typical passages are Daniel 2:44 ; Daniel 7:14 . This was the Kingdom which the crowd hailed at the Triumphal Entry ( Matthew 21:9 ||). Christ begins from the point of Jewish expectation, but the Kingdom which He proclaims, though not less actual, surpasses any previous conception in the minds of His followers. It is already present ( Luke 11:20 ; Luke 17:21 RVm [9] ) in His own Person and work. It is revealed as a historical institution in the parables of the Tares ( Matthew 13:24 ff.) and the Drag-net ( Matthew 13:47 ff.). Other parables present it as an ideal which no historical institution can satisfy, e.g. Treasure hid in a field ( Matthew 13:44 ), a merchantman seeking goodly Pearls ( Matthew 13:45 ), a grain of Mustard Seed ( Matthew 13:21 ; Matthew 13:32 ). We cannot solve the problem involved in Christ’s various presentations of the Kingdom by saying that He uses the word in different senses. He is dealing with a reality too vast to be submitted to the human understanding otherwise than in aspects and partial views which no powers of combination will enable us adequately to adjust. The twofold conception of the Kingdom as at once a reality and an ideal is finally brought home by those utterances of Jesus which refer its realization to the end of the age. Daniel’s prophecy is to be realized only when the Son of Man shall come in His Kingdom ( Matthew 24:3 ; Matthew 24:15 , Matthew 25:31 , Matthew 26:64 ). It is then that the blessed are to inherit what nevertheless was prepared for them from the beginning of time ( Matthew 25:34 ). And all views of the Kingdom which would limit it to an externally organized community are proved to be insufficient by a declaration like that of Luke 17:20-21 . But even when contemplated ideally, the Messianic Kingdom possesses those attributes of order and authority which are inseparable from a society ( Matthew 19:28 ).
It is hardly to be doubted, therefore, that the name ecclesia , as given to the primitive community of Christians at Jerusalem, even if suggested rather by the synagogue than by our Lord’s declaration to St. Peter, could not be used without identifying that society with the Kingdom of God, so far as this was capable of realization in an institution, and endowing it with those ideal qualities which belong thereto. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples at Pentecost, fulfilling as it did the expectation of a baptism of fire that was to accompany the establishment of the Kingdom ( Acts 1:5 ; Acts 2:3-4 , Matthew 3:11 ), connects the Church with the Kingdom, and the scattering of its members after Stephen’s death ( Acts 8:1 ) would begin to familiarize the disciples with the idea of the unity in Christ unbroken by local separation (cf. Acts 8:1 and Acts 9:31 ).
7. But it is only in the theology of St. Paul that we find the Kingdom of the Gospels interpreted in terms of the actual experience of the Christian ecclesia . The extension of the fellowship beyond the limits of a single city has shown that the ideal Church cannot be identified simpliciter with any Christian community, while the idealization of the federated ecclesiœ , natural enough in a later age, is, in the absence of a wider ecclesiastical organization, not yet possible. It is still further from the truth to assert that St. Paul had the conception of an invisible Church, of which the local communities were at best typical. ‘We have no evidence that St. Paul regarded membership of the universal ecclesia as invisible’ (Hort, Christian Ecclesia , p. 169). The method by which the Apostle reached his doctrine of the Church is best illustrated by his charge to the elders at Miletus to feed the flock of God over which the Holy Ghost had made them overseers ( Acts 20:28 ). Here the local Ephesian Church represents practically God’s Church purchased with His precious blood ( Acts 20:28 ), a real community of which visibility is an essential characteristic, but which by the nature of the case is incapable of a complete manifestation in history. The passage combines in a remarkable degree the three elements in the Divine Society, namely, the redeemed congregation of Israel ( Psalms 74:2 ), the Kingdom or ecclesia of Messiah ( Matthew 16:18 ), and the body established upon the Atonement ( Colossians 1:20-22 , Ephesians 2:13 ). All three notes are present in the teaching of the Epistles concerning the ecclesia . It is the historical fact of the inclusion of the Gentiles ( Ephesians 2:18 ) that is the starting-point. Those nations which under the old covenant were alien from the people of God ( Ephesians 2:12 ) are now included in the vast citizenship or polity ( Ephesians 2:13 ff.) which membership in a local ecclesia involves. The Church has existed from all eternity as an idea in the mind of God ( Ephesians 3:3-11 ), the heritage prepared for Christ ( Ephesians 1:10-11 ). It is the people of possession ( Ephesians 1:14 , cf. 1 Peter 2:9 , Titus 2:14 ), identified with the commonwealth of Israel ( Ephesians 2:12 ), and as such the immediate object of redemption ( Ephesians 5:25 ); but through the reconciliation of the Cross extended ( Ephesians 2:14 ), and, as it were, reincorporated on a wider basis ( Ephesians 2:15 ), as the sphere of universal forgiveness ( Ephesians 2:16 ), the home of the Spirit ( Ephesians 2:18 ), and the one body of Christ ( Ephesians 4:12 etc.), in which all have access to the Father ( Ephesians 2:18 ). The interlaced figures of growth and building ( Ephesians 4:12 ; Ephesians 4:16 ), under which it is presented, witness to its organic and therefore not exclusively spiritual character. Baptism, administered by the local ecclesiœ and resulting in rights and duties in respect of them, is yet primarily the method of entrance to the ideal community ( Romans 6:3-4 , 1 Corinthians 12:13 , Galatians 3:27-28 , Ephesians 4:5 ), to which also belong those offices and functions which, whether universal like the Apostolate ( 1 Corinthians 12:27-28 ) or particular like the presbyterate ( Acts 20:17 ; Acts 20:28 ; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 , Ephesians 4:11 ), are exercised only in relation to the local societies. It is the Church of God that suffers persecution in the persons of those who are of ‘the Way’ ( 1 Corinthians 15:9 , Acts 8:3 ; Acts 9:1 ); is profaned by misuse of sacred ordinances at Corinth ( 1 Corinthians 11:22 ); becomes at Ephesus the pillar and ground of the truth ( 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 ).
That St. Paul, in speaking of the Church now in the local now in the universal sense, is not dealing with ideas connected only by analogy, is proved by the ease with which he passes from the one to the other use (Colossians 4:15-16 ; cf. Colossians 1:18 ; cf. Colossians 1:24 and Eph. passim ). The Church is essentially visible, the shrine of God ( 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ), the body of Christ ( Ephesians 1:23 etc.); schism and party-strife involving a breach in the unity of the Spirit ( Ephesians 4:3 ). Under another figure the Church is the bride of Christ ( Ephesians 5:25 ff.), His complement or fulness ( Ephesians 1:23 ), deriving its life from Him as He does from the Father ( Ephesians 1:22 , 1 Corinthians 11:3 ).
8. Thus the Biblical view of the Church differs alike from the materialized conception of Augustine, which identifies it with the constitutionally incorporated and œcumenical society of the Roman Empire, with its canon law and hierarchical jurisdiction, and from that Kingdom of Christ which Luther, as interpreted by Ritschl, regarded as ‘the inward spiritual union of believers with Christ’ ( Justification and Reconciliation , Eng. tr. [1] p. 287). The principle of the Church’s life is inward, so that ‘the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ’ remains the object of Christian hope ( Ephesians 4:13 ). But its manifestation is outward, and includes those ministries which, though marred, as history shows, by human failure and sin, are set in the Church for the building up of the body ( Ephesians 4:11-12 ). Just as members of the legal Israel are recognized by our Lord as sons of the Kingdom ( Matthew 8:12 ), so the baptized are the called, the saints, the members of the body. There is no warrant in the NT for that sharp separation between membership in the legal worshipping Church and the Kingdom of God which is characteristic of Ritschlianism.
9. The Church in its corporate capacity is the primary object of redemption. This truth, besides being definitely asserted ( Ephesians 5:25 ; Ephesians 5:27 , Acts 20:28 , Titus 2:14 ), is involved in the conception of Christ as the second Adam ( Romans 5:12-21 , 1 Timothy 3:16 ), the federal head of a redeemed race; underlies the institutions of Baptism and the Eucharist; and is expressed in the Apostolic teaching concerning the two Sacraments (see above, also 1 Corinthians 10:16-18 ; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34 ). The Church is thus not a voluntary association of justified persons for purposes of mutual edification and common worship, but the body in which the individual believer normally realizes his redemption. Christ’s love for the Church, for which He gave Himself ( Ephesians 5:25 ), constituting a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of possession ( 1 Peter 2:5 ; 1 Peter 2:9 ) through His blood ( Ephesians 2:13 ), completes the parallel, or rather marks the identity, with the historical Israel. Membership in Abraham’s covenanted race, of which circumcision was the sign ( Genesis 17:8 ), brought the Israelite into relation with Jehovah. The sacrifices covered the whole ‘church in the wilderness’ ( Acts 7:38 ), and each worshipper approached God in virtue of his inclusion in the holy people. No foreigner might eat of the Passover ( Exodus 12:45 ). The propitiatory ritual of the Day of Atonement was expressly designed for the consecration of the whole nation ( Leviticus 16:1-34 ). So the sacrifice of the Cross is our Passover ( 1 Corinthians 5:7 ). The worship of the Christian congregation is the Paschal feast ( 1 Corinthians 5:8 , cf. Hebrews 13:10-16 ). In Christ those who are now fellow-citizens have a common access to the Father ( Ephesians 2:18 , Hebrews 10:22 ). Through the Mediator of a new covenant ( Hebrews 12:24 ) those that are consecrated ( Hebrews 10:14 ; Hebrews 10:22 ) are come to the Church of the first-born ( Hebrews 12:23 ), which includes the spirits of the perfected saints ( ib. ) in the fellowship of God’s household ( Ephesians 2:19 , Hebrews 10:21 ). See also following article.
J. G. Simpson.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Church Government
CHURCH GOVERNMENT . 1. The general development seems fairly clear, though its later stages fall beyond NT times. The Apostles were founders of churches, and therefore regulated and supervised the first arrangements; then were added sundry local and unlocal rulers; then the unlocal died out, and the local settled down into the three permanent classes of bishops, elders, and deacons. The chief disputed questions concern the origin of the local ministry, its relation to the other, and the time and manner in which it settled down under the government of (monarchical) bishops.
2. Twice over St. Paul gives something like a list of the chief persons of the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12:28 he counts up ‘first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powers; then gifts of healing, helps, governments, kinds of tongues.’ It will be noticed that all the words after the first two plainly describe functions, not offices. A few years later ( Ephesians 4:11 ) he tells us how the ascended Lord ‘himself gave some as apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the work of service’ ( diakonia ) they are all of them ‘deacons’ ( diakonoi ), whatever more they may be.
3. At the head of both lists is the Apostle . The Apostles were not limited to the Eleven, or to the number twelve, though twelve was always the ideal number ( 1 Corinthians 15:5 , Revelation 21:14 ; perhaps Acts 2:14 ; Acts 6:2 ). Whether Matthias remained an Apostle or not, Paul and Barnabas were certainly Apostles ( e.g. Acts 14:14 ), and so was James the Lord’s brother ( Galatians 1:19 ). The old disciples Andronicus and Junias (not Junia) were ‘notable’ Apostles ( Romans 16:7 ). On the other hand, Timothy seems excluded by the greetings of several Epistles ( e.g. 2 Co.), and Apollos by the evidence of Clement of Rome, who most likely knew the truth of the matter.
The Apostle’s first qualification was to have seen the risen Lord (Acts 1:22 , 1 Corinthians 9:5 ), for his first duty was to bear witness of the Resurrection. This qualification seems never to have been relaxed in NT times. A direct call was also needed, for ( 1 Corinthians 12:28 , Galatians 1:1 , Ephesians 4:11 ) no human authority could choose an Apostle. The call of Barnabas and Saul was acknowledged ( Acts 13:8 ) by a commission from the church at Antioch; and if Matthias remained an Apostle, we must suppose that the direct call was represented by some later Divine recognition.
Therefore the Apostle was in no sense a local official. His work was not to serve tables, but to preach and to make disciples of all nations, so that he led a wandering life, settling down only in his old age, or in the sense of making, say, Ephesus or Corinth his centre for a while. The stories which divide the world among the Twelve are legends: the only division we know of was made (Galatians 2:8 ) at the Conference, when it was resolved that the Three should go to the Jews, Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles. With this preaching went the founding and general care of churches, though not their ordinary government. St. Paul interferes only in cases of gross error or corporate disorder. His point is not that the Galatians are mistaken, but that they are altogether falling away from Christ; not that the Corinthian is a bad offender, but that the church sees no great harm in the matter. He does not advise the Corinthians on further questions without plain hints ( 1 Corinthians 6:5 ; 1 Corinthians 10:14 ; 1 Corinthians 11:14 ) that they ought to have settled most of them for themselves.
4. Next to the Apostle comes the shadowy figure of the Prophet . He too sustained the Church, and shared with him ( Ephesians 2:20 ; Ephesians 3:5 ) the revelation of the mystery. He spoke ‘in the spirit’ words of warning, of comfort, or it might be of prediction. He too received his commission from God and not from men, and was no local officer of a church, even if he dwelt in the city. But he was not an eye-witness of the risen Lord, and ‘the care of all the churches’ did not rest on him. Women also might prophesy ( 1 Corinthians 11:5 ), like Philip’s daughters ( Acts 21:9 ) at Cæsarea, or perhaps the mystic Jezebel ( Revelation 2:20 ) at Thyatira. Yet even in the Apostolic age prophecy ( 1 Thessalonians 5:20 ) is beginning to fall into discredit, and false prophets are flourishing (1 John, 2 Peter, Jude). This may be the reason for the marked avoidance of the name ‘Apostle’ by and of St. John.
5. It will be seen that St. Paul’s lists leave no place for a local ministry of office, unless it comes in under ‘helps and governments’ on ‘pastors and teachers.’ Yet such a ministry must have existed almost from the first. We have (1) the appointment of the Seven at Jerusalem ( Acts 6:1-15 ); (2) elders at Jerusalem in the years 44, 50, 58 ( Acts 11:30 ; Acts 15:8 ; Acts 15:22 ; Acts 21:18 ), appointed by Paul and Barnabas in every church about 48 ( Acts 14:23 ), mentioned James 5:14 ; at Ephesus in 58 ( Acts 20:17 ), mentioned 1 Peter 5:1 ; (3) Phœhe a deaconess at Cenchreæ in 58 ( Romans 16:1 ), bishops and deacons at Philippi in 63 ( Philippians 1:1 ). Also in the Pastoral Epistles, Timothy at Ephesus about 66 is ( 1 Timothy 3:1-16 ; 1 Timothy 4:1-16 ) in charge of four orders: (1) bishops (or elders) ( 1 Timothy 5:1 ); (2) deacons; (3) deaconesses ( 1 Timothy 3:11 ) (‘women’ [1] cannot be wives of deacons); (4) widows. With Titus in Crete only bishops are mentioned ( Titus 1:5 ). To these we add (5) the prominent quasi -episcopal positions of James at Jerusalem in 44 ( Acts 12:17 ), in 50, and in 58; and (6) of Timothy and Titus at Ephesus and in Crete.
To these we must not add (1) the ‘young men’ ( neôteroi ) who carried out Ananias ( Acts 5:6 ). [2]; (2) the indefinite proistamenoi of 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and Romans 12:8 , and the equally indefinite hçgoumenoi of some unknown church shortly before 70 ( Hebrews 13:7 ; Hebrews 13:17 ). [3]; (3) the angels of the seven churches in Asia. [4]
6. The questions before us may be conveniently grouped round the three later offices of Bishop, Elder, and Deacon. But bishop and deacon seem at first to have denoted functions of oversight and service rather than definite offices. The elder carries over a more official character from the synagogue; but in any case there is always a good deal of give and take among officials of small societies. If so, we shall not be surprised if we find neither definite institution of offices nor sharp distinction of duties.
(1) Deacons . The traditional view, that the choice of the Seven in Acts 6:1-15 marks the institution of a permanent order of deacons, is open to serious doubt. The opinion of Cyprian and later writers is not worth much on a question of this kind, and even that of Irenæus is far from decisive. The vague word diakonia (used too in the context of the Apostles themselves) is balanced by the avoidance of the word ‘deacon’ in the Acts ( e.g. Acts 21:8 Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven). Since, however, Phœbe was a deaconess at Cenchreæ in 58, there were probably deacons there and at Corinth, though St. Paul does not mention any; and at Philippi we have bishops and deacons in 63. In both cases, however, the doubt remains, how far the name has settled into a definite office. See art. Deacon.
(2) Elders . Elders at Jerusalem receive the offerings in 44 from Saul and Barnabas. They are joined with the Apostles at the Conference in 50, and with James in 58. As Paul and Barnabas appoint elders in every city on their first missionary journey, and we find elders at Ephesus in 58, we may infer that the churches generally had elders, though there is no further certain mention of them till the Pastoral Epistles and 1Peter . Probably James 5:12 is earlier, but there we cannot be sure that the word is official.
The difference of name between elders and bishops may point to some difference of origin or duties; but in NT (and in Clement of Rome) the terms are practically equivalent. Thus the elders of Ephesus are reminded (Acts 20:28 ) that they are bishops. In the Pastoral Epistles, Timothy appoints ‘bishops and deacons’; Titus, ‘elders and deacons,’ though Timothy also ( 1 Timothy 5:17 ) has elders under him. The qualifications of the elder, as described to Titus, are practically those of the bishop as given to Timothy, and it is added ( Titus 1:7 ) that the elders must be such ‘because the bishop must be blameless,’ etc. which is decisive that the bishop’s office was at least as wide as the elder’s. Moreover, in both cases the duties implied are ministerial, not what we call episcopal. If the elder’s duty is to rule ( 1 Timothy 5:17 ), he does it subject to Timothy, much as a modern elder rules subject to his bishop.
(3) Bishops . See Bishop.
H. M. Gwatkin.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Low Church
The party in Anglicanism which emphasizes the personal rather than the sacramental or ceremonial side of religion. Low-churchmen generally prefer the term "Evangelical" to describe their position, which is that of the usual Protestant theology, as contrasted with the Catholic tendencies of High-churchmen.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church
1. The Greek word denotes an assembly met about business, whether lawful or unlawful, Acts 19:32 ; Acts 19:39 .
2. It is understood of the collective body of Christians, or all those over the face of the earth who profess to believe in Christ, and acknowledge him to be the Saviour of mankind: this is called the visible church, Ephesians 3:21 . 1 Timothy 3:15 . Ephesians 4:11-12 .
3. By the word church, also, we are to understand the whole body of God's chosen people, in every period of time: this is the invisible church. Those on earth are also called the militant, and those in heaven the triumphant church, Hebrews 12:23 . Acts 20:28 . Ephesians 1:1-23 Matthew 16:28 .
4. By a particular church we understand an assembly of Christians united together, and meeting in one place for the solemn worship of God. To this agree the definition given by the compilers of the thirty-nine articles:
"A congregation of faithful men, in which the true word of God is preached, and the sacraments duly administered according to Christ's ordinances, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." Acts 9:31 . Galatians 1:2 ; Galatians 1:22 . 1 Corinthians 14:34 . Romans 16:1-27 . Colossians 4:15 .
5. The word is now used also to denote any particular denomination of Christians distinguished by particular doctrines, ceremonies, &c.: as the Romish church, Greek church. and English church, &c. Congregational church is so called from their maintaining that each congregation of Christians which meet in one place for religious worship is a complete church, and has sufficient power to act and perform every thing relative to religious government within itself, and is in no respect subject or accountable to any other church. It does not appear, say they, that the primitive churches were national; they were not even provincial; for, though there were many believers and professing Christians in Judea, in Galilee, and Samaria, in Macedonia, in Galatia, and other provinces, yet we never read of a provincial church in any of those places. The particular societies of Christians in these districts are mentioned in the plural number, 2 Corinthians 8:1 . Galatians 1:2 . Acts 9:31 . According to them, we find no mention made of diocesan churches in the New Testament. In the days of the apostles, bishops were so far from presiding over more churches than one, that sometimes a plurality of bishops presided over the same church.
See Philippians 1:1 . Nor do we find any mention made of parochial churches. Some of the inhabitants of a parish may be Infidels, Mahometans, or Jews; but Gospel churches consist of such as make an open profession of their faith in Christ, and subjection to the Gospel, Rom.i.7. 1 Corinthians 14:33 . It seems plain, then, that the primitive churches of Christ were properly congregational. The first church at Jerusalem met together in one place at the same time, Acts 1:14-15 . The church of Antioch did the same, Acts 14:27 . The church of Corinth the same, 1 Corinthians 14:23 . The same did the church at Troas, Acts 20:7 . There was a church at Cenchrea, a port of Corinth, distinct from the church in that city, Acts 20:17 : He that was a member of one church was not a member of another. The apostle Paul, writing to the Colossian society, says
"Epaphras, who is one of you, saluteth you, " Colossians 4:12 . Such a church is a body distinguished from the civil societies of the world by the spiritual nature and design of its government; for, though Christ would have order kept in his church, yet without any coercive force; a thing inconsistent with the very nature of such a society, whose end is instruction; and a practice suitable to it, which can never in the nature of things be accomplished by penal laws or external coersion, Isaiah 33:22 . Matthew 23:8 ; Matthew 23:10 . John 18:36 . Psalms 2:6 . 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 . Zechariah 4:6 , &c. 1. Church members are those who compose or belong to the church. As to the visible church, it may be observed that real saintship is not the distinguishing criterion of the members of it. None, indeed, can without it honestly offer themselves to church fellowship; but they cannot be refused admission for the mere want of it; for
1. God alone can judge the heart. Deceivers can counterfeit saintship, 1 Samuel 16:1 ; 1 Samuel 16:7 .
2. God himself admitted many members of the Jewish church whose hearts were unsanctified, Deuteronomy 29:3-4 ; Deuteronomy 29:13 . John 6:70 .
3. John the Baptist and the apostles required no more than outward appearance of faith and repentance in order to baptism, Matthew 3:5 ; Matthew 3:7 . Acts 2:28 .vii. 13, 23.
4. Many that were admitted members in the churches of Judea, Corinth, Philippi, Laodicea, Sardis, &c. were unregenerated, Acts 5:1 ; Acts 5:10 ; Acts 8:13 ; Acts 8:23 . 1 Corinthians 1:11 ; 1 Corinthians 5:11 . Philippians 3:18-19 . Revelation 3:5 ; Revelation 3:15 ; Revelation 17:1-18 :
5. Christ compares the Gospel church to a floor on which corn and chaff are mingled together: to a net in which good and bad are gathered, &c.
See Matthew 13:1-58 : As to the real church,
1. The true members of it are such as are born again.
2. They come out from the world, 1 Corinthians 6:17 .
3. They openly profess love to Christ, James 2:14 ; James 2:26 . Mark 8:34 &c.
4. They walk in all the ordinances of the Lord blameless. None but such are proper members of the true church; nor should any be admitted to any particular church without some appearance of these, at least. 2. Church fellowship is the communion that the members enjoy one with another. The end of church fellowship is,
1. The maintenance and exhibition of a system of sound principles, 2 Timothy 1:13 . 1 Timothy 6:3-4 . 1 Corinthians 8:5-6 . Hebrews 2:1 . Ephesians 4:21 .
2. The support of the ordinances of Gospel worship in their purity and simplicity, Deuteronomy 12:31-32 . Romans 15:6 .
3. The impartial exercise of church government and discipline, Hebrews 12:15 . Galatians 6:1 . 2 Timothy 2:24 ; 2 Timothy 2:26 . Titus 3:10 . 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 : James 3:17 .
4. The promotion of holiness in all manner of conversation, Philippians 1:27 ; Philippians 2:15-16 . 2 Peter 3:11 . Philippians 4:8 . The more particular duties are.
1. Earnest study to keep peace and unity, Ephesians 4:3 . Philippians 2:2-3 . Philippians 3:15-16 .
2. Bearing of one another's burdens, Psalms 5:1-2 ; Galatians 2:1-21 :
3. Earnest endeavours to prevent each other's stumblings, 1 Corinthians 10:2-3 . Hebrews 10:24 ; Hebrews 10:27 . Romans 14:13 .
4. Stedfast continuance in the faith and worship of the Gospel, Acts 2:42 .
5. Praying for and sympathizing with each other, 1 Samuel 12:23 . Ephesians 6:18 . The advantages are,
1. Peculiar incitements to holiness, Ecclesiastes 4:11 .
2. There are some promises applicable to none but those who attend the ordinances of God, and hold communion with the saints, Psalms 92:13 . Isaiah 25:6 . Psa 122: 13, 16. Psalms 36:8 . Jeremiah 31:12 .
3. Such are under the watchful eye and care of their pastor, Hebrews 13:7 .
4. Subject to the friendly reproof or kind advice of the saints, 1 Corinthians 12:25 .
5. Their zeal and love are animated by reciprocal conversation, Malachi 3:16 . Proverbs 27:17 .
6. They may restore each other if they fall, Ecclesiastes 4:10 . Galatians 6:1 .
7. More easily promote the cause, and spread the Gospel elsewhere. 3. Church ordinances are,
1. Reading of the Scriptures, Nehemiah 9:3 . Acts 17:11 . Nehemiah 8:3-4 . Luke 4:16 .
2. Preaching and expounding, 1 Timothy 3:2 . 2 Timothy 2:24 . Ephesians 4:8 . Romans 10:15 . Ephesians 5:1-330 .
3. Hearing, Is. 4: 1. James 1:21 . 1 Peter 2:2 . 1 Timothy 4:13 .
4. Prayer, Galatians 6:1 . Psalms 95:6 . Psalms 121:1 . Psalms 28:2 . Acts 12:12 ; Acts 1:14 .
5. Singing of psalms, Ps. xivii. 1 to 6. Colossians 3:16 . 1 Corinthians 14:15 . Psalms 50:14 .
6. Thanksgiving, 1618101507_77 . Psalms 100:1-5 : James 5:13 .
7. The Lord's supper, 1 Corinthians 11:23 , &c. Acts 20:7 . Baptism is not properly a church ordinance, since it ought to be administered before a person be admitted into church fellowship.
See BAPTISM. 4. church officers are those appointed by Christ for preaching the word, and the superintendence of church affairs: such are bishops and deacons, to which some add, elders.
See these articles. 5. As to church order and discipline, it may be observed, that every Christian society formed on the congregational plan is strictly independent of all other religious societies. No other church however numerous or respectable; no person or persons, however eminent for authority, abilities, or influence, have any right to assume arbitrary jurisdiction over such a society. They have but one master, who is Christ.
See Matthew 18:15 ; Matthew 18:19 .
Even the officers which Christ has appointed in his church have no power to give new laws to it; but only, in conjunction with the other members of the society, to execute the commands of Christ. They have no dominion over any man's faith, nor any compulsive power over the consciences of any. Every particular church has a right to judge of the fitness of those who offer themselves as members, Acts 9:26 . If they are found to be proper persons, they must then be admitted; and this should always be followed with prayer, and with a solemn exhortation to the persons received. If any member walk disorderly, and continue to do so, the church is empowered to exclude him, 1 Corinthians 5:7 . 2 Thessalonians 3:6 . Romans 16:17 . which should be done with the greatest tenderness; but if evident signs of repentance should be discovered, such must be received again, Galatians 6:1 . This and other church business is generally done on some day preceding the sabbath on which the ordinance is administered.
See art. EXCOMMUNICATION; Dr. Owen on the Nature of a Gospel Church and its Government; Watts's Rational Foundation of a Christian Church; Turner's Compendium of Soc. Rel; Fawcett's Constitution and Order of a Gospel Church; Watts's Works, ser. 53. vol. 1:; Goodwin's Works, vol. 4:; Fuller's Remarks on the Discipline of the Primitive Churches; and Bryson's Compendious View.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church-Yard
A piece of ground adjoining to the church, set apart for the interment of the dead. In the church of Rome, church-yards are consecrated with great solemnity. If a church-yard which has been thus consecrated shall afterwards be polluted by any indecent notion, or profaned by the burial of an infidel, an heretic, an excommunicated or unbaptized person, it must be reconciled; and the ceremony of the reconciliation is performed with the same solemnity as that of the consecration!
See CONSECRATION.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church, Roman Catholic
Claims the title of being the mother church, and is undoubtedly the most ancient of all the established churches in Christendom, if antiquity be held as a proof of primitive purity.
See POPERY.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church, Latin or Western
Comprehends all the churches of Italy, Portugal, Spain, Africa, the north, and all other countries whither the Romans carried their language. Great Britain, part of the Netherlands, of Germany, and of the north of Europe, have been separated from it almost ever since the reformation.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church, Greek or Eastern
Comprehends the churches of all the countries anciently subject to the Greek or Eastern empire, and through which their language was carried; that is, all the space extended from Greece to Mesopotamia and Persia, and thence into Egypt. This church has been divided from the Roman even since the time of the emperor Phocas.
See article GREEK CHURCH.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church, Reformed
Comprehends the whole Protestant churches in Europe and America, whether Lutheran, Calvinistic, Independent, Quaker, Baptist, or of any other denomination who dissent from the church of Rome. The term Reformed is now, however, employed on the continent of Europe, to distinguish the Calvinists from the Lutherans.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church, Gallican
Denotes the ci-devant church of France under the government of its respective bishops and pastors. This church always enjoyed certain franchises and immunities, not as grants from popes, but as derived to her from her first original, and which she took care never to relinquish. These liberties depended upon two maxims; the first, that the pope had no right to order any thing in which the temporalities and civil rights of the kingdom were concerned; the second, that, notwithstanding the pope's supremacy was admitted in cases purely spiritual, yet in France his power was limited by the decrees of ancient councils received in that realm. In the established church the Jansenists were very numerous. The bishoprics and prebends were entirely in the gift of the king; and no other Catholic state, except Italy, had so numerous a clergy as France. There were in this kingdom eighteen archbishops, one hundred and eleven bishops, one hundred and sixty-six thousand clergymen, and three thousand four hundred convents, containing two thousand persons devoted to a monastic life. Since the repeal of the edict of Nantz, the protestants have suffered much from persecution. A solemn law, which did much honour to Louis XVI. late king of France, gave to his non-Roman Catholic subjects, as they were called, all the civil advantages and privileges of their Roman Catholic brethren.
The above statement was made previously to the French revolution: great alterations have taken place since that period. And it may be interesting to those who have not the means of fuller information, to give a sketch of the causes which gave rise to those important events. It has been asserted, that about the middle of the last century a conspiracy was formed to overthrow Christianity, without distinction of worship, whether Protestant or Catholic. Voltaire D'Alembert, Frederick II. king of Prussia, and Diderot, were at the head of this conspiracy. Numerous other adepts and secondary agents were induced to join them. These pretended philosophers used every artifice that impiety could invent, by union and secret correspondence, to attack, to debase, and annihilate Christianity. They not only acted in concert, sparing no political or impious art to effect the destruction of the Christian religion, but they were the instigators and conductors of those secondary agents, whom they had seduced, and pursued their plan with all the ardour and constancy which denotes the most finished conspirators.
The French clergy amounted to one hundred and thirty thousand, the higher orders of whom enjoyed immense revenues; but the cures, or great body of acting clergy, seldom possessed more than twenty- eight pounds sterling a year, and the vicars about half the sum. The clergy as a body, independent of their titles, possessed a revenue arising from their property in land, amounting to five millions sterling annually; at the same time they were exempt from taxation. Before the levelling system had taken place, the clergy signified to the commons the instructions of their constituents, to contribute to the exigencies of the state in equal proportion with the other citizens. Not contented with this offer, the tithes and revenues of the clergy were taken away; in lieu of which, it was proposed to grant a certain stipend to the different ministers of religion, to be payable by the nation. The possessions of the church were then considered as national property by a decree of the constituent assembly. The religious orders, viz. the communities of monks and nuns, possessed immense landed estates; and, after having abolished the orders, the assembly seized the estates for the use of the nation: the gates of the cloisters were now thrown open.
The next step of the assembly was to establish what is called the civil constitution of the clergy. This, the Roman Catholics assert, was in direct opposition to their religion. But though opposed with energetic eloquence, the decree passed, and was soon after followed by another, obliging the clergy to swear to maintain their civil constitution. Every artifice which cunning, and every menace which cruelty could invent, were used to induce them to take the oath; great numbers, however, refused. One hundred and thirty-eight bishops and arch-bishops, sixty-eight curates or vicars, were on this account driven from their sees and parishes. Three hundred of the priests were massacred in one day in one city. All the other pastors who adhered to their religion were either sacrificed, or banished from their country, seeking through a thousand dangers a refuge among foreign nations. A perusal of the horrid massacres of the priests who refused to take the oaths, and the various forms of persecution employed by those who were attached to the Catholic religion, must deeply wound the feelings of humanity. Those readers who are desirous of farther information, are referred to Abbe Barrul's History of the Clergy. Some think that there was another cause of the revolution, and which may be traced as far back at least as the revocation of the edict of Nantz in the seventeenth century, when the great body of French Protestants who were men of principle, were either murdered or banished, and the rest in a manner silenced.
The effect of this sanguinary measure (say they) must needs be the general prevalence of infidelity. Let the religious part of any nation be banished, and a general spread of irreligion must necessarily follow: such were the effects in France. Through the whole of the eighteenth century infidelity has been the fashion, and that not only among the princes and noblesse, but even among the greater part of the bishops and clergy. And as they had united their influence in banishing true religion, and cherishing the monster which succeeded it, so have they been united in sustaining the calamitous effects which that monster has produced. However unprincipled and cruel the French revolutionists have been, and however much the sufferers, as fellow-creatures, are entitled to our pity; yet, considering the event as the just retribution of God, we are constrained to say, "Thou art righteous, O Lord, who art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus; for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy." The Catholic religion is now again established, but with a toleration of the Protestants, under some restriction.
See the Concordat, or religious establishment on the French Republic, ratified September 10th, 1801.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church of Scotland
Established by law in that kingdom, is presbyterian, which has existed (with some interruptions during the reign of the Stuarts) ever since the time of John Knox, when the voice of the people prevailed against the influence of the crown in getting it established. Its doctrines are Calvinistic.
See article PRESBYTERIANS.
Fausset's Bible Dictionary - Church
From the Greek kuriakee , "house of the Lord," a word which passed to the Gothic tongue; the Goths being the first of the northern hordes converted to Christianity, adopted the word from the Greek Christians of Constantinople, and so it came to us Anglo-Saxons (Trench, Study of Words). But Lipsius, from circus, from whence kirk, a circle, because the oldest temples, as the Druid ones, were circular in form. Εkkleesia in the New Testament never means the building or house of assembly, because church buildings were built long AFTER the apostolic age. It means an organized body, whose unity does not depend on its being met together in one place; not an assemblage of atoms, but members in their several places united to the One Head, Christ, and forming one organic living whole (1 Corinthians 12). The bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-32; Ephesians 1:22), the body of which He is the Head.
The household of Christ and of God (Matthew 10:25; Ephesians 2:19). The temple of the Holy Spirit, made up of living stones (Ephesians 2:22; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Peter 2:5). Εkkleesia is used of one or more particular Christian associations, even one small enough to worship together in one house (Romans 16:5). Also of "the whole church" (Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 12:28). Εkkleesia occurs twice only in Matthew (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 18:17), elsewhere called "the kingdom of the heavens" by Matthew, "the kingdom of God" by Mark, Luke and John. Also called Christ's "flock," never to be plucked out of His hand (John 10:28), "branches" in Him "the true Vine." Founded on the Rock, "the Christ the Son of the living God," the only Foundation (Matthew 16:16; Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11).
Constituted as Christ's mystical body on Pentecost; thenceforth expanding in the successive stages traced in ACTS . Described in a beautiful summary (Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47). (On its apostasy (See BABYLON.) Professing Christendom numbers now probably 80 million of Greek churches, 90 million of Teutonic or Protestant churches, and 170 million of Roman Catholic churches. The Church of England's definition of the church is truly scriptural (Article xix): "a congregation of faithful men in the which the pure word of God is preached, and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same." The church that shall reign with Christ is made up of those written in heaven, in the Lamb's book of life, the spirits of just, men made perfect (Hebrews 12:22-23; Revelation 21:27).
The faultless perfection and the glorious promises in Scripture assigned to the church (election, adoption, spiritual priesthood, sure guidance by the Spirit into all truth, eternal salvation) belong not to all of the visible church, but to those alone of it who are in living union with Christ (Ephesians 5:23-27; Hebrews 12:22-23). The claim for the visible church of what belongs to the invisible, in spite of Christ's warning parable of the tares and wheat (Matthew 13:24-30; Matthew 13:36-43), has led to some of Rome's deadliest errors. On the other hand, the attempt to sever the tares from the wheat prematurely has led to many schisms, which have invariably failed in the attempt and only generated fresh separations. We must wait until Christ's manifestation for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8:19; Colossians 3:4).
The true universal church is restricted to "them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" (1 Corinthians 1:2). They are visible in so far as their light of good works so shines before men that their Father in heaven is glorified (Matthew 5:16). They are invisible insofar that it is God alone who can infallibly see who among professors are animated by a living, loving faith, and who are not. A visible community, consisting of various members and aggregations of members, was founded by Christ Himself, as needed for the extension and continuation of Christianity to all lands and all ages. The ministry of the word and the two sacraments, baptism, and the supper of the Lord, (both in part derived from existing Jewish rites, Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
Baptism, the Lord's Supper were appointed as the church's distinctive ordinances (Matthew 28:19-20, Greek text): "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ... Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and (only on condition of your doing so) I am with you always," etc. (See BAPTISM; LORD'S SUPPER.) The professing church that neglects the precept forfeits the promise, which is fatal to Rome's claims. No detailed church government is explicitly commanded by Jesus in the New Testament. The Old Testament ministry of high priest, priests, and Levites necessarily ended with the destruction of the one and only temple appointed by God. That the Christian ministry is not sacerdotal, as the Old Testament ministry, is proved by the title hiereus , the Greek of the Latin sacerdos, never once being used of Christian ministers.
When used at all as to the Christian church it is used of the whole body of Christians; since not merely ministers, as the Aaronic priests, but all equally, have near access to the heavenly holy place, through the torn veil of Christ's flesh (Hebrews 10:19-22; Hebrews 13:15-16; 1 Peter 2:19; Revelation 1:6). All alike offer "spiritual sacrifices." For a minister to pretend to offer a literal sacrifice in the Lord's supper, or to have the sacerdotal priesthood (which pertains to Christ alone), would be the sin which Moses charged on Korah: "Seemeth it but a small thing unto you that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation to bring you near to Himself, ... to stand before the congregation to minister to them; and seek ye the priesthood also?" The temple then not being the model to the Christian church, the synagogue alone remained to be copied.
In the absence of the temple during the captivity the people assembled together on sabbaths and other days to be instructed by the prophet (Ezekiel 14:1; Ezekiel 20:1; Ezekiel 33:31). In Nehemiah 8:1-8 a specimen is given of such a service, which the synagogues afterward continued, and which consisted in Scripture reading, with explanation, prayers, and thanksgivings. The synagogue officers consisted of a "ruler of the synagogue," the "legate of the church" (sheliach tsibbur ), corresponding to the angel of the church (Revelation 1-3), a college of elders or presbyters, and subordinate ministers (chazzan ), answering to our deacons, to take care of the sacred books. Episcopacy was adopted in apostolic times as the most expedient government, most resembling Jewish usages, and so causing the least stumbling-block to Jewish prejudices (Acts 4:8; Acts 24:1).
James, the brother of our Lord, after the martyrdom of James, the son of Zebedee and the flight of Peter (Acts 12:17), alone remained behind in Jerusalem, the recognized head there. His Jewish tendencies made him the least unpopular to the Jews, and so adapted him for the presidency there without the title (Acts 15:13-19; Acts 21:18; Galatians 2:2; Galatians 2:9; Galatians 2:12). This was the first specimen of apostolic local episcopacy without the name. The presbyters of the synagogue were called also (See BISHOPS, or overseers. "Those now called 'bishops' were originally 'apostles.' But those who ruled the church after the apostles' death had not the testimony of miracles, and were in many respects inferior, therefore they thought it unbecoming to assume the name of apostles; but dividing the names, they left to 'presbyters' that name, and themselves were called 'bishops'" (Ambrose, in Bingham Ecclesiastes Ant., 2:11; and Amularius, De Officiis, 2:13.)
The steps were apostle; then vicar apostolic or apostolic delegate, as Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete, temporarily (1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 4:21; Titus 3:12; Titus 1:5), then angel, then bishop in the present sense. Episcopacy gives more of centralized unity, but when made an absolute law it tends to spiritual despotism. The visible church, while avoiding needless alterations, has power under God to modify her polity as shall tend most to edification (Matthew 18:18; 1 Corinthians 12:28-30; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:11-16). The Holy Spirit first unites souls individually to the Father in Christ, then with one another as "the communion of saints." Then followed the government and ministry, which are not specified in detail until the pastoral epistles, namely, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, the latest epistles.
To be "in Christ" (John 15) presupposes repentance and faith, of which the sacraments are the seal. The church order is not imposed as a rigid unchangeable system from without, but is left to develop itself from within outwardly, according as the indwelling Spirit of life may suggest. The church is "holy" in respect to those alone of it who are sanctified, and "one" only in respect to those who "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3-6; Ephesians 4:15-16), "growing up ... into the Head, Christ, in all things." The latest honorable and only Christian use of "synagogue" (KJV "assembly") occurs in James (James 2:2), the apostle who maintained to the latest the bonds between the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church.
Soon the continued resistance of the truth by the Jews led Christians to leave the term to them exclusively (Revelation 2:9). Synagogue expresses a congregation not necessarily bound together; church, a people mutually bound together, even when not assembled, a body called out (ekkleesia , from ekkalein ) from the world in spirit, though not in locality (John 17:11; John 17:15). The Hebrew qahal , like, church," denotes a number of people united by definite laws and bonds, whether collected together or not; but 'eedah is an assembly independent of any bond of union, like "synagogue."
Christian church buildings were built like synagogues, with the holy table placed where the chest containing the law had been. The desk and pulpit were the chief furniture in both, but no altar. When the ruler of the synagogue became a Christian, he naturally was made bishop, as tradition records that Crispus became at Corinth (Acts 18:8). Common to both church and synagogue were the discipline (Matthew 18:17), excommunication (1 Corinthians 5:4), and the collection of alms (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church of Ireland
Is the same as the church of England, and is governed by four archbishops and eighteen bishops.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church-Wardens
Officers chosen yearly, either by the consent of the minister, or of the parishioners, or of both. Their business is to look to the church, church-yard, and to observe the behaviour of the parishioners; to levy a shilling forfeiture on all such as do not go to church on Sundays, and to keep persons orderly in church- time, &c.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Officers Church
See CHURCH, DEACON, ELDER.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church, High
See HIGH CHURCH.
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - New Jerusalem Church
See SWEDENBORGIANS.
Webster's Dictionary - Broad Church
A portion of the Church of England, consisting of persons who claim to hold a position, in respect to doctrine and fellowship, intermediate between the High Church party and the Low Church, or evangelical, party. The term has been applied to other bodies of men holding liberal or comprehensive views of Christian doctrine and fellowship.
Webster's Dictionary - Church Modes
The modes or scales used in ancient church music. See Gregorian.
Webster's Dictionary - Church-Ale
(n.) A church or parish festival (as in commemoration of the dedication of a church), at which much ale was used.
Webster's Dictionary - Church-Bench
(n.) A seat in the porch of a church.
Webster's Dictionary - Church-Haw
(n.) Churchyard.
Webster's Dictionary - Church
(1):
(n.) A building set apart for Christian worship.
(2):
(n.) The aggregate of religious influences in a community; ecclesiastical influence, authority, etc.; as, to array the power of the church against some moral evil.
(3):
(n.) A Jewish or heathen temple.
(4):
(n.) A formally organized body of Christian believers worshiping together.
(5):
(n.) A body of Christian believers, holding the same creed, observing the same rites, and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a denomination; as, the Roman Catholic church; the Presbyterian church.
(6):
(n.) The collective body of Christians.
(7):
(n.) Any body of worshipers; as, the Jewish church; the church of Brahm.
(8):
(v. t.) To bless according to a prescribed form, or to unite with in publicly returning thanks in church, as after deliverance from the dangers of childbirth; as, the churching of women.
Easton's Bible Dictionary - Church
In the New Testament it is the translation of the Greek word ecclesia, which is synonymous with the Hebrew Kahal of the Old Testament, both words meaning simply an assembly, the character of which can only be known from the connection in which the word is found. There is no clear instance of its being used for a place of meeting or of worship, although in post-apostolic times it early received this meaning. Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the "Church of England," the "Church of Scotland," etc.
We find the word ecclesia used in the following senses in the New Testament:
It is translated "assembly" in the ordinary classical sense ( Acts 19:32,39,41 ).
It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic church (Ephesians 5:23,25,27,29 ; Hebrews 12:23 ).
A few Christians associated together in observing the ordinances of the gospel are an ecclesia (Romans 16:5 ; Colossians 4:15 ).
All the Christians in a particular city, whether they assembled together in one place or in several places for religious worship, were an ecclesia. Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one church (Romans 11:18-24 ); so also we read of the "church of God at Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2 ), "the church at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1 ), "the church of Ephesus" (Revelation 2:1 ), etc.
The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Corinthians 15:9 ; Galatians 1:13 ; Matthew 16:18 ) are the church of Christ. The church visible "consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children." It is called "visible" because its members are known and its assemblies are public. Here there is a mixture of "wheat and chaff," of saints and sinners. "God has commanded his people to organize themselves into distinct visible ecclesiastical communities, with constitutions, laws, and officers, badges, ordinances, and discipline, for the great purpose of giving visibility to his kingdom, of making known the gospel of that kingdom, and of gathering in all its elect subjects. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible church, and all together constitute the catholic or universal visible church." A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a member of this church. This is "the kingdom of heaven," whose character and progress are set forth in the parables recorded in Matthew 13 .
The children of all who thus profess the true religion are members of the visible church along with their parents. Children are included in every covenant God ever made with man. They go along with their parents (Genesis 9:9-17 ; 12:1-3 ; 17:7 ; Exodus 20:5 ; Deuteronomy 29:10-13 ). Peter, on the day of Pentecost, at the beginning of the New Testament dispensation, announces the same great principle. "The promise [1] is unto you, and to your children" (Acts 2:38,39 ). The children of believing parents are "holy", i.e., are "saints", a title which designates the members of the Christian church (1 Corinthians 7:14 ). (See BAPTISM .)
The church invisible "consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof." This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells. It is the body of Christ. it is called "invisible" because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in heaven or are yet unborn, and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who "searches the heart." "The Lord knoweth them that are his" ( 2 Timothy 2:19 ).
The church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises appertaining to Christ's kingdom belong, is a spiritual body consisting of all true believers, i.e., the church invisible.
Its unity. God has ever had only one church on earth. We sometimes speak of the Old Testament Church and of the New Testament church, but they are one and the same. The Old Testament church was not to be changed but enlarged (Isaiah 49:13-23 ; 60:1-14 ). When the Jews are at length restored, they will not enter a new church, but will be grafted again into "their own olive tree" (Acts 13:1 ; Compare Ephesians 2:11-22 ). The apostles did not set up a new organization. Under their ministry disciples were "added" to the "church" already existing (Acts 2:47 ).
Its universality. It is the "catholic" church; not confined to any particular country or outward organization, but comprehending all believers throughout the whole world.
Its perpetuity. It will continue through all ages to the end of the world. It can never be destroyed. It is an "everlasting kindgdom."
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Holiness as a Mark of the Church
One of the four marks by which the true Church of Jesus Christ can be recognized and distinguished from false Churches. There is no doubt that Christ intended holiness to be a note of His Church. Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians:
Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it: that He might sanctify it; cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: 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. (Ephesians 5)
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Holiness Church, the
Organized in California in 1896 under the leadership of Reverend Hardin Wallace, a minister of the Free Methodist Church.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Holiness Church Church of God
Religious organization founded in Tennessee, August 1886, under name "Christian Union," reorganized in 1902 under name "Holiness Church," and in 1907 adopted the name "Church of God." They follow the teachings of Arminius, and also are in accord with the Methodist bodies. The requisites for membership are "profession of faith in Christ, experience of being 'born again,' bearing the fruits of a Christian life, and recognition of the obligation to accept and practise all the teachings of the church." The Lord's Supper, water baptism by immersion, and foot-washing are the sacraments observed by this body. The government is described as "a blending of congregational and episcopal, ending in theocratical, by which is meant that every question is to be decided by God's Word." The chief ruler is the pastor of the local church. They publish one periodical. According to the last census there were in the United States 923 ministers, 666 churches, and 21,076 communicants.
Webster's Dictionary - High-Church
(a.) Of or pertaining to, or favoring, the party called the High Church, or their doctrines or policy. See High Church, under High, a.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Anastasis, Church of the
(Greek: resurrection) Jerusalem, erected over the Holy Sepulcher by Emperor Constantine I. It was razed by the Persians, 614, and restored by Modestus, Abbot of Saint Theodosius, c626 Its destruction, 1010, by Hakin, Caliph of Egypt, was an incentive to the First Crusade. Rebuilt by Constantine IX, 1048, it was incorporated in the French-Romanesque cathedral of the Crusaders, 1168. In the fire of 1808 the rotunda fell in upon the Sepulcher and the Orthodox Church obtained from the Turkish government exclusive permission to restore it. A new church, built by a Greek architect, was dedicated in 1810. The dome was rebuilt by France, Russia, and Turkey, 1868. In the middle of the rotunda is the Tomb of Christ. The church is used in turn by Catholics, and various Eastern schismatics.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - American Catholic Church
(Western Orthodox) An American offshoot of the European sect of Old Catholics.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
A body of Negroes first incorporated as the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1801, although separate and distinct from the preceding African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was not until 1848 that the name African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was adopted. They are in close accord with the Methodist Episcopal Church, accepting the Apostle's Creed "and adhering strictly to the doctrine of the new birth, regeneration followed by adoption, and entire sanctification." Four periodicals are published by them. Foreign missionary work is carried on in Liberia and the Gold Coast Colony, West Africa, and in South America.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - African Methodist Episcopal Church
A community of Methodist Episcopal Negroes organized on 9 to April 11, 1816 in Philadelphia under the leadership of Richard Allen. It is in close accord with the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and autonomous in its government. Seven periodicals are published. Foreign missionary work is carried on in West Africa, including Liberia and Sierra Leone; South Africa, including the Transvaal, Orange Free State, Natal, and Cape Town; the West Indies; and Dutch and British Guiana, in South America. See also
African Methodist Episcopal Church
AME Today
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Greek Church
A term very commonly misapplied, in referring to the 17 Orthodox Churches, or even to all the Eastern Churches. Properly, it belongs only to the schismatic church of modern Greece, or at most to the very few Eastern Churches whose members are mainly Greeks (Greece, Constantinople, Cyprus).
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - African Church
Christian communities of Roman Africa, which comprised what is now Tripoli, Algeria, and Morocco. The historical period begins with groups of martyrs, 180; in spite of persecutions Christianity rapidly spread from Carthage through the provinces. In the beginning of the 3century the edict of Emperor Decius started a fierce persecution. Many through cowardice apostatized and were known as "Lapsed"; they were numerous and caused much trouble later by demanding restoration to communion. Traditores were those who claimed that the archives of the Church could be delivered to officials without lapsing from the Faith. The Donatist schism which rent the African Church arose from the refusal of some of the bishops to recognize as valid episcopal consecration performed by a traditor. Constantine could not succeed in reconciling the factions. Augustine vigorously opposed the Donatists and all other heretics.
Paganism came to an end when the temples were closed in 399. The Pelagian heresy, which had many adherents in Africa, was condemned at the Council of Carthage in 412. In 426 Africa was invaded by the Vandals. This conquest subjected the Church to new persecutions, as the Vandals were Arians. Wretched conditions prevailed in Africa during Vandal occupation. Finally in 533 a Byzantine army under Belisarius drove out the invaders. Under Justinian Arianism, the denial of the Divinity of Christ, was suppressed and order restored. The clergy were divided by the Three Chapters controversy. Pope Gregory the Great sent delegates to assist the Bishop of Carthage. Africa did not long enjoy this period of peace. In 642 the Arab conquerors of Egypt made their way into Proconsular Africa and in 698 Carthage was finally taken. This conquest meant the blotting out of the African Church.
The most important Latin Christian literature was produced in the African Church. Tertullian, the earliest writer, was a brilliant apologist who defended Christian doctrines against pagans as well as Marcionites. Minucius Felix shows much literary skill in his short treatises. Cyprian has left historical matter of great value. Augustine's "Confessions" and "City of God" have a foremost place among Christian writings. In his treatise on the Trinity he has left a finished theological exposition. The many Scriptural quotations in the writings of the African Fathers are important in establishing the biblical text. There seem to have been a number of Latin versions in Africa.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Episcopal Church in the United States of America
The Anglican Church in the United States, an offspring of the Church of England, established in the American colonies during the 17th century. After the Revolution strenuous efforts were made to form a united Episcopal Church in America. Samuel Seabury of New England, having been refused consecration as bishop by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was consecrated by the Scottish bishops at Aberdeen in 1784. Subsequently three other American bishops were consecrated in England. The organization of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States was completed at the General Convention of 1789. The Church adheres to the Apostles' and Nicene creeds. Baptism is either by pouring or by immersion. The system of government includes the parish or congregation, the diocese, the province, and the general convention. Foreign missionary work is carried on in Africa, China, Japan, Haiti, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico.
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Church
This English word is said to be derived from the Greek κυριακός , which signifies 'pertaining to the Lord,' and is commonly used both for an association of professing Christians, and for the building in which they worship. It is the scriptural use of the word ἐκκλησία, or 'assembly,' that is here under consideration.
The word is used in reference to Israel in the N.T. on one occasion in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-1870 , and to a Gentile throng in Acts 19:32,41 . Its first occurrence in relation to Christianity is in Matthew 16:18 , where upon Peter's confession that Jesuswas the Son of the living God, the Lord rejoins, "upon this rock I will build my assembly," etc. Historically this spiritual building, (for 'building' never refers to a material edifice) was begun after His death and resurrection, when the Holy Ghost descended at the day of Pentecost. In this aspect of the church there is no room for any failure — the "gates of hades shall not prevail against it." It is what Christ Himself effects by His Spirit in souls, and it contemplates the full and final result. In 1 Peter 2:4,5 we have the progressive work, "ye also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house," etc. The idea of 'building' here supposes a work so wrought that souls become conscious of forming part of the dwelling place of God, and are rendered able to offer up spiritual sacrifices as a holy priesthood.
But there is an aspect of the assembly as a building in which it is viewed in relation to human responsibility, and where consequently human failure has left its unmistakable mark. In 1 Corinthians 3 . the apostle speaks of himself as a wise master-builder, who has well laid the foundation, which is 'Christ Jesus;' but he adds that 'others build thereupon,' and warns every one to take heed how he does so. Here may be found 'wood, hay, stubble,' as well as 'gold, silver, precious stones.' Men may 'corrupt the temple of God,' and alas! this has been done only too effectually, professing Christendom being the outcome of it. But this aspect of it must in no way be confounded with that which Christ builds, where no failure is found.
There is also another view of the church or assembly as the body and the bride of Christ. Ephesians 1:22,23 ; Ephesians 5:26,27 . By one Spirit believers are baptised into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:13 . They are God's "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. . . . ." Ephesians 2:10 . There is the effectual operation of God in quickening them with Christ, in raising them (Jews and Gentiles) up together, and making them to sit together in heavenly places in Christ. They are livingly united to the Head in heaven by the Spirit of God. This body is on earth that the graces of the Head may be displayed in it. His people are to put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, etc. Colossians 3:12-17 . It is the mystery hidden throughout the ages, but now revealed, in order that to the principalities and powers in the heavenlies might be known through the assembly the all various wisdom of God. Ephesians 3:9,10 . The assembly will be eventually presented by Christ to Himself as His bride, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. There can be no false members of Christ's body, and no spot or wrinkle in His bride. Those united to Him are 'all of one' with the sanctifier Himself; they are 'His brethren;' they derive from the corn of wheat which has fallen into the ground and died, and which has borne much fruit. Hebrews 2 .; John 12:24 . Moreover the assembly is one. Ephesians 4:4 ; 1 Corinthians 12:13 . There is not another.
If division has come in on every hand, as it did at Corinth, faith will still recognise that the body is one, and will maintain the truth of it. Gifts were bestowed on the assembly, and will be acknowledged as such by faith, and their exercise welcomed in whatever feebleness. If the assembly has become like a great house, where there are vessels of gold and silver, as well as of wood and of earth (2 Timothy 2:20 ), the believer is encouraged to purge himself from the latter — the dishonourable vessels — that he may be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work. He is taught in scripture how to behave himself in the house of God, which is the assembly of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth. 1 Timothy 3:15 .
It must be carefully observed that the churches or assemblies at Jerusalem, Corinth, Rome, etc., were not separate or independent organisations, as in the modern idea of the Church of Rome, the Greek Church, the Church of England, and so on. There was only one assembly, the Church of God, though expressed in different localities, in which indeed there were local office bearers, as elders and deacons, and where also discipline was locally carried out. There was entire inter-communion. In the present divided state of God's people, the man of faith will be careful to recognise that every true Christian is a part of that one body, with which, as has been said, there can be no failure; while, at the same time, he will pursue a path of separation from evil; and will "follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2 Timothy 2:22 .
The church will continue on earth until the rapture, revealed in 1618101507_1 . As there were saints on earth before the church was formed, so there will be saints on the earth after the rapture: all will be equally saved, but all will not forma part of the church of God as revealed in scripture. This fills a wonderfully unique place, designed of God that in it the principalities and powers in the heavenlies should even now learn the manifold wisdom of God; and in the ages to come the exceeding riches of God's grace be manifested "in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:7 ; Ephesians 3:10 .
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Christ in the Early Church
CHRIST IN THE EARLY CHURCH.—To treat this subject exhaustively, it would be almost necessary to write a complete history (if such a thing were possible) of the early Christian Church. Christ fills the field of vision. Christian life and Christian thought centre round His Person. It is obvious that in an article of limited length, only salient points can be touched upon, a few typical quotations given, and lines of thought suggested rather than developed.
The first Christians happily knew little of the distinction between the theological and the practical. Belief and life were one. Still, for clearness’ sake, it is proposed in this article to discuss separately, as far as possible, (1) the beliefs of the early Church concerning the Person of Christ; (2) the feeling of the early Church as expressed in practice and devotion, with regard to the living Christ and His present relationship to mankind.
The term ‘early Church’ is, of course, an elastic one. It can scarcely, from a theological point of view, be limited to a shorter period than that which is closed by the Sixth Œcumenical Council (a.d. 681). But within these limits a very special interest attaches to the pre-Nicene period, both from its comparative nearness to the time of Christ, and from the extreme value and interest of its records, scanty though they are. It is with this period (from the closing years of the 1st cent, to a.d. 325) that this article will chiefly deal.
i. Beliefs of the early Church as to the Person of Christ.—1. (a) The earliest Christian writing extant outside the limits of the NT, and one which was for long on the verge of admission into the Canon, is the Epistle to the Corinthians, usually assigned to Clement, bishop of Rome. It was written probably about a.d. 95, to exhort a disordered church to unity and charity. Its interest is therefore chiefly practical, but it should be noted that at least once a doxology is addressed directly to Christ as to a Divine Person (20); that His unique dignity and pre-existence are evidently assumed in such a phrase as ‘the sceptre of the majesty of God, even our Lord Jesus Christ, came not in the pomp of arrogance, or of pride, though He might have done so’ (16); and that Christ is spoken of as shedding His blood for the salvation of the whole world (7).
(b) The so-called Second Epistle of Clement dates probably within the first half of the 2nd cent., and is a sermon rather than a letter, the earliest Christian sermon extant after the NT. Here Christ is definitely spoken of as ‘God’ (1), as pre-existent (14); and His Incarnation is described in the remarkable words, ‘the Lord who saved us, being first spirit, then became flesh’ (9).
(c) The seven genuine Epistles of Ignatlus of Antioch are in some respects the most notable writings of the 2nd century. They were written by him while he was on his way to martyrdom at Rome, probably in the year a.d. 107, and are addressed to the Churches of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and to Polycarp of Smyrna. With Ignatius, Jesus Christ is ‘our God’ (Ephesians 1:18, and elsewhere). His blood is ‘the blood of God’ (ib. 1). He is ‘the only Son of God’ (Rom. [1] 1); ‘the unerring mouth in whom the Father hath spoken’ (ib. 8). Ignatius speaks in significant language of the Incarnation, of the human life, sufferings, resurrection, and continued existence of Christ; and of His double nature; ‘There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit, born and unborn, God in man, true life in death, Son of Mary and Son of God, first passible and then impassible, Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Eph. 7; cf. also ib. 18, 19, 20; Trall. 9; Smyrn. 1–3). The Virgin Birth of Christ is also distinctly alluded to in Eph. 18, 19.
(d) Another writing usually classed among the ‘Apostolic Fathers,’ is the so-called Epistle of Barnabas, of which the probable limits of date are between a.d. 70 and 132 (Lightfoot). The writer speaks of Christ as ‘Lord of the whole world, unto whom God said from the foundation of the world, “Let us make man after our image and likeness” ’ (5).
(e) A mystical work which enjoyed considerable popularity in the early Church, the Shepherd, attributed in the Muratorian Canon to that Hermas who was brother of Pope Pius i. (a.d. 140–155), contains incidental statements about Christ which point generally in the same direction as those quoted above. The Son of God existed before all creation, and was God’s fellow-counsellor in the work of creation (Simil. ix. 12). He supports all creation (ib. 14). At the same time the language of Hermas about the Incarnation is vague, almost as if the Son of God and the Holy Spirit were identical (Simil. v. 6). It is scarcely fair, however, to interpret this as if it were a careful theological statement. Hermas evidently was not a. man of deep thought or originality. His aim is practical rather than doctrinal. Probably such expressions are to be understood in the same sense as 1 Corinthians 15:45.
2. A very interesting feature of the first half of the 2nd cent, is the rise of the Apologists, men of learning who had exchanged heathenism for Christianity, and who addressed heathen readers in justification or explanation of their new faith, (a) Aristides the philosopher (about a.d. 125), addressing the emperor Hadrian, speaks of Jesus Christ as ‘God’ who ‘came down from heaven, and from a Hebrew virgin took and clad Himself with flesh; and in a daughter of man there dwelt the Son of God.’
(b) Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, traces not only prophecies of Christ in the OT, but identifies Him with the God, or the ‘angel of the Lord,’ who appeared in the OT theophanies, and with the Divine Wisdom of Proverbs 7, etc. Justin practically anticipates the Nicene formula ὁμοούσιος τῷ Πατρί (128), though, as in the case of Hermas, some of his statements are vague, and, if pressed verbally, might appear inconsistent with later definitions. There can be no question, however, that he teaches the pre-existence and the Divinity of Christ, and that his writings were deeply influenced by the Logos doctrine of St. John.
(c) One of the most beautiful as well as most intellectual productions of the early Church is the anonymous Epistle to Diognetus. Here Christ is spoken of as ‘the very Artificer and Creator of the Universe’; and the Father sent Him into the world, ‘as sending God,’ ‘as a king might send his son who is a king’ (7).
3. It was, however, the necessity of meeting both outside attacks on Christianity, and misconceptions of it from within, that gradually forced Christian writers to define more clearly and exactly the nature of Christ. This process of theological definition, which began towards the end of the 2nd cent., culminated in the decisions of the great Councils. Early in the 2nd cent, had begun to appear the curious half-heathen travesties of Christianity which are classed under the general name of Gnosticism. These may be described as attempts to combine Christian ideas and phraseology with ideas drawn from Greek and Oriental religions. The Gnostic systems really differed from Christianity on first principles, as they were generally dualistic, and assumed the essential evil of matter. They denied in consequence the perfect humanity of Christ (a tendency alluded to in the later writings of the NT; cf. 1 John 4:2 f.), and the true union of human nature with the Divine nature in one Person. The Gnostic Christ was not really born of Mary, nor did He truly suffer.
(a) The first and chief opponent of Gnosticism, one of the most extensive writers of the early Church, was Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons from 177–202 (?). He meets the Gnostic systems by stating what was definitely believed about Christ in the Christian Church, which is the repository of truth,—truth inherited from the Apostles, preserved by the Church, and the same in all parts of the Church (i. 10, iii. 1, 4, 24). Irenaeus states this faith of the Church in language very similar to that of the later Creeds. The Church, he says, believes in ‘one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; … and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His future manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father to gather all things in one, and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord and God and Saviour and King, every knee should bow,’ etc. (i. 10). Irenaeus clearly teaches the pre-existence of Christ, that He was begotten and not created (iii. 18); that His humanity is perfect, sinless, yet absolutely real and not Docetic (ib.); and that He is God and man in one Person (iii. 16). Perhaps the most remarkable contribution of Irenaeus to Christology is his teaching that all mankind is gathered together and summed up in the Incarnation (‘in seipso recapitulavit,’ iii. 18, etc.).
(b) In the East, Gnosticism was met by the great writers of the School of Alexandria, Clement and Origen, who further developed the conception of Christ as the Logos who is immanent in the Universe. Origen was in some respects a thinker in advance of his age, and his teaching was undoubtedly misunderstood by his successors. Whether his doctrine of Christ was altogether in harmony with the later definitions of the Councils has often been questioned. That it was really so has been maintained strongly by Bishop Bull in his Defence of the Nicene Creed, and by Bishop Westcott. Origen certainly taught the eternal generation of the Son of God (de Princ. i. 2), which doctrine supplies the basis of the reply to the Arian quibbles about the posteriority of the Son to the Father; the reality of the Incarnation (de Princ. ii. 6); and he spoke of Christ as the God-man (θεάνθρωπος).
4. The 3rd cent, is marked by a series of heresies which from different points of view attacked the doctrine which, as we have seen, had been consistently held in the Church, though at times vaguely stated, of the unique relationship of the Son to the Father, in other words, of the Divinity of the historic Christ. How, it was asked, could the Divinity and the eternal pre-existence of Christ be reconciled with the unity of God? There were two principal heretical answers to this problem, and they may be called ‘heretical’ in a sense that Gnosticism was not, because they arose within the Church itself, and claimed to be the original doctrine.
(a) The Adoptianists, who seem to have been the doctrinal successors of the early Judaic-Christian sect of the Ebionites, and whose chief teachers at Rome were Theodotus and Artemon, all taught a subordination, to a greater or less degree, of the Son to the Father, even making Christ nothing more than a highly exalted man, who was ‘adopted’ to His Sonship by the Father. This last point was reached by the teaching of the brilliant Paul of Samosata (260–270), who was condemned by a series of Councils at Antioch, and finally deposed in 270.
(b) On the other hand, the Monarchians or Patripassians, represented by Praxeas, Noetus, and Sabellius, so merged the personality of the Son and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Father, that it practically followed from their teaching that the historic Christ was actually the Father Himself who was incarnate, and suffered on the cross, so that, in the spiteful epigram of Tertullian, Praxeas ‘put to flight the Comforter and crucified the Father.’
The most important opponents of these heresies were Hippolytus, bishop of Portus (d. 258?), and Dionysius, bishop of Rome (d. 269). Only a fragment remains of the writings of the latter; and those of the former, as well as the exact nature of his teaching, are wrapped in considerable obscurity.
The controversies of the 3rd cent, obviously still waited for a final solution. It is quite evident that the general conscience of the Church revolted against both Adoptianism and Patripassianism, though the uncertainty of theological terms, the absence of a fixed theological vocabulary, and the difficulty of arriving at common action owing to the stress of frequent persecutions, rendered it difficult for the Church as a whole to come to close quarters with these different forms of error. This slight sketch of pre-Nicene theology should, however, be sufficient to show that, despite the absence of any statement of faith common to the whole Church, there is an overwhelming consensus of Church belief from the first to the effect (1) that the historic Jesus Christ was truly God, pre-existent with the Father; (2) that He was also truly man; (3) that in Him are permanently united God and man in one Person.
5. The Edict of Milan (312) introduces a new era of Church history. Persecution ceased, Christianity tended at once to become the recognized religion of the Empire. This sudden outburst of popularity brought into the Church an influx of ill-instructed converts, who were naturally eager to assimilate Christianity as far as possible to their old heathenism.
(a) The teaching of Arius, a parish priest of Alexandria, who had, however, previously studied at Antioch, brought swiftly the crisis when the Church must definitely and clearly state her belief as to the Person of Christ. We thus enter upon the era of the great Councils, called ‘Œcumenical,’ as involving an appeal to the universal conscience and witness of the Christian Church throughout the world.
Arius seems to have taught a form of Adoptianism: Christ was the Son of God, and prior to all other created things, and yet Himself a creature. To pay Divine honours to a creature, however exalted, was, of course, really idolatry; but for this very reason Arianism was popular with those nominal converts who had never in their heart relinquished their old polytheism. To the teaching of Arius, the Church at the Council of Nicaea (325), mainly through the exertions of the great Athanasius, opposed the key-word of the Nicene Creed. Christ, the Son of God, is ‘of one substance’ (ὁμοούσιος) with the Father, i.e. He is, and was from all eternity, of the same Godhead as the Father. Strife and controversy raged round this celebrated phrase during most of the 4th century. It was defended consistently by Athanasius, Basil, and the two Gregorys (of Nyssa and Nazianzus). Ultimately all attempts to substitute for it some vaguer expression failed, and the Council of Constantinople (381) definitely re-affirmed the Nicene statement. The absolute Deity of Christ in the fullest sense of the term was thus finally vindicated. Other problems, however, remained.
(b) Apollinarism, a reaction against Arianism, ascribed to Christ an imperfect human nature, in which the Divine nature took the place of the human ‘spirit’ (πνεῦμα), the highest part of man’s rational nature. This error was condemned at Constantinople (381); and it seems that at some later date other clauses were added to the original Nicene Creed, derived apparently from a Jerusalem baptismal creed, which emphasized the true and perfect humanity of Christ.
(c) The Council of Ephesus (431) dealt with a further problem, the ‘Hypostatic Union,’ i.e. the union of two whole and perfect natures, Divine and human, in the one Person of Christ. (α) The teaching of Nestorius, in which there are distinct traces of Gnosticism, practically made two persons of Christ, by denying that the infant child of Mary could properly be called ‘God’; and by asserting apparently that at some time after the birth of Jesus, the Divine Logos united Itself with Him. The key-word which the Church adopted to refute Nestorius was the title Theotokos, ‘mother of God,’ applied to the Virgin Mary. (β) A reaction in an opposite direction led Eutyches a few years later to exalt the Divinity of Christ at the expense of His humanity, by teaching that the humanity was in some way swallowed up in the Divinity. The famous ‘Tome’ of Pope Leo i. stated the balance of faith clearly and antithetically, and the fourth Council (Chalcedon, 451), in condemning Eutyches, laid down that the two natures of Christ are to be acknowledged ἀσυγχύτως (‘without confusion’), ἀτρέπτως (‘without change’), ἀδιαιρέτως (‘without division’), ἀχωρίστως (‘without separation’). The same truths were stated in a Latin dress, for Iiturgic use, about this time, in the so-called ‘Athanasian’ Creed.
(d) Eutychianism, however, with its disproportionate reverence for the Divinity of Christ, proved too fascinating for the Eastern mind to be disposed of by the Council of Chalcedon. Political as well as religious causes entered into the long ‘Monophysite’ controversy. The fifth Œcumenical Council (Constantinople, 553) again condemned those who were unwilling to admit the full and perfect humanity existing in the one Person of Christ. The sixth Council (Constantinople, 681) marks the last phase of the long debate. Monothelitism, the last stronghold of Monophysitism, was overthrown by the statement of two wills in Christ, human and Divine, the former perfectly subject to the latter.
The steps by which the halting theology of the pre-Nicene period led finally to the full statement of the Catholic faith, were a legitimate and, indeed, a necessary development. It is not one of the least evidences to a Divine power working in the Christian Church, that, in an age of cosmopolitan superstition and intellectual unrest, all attempts to assimilate Christianity to heathenism were rejected, and a clearly defined and balanced statement of truth emerged and gained almost entire possession of the field. With all its mystery, the Catholic faith of Nicaea and Chalcedon was felt by the common Christian conscience alone to satisfy all the different sides of truth as they are contained in Scripture, and to do justice to all that Christians from the first had believed concerning their Master. To-day there is practically no alternative left between the Nicene Creed and humanitarianism. If the latter is true, the appearance of Christ and its subsequent effect on the world must remain an insoluble enigma,—a miracle even more difficult of credence than the stupendous statement of the Nicene formula.
ii. Devotion of the early Church to Christ.—Whatever uncertainties or faulty definitions may be detected in the statements of pre-Nicene theology, there is no uncertainty as to the attitude of the early Church towards the personal Christ. Lex supplicandi, lex credendi. In the devotion which made men and women and little children live and die for Christ, we shall find even a surer guide than in the attempts of Christian writers to explain their belief. From the very first Jesus Christ stands out in all the records of the early Church as the personal, living Master, not merely the Shepherd and High Priest of His faithful ones, but the true Lord and King of the Universe. He is the object of passionate love, obedience, prayer, and worship.
1. (a) To Clement of Rome, Christ is ‘the high priest of our offerings, the guardian and helper of our weakness’ (36). Through Him the Father ‘instructed us, sanctified us, honoured us’ (59).
(b) The unknown author of the Second Epistle of Clement opens his sermon with a burst of enthusiastic gratitude: ‘What recompense then shall we give to Him (Jesus Christ)? or what fruit worthy of His own gift to us? And how many mercies do we owe Him! For He bestowed the light on us; He spake to us, as a father to his sons; He saved us when we were perishing—He called us when we were not, and from not being He willed us to be.’
(c) The epigrammatic sentences of Ignatius glow with passionate love to Christ. ‘Jesus Christ’ is ‘our inseparable life’ (Ephesians 3); true Christians are ‘arrayed from head to foot in the commandments of Jesus Christ’ (ib. 9); faith and love in Jesus Christ are ‘the beginning and the end of life’ (ib. 14). ‘He that possesseth the word of Jesus is able to hearken to His silence’ (ib. 15),—a remarkable and pregnant phrase. Ignatius desires suffering and martyrdom that he ‘may attain Christ,’ and ‘rise free in Him’ (Rom. [1] 4, 5, 6). The blood of Jesus Christ is ‘eternal and abiding joy’ (Philippians 1). Those who ‘speak not concerning Jesus Christ’ he looks on as ‘tombstones and graves of the dead, on which are inscribed only the names of men’ (ib. 6).
(d) The Epistle to Diognetus speaks of ‘the Word, who was from the beginning, who appeared as new and yet was proved to be old, and is engendered always young in the hearts of saints,—through whom the Church is enriched and grace is unfolded and multiplied among the saints, grace which confers understanding and reveals mysteries’ (11).
(e) Justin Martyr describes how, after searching vainly for truth and satisfaction among the Stoics, the Peripatetics, the Pythagoreans, and the Platonists, he at last was led by the advice of a certain aged man whom he met on the seashore to study the Scriptures, and to conceive a love of Christ. ‘Straightway,’ he says, ‘a flame was kindled in my soul’ (Trypho, 8).
2. Not only was Christ loved, He was also obeyed. His commandment must take precedence of every other claim. To Hermas, divorce and remarriage after divorce are as absolutely forbidden as unchastity (Command. iv. 1). Justin Martyr similarly regards as absolute the teaching of Christ respecting divorce, forgiveness, charity, endurance of injuries, swearing, and civil obedience (1 Apol. 15–17).
3. That the personal Christ was worshipped by the early Church as Lord and God is indisputable. Prayer and thanksgiving were addressed directly to Him.
(a) The famous letter of Pliny to Trajan (a.d. 113?) speaks of having elicited from Christians, who had been examined, that it was their custom on a fixed day to assemble before daylight and sing alternately ‘a hymn to Christ as God.’
(b) A remarkable hymn attributed to Clement of Alexandria, intended apparently to be sung by Christian children, in which Christ is addressed throughout and praised as Ruler, Shepherd, and King, is found in his Paedagogus (iii. 12). Of a slightly later date are such hymns as the Gloria in excelsis and the Hail gladdening Light. Indeed, it seemed to the Church, when confronted by the Arian problem, one of the most convincing proofs of the error of the teaching of Arius, that Christ had always received Divine honours in the Church.
(c) The personal nearness of Christ to the believer during Christian worship was especially associated with the Eucharist. To Ignatius, ‘the Eucharist is the flesh of Jesus Christ,’ though the false teachers deny it (Smyr. 6). ‘There is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup unto union with His blood’ (Philippians 4). To Justin Martyr, the Eucharist, the conditions of receiving which are belief, baptism, and a life according to the commandments of Christ, is not common bread and common drink, but the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus, by which our blood and flesh are nourished (1 Apol. 66). To Irenaeus and the Christian Fathers generally, participation in the Eucharist is the actual means whereby Christians share in the life and resurrection of Christ.
(d) The testimonies of the Christian martyrs are most suggestive. Ignatius, brought before the emperor Trajan, calls himself Theophorus, ‘Bearer of God,’ saying that he bears the Crucified within his breast. Polycarp of Smyrna, when called upon by the pro-consul to revile Christ, confessed in memorable words, ‘Fourscore and six years have I served Him, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour!’ And the apparently contemporary record of the martyrdom of polycarp closes with the significant words: ‘The blessed Polycarp was apprehended by Herodes, when Philip of Tralles was high priest, in the proconsulship of Statius Quadratus, but in the reign of the Eternal King, Jesus Christ.’ The martyrs of Lyons and Vienne (177) are spoken of in the contemporary letter which describes their sufferings (Eus. Hist. Eccl. v. 1) as ‘hastening to Christ’; ‘through them Christ showed that things which appear mean and obscure and contemptible to men are with God of great glory.’ One of them, St. Blandina, ‘was clothed with Christ, the mighty and conquering Athlete.’ Their patience manifested ‘the measureless mercy of Christ.’ And with one and all who suffered, the simple confession of the name of Christ seems to have been the strength which sustained them. St. Perpetua, the African martyr (early in the 3rd cent.), was comforted before her sufferings by a vision of Christ as an aged man, a shepherd, sitting in the midst of a spacious garden, who said to her, ‘Thou hast done well, my child, in coming.’ St. Maximus, who suffered under Decius, declared, ‘These are not torments, but anointings which are laid upon us for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ruinart, Acta Martyrum, p. 204). Phileas of Thmuis, put to death in Diocletian’s persecution, said in his last words: ‘Now we begin to be disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Beloved, attend to the commandments of the Lord.—Let us call upon Him, the spotless, the infinite One, who sitteth upon the Cherubim, the Maker of all things, who is the Beginning and the End, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen’ (ib. p. 521).
4. Interesting light on early Christian feeling is thrown by the funeral inscriptions and symbols of the Catacombs. As a rule, the inscriptions are of extreme brevity. Their leading thought is that dead Christians are with Christ in a continued existence of peace and joy. The aspirations and prayers of their friends on earth go with them, and the departed in turn remember the living in prayer to Christ, e.g. ‘Vivas’; ‘Vivas in Deo Christo’; ‘In pace’; ‘Deus refrigeret spiritum tuum’; ‘Quam stabile tibi haec vita est’ (i.e. the life beyond the grave); ‘Spiritus tuus in pace et in Christo’; μνήσκεσθε δέ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐν ταῖς ἁγίαις ὑμῶν πρύχας (προσεύχαις).
5. Most of the early Christian pictures of Christ are merely symbolical, the Lamb and the Fish being the most common. But the earliest personal representation is suggestive; it is the figure of the Good Shepherd, sometimes bearing the lost sheep on His shoulders, sometimes surrounded by His flock. This tender personal relationship between the soul and the Saviour, or between the Church and her Lord, which stands in such striking contrast to the trials and sufferings that surrounded the daily life of the Christian in a hostile world, was evidently the aspect which appealed most deeply to the heart of the early believer.
6. The relation of Christ both to His Church and to the world was also set forth impressively in the so-called ‘majesties,’ with which from the 4th cent. onwards the Christian art began to adorn the churches. In these pictures Christ is represented as reigning now in glory, bearing the symbols of His royal, prophetic, and priestly offices. It was not merely to an historic Christ that Christians looked back, or a future coming to judgment that they anticipated, though both these conceptions were vividly present in the mind of the early Church. It was a Christ actually in possession of His Kingdom, even now ruling over the nations, and surrounded by His worshipping saints (who even in this present time shared His throne), that dominated the thought of the early centuries. So in the great mosaics in the Church of St. Cosmas and St. Damian at Rome (6th cent.), the colossal figure of Christ stands in the apse, fronting the worshippers, portrayed on a dark-blue ground amid golden-edged clouds of sunset; His right hand is raised in blessing, His left holds a written scroll. The figures of St. Peter and St. Paul, with palm-trees of Paradise and the phœnix (the emblem of the Resurrection), stand on each side of the Christ, and beneath His feet flows the river Jordan. Below this again is the representation of the Lamb, with the four rivers of Paradise and twelve sheep on either side.
The representations of the suffering and dying Christ, which became the favourites of a later age, have, of course, an independent value. Nevertheless there is a peculiar beauty and significanee in the mingled majesty and tenderness of those earlier pictures of the living Christ, which expressed the love of those whose faith in Him had literally overcome the world. See Christ in Art.
7. The two strands of theology and devotion which we have endeavoured to trace in the early Church seem fittingly to meet in the most remarkable man after St. Paul whom the Church has seen, the great Athanasius. It was largely due, as we have seen, to him that the traditional belief of the Church, at the greatest crisis of Church history, took its clear and definite and accurately reasoned shape in the Catholic creeds. And it is interesting to note that the secret of Athanasius’ defence of the Homoousion was seen by his contemporaries to lie in his own personal devotion from childhood onwards to the Person of the Redeemer. ‘Athanase était enflammé, dès sa jeunesse, de la passion qui fait les saints, l’amour de Jésus Christ’ (De Broglie, L’Église et l’Empire, i. 372). ‘His maintenance of dogma was a lifelong act of devotion’ (Bright, Church Hist. p. 149). The great treatise On the Incarnation of the Word, which marks an epoch in theological writings, is no mere dogmatic statement, but glows with the pure passion of belief. It is the work of one who profoundly and from the heart believes in Christ as a living Person, in His present power, and His absolute claim upon mankind. The power of the Cross of Christ and His Resurrection from the dead are to Athanasius the greatest of facts, unparalleled in history, illimitable in their future consequences. ‘The achievements of the Saviour,’ he says, ‘resulting from His becoming man, are of such a kind and number that if one should wish to enumerate them, he may be compared to men who gaze at the expanse of the sea and wish to count its waves …; to sum the matter up, behold how the Saviour’s doctrine is everywhere increasing, while all idolatry and everything opposed to the faith of Christ is daily dwindling and losing power and falling; and thus beholding, worship the Saviour, who is above all and mighty, even God the Word’ (54, 55).
8. Not only on the highways of Church history does the figure of the living Christ stand out as the central object of Christian love and loyalty. Such a wonderful production as the Hymn of St. Patrick, with a quotation from which we will elose this brief survey, illust
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Church Government
Christ left a small body of disciples under the direction of the apostles, with a charge to convert the world; but He gave nothing which can be called either a constitution or a code, and He explained the commandments as giving principles, not rules. About the development of a constitution we know little; but the Pastoral Epistles and 3 John, which must be placed early, whoever wrote them, show that the process began soon and continued rapidly, when it became clear that Christ’s return might be long delayed. The process and its rapidity probably differed somewhat in different centres. At first the camps scattered about the eastern half of the Mediterranean had each its own tentative regulations. When the camps became a network of fortifications, spreading westward and inward and communicating with one another, the regulations became more settled and uniform. Thus the Christian organization developed until it became an object of suspicion and dread to the Roman Government, which at last it vanquished. Then the Christian organization did for the Empire what the Roman organization with all its statesmanship and military discipline had failed to do: it gave it cohesion and unity.
The first line of distinction is between the apostles and the other believers; and this line is continued as a distinction between rulers of any kind and those who are ruled-the Seven, elders, deacons, etc., on the one side, and the laity on the other. The great commission was given by the risen Christ to the whole Church and not to any select body in it. Yet this primary fact does not quite justify the phrase, ‘the priesthood of the laity.’ What the NT gives us is the priesthood of the whole Church without distinction between clergy and laity (1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6), and no individual can exercise it without the authority of the Church. All Christians are priests alike; but, inasmuch as it is by the Spirit that the whole Church is consecrated to the priesthood, so the special ministers need a special consecration by the Spirit. The NT speaks clearly of special functions which are confined to a select minority and are not shared by the rest. It was by the Spirit that the ‘charismatic’ ministries worked. This is manifestly true of the apostles and the Christian prophets. It might or might not be true of those whom St. Paul or his deputy (Acts 14:23, Titus 1:5) chose for their capacity for governing. These derived their authority from the Spirit (Acts 20:28), but they did not necessarily possess the gift of prophecy or even of teaching. But officials chosen to do spiritual work in a spiritual community needed spiritual gifts of some hind; and what these men received in ordination was a spirit of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) (see Westcott, Ephesians, 1906, p. 169; Swete, The Holy Spirit in the NT, 1909, pp. 103, 317, 320).
We are accustomed to think of the first Christians as having no government, other than that of ‘Peter with the Eleven’ (Acts 2:14). Harnack (Const. and Law of the Church, p. 20f.) has pointed out that they had a number of authorities, to be loyal to all of which was sometimes perplexing. They had inherited from Judaism the ordinances of the Jewish Church. To administer these there was the Sanhedrin. There were the known commands of Christ, which included the authority of the whole community to forgive and to punish offenders. There were the occasional promptings of the Spirit (Acts 6:3; Acts 6:10; Acts 8:29; Acts 10:19; Acts 11:12; Acts 11:28; Acts 16:7). There were also the brethren of the Lord, who had some kind of authority. Perplexity might arise as to reconciling Jewish ordinances with the commands of Christ, and there might be differences between the Twelve and the Lord’s brethren. We know that there was collision between the Divine commands and the decrees of the Sanhedrin, and that of course it was the latter that were disobeyed (Acts 4:19; Acts 5:29; Acts 5:32). Nevertheless, none of these provided a constitution, and the common view that the germs of one are to be looked for in the Twelve is not far from the truth.
The Twelve left the selection of the Seven, which was a first step towards development, to the whole body of Christians, most of whom were Palestinian Jews. These showed their liberality by electing men, all of whom bear Greek names and were presumably, but not certainly, Greek-speaking Jews, who would be more acceptable to the murmuring Hellenists. One of the Seven was only a proselyte, and we have here a very early illustration of the expansive power of the Church. St. Luke’s silence about elders in this connexion is the more remarkable, because distribution of the means of life was one of their functions (Acts 11:30). The common identification of the Seven with the deacons is questionable. Probably they were temporary officials, scattered by the persecution which was fatal to Stephen, and never re-established. See Deacon.
The apostles’ plan of leaving the choice of the Seven to the community was perhaps followed by St. Paul in his earlier work. In Romans he mentions no body of commissioned clergy. We cannot be sure from this that the Church in Rome was not yet organized: possibly there was no need to mention officials. In 1 and 2 Cor. there is no trace of a sacerdotal class; and it is possible that there and elsewhere the Apostle was trying the experiment of a Christian democracy without any hierarchy. Corinth had its charismatic ministry, and this seems to have sufficed for a time. The charismatic ministry came to an end very quickly there and elsewhere. There is little trace of it later than the Didache (a.d. 100-150). While it lasted, it supplied teachers, not rulers. The infant Gentile churches seem to have governed themselves under the direction of the Apostle who founded them. The Apostle does not address his letters to any official at Thessalonica, Corinth, or Rome. He leaves it to the congregation to punish and pardon offenders, to manage the collection of money, and to decide who shall take charge of the fund. These Gentile churches have gifted persons who take the lead in public worship, ‘apostles, prophets, and teachers’ (1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11; cf. Romans 12:6-8), but they form no part of the permanent organization of the local church. They do not govern, nor are they tied to one community; they may go from one local church to another. They are not classes of officials each with special duties; they are individual believers with special gifts, with which they edify congregations. They are ministers of the word, proclaiming and explaining the gospel, and their business is to convert and instruct rather than to rule. They are ‘spiritual’ men (πνευματικοί), endowed by the Spirit (πνεῦμα) with powers (χαρίσματα) which are not common to all Christians; and their authority depends not upon election or appointment by others, but upon these personal endowments, exercised with the consent of the congregation.
Yet it is scarcely credible that the infant Gentile churches remained very long without rulers of any kind. Congregations which consisted chiefly of Jewish Christians had ‘elders’ analogous to ‘elders’ among the Jews; and in the Gentile communities something similar would grow up, with or without the suggestion of the Apostle who founded the church. The converts who were senior, whether by standing or age, and persons of social position or secular experience, would naturally be looked upon as leaders; e.g. ‘the elder brethren,’ which is the true reading in Acts 15:23. There are similar leaders at Ephesus. St. Luke calls them ‘the elders of the Church,’ but he does not report that St. Paul in his address to them does so (Acts 20:17-35). Except in the Pastorals, St. Paul does not mention ‘elders.’ In the earliest of his letters (1 Thessalonians 5:12) he exhorts his Gentile converts ‘to esteem exceeding highly them that labour among you and guide (προϊσταμένους) you in the Lord and admonish you.’ F. J. A. Hort (Christian Ecclesia, 1897, p. 126) points out that although προϊσταμένους cannot be the technical title of an office, standing as it does between labouring and admonishing, yet the persons meant seem to be office-bearers in the Church. The words which follow, ‘Admonish the disorderly, etc.,’ appear to be addressed to these guardians. But here again these guides, like the ‘apostles, prophets, and teachers,’ seem to owe their appointment to personal qualities. The difference is that they guide and admonish rather than teach. But no strict line would be drawn between leading and teaching. The same man would often have a gift for both, and would be specially influential in consequence. When official appointments began to be made, persons with this double qualification would be chosen, and they became ‘presbyters’ or ‘elders’ in the technical sense.
There seems to be a transition stage between the purely charismatic and the official ministry in Acts 13:1-4, about a.d. 47. There is a fast and a solemn service conducted by prophets and teachers at Antioch. During the service, the Spirit (through one of the prophets) says: ‘Since you desire to know (δή), separate for me Barnabas and Saul,’ who were present. There is another fast and service, and then the two are separated by the laying on of the hands of the other prophets and teachers. This ordination was for mission work, but ordination for the work of ruling congregations was probably similar. In 1 Timothy 4:14 Timothy is reminded of the gift (χάρισμα) which was given him by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. ‘By prophecy’ probably refers to utterances of prophets which marked him out for ordination (1 Timothy 1:18) as a helper of St. Paul; and the presbyters of the local church joined with St. Paul in ordaining him. Here for the first time ‘presbytery’ is used of a body of Christian elders. In Luke 22:66 and Acts 22:5 it is used of the Sanhedrin. ‘In none of these instances of the laying on of hands is there any trace of a belief in the magical virtue of the act. It is simply the familiar and expressive sign of benediction inherited by the Apostles from the Synagogue and adapted to the service of the Church’ (Swete, The Holy Spirit in the NT, p. 384). The laying on of hands was used in blessing; and the person who blesses does not transmit any good gift which he possesses himself: he invokes what he has no power to bestow, but what he hopes that God will bestow. When this symbolical action was used by a minister in connexion with an appointment to the ministry, the idea of transmission naturally arose. But the action is a symbol, not an instrument of consecration. The gift which Timothy received at his ordination was just such as was required for ruling infant churches: it was ‘a spirit of power, and love, and discipline’ (2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:7). Cf. article Ordination.
Permanent local officials were required in the first instance for the regulation of public worship. St. Paul gives the earliest directions respecting this, and what he lays down for the Corinthians is based on principles which can be applied everywhere. He gives no directions as to special ministers, but he recognizes them where they exist (Philippians 1:1). He and Barnabas appointed elders in every church (Acts 14:23). It is here that the influence of the synagogue is so marked. ‘Elders’ are borrowed from it. The ritual which Jewish and Christian elders regulate is similar-praise, reading of Scripture, exposition, and prayer. The discipline exercised by both is similar; they deal with much the same kind of offences, and the chief penalty in both cases is excommunication. When Christians were told not to take their disputes into Roman civil courts (1 Corinthians 6), that involved the growth of Christian civil law, which the permanent officials had to administer; and here the influence of Roman legislation came in to develop what was derived from Christ’s teaching and that of the OT.
The development of Church organization and the complete separation of the clergy from the laity were the work of the post-apostolic age. The remark that ‘no soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life’ (2 Timothy 2:4) contributed to this separation, for it was interpreted to mean that the clergy must abjure secular occupations. Already in apostolic times the clergy had three distinct rights: honour and obedience (1 Thessalonians 5:12); maintenance (1 Corinthians 9:4-14); and freedom from frivolous accusations (1 Timothy 5:19). Before the end of the 2nd cent. most of the elements of the later development were already found in the Church.
Certainty is not attainable, and there is nothing approaching to it in favour of the theory that Christ gave a scheme of Church government to the apostles, and that they delivered it to the Church. There is little evidence to support either of these propositions. The far more probable theory is that Church government was a gradual growth initiated and guided by the Spirit, to meet the growing needs of a rapidly increasing community. This theory is supported by a good deal of evidence, and it is in harmony with what we know of God’s methods in other departments of human life.
Literature.-See works mentioned under Apostle and Bishop; C. Gore, The Church and the Ministry, London, 1888; R. C. Moberly, Ministerial Priesthood, do. 1897; J. Wordsworth, Serapion’s Prayer-Book, do. 1899, The Ministry of Grace, do. 1901; T. M. Lindsay, The Church and the Ministry in the Early Centuries, do. 1902; A. W. F. Blunt, Studies in Apostol. Christianity, do. 1909; A. Harnack, Constitution and Law of the Church, Eng. translation , do. 1910; Robertson-Plummer, 1 Corinthians, Edinburgh, 1911, pp. xl-xlvi, 278-284; C. H. Turner, Studies in Early Church History, Oxford, 1912, Essays i. and ii.
Alfred Plummer.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Church (2)
CHURCH.—It is proposed in this article to deal with the references to the Church in the Gospels, particularly as they bear upon Christ’s relation to the Church. The other books of the NT, and the beliefs and practices of the early ages of Christianity, will be referred to only as far as they appear to throw light upon the teaching and actions of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. It will be assumed that the accounts of the life and teaching of Christ contained in the four Gospels as well as the narrative of the Acts are substantially historical, and that the thirteen Epistles usually ascribed to St. Paul are genuine. Without this limitation the inquiry would be of quite a different character.
The historical society known as the Church has never claimed to have come into complete existence until the day of Pentecost, and its growth and organization were a gradual process. We shall not, therefore, on any theory, expect to find in the Gospels a complete and explicit account of the foundation and characteristics of the Church, and it will be a convenient method of procedure to take the chief elements of the conception of the Church which was generally accepted at a later date, when the community was fully constituted, and to inquire how far these can be traced back to the teaching of Christ Himself, and how far they may be regarded as later accretions, or the natural but not necessary development of ideas which existed before, if at all, only in germ. Now our knowledge of the first days of Christianity derived from the NT is but fragmentary, and the period immediately following is one of great obscurity; but from the middle of the 2nd cent. there is no doubt about the prevalent and almost universal belief of Christians with regard to the Church. It was believed that the Church, as it then existed, was a society founded by Christ as an integral part of His work for mankind. It was further believed that the Church possessed characteristics which were summed up under the words, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. And while it was believed that the Church stood in the most intimate spiritual relation to Christ, it was also held that its outward unity and continuity were secured by a definite organization and form of government, the essential features of which had been imposed upon the Church by the Apostles, acting under a commission given them by Christ Himself. The Church was further regarded as the instrument appointed by Christ for the completion of His work for mankind. The fact that these beliefs were generally held, at all events from the middle of the 2nd cent. onwards, suggests the following division of the subject. First, it will be asked whether the belief that it was Christ’s intention to found a visible society is borne out (1) by what we know of His own actions and teaching, and (2) by the records of the earliest days of Christian life. Secondly, the characteristics ascribed to the Church in the Christian creeds will be examined in the light of the NT writings.
i.Indications of a visible Church.
1.In the teaching and actions of Christ: (a) the Messianic claim and the Kingdom of God; (b) the body of disciples; (c) the institution of sacraments.
2.In the earliest period of Christian history.
ii.Characteristics of the Church.
1.Unity: (a) essential and transcendental; (b) taking outward expression; (c) imperfect.
2.Holiness.
3.Catholicity.
4.Apostolicity: (a) doctrine; (b) worship; (c) discipline.
Note.—The words ‘Church’ and ‘Ecclesia.’
Literature.
i. Indications of a visible Church.
1. In the Teaching and Actions of Christ.
(a) Relation of Christ to the Messianic Hope and the Kingdom of God.—The idea of a covenant relation between God and man is found in the earliest records of the Hebrew race. Covenants were at first made with individuals and families; but with the beginning of Jewish nationality there is a consciousness of a peculiar relation between the nation and Jehovah. The idea of a national God was, of course, shared by the Jews with all the nations with which they came into contact; but as their conception of the Deity advanced, and their religion developed through monolatry into a pure monotheism, the idea of Jehovah as a national God passed into the idea of the selection of Israel by the one God of all the earth for a special destiny and special privileges. Thus the Jewish religion was a religion of hope, and its Golden Age was in the future. This national hope became closely associated in thought with the kingdom,—at first the actual kingdom, and then the kingdom to be restored in the future. After the fall of the actual kingdom, the idea of the future kingdom became, to a great extent, idealized, and in close connexion with it there grew up the expectation of a personal Messiah. It is not necessary for the present purpose to inquire when this expectation first becomes apparent, or to trace the growth of the Messianic hope in detail. The important fact is that at the time of Christ’s birth Israel as a nation was looking for a kingdom of God and a Messianic King. With many, perhaps with most, the expectation may have been mainly that of an independent and powerful earthly kingdom; but the remains of Jewish literature in the last century before Christ show that the more spiritually minded Jews undoubtedly looked for a kingdom which would indeed have Jerusalem for its centre, and of which the faithful Jews would be the nucleus, but which would also be world-wide and spiritual in character. It must also be noticed that the doctrine of a Remnant, which had taken strong hold of the Jewish mind since the time of Isaiah, had accustomed them to think of a community of the faithful, within and growing out of the existing nation, who should in a special sense be the heirs of the promises.
The most conspicuous feature in the teaching of Christ, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, is undoubtedly His claim to be the Messiah, and His announcement of the coming of the Kingdom of God. In using these terms, He must have intended to appeal to, and to a great extent to sanction, the ideas and hopes of those whom He addressed. And yet it very soon became plain that the kingdom which He preached was something very different from anything that the most spiritual of the Jews had conceived. The old Jewish kings had led the people in war, they had judged them in peace, they had levied tribute; but these functions Christ expressly disclaimed. He would not allow His followers to think of appealing to force (Matthew 26:52), He repudiated the idea of being a ruler or a judge of ordinary contentions (Luke 12:14), He accepted the payment of tribute to an alien potentate as a thing indifferent (Mark 12:17). But, on the other hand, the great acts which Jehovah Himself had performed for the Jewish nation, in virtue of which He Himself had been regarded as their King, Christ performed for a new nation. Jehovah had called Abraham and the patriarchs, and had attached them to Himself by intimate ties and covenants, and out of their seed had formed a nation which He ruled; and, in the second place, He had given this nation His own law. So Christ called from among the Jews His own disciples, from whom He required an absolute personal devotion, and to them He delivered a new law to fulfil or supersede the old (Matthew 5:17). See, further, art. Kingdom of God.
What is the relation of the Kingdom of God to the Church?—The two things are not simply identical, and the predominant sense of the Kingdom in the NT appears to be rather that of a reign than of a realm. But these two ideas are complementary, and the one implies the other. Sometimes it is hardly possible to distinguish between them. It may be true that ‘by the words the Kingdom of God our Lord denotes not so much His disciples, whether individually or even as forming a collective body, as something which they receive—a state upon which they enter’ (Robertson, Regnum Dei); but at the same time the whole history of the growth of the idea of the Kingdom led, naturally, to the belief that the Kingdom of God about which Christ taught would be expressed and realized in a society. The teaching of Christ about the Kingdom of Heaven does not perhaps, taken by itself, prove that He was the Founder of the church; but if this is established by other evidence, it may at least be said that His Kingdom is visibly represented in His Church, and that ‘the Church is the Kingdom of Heaven in so far as it has already come, and it prepares for the Kingdom as it is to come in glory.’
(b) How far the line of action adopted by Christ during His ministry tended to the formation of a society.—Christ began from the first to attach to Himself a number of disciples. Their numbers varied, and they did not all stand in equally close relations to Him; they were indeed still a vague and indeterminate body at the time of His death, but they tended to define themselves more and more. There was a process of sifting (John 6:66), and immediately after the Ascension an expression is used which suggests some sort of list (Acts 1:15). As much as this, indeed, might be said of most religious and philosophical leaders, but Christ did more than create an unorganized mass of disciples. From an early period He formed an inner circle ‘that they might be with him, and that he might send them forth’ (Mark 3:14). The name ‘Apostles’ may have been given to the Twelve in the first instance with reference to a temporary mission, but subsequent events showed that this temporary mission was itself only part of a system of training to which Christ devoted more and more of His time. The Twelve became in a special sense ‘the disciples,’ and this is what they are usually called in the Fourth Gospel. The larger body are also disciples, but the Twelve are their leaders and representatives. Their representative character culminates at the Last Supper, where the Eucharist is given to them alone, but, as the event showed, in trust for the whole body.
Certain sayings recorded of Christ in connexion with the Apostles and their functions will be noticed later. For the present it is enough to call attention to the fact that, apart from any special saying or commission, the general course of Christ’s actions not only tended to produce a society, but provided what is a necessary condition of the effectiveness and permanence of a society—the nucleus of an organization; and that the greater part of His labours was directed towards the training of this inner circle for carrying on a work which He would not complete Himself.
(c) The significance of the institution of the sacraments.—A society, to be plainly visible and unmistakable, requires some outward act or sign of distinction by which all its members can be recognized. Circumcision had been such to the Jews. And in order to be both effective and permanent, a society further requires some definite corporate action, binding upon all its members, and relating to the object for which the society exists. The observance of the Law has been the corporate action of the Jews. No society has, as a matter of fact, succeeded in maintaining itself in existence for an indefinite period without such signs of distinction and corporate actions. Both requirements were supplied by Christ, if the Gospel narrative may be trusted, in the sacraments which He instituted. In Baptism He provided a definite means of incorporation, and in the Eucharist a corporate act and a visible bond of union. This is indeed only part of the significance of the sacraments, but when they are regarded from another point of view it becomes all the more striking that the means appointed to convey the grace of God to the individual should be necessarily social in their character. The general tendency of the teaching of Christ, in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere, with regard to the Jewish Law and to the relation of the inward and outward, gives great significance to the fact that He should have ordered any external acts of the nature of sacraments, and makes it still more remarkable that He should have laid emphasis on their necessity as a condition of entrance into the Kingdom and to the possession of life (John 3:5; John 6:54). And he fact that these are necessarily social is of primary importance in considering the relation of the Church to Christ.
It thus appears from a general view of Christ’s ministry as recorded in the Gospels, without taking into consideration particular sayings ascribed to Him, that before the Ascension He had provided everything that was necessary for the existence of a society, for the development of an organization, and for its permanence and corporate action. The only thing wanting to the complete constitution of the Church was the fulfilment of the promise of the gift of the indwelling spirit, for which the disciples were bidden to wait (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4).
2. In the earliest period of Church history.—The conclusions to which the Gospels appear to point will be corroborated if there is evidence that a society actually did exist immediately after the events recorded in the Gospels. Of this early period the only existing record is that which is contained in the Acts. There is also contemporary evidence of the ideas of a somewhat later period in St. Paul’s Epistles. If the evidence of the Acts is accepted, there is no doubt of its general tendency. Immediately after the Ascension there appears a well defined body disciples, led by the Apostles (Acts 1:13-15). At the day of Pentecost this body is fully constituted for its mission, and receives a large accession of numbers. The mention of definite numbers (Acts 1:15; Acts 2:41; Acts Act_4:4) shows that there was no doubt who the persons were who belonged to the society. Nor is there any doubt, from the constant mention of baptism throughout the book, that this was the invariable means of acquiring membership. It is expressly mentioned even in the exceptional case recorded in Acts 10:47 f. Throughout the whole narrative the Apostles appear as the leaders and teachers of the whole community. Membership implies adherence to their teaching and fellowship, with ‘the breaking of bread’ and common prayer as a bond of union (Acts 2:42). The practice of community of goods is an evidence of the closeness of the bond, while the fact that this was voluntary shows that ‘neither the community was lost in the individuals, nor the individuals in the community’ (Hort, Christian Ecclesia, p. 48). The meetings of the Church must have been in houses, and none in Jerusalem can possibly have contained all the disciples; but no importance is attached to the place of meeting, nor are house congregations ever spoken of or alluded to as separate units of Church life. A theory has been formed that the Church as a society arose out of a federation of house assemblies, but there is absolutely no trace whatever of such a possibility in the Acts: the whole body of disciples is the only unit. The word ecclesia occurs for the first time in Acts 5:11, and there it is the whole body which is spoken of. In the course of time the increase in the number of adherents led to an advance in organization, the Apostles delegating some of their functions to a lower order of ministers, and soon afterwards persecution caused an extension of the Church to other parts of Palestine. But there is as yet no subdivision; questions which arise in Samaria and Joppa are dealt, with at Jerusalem (Acts 8:14; Acts 11:1 f.). This state of things, however, could not last. When the process of extension had gone further, it became impossible to administer all the affairs of the community from a single centre. And so when a body of Christians established themselves in Antioch, a new use of the word ecclesia appears (Acts 11:26). Hitherto it has meant the whole body of the brethren; now it is applied also to parts of the whole. Each centre is capable of separate action, and deals with local affairs, while remaining in close union with the whole. And so the step which was perhaps the most momentous of any that have been taken in Church history—the mission of Paul and Barnabas—was apparently the work of the Church in Antioch alone, without any reference to Jerusalem (Acts 13:1 ff.). This mission led to the foundation of a large number of local ecclesiœ, each of which was provided by the Apostle with a local ministry (Acts 14:23), while he exercised a continual supervision over them, and visited them as often as circumstances would allow. The difficult questions which arise out of this great extension of the Church are referred to the ‘Apostles and presbyters’ at Jerusalem. The precise relations between the authority of the whole body and the legitimate independence of the local communities are undefined, but the recognition of the unity of the whole Church and of the Apostolic authority is unmistakable. In the Epistles of St. Paul the term ecclesia is constantly used of the local communities, of which he had frequent occasion to speak; the church in a city (1 Corinthians 1:2) or even in a house (Romans 16:5, Colossians 4:15) is a familiar expression, and the churches of a region are spoken of (1 Corinthians 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:19) in a way that possibly suggests the beginnings of a provincial organization. But ‘the Church’ is the one undivided Church of which these several churches are only local divisions. It is in the Epistle to the Ephesians that his doctrine of ‘the Church’ culminates. It is particularly with reference to this teaching that a distinction has been drawn between the actual and the ideal Church. This distinction is a real one, if it means that the ideal of the Church has never yet been realized in fact. But neither St. Paul nor any other NT writer draws any distinction, or appears to be conscious of the need of any. The Church, like the individual Christian, is regarded as being that which it is becoming. As the individual Christian, in spite of his imperfections, is a saint, so the existing body of Christians whom he is addressing is the Body of Christ, which is to be presented a glorious Church, holy and without blemish (1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:27). See Organization.
ii. The Characteristics of the Church.—Assuming now that the Church is a society founded by Christ to carry on His work for the redemption of mankind, the characteristic notes of the Church, as they have been embodied in the Creeds, may be considered with reference to the teaching contained in the Gospels. It is convenient to state at the outset what the principal passages in the Gospels are which bear upon the subject. In the first place, all the teaching relative to the Kingdom of God bears more or less directly on the Church. Some points with regard to this have already been noticed. Then there are the two passages in which the word ecclesia is used, Matthew 16:13-20; Matthew 18:15-20. In connexion with the former, the other two ‘Petrine’ texts, Luke 22:28-32 and John 21:15-17, may be considered. There are also the charges given to the Apostles in general, Matthew 10, Mark 3:13-15; Mark 6:7-13, Matthew 28:16-20, John 20:21-23, and the accounts of the institution of the Eucharist. And there is the long passage John 14-17, which specially bears upon the relations of Christ to the Church. The authenticity or credibility of some of these passages has been disputed on various grounds, but it will be assumed for the present purpose that they contain a credible record of the teaching of Christ. It will be convenient to consider this teaching under the heads of those notes of the Church which have been commonly ascribed to it from early times, and have been embodied in the Creeds.
1. Unity.—If the conclusion already reached about the origin of the Church is true, it is clear that it must be one society. The teaching of Christ on this point, as recorded in the Fourth Gospel, is very emphatic (John 17:21-23), and He bases the unity of the Church on the unity of God (cf. Ephesians 4:4-6). It is also to be a visible unity, for it is to be a sign to the world: ‘that the world may believe.’ It is, however, implied that it will be a progressive unity, not at once perfectly realized (John 17:23; John 10:10). This is illustrated by St. Paul, who speaks of unity as a thing to be gradually attained to (Ephesians 4:13). These three points may be taken in order.
(a) If the unity of the Church is based upon the unity of God, it follows that it is an essential and transcendental, and not an accidental unity; i.e. it is not a merely political or voluntary association of men combining together with a view to effect certain ends, nor is it merely occasioned by the social instincts of human nature. These lower kinds of unity are not, indeed, excluded by the higher, but they are by themselves an insufficient explanation. It has been maintained that the idea of the unity of the Church is an afterthought, caused by the strong tendency to religious associations which prevailed in the Empire in the early ages of Christianity. Abundant evidence already exists, and more is being accumulated, of the existence of this tendency; but even if it should be shown that non-Christian associations influenced the manner in which the Christian community framed its external life and that they assisted its growth, this would not in the least disprove the essential unity of the Church. As far, however, as investigation has gone at present, it seems that the Church owed remarkably little to heathen precedents. The fact that from the earliest times there were some who more or less separated themselves and stood aloof, has been alleged as a proof that unity was not regarded as essential. But imperfection, as has already been noted, is a condition of the earthly state of the Church; and the strong condemnation with which separation is invariably spoken of in the NT and by all early writers, is very strong evidence of the belief of the Church that unity is one of its essential marks. The existence from the first of the power of excommunication (1 Corinthians 5, etc.), is further evidence to the same effect.
The unity of the Church is, then, a theological unity, arising from the unity of God, from the fact that all members of the Church are members of Christ and abide in Him as the branches abide in the vine, and from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. From this flows a moral unity of thought and action among the members of the Church, who are bound together by the invisible bonds of faith, hope, and love.
(b) But this invisible unity will express itself, as far as regards that part of the Church which is on earth, in an outward form. There has not unnaturally been a good deal of conflict of opinion throughout the greater part of Church history as to the precise nature of the outward form which is necessary. Confining ourselves to the teaching of Christ upon the subject, the first thing to be noticed is that institution of the visible actions called sacraments which has been already spoken of. The necessity for performing certain outward actions at once distinguishes those persons who perform them, and these particular actions are social in their nature, and cannot be performed except in connexion with a visible society. In the next place, the administration of sacraments implies discipline, for a certain amount of organization is necessary in order to enable a society to act, and social actions cannot be performed in isolation. For this Christ provided by the institution of a ministry in the persons of the Apostles, to whom Ho expressly committed the sacraments. It follows that among the things which are necessary to their valid administration, the preservation of the order instituted by the Church under the direction of the Apostles must be reckoned. And while the Church has recognized all its members as valid ministers of Baptism in case of necessity, the administration of the Eucharist has been confined amongst most Christians to those who have received special Apostolic authority for the purpose.
It is further held by a very large number of Christians, that in addition to the external bonds of union formed by the sacraments and the Apostolic ministry, the Church on earth, being visible, must have a visible head, and that this headship was given by Christ to St. Peter, and by implication to his successors. Union with the earthly head of the Church is therefore necessary to avoid the guilt of schism. It is alleged that this is the natural sense of the passages which record the special charges given by Christ to St. Peter (Matthew 16:13-20, Luke 22:28-32, and John 20:21-23), and that this interpretation of His words is borne out by the claims made from the earliest times by the bishops of Rome, and allowed or acquiesced in by the Church at large. It is argued, on the other side, that the passages in question were not interpreted in this sense by early Church writers, and that the testimony of the Acts and Epistles and of early Church history shows that such a position was not actually held by St. Peter. The controversy is of such enormous proportions that it can only be alluded to here, but a few of the innumerable books that deal with the subject are mentioned in the list of Literature at the end.
(c) These inward and outward bonds of union give a real numerical unity to the Church, so that it will be one in any one place, one throughout the world, and one in all time. Nothing less than this can satisfy the conception of unity put before us in the NT. But it must be noted, in the third place, that unity may be real while it is still imperfect. The perfection of the Church, in respect of unity as well as of all other characteristics, is possible only when all its members are perfect, and therefore it cannot be fully realized in this life. Any loosening of those bonds which have been mentioned, whether inward or outward, must necessarily impair unity. It is not necessary that there should be an outward breach. A lack of charity, leading to party spirit, such as existed at Corinth, was regarded by St. Paul as impairing the unity of the Church although no visible severance had taken place. A want of faith, or errors concerning the faith, must have the same effect. A departure from the faith of the Church on fundamental matters is called ‘heresy,’ and any great want of either charity or faith on the part of a section of the Church commonly leads to a breach of the external conditions of union, which is called ‘schism.’ This again admits of different degrees, and is of two principal kinds. A suspension or refusal of communion between two parts of the Church undoubtedly amounts to a schism, even though both parts retain the due administration of the sacraments and the Apostolic ministry. Such a schism has arisen between the Churches of the East and the West, and it was the work of centuries of gradual estrangement, so that it is impossible to say at what precise moment the want of intercommunion became such as to amount to a formal schism. There is a breach of a very similar character between the Anglican Churches and those which adhere to the Roman obedience. There is also another kind of schism, which is caused when bodies of baptized persons form new associations which do not claim to be connected with the Apostolic Church, or which reject the sacraments. There is no other cause for such breaches of outward communion than the imperfection of the faith and charity of the members of the Church. But if such imperfection does not in itself destroy the unity of the Church, the external consequences which naturally result from it do not necessarily do so. Heresy and schism impair unity, but do not altogether destroy it, just as the spiritual life of the individual is not altogether destroyed even by grievous sins.
1. The Invisible Church.—So far only the unity of that part of the Church which is on earth has been spoken of. But members of the Body of Christ do not cease to be united to Him, and therefore to each other after death. That part of the Church which has passed away from earth is called the Invisible Church, in contrast to the Visible Church upon earth, but they are essentially one. With regard to the state of the departed, very little direct teaching is recorded to have been given by Christ Himself, and we must not presume to speculate too much where knowledge has been withheld. Perhaps little more can be said than that in the parable of Dives and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) Christ gave a general sanction to current Jewish beliefs as to the state of the departed, and that His words to the penitent thief (Luke 23:43) assure us that union with Himself is not impaired by death. If this is so, it is sufficient justification for the universal belief of early Christians, that the Invisible Church is united to the Visible by common worship.
2. Holiness.—The Church may be called holy because it is a Divine institution, of which Christ is the head, and the special sphere of the working of the Holy Spirit, or because its members, being united to Christ as the branches
A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography - Hegesippus, Father of Church History
Hegesippus (1) , commonly known as the father of church history, although his works, except a few fragments which will be found in Routh (Rel. Sacr. i. pp. 207–219) and in Grabe ( Spicil. ii. 203–214), have perished. Nothing positive is known of his birth or early circumstances. From his use of the Gospel according to the Hebrews, written in the Syro-Chaldaic language of Palestine, his insertion in his history of words in the Hebrew dialect, and his mention of unwritten traditions of the Jews, Eusebius infers that he was a Hebrew ( H. E. iv. 22), but possibly, as conjectured by Weizsäcker (Herzog, Encyc. v. 647), Eusebius knew this as a fact from other sources also. We owe our only information as to his date to a statement of his own, preserved by Eusebius (iv. 22), which is understood to mean that at Rome he compiled a succession of the bishops of the Roman see to the time of Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. After this statement Hegesippus is represented as adding, "and to Anicetus succeeds Soter, after whom Eleutherus." Much as the interpretation of these words has been disputed, it does not seem difficult to gather that Hegesippus means that the list of bishops compiled by him at Rome was drawn from the authentic records of the church there. That list closed with Anicetus. He was afterwards able to add the names of Soter and Eleutherus. It thus appears that he was at Rome in the days of Anicetus and made his inquiries then, but did not publish them till considerably later. But Anicetus, according to Lipsius ( Chronologie der römischen Bischöfe ), was bp. of Rome 156–167, and Eleutherus 175–189. Hegesippus had thus written much of his history previous to a.d. 167, and published it in the time of Eleutherus, perhaps early in his episcopate. Any difficulty in accepting these dates has been occasioned by the rendering given to another passage of Eusebius (iv. 8), where he quotes Hegesippus as speaking of certain games (ἀγών ) instituted in honour of Antinous, a slave of Hadrian, of which he says ἐφ᾿ ἡμῶν γενόμενος (a better established reading than γινόμενος ). But these words seem simply to mean that the games had been instituted in his own time, thus illustrating the μέχρι νῦν of the preceding sentence. Hadrian reigned 117–138, so that if Hegesippus published c. 180, being then well advanced in life, he might well remember the times of that emperor. This derives confirmation from a statement of Jerome, generally regarded as somewhat extravagant, that the life of Hegesippus had bordered on the apostolic age ("vicinus apostolicorum temporum," de Vir. Ill. c. 22). But there is no extravagance in the remark. If Hegesippus was born c. 120 or earlier, he may well be described as having lived near the times of St. John. We may, therefore, fix the bloom of Hegesippus's life about the middle of the 2nd cent.
His history embraced, so far as we may judge from its fragments, numerous miscellaneous observations, recollections, and traditions, jotted down without regard to order, as they occurred to the author or came under his notice during his travels. Jerome tells us that the work contained the events of the church from Palestine to Rome, and from the death of Christ to the writer's own day. It is not a regular history of the church, Weizsäcker well remarking that, in that case, the story of James the Just ought to have been found in the first book, not in the last.
Its general style was thought plain and unpretending, says Jerome, and with this description what remains sufficiently agrees. The question of its trustworthiness is of greater moment. The account given in it of James the head of the church in Jerusalem has led to many charges against Hegesippus of not having been careful enough to prove what he relates. He has been thought to be contradicted by Josephus, who tells us that "Ananus, the high-priest, assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus Who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others. And, when he had formed an accusation against them, he delivered them to be stoned" (Ant. xx. 9, 2). We may be permitted to doubt, however, whether the sentence thus referred to was carried out, for not only was it unlawful for the Sanhedrin to punish by death without consent of the Roman authorities, but Josephus informs us immediately after that the charge of the citizens against Ananus was, that it was not lawful for him to assemble a Sanhedrin without the procurator's assent, nothing being said of the stoning to death. Further, Eusebius, who has preserved the narrative of Hegesippus, and the early Fathers who allude to it, appear to have placed in it implicit confidence; and there is nothing improbable in most, if not even in all, of the particulars mentioned. Eusebius speaks of him in the most commendatory terms, and quotes him on numerous occasions (see H. E. ii. 23; iii. 11, 16, 20, 32; iv. 8, 11, 22), illustrating his own words in iv. 8, πλείσταις κεχρήμεθα φωναῖς . Such confidence appears to have been deserved. Hegesippus had an inquiring mind, and had travelled much; he endeavoured to learn all he could of the past and present state of the churches that he visited: at Corinth the first epistle of Clement excited his curiosity; at Rome the history of its early bishops. All this, and his unpretending and unexaggerated style, shows him as very far from being either a hasty observer or a credulous chronicler.
An important question remains: Was Hegesippus of the Judaizing Christian party?
Baur looks upon him as representing the narrowest section of the Jewish Christians even as a most declared enemy of St. Paul travelling like a commissioned agent in the interests of the Judaizers (K. G. i. p. 84; so also Schwegler Nachap. Zeit i. p. 342 etc.). This view is founded mainly upon an extract from his works preserved in Photius (see in Routh R. S. i. p. 219) where Hegesippus comments on the words "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for the just," "Such words are spoken in vain and those who use them lie against the Holy Scriptures and the Lord Who says 'Blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear.'" It is argued that Hegesippus is here directly attacking St. Paul's words in 1Co_2:9; and the inference is that Hegesippus was keenly Judaic. We know that the Gnostics were in the habit of so using the words in question and that they described by means of them the very essence of that spiritual insight which the neophyte who had just sworn the oath of allegiance to them received "And when he
[1] has sworn this oath he goes on to the Good One and beholds 'whatever things eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard and which have not entered into the heart of man'" (Hippolytus Ref. of all Heresies i. p. 193 T. &T. Clark). It is much the more probable inference therefore that Hegesippus refers to this Gnostic misinterpretation of the words and not to St. Paul (cf. Routh R. S. i. p. 281; Ritschl Die Entstehung der Altk. Kirche p. 267; Hilgenfeld Die Apost. Väter p. 102). Further Hegesippus must have known that Clement whose epistle he approved quotes in c. xxxiv. for a purpose precisely similar to that of the apostle the very passage in question though with a slight variation in the words. How then can he have held the contrary opinion as to the use made of it by St. Paul? It is obviously a particular application of the passage different from that of the apostle that he has in view.
In the light of these considerations, Hegesippus appears to have been not a Judaizing but a Catholic Christian; and, if so, he becomes a witness not only for the catholicity in the main of the Christian church of the 2nd cent., but for the extent to which Catholic truth prevailed in it, for his evidence, whatever its purport, has reference to the condition of the church upon a large scale. Either, therefore, over this wide extent the church was as a whole marked by a narrow Judaic spirit, or over the same wide extent it was catholic in spirit, with heretical sects struggling to corrupt its faith. If our verdict be in favour of the latter view, it becomes impossible to look at Hegesippus in the light in which he has been presented by the Tübingen school. We must regard him as a Catholic, not as a Judaizing Christian, and his statements as to the condition of the church in his day become a powerful argument against, rather than in favour of, the conclusions of that school. Cf. Zahn, Forschungen , 1900, vi. 228–273.
[2]
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia
IF James Durham had lived in Kirriemuir in Disruption days he would to a certainty have said that very much what Daniel Cormick was in the presbytery of Forfar, that the angel of Philadelphia was among the seven churches in Asia. No minister all round about had less strength of some kinds than Daniel Cormick: but, then, like the angel of Philadelphia, by universal consent, he was by far the holiest man of them all and by far the most successful minister of them all. Mr. Cormick used to say in his humility that had it not been for the liberality of Lady Fowlis he would never have got to College at all, and that had it not been for the leniency of some of his professors he would never have got the length of being a minister, Be that as it may, it will be to the everlasting salvation of many that Daniel Cormick was ever sent to College, was carried through his studies, and was ordained a minister. When I was a lad in Kirriemuir our minister's name was wide-spread and dear to multitudes, not so much for his pulpit gifts, as for his personal and pastoral graces. The delightful stories of Mr. Cormick's unworldliness of mind, simplicity of heart, and beauty of character, crowd in upon me at this moment till I can scarcely set them aside. And it was such things as these in Daniel Cormick that far more than made up for the fewness of the talents his Sovereign Master had seen good to commit to the stewardship of His servant. I see myself standing in the passage all through the forenoon and afternoon services, the church was so full. I see Dr. Mill in his crowded pew, a much-honoured man, who largely shared in his minister's saintliness. And there sits Mr. Brand, the banker and writer, whose walk and conversation, like the same things in Dr. Mill, influenced and edified the whole town and country round about. Mr. Brand's copy of Halyburton's Memoirs, with his name and my mother's name on it in his own handwriting, is always within reach of my chair, and I am sure I have read it at least as often as Dr. Jowett said to Lady Airlie he had read Boswell. And dear old heavenly-minded, if somewhat sad-hearted, Duncan Macpherson, the draper. A saint if ever I knew one; if, perhaps, a little too much after the type of Mr. Fearing and Mr. Weteyes. There never was a kirk-session in Kirriemuir or anywhere else like Daniel Cormick's kirk-session, and the pillars of it were almost all and almost wholly of their minister's own quarrying and hewing and polishing and setting up. When David White of Airlie became awakened to see what he was, and what a minister ought to be, he sought out Daniel Cormick for his counsellor. As Walter Marshall sought out Thomas Goodwin, and as Thomas Scott sought out John Newton, so did David White sit at Daniel Cormick's feet. The two ministers used to tryst to meet in the woods of Lindertis, where they strolled and knelt and spent hours and days together, till Mr. Cormick was honoured of God to lead one of the ablest men I ever knew into that grace in which he himself stood with such peace and such assurance of faith. To Mr. Cormick's kind and winning ways with children I can myself testify. Is James Laing: A Lily Gathered, still in circulation in Dundee? I well remember that red-letter day to me when Mr. Cormick took me to his lodgings with him and gave me that little book to take home with me. But I am wandering away from my proper subject before I have even begun it. I am taking up too much time with Daniel Cormick, deserving of it all as he is. The angel of the church in Philadelphia could not be more deserving. It was James Durham, in the way he speaks about "the little strength" of the angel of Philadelphia, that led me back to speak of Daniel Cormick with all this love and reverence and thankfulness.
If his Sovereign Master allowed to the minister of Philadelphia but little strength of intellect, as James Durham in his profound commentary holds it was, and but little learning; then, what he lacked on the mere mental side was more than made up to him on the moral and spiritual side. And that wisest by far of all the seven ministers in Asia soon found out where his true strength lay and threw himself with all his weakness upon his true strength. William Law complains with all his incomparable scorn that so many of the ministers of his day spent so much of their time and strength in the pulpit on such subjects as the seasons and the directions of the wind called Euroclydon, and on the times when the Gospels were writ. Now Daniel Cormick had not that temptation, for he possessed none of its literature, and even had he lived in our so-learned day and possessed all the learned apparatus of our day, he would not have given way to our temptations in his pulpit. "You, brethren," said Andrew Bonar in Daniel Cormick's funeral sermon, "are witnesses that in all his ministry your pastor ceased not to preach in public, and from house to house, repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. His first sermon after his ordination was on this great text: 'Be ye reconciled to God.' And was not that commencement truly characteristic of Mr. Cormick's whole ministry among you? For, whatever subject he handled he failed not to arrive at sin and salvation before he left it. And such was the unction of his words that even when he was not exhibiting very intellectual views of the text, still his personal affection in setting forth the subject was always felt to be refreshing and quickening."-And this Epistle pays the same praise to the minister of Philadelphia for the way he preached his Master's name, and his Master's name only, in every sermon of his. I have myself, to my confusion of face I confess it, wasted many a precious hour in this pulpit on Euroclydon, and on the times when the Prophets, and the Psalms, and the Gospels, were writ. But I am beginning now to number my days, and I am, as you must witness, turning my own attention and yours far more to the name of Jesus Christ, in imitation of the minister of Philadelphia. Now, what is His name? and what is His Father's name? if you have begun to learn those great names from me and with me? For we ministers should preach the name of the Father and the name of the Son far more than we do. And you, our people, should read far more than you do read, both in your Bible and in other books, on those so foundation and so fruitful subjects. Just what a name is, what its root is, and when and where this and that name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost were first heard; these inquiries, as Clement says, breed great light in the souls both of preachers and hearers. To turn up and read continually the very chapter where God first gave His full and true name to Moses, and then to trace that name and see that once it was given to Israel there is little or nothing else in the whole of the Old Testament but that name. And then to see how the Father's name gives place to the Son's name in the New Testament,-all that breeds great light in the soul, as Clement says. Even with as little strength as there was in Philadelphia and Kirriemuir, a minister will win great praise, both from God and from God's people, if he keeps close to God's word and more and more holds up God's name.
Tentatio, meditatio, oratio, were Luther's three indispensable qualifications for a minister. Now we gather that the minister of Philadelphia had quite a special training in the school of temptation. We hold far too coarse ideas about temptation. We think of temptation as if it were for the most part to whoredom and wine. But the temptations that make a minister after Luther's own heart are as far as the poles asunder from such temptations as these. The holier and the more heavenly-minded a minister is, the more he lays himself open to a life of unspeakable temptation. With every new advance in holiness, with every new progress in the knowledge of God and of himself, with every deeper and deeper entrance of the exquisitely holy law and spirit of God into his heart and conscience, a minister's temptations multiply upon him, till he feels himself to be the most beset, behind and before, of all beset men that dwell upon the earth. And there is good reason for that. For if a minister is to be a real minister; if he is to know, as by the best and the latest science, all the diseases and all the pains in the souls of the saints who are in his ward, of necessity he must have been taken through all those spiritual experiences himself; of necessity they have all been made to meet in him. O, wretched man that he is! before he is fit to feel for and to prescribe to like wretched men with himself. And that is the reason why He who was Himself made perfect through temptation has specially promised that He will keep His ministers in the hour and power and crisis of their temptations, as He was kept in the hour and power and crisis of his own. Tentatio, meditatio, oratio. Oratio especially. Now, there was one special kind of prayer that Daniel Cormick was greatly noted for among those who were intimate with him. All ministers pray much and earnestly before preaching. And the reason is, they are so afraid that they may not do so well today. The minister of Sardis, who never prayed at any other time in all the week, to be called prayer, was always in real anxiety and earnestness before he entered the pulpit, because he had such a name for preaching to keep up. And so it is still with all who are like him. They are so afraid that they may forget or displace things, or in other ways disappoint your expectations, that they pray with all their heart till God, according to His promise, hears them and carries them through again without a stumble. The difference with Daniel Cormick was that he would get, now Robert M'Cheyne, and now Andrew Bonar, and now John Baxter, to pray both with him and for him after his preaching. As I remember Thomas Shepard also always did: and as, I feel sure, the angel of Philadelphia also did. The "honest weak ministers," that they all three were, as James Durham, that honest but not weak minister, in his incomparable commentary calls them.
"Behold, I come quickly: hold fast that thou hast, that no man take thy crown," said He that is holy, He that is true, to this minister of His. As if He had said, 'Hold fast by thy temptations, and thy meditations, and thy prayers both before and after preaching. And hold fast also by My name, and by all that is due to My name in thine office, as well as in thine own soul. Let no man take thy crown in that matter. Be suspicious, be jealous, of all men. Let no man invade on thy work. Give up not an atom of thy work thou canst by any possibility perform thyself. Never weary for one moment in thy well-doing. Let not thy hand for one moment become slack. Do not let thyself lie down to die till all thy work is fulfilled and finished. For if thou dost so die, then thy successor in Philadelphia will take thy crown which I had intended for thee.' As John Newton took Thomas Scott's crown as long as Scott neglected his dying parishioners till they sent for Newton. And as ministers' crowns are dropping off their heads in every parish all round about for any ambitions man to pick them up and put them on. Any one, that is, who will visit such and such a sick-bed, and read a Psalm there, and after it one of the Pilgrims' crossings of the Jordan. Hold fast, O all you ministers and elders and nurses and doctors! Hold fast as Dr. Mill held fast at so many deathbeds in and around Kirriemuir, till he stole some shining gems even out of Mr. Cormick's crown. Hold fast lest some aspiring man run off altogether with the crown your Master had at one time intended for you. If it took a man like Daniel Cormick all his might to keep his crown from being all stolen from him, what chance, think you, have the most of us ministers?
But look up! Who is that glorified saint shining as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever? That is the angel of the Church that once was in Philadelphia. That is he, built in for ever as a "pillar" in the heavenly temple to go no more out. He was such a true pillar on earth that the whole of the seven Churches in Asia were strengthened and upheld by means of him. And now he is set in the very midst of the city of God which is new Jerusalem. And, behold, with the name of his God also written upon him, so that all men can read that name on him, as they pass by. Had the name of his God been strength of understanding, or depth and power of mind, or stores of learning, or an eloquent tongue; had it pleased God to save His people by dialectics, then that pillar had not borne as he now bears the name of his God. But God's nature is not like to ours. For we read in letters of gold God's glorious nature and name, and it is this,-the Lord; the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sins. And that name was taken up with such Paul-like determination, and was so preached in Philadelphia and nothing else was preached, till both the preacher and the people knew none other name. Like preacher, like people. That preacher of Philadelphia fed his people on the finest of the wheat till it became bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, and till God's great name came out in letters of light all over their foreheads, and was written in works of love all over their lives. What a comfort to the most of us ministers! For the most of us ministers must always be far more like the minister of Philadelphia with his little strength than like the minister of Sardis with his great name. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty. That, according as it is written, He that glorieth. let him glory in the Lord.
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church in Smyrna
IF Polycarp was indeed the angel of the Church of Smyrna, then we know some most interesting things about this angel over and above what we read in this Epistle addressed to him. All John Bunyan's readers have heard about Polycarp. "Then said Gaius, is this Christian's wife and are these his children? I knew your husband's father, yea, also, and his father's father. Many have been good of this stock. Stephen was the first of them who stood all trials for the sake of the truth. James was another of the same generation. To say nothing of Peter and Paul, there was Ignatius, who was cast to the lions. Romanus, also, whose flesh was cut by pieces from his bones. And Polycarp, that played the man in the fire." You possess Polycarp's whole history in a nutshell in that single sentence of John Bunyan about him. And if you but add that one sentence to this Epistle you will have a full-length and a perfect portrait of the angel of the Church of Smyrna.
Polycarp was born well on in the first century. And it must have been a matter of constant regret to Polycarp that he had not been born just a little earlier in that century so as to have seen his Lord with his own eyes and so as to have heard Him with his own ears. But as it was, Polycarp was happy enough to have been born, and born again, quite in time to enjoy the next best thing to seeing and hearing his Saviour for himself. For Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, and he must have often heard the Fourth Gospel from John's lips long before it had as yet come from John's pen. And that was surely a high compensation to Polycarp for not having seen and heard the Divine Word Himself. And then we are very thankful to possess a circular-letter which the elders of the Church of Smyrna sent round to the Seven Churches telling the brethren everywhere how well their old minister had played the man in the fire. After narrating some remarkable incidents connected with Polycarp's apprehension the circular-epistle proceeds:-
'When Polycarp was brought to the tribunal the pro-consul asked him if he was Polycarp. Have pity on thy great age, said the humane Roman officer. Swear but once by the fortunes of Cæsar. Reproach this Christ of thine with but one word, and I will set you free. "Eighty-and-six years," answered Polycarp, "I have served Jesus Christ, and He has never once wronged or deceived me, how then can I reproach Him!" And then as some of the executioners were binding the aged saint, and others were lighting the fire, certain who stood by took down this prayer from his lips: "O Father of Thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ. I bless Thee that Thou hast counted me worthy of this day and this hour. I thank Thee that I am permitted to put my lips to the cup of Christ. And I thank Thee for the sure hope of the resurrection and for the incorruptible life of heaven. I praise Thee, O Father, for all Thy soul-saving benefits. And I glorify Thee through our eternal High-Priest, Jesus Christ, through whom, and in the Holy Ghost, be glory to Thee, both now and ever, Amen." Eleven brethren from the Church of Philadelphia suffered with Polycarp, but he is famous above them all; the very heathen venerate his name. He was not only an eminent teacher and an illustrious martyr, but in all he did he did it out of a truly apostolical and evangelical spirit. Polycarp suffered his martyrdom on the great Sabbath, at the eighth hour of the day. I, Pionius, have transcribed and posted this letter to all the Churches round about. So may our Lord gather my soul among His elect, Amen.'
Apostolical, evangelical, and most illustrious, martyr, as Polycarp proved himself to be at the last, yet, when he began his ministry in Smyrna he was a man of like fears and flinchings of heart as we are ourselves. You may depend upon it, Polycarp was for a long time in as great bondage through fear of death as any of yourselves. And every syllable of this Epistle is the proof of that. His Master dictated every syllable of this Epistle with the most direct and the most pointed bearing on Polycarp and on his ministry in Smyrna. Every iota of this Epistle shows us that it was addressed to a minister who was at that time of a timid heart and one whose continual temptation it was to flinch and flee. The very name that Polycarp's Master here selects for Himself in writing to Polycarp spoke straight home to Polycarp's trembling heart. "These things saith He which was dead and is alive." Polycarp was in constant danger of death and in constant fear of death. But after this Epistle, and especially after that opening Name of His Master, Polycarp became another man and another minister. Till this was Polycarp's song every day till the day when he played the man in the fire-
Death! thou wast once an uncouth, hideous thing!But since my Master's deathHas put some blood into thy face,Thou hast grown sure a thing to be desiredAnd full of grace!We found the litotes device in the first of these Seven Epistles, and we find here the parenthesis device in the second of the Seven. When the Spirit speaks to the Seven Churches He does not despise to make use of the rhetorician's art. He recognises and sanctifies that ancient accomplishment by His repeated employment of it, and in His repeated employment of it He gives us so many lessons in our employment of it. "The parenthesis is the delight of all full minds and quick wits." Now though these exact words have never before been applied to Him whose Epistle to Polycarp we are now engaged upon; at any rate, we may surely go on to apply these so expressive words to His so-talented amanuensis. And this full-minded and quick-witted parenthesis comes in here in this way. Polycarp's poverty was one of his many trials and temptations as the minister of Smyrna. And just as the ever-present image of his Divine Master's death and resurrection nerved Polycarp to overcome all fear of his own death, so in like manner his poverty is here put to silence for ever by this parenthesis, ("but thou art rich"). And not only have we a parenthesis here, but a paradox as well. And both of these rhetorical devices are demanded here in order to give utterance to the fulness of the mind and the quickness of the wit both of the true Author of this Epistle and of the highly privileged amanuensis of it. So he was. Polycarp was both poor and at the same time rich. As many of his best successors in the ministry still are. They are almost as poor as he was as far as gold and silver go. But they are even richer than he was in many things that gold and silver cannot command. For one thing, they are far richer than Polycarp could possibly be in the riches of the mind. They are surpassingly rich in so far as they possess the talents and the trainings and the tastes of cultivated and refined Christian scholars. Money is greatly coveted because it gives its possessor the entrance into the best society of the day. But a well-educated and a well-read minister has entrance not only into the very best society of his own day, but of every day, and he will deign to enter no society of any day but the very best. He keeps company with the aristocracy only. Again, riches are to be desired for what they enable their possessor to be and to do and to enjoy. Riches enable their possessor to the true enjoyment of life, to the true use of life, to true power in life, and to the opportunity and the ability of attaining to the true end of life. Unchallengeably, riches in the right owner's hand immensely assist in the attainment of all these high ambitions. But sure I am, there is no class of men among us who are so rich in all these respects as just our well-educated, well-read, hard-working, absolutely-devoted, ministers. No doubt the parenthesist had in his eye Polycarp's riches toward God exclusively. But had he written in our day he would certainly have extended his arms to embrace a poor minister's few but fit books, and his select friendships, as well as many other things that go to alleviate and even to make affluent his remote and arduous life. Money brings troops of friends also, so long as it lasts. But when Polycarp was robing for presentation at Court, so Pionius tells us, his young men would not let him so much as touch his own shoe-latchet. Now you may have your shoes put on and taken off for money, but you cannot have them tied with heart-strings, as Polycarp's shoes were tied that day.
Malicious and abusive language was another of Polycarp's tribulations. I have not enough ancient Church History to be able to inform you just what outlets they had for their malice in that sub-apostolic day. We have Letters to the Editor among the resources of our civilisation. And neither do I know beyond a guess just what Polycarp did when he was again ill-used by the tongues and pens of his day. But if you will hear it I will tell you what Santa Teresa did. And it is because she did what I am to invite you to do, that I for one entirely, and with acclamation, acquiesce in her canonisation. "After my vow of perfection I spoke not ill of any creature, how little soever it might be. I scrupulously avoided all approaches to detraction. I had this rule ever present with me, that I was not to wish, nor assent to, nor say such things of any person whatsoever, that I would not have them say of me. Still, the devil sometimes fills me with such a harsh and cruel temper; such a spirit of anger and hostility at some people, that I could eat them up and annihilate them. At the same time, concerning things said of myself in detraction, and they are many, and are very prejudicial to me, I find myself much improved. It is a mark of the deepest and truest humility to see ourselves condemned without cause, and to be silent under it. Indeed, I never heard of any one speaking evil of me, but I immediately saw how far short he came of the full truth. For, if he was wrong or exaggerated in his particulars, I had offended God much more in other matters that my detractor knew nothing about. O my Lord, when I remember in how many ways Thou didst suffer detraction and misrepresentation, I know not where my senses are when I am in such haste to defend and excuse myself. What is it, O Lord? what do we imagine to get by pleasing worms like ourselves, or by being praised by them! What about being blamed by all men, if only we stand at last blameless before Thee." The slander of the synagogue of Satan in Smyrna was not met, I am sure, with a mind more acceptable to the First and the Last than that.
The last thing that He which was dead and is alive said to Polycarp was this mysterious utterance of His, "Thou shalt not be hurt of the second death." Did Polycarp fully understand that assurance, I wonder? Do you fully understand it? At any rate, you understand what the first death is. In our first death our souls will leave our bodies, and then corruption will so set in upon our dead bodies that those who loved us best will be the first to bury us out of their sight. Now, whatever else and whatever beyond that the second death is, it begins with God leaving our souls. God is the soul of our souls. He is the life, the strength, the support, the light, the peace, the fountain, of all kinds of life in soul and body. And when He leaves our souls that is the beginning of the second death. Only, God does not, properly speaking, leave the soul. He is driven out of the soul. In spite of all that God could do, in spite of all that love and grace and truth could do, the lost soul has banished God for ever out of itself. It has insulted and despised God in every way. It has trampled upon Him in every way. It has shut its door in His face ten thousand times, and has taken in and has held revels with His worst enemies. Had Polycarp feared death more than he feared Him who was now alive; had he feared the fires in the market-place of Smyrna more than the fires that are not quenched; had he deserted his post in Smyrna because of its difficulties; had his soul soured at God and man because of his poverty; when he was reviled, had he reviled back again; when he suffered, had he threatened; and had he reproached Christ when he was bribed with his life so to do,-Polycarp is here told plainly that he would have died the second death with all that it involves. But as it was, he died neither the first death nor the second. Polycarp was changed, rather than died. Polycarp had such a Master that He died both deaths for His servant. It was not for nothing that He said to Polycarp that He was once dead but is now alive. For He was dead with both deaths for Polycarp. It was when He was hurt of the second death for Polycarp that, under the soreness of the hurt, He cried out first in the garden, and then on the Cross. Have we not seen that in the second death the soul is forsaken of God? And was He not forsaken till Golgotha for the time was like Gehenna itself to Him? He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches: He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from the fear of death. O death, I will be thy plague. O grave, I will be thy destruction.
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church in Pergamos
IN his beautifully-written but somewhat superficial commentary, Archbishop Trench says that there is a strong attraction in these seven Epistles for those scholars who occupy themselves with pure exegesis. And that strong attraction arises, so the Archbishop says, from the fact that there are so many unsolved problems of interpretation in these seven Epistles. Now, I am no pure exegete and those unsolved problems of pure exegesis have little or no attraction for me. My irresistible attraction to these seven Epistles lies in this that they are so many looking-glasses, as James the Lord's brother would say, in which all ministers of churches everywhere to the end of time may see themselves, and may judge themselves, as their Master sees them and judges them. Another thing that greatly attracts our commentators to Pergamos is the intensely interesting and extraordinarily productive field of pagan antiquities that Pergamos has proved itself to be. Pergamos was the most illustrious city in all Asia. It was a perfect city of temples. Zeus, Athene, Apollo, Dionysus, Aphrodite, Æsculapius, were all among the gods of Pergamos, and all had magnificent shrines erected and administered to their honour. Here also Galen the famous physician was born. Pergamos possessed a library also that rivalled in size and in value the world-renowned library of Alexandria itself. Two hundred thousand volumes stood entered on the catalogue of the public library of Pergamos. Our well-known word 'parchment' is derived to us from the stationers' shops of Pergamos, and so on. Whether the minister of Pergamos found all that heathen environment as full of delight and edification to himself, and to his proselyte people, in his day as it is to us in our day, is another matter. But of the deep interest and the great delight that all these things have to us there can be no doubt. For the most of our expositors spend both their time and our time in little else but in telling and hearing about the antiquities of Pergamos. But with all those intellectual and artistic attractions filling every part of his parish, after the minister of Pergamos had this Epistle sent to him, all the rest of his days in Pergamos he would have neither time nor thought nor taste for anything else but for this, that Satan had his seat in Pergamos.
It was to bring home the discovery of this fearful fact to the minister of Pergamos that was the sole object of this startling Epistle to him; just as his receiving of this Epistle was the supreme epoch and the decisive crisis of his whole ministerial life. And no wonder. For to be told, and that on such absolute authority, that while Satan had his colonies and his dependencies and his outposts in Ephesus, and in Smyrna, and in Thyatira, yet that his very citadel and stronghold was in Pergamos,-that must have been an awful revelation to the responsible pastor of Pergamos. Pergamos is Satan's very capital, said this Epistle to the overwhelmed minister of Pergamos. It is the very metropolis of his infernal empire. All his power for evil, both against God and man, is concentrated and entrenched in Pergamos. "London is a dangerous and an ensnaring place," writes John Newton in his Cardiphonia. "I account myself happy that my lot is cast at a distance from it. London appears to me like a sea, wherein most are tossed by storms, and many suffer shipwreck. Political disputes, winds of doctrine, scandals of false professors, parties for and against particular ministers, fashionable amusements, and so on. I often think of the difference between London grace and country grace. By London grace, when genuine, I understand grace in a very advanced degree. The favoured few who are kept alive to God, simplehearted and spiritually-minded, in the midst of such deep snares and temptations, appear to me to be the first-rate Christians of the land. Not that we are without our trials here. The evil of our own hearts and the devices of Satan cut us out work enough. My own soul is kept alive, as it were, by miracle. The enemy thrusts sore at me that I may fall. In London I am in a crowd of temptations, but in the country there is a crowd of temptations in me. To what purpose do I boast of retirement, when I am myself possessed of Satan's legions in every place? My mind, even at Olney, is a perfect puppet-show, a Vanity Fair, an absolute Newgate itself."
John Newton is one of the three best commentators I have met with on this Epistle. John Newton, and James Durham, and Miss Rossetti. And what so greatly interests those three commentators in Pergamos is this, that they see from this Epistle to the minister of Pergamos that Satan really had his seat in that minister's own heart, just as that same seat is in their own heart. No other antiquity in Pergamos has any interest to James Durham at any rate, but that antique minister's heart in Pergamos. For Satan, if he is anything, is a spirit. And if he has a seat anywhere in this world it is in the spirits of men. Satan dwells not in temples made with hands, either in Pergamos, or in Olney, or in Edinburgh, but only in the spirits of men; and, most of all, in the spirits of ministers, as this Epistle teaches us, and as all the best commentators tell us it teaches us. And the reason of that so perilous pre-eminence of ministers is plain. Ministers, if they are real ministers, hold a kind of vicarious and representative position both before heaven and hell, and the swordsmen and archers of both heaven and hell specially strike at and sorely wound and grieve all such ministers. Satan is like the King of Syria at the battle of Ramoth-Gilead. For before that battle the King of Syria commanded his thirty-and-two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, "Fight neither with small nor great save only with the King of Israel." And Satan is right. For let a minister but succeed in his own battle against Satan, let a minister but "overcome," as our Lord's word is in every one of these ministerial Epistles, and his whole congregation will soon begin to share in the spoils of their minister's victory.
Thus Satan trembles when he seesA minister upon his knees.O poor and much-to-be-pitied ministers! With Satan concentrating all his fiery darts upon you, with the deep-sunken pillars of his seat not yet dug out of your hearts, with all his thirty-two captains fighting day and night for the remnants of their master's power within you, and all the time, a far greater than Satan running you through and through with that terrible sword of His till there is not a sound spot in you-O most forlorn and afflicted of all men! O most bruised in your mind, and most broken in your heart, of all men! Pity your ministers, my brethren, and put up with much that you cannot as yet understand or sympathise with in them. And never for a day forget to pray for them in secret, and by name, and by the name of their inward battle-field. Do that, for your ministers have a far harder-beset life than you have any idea of; with both heaven and hell setting on them continually and to the last drop of their blood. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth before I say a single word to turn any young man away from the ministry, who is called of God to that awful work. At the same time, let all intending ministers count well the cost lest, haply, after they have laid the foundation and are not able to finish, both men and devils shall point at them and say, this minister began to build for himself and for his congregation, for eternity, but come and see the ruin he has left! Count well, I say again, whether or no you are able to finish.
A single word about "Antipas my faithful martyr" in Pergamos. "It is difficult," complains the commentator mentioned in opening, "to understand the silence of all ecclesiastical history respecting so famous a martyr as Antipas." But faithful martyrs are not surely such a rarity, either in ancient or in modern ecclesiastical history, that we need spend much regret that we are not told more about one out of such a multitude. At any rate, we have a pretty long roll of well-known names in our own evangelical martyrology, and the cloud of such witnesses is by no means closed in Scotland. Whether this Antipas was a martyred minister or no, I cannot tell. Only there are many martyred ministers in our own land and Church whose names are as little known as the bare name of Antipas. Only, the silence and the ignorance and the indifference of earth does not extend to heaven. The silence and the ignorance and the indifference of earth will only make the surprise, both of those ministers and of their persecutors, all the greater when the day of their recognition and reward comes. "Then shall the righteous man stand before the face of such as have afflicted him, and have made no account of his labours. When they see it they shall be troubled with terrible fear, and shall be amazed at the strangeness of his salvation, so far beyond all they had looked for. And they, repenting and groaning for anguish of spirit, shall say within themselves-This was he whom we had sometimes in derision, and made a proverb of reproach. We fools counted his life madness, and his end to be without honour. But now he is numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints!" For then shall be fulfilled that which is written, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna. And I will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
This new name which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it is plain. This is no unsolved problem of interpretation. For, a name in Scripture is always just another word for a nature. That is to say, for the very innermost heart and soul of any person or any thing.
I named them as they passed, and understoodTheir nature; with such knowledge God enduedMy sudden apprehension, says Adam to the angel.And a new name is always given in Scripture when a new nature is imparted to any person or to any thing. And so will it be beyond Scripture when that day comes to which every scripture points and promises, and for which every holy heart yearns and pants and breaks. That day when He which hath the sharp sword with two edges shall make all His redeemed to be partakers of His own nature; whose nature and whose name is Love. And just as no man knoweth the misery of that heart in which Satan still has his seat but the miserable owner of that heart, so only God Himself will know with them the new name that He will give to His holy ones on that day. As every sin-possessed heart here knows its own bitterness, so will every such heart alone know its own unshared sweetness in heaven, and no neighbour saint nor serving angel will intermeddle with things that are beyond their depth. And ministers especially. When they have overcome by the blood of the Lamb; when their long campaign of sanctification for themselves and for their people has been fought out and won; a new name will be given to every such minister that he alone will know and understand, and that, as Adam said, by a sudden apprehension. When we are under our so specially severe sanctification here-
Not even the tenderest heart, and next our own,Knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh,and much more will it be so in the uninvaded inwardness and uniqueness of our glorification. No man knows the hardness and the blackness of a sinful heart but the unspeakably miserable owner of it, and no man knows the names he calls himself continually before God, but God who seeth and heareth in secret. And, as a consequence and for a recompense, no man shall see the whiteness of the stone, or hear the newness of the name written in that stone, saving he that receiveth it. For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion; therefore in their land they shall possess the double; everlasting joy shall be unto them. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, and unto the ministers of the churches.
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church in Thyatira
READ the first three chapters of Hosea and this Epistle to the angel of the Church in Thyatira together, and substitute the dura lectio, the hard reading, "thy wife," for the easy reading, "that woman" in the twentieth verse, and it will be seen at once that the angel of the Church in Thyatira is just the prophet Hosea over again. Very much the same scandal and portent that Hosea and his house were in Israel; nay, almost more of a scandal, has the house of the angel of the Church in Thyatira been in Christendom. Our classical scholars have a recognised canon of their own when they are engaged on their editorial work among old and disputed manuscripts; a canon of criticism to this effect that the more difficult to receive any offered reading is the more likely it is to be the true reading. Nay, the more impossible to receive the offered reading is the more certain it is to have stood in the original text. And this so paradoxical-sounding, but truly scientific, principle of our great scholars, has been taken up by some of our greatest expositors and preachers, and has been applied by them to the exegetical and homiletical treatment both of Hosea's household history in the Old Testament, and of this so similar household history in the New Testament. And, indeed, as if it were to forewarn us, and to prepare us for some impossible-to-be-believed disclosures in Thyatira, our Lord introduces Himself to the minister of Thyatira and to us under a name that He has not taken to Himself in the case of any of the other seven ministers of the Seven Churches. Only the very greatest and very grandest of the classical tragedies ever dared to introduce and endure the descent and the intervention of a god. Now Thyatira at this crisis in her history is a great and a grand tragedy like that. For our glorified Lord puts on His whole Godhead when He comes down to deal with this tragical minister in Thyatira and with his tragical wife and children. These things saith the Son of God, and He armed with all the power and clothed with all the grace of the Godhead. The Son of God who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire wherewith to search to the bottom all the depths of Satan that are in Thyatira. That is to say, to search to the bottom the reins and the heart of the minister of Thyatira, and the reins and the hearts of all his household, and of all his people. And then His feet are like fine brass wherewith to walk up and down in Thyatira, till He has given to the minister of Thyatira and to his house and to all the rest in Thyatira according to their works. Neither let a god interfere, unless a difficulty should happen worthy of a god descending to unravel; nor let a fourth person be forward to speak, is the advice of Horace to all his young dramatists.
It was not the schools of the prophets in Israel that made Hosea the great and original and evangelical prophet that he was. It was his life at home that did it. It was his married life that did it. It was his wife and her children that did it. We would never have heard so much as Hosea's name had it not been for his wife and her children. At any rate, his name would not have been worked down into our hearts as it is but for his awful heart-break at home. And so it was with the minister of Thyatira. We might have heard that there was a certain minister in that ancient city in the days of the Revelation, but this so terrible Epistle would never have been written to him or transmitted to us but for his household catastrophe-a catastrophe so awful that it cannot be so much as once named among us. His Divine Master would have known all the good works of His servant in Thyatira, but He would not have been able to say that the last of those good works of his were so much better than his first works, had it not been for that terrible overthrow in his house at home. The minister of Ephesus had left his first love to God and to God's work because he was so happy in the love of his wife and children. But his co-presbyter in Thyatira had never known what the love of God really was till all his household love had decayed, and had died, and had been buried, and had all turned to corruption and pollution. Both the prophet Hosea in the Old Testament and this apostolical minister in the New Testament had come to see that when any man is called of God to this work of God, all he is and all he has, all his talents, all his affections, all his possessions, all his enjoyments, his very wife and children, must all be held by him under this great covenant with God, that they are all to be possessed and enjoyed and used by him, in the most absolute subordination to his ministry. And all the true successors of those two typical men have at one time or other, and in one way or other, to make this same great discovery and have to submit themselves to this same sovereign necessity.
Marriage or celibacy, an helpmeet or an hindrance, children or childlessness, good children or bad, health or sickness, congregational prosperity or congregational adversity, and all else; absolutely and without any reserve everything must come under that great law for all men, but a thousand times more for all ministers; that great law which the greatest of ministers has thus enunciated:-"For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Hosea learned at home, and all the week, that new sensibility to sin, that incomparable tenderness to sinners, and that holy passion as a preacher, with all of which he carried all Israel captive Sabbath after Sabbath, and so did his antitype in Thyatira. His antitype, the minister of Thyatira, was a fairly good preacher before he had a household, but he became an immeasurably better preacher as his household life went on and went down to such depths as it did. As many as had ears to hear in Thyatira they could measure quite well by the increasing depth of his preaching and his prayers the increasing depths of Satan through which their minister was wading all the week. We have never had deeper-wading preachers than Jonathan Edwards and Thomas Boston, and never since the garden of Eden has there been two ministers happier at home than they were. And it is very happy for those of us who are ministers to see also that the two happiest homes in all New England and in all old Scotland were also the homes of two such deep and holy and heavenly-minded and soul-winning preachers. But they were not without this same universal and indispensable training in sin and sorrow. Only they got their training in those things in other ways than in shipwrecked homes. With all their happiness in their wives and children, the author of the Religious Affections, and the author of the Crook in the Lot and the Autobiography, had not their sorrows to seek. Some of the sorrows that sanctified them and taught them to preach so masterfully all their readers see and know, while some of his most constant and most fruitful sorrows the closest students of Boston have been absolutely beat to find out. But it is enough for us to be sure that such noble sorrows were there though the deepest secrets of the manse of Ettrick then were, and still are, with the Lord. And thus it is that with two such enviable households as were the households of Edwards and Boston, those two ministers also in their own ways are another two outstanding illustrations of Luther's great pulpit principle-'Who are these so incomparable preachers, and from what divinity hall did they come up? These are they who climbed the Gospel pulpit out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'
Though you are not ministers you must know quite well how the same thing works out in yourselves. You are not ministers, and therefore it is not necessary that you should be plunged into such depths of experience as your ministers are plunged into continually if they are to be of any real use to you. But you are hearers, and good hearing is almost as scarce, and almost as costly to the hearer, as good preaching is to the preacher. To hear a really good sermon, as it ought to be heard, needs almost as much head and heart, and almost as much blood and tears, as it needs to preach a really good sermon.
A jest's prosperity lies in the earOf him that hears it, never in the tongueOf him who makes it.Yes; but a sermon's prosperity lies in both the tongue of the preacher and the ear of the hearer. And a sermon's true prosperity is purchased by both preacher and hearer at more or less of the same price.
There is still left one more of those cruxes of interpretation that had almost turned me away from this Epistle to the minister of Thyatira altogether. And it is this: "He that overcometh, and keepeth my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations. And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers; even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star." What a strange promise to make to a minister,-a rod of iron! Yes, this is just one more of those scripture-passages of which Paul once said that the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. For the letter here had almost killed out all my hope in this passage till a gleam of the Spirit came to light me into it and to light me through it. "He that overcometh" is just that minister who meets all the temptations and trials of life, at home and abroad, with more and more charity, and with more and more faith, and with more and more patience, as long as there is a hard heart in his house at home or in his congregation abroad. It is just to the minister who so overcomes his own passions in his own heart first, that his Master will give power to break in shivers the same passions in all other men's hearts, as with a rod of iron. By his charity and by his patience, by these two rods of iron, especially, any minister will overcome as the angel of the Church in Thyatira at last overcame. All the iron rods in the world would not have broken men's hard hearts as that reed broke them, that our Lord took so meekly into His hand when the soldiers were mocking and maltreating Him. And if you just strike with all your might, and with that same rod, all the hard hearts that come near you, you will soon see how they will all go to shivers under it. Till for your reward your Master will give to you also the morning star. That is to say, when many other ministers that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt, they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Church
Some types of the Church:
Body, John 15:5 (a)
Branches, Ephesians 1:23 (a)
Bride, Revelation 21:9 (a)
Building, Ephesians 2:21 (a)
Candlestick, Revelation 1:20 (a)
Eve, Genesis 3:20 (c)
Family, Ephesians 3:15 (a)
Household, Ephesians 2:19 (b)
Jewels, Malachi 3:17 (b)
Light, Ephesians 5:8 (a)
Loaf, 1 Corinthians 10:17 (margin) (a)
Lump, 1 Corinthians 5:7 (a)
Olive tree, Romans 11:17 (a)
Queen, Psalm 45:9 (b)
Rib, Genesis 2:21 (c)
Seed, Matthew 13:38 (a)
Sheep, John 10:11 (a)
Stones, 1 Peter 2:5 (a)
Temple, Ephesians 2:21 (a)
Virgin, 2 Corinthians 11:2 (a)
Wife, Revelation 21:9 (b)
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans
THE Archippus who is so remonstrated with in the Epistle to the Colossians concerning his neglected ministry, may very well have lived on to be the lukewarm angel of the Church in Laodicea. As a matter of fact, there is both internal and external evidence that the angel of the Church in Laodicea was none other than this same inculpated Archippus now grown old in his unfulfilled ministry. And if the external evidence had only been half as strong as the internal the identity of those two unhappy men would have been proved to demonstration. It is much more than a working hypothesis then, the assumption that this angel now open before us is none other than young Archippus at last grown grey in neglect of his work and in ignorance of himself. Archippus was still to all intents and purposes a young minister when this message was sent to him from the aged Apostle, "Say to Archippus, take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it." But instead of taking that timeous reproof to heart, Archippus had gone steadily down in his declension and decay till he had this last reproof addressed to him, and which has been a last reproof to so many ministers and their people since his day and down to our own day.
The English language has inherited one of its most contemptuous and denunciatory epithets from this Epistle to this lukewarm minister and his lukewarm church. We call a man a Laodicean. We have no other single word that so graphically describes a certain detestable type of human character. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." That is plain-spoken enough and in few words. But ever since this so scornful Epistle was written, all that, and more than all that, has been collected up into this one supremely scornful word,-thou art a Laodicean! And thus it is that to all time the angel of the Church in Laodicea will stand forth as the spiritual father of all such spiritual sons. Archippus will stand at the head of a long apostolic succession that has descended from his ancient diocese into all the churches: Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Independent. And this Epistle now open before us is a divinely fashioned looking-glass, as James the Lord's brother would have called it, in which all Laodicean ministers and people are intended to see themselves.
"Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." But Archippus with all his stark stupidity could never by any possibility have said that. He was not such an absolute idiot as actually to say that. No, not in so many words. No minister ever, out of Bedlam, said that in so many words. No. But at the same time by the very Scriptures he read and expounded to his people, as well as by the Scriptures he did not read; by the very psalms and hymns and spiritual songs he sang, and did not sing; but especially by his prayers, Archippus all his days sealed down his people in the same deadly ignorance in which he lay sealed down himself. And indeed it is just of this deadly ignorance of himself that his Master here so scornfully speaks. "Thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." On the margin of a copy of Thomas Adam' Private Thoughts now preserved among the treasures of the British Museum, Coleridge has written these pencilled lines: "For a great part of my life I did not know that I was poor, and naked, and blind, and miserable. And even after I did know that, I did not feel it aright. But I thank God I feel it now somewhat as it ought to be felt. Stand aside, my pride, and let me see that ugly sight, myself. I have been deceived all my life by sayings of philosophers, by scraps of poetry, but most of all by the pride of my own heart, into an opinion of self-power, which the Scriptures plainly tell me, and my repeated failures tell me, that I possess not. It is the design of the religion of Jesus Christ to change men's views, to change their lives, and to change their very tempers. Yes. But how? By the superior excellence of its precepts? By the weight of its exhortations, or by the promise of its rewards? No. But by convincing men of their wretchedness, and guilt, and blindness, and helplessness. By inculcating the necessity of the remission of sin, and the necessity of supernatural light and assistance, and by promising to the penitent sinner, and by actually conveying to him, these evangelical blessings." Well might Charles Lamb say, "Reader! lend thy books to S. T. C., for he will return them to thee with usury. He will enrich them with his annotations, and thus tripling their value. I have had experience, and I counsel thee. Shut not thy heart, nor thy library, against S. T. C."
Among all the terrible things here threatened against this miserable minister of Laodicea, his "nakedness," and "the shame of his nakedness," is surely the most terrible. There is nothing that is more terrible to the heart of man than shame. Shame and contempt, as a parallel passage in the Old Testament has it. Shame and contempt are far worse to face than death itself. When we speak of shame, in our shallow and superficial way we usually think of the shame of a naked body. But there is no real shame in that. When the Bible speaks of shame it is always of the infinitely more terrible shame of a naked soul. Take away the terrible shame of a naked soul and there is no shame at all in the nakedness of the body. But once strip a soul naked, and death is its only refuge and hell its only hiding-place. Take it home to yourselves and see. Suppose your innermost soul laid absolutely bare to us who are your friends and neighbours. Suppose your most secret thoughts about us told to us from the housetops. Suppose all your malicious thoughts about us told, and all your secret hatred of us, and all your envy of this man and that man, naming him, and for what. Suppose it, if you dare for one moment to suppose it, the whole bottomless pit of your evil heart laid bare. Now all that is the threatened case of this miserable creature here called an angel. Indeed his case is far worse than yours; unless, indeed, like him you are a minister. For he will have all the shame that you will have, and, over and above all that, being a minister he will have the special shame and the special contempt and the special revenge both of God and man to bear, and that, if the prophet is right, to everlasting. It is the awful forecast of all this to Archippus that makes his Master's heart to relent once more and to address to him this last-trumpet Epistle. "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." It was this same salvation offered to all such ministers as Archippus in the Old Testament, that made Micah exclaim at the end of his ministry. Who is a God like unto Thee!
And then there is this evangelical invitation to crown all. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me." This, I feel quite sure, is a reminiscence of what had often happened to Him who here speaks. For He was often that He had not where to lay His head. He was often that He had to stand at the door and knock. The parable of the friend at midnight was not so much a parable after all. He must often have been that poor and importunate man Himself. For if He hungered on His way to the city, much more must He have hungered and thirsted and been nigh unto fainting, on His way out of the city. And at such times of temptation, Satan would say to Him-'If thou be the Son of God, command these stones to become bread, and command the wayside streams to run with wine and milk.' But He would say to Satan-'Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips: I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.' And so saying He entered a certain village, and knocked at the door. And the man from within answered, "Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed, I cannot rise and let thee in." But in the next street there was a lamp still burning, and a voice from within answered, "Come in, Thou Blessed of the Lord." And they supped together that night. When you next think you hear His knock, rise off your seat, rise off your bed even, and open the door. Yes: go and actually open the door. Think to yourself that He is actually in the street, and is actually, and in the body, standing at your door. This is the sacrament night. And it will be a sacramental action to go and actually open your room door or your street door late and alone tonight. Imagine to yourself that you see Him dim in the darkness of the night. Put out your hand into the darkness. Lead Him in. Set a seat for Him. Ask Him when and where He broke His fast this morning. Ask Him where He has been all day, and going about and doing what good. Tell Him that you are sure He has not had time so much as to eat. And set the best in your house before Him, and He will come in and will sup with you, and you with Him. Believe and be sure that He is in this city tonight. Believe that and it will make you to be on the watch. Do not put off your coat, do not wash your feet, till you have opened the door to Him. Sit up for Him. Expect Him. Set your candle in your window. Have your door standing already ajar. And even if you should again and again be deceived and disappointed: even if again and again you should mistake some other sound in the street for His footstep, do not despair of His coming. Do not shut the door whatever you do. Far better a thousand such mistakes through overwatchfulness than to be dead asleep when at last He comes. And besides, who can tell, He may not have eaten a morsel or drunk a drop in all the city this day,-all these communion-tables notwithstanding. And would it not be wonderful if all the entertainment He is to get in this city this whole day still awaits Him in your house this night. And then there is this; whosoever or whatsoever you are, let nothing debar you from supping with Christ tonight. you may not have been at our table today. We lay down rules and restrictions as to who shall, and who shall not, sup with Him in this house. But, all the time, He is the Master, and He can lift off all our restrictions, even when they are quite right in us to lay them down, and He can and He will sup when and where and with whom He pleases. And these are His own undoubted words about this night that is yet before Him and before you and before us all. These words: "If any man hear My voice, and open the door,"-communicants, He means, or non-communicants; members or adherents; young or old; minister or elder; especially any minister. For as He stood that night at Archippus's door in Laodicea, so will He stand at all ministers' doors in Edinburgh this night. And, all the more, if they are all asleep, have you your lamp still burning on your window-sill for Him. And you will be able to tell us tomorrow how your heart burned as He supped with you and you with Him. For it was a proverb in Athens that they were always well in health, and full of all sweet affability all next day, who had supped last night with Plato.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Church
The history of the Church in the Apostolic Age may be treated under the following heads; (1) Sources, (2) Importance, (3) Name, (4) Origin, (5) Growth, (6) Conflict between Jewish and Gentile elements, (7) Character, (8) Relation to the State and other systems.
1. Sources.-Our sources of information are not nearly so full as we might wish, but some of them are excellent; and, although we are obliged to leave several important questions open, yet criticism enables us to secure solid and sure results. Our earliest sources are the Epistles of St. Paul, and the large majority of those which bear his name are now firmly established as his. Doubts still exist with regard to the Pastoral Epistles, but it is generally admitted that they contain portions which are by the Apostle, and at any rate they are evidence as to a period closely connected with his age. Hebrews, whoever wrote it, is evidence respecting a similar period. With the possible exception of 2 Peter, all the other Epistles and the Apocalypse are sources. More full of information than the Pauline Epistles, though later in date, is the Book of Acts, now firmly established as the work of St. Luke, the companion of St. Paul. Those who fully admit this differ considerably in their estimate of the value of Acts as a historical document, but the trend of criticism is in the direction of a high estimate rather than of a low one. Microscopic investigation and a number of recent discoveries show how accurate a writer St. Luke generally is. We have to lament tantalizing omissions much more often than to suspect serious inaccuracies. The Gospels give some help; for what they record explains many features in the Epistles and Acts.
Outside the NT, but within the 1st cent., we have the Epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians and the Epistle of Barnabas, one representing Gentile and the other Jewish Christianity. Within the first three decades of the 2nd cent., we have the writings of three men whose lives overlapped those of some of the Apostles-Ignatius, Polycarp, and Papias; and to the same period probably belongs the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve. Something of considerable value may also be obtained from two writers near the middle of the 2nd cent.-Hermas and Justin Martyr; and even so late as the last quarter of the cent. we can find apostolic traditions of great value in the writings of Irenaeus. From outside the Christian Church we have good material, especially respecting the great crisis of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, from the Jewish writer, Josephus; and also some important statements from the heathen writers, Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny, who were contemporary with Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp.
2. Importance.-The importance of the history of the Apostolic Church is very great, but it is sometimes misunderstood. The sources mentioned above tell us something about the beliefs, organization, and ritual of the first Christians; and they are all very simple. It is sometimes supposed that if we take these simple elements and close our eyes to later developments, we get the essence of Christianity, free from unessential forms, and that this constitutes the importance of the primitive Church. It is the model to which all Church reformers ought to look, with a view to restoring its simplicity. Two considerations show that this estimate is erroneous. Essence without form is unattainable. The Apostolic Church had forms which were the outcome of the conditions in which the Church existed. Some of those conditions changed very quickly, and the forms changed also. The restoration of the simplicity of the primitive forms will have little value or vitality unless we also restore the primitive conditions, and that is impossible. Secondly, the sources do not tell us the whole truth. On some important points we can obtain nothing better than degrees of probability because the evidence is so inadequate; on other points there is no evidence, and we have to fall back on pure conjecture. If it had been intended that all subsequent ages should take the Apostolic Church as a model, then we might reasonably expect that a complete description of it would have been preserved. A sketch which has to be gathered piecemeal from different sources, and which, when put together, is incomplete both in outline and in contents, cannot be made an authoritative example. ‘Christianity is not an archaeological puzzle’ (J. H. Ropes, Apostolic Age, London, 1906, p. 20).
Nevertheless, the importance of this age is real and great, (a) The spiritual essence of Christianity may be said to consist in the inner relation of each soul to God, to His Christ, and to His Spirit, and in the inner and outer relations of all believers to one another. In the first age of the Church this essence existed in such simple vigour that it gave reality and life to forms which had not yet had time to become mistaken for essentials. About the simplicity of these beginnings there is no doubt; it is an established fact; but that does not prove that this primitive simplicity is a binding authority for all ages. (b) This ago produced the NT-the group of writings which has had greater influence for good than any which the world has ever known: a group of writings which reflects the ideas and habits of that age and must be interpreted by a knowledge of those ideas and habits. (c) This age exhibits the first effects which the gospel produced upon Jew and Gentile-two very different soils, which might bear very different fruits. (d) It is the first stage in the complex development of the Church and the churches; and in order to understand that development, we must study its beginnings.
3. Name.-The name ‘Church’ is in itself strong evidence of the connexion between the Old Covenant and the New. In the OT, two different words are used to denote gatherings of the chosen people or their representatives-‘çdhâh (Revised Version ‘congregation’) and qâhâl (Revised Version ‘assembly’). In the Septuagint , συναγωγή is the usual translation of ‘çdhâh, while qâhâl is commonly rendered ἐκκλησία. Both qâhâl and ἐκκλησία by their derivation indicate calling or summoning to a place of meeting; but ‘there is no foundation for the widely spread notion that ἐκκλησία means a people or a number of individual men called out of the world or mankind’ (F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, London, 1897, p. 5). Qâhâl or ἐκκλησία is the more sacred term; it denotes the people in relation to Jahweh, especially in public worship. Perhaps for this very reason the less sacred term συναγωγή was more commonly used by the Jews in our Lord’s time, and probably influenced the first believers in adopting ἐκκλησία for Christian use. συναγωγή quickly went out of use for a Christian assembly (James 2:2), except in sects which were more Jewish than Christian. Owing to the growing hostility of the Jews, it came to indicate opposition to the Church (Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9). ἐκκλησία, therefore, at once suggests the new people of God, the new Israel.
We do not know who so happily adopted the word for Christian use. It is not impossible that Christ Himself may have used it, for He sometimes spoke Greek. He used it or its equivalent in a Christian sense (Matthew 16:18); but Matthew 18:17, though capable of being transferred to Christians, must at the time when it was spoken have meant a Jewish assembly. St. Paul probably found the word already in use, and outside the Gospels it is very frequent in the NT. We find three uses of the term: the general body of believers (Acts 5:11; Acts 9:31; Acts 12:1); the believers in a certain place (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:1); an assembly for public worship (1 Corinthians 11:18; 1 Corinthians 14:19; 1 Corinthians 14:35). It had already become a technical term with strongly religious associations, which were partly borrowed from a Jewish ideal, but had been so enriched and transfigured as to indicate a body that was entirely new. The Jewish idea of a chosen people in relation to God received a fuller meaning, and to this was added the idea of a chosen people in relation to the Incarnate and Risen Son of God and to the Spirit of God. ἐκκλησία is nowhere used of heathen religious assemblies.
4. Origin.-Whether or no the Christian community owes its name of ‘Church’ (ἐκκλησία) to Christ, beyond reasonable doubt it owes its origin to Him. It is a strange misreading of plain facts to elevate St. Paul into the founder of the Christian Church. The theory that in Christianity, as in some other religions, there was a gradual deification of the founder, continues to be advocated, but it will not bear serious investigation. If St. Paul originated Christianity, who originated St. Paul? What was it that turned Saul the persecutor of the Church into Paul the apostle of Jesus Christ? It was the indelible conviction that Jesus was the Messiah, and that He had risen from the dead and conversed with him on the road to Damascus, that converted and ever afterwards controlled St. Paul. The conviction that the Messiah had been crucified, and had risen, and was now the Lord in heaven, was reached very quickly and surely by large numbers, who had good opportunities of ascertaining the truth and staked everything on the result. This conviction was based upon the experiences of those who were quite certain that the Risen Christ had appeared to them and conversed with them. Those appearances were realities, however we may explain them; they are among those things which prove themselves by their otherwise inexplicable results; and the convictions which they produced remain undestroyed and indestructible. It was upon them that the Apostolic Church was built. From the Risen Christ it had received the amazing commission to go forth and conquer the world; about that there was no doubt among those who joyously undertook this stupendous work. The apostles must have known whether Christ intended them to form a Church; and their view of His intention is shown by the fact that, immediately after His withdrawal from their sight, they set to work to construct one. If the new religion was to conquer the world, it must be both individualistic and social; it must provide for communion between each soul and God, and also for communion between its adherents. In other words, there must be a Church. Christ showed how this was to be done. He was not content with being an itinerant teacher, preaching to casual audiences. He selected a few disciples and trained them to be His helpers and His successors. It is manifest that He intended them to found a society; for although He gave few rules for its organization, yet He instituted two rites, one for admission to it and one for its preservation (W. Hobhouse, The Church and the World [1], p. 17ff.). ‘An isolated Christian’ is a contradiction, for every Christian is a member of Christ’s Body. In reference to the world Christians are ‘saints’ (ἅγιοι); in reference to one another they are ‘brethren’; in reference to Christ they are ‘members.’ In the original constitution of the human body God placed differently endowed members, and He has done the same in the original constitution of the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28). Both are in origin Divine, the product of the creative action of Father, Son, and Spirit.
5. Growth.-The growth of the Apostolic Church was very rapid. The first missionary efforts of the original believers were confined to Jerusalem and its immediate neighbourhood, and the converts were Palestinian or Hellenistic Jews who were living or sojourning in or near the capital. At first the Hellenists were in a minority, but this soon ceased to be the case. Persecution caused flight from Jerusalem, and then missionary effort was extended to Jews of the Dispersion and to Gentiles. At Antioch in Syria the momentous change was made to a mixed congregation containing both Jews and Christians. Then what had seemed even to the Jews themselves to be a mere Jewish sect became a universal Church (Acts 11:19-26). As soon as it was seen that Judaism, in spite of all its OT glories, would never become a universal religion, missions to the heathen became a necessity. The first missionaries to the Gentiles, the men who took this momentous step of bringing the gospel to pagans, are for the most part unknown to us. Who won the first Gentile converts at Antioch? Who first took Christianity to Rome? Whoever they were, there had been a long and complex preparation for their work, which goes a considerable way towards explaining its success. This indeed was to be hoped for in accordance with Christ’s command (Matthew 28:18, Luke 24:47) and St. Peter’s Pentecostal promise ‘to all that are afar off’ (Acts 2:39); but we can see some of the details which helped fulfilment.
The only thing which adequately explains the great expansion of Christianity in the 1st cent. is the fact of its Divine origin; but there were a number of causes which favoured its spread and more than counteracted the active opposition and other difficulties with which it had to contend.
(a) The dispersion of the Jews in civilized countries secured a knowledge of monotheism and a sound moral code.
(b) Roman law had become almost co-extensive with the civilized world. Tribal and national ideas, often irrational and debasing, had given place to principles of natural right and justice, Roman law, like the Mosaic Law, was a παιδαγωγός to lead men to Christ.
(c) The splendid organization of the Roman Empire gave great facilities for travel and correspondence.
(d) The dissolution of nationalities by Roman conquests prepared men’s minds for a religion which was not national but universal; and it is not impossible, in spite of the horror which the writer of the Apocalypse exhibits towards the worship of the Emperor, that that worship, which was nominally universal, sometimes prepared people for a worship of the Power to which they owed existence, and not merely fitful security and peace.
(e) The Macedonian conquest had made men familiar with a type of civilization which seemed to be adaptable to the whole world, and had supplied a language which was still more adaptable. Greek was everywhere spoken in large towns, and in them converts were most likely to be found. Through the Septuagint , Greek was a Jewish as well as a pagan instrument of thought, and had become very flexible and simple, capable of expressing new ideas, and yet easily intelligible to plain men. Greek was the language of culture and of commerce even in Rome. It was also the sacred language of the world-wide worship of Isis. Hardly at any other period has the civilized world had a nearer approach to a universal language. The retention of a Greek liturgy in the Church of Rome for two centuries was due partly to the fact that the first missionaries taught in Greek and that the Greek Bible was used; partly to the desire to preserve the unity of the Church throughout the Empire. Its abandonment by the Roman Church prepared the way for the estrangement between East and West.
(f) There was a wide-spread sense of moral corruption and spiritual need. ‘A great religious longing swept over the length and breadth of the empire. The scepticism of the age of enlightenment had become bankrupt’ (E. v. Dobschütz, Apostol. Age, Eng. translation , London, 1909, p. 39). The prevalent religions and philosophies had stimulated longings which they could not satisfy. Speculations about conscience, sin, and judgment to come, about the efficacy of sacrifices, and the possibility of forgiveness and of life after death, had prepared men for what Christianity had to offer. Even if the gospel had not been given, some religious change would have come. The gospel often awakened spiritual aspirations; more often it found them awake and satisfied them. It satisfied them because it possessed the characteristics of a universal religion-incomparable sublimity of doctrine, inexhaustible adaptability, and an origin that was recognizable as Divine. The Jew might be won by the conviction that the law was transfigured in the gospel and that prophecy was fulfilled in Christ and His Church. St. Peter began his Pentecostal address to the assembled Jews by pointing out that the outpouring of the Spirit was a fulfilment of Jewish prophecy (Joel 2:28-31) and an inauguration of ‘the last days,’ which were to precede the coming of the Messiah in glory. But to the Gentile these considerations were not impressive. The great pagan world had to be won by the actual contents of Christianity, which were seen to be better than those of any religion that the world had thus far known. They were not only new, but ‘with authority’; and they stood the test of experience by bearing the wear and tear of life. Christianity was at once a mirror and a ‘mystery’; it reflected life so clearly and it suggested something much higher. It was a marvel of simplicity and richness. It was so plain that it could be told in a few words which might change the whole life. It was so varied and subtle that it could tax all the intellectual powers and excite the strongest feelings.
When the proconsul Saturninus said to the Scillitan Martyrs, ‘we also are religious people, and our religion is simple,’ one of the Christians, replied, ‘If you will grant me a quiet hearing, I will tell you the mystery of simplicity’ (Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs [2]; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:7).
The number of Christians at the close of the 1st cent. is very uncertain. We read of a good many centres throughout the Empire; but we know little about the size of each of these local churches. In some the numbers were probably small. In Palestine they were numerous (Acts 21:20).
(g) The zeal and ability of the first missionaries were very great. We know the names of comparatively few of them, but we know some of the results of their work. The extension of the Church in the 2nd cent. is proof of the good work done in the 1st. In accordance with Christ’s directions (Mark 6:7; cf. Luke 10:1), these missionaries commonly worked in pairs (H. Latham, Pastor Pastorum, Cambridge, 1890, p. 296f.). St. Paul as a general rule had one companion, and probably seldom more; and his ability in planning missions is conspicuous. He selected Roman colonies, whore, as a Roman citizen, he would have rights, and where he would be likely to find Jews, and men of other religions, trading under the protection of Rome. A synagogue was at first the usual starting-point for a Christian mission. But very soon the Jews became too hostile; so far from listening to the preachers, they stirred up the heathen against them (T. R. Glover, The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire, London, 1909, ch. vi.).
It is impossible to say which of the forces which characterized Christianity contributed most to its success: its preaching of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, its lofty monotheism, its hope of immortality, its doctrine of the forgiveness of sins, its practical benevolence, its inward cohesion and unity. Each of these told, and we may be sure that their combined effect was great.
6. Conflict between Jewish and Gentile elements.-It is remarkable how soon this conflict in the Apostolic Church began. Not long after Christianity was born, it was severed from the nation which gave it birth, and, since the final destruction of Jerusalem, it has only in rare cases found a secure hold on Jewish soil. But it is not a just statement of the case to say that the Gentile Church first stripped Judaism of everything, the Scriptures included, and then left it by the wayside half dead; or that the daughter first robbed her mother, and then repudiated her. That is an inversion of the truth; it was the mother who drove out the daughter and then persistently blackened her character. As to the Scriptures, there has been no robbery, for both have possessed them. But the daughter has put them to far better account and has increased their value tenfold. Christianity did not come forward at first as a new religion aiming at ousting the Jews. Its Founder was the Jewish Messiah, the fulfilment of OT prophecies. It was the Jews who forced the opposition. The relation of Judaism to Christianity was, almost from the first, a hostile one. And, as it was the energetic Jew of Tarsus who led the first persecution of the Christians, so it was the Apostle of the Gentiles who caused the final separation of the Church from the Synagogue. In the Fourth Gospel, ‘the Jews’ are the opponents of the Christ. In the Apocalypse, they are ‘the synagogue of Satan’ (Revelation 2:9; Revelation 3:9; cf. Didache, 8). Barnabas goes still further: the Jews have never been in covenant with God (iv. 6-9, xiv. 1); the Jews are the sinners (xii. 10). Judaism is obsolete: the Christian Church has taken its place and succeeded to all its privileges, Hence the lofty enthusiasm of the first Christians, whose language often assumes a rhythmic strain when the Church is spoken of (Ephesians 4:4, Colossians 1:18, 1 Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 12:22, 1 Peter 2:9, Matthew 16:18). It was through the Christian Church that God filled the world with His Spirit; to it belonged the glorious future and the final triumph; for by it the religion of an exclusive nation had been transformed into a religion for the whole world.
It was inevitable that the Jews should resent such claims on the part of Christians, and especially of Gentile Christians; and the resentment became furious hostility when they saw the rapidity with which Christians made converts as compared with their own slowness in making proselytes here and there. Until the Maccabaean princes used force, not many had been made. Since then, religious aspirations had combined with interested motives to bring adherents to Judaism, and it was from these more serious proselytes that the Christian missionaries obtained much help. Under their roof both Jews and Gentiles could meet to hear the word of God (Acts 18:7). Christianity could offer to a dissatisfied and earnest pagan all that Judaism could offer and a great deal more. Such inquirers after truth now ceased to seek admission to the Synagogue and joined the Church, and the downfall of Jerusalem accelerated this chance. The Jewish war of a.d. 66-70 was regarded by the Christians as a judgment for the murder of the Messiah, and also for the more recent murder in 62 of the Messiah’s brother, James the Just. That catastrophe destroyed both the centre of Jewish worship and also the Jews themselves as a nation. The loss of the Temple was to some extent mitigated by the system of synagogues, which had long been established. But that destruction, both in its immediate effect and in its far-reaching consequences, marks a crisis which has few parallels in history. Christianity felt both. The destruction of Jerusalem left the Gentile Churches, and especially the Church of Rome, without a rival, for the Jewish Church of Jerusalem sank into obscurity, and never recovered; nor did any other community of Jewish Christiana take its place. When a Christian community arose once more in the restored Jerusalem, it was a Gentile Church. Jewish Christianity was far on the road towards extinction. The Judaizing Christians persisted in regarding Judaism as the Divinely appointed universal religion, of which Christianity was only a special offshoot endowed with new powers. The Pauline view involved the hateful admission that the OT dispensation was relative and transitory. The Judaizers could not see that Christianity, although founded on the OT and realizing an OT ideal which had been seen but not reached by the prophets, was now independent of Judaism. Judaizing was a passing malady in the life of the Church, and had little influence on ecclesiastical development. The Judaizing Christians either gave up their Judaism or ceased to be Christian.
The Tübingen theory that the leading fact in the Apostolic Church was a struggle between St. Paul and the Twelve has been illuminating, but closer study of the evidence has shown that it is untenable. There were some differences, but there was no hostility, between St. Paul and the Twelve. The hostility was between St. Paul and the Judaizers, who claimed to represent the Twelve. It is possible that some of these Judaizing teachers had seen Christ during His ministry, and therefore said that they had a better right to the title of ‘apostle’ than he had. In the mis-called ‘Apostolic Council’ at Jerusalem, which was really a conference of apostles, elder brethren, and the whole Church of Jerusalem (Acts 15:6; Acts 15:12; Acts 15:22-23), there was no conflict between the Twelve and St. Paul. St. Paul’s rebuke to St. Peter at Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14) is no evidence of a difference of principle between them. St. Peter is blamed, not for having erroneous convictions, but for being unfaithful to true ones. He and St. Paul were entirely agreed that there was no need to make Gentile converts conform to the Mosaic Law; but St. Peter had been willing to make unworthy concessions to the prejudices of Jewish converts who were fresh from headquarters, by ceasing to eat with Gentile converts. He had perhaps argued that, as it was impossible to please both parties, it was better, for the moment, to keep on good terms with people from Jerusalem. He temporized in order to please the Judaizers.
‘But what it amounted to was that multitudes of baptized Gentile Christians, hitherto treated on terms of perfect equality, were now to be practically exhibited as unfit company for the circumcised Apostles of the Lord who died for them.… Such conduct, though in form it was not an expulsion of the Gentile converts, but only a self-withdrawal from their company, was in effect a summons to them to become Jews if they wished to remain in the fullest sense Christians. St. Paul does not tell us how the dispute ended: but he continued on excellent terms with the Jerusalem Apostles’ (F. J. A. Hort. Judaistic Christianity, Cambridge, 1894, pp. 78, 79).
The leading facts in the history of the Apostolic Church are-the freedom won for Gentile converts, the consequent expansion of Christianity and Christendom, and the transfer of the Christian centre from Palestine to Europe. When the Apostolic Age began, the Church was overwhelmingly Jewish; before it ended, the Church was overwhelmingly Gentile. Owing mainly to the influence of St. Paul-‘a Hebrew of Hebrews’-whose Jewish birth and training moulded his thoughts and language, but never induced him to sacrifice the freedom of the gospel to the bondage of the law, the break with Judaism became absolute, and, as Gentile converts increased, the restrictions of Judaism were almost forgotten. The Judaizing Christians, especially after the second destruction of Jerusalem under Hadrian, drew further and further away from the Church, and ceased to influence its development.
7. Character.-The character of the Apostolic Church is not one that can be sketched in a few strokes. Simple as it was in form, it had varied and delicate characteristics. By its foundation in Jerusalem, which even the heathen regarded as no mean city, Christianity became, what it continued to be in the main for some centuries, a city-religion, a religion nearly all the adherents of which lived in large centres of population. It was in such centres that the first missionaries worked. For eighteen years or more (Galatians 1:18; Galatians 2:1) Jerusalem continued to be the headquarters of at least some of the Twelve; but even before the conversion of St. Paul there were Christians at Samaria (Acts 8:14), Damascus (9:19), and Antioch (11:20), which soon eclipsed Jerusalem as the Christian metropolis.
It has been pointed out already that the Church is necessarily social in character; and it resembles other societies, especially those which have a political or moral aim, in requiring self-denying loyalty from its members. But it differs from other societies in claiming to be universal. The morality which it inculcates is not for any one nation or class, but for the whole of mankind. In the very small amount of legislation which Christ promulgated, He made it quite clear that in the Kingdom social interests are to prevail rather than private interests; and also that all men have a right to enter the society and ought to be invited to join it. The Church, therefore, is a commonwealth open to all the world. Every human being may find a place in it; and all those who belong to it will find that they have ent
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church in Sardis
THEMISTOCLES, Plutarch tells us, could not get to sleep at night so loud was all Athens in the praises of Miltiades. And the ministers of the other six churches in Asia were like Themistocles in the matter of their sleep, so full were all their people's mouths of the name and the renown of the minister of Sardis. When he went to the communion-seasons at Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamos and Thyatira, for years after the captivated people could tell you his texts and at every mention of his name they would break out about his preaching. His appearance, his voice, his delivery, his earnestness and impressiveness, and his memorable sayings, all contributed to make the name of the minister of Sardis absolutely a household word up and down the whole presbytery. Now it was after some great success of that pulpit kind; it was immediately on the back of some extravagant outburst of his popularity as a preacher, that his Master could keep silence no longer toward the minister of Sardis. In anger at him, as also at those who so puffed him up; both in anger and in love and in pity, his Master sent to His inflated servant this plain-spoken message and most solemn warning. 'Thou hast a great name among short-sighted men. Thou hast much praise before men, but not before God. All men think well of thee, but not God. All thy great sermons are so much sounding brass before God. And what is not already spiritually dead in thee is ready to die, and will soon be for ever dead, unless thou dost become a new manner of minister, not before men, but before God.'
"Of all men in the world," says James Durham, "ministers are most obnoxious to this tentation of vanity. And that because most of their appearances are before men, and that in the exercise of some gift of the mind which is supposed to hold forth the inward worth of a man more than any other gift. Now when this meeteth with applause, that applause has a great subtility in its pleasing and tickling of them, and is so ready to incline them to rest satisfied with that applause." Durham is right in that. For praise and popularity is the most dangerous of all drugs to a minister. Dose a minister sufficiently with praise, and you will soon drown his soul in perdition, if God does not interpose to save him. He is as happy as a king all that day after a sufficient draught of your soul-intoxicating praise. He is actually a sanctified and a holy man all the rest of that day. His face shines on all the men he meets all that day. He loves all the men he meets. He even walks with God all that day. But you must give him his dram again on his awaking tomorrow morning, else as soon as he has slept off his debauch he will be a worse man and more ill to live with than he was before. To him who lives on praise all the world is as dark as midnight and as cold as mid-winter to him when he cannot get his praise. The wings of an angel sprout in his soul as long as he gets enough praise, but he is as good as in his grave when he opens his mouth wide and you do not fill it. It is true that is a very weak mind which values itself according to the opinion and the applause of other men. But then it is well known that God chooses the weakest of men to make them His ministers. For many reasons He does that, some of which reasons of His all His ministers know, and some of which reasons the wisest of them have not yet found out. "It were vain," says one of the wisest of ministers, "to pretend that I do not feel in me that mean passion that can be elated by applause, and mortified by the contrary; but there is nothing under heaven that I more sincerely and totally despise, and nothing which ever makes me so emphatically despise myself. I feel it infinitely despicable at the very moment the passion for praise is excited, and I hope by degrees, as time goes on, to be substantially delivered from it. I have a thousand times been astonished that this mean passion of mine should not have been completely extirpated by the sincere and deliberate contempt I have long entertained for human opinion. Opinion, I do not mean, as regarding myself, but as regarding any other person, or any other book. To seek the praise that comes from God only, is the true nobleness of character; and if a due solicitude to obtain this praise were thoroughly established in the soul, all human notice would sink into insignificance, and would vanish from our regard." By the end of his ministry the angel of Sardis will subscribe to every syllable of John Foster. But he is a long way from that as yet, and he will need to have some plain words told him about himself, and about his ministry, before he comes to that.
For one thing, admitting and allowing for all the good work His servant did, I have found it far from perfect, his Lord says. But perfection in the work of the ministry at Sardis or anywhere else is quite impossible; and thus it is that when we look closer into our Lord's words we find that it was not so much absolute perfection that his Master demanded, as ordinary honesty, integrity, and fidelity. What He really said was this, 'I have not found thy work at all filled up on its secret and spiritual and God-ward side. On its intellectual and manward side I have nothing to complain about-but not before God.' You see the state of the case yourselves. No man can long command pulpit popularity without hard work. And it is not denied that this minister paid for his popularity with very hard work. He was a student. He took off his coat to his sermons. He wrote them over and over again till he got them polished to perfection. And his crowds of polished people were his reward. But while doing so much of that kind, and no man in all Asia doing it half so well, at the same time he left a whole world of other things not done. Milton did all his work from his youth up under his great Taskmaster's eye. And so did the minister of Sardis. Only his taskmaster was the great crowds that hung on his elaborated orations. Take away the eyes and the ears of those captivated crowds and this thrilling preacher was as good as dead. "Dead," indeed, is the very word that his Master here so bitterly charges home upon him. "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." His preaching was all right. None of his neighbour ministers, not the most accepted of God and the most praised of God of them all, could preach half so well. His preaching was perfect; but his motives in it, his aims and his ends in it, the sources from which he drew his pulpit inspiration, his secret prayers both before his sermons were begun, and all the time they were under his hand, and while they were being delivered, and still more after they were delivered,-in all these things,-"thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." 'Be watchful, and strengthen these things,' said his Master to him. 'It is good to study, only strengthen it with much faith and with much prayer before God. It is good to give thyself to reading, only read and write in the presence of God. It is good to bring up thy very choicest work to these great congregations of thine, only seek their salvation in every sentence of thy great sermons. It is good to take captive with thy wonderful eloquence the attention and the admiration of these crowds, only do so in order to take their hearts captive, not to thyself as heretofore, but to Me henceforth. Strengthen, I say unto thee, the things that remain and are ready to die. And above all else, and with a view to all else, and as a means to all else, strengthen thy closet-prayer before God. Strengthen it in the length of it, and in the breadth of it, and in the depth of it, and in the height of it. Strengthen it in the time you take to it, in the intensity you put into it, and in the way you work it up into your sermons, both in their composition, and in their delivery, and in the way you continue to wait and to pray after your sermons; to wait, that is, not for the applause of the hearers, but for their profit and My praise.'
And his heart-searching Master still proceeds with His pastoral counsels to this minister of His, very unwilling to give him over to the decay of soul into which he has fallen. "Remember how thou hast received, and heard, and hold fast, and repent." As if He were to say to some such minister among ourselves-'Remember thy conversion, and the spirit of truth and love that was instilled into thee, and that made thee turn into this ministry of Mine. Remember thy college days, and the high hopes and generous vows made to Me in those days. Remember also how I delivered thee when in thy deep distresses thou didst call on Me, and what communings and confidences used to go on between us. Remember thy ordination day, and the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, and the way thy heart swelled within thee as they pronounced and enrolled thee a minister of Mine.' Yes, even to call such things to remembrance, my brethren, will work together with the seven Spirits that are in Christ's right hand, and with many other things, to set a fallen-down minister on his feet again, and to give him a new start even after he is as good as dead and deposed in the sight of God. Ay, such remembering and such repenting will yet save this all but lost minister of Sardis, and it will save some ministers among ourselves who are quite as far gone as he was. And as he was saved through this Epistle, so will they; and like him they will yet receive the heavenly reward that is here held out to us all by Him who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.
The last thing of the nature of a threat that is addressed to the minister of Sardis is this, "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." There is a certain note of terror in that warning which is here addressed to all ministers, the most watchful, the most prayerful before God, and the best. And yet, no; for perfect love casteth out all such terror; perfect love to Christ, and to His work, and to His coming, delivers them who through fear of His coming have all their days been subject to terror. If I love you, you cannot come too soon to me. And the more unexpected your coming is to my door the more welcome will you be to me. If I am watching and counting and keeping the hours till you come, you cannot come on me as a thief. Christ could not come on Teresa as a thief as long as she clapped her hands for His coming every time her clock struck. He cannot come too soon for me if I am always saying to myself,-why tarry the wheels of His chariot? If my last thought before I sleep is about you I will be glad to see your face and hear your voice the first thing in the morning. When I awake I am still with Thee. The name of that chamber was Peace, and its window opened to the east. And every night after he received and read this Epistle, the minister of Sardis always slept in that chamber till the sun-rising.
And now that the tide is beginning to turn in this Epistle, and in this minister's heart and life, this so unexpected word of encouragement and comfort is spoken to him, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments: and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy." It was with the minister of Sardis somewhat as it was with Thomas Scott when he was first awaking to his proper work. Scott in his youth had been ambitious to be an author, but he was now beginning to see that preaching was second to nothing on the face of God's earth; and that it had praise of God as nothing else had when it was well done. Scott's preaching was not yet well done by a long way, but it was far better than it once was. And one of the best proofs of its improvement was this, that his parishioners began to come to ask guidance from him in the things of their souls. But at that stage Scott had put all he know into his sermons and he had little to add as pastoral counsel to his inquiring parishioners. And it would be something like that in Sardis. Some of his people had somehow been kept in life all through their minister's declension and death. There is nothing more surprising and touching than to see how a tree will sometimes cling round a rock and will suck sap and strength out of a cairn of stones. "How do you manage to keep yourself alive, then?" I asked an old saint who is in a case not unlike those few names in Sardis. "O," she said, "I have an odd volume of Spurgeon's Sermons, and I have a son at the front." I did not ask her, but I suppose she meant that the thought of her son in his constant danger made her life of intercessory prayer in his behalf perfect before God, and all Spurgeon's readers will bear her out about his sermons. Even in Sardis, their sons in constant peril, and a volume of some first-century Spurgeon, kept alive those few names all those years that their minister was dead.
And then to put the copestone on this far-shining case of a minister's recovery, and to send him back to his work till, like his much-tried neighbour in Thyatira, his last years should be far better than his first, this splendid seal was set on his second conversion-"to him that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment: and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels." It will be on that day to the minister of Sardis like that great day when Joshua stood before the angel of the Lord and Satan stood at his right hand to resist him. Satan will resist him and will tell to his face how he sought his own things in the early days of his ministry and not the things of his people or of his Master. How he swelled with vanity in the day of his vanity. How his own name was in every thought of his and nothing else but his own name. Only let his name be blazoned abroad, Satan will say, and he was happy and all about him were happy. And so on, till Christ will stop the accuser's mouth, and will confess His servant's name. The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee; is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.
Whyte's Dictionary of Bible Characters - the Angel of the Church of Ephesus
YOU are not to think of an angel with six wings. This is neither a Michael nor a Gabriel. I cannot give you this man's name, but you may safely take it that he was simply one of the oldest of the office-bearers of Ephesus. No, he was no angel. He was just a chosen and faithful elder who had begun by being a deacon and who had purchased to himself a good degree, like any one of yourselves. Only, by reason of his great age and his spotless character and his outstanding services, he had by this time risen till he was now at the head of what we would call the kirk-session of Ephesus. By universal acclamation he was now the "president of their company, and the moderator of their actions," as Dr. John Rainoldes has it. This angel, so to call him, had grown grey in his eldership and he was beginning to feel that the day could not now be very far distant when he would be able to lay down his office for ever. At the same time, it looked to him but like yesterday when he had heard the prince of the apostles saying to him those never-to-be-forgotten words-"Take heed to thyself, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made thee an overseer, to feed the flock of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." And, with many mistakes, and with many shortcomings, this ruling and teaching elder of Ephesus has not been wholly unmindful of his ordination vows. In short, this so-called angel of the Church of Ephesus was no more an actual angel than I am. A real angel is an angel. And we cannot attain to a real angel's nature, or to his office, so as to describe such an angel aright. But we understand this Ephesus elder's nature and office quite well. We see his very same office every day among ourselves. For his office was just to feed the flock of God, as Paul has it. And again, as James has it, his office was just to visit the widows and orphans of Ephesus in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world of Ephesus. And he who has been elected of God to such an office as that in Ephesus, or in Edinburgh, or anywhere else, has no need to envy the most shining angel in all the seven heavens. For the most far-shining angel in the seventh heaven itself desires to look down into the pulpit and the pastorate of the humblest and obscurest minister in the Church of Christ. And that because he knows quite well that there is nothing for him to do in the whole of heaven for one moment to be compared with the daily round on this earth of a minister, or an elder, or a deacon, or a collector, or a Sabbath-school teacher.
Now, there is nothing so sweet, either among angels or among men, as to be appreciated and praised. To be appreciated and praised is the wine that maketh glad the heart of God and man. And the heart of the old minister of Ephesus was made so glad when he began to read this Epistle that he almost died with delight. And then as His all-seeing and all-rewarding way always is, His Lord descended to instances and particulars in His appreciation and praise of His servant. 'I know thy works. I chose thee. I gave thee all thy talents. I elected thee to thy charge in Ephesus. I ordained thee to that charge, and my right hand hath held thee up in it. Thou hast never been out of my mind or out of my eye or out of my hand for a moment. I have seen all thy work as thou wentest about doing it for me. It is all written before me in my book. All thy tears also are in my bottle.'
We have an old-fashioned English word that exactly sets forth what our Lord says next to the angel of Ephesus. 'I know all thy painfulness also,' He says. It is a most excellent expression for our Master's purpose. No other language has produced so many painful ministers as the English language, and no other language can so well describe them. For just what does this painfulness mean? It means all that is left behind for us to fill up of His own painful sufferings. It means all that tribulation through which every true minister of His goes up. It means cutting off now a right hand and plucking out now a right eye. It means taking up some ministerial cross every day. It means drinking every day the cup of the sinfulness of sin. It means to me old Thomas Shepard more than any other minister that I know. "Labour," as our bloodless version has it is a far too dry, a far too wooden, and a far too tearless, word, for our Lord to employ toward such servants of His. Depend upon it He will not content Himself with saying "labour" only. He will select and will distinguish His words on that day. And to all who among ourselves have preached and prayed and have examined themselves in and after their preaching and praying, as it would seem that this angel at one time did, and as Thomas Shepard always did, their Master will signalise and appreciate and praise their "painfulness" in their own so expressive old English, and they will appreciate and appropriate His so suitable word and will appreciate and praise Him back again for it.
His patience is another of the praises that his Master gives to this once happy minister. I do not suppose that the angel of Ephesus counted himself a specially happy man when, all unthought of to himself, he was laying up in heaven all this eulogium upon himself and upon his patience. But all the more, with such a suffering servant, his Master held Himself bound to take special knowledge of all that went on in the Church of Ephesus. And to this day and among all our so altered circumstances, patience continues to take a foremost place in the heart and in all the ministry of every successor of the true apostleship. Nay, patience was not only an apostolic grace, it was much more a Messianic grace. Patience was one of the most outstanding and far-shining graces of our Lord Himself as long as He was by far the most sorely tried of all His ministers. And He has all men and all things in His hands to this day that He may so order all men and all things as that all His ministers shall be put to this school all their days, as He was put all His days by His Father. The whole of every minister's lot and life is divinely ordained him so as to win for him his crown of patience, if he will only listen and believe it. "I know all thy patience," said our Lord to the angel of Ephesus.
I do not the least know who or what the Nicolaitans of Ephesus were, and no one that I have consulted is any wiser than I am, unless it is Pascal. And Pascal says that their name is equivocal. When that great genius and great saint comes upon the Nicolaitans in these Epistles, he has an original way of interpretation all his own. He always interprets this name, so he tells us, of his own bad passions. And not the Nicolaitans of Ephesus only; but the Egyptians, and the Babylonians, and as often as the name of any "enemy" occurs in the Old Testament, and it occurs in the Psalms continually, that so great and so original man interprets and translates them all into his own sinful thoughts and sinful feelings and sinful words and sinful actions. That is I fear a far too mystical and equivocal interpretation for the most of us as yet. To call the Nicolaitans of Ephesus our own wicked hearts, is far too Port-Royal and puritan for such literalists as we are. Only, as one can see, the minister of Ephesus would be swept into the deepest places, and into the most spiritual experiences, both of mysticism and of puritanism before their time, as often as he set himself, as he must surely have henceforth set himself every day of his life, to hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, whoever they were, and at the same time to love the Nicolaitans themselves. To a neighbour minister in the same Synod our Lord sends a special message about the sharp sword with the two edges. And it would need all the sharpness of that sword and all its edges to divide asunder the deeds of the Nicolaitans from the Nicolaitans themselves in their minister's heart. To divide them, that is, so as to hate their evil deeds with a perfect hatred, and at the same time to love the doers of those deeds with a perfect love. The name Nicolaitan is equivocal, says Pascal.
A litotes is a rhetorical device by means of which far less is said than is intended to be understood. A true litotes has this intention and this result that while, in words, it diminishes what is actually said, in reality, it greatly increases the effect of what is said. What could be a more condemning charge against any minister of Christ than to tell him in plain words that he had left his first love to his Master and to his Master's work? And yet, just by the peculiar way in which that charge is here worded, a far more sudden blow is dealt to this minister's heart than if the charge had been made in the plainest and sternest terms. To say "nevertheless I have somewhat against thee" to say "somewhat," as if it were some very small matter, and scarcely worth mentioning, and then suddenly to say what it is, that, you may depend upon it, gave a shock of horror to that minister's heart that he did not soon get over. You would have thought such a minister impossible. Had you heard his praise so generously spread abroad at first both by God and man you would have felt absolutely sure of that minister's spiritual prosperity and praise to the very end. You would have felt as sure as sure could be that behind all that so immense activity and popularity there must lie hidden a heart as full as it could hold of the deepest and solidest peace with God; a peace, you would have felt sure, without a speck upon it, and with no controversy on Christ's part within a thousand miles of it. But the ministerial heart is deceitful above all other men's hearts. And these shocking revelations about this much-lauded minister have been recorded and preserved in order that all ministers may see themselves in them as in a glass. Now, there is not one moment's doubt about when and where all this terrible declension and decay began to set in. His Master does not say in as many words just when and where matters began to go wrong between them two. But that silence of His is just another of His rhetorical devices. He does not tell it from the housetops of Ephesus, as yet. But the minister of Ephesus knew quite well, both when and where his first love began to fail and he to fall away. He knew quite well without his Master's message about it, that all this declension and collapse began in the time and at the place of secret prayer. For, not this Ephesus minister only, but every minister everywhere continues to love his Master and his Master's work, ay, and his Master's enemies, exactly in the measure of his secret reading of Holy Scripture and his secret prayerfulness. Yes, without being told it in as many words I am as sure of it as if I had been that metropolitan minister myself. You may depend upon it; nay, you know it yourselves quite well, that it was his habitual and long-continued neglect of secret prayer. It was from that declension and decay that his ministry became so undermined and had come now so near a great catastrophe. 'With all my past praise of thee, I give thee this warning,' said that Voice which is as the sound of many waters, 'that unless thou returnest to thy first life of closet communion with Me, I will come to thee quickly and will remove thy candlestick out of its place. I gave thee that congregation when I might have given it to another. And I have upheld thee in it, and have delivered thee out of a thousand distresses of thine. But thou hast wearied of me. Thou hast given thy night watches to other things than a true minister's meditation and prayer for himself and for his people. And I will suffer it at thy hands no longer. Remember from whence thou hast fallen, and repent, and do the first works.'
And now with all that in closing take this as the secret prayer of the angel of Ephesus the very first night after this severe message was delivered to him. 'O Thou that holdest the stars in Thy right hand, and walkest in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Thou hast spoken in Thy mercy to me. And thou hast given me an ear to hear Thy merciful words toward me. Lord, I repent. At Thy call I repent. I repent of many things in my ministry in Ephesus. But of nothing so much as of my restraint of secret prayer. This has been my besetting sin. This has been the worm at the root of all my mistakes and misfortunes in my ministry. This has been my blame. O spare me according to Thy word. O suffer me a little longer that I may yet serve Thee. What profit is there in my blood? Shall the dead hold communion with Thee? Shall the grave of a castaway minister redound honour to Thee? Restore Thou my soul. Restore once more to me the joy of Thy salvation, then will I teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners shall be converted to Thee. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. Do good in Thy good pleasure unto Zion; build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.'
Webster's Dictionary - Eastern Church
That portion of the Christian church which prevails in the countries once comprised in the Eastern Roman Empire and the countries converted to Christianity by missionaries from them. Its full official title is The Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Eastern Church. It became estranged from the Western, or Roman, Church over the question of papal supremacy and the doctrine of the filioque, and a separation, begun in the latter part of the 9th century, became final in 1054. The Eastern Church consists of twelve (thirteen if the Bulgarian Church be included) mutually independent churches (including among these the Hellenic Church, or Church of Greece, and the Russian Church), using the vernacular (or some ancient form of it) in divine service and varying in many points of detail, but standing in full communion with each other and united as equals in a great federation. The highest five authorities are the patriarch of Constantinople, or ecumenical patriarch (whose position is not one of supremacy, but of precedence), the patriarch of Alexandria, the patriarch of Jerusalem, the patriarch of Antioch, and the Holy Synod of Russia. The Eastern Church accepts the first seven ecumenical councils (and is hence styled only schismatic, not heretical, by the Roman Catholic Church), has as its creed the Niceno-Constantinopolitan (without the later addition of the filioque, which, with the doctrine it represents, the church decisively rejects), baptizes infants with trine immersion, makes confirmation follow immediately upon baptism, administers the Communion in both kinds (using leavened bread) and to infants as well as adults, permits its secular clergy to marry before ordination and to keep their wives afterward, but not to marry a second time, selects its bishops from the monastic clergy only, recognizes the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon as the three necessary degrees of orders, venerates relics and icons, and has an elaborate ritual.
King James Dictionary - Church
CHURCH, n.
1. A house consecrated to the worship of God, among Christians the Lords house. This seems to be the original meaning of the word. The Greek, to call out or call together, denotes an assembly or collection. But, Lord, a term applied by the early Christians to Jesus Christ and the house in which they worshipped was named from the title. So church goods, bona ecclesiastica the Lords day, dies dominica. 2. The collective body of Christians, or of those who profess to believe in Christ, and acknowledge him to be the Savior of mankind. In this sense, the church is sometimes called the Catholic or Universal Church. 3. A particular number of christens, united under one form of ecclesiastical government, in one creed, and using the same ritual and ceremonies as the English church the Gallican church the Presbyterian church the Romish church the Greek church. 4. The followers of Christ in a particular city or province as the church of Ephesus, or of Antioch. 5. The disciples of Christ assembled for worship in a particular place, as in a private house. Colossians 4 . 6. The worshipers of Jehovah or the true God, before the advent of Christ as the Jewish church. 7. The body of clergy, or ecclesiastics, in distinction from the laity. Hence, ecclesiastical authority. 8. An assembly of sacred rulers convened in Christs name to execute his laws. 9. The collective body of Christians, who have made a public profession of the Christian religion, and who are untied under the same pastor in distinction from those who belong to the same parish, or ecclesiastical society, but have made no profession of their faith. CHURCH, To perform with any one the office of returning thanks in the church, after any signal deliverance, as from the dangers of childbirth.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - High Church Party
Members of the Church of England who stress the authority and claims of the episcopacy and priesthood, maintain a sacerdotal view of the Sacraments and give a high place to those points of doctrine, discipline, and ritual which distinguish the Anglican Church from other forms of Protestantism. They cultivate orthodoxy in doctrine and rigorism in discipline. The extreme wing has reintroduced practices such as the Mass, veneration and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, auricular confession, communion under one species, Extreme Unction, and the establishing of monastic orders.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Anglican Church, Disestablishment of the
Specifically, the depriving the church of its right, privileges, or position as the Established Church of the United Kingdom. As such it received the support, through taxation, of British subjects regardless of creed; and many, in order to exercise freedom of conscience, were forced to support it in addition to the Church of their convictions. The system was manifestly unfair and movements to disestablish the Anglican Church resulted in the Irish Church Act, 1869, granting autonomous powers to the Irish Protestant Episcopal Church and making it dependent upon its adherents alone; and the Welsh Church Acts 1914, which, owing to the War required further legislation, 1920, to complete the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales. The movement in England itself has been strengthened by controversies resulting from the book, "Foundations," 1912, which displayed a trend towards doctrinal indifference; the Church of England Assembly (Power) Act, 1919, which secured greater freedom for the episcopacy.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Anglo-Saxon Church
The church of the Teutonic tribes from northwestern Germany who invaded Britain south of the Rivers Forth and Clyde in the 5th century, displacing the Celtic inhabitants towards Wales and Cornwall. The invaders set up a number of independent kingdoms, often at war with each other; they were evangelized, as the chances of peace or alliance might offer, in the following order: Kent (See of Canterbury founded 597; Rochester, 604); Essex (London, 604); Northumbria (including the district called Deira; York, 625); East Anglia (Dunwich, 630); Mercia (Lichfield, 656); Wessex (Winchester, 669); Sussex, the neighboring kingdom to Kent, was the last to be converted (Selsey, 708). The Christian Celts who remained in Britain were too insignificant in numbers to convert their heathen conquerors, and the Celtic Church in Wales and Scotland seems to have made no effort to preach to the Saxons.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, happening to see some fair-haired youths in the Roman slave-market, being told they were Angles from Deira, said: "Not Angles, but angels: de ira Dei (from the wrath of God) they shall be saved." On the first opportunity he sent the Roman monk Saint Augustine to convert Kent, and Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Northumbria was evangelized by the Irish Saint Aidan, a monk of Iona, Scotland, who followed the Celtic traditions regarding the keeping of Easter, which differed from the Roman custom. He founded the monastery of Lindisfarne, from whence came the brothers Saints Cedd and Chad, who were the apostles of Essex and Mercia respectively, Saint Cuthbert, who labored in the north, and Saint Wilfrid, who converted Sussex and reconciled Northumbria to the Roman Easter. In the interests of anti-papal controversy, too much has been made of the divergent customs of the Roman and Celtic missionaries; the latter were thoroughly loyal in spirit to the See of Rome. At the Synod of Whitby, 664, Oswiu, King of Northumbria, elected to stand by "the Roman Keybearer" (Saint Peter).
The following councils and synods, presided over by bishops or legates appointed from Rome, promoted unity and restrained the mutual interference of the clergy: Hertford, 673; Hatfield, 680; that of 747, held at an unknown or unidentifiable place, made a thorough reform of the clergy; the Synod of Cealchythe (Chelsea?), 787, recognized tithes, and made Lichfield an archbishopric. Ethelwolf, King of Wessex, gave the Church a tenth of his lands. His son, Alfred the Great, showed great devotion to the papacy and in his code of laws he, conjointly with Guthrum, the Danish ruler of East Anglia, declared apostasy a crime, and commanded the payment of Peterspence. Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 960-988, aided by Saint Ethelwold of Winchester and Saint Oswala of York, sought to replace the secular clergy by monks to remedy the custom of married clergy, and to establish a more intimate communication with Rome; henceforward the archbishops went to Rome to receive the pallium. King Canute made a pilgrimage to Rome, 1026-27, legislated in favor of the Church, and insisted on the payment of Peterspence.
Under King Edward the Confessor there were appointed to English sees many foreigners, who were probably more devout and capable than any English priests available at the moment; competent Englishmen were not passed over; the papal legate who visited England in 1062 appointed the great native churchman, Saint Wulstan, to the See of Winchester. Latin was used in the liturgy and in the canonical hours; the books were the Roman service books without any important additions of native growth. There was a strong likeness to the ritual of southern Italy, probably due to Adrian, Abbot of Saint Augustine's, who brought the traditions of Monte Cassino to England. Interesting customs were: churchyard procession on Palm Sunday; dialogue beside the Sepulcher on Holy Saturday; episcopal benediction after the Pater Noster; multiplication of Prefaces;. lay communion under both kinds. These were not peculiar to England, although some of them originated there. As regards the veneration of Our Lady, the Anglo-Saxons were far removed from the principles of the Reformation. Aldhelm and Alcuin sang her praises in Latin, Cynewulf in Anglo-Saxon; a 10th-century litany contains the following supplications to the Blessed Virgin (in Latin):
Holy Queen of the World,
Holy Saviouress of the World,
Holy Redemptress of the World,
Pray for us.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - History, Church
The record or narrative of the origin and internal and external development of the religious, society founded by Jesus Christ. It forms the most valuable part of history, since it deals with the vicissitudes of the Church of Christ, the greatest institution ever established to lead men to salvation. As universal history deals with the history of man, so church history concerns itself with that of the Christian. In its treatment it must fulfill the conditions required of all history writing. It must therefore be: impartial, i.e.,state the facts without bias and in their proper perspective, as found in the sources; based on original sources, i.e.,derived from the most authentic and reliable documents furnishing first-hand information concerning the facts to be narrated; critical, sifting, weighing, and estimating at its true value the existing evidence and distinguishing carefully between possibility, probability, or certainty of an event; philosophical, i.e.,stating not merely the facts, but investigating their causes and following up their results. Besides fulfilling these conditions, the ecclesiastical historian must ever be mindful of the fact that the Church of Christ is a Divine institution with supernatural means, leading to a supernatural end and with the promises of infallibility and indefectibility, received from its founder. A special Providence watches over this simultaneously Divine and human institution and an exclusive study of human causes and effects will fail to furnish a satisfactory and exhaustive account of ecclesiastical events.
From a topical viewpoint, church history is divided into internal and external. The internal history of the Church treats of such subjects as her membership, nature, constitution, doctrine, worship, and discipline; the external history considers the Church's relations with persons and institutions which, while not belonging to her, have nevertheless some connection with her, as schismatics, heretics, and infidels, whom she seeks to convert, and secular powers with whom she comes into contact. From the chronological standpoint the division into three great periods is pretty generally accepted, although there is considerable divergence in determining the years in which these periods open or close. The following divisions and subdivisions with respective dates are suitable:
Christian antiquity (1-692), from the birth of Christ to the Council in Trullo (so called from the hall in Constantinople where it was held). During this period the Greeks and Romans were the chief representatives both of civilization and Christianity. It is subdivided into two epochs by the Milan Agreement (313).
The Middle Ages (692-1517), from the Council in Trullo to the beginning of the Protestant Revolt. It is the period of transition from ancient to modern civilization, the period during which religious unity prevailed in the Christian Church and the new western nations became the main representatives of civilization. It is subdivided into three epochs;
from the Council in Trullo to the beginning of the pontificate of Gregory VII (692-1073);
from the pontificate of Gregory VII to the beginning pf the pontificate of Boniface VIII (1073-1294);
from the pontificate of Boniface VIII to the beginning of the Protestant Revolt (1294-1517).
Modern times (1517 to the present day). It is a period of discord among Christians and of important cnanges in the life and organization of State and Church. It is divided into two parts by the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789.
By sources of history are meant accounts, reports, narratives, inscriptions, and relics of all kinds left us by the past generations. In church history Divine and human sources must be distinguished. The former are found in the written word of God, the Sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testament; the latter have man as their origin and authority. For the proper use and evaluation of historical sources the so-called auxiliary sciences are of great assistance. Among them are philology, epigraphy, palaeography, numismatics, diplomatics, but particularly geography and chronology. A knowledge of general history, of the history of philosophy, literature, and religion will also greatly help to an understanding of the history of the Church.
The first important author of a history of the Church was Eusebius (died 340), Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, who has rightly been styled the "Father of Church History." His narrative comes down to the year 324; it was later continued by Sozomen to the year 423, by Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria, to 428, and by Socrates to 439. In the Latin Church, Rufinus of Aquileia and Saint Jerome published translations and wrote continuations of the works of Eusebius. Saint Augustine in his "City of God" gave to the world the first great philosophy of history. The historians of the Middle Ages paid little heed to general church history. As their interests were local, they have left mostly histories of dioceses or tribes, annals of a limited period, or chronicles of a reign. With them church history served the purpose of edification rather than of truth, and it was only with the appearance of humanism in the later Middle Ages that historical criticism came into honor. With the beginning of modern times the writing of church history assumed a polemic tone in the Protestant "Centuries of Magdeburg" and in the Catholic "Annals of Baronius." Both collections however brought home to the educated world the need and'importance of a study of the sources. Monumental editions of texts of the Fathers of the Church were soon prepared by the Maurists; and the "Lives of the Saints" were critically examined and published by the Bollandists. More recently numerous text-books have been prepared for teachers and students.
John G. Shea was the earliest author of an important "History of the Catholic Church in the United States" (1886-1892). A new history of the American Church in the form of biographies of its most illustrious churchmen is now being written by Rev. Dr. P. Guilday. The lives of Archbishop Carroll and Bishop England have so far appeared. The important "Dictionary of American Biography" in course of publication under non-sectarian auspices will also contain many articles concerning American Catholic celebrities. An invaluable contribution to general church history in America was the publication of the Catholic Encyclopedia (16 volumes, New York, 1907-1914).
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Apostolic Church Ordinance
Third-century pseudo-Apostolic collection of moral and hierarchical rules and instructions, which served as a law-code for the Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Arabian Churches, rivaling the Didache, under which name it often went.
Morrish Bible Dictionary - Gifts in the Church
The Lord Jesus, having led captivity captive, ascended up on high and thence gave gifts unto men. Psalm 68:18 . These were apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Here persons are the gifts, δόμα. Ephesians 4:8,11,12 . (See under each of the names.) Another list is given in 1 Corinthians 12 , where the word is χάρισμα, 'grace, favour.' They are endowments of the one Spirit given to various persons, such as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, kinds of tongues, interpreting of tongues: "all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." Later in the same chapter these persons are seen to be members of Christ's body, and as such set in the church — apostles, prophets, teachers. Other gifts are added: miracles, gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Those mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 (except apostles and prophets in the full sense) are gifts for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for edifying the body of Christ, "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." This perfecting of the saints and building up the body of Christ is being accomplished in the present time. The Spirit of God abides, acting in the various members of the body of Christ: hence gifts abide also, though some have necessarily ceased. The gifts are bestowed direct from the risen Lord, and are entirely independent of all choice or professed authority from man, and are for the help of the church universally.
CARM Theological Dictionary - Church
The word is used in two senses: the visible and the invisible church. The visible church consists of all the people that claim to be Christians and go to church. The invisible church is the actual body of Christians; those who are truly saved.
The true church of God is not an organization on earth consisting of people and buildings, but is really a supernatural entity comprised of those who are saved by Jesus. It spans the entire time of man's existence on earth as well as all people who are called into it. We become members of the church (body of Christ) by faith (Acts 2:41). We are edified by the Word (Ephesians 4:15-16), disciplined by God (Matthew 18:15-17), unified in Christ (Galatians 3:28), and sanctified by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:26-27).
A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography - Isaacus i, Catholicos of the Church of Greater Armenia, Saint
Isaacus (7) I., St. ( Sahag the Great, Parthev the Parthian ), catholicos of the church of Greater Armenia for 40 or 51 years, 390–441. Moses of Khorene states that he belonged to the house of the founder of the Armenian church, Gregory the Illuminator. His long patriarchate is remarkable for the invention of the Armenian characters by Mesrob, the translation of the Scriptures into the Armenian language, and the commencement of the golden age of Armenian literature; for the revision of the Armenian liturgy, first translated from the Greek by Gregory, which has continued unaltered ever since in the Armeno-Gregorian church; and for the destruction of the independence of Armenia. At the commencement of his patriarchate Isaac visited the Persian king at Ctesiphon; where, on behalf of his sovereign, he acknowledged Armenia to be tributary to Persia. Owng to the troubled state of the country he was virtually ruler for several years. In 428, from which date Armenian chronology becomes more certain (St. Martin, Mém. sur l’Arménie , i. 320, n.), the Persian king deposed Ardaces IV., the last of the Armenian Arsacidae, and Isaac retired into Western Armenia, either by order of the Persian monarch or through the enmity of the satraps of his own country, whom it is said he had offended by refusing to join in their plans. Whilst in Western Armenia (428–439) he sent Mesrob to Constantinople with letters to Theodosius II., and the general Anatolius, who was commissioned by the emperor to build the city of Theodosiopolis (called Garin by the Armenians, Erzeroum by the Turks), near the sources of the Euphrates, as a place of refuge for Isaac. Meanwhile the Persian kings set up others as patriarchs in his, stead, but at length the Armenian satraps repented and invited Isaac to resume his throne. This he refused to do, but appointed one administrator in his stead, according to some Mastentzes, according to Moses of Khorene Samuel, nominated by the Persian king. After the death of his vicar he seems to have partially resumed his episcopal functions over the whole Armenian community. On account of the patriarch's expulsion, the archbp. of Cappadocian Caesarea disallowed the ordination of bishops, which had been conceded to Isaac; but by the influence of the Persians all connexion between Armenia and Caesarea was from this time forth broken off—a fact which tended towards the isolation of the Armenian church. Isaac did not attend the general council of Ephesus. He died at the age of 110 years, being the last Armenian patriarch of the family of Gregory the Illuminator; he was followed to the grave in six months by his friend Mesrob. Moses of Khorene, bk. iii. cc. xlix.–lxviii., in Langlois, Hist. de l’Arménie , ii. 159–173; St. Martin, Mém. sur l’Arménie , i. 437; Galanus, Hist. Arm. c. vii.; Le Quien, Oriens Christ. i. 1375; Malan, Life of St. Gregory , p. 28.
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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Abyssinian Church
That which is established in the empire of Abyssinia. They are a branch of the Copts, with whom they agree in admitting only one nature in Jesus Christ, and rejecting the council of Chalcedon; whence they are also called Monophysites and Eutychians, which see. The Abyssinian church is governed by a bishop styled abuna. They have canons also, and monks. The emperor has a kind of supremacy in ecclesiastical matters. The Abyssinians have at divers times expressed an inclination to be reconciled to the see of Rome; but rather from interested views than any other motive. They practise circumcision on females as well as males. They eat no meats prohibited by the law of Moses. They observe both Saturday and Sunday sabbaths. Women are obliged to the legal purifications, Brothers marry brothers' wives, & 100: On the other hand, they celebrate the Epiphany with peculiar festivity; have four Lents; pray for the dead; and invoke angels. Images in painting they venerate; but abhor all those in relievo, except the cross. They admit the apocryphal books, and the canons of the apostles, as well as the apostolical constitutions, for genuine. They allow of divorce, which is easily granted among them, and by the civil judge; nor do their civil laws prohibit polygamy.
They have, at least, as many miracles and legends of saints as the Romish church. They hold that the soul of man is not created; because, say they, God finished all his works on the sixth day. Thus we see that the doctrines and ritual of this sect form a strange compound of Judaism and Christianity, ignorance and superstition. Some, indeed, have been at a loss to know whether they are most Christians or Jews: it is to be feared, however, that there is little beside the name of Christianity among them. Should the reader be desirous to know more of this sect, he may consult Father Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia; Bruce's Travels; Ludolph's Hist. of Ethiopia; and Dict. of Arts and Sciences, vol. 1: p 15.
Webster's Dictionary - Russian Church
The established church of the Russian empire. It forms a portion, by far the largest, of the Eastern Church and is governed by the Holy Synod. The czar is the head of the church, but he has never claimed the right of deciding questions of theology and dogma.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Established Church of Scotland
(The Established Church of Scotland) Presbyterian in doctrine, governed by kirk sessions, presbyteries, synods, and the General Assembly. The Church of Scotland was Catholic until 1560, when the jurisdiction of the Pope was abolished by the Scots Parliament, the Mass proscribed, and a Confession of Faith, drawn up by John Knox and other divines, ratified. In 1927 there were 1,800 ministers, 1,715 churches, and 759,797 communicants.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Abyssinian Church
A body of Monophysite Christians in Abyssinia, governed by the Abuna, a vicar of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria. Next in importance to the Abuna, who must be an Egyptian monk, is the Etsch'ege, a native Abyssinian who rules the monastic orders. Besides priests and monks, there is a class called Deftaras whose duty is to study the written ordinances. The liturgical language, Geez, shows a mixture of Greek and Arabic. They claim there is but one nature in Christ, reject all the aecumenical councils since Ephesus, have some minor heresies of their own, and practise probably the lowest type of Christianity in the world. Discarded Christian customs, such as immersion and infant communion, are observed, as well as many Judaistic rites, including circumcision and the dedication of children called "Nazarenes." Their Canon of Scripture contains many apocryphal books. The clergy are poorly, the monks better, educated.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - England, Church of
A corporate institution established by Queen Elizabeth and her ministers, chiefly by William Cecil, Lord Burghley. Constituted by the Act of Supremacy and Uniformity of 1558, it received its official doctrinal standards in 1571 by the promulgation of the Thirty-nine Articles, and claimed continuity with the Catholic Church through the pre-Reformation Church in England. Since continuity, however, presupposes a successive existence without constitutional change, Anglicanism, whose priests were consecrated by an entirely new form of ordination, cannot be considered to possess this continuity. It cannot have Orders, for at the first it disclaimed the institution of a sacrificing priesthood; it has no jurisdiction apart from what it receives from the sovereign and Parliament; it never had Apostolic succession, since it originated in a repudiation of the Holy Roman See, the only remaining source of Apostolicity. Down to the 18th century it had been accepted with little question as the national religion, but it became extremely unpopular during the reigns of George IV and William IV, as being the religion of the reactionary ruling caste. The Anglican Church embraces three irreconcilable schools of thought based on entirely different principles, united only by the tie of a legal establishment: the High Church party, whose teaching approaches in some matters to Catholic doctrine; the Low Churchmen, or Evangelicals, who look on Rome as Antichrist and on Luther and Calvin as apostles of the true faith; and the Broad Churchmen, or Latitudinarians, who hold dogma to be of trifling importance compared with conduct. An advanced section of the High Church, 1850-1900, the "Ritualists," sought to establish the right to use Catholic vestments and Catholic ceremonials in their churches, and were eventually successfvl. Recently a great effort has been made to substitute the name Anglo-Catholic and even Catholic simply, for the older names of High Churchman, Tractarian, and Ritualist. The Low Church party is now insignificant in numbers and influence. The Broad Church or Modernist party has drifted much further from orthodoxy and has greatly increased in numbers and influence. Revisions in the Book of Common Prayer have quite recently created serious divisions in the Church. The Church of England is divided into the two provinces of Canterbury and York. The province of Canterbury comprises 30 dioceses; the province of York, 12. The archbishops of Canterbury and York and the bishops of London, Durham, and Winchester always sit in the House of Lords. Of the other 35 bishops, 21 only have seats in the House of Lords, by seniority of date of appointment. The number of parish clergy (incumbents) Isaiah 12,906; the number of communicants, 2,510,037.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Evangelical Church General Conference
A religious movement of the German community in Pennsylvania which was organized in 1803 under the leadership of Jacob Albright. Arminian in doctrine, they closely adhere to the articles of faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Their government is congregational. Foreign missionary work is carried on in Japan, China, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, and Canada.
The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Church
In the Old and New Testament language, by the church of God is uniformly meant, the whole body of the faithful, of which Christ is the Head. The apostle to the Hebrews defines the meaning of the church, when he calls it "the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven." (Hebrews 12:23) And the apostle John no less defines it, when he speaks of the names written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:27) Yea, our Lord himself fixeth the meaning, when bidding devils, being subject to them, in his name, but because their names were written in heaven. (Luke 10:20) By the church therefore, is meant, the whole body of Christ both in heaven and earth, the elect of God in Christ, given by the Father to the Son, redeemed by the Son, and sanctified by God the Holy Ghost, and called. And, although we sometimes meet with the expression of churches in the word of God, such as when it is said, the churches had rest throughout all Judea, (Acts 9:31) and again, all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks, (Romans 16:4) yet, the whole multitude of the people, of what kindred or nation forever, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free, from the beginning of the world to the consummation of all things, form but one and the same body, of which Christ is the glorious Head. Such is the church.
And it is blessed to see in the word of God how plainly and evidently this church, made up of Christ's members, and gathered out of the world's wide wilderness, is distinguished so as to prove whose she is, and to whom she belongs.
The Lord Jesus himself describes her union with himself under the similitude of branches in a vine, (John 15:1, etc.) and shews, as plain as words can make if, that the vine and the branches are not more closely knit together, and forming one, than is Christ and his church. Yea, the figure doth not come up to the reality; for a branch may be, and sometimes is, separated from the vine, but not so can this take place between Christ and his church, for he saith, "Because I live, ye shall live also." (John 14:19) And his servant, the apostle Paul, describes the intimate connection of Christ with his church, under the similitude of the marriage state. (Ephesians 5:25-32) "This is a great mystery, (saith the apostle,) but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Nevertheless, even here again, this beautiful figure, tender and affectionate as it is, falls far short of the oneness and union between Christ and his church. For death puts an end to all the connections of man and wife upon earth. But in respect to Christ and his spouse, the church, the dying day of the believer is but the wedding day. It is but as an espousal, a betrothing before; but in that day the church is brought home by her all-lovely and all-loving Husband, to the marriage supper of the lamb in heaven. (See those Scriptures, Hosea 2:19-20; Revelation 19:7-9)
The best service, I apprehend, which I can render to the reader, under this article of the church, will be (to do what I should otherwise have done under the former, when speaking of Christ, but conceiving it might as well be noticed under this,) to bring into one view the several names which Christ and his church have, in common, in the word of God, which certainly form the highest evidence that can be desired, in proof of their union and oneness and interest in each other. Nothing, indeed, can be more lovely and delightful to the contemplation.
It will be proper to introduce this account, with first shewing some of the special and peculiar privileges the church possesseth, both in name and in interest, from her union and oneness with her Lord, and then follow this up with the view of those names and appellations Jesus and his church have in common together. The church is distinguished, by virtue of her interest in Christ, as.
The body of Christ, Ephesians 1:23.
Brethren of Christ, Romans 8:29; Hebrews 3:1.
The bride, the Lamb's wife, Revelation 21:9.
Children of the kingdom, Matthew 13:38.
They are called christians after Christ, Acts 11:26.
The church of God, 1 Corinthians 1:2.
Companions, Psalms 45:14; Song of Song of Solomon 1:7
Complete in Christ, Colossians 2:10.
Daughter of the King, Psalms 45:13.
Comely in Christ's comeliness, Ezekiel 16:14.
Election, Romans 9:11.
Family of God, Ephesians 3:15.
Flock of God, Acts 20:28.
Fold of Christ, John 10:16.
Friends of God. James 2:23.
Glory of God, Isaiah 46:13.
Habitation of God, Ephesians 2:22.
Heritage of God, Jeremiah 12:7; Psalms 127:3; Joel 3:2.
The Israel of God, Galatians 6:16
The lot of God's inheritance, Deuteronomy 32:9.
Members of Christ, Ephesians 5:30.
Peculiar people, 1 Peter 2:9.
The portion of the Lord, Deuteronomy 32:9.
The temple of God, 1 Corinthians 3:16.
The treasure of God, Psalms 135:4.
Vessels of mercy, Romans 9:23.
The vineyard of the Lord, Isaiah 5:1, etc.
These, with many others of the like nature, are among the distinguishing, names by which the church of Christ is known in Scripture, by reason of her oneness and union with Him.
But this view of the intimate and everlasting connection between Christ and his church will be abundantly heightened, if we add to it what was proposed to shew the sameness between them, from being known under the same names, as descriptive of this union. A few examples in point will be known by the name of Adam, as our first father: "As the first Adam was made a living soul, so the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit." (1 Corinthians 15:45) As Christ is called a Babe, so are they said to be babes in Christ. (Luke 2:16; 1 Peter 2:2) As Christ is declared to be the dearly beloved of the Father, (Jeremiah 12:7) so the church is said to be dearly beloved also, (1 Corinthians 10:14; Philippians 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:2) Is Christ the Elect, in whom JEHOVAH'S soul delighteth? so are they elect, according to the foreknowledge of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 42:1; 1 Peter 1:2) Is Jesus the heir of all things? (Hebrews 1:2) so are they heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, (Romans 8:17) And when that Christ, by the spirit of prophecy, is called JEHOVAH our righteousness, the church as his wife, and entitled to every thing in him, is also called by the same name, JEHOVAH our righteousness. (See, compared together, Jeremiah 23:6 with Jeremiah 33:16) Yea, in one remarkable instance, the church not only bears Christ's name, but Christ bears hers. He is called Jacob, and Israel. (Isaiah 41:8 and Isaiah 49:3)
Without enlarging this point farther, for enough, I presume, hath been advanced in proof of the thing itself, nothing can be more plain, and nothing can be more highly satisfactory, than this oneness, from union and participation between Christ and his church. And I trust, the review will be always blessed to the believer's heart, and, under the Holy Ghost's teaching, be always leading out the affections to the full enjoyment of it, agreeably to the mind and will of God.
A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography - Dionysius (19), Monk in Western Church
Dionysius (19) , surnamed Exiguus because of his humbleness of heart, was a Scythian by birth, and a monk in the Western church under the emperors Justin and Justinian. To him we owe the custom of dating events from the birth of our Saviour, though he is now acknowledged to have placed the era four years too late. His collection of canons laid the foundation of canon law. He knew Latin and Greek fairly; though it is obvious that neither was his vernacular. His Latin translations form the bulk of his extant works. Cassiodorus speaks of his moral and intellectual qualities with well-deserved praise. His performances were not original discoveries, but improvements on those of others.
I. The period called after him was borrowed from Victorius of Aquitaine, who flourished 100 years earlier, and is said to have invented it. It is a revolution of 532 years, produced by multiplying the solar cycle of 28 by the lunar of 19 years. It is called sometimes "recapitulatio Dionysii." A note to § 13 of the preliminary dissertation to l’Art de vérif. les dates shews how he improved on his predecessor. His cycle was published in the last year of the emperor Justin, a.d. 527. It began with March 25, now kept as the festival of the Annunciation; and from this epoch all the dates of bulls and briefs of the court of Rome are supposed to run (Butler's Lives of the Saints, Oct. 15: note to the Life of St. Teresa). His first year had for its characters the solar cycle 10, the lunar 2, and the Roman indiction 4, thereby proclaiming its identity with the year 4714 of the Julian period, which again coincided with the 4th year of the 194th Olympiad, and the 753rd of the building of Rome. It was adopted in Italy soon after its publication; in France perhaps a century later. In England it was ordained a.d. 816, at the synod of Chelsea, that all bishops should date their acts from the Incarnation.
II. In his letter to bp. Stephen, to whom he dedicates his collection of Canons, he admits the existence of an earlier, but defective, Latin translation, of which copies have been printed and named, after his naming of it, Prisca Versio by Justellus and others. His own was a corrected edition of that earlier version, so far as regards the canons of Nicaea, Ancyra, Neo-Caesarea, Gangra, Antioch, Laodicea, and Constantinople—165 in all—together with 27 of Chalcedon: all originally published in Greek, and all, except the Laodicean, already translated in the Prisca Versio. The Laodicean, unlike the rest, are given in an abbreviated form, and the chronological order is interrupted to place the Nicene canons first. He specifies as having been translated by himself the 50 so-called canons of the Apostles, which stand at the head of his collection, which he admits were not then universally received: and, as having been appended by himself, the Sardican and African canons, which he says were published in Latin, and with which his collection ends. His collection speedily displaced that of the Prisca. Cassiodorus, his friend and patron, writes of it within a few years of his decease, "Quos hodie usu ecclesia Romana complectitur"; and adds, "Alia quoque multa ex Graeco transtulit in Latinam, quae utilitati possunt ecclesiasticae convenire" ( de Inst. Div. Litt. c. 23). It seems certain, from what Cassiodorus says, that Dionysius either translated or revised an earlier translation of the official documents of the 3rd and 4th councils, as well as the canons of the 1James , 2 nd.
III. He published all the decretal epistles of the popes he could discover from Siricius, who succeeded Damasus, a.d. 384, to Anastasius II., who succeeded Gelasius, a.d. 496. Gelasius, he says himself, he had never seen in life; in other words, he had never been at Rome up to Gelasius's death. By this publication a death-blow was given to the false decretals of the Pseudo-Isidore, centuries before their appearance. His attestation of the true text and consequent rendering of the 6th Nicene canon, his translating the 9th of Chalcedon into plain Latin, after suppressing the 28th, which, as it was not passed in full council he could omit with perfect honesty, and, most of all, the publicity which he first gave to the canons against transmarine appeals in the African code and to the stand made by the African bishops against the encroachments of pope Zosimus and his successors in the matter of Apiarius, are historical stumbling-blocks which are fatal to the papal claims. Misquotations of the Sardican canons, by which those claims were supported, are, moreover, exposed by his preservation of them in the language in which he avers they were published. Aloisius Vincenzi, writing on papal infallibility (de Sacrâ Monarchiâ, etc. 1875), is quite willing to abandon the Sardican canons in order to get rid also of the African code, which is a thorn in his side.
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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography - Eraclius, Deacon of the Church of Hippo
Eraclius (1) ( Heraclius , in the older editions Eradius ), deacon of the church of Hippo a.d. 425, had inherited considerable property, part of which he spent in raising a "memoria" of the martyr [1]; the rest he offered as a gift to the church. St. Augustine, fearing that the absolute acceptance of such a gift from so young a man might be the subject of future reproval or regret, caused Eraclius first to invest the money in land, which might be given back to him should any unforeseen reason for restitution arise. On becoming one of Augustine's clergy, Eraclius made his poverty complete by setting free a few slaves whom he had retained (Aug. Serm. 356, vol. v. 1387). In 426 Augustine was summoned to Milevis, to obviate some threatened dissensions. Severus, the late bishop, had designated his successor in his lifetime, but had made his choice known to his clergy only. This caused discontent, and the interference of Augustine was judged necessary to secure the unanimous acceptance of the bishop so chosen. Augustine, then in his 72nd year, was thus reminded of the expedience of securing his own church from similar trouble at his death, and he made choice of Eraclius, then apparently the junior presbyter of the church, to be his coadjutor and designate successor ( D. C. A. i. 228). Only, though he had himself been ordained bishop in the lifetime of his predecessor, Valerius, he now held that this had been an unconscious violation of the Nicene canon against having two bishops in the same church, and therefore resolved that Eraclius, while discharging all the secular duties of the see, should remain a presbyter until his own death. To obviate future dispute, he assembled his people (Sept. 26, 426) to obtain their consent to the arrangement, having the notaries of the church in attendance to draw up regular "gesta" of the proceedings, which those present were asked to subscribe ( Ep. 213, vol. ii. p. 788).
The capture of Hippo by the Vandals prevented the arrangements from taking effect, and Augustine does not appear to have had any successor in his see. Eraclius, in 427, held a private discussion with Maximinus, the Arian bishop, which led to a public disputation between Maximinus and Augustine (Coll. cum Max. viii. 650). Two sermons by Eraclius are preserved, the first of which, preached in Augustine's presence, is almost all taken up with compliments and apologies (v. 1523 and 72, Append. p. 131).
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1910 New Catholic Dictionary - General Assembly of the Church of the Living God
Dissenters from the Church of the Living God (Christian Workers for Fellowship) in 1902. The disagreement arose over the head of that body, and also because of different opinions regarding certain articles of faith and Church government. For several years it was in an unsettled state, but in 1908 it was organized as the General Assembly of the Church of the Living God. The Church corresponds closely to the Methodist Churches in doctrine and general organization. One periodical is published.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - General Association of the Presbyterian Church in
The first Presbyterian churches in America were established in Virginia, New England, Maryland, and Delaware as early as 1611, one of the first leaders being Reverend Richard Denton. They were distinctly Calvinistic in doctrine; the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger Catechism and Shorter Catechism, adopted in 1729, were the standards of doctrine. Amendments to the Confession and Larger Catechism, expressing the American doctrine of the independence of the church and of religious opinion from control by the state, were approved in 1788. The ecclesiastical organization of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as it was called, had "as its two principal factors the ministers as representatives of Christ and the ruling elders as the representatives of the people." In December 1861, due to dissessions over slavery, a group of southern Presbyterians organized at Augusta, Georgia, as the General Association of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America; they were strictly Calvinistic in doctrine, adhering firmly to the standards. In 1864 they adopted the name Presbyterian Church in the United States. The principal distinctive feature of their government was "the recognition of ruling elders as entitled to deliver the charge in the installation of a pastor and to serve as moderators of any of the higher courts." They published four periodicals. In 1973 a group of congregations left the body over doctrinal issues such as women's ordination and abortion; the new group called themselves the Presbyterian Church in America. In 1983 the remaining Presbyterian Church in the United States congregations merged with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Presbyterian Church USA. Over the years foreign missionary work has been carried on in Africa, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Syria, Thailand, Venezuela, and the Philippines.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Abyssinian Church
a branch of the Coptic church, in upper Ethiopia. The Abyssinians, by the most authentic accounts, were converted to the Christian faith about the year 330; when Frumentius, being providentially raised to a high office, under the patronage of the queen of Ethiopia, and ordained bishop of that country by Athanasius, patriarch of Alexandria, established Christianity, built churches, and ordained a regular clergy to officiate in them. The Abyssinian Christians themselves, indeed claim a much higher antiquity, having a tradition that the doctrine of Christ was first introduced among them by Queen Candace, Acts 8:27 ; or even preached there by the Apostles Matthew and Bartholomew; but the former is supported by no collateral evidence, and the latter is in opposition to high authority. Some of them claim relation to the Israelites, through the queen of Sheba, so far back as the reign of Solomon.
The Abyssinian Christians have always received their abuna, or patriarch, from Alexandria, whence they sprang, and consequently their creed is Monophysite, or Eutychian; maintaining one nature only in the person of Christ, namely, the divine, in which they considered all the properties of the humanity to be absorbed; in opposition to the Nestorians.
On the power of the Saracens prevailing in the east, all communication being nearly cut off between the eastern and western churches, the Abyssinian church remained unknown in Europe till nearly the close of the fifteenth century, when John II, of Portugal, accidentally hearing of the existence of such a church, sent to make inquiry. This led to a correspondence between the Abyssinians and the church of Rome; and Bermudes, a Portuguese, was consecrated by the pope patriarch of Ethiopia, and the Abyssinians were required to receive the Roman Catholic faith, in return for some military assistance afforded to the emperor.
Instead of this, however, the emperor sent for a new patriarch from Alexandria, imprisoned Bermudes, and declared the pope a heretic.
About the middle of the sixteenth century, the Jesuits attempted a mission to Abyssinia, in the hope of reducing it to the pope's authority; but without success. In 1588 a second mission was attempted, and so far succeeded as to introduce a system of persecution, which cost many lives, and caused many troubles to the empire. In the following century, however, the Jesuits were all expelled, Abyssinia returned to its ancient faith, and nothing more was heard of the church of Abyssinia, till the latter part of the last century.
After the expulsion of the Jesuits, all Europeans were interdicted; nor does it appear that any one dared to attempt an entrance until the celebrated Mr. Bruce, by the report of his medical skill, contrived to introduce himself to the court, where he even obtained military promotion; and was in such repute, that it was with great difficulty he obtained leave to return to England.
Encouraged, perhaps, by this circumstance, the Moravian brethren attempted a mission to this country, but in vain. They were compelled to retreat to Grand Cairo, from whence, by leave of the patriarch, they visited the Copts, at Behrusser, and formed a small society; but in 1783, they were driven thence, and compelled to return to Europe. More recently, however, the late king of Abyssinia (Itsa Takley Gorges) addressed a letter to Mr. Salt, the British consul in Egypt, and requested copies of some parts of both the Old and New Testaments. Copies of the Psalms, in Ethiopic, as printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society, were also sent to him.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Armenian Church
a branch, originally, of the Greek church, residing in Armenia. They probably received Christianity in the fourth century. Mr. Yeates gives the most recent account of them:—
"Their whole ecclesiastical establishment is under the government of four patriarchs; the first has his residence in Echmiadzin, or Egmiathin, near Irivan; the second, at Sis, in the lesser Armenia; the third, in Georgia; and the fourth, in Achtamar, or Altamar, on the Lake of Van; but the power of the two last is bounded within their own diocesses, while the others have more extensive authority, and the patriarch of Egmiathan has, or had, under him eighteen bishops, beside those who are priors of monasteries. The Armenians every where perform divine service in their own tongue, in which their liturgy and offices are written, in the dialect of the fourth or fifth centuries. They have the whole Bible translated from the
Septuagint, as they say, so early as the time of Chrysostom. The Armenian confession is similar to that of the Jacobite Christians, both being Monophysites, acknowledging but one nature in the person of Christ; but this, according to Mr. Simon, is little more than a dispute about terms; few of them being able to enter into the subtilties of polemics.
"In the year 1664, an Armenian bishop, named Uscan, visited Europe for the purpose of getting printed the Armenian Bible, and communicated the above particulars to Mr. Simon. In 1667, a certain patriarch of the lesser Armenia visited Rome, and made a profession of faith which was considered orthodox, and procured him a cordial reception, with the hope of reconciling the Armenian Christians to the Roman church; but before he got out of Italy, it was found he had prevaricated, and still persisted in the errors of his church. About this time, Clement IX, wrote to the king of Persia, in favour of some Catholic converts in Armenia, and
received a favourable answer; but the Armenian church could never be persuaded to acknowledge the authority of Rome.
"They have among them a number of monasteries and convents, in which is maintained a severe discipline; marriage is discountenanced, though not absolutely prohibited; a married priest cannot obtain promotion, and the higher clergy are not allowed to marry. They worship in the eastern manner, by prostration; they are
very superstitious, and their ceremonies much resemble those of the Greek church. Once in their lives they generally perform a pilgrimage to Jerusalem; and in 1819, the number of Armenian pilgrims was thirteen hundred, nearly as many as the Greeks. Dr. Buchanan, however, says, ‘Of all the Christians in central Asia, they have preserved themselves most free from Mohammedan and Papal corruptions.'"
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Church of England
and IRELAND is that established by law in England and Ireland, where it forms a part of the common law of the land, or constitution of the country.
1. When and by whom Christianity was first introduced into Britain, cannot at this distance of time be exactly ascertained. Eusebius, indeed, positively declares that it was by the Apostles and their disciples; Bishops Jewel and Stillingfleet, Dr. Cave, and others, insist that it was by St. Paul; and Baronius affirms, on the authority of an ancient manuscript in the Vatican Library, that the Gospel was planted in Britain by Simon Zelotes, the Apostle, and Joseph of Arimathea; and that the latter came over A.D. 35, or about the twenty-first year of Tiberius, and died in this country. According to Archbishop Usher, the British churches had a school of learning in the year 182, to provide them with proper teachers; and it would appear that they flourished, without dependence on any foreign church, till the arrival of Austin the monk, in the latter part of the sixth century.
2. Episcopacy was early established in this country; and it ought to be remembered, to the honour of the British bishops and clergy, that during several centuries they withstood the encroachments of the see of Rome. Popery, however, was at length introduced into England, and, as some say, by Austin, the monk; and we find its errors every where prevalent during several ages preceding the reformation, till they were refuted by Wickliffe. The seed which Wickliffe had sown ripened after his death, and produced a glorious harvest. However, it was not till the reign of Henry VIII, that the reformation in England in reality commenced. When Luther declared war against the pope, Henry wrote his treatise on the seven sacraments against Luther's book, "Of the Captivity of Babylon," and was repaid by the pontiff with the title of "Defender of the Faith." This title, in a sense diametrically opposite, and by a claim of higher desert, was transmitted by Henry with his crown, and now belongs to his successors. Henry's affections being estranged from his queen Catharine, and fixed on Anne Boleyn, he requested a divorce from his wife; but the pope hesitating, the archbishop of Canterbury annulled his former marriage. The sentence of the archbishop was condemned by the pope, whose authority Henry therefore shook off, and was declared by parliament "supreme head of the church." In the year 1800, when the kingdoms of Britain and Ireland were united, the churches of England and Ireland, which had always been the same in government, faith, and worship, became one united church.
3. The acknowledged standards of the faith and doctrines of the united church are, after the Scriptures, the Book of Homilies and the Thirty-nine Articles. Her liturgy is also doctrinal, as well as devotional. The homilies were composed by Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley, men of unexceptionable learning and orthodoxy; or, according to others, the first book was written principally by Cranmer, and the second by Jewel. They were appointed to be read in churches at the beginning of the reformation, when, by reason of the scarcity of learned divines, few ministers were found who could safely be trusted to preach their own compositions. The first draught of the Articles was composed by Archbishop Cranmer, assisted by Bishop Ridley, in the year 1551; and after being corrected by the other bishops, and approved by the convocation, they were published in Latin and English in 1553, and amounted to forty-two in number. In 1562 they were revised and corrected. Being then reduced to thirty-nine, they were drawn up in Latin only; but in 1571 they were subscribed by the members of the two houses of convocation, both in Latin and English; and therefore the Latin and English copies are to be considered as equally authentic. The original manuscripts, subscribed by the houses of convocation, were burned in the fire of London; but Dr. Bennet has collated the oldest copies now extant, in which it appears that there are no variations of any importance. During the last century, disputes arose among the clergy respecting the propriety of subscribing to any human formulary of religious sentiments. Parliament, in 1772, was applied to for the abolition of the subscription, by certain clergymen and others, whose petition received the most ample discussion, but was rejected by a large majority. It has been generally held by most, if not all, Calvinists, both in and out of the church, that the doctrinal parts of our Articles are Calvinistic. This opinion, however, has been warmly controverted. It is no doubt nearer the truth to conclude that the Articles are framed with comprehensive latitude; and that neither Calvinism nor Arminianism was intended to be exclusively established. In this view such liberal sentiments as the following, from the Apology of the Church of England in 1732, are not of uncommon occurrence: "This, I know, I am myself an Anti-Calvinian; and yet, were I to compile articles for the church, I would abhor the thoughts of forming them so fully according to my own scheme of thinking, or of descending so minutely into all the particular branches of it, that none but Arminians should be able to subscribe, or that the church should lose the credit and service of such valuable men as the Abbots, Davenant, Usher, and other Calvinists undoubtedly were. And since our reformers were men of temper and moderation, it seems but justice, I am sure it is but reasonable, to think they intended such a latitude as I contend for, so that both parties, the followers of Arminius as well as of Calvin, might subscribe." In a subsequent page, however, the same author says, "But what, if there was not so entire a harmony among the compilers or imposers, as was before supposed? What if several of them were Anti-Calvinian? This will incline the balance still more in our favour, and enlarge the probability of the articles being drawn up in a moderate, indefinite way. The divines who fled for refuge, in Queen Mary's reign, to Geneva, Zurich, and other places beyond sea, (where, by conceiving a great veneration for Calvin, they were mightily changed in their sentiments and ways of thinking,) began to propagate his notions soon after their return in the next reign: and this seems to have been the prime occasion of Calvinism taking any considerable root in this kingdom. In King Edward's time it doth not appear to have prevailed, except among a few ‘gospelers,' and how they were reflected on by Bishop Latimer and Hooper has been already observed. When the articles were formed in 1552, I do not find that any deference was paid to Calvin's judgment or authority: instead of that, the assistance he offered was, to his no little grief and dissatisfaction, refused. Next to the Scriptures and the doctrine of the primitive church, the compilers had an eye to the Augustan Confession, as appears from the identity of many of the articles; to the writings of Melancthon, whose assistance they desired, and whom King Edward invited over hither; the works of Erasmus; and the Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man. This last book was published by King Henry's authority in 1543: and because it then had the approbation of most of those who compiled the Articles nine years afterward, it will be of consequence to see how it stands affected toward Calvinism. It teaches the cardinal point of universal redemption in several places; which strikes directly at the root of the Calvinian system, and, as Dr. Whitby expresses it, ‘draws all the rest after it, on which side soever the truth lies.'" This judicious amplitude has received much elucidation in Dr. Puller's Moderation of the Church of England considered, 1679; and in other works of more recent date.
4. In this church, divine service is conducted by a liturgy, which was composed in 1547, and has undergone several alterations, the last of which took place in 1661, in the reign of Charles II. Many applications have been since made for a review; and particular alterations were proposed in 1689, by several learned and excellent divines, in the number of whom were Archbishops Tillotson and Tenison, and Bishops Patrick, Burnet, Stillingfleet, Kidder, &c. This subject has been recently revived; and it is believed that some changes are under consideration. To this liturgy every clergyman promises at his ordination to conform in his public ministrations.
5. Ever since the reign of Henry VIII, the sovereigns of England have been styled "supreme heads of the church," as well as "defenders of the faith;" but this title is said to convey no spiritual meaning; or, in other words, it only substitutes the king in place of the pope, with respect to temporalities, and the external economy of the church. The church of England is governed by two archbishops and twenty-four bishops, beside the bishop of Sodor and Man. The benefices of the bishops were converted by William the Conqueror into temporal baronies; and, therefore, all of them, except the bishop of Man, are barons or lords of parliament, and sit and vote in the house of lords, where they represent the clergy. The bishops'
representatives and assistants are the archdeacons, of whom there are sixty in England. The other dignitaries of the church are the deans, prebendaries, canons, &c; and the inferior clergy are the rectors, vicars, and curates. The united church knows only three orders of ministers; bishops, priests, and deacons: but in these orders are comprehended archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, rectors, vicars, and curates. The church of Ireland is governed by four archbishops and eighteen bishops. Since the union of Britain and Ireland, one archbishop and three bishops sit alternately in the house of peers, by rotation of sessions.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Greek Church
As the Gospel spread in the first ages both east and west, the first Christian churches were so denominated. From the languages respectively used in their devotions, they were also called the Greek and Latin or Roman churches. For the first seven centuries these churches preserved a friendly communion with each other, notwithstanding they disagreed as to the time of keeping Easter, and some other points. But about the middle of the eighth century, disputes arose, which terminated in a schism, that continues to this day. It arose out of a controversy respecting the use of images in the churches. It happened that at this time both churches were under prelates equally dogmatical and ambitious. The patriarch of Constantinople insisted on putting down the use of all images and pictures, not only in his own church, but at Rome also, which the pope resented with equal violence and asperity. They mutually excommunicated each other; and the pope of Rome excommunicated not only the patriarch of Constantinople, but the emperor also. The controversy respecting images engendered another, no less bitter, respecting the procession of the Holy Ghost both from the Father and the Son, which the Greeks flatly denied, and charged the Romans with interpolating the word filioque into the ancient creeds. These controversies occupied the eighth and ninth centuries, after which some intervals of partial peace occurred; but in the eleventh century, the flame broke out afresh, and a total separation took place. At that time, the Patriarch Michael Cerularius, who was desirous to free himself from the papal authority, published an invective against the Latin church, and accused its members of maintaining various errors. Pope Leo retorted the charge, and sent legates from Rome to Constantinople. The Greek patriarch refused to see them; upon which they excommunicated him and his adherents, publicly, in the church of St. Sophia, A.D. 1054. The Greek patriarch excommunicated those legates, with all their adherents and followers, in a public council; and procured an order of the emperor for burning the act of excommunication which they had pronounced against the Greeks. Thus the separation was completed, and at this day a very considerable part of the world profess the religion of the Greek or eastern church. The Nicene and Athanasian creeds, with the exception of the words above-mentioned, are the symbols of their faith.
2. The principal points which distinguish the Greek church from the Latin, are as follows: they maintain that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father only, and not from the Father and Son. They disown the authority of the pope, and deny that the church of Rome is the only true catholic church. They do not affect the character of infallibility, and utterly disallow works of supererogation, and indulgences. They admit of prayers and services for the dead, as an ancient and pious custom; but they will not admit the doctrine of purgatory, nor determine any thing dogmatically concerning the state of departed souls. In baptism they practice triune immersion, or dip three times; but some, as the Georgians, defer the baptism of their children till they are three, four, or more years of age. The chrism, or baptismal unction, immediately follows baptism. This chrism, solemnly consecrated on Maunday Thursday, is called the unction with ointment, and is a mystery peculiar to the Greek communion, holding the place of confirmation in that of the Roman: it is styled, "the seal of the gift of the Holy Ghost." They administer the Lord's Supper in both kinds, dipping the bread in the cup of wine, in which a small portion of warm water is also inserted. They give it both to the clergy and laity, and to children after baptism. They exclude confirmation and extreme unction out of the number of sacraments; but they use the holy oil, which is not confined to persons in the close of life, like extreme unction, but is administered, if required, to all sick persons. Three priests, at least, are required to administer this sacrament, each priest, in his turn, anointing the sick person, and praying for his recovery. They deny auricular confession to be a divine command; but practice confession attended with absolution, and sometimes penance. Though they believe in transubstantiation, or rather consubstantiation, they do not worship the elements. They pay a secondary kind of adoration to the virgin and other saints. They do not admit of images or figures in bas- relief, or embossed work; but use paintings and silver shrines. They admit matrimony to be a sacrament, and celebrate it with great formality. Their secular clergy, under the rank of bishops, are allowed to marry once, and laymen twice; but fourth marriages they hold in abomination. They observe a great number of holy days, and keep four fasts in the year more solemn than the rest, of which Good Friday as the chief.
3. The service of the Greek church is too long and complicated to be particularly described in this work; the greater part consists in psalms and hymns. Five orders of priesthood belong to the Greek church; namely, bishops, priests, deacons, sub-deacons, and readers; which last includes singers, &c. The episcopal order is distinguished by the titles of metropolitan, archbishops, and bishops. The head of the Greek church, the patriarch of Constantinople, is elected by twelve bishops, who reside nearest that famous capital. This prelate calls councils by his own authority to govern the church. The other patriarchs are those of Jerusalem, Antioch, and Alexandria, all nominated by the patriarch of Constantinople, who enjoys a most extensive jurisdiction. For the administration of ecclesiastical affairs, a synod, convened monthly, is composed of the heads of the church resident in Constantinople. In this assembly the patriarch of Constantinople presides, with those of Antioch and Jerusalem, and twelve archbishops. In regard to discipline and worship, the Greek church has the same division of the clergy into regular and secular, the same spiritual jurisdiction of bishops and their officials, the same distinction of ranks and offices, with the church of Rome.
4. The Greek church comprehends a considerable part of Greece, the Grecian isles, Wallachia, Moldavia, Egypt, Abyssinia, Nubia, Lybia, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Cilicia, and Palestine; Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem; the whole of the Russian empire in Europe; great part of Siberia in Asia, Astrachan, Casan, and Georgia.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words - Church
* For CHURCH see ASSEMBLY and CONGREGATION
Smith's Bible Dictionary - Church
The derivation of the word is generally said to be from the Greek kuriakon (kuriakon) "belonging to the Lord." But the derivation has been too hastily assumed. It is probably connected with kirk , the Latin circus, circulus, the Greek kuklos (kuklos) because the congregations were gathered in circles.
Ecclesia (ekklesia) the Greek word for church, originally meant an assembly called out by the magistrate, or by legitimate authority. It was in this last sense that the word was adapted and applied by the writers of the New Testament to the Christian congregation. In the one Gospel of St. Matthew the church is spoken of no less than thirty-six times as "the kingdom." Other descriptions or titles are hardly found in the evangelists. It is Christ's household, ( Matthew 10:25 ) the salt and light of the world, (Matthew 5:13,15 ) Christ's flock, (Matthew 26:31 ; John 10:15 ) its members are the branches growing on Christ the Vine, John 15 ; but the general description of it, not metaphorical but direct, is that it is a kingdom, (Matthew 16:19 ) From the Gospel then we learn that Christ was about to establish his heavenly kingdom on earth, which was to be the substitute for the Jewish Church and kingdom, now doomed to destruction (Matthew 21:43 ) The day of Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian church. Before they had been individual followers Jesus; now they became his mystical body, animated by his spirit. On the evening of the day of Pentecost, the 3140 members of which the Church consisted were -- (1) Apostles; (2) previous Disciples; (3) Converts. In (Acts 2:41 ) we have indirectly exhibited the essential conditions of church communion. They are (1) Baptism, baptism implying on the part of the recipient repentance and faith; (2) Apostolic Doctrine; (3) Fellowship with the Apostles; (4) The Lord's Supper; (5) Public Worship. The real Church consists of all who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ as his disciples, and are one in love, in character, in hope, in Christ as the head of all, though as the body of Christ it consists of many parts.
Webster's Dictionary - Low-Church
(a.) Not placing a high estimate on ecclesiastical organizations or forms; - applied especially to Episcopalians, and opposed to high-church. See High Church, under High.
People's Dictionary of the Bible - Church
Church. The terms which this word represents are variously used by the sacred writers. Matthew 16:18. It may be sufficient to notice two uses of the term. In the New Testament it is applied particularly to Christians as a body or community. Acts 16:5. It is also applied to the people of God in all ages of the world, whether Jews or Christians, Acts 7:38; Acts 12:1; Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:25; for although there have been two dispensations, viz., that of the law by Moses, and that of the gospel by Jesus Christ, yet the religion of the Bible is one religion: whether before or after the coming of Christ, true believers are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28. Of this church or company of the redeemed, the Lord Jesus Christ is now the Head, and the Church is therefore called the body, Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24, and comprises the redeemed who are gone to heaven, as well as those who are, or will be, on the earth. Hebrews 12:23. Particular portions of the whole body of Christians are also called the church, as the church at Jerusalem, at Corinth, etc. Acts 8:1; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 4:17. As the great work wrought on earth and the reigning of Christ in heaven constitute him the Founder and Head of the Church, as it now exists, he is compared to "the chief corner-stone" in the building, Ephesians 2:20, on whom the whole structure is dependent. For this purpose God "hath put all things under his feet." Ephesians 1:22. The figurative language which is employed by Christ, himself, as well as by his apostles, to denote the nature of his relations to the church (as composed of all true believers), and its relations to him, is of the most significant character. Some of these have been intimated above; others are that of husband and wife, Ephesians 5:30-32, a vine and its branches, John 15:1-6, and a shepherd and his flock, John 10:11. And it is by many supposed that the Song of Solomon is a highly figurative and poetical illustration of the mutual love of Christ and the people of his church in all ages. In modern times the word is applied to various associations of Christians, united by a common mode of faith or form of government; as the Episcopal Church, the Baptist Church, the Moravian Church, etc. The word church is but once (then doubtfully) applied in Scriptures to a building. 1 Timothy 3:15. The visible Israelitish church was divided into twelve tribes separated, yet to be united as the people of God: having one Scripture, one sacrifice, one Jehovah. Christ told his apostles, "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Matthew 19:28. James addresses his epistle, "To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" ("which are of the dispersion," R. V.). James 1:1. In the progress of the church "there were sealed one hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of Israel," Revelation 7:4, showing that the visible church will continue to be divided into tribes, with one Scripture and one Saviour. The world seldom was in greater darkness than when for 1260 years it was controlled by one visible church, the Church of Rome. And the clamor of many to make a united visible church by attacking all creeds and confessions holding the great doctrines of the Scriptures, and in their place to adopt the assumptions of idolatrous churches, will never be realized. The church had in New Testament times, elders, overseers or bishops, in each congregation. Matthew 26:3; Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5; Titus 1:7; Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1; 1 Peter 5:3. Compare Exodus 3:16; Exodus 4:29. The various tribes of the ancient visible church were constantly adopting the idolatries of the surrounding nations, and were brought into subjection by them, and at last were scattered and the most of them lost on that account. The most of the prophets were sent to the church to upbraid them for their idolatries and for forsaking God. Christ came to the visible church and was rejected. The epistles speak of errors in the churches founded by the apostles. And as was predicted in the second and third chapters of Revelation, the candlestick of nearly every one of them has been removed.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Scotland, Church of
(The Established Church of Scotland) Presbyterian in doctrine, governed by kirk sessions, presbyteries, synods, and the General Assembly. The Church of Scotland was Catholic until 1560, when the jurisdiction of the Pope was abolished by the Scots Parliament, the Mass proscribed, and a Confession of Faith, drawn up by John Knox and other divines, ratified. In 1927 there were 1,800 ministers, 1,715 churches, and 759,797 communicants.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Succursal Church
A church or chapel built in an outlying district of a parish, so called because intended to relieve the parish church and accommodate the parishioners living at a distance from it. Today they are called succursal churches. The clergy in charge act as vicars of the parish priest. Ordinarily such churches and chapels may not have a baptismal font or a cemetery independently of the parish church; nor may reserved parochial functions, such as Baptism and marriage, be performed in them without the permission of the pastor. For the convenience of the faithful, however, the bishop may permit, or even order, that a baptismal font be placed in such churches (canon 174, § 2). Frequently such chapels of ease develop into independent parish churches.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Roof of a Church
A symbol of the charity that covers a multitude of sins.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Church Year
Although the dates of observance and specific practices of the Christian festivals developed over the centuries, the major festivals all center on the life of Christ. As the church grew and the need for ordered worship increased, the need for focusing on the central affirmations at the heart of the Christian message also increased. By the fifth century, the basic elements of the church calendar were firmly established, although modifications continued to be made throughout the Middle Ages and the Reformation. Even today, the symbols and rituals of the festivals vary according to denomination, culture, and personal preference.
The original Christian festival and the basic building block for all the church year is the Lord's day, Sunday. The earliest Christians set aside Sunday, the day of the resurrection, as a time of special remembrance of Christ. By the second century, most Christians were observing a special celebration of the resurrection at Easter. In most areas, the season before Easter, later called Lent, was a time of penitence and the training of new Christians. Similarly, the fifty-day period after Easter was one of triumph during which fasting and kneeling to pray were forbidden. This period culminated in Pentecost, which means “fiftieth day,” the celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit. By the next century, at least in the East, many churches held a special observance of Christ's birth and baptism at Epiphany. In the fourth century, most Christians began to celebrate Christ's birth at Christmas and to observe Advent as a period of preparation.
As the dates and practices for these celebrations became more standard throughout the Christian world, the dimensions of the church year were established. Advent came to be regarded as the beginning of the church year and the half-year between Advent and Pentecost, the period during which all the major festivals occurred, came to be regarded as a time for Christians to concentrate on the life and work of Christ. The rest of the year, from Pentecost to Advent, became a time for concentrating on the teachings of Jesus and the application of those teachings in the lives of Christians. The development of the church calendar helped to assure that Christian worship would deal with the entire breadth and depth of the Christian gospel. See Advent ; Christmas ; Easter ; Epiphany ; Holy Week ; Lent ; Lord's Day .
Fred A. Grissom
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the Unite
An offshoot of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized as a separate church in May, 1869 under the name Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church, later known as the Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the United States. While accepting the Westminster Confession of Faith, in general, they emphasize the following points:
(1) There are no eternal reprobates;
(2) Christ died not for a part only, but for all mankind;
(3) all persons dying in infancy are saved through Christ and the sanctification of the Spirit;
(4) the Spirit of God operates in the world coextensively with Christ's atonement, in such a manner as to leave all men inexcusable.
They are in accord with other Presbyterian bodies as regards their government. They publish a semi-monthly periodical.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Reformed Church in the United States
An organization established in the latter part of the 17th century, also known as the German Reformed Church. In doctrine and government they are in close accord with other Reformed and Presbyterian churches. They publish 12 periodicals. Foreign missionary work is carried on in Japan and China. They have a web site.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Reformed Episcopal Church
An organization formed on December 2, 1873, by George Cummins. The name was adopted because of belief in some of the principles of the Church known as the Reformed Church of England and also the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Reformed Episcopal Church is in close relation with the Liturgical Free Churches, of England, and accepts the Apostles' Creed, the, Divine institution of the sacraments of Baptism; and the Lord's Supper, and the doctrines of grace, substantially as set forth in the Thirty-nine Articles for the Protestant Episcopal Church. Its government is in accord with the Protestant Episcopal Church, but episcopacy is regarded as "an ancient and desirable form of church government rather than as of divine right." It accepts the Book of Common Prayer, revised by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1785. One periodical is published. Foreign missionary work is carried on in India. They have a web site.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Society, Catholic Church Extension
Association founded in Chicago, 1905, to develop missionary spirit among Catholics and for the support of churches in poor localities of the United States. Among its activities are the building of churches in poor districts and the support of priests in such parishes, the education of students for missionary work, and the circulation of Catholic literature. An interesting feature of the society are the chapel cars, which enable missionaries to work at distant points along the railroad lines. "The Extension Magazine" is published monthly and has a circulation of 273,732. Tbe women's auxiliary and the "Child Apostles" are affiliated associations. The Catholic Church Extension Society of Canada publishes the "Catholic Register" weekly.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Reformed Church in America
Christian sect organized in the United States as early as 1623 as the Dutch Reformed Church. The present title was adopted in 1867. It is North America's oldest Protestant church with a continuous ministry, and its oldest corporation. In doctrine they are strictly Calvinistic, and accept the Apostles' and the Nicene creeds, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, and the Heidelberg Catechism. They are presbyterian in matters of government. They publish four periodicals. Foreign missionary work is carried on in Arabia, India, China, and Japan. They have a web site.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Church
Church is the term used in the New Testament most frequently to describe a group of persons professing trust in Jesus Christ, meeting together to worship Him, and seeking to enlist others to become His followers. A basic understanding of the church in the New Testament requires answers to the following four basic questions: What does the word “church” mean? What were the characteristics of the early church's life? How was the church organized? How did the early church grow and expand?
The meaning of the term “church” Church is the English translation of the Greek word ekklesia . The use of the Greek term prior to the emergence of the Christian church is important as two streams of meaning flow from the history of its usage into the New Testament understanding of church. First, the Greek term which basically means “called out” was commonly used to indicate an assembly of citizens of a Greek city and is so used in Acts 19:32 , 2 Thessalonians 1:5-120 . The citizens who were quite conscious of their privileged status over against slaves and noncitizens were called to the assembly by a herald and dealt in their meetings democratically with matters of common concern. When the early Christians understood themselves as constituting a church, no doubt exists that they perceived themselves as called out by God in Jesus Christ for a special purpose and that their status was a privileged one in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:19 ).
Second, the Greek term was used more than one hundred times in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in common use in the time of Jesus. The Hebrew term (qahal ) meant simply “assembly” and could be used in a variety of ways, referring for example to an assembling of prophets (1 Samuel 19:20 ), soldiers (Numbers 22:4 ), or the people of God (Deuteronomy 9:10 ). The use of the term in the Old Testament in referring to the people of God is important for understanding the term “church” in the New Testament. The first Christians were Jews who used the Greek translation of the Old Testament. For them to use a self-designation that was common in the Old Testament for the people of God reveals their understanding of the continuity that links the Old and New Testaments. The early Christians understood themselves as the people of the God who had revealed Himself in the Old Testament (Hebrews 1:1-2 ), as the true children of Israel (Romans 2:28-29 ) with Abraham as their father (Romans 4:1-25 ), and as the people of the New Covenant prophesied in the Old Testament (Hebrews 8:1-13 ). As a consequence of this broad background of meaning in the Greek and Old Testament worlds, the term “church” is used in the New Testament of a local congregation of called-out Christians, such as the “church of God which is at Corinth”(1 Corinthians 14:26-33 ), and also of the entire people of God, such as in the affirmation that Christ is “the head over all things to the church, Which is his body” (Ephesians 1:22-23 ).
What church means in the New Testament is further defined by a host of over one hundred other descriptive expressions occurring in relationship to passages where the church is being addressed. Three basic perspectives embrace most of these other descriptions. First, the church is seen as the body of Christ; and a cluster of images exists in this context as emphasis falls on the head (Ephesians 4:15-16 ), the members (1 Corinthians 6:12-20 ), the body (1 Corinthians 12:12-27 ), or the bride (Ephesians 5:22-31 ). The church is also seen as God's new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17 ), the new persons (Ephesians 2:14-15 ), fighters against Satan (Ephesians 6:10-20 ), or bearers of light (Ephesians 5:7-9 ). Thirdly, the church is quite often described as a fellowship of faith with its members described as the saints (1 Corinthians 1:2 ), the faithful (Colossians 1:2 ), the witnesses (John 15:26-27 ), or the household of God (Acts 18:1-4 ).
Major characteristics of the life of the church The preeminent characteristic of the church in the New Testament is devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord. He established the church under His authority (Matthew 16:13-20 ) and created the foundation for its existence in His redeeming death and demonstration of God's power in His resurrection. Christ's position as the Lord evoked, sustained, and governed the major characteristics of the life of the church in the way members were admitted, treated one another, witnessed to His power, worshiped, and lived in hope of His return.
Persons were admitted to the local congregation only upon their placing their trust in Christ as Savior (Acts 3:37-42 ), openly confessing this (Romans 10:9-13 ), and being baptized (Acts 10:44-48 ). Baptism or immersion in water was performed because Christ had commanded it (Matthew 28:18-20 ) and was itself a dramatic symbolic picturing of the burial and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4 ). Joining the church made one a fully participating member in it, unlike many of the religious groups in the first century in which there was a substantial period of probation before full acceptance. When Christ accepted the person, the congregation did also, even though the members might be aware of weaknesses (Romans 14:1-4 ).
The way in which members of the church were called on to treat one another was modeled by what God had done in Christ for the church. They were to forgive one another (Colossians 3:12-14 ) and to love one another (Ephesians 5:1-2 ; 1 John 3:16 ) because God had done this for all of them in Christ. This foundation for Christian fellowship gave an ultimacy to its requirements that reflected on each church member's relationship with God (1 John 2:7-11 ).
Members of the church were called on to demonstrate the power of Christ's redemption in their own lives by exemplary conduct, embracing every area of life (Romans 12:1-13:7 ; Colossians 3:12-4:1 ). The overcoming of sins in the lives of Christians was a witness to the redeeming power of Christ in action in the community (Galatians 5:22-26 ), and the sins to which the communities were prone were clearly identified and challenged (Galatians 5:19-21 ). The Christians were expected to adopt a new life style that was appropriate to their commitment to Christ (Ephesians 4:17-24 ).
The worship of the early church demonstrated the lordship of Christ, not only in the fact that He was extolled and praised but also in the fact that worship demonstrated the obligation of Christians to love and to nurture one another (1 Corinthians 11:17-22 ; 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 ). In distinction from worship as it was practiced in the pagan cults of Greece and Rome, Christian worship not only stressed the relation of a person to the Deity but went beyond this to stress that worship should edify and strengthen the Christians present (1 Corinthians 14:26 ) and should challenge pagans to accept Christ (1 Corinthians 14:20-25 ). Christian worship was often enthusiastic and usually involved all Christians present as participants (1 Corinthians 14:26 ). This openness both inspired creativity and opened the way for excesses which were curbed by specific suggestions (1 Corinthians 1:2 ; 1 Timothy 2:1-10 ) and by the rule that what was done should be appropriate to those committed to a God of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33 ).
All of these characteristics of the life of the church existed in the context of an urgency created by the awareness that Christ was going to return (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ). Christ's return would bring judgment to the unbelievers (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10 ) and thus made witnessing to them an urgent concern. How central this belief was to the early church is illustrated by the fact that the Lord's Supper, which they observed at His command was seen as proclaiming “the Lord's death till he come (1 Corinthians 11:26 ). The return of Christ was to result in glorious joy and the transformation of the Christians—a hope that sustained them in difficult times (1618101507_10 ).
Organization of the New Testament churches A striking feature of the organization of the early churches is that every member of the church was seen as having a gift for service which was to be used cooperatively for the benefit of all (Romans 12:1-8 ; 1 Peter 4:10 ). Paul used the imagery of the human body to illustrate this unique feature of the church's life, stressing that every Christian has a necessary function and a responsibility to function with an awareness of his or her share in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-31 ).
In the context of this strong belief that every member has a ministry, certain persons were designated to fulfill specific tasks in relation to the functioning of the church such as apostles, bishops, elders, and deacons. As these offices are examined, it is important to remember that the organization of the early churches was not necessarily the same in every locality. A large church would need more organizational structure than a small one, and the presence of an apostle or his designated representative would cause the other leaders in a given church to be seen in a different light. In addition to these variables, the church was in a period of rapid growth; and as it responded to the needs of ministry, roles or offices, such as the appointment of the seven in Acts 6:1-7 , were created to enable the church to fulfill its ministry in Christ.
“Apostle” usually designated one appointed as the authorized representative of Jesus Christ, and the term in the New Testament is most frequently applied to one of the Twelve (Acts 1:15-26 ) or to Paul (Galatians 1:1-24 ). The term was occasionally used in a wider sense to indicate the validity and importance of one of the early church's leaders, such as James (Galatians 1:19 ) or Barnabas (Acts 14:4 ; compare Romans 16:7 ); but there is no hint in the New Testament that an apostle could appoint a person to succeed himself and establish a continuing line. The office is, in fact, seen as foundational in the church's history and not as continuing (1 Timothy 6:1-7 ).
Bishops and elders had quite similar responsibilities; and Paul, addressing the elders in Acts 20:17 , stated that they were bishops or overseers (Acts 20:28 ). Usually, however, the term “bishop” is in the singular (1 Timothy 3:1 ), and the term “elders” is plural (James 5:14 ) as a specific church is addressed. The responsibilities of a bishop are described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9 . He is described as representing the church in a way which would suggest that each church had one designated leader who functioned much in the way a contemporary pastor does.
Deacons were required to be exemplary Christians like bishops (1 Timothy 3:8-13 ). Since their duties are not specified and they are usually listed with the bishops, it is usually assumed that deacons devoted themselves to the larger work of the local church, assisting in whatever ways were most appropriate to the local congregation of Christians as the seven did in Acts (Ephesians 2:20 ).
The organization of the early churches was not governed by a rigid plan that each church had to follow. The guiding principle was that the church was the body of Christ with a mission to accomplish, and the church felt free to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit in developing a structure that would contribute to its fulfilling its responsibilities (Romans 12:1-8 ; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 ; Ephesians 4:11-16 ).
The growth and expansion of the early church Jesus taught His disciples that by following Him they were to be involved in a movement that would continue (Matthew 16:13-20 ; John 14:12-14 ), but it was after the resurrection of Jesus that the mission of the church really began (Matthew 28:16-20 ; John 20:19-23 ; Acts 1:6-11 ). The earliest Christians were Palestinian Jewish followers of Jesus and found it difficult to witness to non-Jews (Acts 10:1-48 ). The bridge to the Gentiles was the Hellenistic Jewish Christianity, which sprang into existence with the conversion of Jews from the dispersion who were visiting in Jerusalem and converted at Pentecost (Acts 2:5-47 ). These Jews whose residence had been in the cities of the Roman Empire were called Hellenistic because they were generally more open to the Greco-Roman culture than their Palestinian colleagues. They spoke and wrote Greek as their primary language, gave their children Greek names (such as Stephen which means “crown” in Greek), and were more willing to relate to Gentiles. It was this group of the early Christians that was the major channel in spreading the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 19:11-26 ).
Paul was a Hellenistic Jew (Acts 21:39 ); and when he became a Christian, he was called to and accepted a ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21 ; Ephesians 3:1-13 ). Significantly, he inaugurated his ministry of founding new churches from the base of a church composed of both Gentiles and Hellenistic Jewish Christians (Acts 11:19-26 ; Acts 13:1-3 ). Paul's strategy was to visit synagogues in the cities of the Roman Empire and to proclaim Jesus as the Christ (Acts 18:5 ). The usual result was that some Jews and some Gentiles who were interested in Judaism (called God-fearers, Acts 18:7 ) believed in Christ, were expelled from the synagogue, and formed the nucleus for a growing church (Acts 18:5-11 ; Acts 19:8-10 ).
The Acts of the Apostles gives only a glimpse of the early Christian heroes and heroines with a focus on Peter, Paul, and a few others (1 Peter 4:17 , Acts 18:24-28 ). There were, however, many heroic Christian witnesses unknown to us who first carried the gospel to Rome (Acts 28:14-15 ) and to the limits of the Empire in India, Egypt, and the outlying areas of Europe. See Apostle; Bishop ; Deacon ; Elders; Missions.
Harold S. Songer
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Scotland, Free Church of
Ecclesiastical organization dating from 1843 when 47 lay and ecclesiastical members of the Established Church of Scotland severed their connection with that body as a protest against the encroachments of civilauthorities on the independence of the Church, especially regarding the matter of the presentation to vacant benefices. Ministers and professors renounced all claim to the benefices which they had had and built churches and colleges of their own for the training of their clergy. They adopted no new article of faith but represented the Presbyterian Church of the country enjoying its full spiritual liberty. They maintained, however, that the Church and State should be in intimate alliance. In 1876 they were joined by the Cameronians or Reformed Presbyterians and by the United Presbyterians in 1900 when they assumed the name of the United Free Church of Scotland. A small minority resisted fusion and these were successful in the House of Lords in claiming, as the original Free Church, nearly all the buildings. This was rectified by an Act of Parliament which permitted them to retain only such churches and other edifices as were proportionate to their need.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Worshipped Throughout the Church to Earth's Far en
Hymn for Lauds on March 19, feast of Saint Joseph; written in the 17th century by an unknown author. Five translations are in existence; the English title given is by E. Caswall.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Sing, o Sons of the Church Sounding the Martyr's p
Hymn for Vespers for the Common of many martyrs, out of Paschal Time. Written in the 8th century, its authorship is unknown. Thirteen translations are in existence; English title given is by D. Donahoe.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Soul of the Church
Inasmuch as the Church is visible and supernatural, it has a visible, external element; and an invisible, internal element by which the visible element is informed, elevated, and determined, just as the living body is informed by the soul. Hence theologians distinguish in the Church the Body and the Soul. Although generally it is possible to refer anything which is visible, external, and determinable to the Body; and anything which is of itself invisible, internal, and determining to the Soul; yet ordinarily that distinction is made on the basis of the internal, supernatural life. So that, properly speaking, the term "Soul" is applied to the formal principle of this supernatural life in the members of the Church and consequently in the Church itself. This formal principle, or Soul, is made up of the supernatural internal gifts of faith, hope, and charity, sanctifying grace, and the other virtues and gifts of the Holy Ghost.
From the 16th century, the Catholic theologians expressed more definitely the theological doctrine of the distinction between the Soul and the Body of the Church, in this formula: the Body comprehends the visible element or the visible society, to which one belongs by the external profession of the Catholic Faith, by participation in the sacraments, and by submission to legitimate pastors; and the Soul comprehends the invisible element or the invisible society, to which one belongs in virtue of the fact that one possesses the interior gifts of grace. This distinction, implicitly contained in the teaching of Saint Paul, in Saint Augustine, comparing the action of the Holy Ghost on the Church to that of the soul on the human body, and in subsequent theologians who adopted the same language, is formally expressed by Bellarmine in his study on the members of the Church. According to him, men belong to the Body of the Church by virtue of external profession of the faith, and participation in the sacraments; and to the Soul of the Church through the internal gifts of the Holy Ghost, faith, hope, and charity. He draws three general conclusions relative to the members of the Church. There are those:
Who belong always to both the Body and the Soul of the Church
Who belong to the Soul without belonging to the Body
Who belong to the Body but not to the Soul
This teaching has generally been followed by Catholic theologians. They teach definitely, however, that the True Church is essentially the Church visible. They presuppose an interior principle which vivifies the Church. This interior principle of life is the Soul of the Church without which it could not be the True Church. This teaching does not imply any weakening of the Catholic doctrine on the necessity of belonging to the True Church in order to obtain salvation. In the case of invincible ignorance, or of absolute impossibility, this necessity obliges only in voto, i.e.,being included in the efficacious desire to do God's Will which must exist in every good man.
This theological teaching is found explicitly in many ecclesiastical documents. The encyclical Satis Cognitum of Pope Leo XIII, after having shown how the Church is at one and the same time visible and spiritual, teaches that the Body of Jesus Christ, which is the visible Church, is a body living and animated. This presupposes a principle of supernatural life informing this body. Hence the union of these two elements is absolutely necessary to the True Church, just as the intimate union of the body and soul is necessary to human nature.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Western Orthodox Catholic Church
Religious body in the United States. The Lithuanian National Catholic Church in America, organized by the Right Reverend S. B. Mickiewicz, and the Polish Catholic Church in America have been merged into the Old Catholic Church in America. They accept the seven general councils, in accord with the Old Catholic churches in Europe, and use the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed.
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Church
The Greek word translated church signifies generally an assembly, either common or religious; and it is sometimes so translated, as in Acts 19:32,39 . In the New Testament it usually means a congregation of religious worshippers, either Jewish, as Acts 7:38 , or Christians, as Matthew 16:18 1 Corinthians 6:4 . The latter sense is the more common one; and it is thus used in a twofold manner, denoting,
1. The universal Christian church: either the invisible church, consisting of those whose names are written in heaven, whom God knows, but whom we cannot infallibly know, Hebrews 12:23 ; or the visible church, made up of the professed followers of Christ on earth, Colossians 1:24 1 Timothy 3:5,15
2. A particular church or body of professing believers, who meet and worship together in one place; as the churches of Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, etc., to which Paul addressed epistles.
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - United Lutheran Church in America
Three general bodies of Lutherans, the General Synod, the General Council, and the United Synod South, which grew out of the colonial churches and merged, 1918, in New York City. Missions are conducted in India, Africa, Japan, South America, and the West Indies.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Membership, Church
(See BAPTISM, HOLY; JOINING THE CHURCH, andalso NAME, THE CHRISTIAN.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Reception Into the Church
(See BAPTISM, PRIVATE.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Seasons, the Church
(See CHRISTIAN YEAR.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Government, Church
(See EPISCOPACY.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Music, Church
(See HYMNS; GREGORIAN MUSIC, PLAIN SONG, andEVEN SONG, also INTONE.) Recognizing the fact that music alwayscharacterized the worship of God's Church both under the OldDispensation and under the New, the essential thing is the characterof the music in our churches to-day and the mode of rendering it.The organist, upon whom so much depends, should be a competentmusician, with a good knowledge of the music of the church, andthe music that he uses should be strictly sacred music. The choirshould consist of the best voices and most cultivated singersavailable. They should be trained with care, not only in the musicthey are to sing, but also in the Church service. The late BishopThorold remarked on this subject, "We are all coming to feel thatChurch Music is a great help to worship. . . .But I also feel thatif members of the choir accept from God and the minister theprivilege of taking part in the services, the one thing theyowe to Almighty God, to the congregation and to themselves, isREVERENCE. I know choirs where their singing is almost a means ofgrace; it is done so beautifully, so reverently and with so muchcare that it lifts up the whole service to a higher level. The onesecret of all good and acceptable rendering of the Church's musicis reverence."
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Greek Church
A name often used for the EASTERN CHURCH (which see).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Militant, Church
A name used to describe the Church on earth,fighting (which the word Militant means) or contending against thepowers of the world, to distinguish it from the Church Expectant andthe Church Triumphant. (See CHURCH CATHOLIC.) In the CommunionOffice the prayer said after the presentation of offerings is called"The Prayer for the Church Militant," which is a pleading for theHoly Church throughout the world offered in union with the GreatSacrifice.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Western Church
A term frequently met with in Church history anddenoting the Churches which formerly made part of the western empireof Rome, i.e., the Church in western Europe,—Italy, Spain,France, etc. The Church of England is also included under this termas being a branch of the Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Church
After the repeated failures that characterized the early days of human history, God declared his purpose to choose for himself a people through whom he would work a plan of salvation for people everywhere. He began by choosing one man, Abraham, and promising to make from him a nation that would belong to God and be his channel of blessing to the world. The people of this nation, Israel, were therefore both the physical descendants of Abraham and the chosen people of God (Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 6:7-8; Exodus 19:5-6; Philippians 3:20-21; Romans 2:28-294; John 8:37; Matthew 28:19-20).
This did not mean, however, that all those born into the Israelite race were, because of their nationality, forgiven their sins and blessed with God’s eternal salvation. The history of Israel shows that from the beginning most of the people were ungodly and unrepentant. Certainly there were those who, like Abraham, trusted God and desired to follow him obediently, but they were always only a minority within the nation (Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 1:11-20; Amos 5:14-15; Romans 11:2-7; 1 Corinthians 10:1-5; Hebrews 3:16). These were God’s true people, the true Israel, the true children of Abraham (1618101507_17; Romans 4:9-12; Romans 9:6-8).
From this faithful minority (or remnant) there came one person, Jesus the Messiah, who was the one particular descendant of Abraham to whom all God’s promises to Abraham pointed. God’s ideals for Israel and his promised blessings for the human race were fulfilled in Jesus (Galatians 3:14; Acts 1:4-55). Jesus then took the few remaining faithful Israelites of his day and made them the nucleus of the new people of God, the Christian church (Matthew 16:18).
The church, then, was both old and new. It was old in that it was a continuation of that body of believers who in every age had remained faithful to God. It was new in that it would not formally come into existence till after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension (Matthew 16:18; Matthew 16:21; 1618101507_7; Galatians 3:28-298; 1 Peter 2:9). It was ‘born’ a few days after Jesus’ ascension, on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), and will reach its glorious destiny at Jesus’ return (Psalms 105:6; Hebrews 12:22-24; Revelation 19:7-9).
God’s new community
The word which Jesus used and which has been translated ‘church’ meant originally a collection of people – a meeting, gathering or community. It was the word used for the Old Testament community of Israel, and was particularly suitable for the new community, the Christian church, that came into being on the day of Pentecost (Exodus 12:3; Exodus 12:6; Exodus 35:1; Exodus 35:4; Deuteronomy 9:10; Deuteronomy 23:3; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 18:17; Acts 5:11; Acts 7:38; John 8:33; Matthew 28:19-208).
On that day Jesus, having returned to his heavenly Father, sent the Holy Spirit to indwell his disciples as he had promised (Luke 24:49; John 7:39; John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 16:7). This was the baptism with the Holy Spirit of which Jesus had spoken and through which all who were already believers were bound together to form one united body, the church (Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:33; see BAPTISM WITH THE SPIRIT).
From that time on, all who repent and believe the gospel are, through that same baptism with the Spirit, immediately made part of that one body and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Acts 2:47; 1 Corinthians 12:13). This applies equally to all people, irrespective of sex, age, status or race, for all are one in Christ Jesus (Acts 2:17-18; Acts 2:39). The new people of God consists of Abraham’s spiritual descendants, those who have been saved through faith in Christ, regardless of their nationality or social standing (Galatians 3:14; 1618101507_98).
By his act of uniting in one body people who were once in conflict with each other, God has carried out part of a wider plan he has for his creation. That plan is for the ultimate removal of all conflict and all evil from the universe, and the establishment of perfect peace and unity through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10; Ephesians 2:13-16; Ephesians 3:8-11).
The body of Christ
Christ and the church, being inseparably united, make up one complete whole, just as the head and the body together make up one complete person. Through his resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ became head over the church and the source of its life and growth (Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:19; Colossians 3:1-4).
As the head has absolute control over the body, so Christ has supreme authority over the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). On the other hand, as the body shares in the life of the head, so the church shares in the life of the risen Christ. It is united with him in his victory over death and all the evil spiritual forces of the universe (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 2:5-7; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21; Colossians 2:13-15).
If the picture of the body emphasizes the life, unity and growth that Christ gives to the church, the picture of marriage emphasizes the love that Christ has for the church. That love was so great that, to gain the church as his bride, Christ laid down his life in sacrifice (Ephesians 5:25; cf. Acts 20:28). Both pictures illustrate Christ’s headship of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23; Ephesians 5:23), and both make it clear that God can accept the church as holy and faultless only because it shares the life and righteousness of Christ (Ephesians 5:26-27; Colossians 1:22).
This view of the church in all its perfection as the body of Christ is one that only God sees. The view that people in general see is one of imperfection, because the church exists in a world where everything is spoiled by human sin and failure (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:2 with 1 Corinthians 3:1-3; cf. Ephesians 1:1-4 with Ephesians 4:25-32). God sees the church as the total number of all believers in all nations in all eras – a vast, ongoing, international community commonly referred to as the church universal. But people see it only in the form of those believers who are living in a particular place at a particular time.
Within what people in general see as the church there are genuine believers and those who have no true faith in Christ at all. Often it is difficult to tell the difference between the two, and the only certain division will take place at the final judgment. Only God knows which people are really his (Matthew 13:47-50; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 4:3-5; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 2 Timothy 2:19).
The local church
While the Bible sometimes speaks of the church as a timeless and universal community, more commonly it speaks of it as a group of Christians meeting together in a particular locality. This community is the church in that locality. It is the local expression, a sort of miniature, of the timeless universal church (Acts 13:1; Acts 15:41; Acts 20:17; 1 Corinthians 1:2).
Each local church, though in fellowship with other local churches (Acts 11:27-30; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4; Colossians 4:15-16), is responsible directly to the head, Jesus Christ, in all things. The New Testament gives no guidelines for a central organization or head church to control all others. It lays down no set of laws either to hold the churches together in one body or to hold all the believers in one church together. Unity comes through a oneness of faith in the Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6).
It is therefore better to think of the church not as an organization or institution, but as a family. Christ is the head, and all the believers are brothers and sisters (Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 2:19; Romans 15:30; Romans 16:1; Romans 16:23). The strength of the church comes not from some organizational system, but from the spiritual life that each believer has and that all believers share in common (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:7; Philippians 2:1-2; 1 John 1:3; see FELLOWSHIP).
According to Christ’s command and the early church’s example, those who repent and believe the gospel should be baptized (1618101507_66; Acts 2:38; Acts 2:41; Acts 10:48; see BAPTISM). By their faith they become members of Christ’s body, the church, and they show the truth of this union by joining with the Christians in their locality. In other words, having become part of the timeless universal church, they now become part of the local church (Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47).
The Bible gives no instructions concerning where the church in any one locality should meet. (Churches in New Testament times seem to have met in private homes or any ready-made places they could find; see Acts 12:12; Acts 19:9; Acts 20:7-8; Galatians 3:164; Romans 16:14-15; Colossians 4:15.) The meetings of the church are to be orderly and, what is more important, spiritually helpful (1 Corinthians 14:12; 1 Corinthians 14:26; 1 Corinthians 14:40). Christians must be built up through being taught the Scriptures and through having fellowship by worshipping, praying, singing praises and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7; Acts 20:27; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-33; 1 Corinthians 14:15; see LORD’S SUPPER; WORSHIP).
Christians must not look upon the church as a sort of private fellowship that exists solely for their own benefit. From the church they must go out to spread the gospel to others, baptizing those who believe, bringing them into the church, teaching them the Christian truths and making them true disciples of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:26; Acts 1:7-8; Acts 8:4; Romans 10:14-17).
In addition, the church should be concerned with helping those who are the victims of sickness, hunger, conflict, injustice and other misfortunes (Matthew 25:34-40; Romans 12:8; Church
An annual publication setting forth the datesand times of the Holy Days and Seasons of the Church's year, withthe table of Lessons, directions concerning the Church colors andother information about the Church, such as the organization ofthe Dioceses, number of communicants; clergy list, the GeneralConvention and other organizations; also, the list of the AmericanBishops, both living and departed. In fact a well-edited ChurchAlmanac is so full of information no intelligent communicant canafford to be without one, as a guide and help to his devotionsthroughout the year. (See CALENDAR).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Undivided Church
In the great work of the Reformation in theSixteenth Century, the Church of England did not seek to introduceinnovations, to erect a new church in the place of the old, or tochange the old religion for a new religion. What it aimed to do wasto retain its ancient heritage, but at the same time to free theold Church from certain grave abuses, to purify the old religionfrom many harmful superstitions which had sprung up during theMiddle Ages. Thus "the continuity of the English Church was thefirst principle of the English Reformation." In all the work ofReformation, covering a long period of time, the appeal wasconstantly made to the primitive standards of the Undivided Church;to Holy Scripture as interpreted by the teaching and customs of thePrimitive Church, the writings of the Fathers and the decisionsof the General Councils. The reasonableness of this appeal will appearwhen we consider that it is this early age of Christianity, the agenearest to the time of the Apostles, which best preserved thepersonal instructions of the Twelve, which was most likely to be inaccord with the Will of our Lord and which maintained the Church'sunity unimpaired. It was during this time, because the Church wasone and undivided, that the Canon of Scripture was established,that it was possible to hold the Ecumenical Councils which defined"the Faith once delivered to the Saints," and gave us the Creeds asthe "Rule of Faith." For this reason the English Church in herReformation appealed to the practice, teaching and decisions of theUndivided Church. It was thus she was enabled to preserve herhistoric continuity. The original Unity of the Church was finallybroken by the great schism between the East and the West which tookplace A.D. 1054, (See TRADITIONS; also FATHERS, THE.)
A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography - Nestorian Church
Nestorian Church. This is the name given in modern times to those whom 5th-cent. writers called simply "Easterns"; by which they meant the church that existed to the east of them, outside the boundary of the Roman empire, in the kingdom that was at first Parthian, and later Sassanid Persian. The body is also called "east Syrian" (the term Syrian implying use of the Syriac language rather than residence in "Syria"), and sometimes also "Chaldean" or "Assyrian."
Foundation of the Church. —During the course of the 1st cent. Christianity spread from Antioch, not only to the west but also eastwards, and in particular it extended to Edessa, then the capital of the little "buffer state" of Osrhoene, situated between the Roman and Parthian empires. The political independence of the state ended in 216, but it had lasted long enough to give a definite character to the local church, which was marked off by its Syriac vernacular and Oriental ways of thought from the Greek Christianity to the west of it. Missionaries went out from Edessa to the east again, and founded two daughter-churches, one in Armenia and one in what was then Parthia, the latter of which is the subject of this article.
The first two "apostles" and founders of this church were Adai (=Thaddeus) and Mari. Tradition identified the former with either the disciple of Christ—a statement hard to reconcile with the recorded fact that he was still able to travel in the year 100—or with one of "the Seventy." He is known to have preached in Assyria and Adiabene before the close of the 1st cent., and to have consecrated his disciple Paqida as first bishop of the latter province, in a.d. 104 (Hist. of Mshikha-zca ); while the statement of the "doctrine of Adai" that the apostle died in peace at Edessa has the ring of truth in it. The later history of the church in that place is outside our subject.
Of Mari, his companion, little is known certainly (his life is a mere piece of hagiography), but he appears to have penetrated into the southern provinces of the Parthian kingdom, to have preached without much success at the capital, Seleucia-Ctesiphon, and to have died in peace at Dor-Koni. There seems no reason to doubt the historic character of both these teachers; and later tradition added that St. Thomas the Apostle, passing through this country on his way to India, was co-founder of the church with them.
The Church under the Arsacids and Sassanids. —Under Parthian rule, which was tolerant, and where the state religion was an outworn and eclectic paganism, the new faith spread rapidly and easily. There was no persecution by the government, though converts from one special religion, Zoroastrianism, had sometimes to face it, from the powerful hierarchy of that faith, the Magians. Thus the church had more than 20 bishops, and these were distributed over the whole country when, in 225, the 2nd Persian replaced the Parthian kingdom, and the Arsacid dynasty gave way to the Sassanid. This revolution was to its authors a revival of the old kingdom destroyed by Alexander, and the Persian nation rose again with a national religion, that of Zoroaster. It made no effort to destroy the Christianity that it found existing, but, like Islam later, tolerated it as the religion of a subject race, and so put it into the position that it still occupies in those lands, though the dominant religion has changed. Christians became a melet (a subject race organized in a church), recognized by the government, but despised by it. For them to proselytize from the state faith was a crime, punishable with death, though they were allowed to convert pagans. Apostasy from Christianity to the established faith meant worldly prosperity, but there was no persecution, though there was often oppression, by the government, until the adoption of Christianity by the Roman emperor (the standing enemy of the shah-in-shah) made every Christian politically suspect. Thus Persia continued to be a refuge for many Christians from Roman territory during the "general" persecutions of the 3rd cent., and the church grew, both by conversions and by the advent of "captivities," largely Christian in faith, brought by conquerors like Sapor I. from Roman territory.
Episcopate of Papa. —Though it extended rapidly elsewhere, the church made little progress in the capital, and there was no bishop there, and only a few Christians, till late in the 3rd cent. In 270 Akha d’Abuh’, bp. of Arbela, joined with others in consecrating Papa to that see, and this man became its first bishop since the days of Mari. In later days legend supplied the names of earlier holders of what had then become a patriarchal throne, and indeed made Akha d’Abuh’ himself one of the series, and told how in a.d. 170 he was recognized by the four "western patriarchs" as the fifth of the band.
Papa, as by of the capital, soon claimed to be the chief bishop of the church, its catholicos; the claim was favoured by the circumstances of the time, as in his days all the "greater thrones" were obtaining jurisdiction over the lesser sees within their sphere of attraction, and the patriarchates so formed were soon to be recognized at Nicaea. The conditions of melet life also tend to produce some one head, through whom the government can deal with the people. Papa, however, so claimed the honour as to produce irritation, and a council met in 315 to judge his claim. It was very adverse to Papa, who refused in anger to bow to its decision. "But is it not written, 'He that is chief among you . . .'?" said one bishop, Miles of Susa. "You fool, I know that," cried the catholicos. "Then be judged by the Gospel," retorted Miles, placing his own copy in the midst. Papa, in fury, struck the book with his fist, exclaiming, "Then speak, Gospel!—speak!" and, smitten with apoplexy or paralysis, fell helpless as he did so. After such a sacrilege and such a portent his condemnation naturally followed, and his archdeacon Shimun bar Saba’i was consecrated in his room.
Papa, on recovery, appealed for support to "the Westerns," i.e. not to Antioch or Rome (the "Nestorian" church never deemed herself subject to either of them), but to the nearest important sees to the west of him, Nisibis and Edessa. These supported him on the whole, but their advice did not, apparently, go beyond recommending a general reconciliation and submission to the see of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, on the ground that it would be for the good of the whole church that it should have a catholicos. This recommendation was carried out, all parties being a little ashamed of themselves. Papa was recognized as catholicos, with Shimun as colleague, cum jure successionis , and the right of the throne concerned to the primacy has never since been disputed. Papa survived these events for 12 years, and so was ruling during the council of Nicaea, though neither he nor any bishop of his jurisdiction (which did not then include Nisibis) was present at that gathering. Arianism passed by this church absolutely, and the fact is both a testimony to its isolation and a merciful dispensation. Church history might have been very different had that heresy found a national point d’appui .
Persecution of Sapor II. —Shimun succeeded Papa, and in his days the church had to face the terrible "forty years' persecution" of Sapor II. The acceptance of Christianity by the Roman empire meant terrible suffering for the church outside it, in that any outbreak of the secular rivalry of the two empires meant thereafter persecution for the church in one of them. This was inevitable, and the same dilemma exists to-day. Given a state professing a certain variety of militant religion (Zoroastrianism or Islam), how can loyalty to it be compatible with profession of the religion of its rivals? Constantine, like some Czars, liked playing the general protector of Christians; and Christians looked to him as naturally as, in the same land, they have since looked to Russia.
Thus, when Sapor made war on Constantius in 338, persecution commenced almost as a matter of course. Shimun the catholicos was one of the first victims, 100 priests and clerics suffering with him; and the struggle thus inaugurated continued until the death of Sapor in 378, in which time 16,000 martyrs, whose names are recorded, died for their faith.
This greatest of persecutions was not, of course, uniformly severe at all times in all provinces, and both it and others after it were rather the releasing of the "race-hatred" of Zoroastrianism against Christianity than the ordered process of law against a religio illicita . Thus, it resembled both in outline and detail the "Armenian massacres" of a later age. Clergy, of course, and celibates of both sexes, who were numerous, were specially marked, and so were the Christian inhabitants of the five provinces about Nisibis, when their surrender by the emperor Jovian in 363 handed them over to a notorious persecutor.
Practically, though not absolutely, the trial ended with the death of Sapor; but the exhausted church could do little to reorganize herself until a formal firman of toleration had been obtained. The influence of Theodosius II. secured this in 410 from the then shah-in-shah, Yezdegerd I.
Council of Isaac. —The church was then formally put into the position that it had, previously to the persecution, occupied practically: it was made a melet in the Persian state, under its catholicos, Isaac; it was allowed to hold a council, under his presidency and that of the Roman ambassador, Marutha; and it now for the first time accepted the Nicene Creed. Canons were also passed for the proper organization of the body, and some of these are based on Nicene rules. The church shewed its independence, however, by dealing very freely with the canons even of that council.
Seemingly, the council of Constantinople was accepted also at this time, but it was not thought to deserve special mention.
A period of rapid growth followed the enfranchisement and organization of the church that had proved its power to endure, and 26 new sees were added in 15 years to the 40 existing in 410, these including Merv, Herat, Seistan, and other centres in central Asia. Internal troubles arose, however, caused by the quarrels of Christians, and by their habit of "using pagan patronage"—i.e. applying to non-Christians of influence—in order to escape censure, to gain promotion, etc. The habit was, of course, destructive of all discipline. A council held in 420 to deal with this, under the catholicos Yahb-Alaha, and another Roman ambassador, Acacius of Amida, could only suggest the acceptance of the rules of several Western councils—Gangra, Antioch, Caesarea—without considering whether rules adapted for the West would for that reason suit the East. Persecution soon recommenced, Magian jealousy being stirred by Christian progress, and raged for four years (420–424, mainly under Bahrain V.) with terrible severity. As usual, a Perso-Roman war coincided with the persecution, and the end of the one marked the end of the other also. With the return of peace another council was allowed, the catholicos Dad-Ishu presiding. This man had suffered much, both in the persecution and from the accusations of Christian enemies, and was most anxious to resign his office. There was, however, a strong feeling among Christians that their church must be markedly independent of "Western" Christianity ( i.e. that of the Roman empire), as too much connexion spelt persecution. Thus they insisted that the catholicos should remain, and styled him also "patriarch," and specially forbade any appeal from him to "Western" bishops. The fact that Acacius of Amida, though actually the guest of the king at the time, was not at the council is another indication of their feelings. This declaration of independence is the first sign of the approaching schism, though the remainder of the catholicate of Dad-Ishu was peaceful, and the Nestorian controversy, at the time of its arising, was no more heard of in the East than the Arian controversy before it had been.
The Work of Bar-soma. —Another persecution fell on this much-tried church in 448, but otherwise we know little of its history till 480, when the Christological controversy reached it for the first time.
In the Roman empire at that period Chalcedon was past, and the Monophysite reaction that followed that council was at its height; the "Henoticon of Zeno" was the official confession, accepted by all the patriarchs of the empire with the exception of the Roman. The church in Persia, however, was emphatically "Dyophysite," and thus there was a theological force at work that hardened the independence already found necessary into actual separation.
The protagonist of the movement was Bar-soma of Nisibis, a very typical son of his nation; a quarrelsome and unscrupulous man, who yet had a real love both for his church and for learning. He was a favourite with the shah-in-shah, Piroz, who employed him as warden of the marches on the Romo-Persian frontier, and he was practically patriarch of the church. The real patriarch, Babowai, had just been put to death for supposedly treasonable correspondence with Rome, and Bar-soma had rather gone out of his way to secure that this prelate (his personal enemy) should not escape the consequences of his own imprudence. Bar-soma easily persuaded Piroz that it would be better that "his rayats" should have no connexion with the subjects of the Roman emperor, and under his influence a council was held at Bait Lapat, a "Dyophysite" (or perhaps Nestorian) confession published, and separation brought about. By another canon of this council marriage was expressly allowed to all ranks of the hierarchy.
Some say that the church was simply dragooned into heresy, but the mass of Christians seem to have at least acquiesced in the work of Bar-soma, and it must be remembered that they separated from a church that was Monophysite at the time. There was, moreover, a better side to the work of Bar-soma. He was a lover of learning, and when the imperial order brought the theological school at Edessa to an end (this had hitherto been the sole means of education open to sons of the "church of the East"), he took a statesman's advantage of the opportunity by founding at Nisibis a college that was a nursery of bishops to his church for 1,000 years.
Bar-soma's power ended with the death of Piroz (484), and Acacius became patriarch. His reign saw the breach with the "Westerns" healed more or less, as the council of Bait Lapat was repudiated (though the canon on episcopal marriage was allowed to stand) and another confession of faith was drawn up. This was not Nestorian, but was indefinite, designedly, and Acacius was received as orthodox during a visit to Constantinople, on condition of his anathematizing Bar-soma. As they were already at open feud on a minor matter, the patriarch readily agreed to this, but the memory of the schism was of evil omen for the future.
Mar Aba. —A period of confusion (490–540) followed. The whole country of Persia was disturbed by the communism preached by Mazdak, to which even the king, Kobad, was converted for a while. The strange movement was stamped out in blood, but it left indirect effects on the church, and Bar-soma also bequeathed them a bad tradition of quarrelsomeness. This culminated in an open schism in the patriarchate, lasting for 15 years, with open disorder in the whole church, a state of things that only terminated with the accession of Mar Aba to the patriarchate in 540.
Meantime, Monophysite supremacy in the Roman empire had ended with the accession of the emperor Justin in 518, and friendly relations between the church there and that in Persia had been resumed: the advantage had to be paid for by the latter, in that it implied a renewal of persecution.
Mar Aba, the greatest man in the series of patriarchs of the East, reformed the abuses in the church, going round from diocese to diocese with a "perambulatory synod," which judged every case on the spot with plenary authority—a precedent so excellent that it is surprising that it has never been followed. He was able to establish rules for the election of the patriarch which still hold good in theory, and founded schools and colleges (in particular, one at Seleucia), in addition to the one at Nisibis. His table of prohibited degrees in matrimony—a most necessary thing for Christians in a Zoroastrian land—is still the law of his church.
In his days the monastic life, which had wilted under Bar-soma and during the period of disorder, was revived, and was provided with a body of rules by Abraham of Kashkar, a pupil of Aba, while the friendship of the church in Persia with that in the empire led also (though dates are here rather uncertain) to the definite acceptance, by this "Nestorian" church, of the council of Chalcedon, which stands among the "Western synods" received by these "Easterns." This acceptance was certainly previous to 544.
Mar Aba's great work for his church was done in the teeth of great difficulties. He was a convert from Zoroastrianism, and as such was legally liable to be put to death, and therefore lived in daily peril from the Magians. The shah-in-shah, Chosroes I., would never allow his execution, but feared also to protect him efficiently, and for 7 of the 9 years of his tenure of office he was in prison, ruling his flock thence. Though he was released at last, and passed his last days in honour at court, there is no doubt that his sufferings hastened his death.
Position of the Church in the 6th Cent. —In the following half-century (550–600) there was no special incident. A series of patriarchs of the three stock eastern types (court favourite, respectable nonentity, and strict ascetic) ruled the church, and the services were arranged much in their present form. In particular the "Rogation of the Ninevites," still annually observed, was either instituted or remodelled by the patriarch Ezekiel, during an outbreak of plague.
The anomalous relation of the church in Persia with other parts of the Catholic church cannot be fitted into any defined theory. Several Christological confessions were issued by these so-called "Nestorians" which are certainly not unorthodox, and individual patriarchs were readily received to communion when they happened to visit Constantinople (e.g. Ishu-yahb, 585). Nevertheless, there was a growing estrangement, and a conviction on either side that the other was somehow wrong, which was strengthened as the church in Persia slowly realized that the man whom they called "the interpreter" par excellence , Theodore of Mopsuestia, had been condemned at Constantinople.
In Persia the church was a stationary melet , though beyond the frontier it was a missionary force among Arabs, Turks, and Chinese. It was numerous enough to make the king anxious not to offend it, the mercantile and agricultural classes being largely of the faith. On the other hand, the feudal seigneurs were very seldom of it, and soldiers practically never. In "the professions" doctors were generally Christian, and indeed are largely so to this day, while each faith had its own law and lawyers.
The clergy were usually married, but there was a growing feeling in favour of celibate bishops, though the law passed by Bar-soma was never repealed.
Monophysite Controversy .—The bulk of Persian Christians were Dyophysite in creed, but there was a Monophysite minority, organized under bishops (or a bishop) of their own, and including many monks. This body was recruited by the enormous "captivities" brought from Syria in 540 and 570. In 612 they were strong enough to make a daring and nearly successful attempt to capture the church hierarchy. The patriarchate was then vacant (Chosroes had been so annoyed by the substitution of another Gregory for the Gregory whom he had nominated to that office, that he had refused to allow any election when that man died in 608), and when petition was made for the granting of a patriarch, the Monophysites, whose interest at court was powerful, petitioned for the nomination of a man of their own. They had formidable supporters, for Shirin, the king's Christian wife, and Gabriel, his doctor, were both of that confession.
A deputation of Dyophysites came to court to endeavour to secure a patriarch of their own colour, and a most unedifying wrangle over the theological point followed, Chosroes sitting as umpire. Of course, neither side converted the other, but the occasion was important, for from it dates the employment of the Christological formula now used by this church, viz. "two Natures, two 'Qnumi,' and one Person in Christ," the repudiation of the term "Mother of God" as applied to the B.V.M., and the acceptance of the nickname "Nestorian" now given them by the Monophysites. Ultimately the Dyophysites saved themselves from the imposition of a Monophysite patriarch, at the cost of remaining without a leader till the death of Chosroes, and the Monophysites organized a hierarchy of their own.
During the long wars between Chosroes and Heraclius, and the anarchy that followed in Persia, the " Nestorian" church has naturally no recorded history, yet at their conclusion it was once more to have formal relations with the patriarchate and church of Constantinople.
Drift into Separation. — In the year 628 its patriarch, Ishu-yahb II., was sent as ambassador to Constantinople, and he was there asked to explain its faith, and was admitted as orthodox. He was, however, attacked on his return home, on suspicion of having made unlawful concessions, and not all the efforts of men like Khenana and Sahdona could shake the general conviction on each side that "those others" were somehow wrong. The two men named laboured to shew the essential identity, under a verbal difference, of the doctrines of the two churches, but the only visible result was the excommunication of both peacemakers.
Then the flood of Moslem conquest drifted the two churches apart, and the bulk of organized Monophysitism between them hid each from the other.
The separation of "Nestorians" from "orthodox" was a gradual process, commenced before 424, and hardly complete before 640. In that period, however, it was completed, and the "church of the East" commenced her marvellous medieval career in avowed schism from her sister of Constantinople. Whether her doctrine, then or at any time, was what the word "Nestorian" means to us, and what is the theological status of a church which accepts Nicaea, Constantinople, and Chalcedon, but rejects Ephesus, are separate and difficult questions. [1]
Authorities for the History of the Church. —History of Mshikha-zca. (ed. Mingana); Acta Sanct. Syr. (ed. Bedjan, 6 vols.); Hist. de Jabalaha et de trois patriarches nestoriens (Bedjan); Synodicon Orientale (ed. Chabot); Bar-hebraeus, Chron. Eccles. pt. ii.; John of Ephesus, Eccl. Hist. pt. iii. (Cureton); Amr and Sliba, Liber Turris ; the Guidi Chronicle (ed. Noldeke); Zachariah of Mitylene (ed. Brooks); Socr., Soz., Theod., Evagr., Eccles. Histories ; Book of Governors (Thomas of Marga, ed. Budge); Babai, de Unione (MS. only); Ishu-yahb III., Letters (ed. Duval); Tabari, Gesch. der Sassaniden (ed. Noldeke); Assemani, Bibl. Orient. iii.
Books and Pamphlets .— Labourt, Christianisme dens la Perse ; Chabot, Ecole de Nisibe ; De S. Isaaci vita ; Duval, Histoire d’Edesse ; Goussen, Martyrius-Sahdona ; Hoffmann, Aussuge aus Syrische Martyrer ; Bethune Baker, Nestorius and his Teaching ; Wigram, Doctrinal Position of Assyrian Church ; Introd. to Hist. of Assyrian Church ; Rawlinson, Seventh Oriental Empire ; Christiansen, L’Empire des Sassanides.
[2]
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Organizations, Church
The American church is not simply a teachingand worshipping body, but it is also a working organization. Itsactivities reach out in all directions and touch almost everyconceivable need. Besides its well organized Dioceses and Parisheswhich are working with such effectiveness in their severallocalities, there are many other organizations enlisting thecooperation of Churchmen everywhere. There are the generalInstitutions, such as the General Theological Seminary, theDomestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the Woman's Auxiliary,the American Church Building Fund Commission, Free and Open ChurchAssociation, the Prayer-book Distribution Society, the Brotherhoodof St. Andrew, the Girls' Friendly Society, the Fund for Relief ofWidows and Orphans of Deceased Clergymen and of the Aged and Infirmand Disabled Clergymen, the Daughters of the King; all of which aretreated of under their proper heads. Other organizations are TheSociety for the Increase of the Ministry, the Evangelical EducationSociety, the American Church Missionary Society, Society forPromoting Christianity among the Jews, the Guild of St. Barnabasfor Nurses; Church Temperance Society; Missions among Deaf Mutes;etc. Besides these, there are religious Orders, Church Clubs,Sisterhoods, many Charity and Hospital organizations; and whilethis enumeration does not include all the various organizationsthat are at work, yet these are given that the reader may form someidea of what this Church is doing and how fully she enlists thecooperation of the laity in her general work.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Triumphant, the Church
The Church in Heaven. (See CHURCH CATHOLIC.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Growth of the Church
The course of the Episcopal Church in theUnited States has been characterized by a very remarkable growth—agrowth that has attracted the attention of the Public Press, bothreligious and secular. Thus the Roman Catholic News said recently,"The gains of the Episcopalians in this country, steady, onward,undeniable, and that at the expense of the denominations calledevangelical, is one of the remarkable characteristics of our times."The following statement appeared in Public Opinion: "A goodshowing is made by the so-called Protestant Episcopal Church in theUnited States. The general growth of the Church far exceeds,proportionately, that of the population at large, or of any otherreligious section of it in particular. It looks like the 'Church ofthe future.'" This statement may be illustrated by the returns ofthe last census. In the decade ending 1900 the population increased21 per cent., while the increase of the Episcopal Church was 41 percent. During the preceding decade (1880-1890) the increase ofpopulation was 24 per cent., but that of the Church was 46per cent. Before the Civil War, (in 1850) this Church had onecommunicant for about every 300 of the population; in 1880 it hadone for every 148; in 1890, one for every 125, and in 1900 it hadone communicant for every 107 of the population. The comparison ofgrowth of this Church with other religious bodies was set forth ina statement by the New York Independent, from which it appears thatthe rate of increase during the period examined was for the EpiscopalChurch 44 per cent.; for the Lutherans, 14; Baptists, 12; Methodists,11; and Presbyterians, 8 per cent. In the census returns in 1850the population of the United States was 23,847,884 and the EpiscopalChurch had then only 79,987 communicants. To-day (1901) the Stateof New York alone with a population of only 7,268,012 has 163,379communicants, being about one-fourth of the population in thatState. The Missionary Monthly, a Presbyterian publication,speaking of the Church in New York City, said: "The Episcopaliansfar outnumber any other denomination in their membership. Theirrelative growth also surpasses all others. In 1878 the Presbyterianmembership in this city was 18,704, while the Episcopalians numbered20,984. Now the Episcopalians almost double the Presbyterians in thematter of Church membership." These last two items refer only toNew York, but it is a well established fact that the Church isgrowing rapidly in all parts of our land. To-day there is not aState or Territory where the Episcopal Church has not its Bishop orBishops and body of Clergy and faithful people; even in far awayAlaska the Altar and the Cross have been set up, and the rate of increase throughout the United States is larger than that of anyother religious body in this land. Moreover, it is a striking factthat the Episcopal Church is the only religious body in the UnitedStates (except the Roman Catholic) which covers the entire country.
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Unity, Church
The most apparent, most manifest teaching of HolyScripture is the unity or oneness of the Church of Christ. It wasfor this our Lord prayed, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father,art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that theworld may believe that Thou hast sent Me" (St. John 17:25). We havein these words declared the purpose of such unity, viz.: "that theworld may believe." So, also, St. Paul wrote, "Endeavoring to keepthe unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one Body andone Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; oneLord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all"(Ephesians 4:3-6). Again, in the New Testament the Church is calledthe Body of Christ, the kingdom of heaven, the Bride, and its peopleare declared to be branches of the one Vine Jesus Christ Himself."The great thought running through all the New Testament descriptionsof the Church is that of the Church's unity in itself through itsunion with Christ the Head." There is not the slightest warrant inthe Bible for the present state of our divided Christianity, which issimply the result of sin and man's waywardness. This truth isbecoming more and more realized among many earnest and thoughtfulmen in all religious bodies and they are longing and praying forthe Reunion of Christendom. This desire has also developed a studyof Church History which heretofore has been a much neglecteddepartment of Christian knowledge. This more general study of thehistory of the Church has already been productive of the greatestgood. It has given men broader views and a clearer conception ofthat kingdom of grace, of which Christ is the Head and which is tobe the one, living witness whereby the world may be brought tobelieve that the Divine Father hath sent His Son to be the world'sSaviour. For this blessed consummation many earnest and devout menin all places and in almost every communion are using daily thefollowing beautiful
PRAYER FOR UNITY. "O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles, Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you: Regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church; and grant her that Peace and Unity, which is agreeable to Thy Will, Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen."
(See UNDIVIDED CHURCH.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Anglican Church, the
The name given to the Church of England asbeing the Church of the Anglo-Saxon race. The Church was introducedinto Britain as early as A.D. 61, probably by St. Paul and it hascontinued there the same organization ever since, and the Churchof the whole English nation until within the last 300 years, whendivers and sundry religious bodies have sprung up. Thus the Englishnation from that early period of the Church's first introductioninto Britain down to the present time, has never been without theOrthodox Faith; the Apostolic Ministry in three orders—Bishops,Priests and Deacons; the Sacraments and the ancient Liturgy.Moreover, the Church of England has always affirmed her own nationalintegrity and independence and although overcome and brought intosubjection to a foreign power, and finally regained her formerindependence—yet throughout all she has ever retained the fouressentials of Christian Truth and Order mentioned, and thus demonstrates that she is a true branch of the Church founded byChrist, and as such Catholic and Apostolic. For one to say that theChurch of England was founded by Henry VIII, or to say that it isa "schism from the Roman Church" shows great ignorance of eventhe plainest facts of history. The following statement, from asecular paper, the Providence (R. I.) Journal is worthreprinting: "It is still quite usual even for intelligent personsto misunderstand the purposes of the English Reformers, and theresult of the English Reformation. . . . The supremacy of Rome hasnever been borne patiently by the English people, whose churchorganization was established long before Rome took the trouble tointerfere with it; and several English kings had quarreled beforeHenry the Eighth's time with the Holy See. What the EnglishReformers wanted, and what they accomplished under Elizabeth,was Reform within the Church. It was on the continent thatProtestantism without the Church, built up a new ecclesiasticalorganization. All this, it may be, is a matter only of historicalvalue to the busy nineteenth century. But even if facts in ahistorical aspect are of small importance to an intensely practicalgeneration, it is as well to have these facts right as wrong."(See UNDIVIDED CHURCH).
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - American Church, the
The name, and one that is growing inpopularity, that is generally given to the body legally known as"The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America."
The term "American Church" is descriptive of "The Holy CatholicChurch" having this land and people as the field of its operations.When our Lord commanded His Apostles to go forth and make disciplesof all nations, and they went forth to carry out this command,they gave to every nation to which they came the Church in itscompleteness with powers of perpetuity. To every nation were giventhe Christian Faith, the Apostolic Ministry, the Sacraments and theChristian Worship or Liturgy. Hence there sprung up nationalChurches, all equal and having union with one another in thesefour essentials of Christian Truth and Order. The Episcopal Churchin the United States by reason of its origin, history and characteris to be regarded as one of these national churches and the namewhich is to embody this idea will no doubt be found and set forthby the proper ecclesiastical authority in due time. It is difficultto say just how the name "Protestant Episcopal" came into use, butit has always been a hindrance to our growth because it requiresso much to be said in explanation, which is always a disadvantage.Meantime the name "American Church" is coming more and more intogeneral use, as it is clear, definite and historic, following theanalogy of the naming of the ancient national churches.
The Episcopal Church in the United States is the daughter of theancient, historic. Catholic and Apostolic Church of England, ispartaker of the same life and the inheritor with the mother Churchof the same worship, rites, customs, doctrines and traditions, and,therefore, its position, likewise, is ancient and historic, Catholicand Apostolic. (See ANGLICAN CHURCH, also ANGLICAN COMMUNION).
The history of the Church in America covers a period of more thanthree hundred years, and its first beginnings on these shores arefull of interest. We refer to a few of them. From an old chronicleit is learned that in the year 1578, on the shores of Frobisher'sStraits, "Master Walfall celebrated a Communion upon land, at thepartaking whereof were the Captain and many others with him. Thecelebration of the Divine Mystery was the first signs, sealsand confirmation of Christ's Passion and Death ever known in thesequarters."
It is a remarkable and interesting fact that the Book of CommonPrayer was first used in the territory now covered by the UnitedStates, not on the Atlantic coast as one would naturally suppose,but on the Pacific coast, on the shores of Drake's Bay, California.This took place on St. John Baptist's Day, June 24th, 1579, theofficiating minister having been the Rev. Francis Fletcher, chaplainto Francis Drake. The place where this service was held has beenmarked by a handsome cross, known as the "Prayer Book Cross,"erected by Bishop Nichols through the munificence of the late Geo.W. Childs, of Philadelphia.
In the course of time, settlements were made along the Atlanticcoast and evidence is given of the Church's services being held atvery early dates. In A.D. 1607, the first permanent settlement waseffected in Virginia. In May of that year, under the Rev. RobertHunt, a Priest of the Church of England, services began to be heldregularly and a church building was erected at Jamestown. This wasthirteen years before the "Pilgrim Fathers" landed on Plymouth Rock.The Church was planted in all the colonies and included a greaterportion of the population. But in time other religious bodies werealso established and as these organizations had everything necessaryfor their growth and development they grew and prospered. With the Church it was far different. For more than one hundred and fiftyyears it existed on these shores an Episcopal Church without anEpiscopate. There could be no confirmations and no ordinations tothe ministry unless candidates were willing to take the long andperilous voyage to England. The result was the supply of clergy felloff, and children, although baptized, yet because they could not beconfirmed, finally wandered away to other folds.
Repeated efforts were made to secure the consecration of a Bishopfor the Church in America, but owing to political and ecclesiasticalcomplications this was not possible until after the RevolutionaryWar. In A.D. 1784, on November 14th, the Rev. Samuel Seabury, D.D.,was consecrated in Aberdeen, Scotland, by the Scottish Bishops,for the Church in Connecticut and as the first Bishop in America.On February 4th, 1787, the Rev. William White, D.D., of Pennsylvania,and the Rev. Samuel Provoost, D.D., of New York, were consecratedBishops by the two Archbishops of the Church of England and theBishop of Bath and Wells, and Peterborough, in Lambeth Palace,London. A few years later, viz., on September 19th, 1790, the Rev.James Madison, D.D., of Virginia, was consecrated in England bythe Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London and the Bishopof Rochester. By the consecration of these four Bishops abroad theAmerican Church secured the Episcopate from the ancient andApostolic sources, and thus gained the power of perpetuating itself.The significance of this may be seen when we reflect that theancient canons of the Church require that not less than threeBishops shall unite in the consecration of a Bishop. This enactmentis designed to provide against any possible defect in the successionof any one of the consecrating Bishops. We thus see how carefulthe Church has always been in conferring this great office, and howparticular the American Church was to meet every ecclesiasticalrequirement according to the ancient order and traditions.
It may be interesting to note that the first Bishop consecrated onAmerican soil was the Rt. Rev. Thomas John Claggett, the firstBishop of Maryland, in whose consecration all four of the AmericanBishops united. This took place in Trinity Church, New York,September 17th, 1792. From that time to the present, the AmericanEpiscopate has increased greatly by reason of the growing needs ofthe Church in this rapidly developing country. More than two hundredBishops have been consecrated for the work of the Church in theUnited States and for its missions in the foreign field.
The growth of the Church itself, likewise, has been remarkable whenwe consider the disadvantages under which it labored in those earlydays and the bitter prejudice against it which even yet is notwholly done away. To-day there is not a State or a Territory whichis not under the pastoral care of a Bishop, many of the stateshaving several Dioceses each with its Bishop at its head. The quiet,persistent loyalty to the Truth "as this Church hath received thesame," the reasonable terms of admission to her fold, the missionaryzeal and enterprise, the practical work enlisting so largely thelabors and cooperation of the laity, the far-reaching influenceon the religious thought of the day, the proposal of the termsfor Christian Unity, the multiplying of services and the more frequent communions, all manifest her inner and outward growth anddemonstrate the reality and high purpose of her Mission to thisland and nation. (See GROWTH OF THE CHURCH.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Joining the Church
This is a phrase that has been brought overfrom the usage and phraseology of the various denominations. Its useamong Church people has been productive of the greatest harm. In thefirst place, it is hardly a correct phrase for a Churchman to use.We may "join" an Odd Fellows' lodge or a debating society, but we donot join a family or household which God's Church is. We are bornor adopted into a family, and so we are adopted into God's family;incorporated, grafted into the Body of Christ, His Church, and notsimply "join" it as we would a debating society or a political club.
In the next place, harm has been done by the use of this phrase byChurch people, because as popularly understood it is in directcontradiction to the belief and practice of the Church. According tothis phraseology Holy Baptism counts for nothing, and yet the Bibleteaches that it is in Holy Baptism that we are made members ofthe Church, and that all future blessings are dependent on thisspiritual fact. When then, Church people take up this mode of speechand use it in reference to Confirmation as is so often done, theypractically ignore the significance of Holy Baptism and the Church'smethod and appointed order.
The effect of this becomes apparent in the lives of many of theChurch's baptized children. Because, in whatever religious teachingthey receive, their Baptism is never referred to, and they are neverreminded that they are now God's children by adoption and gracebecause baptized, it comes to pass that, when these same childrenare asked to be confirmed, they think and act as if they wereinvited to "join the Church." And as they are more influenced by thespeech and methods of the various religious bodies which prevail intheir community than they are by the Church's teaching, they imaginethat something extraordinary is required; they feel as if they mustsomehow "have got" religion; or they do not feel prepared to"experience religion"; or else they don't know whether they will orwill not "join the Episcopal Church." In all this we see the resultof the application and use of "other systems" rather than that ofthe Church. Thus many an earnest and loving young heart has beenlost to the Church, notwithstanding it was given to God in itstenderest years to be trained up for Him. Confirmation is not"joining the Church." If we are baptized, we have been "receivedinto Christ's Holy Church and made a living member of the same." Andbecause this is true, the Church has a further Blessing in storefor her children. This she would bestow by the ministrations of herchief Pastors in the Laying on of Hands by the Bishop; and to thisour young people might go naturally and easily and at the same timesoberly and reverently, if they were properly instructed and lovinglyled. There is no reason why any young baptized person mightnot thus go to his or her Confirmation, claiming this Blessing astheir right and privilege as children of God and citizens of HisKingdom. (See BAPTISM; NAME, THE CHRISTIAN; REGENERATION; alsoCONFIRMATION.)
The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Keys of the Church
To the Rector belongs the control of the keysof the Church building, and this because he alone can determine whatservices shall be held in it. If he chooses he can hold servicesevery day; he can celebrate the Holy Eucharist every day or as oftenas he thinks best, and no one can interfere with him. He hascharge of the spiritualities of the Parish and in this he is leftabsolutely free, being amenable to his Bishop only. The Vestry havenothing to do in determining what use the Rector shall make ofthe Church building in carrying out the provisions of the PrayerBook. The Office of Institution recognizes this right in that one ofits provisions is that "then shall the Senior Warden (or the memberof the Vestry supplying his place) present the keys of the Church tothe new Incumbent, saying, In the name and behalf of———Parish[1] I do receive and acknowledge you, the Reverend, (name)as Priest and Rector of the same; and in token thereof, give intoyour hands the keys of the Church."

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Non-Uniat Churches - Eight groups of schismatical or heretical Churches, which separated from Rome at various periods since the 4th century. ...
Abyssinian Church
Armenian Church
Bulgarian Church (considers itself part of the "Orthodox" Church, but is not so considered by some bodies of the Orthodox Church)
Coptic Church (Egypt)
Jacobite Church (Syria)
Malabar Christians (India)
Nestorian Church (Persia)
The "Orthodox" Church (with 17 subdivisions)
See also the article on the Uniat Churches
Methodist Bodies - They formulated their Articles of Religion from the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England. " In America the Church government emphasized the superintendency, which was a form of episcopacy. The different Methodist bodies are as follows: ...
African Methodist Episcopal Church
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Colored Methodist Episcopal Church
Congregational Methodist Church
Free Methodist Church of North America
Methodist Episcopal Church
Methodist Episcopal Church, South
Methodist Protestant Church
Primitive Methodist Church
Reformed Methodist Union Episcopal Church (Colored)
Reformed Zion Union Apostolic Church (Colored)
Union American Methodist Episcopal Church
Wesleyan Methodist
Evangelistic Associations - Various Church organizations which have one general characteristic, the conduct of evangelistic or missionary work. There are 14 bodies grouped under this head: ...
Apostolic Christian Church
Apostolic Faith Movement
Christian Congregation
Church of Daniel's Band
Church of God as Organized by Christ
Church Transcendent
Hephzibah Faith Missionary Association Inc
Lumber River Missions
Metropolitan Church Association
Missionary Bands of the World
Missionary Church Association
Peniel Missions
Pillar of Fire
Voluntary Missionary Society in America
Kirk - ) A Church or the Church, in the various senses of the word; esp. , the Church of Scotland as distinguished from other reformed Churches, or from the Roman Catholic Church
Anglican - ) A member of the Church of England. ) English; of or pertaining to England or the English nation; especially, pertaining to, or connected with, the established Church of England; as, the Anglican Church, doctrine, orders, ritual, etc. ) Pertaining to, characteristic of, or held by, the high Church party of the Church of England. ) In a restricted sense, a member of the High Church party, or of the more advanced ritualistic section, in the Church of England
Discipline (1) - Church, consists in putting Church laws in execution, and inflicting the penalties enjoined. ...
See Church
Militant, Church - A name used to describe the Church on earth,fighting (which the word Militant means) or contending against thepowers of the world, to distinguish it from the Church Expectant andthe Church Triumphant. (See Church CATHOLIC. ) In the CommunionOffice the prayer said after the presentation of offerings is called"The Prayer for the Church Militant," which is a pleading for theHoly Church throughout the world offered in union with the GreatSacrifice
Orthodox Church - (Greek: orthodoxos, right believer) ...
Name appropriated, some time before the 9th century, by the Christians of the largest group of the Non-Uniat or schismatical Churches, to distinguish themselves from heretics. The Orthodox Church is subdivided into the following independent Churches, which, however, all recognize each other, and no other Christian Church, as Orthodox. ...
Church of Cyprus
Church of Greece (Modern)
Church of Mount Sinai
Greek Church in Australia
Greek Church in Western Europe (headquarters in London)
Greek Orthodox Church in the United States
Independent Greek Orthodox Church in America
Patriarchate of Alexandria (Egypt)
Patriarchate of Antioch (Syria)
Patriarchate of Constantinople
Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Patriarchate of Moscow (Russia; largest of all Eastern Churches)
Patriarchate of Poland
Patriarchate of Rumania
Patriarchate of Serbia
Russian Church (Czarist: headquarters in Serbia)
The Living Church (Russia; new)
The majority of them have become national Churches, governed by a Holy Directing Synod and absolutely independent upon the state
Marks of the Church - The Church is a means necessary for all men unto salvation. Now there are many societies which claim to be the Church of God. Hence, since there is an obligation imposed on men to enter the Church of Christ, this obligation presupposes the possibility of distinguishing the true Church of Christ from all other societies falsely claiming this prerogative. The Church is materially and formally visible. Hence there must of necessity be something in the Church which visibly manifests this society to be the true Church of Christ. This visible sign is what we call a mark of the Church. We may define a mark to be an essential characteristic which is proper to the true Church alone, and visibly manifests it to be the Church of Christ. The Church itself points to four such marks in the Creed promulgated at the Council of Constantinople (381). Although theologians have at times multiplied the number of marks which distinguish the Church, they are reducible to these four
Catholic, Roman - A term commonly applied today to the Church established by Christ. The ordinary name of the Church is Catholic. After the Reformation, various terms of reprobation were applied to the Church, particularly in England, such as "The Romish Church," "The Romish Catholic Church," "Papist Church," or "Popish Church. " With the dying down of the more violent phase of the persecution of the Church, a term was invented to designate the Church, without recognizing its claims to be the One True Church, perhaps without intending an odious sense, but still often used to imply that it is foreign and not in accord with the national spirit, or tradition. In the proper sense the prefix "Roman" draws attention to the unity of the Church, and "insists that the central point of Catholicity is Roman, the Roman See of Saint Peter" (Cardinal Vaughan). The improper notion, commonly held by those not members of the Church when using the term "Roman Catholic," is that the term "Catholic" is a genus, of which those who owe allegiance to the Pope form a species. This distinction is repudiated by members of the One True Church, which of its very nature and constitution is incapable of essential division
Roman Catholic - A term commonly applied today to the Church established by Christ. The ordinary name of the Church is Catholic. After the Reformation, various terms of reprobation were applied to the Church, particularly in England, such as "The Romish Church," "The Romish Catholic Church," "Papist Church," or "Popish Church. " With the dying down of the more violent phase of the persecution of the Church, a term was invented to designate the Church, without recognizing its claims to be the One True Church, perhaps without intending an odious sense, but still often used to imply that it is foreign and not in accord with the national spirit, or tradition. In the proper sense the prefix "Roman" draws attention to the unity of the Church, and "insists that the central point of Catholicity is Roman, the Roman See of Saint Peter" (Cardinal Vaughan). The improper notion, commonly held by those not members of the Church when using the term "Roman Catholic," is that the term "Catholic" is a genus, of which those who owe allegiance to the Pope form a species. This distinction is repudiated by members of the One True Church, which of its very nature and constitution is incapable of essential division
Anglo-Catholic - ) A member of the Church of England who contends for its catholic character; more specifically, a High Churchman. ) Of or pertaining to a Church modeled on the English Reformation; Anglican; - sometimes restricted to the ritualistic or High Church section of the Church of England
Western Church - A term frequently met with in Church history anddenoting the Churches which formerly made part of the western empireof Rome, i. , the Church in western Europe,—Italy, Spain,France, etc. The Church of England is also included under this termas being a branch of the Catholic and Apostolic Church
Disestablishment of the Anglican Church - Specifically, the depriving the Church of its right, privileges, or position as the Established Church of the United Kingdom. As such it received the support, through taxation, of British subjects regardless of creed; and many, in order to exercise freedom of conscience, were forced to support it in addition to the Church of their convictions. The system was manifestly unfair and movements to disestablish the Anglican Church resulted in the Irish Church Act, 1869, granting autonomous powers to the Irish Protestant Episcopal Church and making it dependent upon its adherents alone; and the Welsh Church Acts 1914, which, owing to the War required further legislation, 1920, to complete the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales. The movement in England itself has been strengthened by controversies resulting from the book, "Foundations," 1912, which displayed a trend towards doctrinal indifference; the Church of England Assembly (Power) Act, 1919, which secured greater freedom for the episcopacy
Anglican Church, Disestablishment of the - Specifically, the depriving the Church of its right, privileges, or position as the Established Church of the United Kingdom. As such it received the support, through taxation, of British subjects regardless of creed; and many, in order to exercise freedom of conscience, were forced to support it in addition to the Church of their convictions. The system was manifestly unfair and movements to disestablish the Anglican Church resulted in the Irish Church Act, 1869, granting autonomous powers to the Irish Protestant Episcopal Church and making it dependent upon its adherents alone; and the Welsh Church Acts 1914, which, owing to the War required further legislation, 1920, to complete the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales. The movement in England itself has been strengthened by controversies resulting from the book, "Foundations," 1912, which displayed a trend towards doctrinal indifference; the Church of England Assembly (Power) Act, 1919, which secured greater freedom for the episcopacy
Triumphant, the Church - The Church in Heaven. (See Church CATHOLIC
Methodist Protestant Church - A Protestant sect organized in Baltimore in 1830 as a result of a desire to develop sentiment in favor of "the right of the laity to an equal representation with the ministers in the lawmaking bodies of the Church"; in accord with the Methodist Episcopal Church in matters of doctrine; in government, however, the Methodist Protestant Church had no bishops or presiding elders and no life officers of any kind. In 1939 it merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Methodist Episcopal Church to form the Methodist Church, which today is known as the United Methodist Church
Sexton - ) An under officer of a Church, whose business is to take care of the Church building and the vessels, vestments, etc. , belonging to the Church, to attend on the officiating clergyman, and to perform other duties pertaining to the Church, such as to dig graves, ring the bell, etc
Lateran - ) The Church and palace of St. John Lateran, the Church being the cathedral Church of Rome, and the highest in rank of all Churches in the Catholic world
Episcopalian - ) One who belongs to an episcopal Church, or adheres to the episcopal form of Church government and discipline; a Churchman; specifically, in the United States, a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. ) Pertaining to bishops, or government by bishops; episcopal; specifically, of or relating to the Protestant Episcopal Church
Fabric, Ecclesiastical - (Latin: fabrica ecclesire, construction of a Church) ...
Usually the funds necessary for the construction, repairing, or maintenance of a Church. During the first centuries these temporalities belonged to the cathedral Church as a common fund; later each Church held its separate patrimony. It also means the persons charged with Church property administration, usually laymen, though in most European countries such affairs are under state regnlation
Ecclesiastical Fabric - (Latin: fabrica ecclesire, construction of a Church) ...
Usually the funds necessary for the construction, repairing, or maintenance of a Church. During the first centuries these temporalities belonged to the cathedral Church as a common fund; later each Church held its separate patrimony. It also means the persons charged with Church property administration, usually laymen, though in most European countries such affairs are under state regnlation
Churchy - ) Relating to a Church; unduly fond of Church forms
Churchgoing - ) Summoning to Church. ) Habitually attending Church
Orthodoxy - Since Christ founded only one true Church, faith is really orthodox only when in conformity with the doctrines of that Church. The term is sometimes used however by some who claim to be the true Church, but who are nevertheless not in communion with the Church of Rome
Anglican - Term used to denote the Established Church of England; used more commonly by the High Churchmen than by the Low to imply that the English Church of the Reformation is the same as the Ecclesia Anglicana, as the Catholic Church is named in the Magna Carta. Anglican belief and practise and statistics are given under Church of England
Reformed Episcopal Church - The name was adopted because of belief in some of the principles of the Church known as the Reformed Church of England and also the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Reformed Episcopal Church is in close relation with the Liturgical Free Churches, of England, and accepts the Apostles' Creed, the, Divine institution of the sacraments of Baptism; and the Lord's Supper, and the doctrines of grace, substantially as set forth in the Thirty-nine Articles for the Protestant Episcopal Church. Its government is in accord with the Protestant Episcopal Church, but episcopacy is regarded as "an ancient and desirable form of Church government rather than as of divine right. " It accepts the Book of Common Prayer, revised by the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1785
Church-Wardens - Their business is to look to the Church, Church-yard, and to observe the behaviour of the parishioners; to levy a shilling forfeiture on all such as do not go to Church on Sundays, and to keep persons orderly in Church- time, &c
Church Club - Throughout the American Church there are a number ofChurch Clubs composed of laymen, associated together for thepurpose of discussing problems of Church work and belief andstudying out more thoroughly what this Church teaches and what itshistory is. The Church Club has done much to raise up aclass of intelligent and well-informed Churchmen who are provingto be a great help and blessing to the Church
Church - Church, n. So Church goods, bona ecclesiastica the Lords day, dies dominica. In this sense, the Church is sometimes called the Catholic or Universal Church. A particular number of christens, united under one form of ecclesiastical government, in one creed, and using the same ritual and ceremonies as the English Church the Gallican Church the Presbyterian Church the Romish Church the Greek Church. The followers of Christ in a particular city or province as the Church of Ephesus, or of Antioch. The worshipers of Jehovah or the true God, before the advent of Christ as the Jewish Church. Church, To perform with any one the office of returning thanks in the Church, after any signal deliverance, as from the dangers of childbirth
Anglican Communion, the - The term used to designate the Churchesthat are in communion with the Church of England and hold the sameFaith, Order and Worship. Under this term are included the Churchof England, the Church of Ireland, the Church of Scotland, theChurches in British North America, the West Indies, Australia, SouthAfrica and in all the English colonies throughout the worldwherever established. The Episcopal Church in the United States isalso included in the Anglican Communion, being identical with theChurch of England as is set forth in the Preface to the PrayerBook, in which it is declared, "This Church is far from intendingto depart from the Church of England in any essential point ofdoctrine, discipline and worship; or further than local circumstancesrequire.     Episcopalians 29,200,000    Methodists of all descriptions 18,650,000    Roman Catholics 15,500,000    Presbyterians of all descriptions 12,250,000    Baptists of all descriptions 9,230,000    Congregationalists 6,150,000    Free Thinkers 5,250,000    Lutherans, etc 2,800,000    Unitarians 2,600,000    Minor religious sects 5,500,000    Of no particular religion 17,000,000                                        —————-    English-speaking population 124,130,000...
Anglo Catholic—The Historic or Catholic Church exists to-day inthree main branches or Communions, viz. : The Eastern or Greek Church,the Roman Church, and the Anglican. The term "Anglo Catholic" isused to describe the Historic Church of the English-speakingpeople as being Catholic and Apostolic, and as having an unquestioneddescent from the Church founded by Christ and His Apostles. (SeeANGLICAN Church; ANGLICAN COMMUNION, and also AMERICAN Church)
Episcopalian - (Greek: episkopos, bishop) ...
A member of a Church ruled by bishops, without serious concern about belief or doctrines; a member of the Church of England, of the Anglican Church in the United States, Canada, Africa, and other countries
Minster - ) A Church of a monastery. The name is often retained and applied to the Church after the monastery has ceased to exist (as Beverly Minster, Southwell Minster, etc. ), and is also improperly used for any large Church
Ecclesiarch - ) An official of the Eastern Church, resembling a sacrist in the Western Church
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church - Body of Methodist Episcopals organized at Jackson, Tennessee, December 16, 1870 with the name Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. This organization was made up of those Negroes who were not members of other Negro bodies and desired a Church of their own. In doctrine they are in complete agreement with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and also in polity, with a few necessary variations. In the 1950's the organization changed its name to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. See also, ...
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
CME Online
Latin - ...
Latin Church, the western Church the christian Church in Italy, France, Spain and other countries where the Latin language was introduced, as distinct from the Greek or eastern Church
House of God - This is a name given to theTemple; and also to the Church. See TEMPLEand Church
Dischurch - ) To deprive of status as a Church, or of membership in a Church
Green - One of the Church colors, and used during the Epiphany andTrinity Seasons. (See Church COLORS
Catholic - The word "Catholic" was very early adopted as descriptiveof the Church founded by our Lord and His Apostles. In this sense the Church is catholicin these three things, (1) It is for all people; (2) It teachesall the Gospel, and (3) It endures throughout all ages. Thisdistinguishes the Christian Church from the old Jewish Church whichwas but temporal, local, national. ...
Again, the word Catholic is used as being descriptive of theorthodoxy of any particular Church or individual as being inagreement with the one, undivided Church which has expresseditself in the Ecumenical or General Councils. ...
The word is, also, used to describe that which is believed on theAuthority of the Church, as for example, the doctrine of the BlessedTrinity is a catholic doctrine because it is the universallyaccepted teaching of the Church and having the sure warrant of HolyScripture. ...
Thus we learn that the word catholic is a very significant termand sets forth the real nature of the Church and her teachings. Forintelligent Churchmen the term "Catholic Church" should not mean,nor be used to mean, simply the Roman Church, but rather thatglorious body in which we declare our belief when we say in theCreed, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church
Mennonite Bodies - A leader in the organization of the Church was Menno Simons, a former Catholic priest. These 18 articles are accepted by the great majority of Mennonite Churches today. With two exceptions the Church government in different Mennonite bodies is the same, i. ,the local Church is autonomous, deciding all matters affecting itself. The Mennonite Churches include: ...
Amish Mennonite Church
Central Conference of Mennonites
Church of God In Christ (Mennonite)
Conservative Amish Mennonite Church
Defenseless Mennonites
General Conference of the Mennonite Church of North America
Kleine Gemeinde
Krimmer Mennonite Brethren Church
Mennonite Brethren Church of North America
Mennonite Brethren in Christ
Mennonite Church
Old Order Amish Mennonite Church
Old Order Mennonites (Wisler)
Reformed Mennonite Church
Stauffer Mennonites
Anglo-Catholicism - ) The belief of those in the Church of England who accept many doctrines and practices which they maintain were those of the primitive, or true, Catholic Church, of which they consider the Church of England to be the lineal descendant
Apostolic Churches - Term used from the 2to the 4th century to signify the Churches founded or ruled by an Apostle; e. Later Apostolic Church was used frequently to mean the whole Church, especially in connection with the expression, Catholic Church
Methodist Episcopal Church, South - Separatist slaveholders from the Methodist Episcopal Church under the leadership of James O. " In government it was in harmony with the Methodist Episcopal Church and particularly stressed the episcopate. In 1939 it merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church and Methodist Protestant Church to form the Methodist Church, which today is known as the United Methodist Church
Coptic Church - The native Church of Egypt or Church of Alexandria, which in general organization and doctrines resembles the Roman Catholic Church, except that it holds to the Monophysitic doctrine which was condemned (a. The "pope and patriarch" has jurisdiction over the Abyssinian Church. Since the 7th century the Coptic Church has been so isolated from modifying influences that in many respects it is the most ancient monument of primitive Christian rites and ceremonies
Kirk - Form of the word Church in northern England and Scotland. It was the name applied to the Church of Scotland at the time of the Western Assembly and is also used to distinguish the Established Church of Scotland from the Catholic, Anglican, and Reformed Churches
Anglicanism - ) The principles of the established Church of England; also, in a restricted sense, the doctrines held by the high-church party. ) Strong partiality to the principles and rites of the Church of England
Catholic - Universal, the entire Christian Church. Often applied to the Roman Catholic Church
Eve - Genesis 3:20 (c) A type of the Church as Adam is a type of CHRIST. As she was made out of a part of Adam, so the Church is a part of the Lord JESUS. The Church is called His Bride as Eve was Adam's bride
Magisterium - In theology, it refers to the teaching office of the Church. This office was communicated to the Church formally by Christ, when He said: "Going, therefore teach ye all nations" (Matthew 28). The Church exercises this teaching power infallibly in matters of faith and morals, in virtue of the promise of Divine assistance given her by Christ, "And behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world" (Matthew 28). Therefore the actual holders of the teaching office in the Church are the pope and the bishops, as the successors of Saint Peter and the other Apostles. The pope and the bishops constitute the magisterium of the Church, or the Ecclesia Docens (the Church Teaching). ,in the ordinary daily teaching of the Church, by the individual bishops. When all the bishops in the world agree in their teaching on a particular doctrine of faith or morals, which is not solemnly defined, this constitutes an infallible teaching of the Ecclesia Docens, because the Church as a whole cannot fall into error in these matters. The pope enjoys the prerogative of infallibility in his official capacity as successor of Saint Peter, and hence Supreme Pastor of the Church. When the pope solemnly defines a truth to be de fide for the whole Church this is called a solemn exercise of the magisterium. This magisterial power of the Church Teaching involves a corresponding obligation on the part of the Church Hearing (Ecclesia Discens): "He that heareth you, heareth Me" (Luke 10). The faithful are obliged in virtue of the infallible teaching power (magisterium) of the Church Teaching, whether this power is exercised ordinarily or solemnly, to submit their understanding to the teaching of the Church
International Holiness Church - Formerly the International Holiness Church, organized at Cincinnati, Ohio by the Reverend Martin W Knapp, 1897. Knapp withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal Church because he believed this body "was no longer completely Wesleyan in teaching or practise. In government they corresponded closely to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1968 the Pilgrim Holiness Church merged with the Wesleyan Methodist Church to become the Wesleyan Church
Elders - Church officers; in the early part of the Old Testament the term designated the chiefs of tribes and later the men of special influence and dignity and the lay element in the Sanhedrin. In the New Testament the officers of the newly organized Church corresponded to the elders of the Jewish synagogues. In some modern Protestant Churches the word denotes a class of officers intended to correspond in function to the elders of the Apostolic Church. In the Presbyterian Church the term includes the clergy, called the "teaching elders" but in ordinary language it is restricted to the "lay" or "ruling elders" who are chosen in each congregation to assist the minister in the management of Church affairs. In the Methodist Church the term designates a minister entitled to preach and administer the sacraments
Tersanctus - ) An ancient ascription of praise (containing the word "Holy" - in its Latin form, "Sanctus" - thrice repeated), used in the Mass of the Roman Catholic Church and before the prayer of consecration in the communion service of the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church
Oriental Church, Congregation For the - Deals with all matters concerning persons, discipline and rites of the Eastern Church, and questions arising from the relations with the Latin Church. This congregation has the same faculties for the Eastern Church which the other congregations, with the exception of the Holy Office, have in their various jurisdictions
Russian Church - The established Church of the Russian empire. It forms a portion, by far the largest, of the Eastern Church and is governed by the Holy Synod. The czar is the head of the Church, but he has never claimed the right of deciding questions of theology and dogma
Minster - Church of a monastery; one which originated in a monastic settlement; now applied to a Church of considerable size or importance
Church-Ale - ) A Church or parish festival (as in commemoration of the dedication of a Church), at which much ale was used
Metropolitan - A bishop of a mother Church, or of the chief Church in the chief city
Rush-Bearing - ) A kind of rural festival at the dedication of a Church, when the parishioners brought rushes to strew the Church
Dunkards, New - (German Baptist Dunkards) A religious sect, popularly known as Dunkards or Dunkers, composed of four bodies: ...
Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkards);
Church of Brethren (Dunkards);
Church of God (New Dunkards); and
Old Order German Baptist Brethren.
In the United States in 1925 there were: 4,024 ministers; 1,314 Churches; and 150,160 communicants
Dunkards, Progressive - (German Baptist Dunkards) A religious sect, popularly known as Dunkards or Dunkers, composed of four bodies: ...
Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkards);
Church of Brethren (Dunkards);
Church of God (New Dunkards); and
Old Order German Baptist Brethren.
In the United States in 1925 there were: 4,024 ministers; 1,314 Churches; and 150,160 communicants
Dunkers - (German Baptist Dunkards) A religious sect, popularly known as Dunkards or Dunkers, composed of four bodies: ...
Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkards);
Church of Brethren (Dunkards);
Church of God (New Dunkards); and
Old Order German Baptist Brethren.
In the United States in 1925 there were: 4,024 ministers; 1,314 Churches; and 150,160 communicants
Old Order German Baptist Brethren - (German Baptist Dunkards) A religious sect, popularly known as Dunkards or Dunkers, composed of four bodies: ...
Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkards);
Church of Brethren (Dunkards);
Church of God (New Dunkards); and
Old Order German Baptist Brethren.
In the United States in 1925 there were: 4,024 ministers; 1,314 Churches; and 150,160 communicants
New Dunkards - (German Baptist Dunkards) A religious sect, popularly known as Dunkards or Dunkers, composed of four bodies: ...
Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkards);
Church of Brethren (Dunkards);
Church of God (New Dunkards); and
Old Order German Baptist Brethren.
In the United States in 1925 there were: 4,024 ministers; 1,314 Churches; and 150,160 communicants
Benefice - ) An ecclesiastical living and Church preferment, as in the Church of England; a Church endowed with a revenue for the maintenance of divine service
Excommunicate - ) Excommunicated; interdicted from the rites of the Church. ) To lay under the ban of the Church; to interdict. ) To put out of communion; especially, to cut off, or shut out, from communion with the Church, by an ecclesiastical sentence
German Baptist Dunkards - (German Baptist Dunkards) A religious sect, popularly known as Dunkards or Dunkers, composed of four bodies: ...
Brethren Church (Progressive Dunkards);
Church of Brethren (Dunkards);
Church of God (New Dunkards); and
Old Order German Baptist Brethren.
In the United States in 1925 there were: 4,024 ministers; 1,314 Churches; and 150,160 communicants
Church - ; as, to array the power of the Church against some moral evil. ) A body of Christian believers, holding the same creed, observing the same rites, and acknowledging the same ecclesiastical authority; a denomination; as, the Roman Catholic Church; the Presbyterian Church. ) Any body of worshipers; as, the Jewish Church; the Church of Brahm. ) To bless according to a prescribed form, or to unite with in publicly returning thanks in Church, as after deliverance from the dangers of childbirth; as, the Churching of women
Church - The word is used in two senses: the visible and the invisible Church. The visible Church consists of all the people that claim to be Christians and go to Church. The invisible Church is the actual body of Christians; those who are truly saved. ...
The true Church of God is not an organization on earth consisting of people and buildings, but is really a supernatural entity comprised of those who are saved by Jesus. We become members of the Church (body of Christ) by faith (Acts 2:41)
Soul of the Church - Inasmuch as the Church is visible and supernatural, it has a visible, external element; and an invisible, internal element by which the visible element is informed, elevated, and determined, just as the living body is informed by the soul. Hence theologians distinguish in the Church the Body and the Soul. So that, properly speaking, the term "Soul" is applied to the formal principle of this supernatural life in the members of the Church and consequently in the Church itself. ...
From the 16th century, the Catholic theologians expressed more definitely the theological doctrine of the distinction between the Soul and the Body of the Church, in this formula: the Body comprehends the visible element or the visible society, to which one belongs by the external profession of the Catholic Faith, by participation in the sacraments, and by submission to legitimate pastors; and the Soul comprehends the invisible element or the invisible society, to which one belongs in virtue of the fact that one possesses the interior gifts of grace. This distinction, implicitly contained in the teaching of Saint Paul, in Saint Augustine, comparing the action of the Holy Ghost on the Church to that of the soul on the human body, and in subsequent theologians who adopted the same language, is formally expressed by Bellarmine in his study on the members of the Church. According to him, men belong to the Body of the Church by virtue of external profession of the faith, and participation in the sacraments; and to the Soul of the Church through the internal gifts of the Holy Ghost, faith, hope, and charity. He draws three general conclusions relative to the members of the Church. There are those: ...
Who belong always to both the Body and the Soul of the Church
Who belong to the Soul without belonging to the Body
Who belong to the Body but not to the Soul
This teaching has generally been followed by Catholic theologians. They teach definitely, however, that the True Church is essentially the Church visible. They presuppose an interior principle which vivifies the Church. This interior principle of life is the Soul of the Church without which it could not be the True Church. This teaching does not imply any weakening of the Catholic doctrine on the necessity of belonging to the True Church in order to obtain salvation. The encyclical Satis Cognitum of Pope Leo XIII, after having shown how the Church is at one and the same time visible and spiritual, teaches that the Body of Jesus Christ, which is the visible Church, is a body living and animated. Hence the union of these two elements is absolutely necessary to the True Church, just as the intimate union of the body and soul is necessary to human nature
Eastern Church - That portion of the Christian Church which prevails in the countries once comprised in the Eastern Roman Empire and the countries converted to Christianity by missionaries from them. Its full official title is The Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Eastern Church. It became estranged from the Western, or Roman, Church over the question of papal supremacy and the doctrine of the filioque, and a separation, begun in the latter part of the 9th century, became final in 1054. The Eastern Church consists of twelve (thirteen if the Bulgarian Church be included) mutually independent Churches (including among these the Hellenic Church, or Church of Greece, and the Russian Church), using the vernacular (or some ancient form of it) in divine service and varying in many points of detail, but standing in full communion with each other and united as equals in a great federation. The Eastern Church accepts the first seven ecumenical councils (and is hence styled only schismatic, not heretical, by the Roman Catholic Church), has as its creed the Niceno-Constantinopolitan (without the later addition of the filioque, which, with the doctrine it represents, the Church decisively rejects), baptizes infants with trine immersion, makes confirmation follow immediately upon baptism, administers the Communion in both kinds (using leavened bread) and to infants as well as adults, permits its secular clergy to marry before ordination and to keep their wives afterward, but not to marry a second time, selects its bishops from the monastic clergy only, recognizes the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon as the three necessary degrees of orders, venerates relics and icons, and has an elaborate ritual
Church Catholic, the - The Church Catholicembraces three great divisions:...
I. THE Church MILITANT, here on earth, struggling, fighting(which militant means) against sin to overcome it. THE Church EXPECTANT where the soul abides after death in astate of expectancy of the final Resurrection; called, also, theINTERMEDIATE STATE (which see). THE Church TRIUMPHANT in Heaven where the soul reunited tothe body has its perfect consummation and bliss in God's eternaland everlasting glory
Church-Yard - A piece of ground adjoining to the Church, set apart for the interment of the dead. In the Church of Rome, Church-yards are consecrated with great solemnity. If a Church-yard which has been thus consecrated shall afterwards be polluted by any indecent notion, or profaned by the burial of an infidel, an heretic, an excommunicated or unbaptized person, it must be reconciled; and the ceremony of the reconciliation is performed with the same solemnity as that of the consecration! ...
See CONSECRATION
General Assembly of the Church of the Living God - Dissenters from the Church of the Living God (Christian Workers for Fellowship) in 1902. The disagreement arose over the head of that body, and also because of different opinions regarding certain articles of faith and Church government. For several years it was in an unsettled state, but in 1908 it was organized as the General Assembly of the Church of the Living God. The Church corresponds closely to the Methodist Churches in doctrine and general organization
Catholic - The Church of Christ is called catholic, because it extends throughout the world, and during all time. In modern times the Church of Rome has usurped this title, improperly applying it exclusively to itself. ...
The "Catholic epistles" are seven, so called because they were addressed to the Church or Christians in general, and not to any particular Church
Romeward - ) Toward Rome, or toward the Roman Catholic Church. ) Tending or directed toward Rome, or toward the Roman Catholic Church
Sacristan - ) An officer of the Church who has the care of the utensils or movables, and of the Church in general; a sexton
Norwegian Lutheran Church - Three synods were united, 1890, forming the United Norwegian Lutheran Church; and, 1917, the Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, organized, 1854, and the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in America merged together as one body
Lutheran - The name was at first used derisively by his opponents and Luther himself preferred the designation "Evangelical," which is quite generally used with the word "Lutheran" in Church titles. Lutherans keep the date of their founding as October 31, 1517, when Luther posted his 95 theses for discussion on the Church door in Wittenberg. Its Church government varies from the episcopal to congregational forms. The National Lutheran Council was organized, 1918, as an agency whose regular work consisted of: external representation of the Lutheran Church, especially in relation to the national government; statistics; reference library; and publicity. Affiliated with the council are: United Lutheran Church, Joint Ohio Synod, Buffalo Synod, Augustana Synod, Norwegian Lutheran Church, Lutheran Free Church, Eielsen Synod, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, United Danish Church, Icelandic Synod, Suomi Synod, Finnish National Church, and Finnish Apostolic Church. Among the larger Lutheran bodies in the United States are: ...
United Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America
Norwegian Lutheran Church
Joint Synod of Ohio
Iowa Synod
Lutheranism - The name was at first used derisively by his opponents and Luther himself preferred the designation "Evangelical," which is quite generally used with the word "Lutheran" in Church titles. Lutherans keep the date of their founding as October 31, 1517, when Luther posted his 95 theses for discussion on the Church door in Wittenberg. Its Church government varies from the episcopal to congregational forms. The National Lutheran Council was organized, 1918, as an agency whose regular work consisted of: external representation of the Lutheran Church, especially in relation to the national government; statistics; reference library; and publicity. Affiliated with the council are: United Lutheran Church, Joint Ohio Synod, Buffalo Synod, Augustana Synod, Norwegian Lutheran Church, Lutheran Free Church, Eielsen Synod, Church of the Lutheran Brethren, United Danish Church, Icelandic Synod, Suomi Synod, Finnish National Church, and Finnish Apostolic Church. Among the larger Lutheran bodies in the United States are: ...
United Lutheran Church in America
Evangelical Lutheran Synodical Conference of North America
Norwegian Lutheran Church
Joint Synod of Ohio
Iowa Synod
Head of the Church - In Ephesians, the metaphor of Christ as head of His body, the Church, is carefully developed. Headship includes the idea of Christ's authority (Ephesians 1:22 ; Ephesians 5:23 ) and of the submission required of the Church (Ephesians 5:24 ). The focus is on the character of Christ's relationship with the Church. Unlike self-seeking human lords (Luke 22:25 ), Christ exercises His authority for the Church (Ephesians 1:22 NRSV, NIV), nourishing and caring for the Church as one cares for one's own body ( Ephesians 5:29 ). Christ's headship also points to the interrelationship of Christ and the Church. The mystery of husband and wife becoming “one flesh” is applied to Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:31 ), which is “the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:23 ). The Church is called to follow its head and to rest secure in its relationship with Him
High-Church - ) Of or pertaining to, or favoring, the party called the High Church, or their doctrines or policy. See High Church, under High, a
Broad Church - A portion of the Church of England, consisting of persons who claim to hold a position, in respect to doctrine and fellowship, intermediate between the High Church party and the Low Church, or evangelical, party
Ecclesiastical - ) Of or pertaining to the Church; relating to the organization or government of the Church; not secular; as, ecclesiastical affairs or history; ecclesiastical courts
Low-Church - ) Not placing a high estimate on ecclesiastical organizations or forms; - applied especially to Episcopalians, and opposed to high-church. See High Church, under High
Old Catholic Church in America - The Lithuanian National Catholic Church in America, organized by the Right Reverend S. Mickiewicz, and the Polish Catholic Church in America have been merged into the Old Catholic Church in America. They accept the seven general councils, in accord with the Old Catholic Churches in Europe, and use the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed
Western Orthodox Catholic Church - The Lithuanian National Catholic Church in America, organized by the Right Reverend S. Mickiewicz, and the Polish Catholic Church in America have been merged into the Old Catholic Church in America. They accept the seven general councils, in accord with the Old Catholic Churches in Europe, and use the Niceno-Constantinopolitan creed
Anglo-Calvinists - A name given by some writers to the members of the Church of England, as agreeing with the other Calvinists in most points, excepting Church government
Discipline (2) - Book of, in the history of the Church of Scotland, is a common order drawn up by the assembly of ministers in 1650, for the reformation and uniformity to be observed in the discipline and policy of the Church. In this book the government of the Church by prelates is set aside; kirk sessions are established; the superstitious observation of fast days and saint days is condemned, and other regulations for the government of the Church are determined
Presbytery - ) A body of elders in the early Christian Church. ) A judicatory consisting of all the ministers within a certain district, and one layman, who is a ruling elder, from each parish or Church, commissioned to represent the Church in conjunction with the pastor. This body has a general jurisdiction over the Churches under its care, and next below the provincial synod in authority. ) That part of the Church reserved for the officiating priest
Agabus - ” Prophet in the Jerusalem Church who went to visit the Church at Antioch and predicted a universal famine. His prediction led the Church at Antioch to begin a famine relief ministry for the Church in Jerusalem
Deacons - Biblically, this designates a servant in the Church but not someone who is a slave since the latter refers to a slave/master relationship. It has become an office of the Church where individuals are designated to help in the ministry, sometimes serving communion, sometimes by taking care of such needs as Church welfare, feeding the homeless, taking care of the sick in the Church, etc
Parvise - ) a court of entrance to, or an inclosed space before, a Church; hence, a Church porch; - sometimes formerly used as place of meeting, as for lawyers
Conformist - , one who conforms to the Church of England, or to the Established Church, as distinguished from a dissenter or nonconformist
Samaj - ) A society or congregation; a Church or religious body. ) A society; a congregation; a worshiping assembly, or Church, esp
Magna Charta - The great document exacted by Barons from King Johnof England at Runnymede, June 15th, 1215, by which was declaredEnglish liberty and English freedom in Church and State, and theancient rights and privileges of the people were clearly definedand guaranteed. In this document is set forth the independence ofEngland's Church, and from it we learn how untrue is the popularbelief that the Church of England was founded by Henry VIII, for among its opening words are these (in Latin): "The Church ofEngland shall be free and her liberties unimpaired. " We here seeThe Church OF ENGLAND referred to as a body already existing, in aState document nearly two hundred years before Henry VIII was born,which is truly a suggestive fact to all thoughtful people
Choir - ) That part of a Church appropriated to the singers. ) A band or organized company of singers, especially in Church service
Crypt - A vault beneath a Church, more especially under the Chanceland sometimes used for burial. The word is sometimes given to thebasement of a Church where services are held
Unchurch - ) To deprive of the character, privileges, and authority of a Church. ) To expel, or cause to separate, from a Church; to excommunicate
Ecclesiastical Property - All temporal goods which pertain to the universal Church, to the Apostolic See, or to any moral person in the Church, as real estate, money, edifices, and sacred vessels. Jesus Christ instituted the Church as a perfect, independent, and visible society whose end is the sanctification and salvation of men, to be accomplished by the exercises of religion. To attain this end the Church must support its ministers, must build Churches and altars, must establish and maintain religious and charitable institutions. Since the Church has been given the right to work for the salvation of men, it necessarily follows that it has the right to the means necessary for the attainment of that end; hence the right of the Church to property. The doctors and pastors of the Church have always maintained the principle of absolute ownership and free administration of ecclesiastical property independently of the civilpower. This power of acquiring and possessing property belongs to the Catholic Church and to the Apostolic See by divine right. Individual dioceses, incorporated as independent entities, and the singular Churches of the diocese, can possess and administer property. In the United States Church property is safeguarded by different methods; the bishop being instituted a corporation sole or by holding the ecclesiastical property in trust in the name of the diocese or in his own name by an absolute and full legal title. In some dioceses, each Church is incorporated separately
Undivided Church - In the great work of the Reformation in theSixteenth Century, the Church of England did not seek to introduceinnovations, to erect a new Church in the place of the old, or tochange the old religion for a new religion. What it aimed to do wasto retain its ancient heritage, but at the same time to free theold Church from certain grave abuses, to purify the old religionfrom many harmful superstitions which had sprung up during theMiddle Ages. Thus "the continuity of the English Church was thefirst principle of the English Reformation. " In all the work ofReformation, covering a long period of time, the appeal wasconstantly made to the primitive standards of the Undivided Church;to Holy Scripture as interpreted by the teaching and customs of thePrimitive Church, the writings of the Fathers and the decisionsof the General Councils. The reasonableness of this appeal will appearwhen we consider that it is this early age of Christianity, the agenearest to the time of the Apostles, which best preserved thepersonal instructions of the Twelve, which was most likely to be inaccord with the Will of our Lord and which maintained the Church'sunity unimpaired. It was during this time, because the Church wasone and undivided, that the Canon of Scripture was established,that it was possible to hold the Ecumenical Councils which defined"the Faith once delivered to the Saints," and gave us the Creeds asthe "Rule of Faith. " For this reason the English Church in herReformation appealed to the practice, teaching and decisions of theUndivided Church. The original Unity of the Church was finallybroken by the great schism between the East and the West which tookplace A
Antiburghers - A numerous and respectable body of dissenters from the Church of Scotland, who differ from the established Church chiefly in matters of Church government; and who differ, also, from the Burgher seceders, with whom they were originally united, chiefly, if not solely, respecting the lawfulness of taking the Burgess oath
Chantry - A small chapel attached to a Parish Church where thedaily offices are said, e. , the chantry of Grace Church,New York
Congregationalists - A denomination of Protestants who reject all Church government, except that of a single congregation under the direction of one pastor, with their elders, assistants, or managers. ...
See Church
Churchman - ) An Episcopalian, or a member of the Established Church of England. ) One was is attached to, or attends, Church
Black - One of the Church colors; to be used only on Good Fridayand at funerals. (See Church COLORS)
Hymenaeus - That probably means Paul led the Church to dismiss Hymenaeus from the membership to purify the Church, remove further temptation from the Church, and to lead Hymenaeus to restored faith, repentance, and renewed Church membership
Catholic - The rise of heresies induced the primitive Christian Church to assume to itself the appellation of Catholic, being a characteristic to distinguish itself from all sects, who, though they had party names, sometimes sheltered themselves under the name of Christians. The Romish Church now distinguished itself by Catholic in opposition to all who have separated from her communion, and whom she considers as heretics and schismatics, and herself only as the true and Christian Church. In the strict sense of the word, there is no Catholic Church in being; that is, no universal Christian communion
Mensa - In ecclesiastical language, it is that portion of the property of a Church which is set aside to defray the expenses of the prelate or the community which serves that Church. A mensa, in the canonical sense, requires that the property of a particular Church be divided, setting aside the revenue of one part for the prelate or clergy, the other part being administered as ordinary Church property
Mensal Revenue - In ecclesiastical language, it is that portion of the property of a Church which is set aside to defray the expenses of the prelate or the community which serves that Church. A mensa, in the canonical sense, requires that the property of a particular Church be divided, setting aside the revenue of one part for the prelate or clergy, the other part being administered as ordinary Church property
Bedel - (Anglo-Saxon: bydel, a messenger) An inferior officer of the Anglican Church whose prototype, in the Catholic Church, was the mansionarius (of or belonging to a dwelling or lodging), and possibly an officer known as the paramonarius (watcher or guard), by some, however, interpreted as bailiff. Under Gregory the Great the beadle was called also custos ecclesire (guardian of the Church), whose duty it was to light the lamps or candles therein, a survival of which is seen in the French suisse or Church officer or usher who has the privilege of remaining covered during the elevation
Bedell - (Anglo-Saxon: bydel, a messenger) An inferior officer of the Anglican Church whose prototype, in the Catholic Church, was the mansionarius (of or belonging to a dwelling or lodging), and possibly an officer known as the paramonarius (watcher or guard), by some, however, interpreted as bailiff. Under Gregory the Great the beadle was called also custos ecclesire (guardian of the Church), whose duty it was to light the lamps or candles therein, a survival of which is seen in the French suisse or Church officer or usher who has the privilege of remaining covered during the elevation
Holiness as a Mark of the Church - One of the four marks by which the true Church of Jesus Christ can be recognized and distinguished from false Churches. There is no doubt that Christ intended holiness to be a note of His Church. Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians: ...
Christ also loved the Church, and delivered himself up for it: that He might sanctify it; cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life: 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
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - A body of Negroes first incorporated as the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1801, although separate and distinct from the preceding African Methodist Episcopal Church. It was not until 1848 that the name African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was adopted. They are in close accord with the Methodist Episcopal Church, accepting the Apostle's Creed "and adhering strictly to the doctrine of the new birth, regeneration followed by adoption, and entire sanctification
Beadle - (Anglo-Saxon: bydel, a messenger) An inferior officer of the Anglican Church whose prototype, in the Catholic Church, was the mansionarius (of or belonging to a dwelling or lodging), and possibly an officer known as the paramonarius (watcher or guard), by some, however, interpreted as bailiff. Under Gregory the Great the beadle was called also custos ecclesire (guardian of the Church), whose duty it was to light the lamps or candles therein, a survival of which is seen in the French suisse or Church officer or usher who has the privilege of remaining covered during the elevation
Jehovah-Shammah - " Such is the name of the Church in consequence of the presence of her glorious husband. (See Ezekiel 48:35) The prophet is speaking by the Spirit of prophecy, and looking into the days of the gospel; so that here is a mark to know the Church by now, and which will be the character of Christ's Church for ever. Without the Lord's presence there is no Church: unless he be in the midst of us, we may go lean all our days. Lord! write JEHOVAH Shammah in our Churches, in our hearts, in our houses, in our families!...
Revenue, Mensal - In ecclesiastical language, it is that portion of the property of a Church which is set aside to defray the expenses of the prelate or the community which serves that Church. A mensa, in the canonical sense, requires that the property of a particular Church be divided, setting aside the revenue of one part for the prelate or clergy, the other part being administered as ordinary Church property
Provinces - The name given to certain grouping together of two ormore Dioceses for the more convenient management of the work andlegislation of the Church. InEngland the Church is divided into two Provinces, Canterbury andYork. The Church in the United States is practically only oneProvince. But the growth and increase of the Church here have beenso great, it is being found more and more necessary to seek a properdivision into Provinces, and steps have already been taken to thisend
Espouse - 2 Corinthians 11:2 (a) Paul brought the Church of Corinth before GOD in prayer for Him to love them. He brought CHRIST before the Church that they might love Him
Militant - From militans, fighting; a term applied to the Church on earth, as engaged in a warfare with the world, sin, and the devil; in distinction from the Church triumphant in heaven
Cathedral - ) The principal Church in a diocese, so called because in it the bishop has his official chair (Cathedra) or throne. ) Pertaining to the head Church of a diocese; as, a cathedral Church; cathedral service
Jedburgh Abbey - A Protestant Church constructed within the nave was used until 1875, when a new Church was built by the Marquis of Lothian. The monastery has practically disappeared, but the Church is entire
Abbey, Jedburgh - A Protestant Church constructed within the nave was used until 1875, when a new Church was built by the Marquis of Lothian. The monastery has practically disappeared, but the Church is entire
Whitsunday - ) The seventh Sunday, and the fiftieth day, after Easter; a festival of the Church in commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; Pentecost; - so called, it is said, because, in the primitive Church, those who had been newly baptized appeared at Church between Easter and Pentecost in white garments
Church - Nor is this word ever used to denote the inhabitants of a country united in the same profession, as when we say the "Church of England," the "Church of Scotland," etc. ...
...
It denotes the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ, the invisible catholic Church (Ephesians 5:23,25,27,29 ; Hebrews 12:23 ). Thus all the disciples in Antioch, forming several congregations, were one Church (Acts 13:1 ); so also we read of the "church of God at Corinth" (1 Corinthians 1:2 ), "the Church at Jerusalem" (Acts 8:1 ), "the Church of Ephesus" (Revelation 2:1 ), etc. ...
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The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world (1 Corinthians 15:9 ; Galatians 1:13 ; Matthew 16:18 ) are the Church of Christ. The Church visible "consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children. Each one of these distinct organized communities which is faithful to the great King is an integral part of the visible Church, and all together constitute the catholic or universal visible Church. " A credible profession of the true religion constitutes a person a member of this Church. ...
The children of all who thus profess the true religion are members of the visible Church along with their parents. , are "saints", a title which designates the members of the Christian Church (1 Corinthians 7:14 ). ) ...
The Church invisible "consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof. " This is a pure society, the Church in which Christ dwells. ...
The Church to which the attributes, prerogatives, and promises appertaining to Christ's kingdom belong, is a spiritual body consisting of all true believers, i. , the Church invisible. God has ever had only one Church on earth. We sometimes speak of the Old Testament Church and of the New Testament Church, but they are one and the same. The Old Testament Church was not to be changed but enlarged (Isaiah 49:13-23 ; 60:1-14 ). When the Jews are at length restored, they will not enter a new Church, but will be grafted again into "their own olive tree" (Romans 11:18-24 ; Compare Ephesians 2:11-22 ). Under their ministry disciples were "added" to the "church" already existing (Acts 2:47 ). It is the "catholic" Church; not confined to any particular country or outward organization, but comprehending all believers throughout the whole world
Bethlehem - ) In the Ethiopic Church, a small building attached to a Church edifice, in which the bread for the eucharist is made
Governments - (1 Corinthians 12:28 ), the powers which fit a man for a place of influence in the Church; "the steersman's art; the art of guiding aright the vessel of Church or state
Secundus - ” Representative of Church of Thessalonica who accompanied Paul on his journey as he took the Churches' contributions to the Jerusalem Church (Acts 20:4 )
Pan-Anglican - ) Belonging to, or representing, the whole Church of England; used less strictly, to include the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States; as, the Pan-Anglican Conference at Lambeth, in 1888
Donatist - ) A follower of Donatus, the leader of a body of North African schismatics and purists, who greatly disturbed the Church in the 4th century. They claimed to be the true Church
Congregationalism - ) That system of Church organization which vests all ecclesiastical power in the assembled brotherhood of each local Church. ) The faith and polity of the Congregational Churches, taken collectively
Episcopacy - ) Government of the Church by bishops; Church government by three distinct orders of ministers - bishops, priests, and deacons - of whom the bishops have an authority superior and of a different kind
Baptistry - A portion of a Church set apart for the administrationof Holy Baptism. Sometimes the Baptistry was erected as a separatebuilding or attached to a Church or cathedral, specially adaptedfor Baptism by immersion
Methodist Episcopal Church - Church body organized in the United States, c1785 It was Arminian in theology, its doctrines set forth in the "Articles of Religion," Wesley's published sermons, and his "Notes on the New Testament. The ecclesiastical organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church included the local Church, the ministry, and the system of conferences. In 1939 it merged with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and Methodist Protestant Church to form the Methodist Church, which today is known as the United Methodist Church
Instruction - The Church of Jesus Christ, therefore, is a teacher, instructing men and women in Christian faith and discipleship. The faith which the Church proclaims must be strengthened by the teaching of the gospel. Paul reminded the early Christians that one of the offices of the Church was the pastor/teacher who worked “to equip God's people for work in his service, for the building up of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12 REB). ...
The Church's teaching ministry has numerous dimensions: The Church teaches about Jesus . The Church presents the basic details of Jesus' life and ministry: His death, burial, and resurrection. In the early Church, the catechumens or learners were those given instruction in Christian faith prior to receiving baptism and full membership in the community of faith. Later Church leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin wrote catechisms, books for instructing persons in faith and doctrine. The Church is called to retell the story of Jesus in every generation. ...
The Church teaches Christian spirituality . In its teaching ministry, the Church guides Christians in the life of faith through prayer, Bible study, meditation, and spiritual reflection. ...
The Church teaches Christian ethics . The Church instructs its members in faithfulness, morality, honesty, and integrity. ...
The Church instructs in Christian doctrine . The Church teaches the basic truths of the Christian faith. It opens the Scriptures to determine those doctrinal ideals upon which the Church is founded. As the Church teaches, it also evangelizes. The teaching ministry of the Church is another way in which the people of God declare their faith that others may know Christ and grow up in him
Phoebe - ” “Servant,” “minister” (REB), “deaconess” (NAS, NIV note), or “deacon” (NRSV) of Church at Cenchrea whom Paul recommended to Church at Rome (Romans 16:1-2 )
Separatist - ) One who withdraws or separates himself; especially, one who withdraws from a Church to which he has belonged; a seceder from an established Church; a dissenter; a nonconformist; a schismatic; a sectary
Retrochoir - ) Any extension of a Church behind the high altar, as a chapel; also, in an apsidal Church, all the space beyond the line of the back or eastern face of the altar
Diotrephes - One in the Church, otherwise unknown, who loved to have the pre-eminence: he refused to receive certain brethren, and excommunicated others. Thus early was 'clericalism' manifested in the Church
Lutheran - ) One who accepts or adheres to the doctrines of Luther or the Lutheran Church. ) Of or pertaining to Luther; adhering to the doctrines of Luther or the Lutheran Church
Sacristy - (Latin: sacrastia, vestry) ...
A room in or attached to a Church, where vestments, Church furnishings, sacred ve!sels, and other treasures are kept, and where the clergy meet and vest for ecclesiastical functions
Episcopal Church in the United States of America - The Anglican Church in the United States, an offspring of the Church of England, established in the American colonies during the 17th century. After the Revolution strenuous efforts were made to form a united Episcopal Church in America. The organization of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States was completed at the General Convention of 1789. The Church adheres to the Apostles' and Nicene creeds
Apostolic, Prothonotary - The Anglican Church in the United States, an offspring of the Church of England, established in the American colonies during the 17th century. After the Revolution strenuous efforts were made to form a united Episcopal Church in America. The organization of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States was completed at the General Convention of 1789. The Church adheres to the Apostles' and Nicene creeds
Mind of the Church - The Church's attitude and teaching with regard to matters not solemnly defined as dogmas of Faith, but declared by her serious pronouncements and by the teaching of her approved theologians. To think and to act with the Church in matters not solemnly defined, is characteristic of a loyal member of the Church. Lack of respect for the mind of the Church incurs danger of complete loss of Faith
Chancel - That part of the Church building set apart as the placeof the Clergy and others who minister in the Church service. The Chancel wasformerly, and is even now in many places, divided from the Naveby a screen or lattice work (cancelli) and is raised by stepsabove the level of the body of the Church
Archimandrite - ) A chief of a monastery, corresponding to abbot in the Roman Catholic Church. ) A superintendent of several monasteries, corresponding to superior abbot, or father provincial, in the Roman Catholic Church
Church - Church. Of this Church or company of the redeemed, the Lord Jesus Christ is now the Head, and the Church is therefore called the body, Colossians 1:18; Colossians 1:24, and comprises the redeemed who are gone to heaven, as well as those who are, or will be, on the earth. Particular portions of the whole body of Christians are also called the Church, as the Church at Jerusalem, at Corinth, etc. As the great work wrought on earth and the reigning of Christ in heaven constitute him the Founder and Head of the Church, as it now exists, he is compared to "the chief corner-stone" in the building, Ephesians 2:20, on whom the whole structure is dependent. The figurative language which is employed by Christ, himself, as well as by his apostles, to denote the nature of his relations to the Church (as composed of all true believers), and its relations to him, is of the most significant character. And it is by many supposed that the Song of Solomon is a highly figurative and poetical illustration of the mutual love of Christ and the people of his Church in all ages. In modern times the word is applied to various associations of Christians, united by a common mode of faith or form of government; as the Episcopal Church, the Baptist Church, the Moravian Church, etc. The word Church is but once (then doubtfully) applied in Scriptures to a building. The visible Israelitish Church was divided into twelve tribes separated, yet to be united as the people of God: having one Scripture, one sacrifice, one Jehovah. In the progress of the Church "there were sealed one hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of Israel," Revelation 7:4, showing that the visible Church will continue to be divided into tribes, with one Scripture and one Saviour. The world seldom was in greater darkness than when for 1260 years it was controlled by one visible Church, the Church of Rome. And the clamor of many to make a united visible Church by attacking all creeds and confessions holding the great doctrines of the Scriptures, and in their place to adopt the assumptions of idolatrous Churches, will never be realized. The Church had in New Testament times, elders, overseers or bishops, in each congregation. The various tribes of the ancient visible Church were constantly adopting the idolatries of the surrounding nations, and were brought into subjection by them, and at last were scattered and the most of them lost on that account. The most of the prophets were sent to the Church to upbraid them for their idolatries and for forsaking God. Christ came to the visible Church and was rejected. The epistles speak of errors in the Churches founded by the apostles
Unction - It is not to be wondered at that the Israelites had such frequent use of anointings, when we consider that the very order of their institution as a Church and people, was to be looking for the coming of the Messiah, that is, the anointed One. (See Exodus 30:23)...
How holy and blessed is it to the Church of Jesus now, to discover that in this unction, thus figuratively set forth in the old Church, all the outlines of the Lord Jesus anointing by the Holy Ghost, and the Church also in him were displayed. Now, as Christ the Messiah could not have been Christ, that is, anointed, but by the Holy Ghost's anointing, so neither could the Church have been his Church, his spouse, his beloved, and the only one, of her mother, (Song of Song of Solomon 6:9) but by the anointing also of God the Holy Ghost. Hence then it should be considered, (and I beg the pious reader to consider it, and keep it in remembrance proportioned to its infinite importance) as Christ is called Messiah, that is Christ, as the anointed of God, before he openly appeared at his incarnation, so the Church of Christ is called his Church; and for which, in salvation-work, Christ was made Christ, before he was made flesh, and dwelt among us; nor, as the Son of God, had it not been for his Church's sake, ever would have been sent by the Father, neither would have taken our nature into the GODHEAD, neither have been anointed by the Holy Ghost. So by his becoming the anointed for this express purpose, proves the original anointing of the Church in him, and for him; and sets forth the everlasting love of all the persons of the GODHEAD to the Church of Christ in all ages
Lucius - Christian prophet and/or teacher from Cyrene who helped lead Church at Antioch to set apart Saul and Barnabas for missionary service (Acts 13:1 ). Early Church tradition tried, probably incorrectly, to identify him with either Luke or with 2. Thus an African was one of the first Christian evangelists and had an important part in the early days of the Church of Antioch and in beginning the Christian world missions movement. A relative of Paul who sent greetings to the Church at Rome (Romans 16:21 )
Ecclesiastic - ) A person in holy orders, or consecrated to the service of the Church and the ministry of religion; a clergyman; a priest. ) Of or pertaining to the Church
Defensor - ) The patron of a Church; an officer having charge of the temporal affairs of a Church
Christmas - ) An annual Church festival (December 25) and in some States a legal holiday, in memory of the birth of Christ, often celebrated by a particular Church service, and also by special gifts, greetings, and hospitality
Allicanism - ) The principles, tendencies, or action of those, within the Roman Catholic Church in France, who (esp. in 1682) sought to restrict the papal authority in that country and increase the power of the national Church
Seceder - ) One of a numerous body of Presbyterians in Scotland who seceded from the communion of the Established Church, about the year 1733, and formed the Secession Church, so called
Prebendary - ) A clergyman attached to a collegiate or cathedral Church who enjoys a prebend in consideration of his officiating at stated times in the Church
Baptistry - In the ancient Church, it is said, it was generally a building separate, and distinct from the Church. Thus it continued to the sixth century, when the baptisteries began to be taken into the Church
God, Advocate of - Advocate of the Church, lay official, in the Middle Ages, charged with the defense of Church temporalities, both in civilcourts and, in later times, in the field; he received in return part of the Church revenues
Advocate of God - Advocate of the Church, lay official, in the Middle Ages, charged with the defense of Church temporalities, both in civilcourts and, in later times, in the field; he received in return part of the Church revenues
Deaconess - Such women were called deaconesses as served the Church in those offices in which the deacons could not with propriety engage; such as keeping the doors of that part of the Church where the women sat, privately instructing those of their own sex, and visiting others imprisoned for the faith. In Romans 16:1 , Phebe is said to be a "servant" of the Church at Cenchrea; but in the original Greek she is called deaconess
Body of Christ - An illustration Paul used to teach how the living human body is like the Church with Christ as the head. This provides one way of better understanding the nature and functions of a Church. ...
The word Church means an assembly or the “called out” ones. Most New Testament references to Church refer to local congregations. A few references such as in Ephesians are to the Church as the larger group of all believers of all ages. Paul teaches in Romans 12:4-8 that the Church is like a human body and in Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:18 that Christ is the Head. Christ is the Head of the Church, which means He has the authority over the Church to guide it. This also means that Christ (the Head) and the Church (the body) exist together in organic unity. The Church is more than an organization; it is a living organism. The oneness of husband and wife is used to help the Ephesian Church understand the oneness of Christ as Head and the Church as the body (Ephesians 5:23-32 ). ...
Another meaning of the Church as a body is that the sovereign God has chosen each member. The apostle exhorted the Church to unity based on the oneness of the body (Ephesians 4:4 ). God calls leaders into His Church; apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor/teachers are designed to equip members to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16 ). See Body ; Church
Schism - ), permanent division or separation in the Christian Church; breach of unity among people of the same religious faith; the offense of seeking to produce division in a Church without justifiable cause
a Cappella - ...
(2):...
In Church or chapel style; - said of compositions sung in the old Church style, without instrumental accompaniment; as, a mass a capella, i
Church - It is understood of the collective body of Christians, or all those over the face of the earth who profess to believe in Christ, and acknowledge him to be the Saviour of mankind: this is called the visible Church, Ephesians 3:21 . By the word Church, also, we are to understand the whole body of God's chosen people, in every period of time: this is the invisible Church. Those on earth are also called the militant, and those in heaven the triumphant Church, Hebrews 12:23 . By a particular Church we understand an assembly of Christians united together, and meeting in one place for the solemn worship of God. : as the Romish Church, Greek Church. and English Church, &c. Congregational Church is so called from their maintaining that each congregation of Christians which meet in one place for religious worship is a complete Church, and has sufficient power to act and perform every thing relative to religious government within itself, and is in no respect subject or accountable to any other Church. It does not appear, say they, that the primitive Churches were national; they were not even provincial; for, though there were many believers and professing Christians in Judea, in Galilee, and Samaria, in Macedonia, in Galatia, and other provinces, yet we never read of a provincial Church in any of those places. According to them, we find no mention made of diocesan Churches in the New Testament. In the days of the apostles, bishops were so far from presiding over more Churches than one, that sometimes a plurality of bishops presided over the same Church. Nor do we find any mention made of parochial Churches. Some of the inhabitants of a parish may be Infidels, Mahometans, or Jews; but Gospel Churches consist of such as make an open profession of their faith in Christ, and subjection to the Gospel, Rom. It seems plain, then, that the primitive Churches of Christ were properly congregational. The first Church at Jerusalem met together in one place at the same time, Acts 1:14-15 . The Church of Antioch did the same, Acts 14:27 . The Church of Corinth the same, 1 Corinthians 14:23 . The same did the Church at Troas, Acts 20:7 . There was a Church at Cenchrea, a port of Corinth, distinct from the Church in that city, Romans 16:1-27 : He that was a member of one Church was not a member of another. Such a Church is a body distinguished from the civil societies of the world by the spiritual nature and design of its government; for, though Christ would have order kept in his Church, yet without any coercive force; a thing inconsistent with the very nature of such a society, whose end is instruction; and a practice suitable to it, which can never in the nature of things be accomplished by penal laws or external coersion, Isaiah 33:22 . Church members are those who compose or belong to the Church. As to the visible Church, it may be observed that real saintship is not the distinguishing criterion of the members of it. None, indeed, can without it honestly offer themselves to Church fellowship; but they cannot be refused admission for the mere want of it; for ...
1. God himself admitted many members of the Jewish Church whose hearts were unsanctified, 1618101507_20 ; Deuteronomy 29:13 . Many that were admitted members in the Churches of Judea, Corinth, Philippi, Laodicea, Sardis, &c. Christ compares the Gospel Church to a floor on which corn and chaff are mingled together: to a net in which good and bad are gathered, &c. ...
See Matthew 13:1-58 : As to the real Church, ...
1. None but such are proper members of the true Church; nor should any be admitted to any particular Church without some appearance of these, at least. Church fellowship is the communion that the members enjoy one with another. The end of Church fellowship is, ...
1. The impartial exercise of Church government and discipline, Hebrews 12:15 . Church ordinances are, ...
1. Baptism is not properly a Church ordinance, since it ought to be administered before a person be admitted into Church fellowship. Church officers are those appointed by Christ for preaching the word, and the superintendence of Church affairs: such are bishops and deacons, to which some add, elders. As to Church order and discipline, it may be observed, that every Christian society formed on the congregational plan is strictly independent of all other religious societies. No other Church however numerous or respectable; no person or persons, however eminent for authority, abilities, or influence, have any right to assume arbitrary jurisdiction over such a society. ...
Even the officers which Christ has appointed in his Church have no power to give new laws to it; but only, in conjunction with the other members of the society, to execute the commands of Christ. Every particular Church has a right to judge of the fitness of those who offer themselves as members, Acts 9:26 . If any member walk disorderly, and continue to do so, the Church is empowered to exclude him, 1 Corinthians 5:7 . This and other Church business is generally done on some day preceding the sabbath on which the ordinance is administered. Owen on the Nature of a Gospel Church and its Government; Watts's Rational Foundation of a Christian Church; Turner's Compendium of Soc. Rel; Fawcett's Constitution and Order of a Gospel Church; Watts's Works, ser. 4:; Fuller's Remarks on the Discipline of the Primitive Churches; and Bryson's Compendious View
Apsidiole - (absidiale) A small or secondary apse, one of the apses on either side of the main apse in a Church with three apses, or one of the apse chapels when they project from the exterior of the Church
Audientes - An order of catechumens in the primitive Christian Church. They were so called from their being admitted to hear sermons and the Scriptures read in the Church; but they were not allowed to be present at the prayers
Triforium - ) The gallery or open space between the vaulting and the roof of the aisles of a Church, often forming a rich arcade in the interior of the Church, above the nave arches and below the clearstory windows
Absidiale - (absidiale) A small or secondary apse, one of the apses on either side of the main apse in a Church with three apses, or one of the apse chapels when they project from the exterior of the Church
Free Church of Scotland - Ecclesiastical organization dating from 1843 when 47 lay and ecclesiastical members of the Established Church of Scotland severed their connection with that body as a protest against the encroachments of civilauthorities on the independence of the Church, especially regarding the matter of the presentation to vacant benefices. Ministers and professors renounced all claim to the benefices which they had had and built Churches and colleges of their own for the training of their clergy. They adopted no new article of faith but represented the Presbyterian Church of the country enjoying its full spiritual liberty. They maintained, however, that the Church and State should be in intimate alliance. In 1876 they were joined by the Cameronians or Reformed Presbyterians and by the United Presbyterians in 1900 when they assumed the name of the United Free Church of Scotland. A small minority resisted fusion and these were successful in the House of Lords in claiming, as the original Free Church, nearly all the buildings. This was rectified by an Act of Parliament which permitted them to retain only such Churches and other edifices as were proportionate to their need
Relief - A species of Dissenters in Scotland, whose only difference from the Scotch established Church is the choosing their own pastors. They were separated from the Church in the year 1752, occasioned by Mr. Being excluded from the communion of the Church, he, with two or three other ministers, constituted themselves into a presbytery, called the Presbytery of Relief; willing to afford relief to all "who adhered to the constitution of their Church of Scotland, as exhibited in her creeds, canons, confessions, and forms of worship. Their licentiates are educated under the established Church professors, whose certificates they acknowledge. Many of their people receive the Lord's supper with equal readiness in the established Church as in their own
Church - The word used in Holy Scripture for Church is ecclesia,from the Greek word ek-kaleo, meaning to call out. Hall hasgiven the following explanation, "The Church is called theecclesia because her membership consists of those who are calledof God, and adopted as His children and heirs of everlastinglife. The name teaches that the origin of the Church was due,not to any human act of organization, but to Divine operationsand a Divine ingathering of the elect. The mark by which theelect are distinguished in Holy Scripture is membership of theChurch by Baptism, although ultimate salvation requires furtherconditions. The true conceptionof the Church is a body called out from the world, and set apartto the service of God, as such it is called the Kingdom of God,over which God reigns and in which they who are called serve Him. (See UNITY, Church; KINGDOM OF GOD; Church CATHOLIC; also ANGLICANCHURCH)
Scotland, Free Church of - Ecclesiastical organization dating from 1843 when 47 lay and ecclesiastical members of the Established Church of Scotland severed their connection with that body as a protest against the encroachments of civilauthorities on the independence of the Church, especially regarding the matter of the presentation to vacant benefices. Ministers and professors renounced all claim to the benefices which they had had and built Churches and colleges of their own for the training of their clergy. They adopted no new article of faith but represented the Presbyterian Church of the country enjoying its full spiritual liberty. They maintained, however, that the Church and State should be in intimate alliance. In 1876 they were joined by the Cameronians or Reformed Presbyterians and by the United Presbyterians in 1900 when they assumed the name of the United Free Church of Scotland. A small minority resisted fusion and these were successful in the House of Lords in claiming, as the original Free Church, nearly all the buildings. This was rectified by an Act of Parliament which permitted them to retain only such Churches and other edifices as were proportionate to their need
Schism - Derived from a Greek word, meaning fissure, or rent,and may be defined as a rending of the Body of Christ, His Churchon earth, and making divisions in the one Body. Paul's words as "schism in theBody," rather than schism from it, inasmuch as none of these threebodies has lost any of the essentials of Church Unity—the ApostolicMinistry, the Sacraments, the Creeds and the Holy Scriptures. Butthe word also means separation from the Church and is applied tothose religious bodies which have abandoned the Historic Church. Such wilful separation, whether within the Church or without, St. The Church regards her unity as of such vital importance to her ownlife and to the life of each individual soul, she bids us pray inthe Litany, "From all false doctrine, heresy, and Schism, Good Lord,deliver us. " (See UNITY, Church; and also UNDIVIDED Church
Deacon - In the early days of the Jerusalem Church, Christians shared their food and possessions so that all in the Church had enough for their day-to-day needs. At first the apostles administered this daily welfare, but as the Church numbers increased, new arrangements became necessary. To give the apostles more time for prayer and teaching, the Church chose seven men whom the apostles appointed over the work. ...
As the early Churches grew in number and size, they saw an increasing need to organize their affairs properly. In time the common practice was for a Church to have a group of people called deacons who had certain responsibilities in the Church. Deacons had responsibility for a variety of ministries, but not the ministry of pastoral care and Church leadership (cf. ...
Nevertheless, the story of the early Jerusalem Church shows that a deacon’s service is not limited to routine or welfare activities. Other examples show that the Church needs women deacons as well as men (Romans 16:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:11; cf. Their lives must be blameless, whether in the sphere of family, Church or society (1 Timothy 3:8-13). ...
The case of the early Jerusalem Church suggests a procedure for the appointment of deacons. The Church elders invite the Church members to select those they think suitable, then the elders, after due consideration, make the appointment (Acts 6:3)
Laicism - (Latin: laicus, lay) ...
Exclusive administration of the affairs of the Church by lay-men. Anti-clerical proponents of a separation of Church and State laicize, by measures of governmental supervision and control, functions that for ages belonged to the Church: education, marriage, hospitals, and charity organizations and maintenance of parishes, Churches, convents and other religious institutions. A laicistic program, denying the value of religious ideals for the civic,political, and social life of man, prevents the Church from functioning beyond the vestibule of her temples of worship
Ritualism - ) Specifically :(a) The principles and practices of those in the Church of England, who in the development of the Oxford movement, so-called, have insisted upon a return to the use in Church services of the symbolic ornaments (altar cloths, encharistic vestments, candles, etc. (b) Also, the principles and practices of those in the Protestant Episcopal Church who sympathize with this party in the Church of England
Body, the One - See Church
Nicolaitanes - The Church at Ephesus (Revelation 2:6 ) is commended for hating the "deeds" of the Nicolaitanes, and the Church of Pergamos is blamed for having them who hold their "doctrines" (15). They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to introduce into the Church a false freedom or licentiousness, thus abusing Paul's doctrine of grace (Compare 2 Peter 2:15,16,19 ), and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Baalam (q
Church - The Greek word translated Church signifies generally an assembly, either common or religious; and it is sometimes so translated, as in Acts 19:32,39 . The universal Christian Church: either the invisible Church, consisting of those whose names are written in heaven, whom God knows, but whom we cannot infallibly know, Hebrews 12:23 ; or the visible Church, made up of the professed followers of Christ on earth, Colossians 1:24 1 Timothy 3:5,15 ...
2. A particular Church or body of professing believers, who meet and worship together in one place; as the Churches of Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, etc
Exarch - ) A viceroy; in Ravenna, the title of the viceroys of the Byzantine emperors; in the Eastern Church, the superior over several monasteries; in the modern Greek Church, a deputy of the patriarch , who visits the clergy, investigates ecclesiastical cases, etc
Nave - The body of the Church building; that portion of it before thechoir or chancel, and between the aisles in which the congregationsits. Derived from the Latin word navis meaning a ship, and isintended to symbolize "the ark of Christ's Church
Orientation - The name given to the act of turning to the east orAltar as an act of faith and worship in the Church service. ) It is also an architectural term used inreference to Church buildings running east and west
Christian Unity - (See UNITY, Church)
French Church - See Church GALLICAN
Reformed Church - See Church REFORMED
Church, High - See HIGH Church
Seven, the - See Church Government
Protestant Episcopal - (See AMERICAN Church
Liturgical Colors - (See Church COLORS
Wardens - (See Church WARDENS
Organization - See Church Government
Choir - The part of the Church reserved for the stalls of canons, priests, monks, and choristers, separated from the rest by low carved partitions of stone or wood. In early Churches it extended from the apse to the nave of which it was part, and the term was later made to include the entire eastern end of the Church, regardless of its use. In a cruciform Church the choir may be beyond the transepts, between them, or projecting into the nave
Bride - It is very highly endeared to our affection when applied by Jesus himself to his Church. If the reader wishes to see some beautiful instances, in which the whole Church as one collective body is called the Lamb's wife, I refer him to the Songs of Solomon, and to the book of the Revelation at large. (Revelation 21:2-9; John 3:29; Isaiah 62:3-5)...
See Church, Spouse, Wife
Girls' Friendly Society - A Society of young women organized in theAmerican Church in 1877, and is a branch of a similar Society inthe Church of England. Headquarters, the Church Missions House, New York City
Catechumen - See) One who is receiving rudimentary instruction in the doctrines of Christianity; a neophyte; in the primitive Church, one officially recognized as a Christian, and admitted to instruction preliminary to admission to full membership in the Church
Fortunatus - Fortunatus was apparently a member of the Church at Corinth and brought Paul news from the Church
Deprecatory - The form of absolution in the Greek Church is deprecative, thus expressed...
May God absolve you; whereas in the Latin Church it is declarative...
I absolve you
Timothy - The Church hath reason to bless the Lord for the conversion of this man, since the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to give the Church those two sweet Epistles, addressed to him by Paul
Dissenter - ) One who separates from the service and worship of an established Church; especially, one who disputes the authority or tenets of the Church of England; a nonconformist
Pope - ) The bishop of Rome, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. ) A parish priest, or a chaplain, of the Greek Church
Fortunatus - Fortunatus was apparently a member of the Church at Corinth and brought Paul news from the Church
Anglican Church, the - The name given to the Church of England asbeing the Church of the Anglo-Saxon race. The Church was introducedinto Britain as early as A. Paul and it hascontinued there the same organization ever since, and the Churchof the whole English nation until within the last 300 years, whendivers and sundry religious bodies have sprung up. Thus the Englishnation from that early period of the Church's first introductioninto Britain down to the present time, has never been without theOrthodox Faith; the Apostolic Ministry in three orders—Bishops,Priests and Deacons; the Sacraments and the ancient Liturgy. Moreover, the Church of England has always affirmed her own nationalintegrity and independence and although overcome and brought intosubjection to a foreign power, and finally regained her formerindependence—yet throughout all she has ever retained the fouressentials of Christian Truth and Order mentioned, and thus demonstrates that she is a true branch of the Church founded byChrist, and as such Catholic and Apostolic. For one to say that theChurch of England was founded by Henry VIII, or to say that it isa "schism from the Roman Church" shows great ignorance of eventhe plainest facts of history. The supremacy of Rome hasnever been borne patiently by the English people, whose Churchorganization was established long before Rome took the trouble tointerfere with it; and several English kings had quarreled beforeHenry the Eighth's time with the Holy See. What the EnglishReformers wanted, and what they accomplished under Elizabeth,was Reform within the Church. It was on the continent thatProtestantism without the Church, built up a new ecclesiasticalorganization. "(See UNDIVIDED Church)
Chime - The bells of Boston, Bradford, Manchester, Rochdale, Shoreditch, and Worcester are noted in England, and in the United States those of Old Christ Church, Philadelphia; Christ Church, Boston; Trinity Church, New York; Saint Patrick's Cathedral, New York; the West Point chapel chime; and the chimes in the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, New York, which are most beautiful
Duchesne, Louis - Prelate and Church historian, member of the French Academy, born Saint Servan, France, 1843; died Rome, Italy, 1922. His best-known works are an edition of the Liber Pontificalis, "Les origines du culte chretien" (Christian Worship) and "Histoire ancienne de l'eglise" (Early History of the Christian Church) which was placed on the Index on account of the disrespectful attitude of the author towards certain saints of the Church. A posthumous work "L' eglise au VI e siecle" (The Church in the Sixth Century) was not condemned
Louis Duchesne - Prelate and Church historian, member of the French Academy, born Saint Servan, France, 1843; died Rome, Italy, 1922. His best-known works are an edition of the Liber Pontificalis, "Les origines du culte chretien" (Christian Worship) and "Histoire ancienne de l'eglise" (Early History of the Christian Church) which was placed on the Index on account of the disrespectful attitude of the author towards certain saints of the Church. A posthumous work "L' eglise au VI e siecle" (The Church in the Sixth Century) was not condemned
Achan - The ungodly who join the Church, partake of the Lord's supper, and teach the Bible which they do not believe are like Achan. ...
Joshua 7:25 (c) Achan may be taken in this place as a type of a trouble maker who, because of his sinful, hypocritical practices in the Church, causes trouble there. Because of his actions the Church is in a turmoil and even perhaps may be divided because of him. Such a person is to he expelled from the Church as in1Corinthians5
Christian Festivals - The early New Testament Church separated itself from Judaism. Through the years, the Church developed times of worship to celebrate the specifically Christian acts of salvation. Along with these the Church celebrated the Lord's Day on the first day of each week. See articles on each of these festivals and Church Year
Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the Unite - An offshoot of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church organized as a separate Church in May, 1869 under the name Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church, later known as the Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the United States
Penance - In the early ages of the Church the commission of grievouserror in life or doctrine was, punished by exclusion from theCommunion of the Church; and in order to obtain readmission,offenders were obliged to submit to a prescribed course of penitence. The regulations as to the length and manner of this disciplinevaried in different times and in the several branches of the Church;the administration of it was chiefly in the hands of the Bishops. It is this "godly discipline" to which reference is had in theCommination Office in the Prayer-book of the Church of England, andwhich is used "until the said discipline may be restored again,which is much to be wished
Rites And Ceremonies - The Rites and Ceremonies of the Church arebased on the Apostolic injunction, "Let all things be done decentlyand in order. We learn from the Twentieth Articleof Religion that the power to decree Rites and Ceremonies rests withthe Church, and, as set forth in the Twenty-fourth Article, "everyparticular and national Church hath authority to ordain, changeand abolish ceremonies, ordained only by man's authority. " TheRites and Ceremonies of the American Church, are set forth andimplied in the Book of Common Prayer, marked out in the rubricsand the Tables prefixed to it
Community - See Church, the ; Israel ...
...
Church Militant - (See Church CATHOLIC, THE)
Romish Church - See Church, and POPERY
Assembly - See Church, the ; Israel ...
...
Bride - See Church, the ; Marriage ...
...
Officers Church - See Church, DEACON, ELDER
Churchless - ) Without a Church
Temperance - (See Church TEMPERANCE SOCIETY
Mari - Papa - Growth of the Church - The course of the Episcopal Church in theUnited States has been characterized by a very remarkable growth—agrowth that has attracted the attention of the Public Press, bothreligious and secular. "The following statement appeared in Public Opinion: "A goodshowing is made by the so-called Protestant Episcopal Church in theUnited States. The general growth of the Church far exceeds,proportionately, that of the population at large, or of any otherreligious section of it in particular. It looks like the 'Church ofthe future. , while the increase of the Episcopal Church was 41 percent. , but that of the Church was 46per cent. Before the Civil War, (in 1850) this Church had onecommunicant for about every 300 of the population; in 1880 it hadone for every 148; in 1890, one for every 125, and in 1900 it hadone communicant for every 107 of the population. The comparison ofgrowth of this Church with other religious bodies was set forth ina statement by the New York Independent, from which it appears thatthe rate of increase during the period examined was for the EpiscopalChurch 44 per cent. In the census returns in 1850the population of the United States was 23,847,884 and the EpiscopalChurch had then only 79,987 communicants. The Missionary Monthly, a Presbyterian publication,speaking of the Church in New York City, said: "The Episcopaliansfar outnumber any other denomination in their membership. Now the Episcopalians almost double the Presbyterians in thematter of Church membership. " These last two items refer only toNew York, but it is a well established fact that the Church isgrowing rapidly in all parts of our land. To-day there is not aState or Territory where the Episcopal Church has not its Bishop orBishops and body of Clergy and faithful people; even in far awayAlaska the Altar and the Cross have been set up, and the rate of increase throughout the United States is larger than that of anyother religious body in this land. Moreover, it is a striking factthat the Episcopal Church is the only religious body in the UnitedStates (except the Roman Catholic) which covers the entire country
Joining the Church - Its useamong Church people has been productive of the greatest harm. In thefirst place, it is hardly a correct phrase for a Churchman to use. We may "join" an Odd Fellows' lodge or a debating society, but we donot join a family or household which God's Church is. We are bornor adopted into a family, and so we are adopted into God's family;incorporated, grafted into the Body of Christ, His Church, and notsimply "join" it as we would a debating society or a political club. ...
In the next place, harm has been done by the use of this phrase byChurch people, because as popularly understood it is in directcontradiction to the belief and practice of the Church. According tothis phraseology Holy Baptism counts for nothing, and yet the Bibleteaches that it is in Holy Baptism that we are made members ofthe Church, and that all future blessings are dependent on thisspiritual fact. When then, Church people take up this mode of speechand use it in reference to Confirmation as is so often done, theypractically ignore the significance of Holy Baptism and the Church'smethod and appointed order. ...
The effect of this becomes apparent in the lives of many of theChurch's baptized children. Because, in whatever religious teachingthey receive, their Baptism is never referred to, and they are neverreminded that they are now God's children by adoption and gracebecause baptized, it comes to pass that, when these same childrenare asked to be confirmed, they think and act as if they wereinvited to "join the Church. " And as they are more influenced by thespeech and methods of the various religious bodies which prevail intheir community than they are by the Church's teaching, they imaginethat something extraordinary is required; they feel as if they mustsomehow "have got" religion; or they do not feel prepared to"experience religion"; or else they don't know whether they will orwill not "join the Episcopal Church. " In all this we see the resultof the application and use of "other systems" rather than that ofthe Church. Thus many an earnest and loving young heart has beenlost to the Church, notwithstanding it was given to God in itstenderest years to be trained up for Him. Confirmation is not"joining the Church. " If we are baptized, we have been "receivedinto Christ's Holy Church and made a living member of the same. " Andbecause this is true, the Church has a further Blessing in storefor her children
Frequent Communion - The influence of the Puritans on the religiouslife of the Church was in many instances tremendous and far-reaching. When the Churchbegan to pass out from under this influence we find that a monthlycelebration became the universal rule in the Church, and evenwith this many seem now to be satisfied. But as the Church grew, asthe study of the Prayer Book and of Church History became moregeneral and the Church began to assert herself, to claim herheritage, we find a return to the ancient order and Scripturalrule. In often receiving we are copying the whole Church of thefirst three hundred years
General Association of the Presbyterian Church in - The first Presbyterian Churches in America were established in Virginia, New England, Maryland, and Delaware as early as 1611, one of the first leaders being Reverend Richard Denton. Amendments to the Confession and Larger Catechism, expressing the American doctrine of the independence of the Church and of religious opinion from control by the state, were approved in 1788. The ecclesiastical organization of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, as it was called, had "as its two principal factors the ministers as representatives of Christ and the ruling elders as the representatives of the people. " In December 1861, due to dissessions over slavery, a group of southern Presbyterians organized at Augusta, Georgia, as the General Association of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America; they were strictly Calvinistic in doctrine, adhering firmly to the standards. In 1864 they adopted the name Presbyterian Church in the United States. In 1973 a group of congregations left the body over doctrinal issues such as women's ordination and abortion; the new group called themselves the Presbyterian Church in America. In 1983 the remaining Presbyterian Church in the United States congregations merged with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Presbyterian Church USA
Tradition - A term used in the Thirty-fourth Article of Religion todenote customs, rites, forms and ceremonies of the Church which havebeen transmitted by oral communications or long established usage,and which though not commanded in so many words in Holy Scripture,yet have always been used and kept in the Holy Catholic Church. The arrangement of our Churches after the model of the Temple. ...
All these traditions of the Universal Church are retained orpermitted by the American branch of the Church. ...
It is also to be noted that by tradition is meant the uniformteaching of the Church from the beginning, i. , the witnessthat the Church bears by the writings of the Fathers and theenactments of her General Councils to the Truths of the ChristianReligion and the interpretation of Holy Scripture. " Inasmuch as the Church is the "Witnessand keeper of Holy Writ," and that it is upon her testimony that weknow what is the Bible, it is but reasonable to defer to herinterpretation, her universal customs and traditions as to itsmeaning. (See UNDIVIDED Church; also FATHERS, THE
Secularize - ) To convert from spiritual or common use; as, to secularize a Church, or Church property
Glendalough, Ireland, School of - The ruins comprise the great Church, a round tower, Saint Kevin's "Cro," and the Church of the Blessed Virgin
Solemn - (Latin: sollennis, annual) ...
That which occurs yearly, hence at stated intervals, regular, established; festive, sacred, especially applied to the more important ceremonies of the Church, or to those ceremonies in which the rites of the Church are carried out in full, as Solemn Mass
Ecumenical - Thename is given to certain councils composed of Bishops and otherecclesiastics from the whole Church. A Council to be ecumenical mustmeet three requirements: (1) It must be called of the whole CatholicChurch; (2) it must be left perfectly free, and (3) it must be onewhose decrees and definitions were subsequently accepted by thewhole Church. It is commonly believed that there have been only sixgreat Councils of the Church that satisfy these conditions
Wednesday, Ash - The first day of Lent, when, in the primitive Church, notorious sinners were put to open penance thus: They appeared at the Church door barefooted, and clothed in sackcloth, where, being examined, their discipline was proportioned according to their offences; after which, being brought into the Church, the bishop singing the seven penitential psalms, they prostrated themselves, and with tears begged absolution; the whole congregation having ashes on their heads, to signify, that they were both mortal and deserved to be burnt to ashes for their sins
Churchgoer - ) One who attends Church
Churched - ) of Church...
Churchliness - ) Regard for the Church
Catholicism - ) The faith of the whole orthodox Christian Church, or adherence thereto. ) The doctrines or faith of the Roman Catholic Church, or adherence thereto
Chancel - ) All that part of a cruciform Church which is beyond the line of the transept farthest from the main front. ) That part of a Church, reserved for the use of the clergy, where the altar, or communion table, is placed
Patronage - Or ADVOWSON, a sort of incorporeal hereditament, consisting in the right of presentation to a Church, or ecclesiastical benefice. Advowson signifies the taking into protection, and therefore is synonymous with patronage; and he who has the right of advowson is called the patron of the Church
Deaconess - ) A woman set apart for Church work by a bishop. ) A woman chosen as a helper in Church work, as among the Congregationalists
Anchorhold - (Greek: anachoreo, withdraw) ...
A walled-up hermitage or anchorage built beside a Church, having two windows, one opening outside through which the recluse receives food and the other into the Church
Actor Ecclesire - (Latin: agent of the Church) ...
Medieval designation for an official deputed to defend the rights and revenues of a Church or monastery, often confounded with Advocatus ecclesire
Vulgate - ) An ancient Latin version of the Scripture, and the only version which the Roman Church admits to be authentic; - so called from its common use in the Latin Church
Lamennais, Felicite Robert de - His "Essai" (essay) on religious indifference caused him to be hailed as the foremost champion of the Church, but his second volume contained a philosophical system opposed by many Churchmen. With Lacordaire, Maurice de Guerin and others, he founded the Congregation of Saint Peter, a religious society for the defense of the Church. After the Revolution he established the journal, "L'Avenir," to defend the Church against the government of the House of Orleans, and to oppose Gallicanism. The Encyclical "Mirari vos" of Gregory XVI condemned his ideas, and he discontinued the journal, but refused to submit to the Encyclical, renouncing his ecclesiastical functions, 1833, and publicly declaring his rupture with the Church by publishing (1834) "Paroles d'un croyant" (Sentiments of a believer), a denunciation of kings and priests. He died unreconciled to the Church
Chapel - ) a room or recess in a Church, containing an altar. ) a small building attached to a Church...
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(n. ) In England, a place of worship used by dissenters from the Established Church; a meetinghouse. ) A place of worship not connected with a Church; as, the chapel of a palace, hospital, or prison. ) a small Church, often a private foundation, as for a memorial...
General Clergy Relief Fund - This is the abbreviated title of aSociety organized by the General Convention under the corporatename, "The Trustees of the Fund for the Relief of the Widows andOrphans of Deceased Clergymen, and of Aged, Infirm andDisabled Clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the UnitedStates of America, a corporation created in the year 1855 by chapter459 of the laws of the State of New York. " This is one of the mostimportant Funds in the Church and commands the generous support ofall earnest and devoted Church people. The conscience of the Church makes herfeel obligated, like the national government, to take care of herfaithful servants in their old age and disability, and also toprovide for the care of the widows and orphans of deceasedclergymen. The Church, however, cannot do this blessed work ofRelief, unless all her people contribute largely to this Fund
Keys of the Church - To the Rector belongs the control of the keysof the Church building, and this because he alone can determine whatservices shall be held in it. The Vestry havenothing to do in determining what use the Rector shall make ofthe Church building in carrying out the provisions of the PrayerBook. The Office of Institution recognizes this right in that one ofits provisions is that "then shall the Senior Warden (or the memberof the Vestry supplying his place) present the keys of the Church tothe new Incumbent, saying, In the name and behalf of———Parish[1] I do receive and acknowledge you, the Reverend, (name)as Priest and Rector of the same; and in token thereof, give intoyour hands the keys of the Church
Churchship - ) State of being a Church
Churching - ) of Church...
Alms-Bag - Purse for collecting alms in Church
Church - * For Church see ASSEMBLY and CONGREGATION ...
Friars of the Atonement - A branch of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis, founded in the United States in 1899 by Paul James Francis, a clergyman of the Episcopal Church. They originated the Church Unity Octave in 1908, and in 1909 were received corporately into the Catholic Church
Christian Reformed Church in North America - A group who withdrew from the Reformed Church in America. In 1890 the True Protestant Dutch Reformed Church merged with them. The Protestant Reformed Church split off in 1924, and during the 1990's, another group split off as the United Reformed Churches in North America
Fagaras e Alba Iulia, Romania, Archdiocese of - The Romanian Catholic Church suffered brutal persecution during the Communist era as the government sought to eliminate all evidence of an Eastern Church in communion with Rome. Primary archdiocese of the Romanian Church United with Rome
Methodist Bishop - Prelate in the American Methodist Episcopal Church elected by the General Conference. They are not bishops in the sense in which this name is used in the Catholic Church and Anglican, or Episcopalian, Church, but superintendents, sharing in common their jurisdiction without being confined to any diocese or district. Their duties being entirely executive, the bishops do much traveling to various Churches, promoting temporal and spiritual interests
Caesaropapism - A term used to designate the policy of kingly or civilsupremacy in Church affairs. Some Christian emperors and kings, as well as states, have endeavored to meddle in the purely ecclesiastical affairs of the Church, thus unconsciously emulating the pagan priest-emperors. Any such endeavor to encroach upon the powers of the Church, especially the executive and doctrinal powers, has come to be designated as Caesaropapism
Luke Rivington - In 1888 he entered the Catholic Church and was ordained, 1889. Among the more important are: Authority; or a Plain Reason for Joining the Church of Rome; The Primitive Church and the See of Peter; Anglican Fallacies; or Lord Halifax on Reunion, etc
Atrium - In Roman architecture the principal entrance hall or reception room of a residence; in Church architecture an open court, consisting of a large quadrangle, with colonnaded walks on four sides, forming a cloister between the porch and the body of the Church, and containing a fountain for washing the hands. The covered portion near the Church was the narthex, which exists only occasionally now and has been reduced to a narrow inner entrance
Latinize - ) To come under the influence of the Romans, or of the Roman Catholic Church. ) To make like the Roman Catholic Church or diffuse its ideas in; as, to Latinize the Church of England
Rivington, Luke - In 1888 he entered the Catholic Church and was ordained, 1889. Among the more important are: Authority; or a Plain Reason for Joining the Church of Rome; The Primitive Church and the See of Peter; Anglican Fallacies; or Lord Halifax on Reunion, etc
Linus - Early Church tradition identified him as the first bishop of the Church at Rome, but it is doubtful Rome had only one bishop or pastor that early in its history
Disestablishment - ) The act or process of unsettling or breaking up that which has been established; specifically, the withdrawal of the support of the state from an established Church; as, the disestablishment and disendowment of the Irish Church by Act of Parliament
Andrew the Scot, Saint - Archdeacon of Fiesole, born Ireland; died Italy, c877 He was a brother of Saint Bridget the Younger, and accompanied Donatus to Italy, becoming Archdeacon of Fiesole, where he restored the Church of Saint Martin and founded a monastery. Relics in Church of Saint Martin, Fiesole
Encyclical - A circular letter; now almost exclusively a papal document, differing in technical form from a Bull or Brief, treating of matters affecting the general welfare of the Church and addressed explicitly to the patriarchs, primates, archbishops, and bishops of the Universal Church in communion with the Apostolic See
Sexton - (Anglo-Norman: segerstein, someone who looks after the sacred objects) ...
A Church official, usually a layman, with duties ranging from those of janitor to those of sacristan, such as caring for the Church edifice and grounds, ringing the bell, and preparing graves
Scot, Andrew the, Saint - Archdeacon of Fiesole, born Ireland; died Italy, c877 He was a brother of Saint Bridget the Younger, and accompanied Donatus to Italy, becoming Archdeacon of Fiesole, where he restored the Church of Saint Martin and founded a monastery. Relics in Church of Saint Martin, Fiesole
American Church, the - The name, and one that is growing inpopularity, that is generally given to the body legally known as"The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. "...
The term "American Church" is descriptive of "The Holy CatholicChurch" having this land and people as the field of its operations. When our Lord commanded His Apostles to go forth and make disciplesof all nations, and they went forth to carry out this command,they gave to every nation to which they came the Church in itscompleteness with powers of perpetuity. Hence there sprung up nationalChurches, all equal and having union with one another in thesefour essentials of Christian Truth and Order. The Episcopal Churchin the United States by reason of its origin, history and characteris to be regarded as one of these national Churches and the namewhich is to embody this idea will no doubt be found and set forthby the proper ecclesiastical authority in due time. Meantime the name "American Church" is coming more and more intogeneral use, as it is clear, definite and historic, following theanalogy of the naming of the ancient national Churches. ...
The Episcopal Church in the United States is the daughter of theancient, historic. Catholic and Apostolic Church of England, ispartaker of the same life and the inheritor with the mother Churchof the same worship, rites, customs, doctrines and traditions, and,therefore, its position, likewise, is ancient and historic, Catholicand Apostolic. (See ANGLICAN Church, also ANGLICAN COMMUNION). ...
The history of the Church in America covers a period of more thanthree hundred years, and its first beginnings on these shores arefull of interest. ...
In the course of time, settlements were made along the Atlanticcoast and evidence is given of the Church's services being held atvery early dates. RobertHunt, a Priest of the Church of England, services began to be heldregularly and a Church building was erected at Jamestown. The Church was planted in all the colonies and included a greaterportion of the population. With the Church it was far different. For more than one hundred and fiftyyears it existed on these shores an Episcopal Church without anEpiscopate. ...
Repeated efforts were made to secure the consecration of a Bishopfor the Church in America, but owing to political and ecclesiasticalcomplications this was not possible until after the RevolutionaryWar. ,was consecrated in Aberdeen, Scotland, by the Scottish Bishops,for the Church in Connecticut and as the first Bishop in America. , of New York, were consecratedBishops by the two Archbishops of the Church of England and theBishop of Bath and Wells, and Peterborough, in Lambeth Palace,London. By the consecration of these four Bishops abroad theAmerican Church secured the Episcopate from the ancient andApostolic sources, and thus gained the power of perpetuating itself. The significance of this may be seen when we reflect that theancient canons of the Church require that not less than threeBishops shall unite in the consecration of a Bishop. We thus see how carefulthe Church has always been in conferring this great office, and howparticular the American Church was to meet every ecclesiasticalrequirement according to the ancient order and traditions. This took place in Trinity Church, New York,September 17th, 1792. From that time to the present, the AmericanEpiscopate has increased greatly by reason of the growing needs ofthe Church in this rapidly developing country. More than two hundredBishops have been consecrated for the work of the Church in theUnited States and for its missions in the foreign field. ...
The growth of the Church itself, likewise, has been remarkable whenwe consider the disadvantages under which it labored in those earlydays and the bitter prejudice against it which even yet is notwholly done away. The quiet,persistent loyalty to the Truth "as this Church hath received thesame," the reasonable terms of admission to her fold, the missionaryzeal and enterprise, the practical work enlisting so largely thelabors and cooperation of the laity, the far-reaching influenceon the religious thought of the day, the proposal of the termsfor Christian Unity, the multiplying of services and the more frequent communions, all manifest her inner and outward growth anddemonstrate the reality and high purpose of her Mission to thisland and nation. (See GROWTH OF THE Church
d.m. - = Daughters of Mary, Mother of the Church ...
Anagnostes - The epistle-reader in the Greek Church
Clachan - ) A small village containing a Church
High-Churchman - ) One who holds high-church principles
Low-Churchman - ) One who holds low-church principles
Organizations, Church - The American Church is not simply a teachingand worshipping body, but it is also a working organization. Besides its well organized Dioceses and Parisheswhich are working with such effectiveness in their severallocalities, there are many other organizations enlisting thecooperation of Churchmen everywhere. There are the generalInstitutions, such as the General Theological Seminary, theDomestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the Woman's Auxiliary,the American Church Building Fund Commission, Free and Open ChurchAssociation, the Prayer-book Distribution Society, the Brotherhoodof St. Other organizations are TheSociety for the Increase of the Ministry, the Evangelical EducationSociety, the American Church Missionary Society, Society forPromoting Christianity among the Jews, the Guild of St. Barnabasfor Nurses; Church Temperance Society; Missions among Deaf Mutes;etc. Besides these, there are religious Orders, Church Clubs,Sisterhoods, many Charity and Hospital organizations; and whilethis enumeration does not include all the various organizationsthat are at work, yet these are given that the reader may form someidea of what this Church is doing and how fully she enlists thecooperation of the laity in her general work
Clergy - ) The body of men set apart, by due ordination, to the service of God, in the Christian Church, in distinction from the laity; in England, usually restricted to the ministers of the Established Church
Cathedra - The throne or chair of a bishop in his cathedral Church which he occupies during solemn ceremonies. An ex-cathedra decision is an infallible pronouncement of the pope signifying that he speaks officially as Head of the Church
Canonical Hours - Are certain stated times of the day consigned more especially by the Romish Church to the offices of prayer and devotion; such are matins, lauds, &c. In England the canonical hours are from eight to twelve in the forenoon; before or after which marriage cannot be legally performed in any Church
Armenian - ) An adherent of the Armenian Church, an organization similar in some doctrines and practices to the Greek Church, in others to the Roman Catholic
Galilee Porch - A porch or chapel at the entrance of a Church, corresponding to the ancient atrium. It is also applied to the nave of a large Church or the entrance end of the nave architecturally divided from the rest
Tokens - TESSERAE, or TICKETS, were written testimonials to character, much in use in the primitive Church. By means of letters, and of brethren who travelled about, even the most remote Churches of the Roman empire were connected together. When a Christian arrived in a strange town, he first inquired for the Church; and he was here received as a brother, and provided with every thing needful for his spiritual or corporeal sustenance. An arrangement was therefore introduced, that only such travelling Christians should be received as brethren into Churches where they were strangers, as could produce a testimonial from the bishop of the Church from which they came. They called these Church letters, which were a kind of tesserae hospitales, [1] by which the Christians of all quarters of the world were brought into connection, epistolae, or literae formatae, [2] γραμματα τετυπωμενα , because, in order to avoid forgery, they were made after a certain schema, (τυπος , forms, ) or else, epistolae communicatoriae, [3] γραμματα κοινωνικα , because they contained a proof that those who brought them were in the communion of the Church, as well as that the bishops, who mutually sent and received such letters, were in connection together by the communion of the Church; and afterward these Church letters, epistolae clericae, were divided into different classes, according to the difference of their purposes
Harlot - ...
Revelation 17:5 (a) Babylon is a type of the Roman Catholic Church. Many large denominations have hived off from this Church, and have carried with them many of the traditions and practices of the mother Church. Many of these follow the practice of the mother Church in seeking the favor and the gifts of the world
Diocese - Properly speaking the Diocese is the real unit of Church life. Originally the Bishop went first in the establishing of the Churchin any nation or country; out of this Jurisdiction grew the parishesor local congregation, being ministered to by the Priests underthe Bishop. In the American Church, through force of circumstances,the reverse of this has been the case. But notwithstanding, thefact remains here as elsewhere that the Diocese with the Bishop atits head is the real unit of Church life and organization, and theParish a dependency of it and from which it gets its corporateexistence as a Parish. In the phraseology of the Canons, a missionaryBishop presides over a "Missionary Jurisdiction" which it isexpected will develop into a Diocese, but according to the truetheory of the Church his Missionary Jurisdiction is really aDiocese
Presbytery Reformed - They profess to adhere to the solemn league and covenant agreed to by the nation before the restoration, in which they abjure popery and prelacy, and resolve to maintain and defend the doctrines, worship, discipline, and government of the Church, as approved by the parliament and assembly at Westminster, and by the general assembly of the Church and parliament of Scotland, 1645-9. It seems, they object not so much to a religious establishment, but to the religious establishment as it exists; they object not to an alliance of the Church with the state, but to the alliance of the Church with an uncovenanted king and government
Paulus the Silentiary - Paulus (110) , sometimes called "the Silentiary," from his position as an officer of Justinian's court, wrote several epigrams preserved in the Anthologia Palatina , and some other works of minor importance; his poetical account of the buildings and dedication of the Great Church of Constantinople must, as the evidence of a contemporary, always be an important authority on the greatest effort of Byzantine Church architecture. Some assistance to its better understanding in relation to Church architecture is given by Neale, Hist. of Holy Eastern Church (Intro
Cardinal College - Old name of Christ Church College
High-Churchism - ) The principles of the high-church party
Low-Churchism - ) The principles of the low-church party
Feudalism And the Church - When the Church turned from the Roman Empire to the nations of the West and gradually fashioned a civilization out of barbarian chaos, she earned the gratitude of kings and emperors who endowed her with vast property, although often as fiefs. It was in this manner that the Church took its place in the feudal system. Disputed ecclesiastical elections followed, with coveted Church property as the bone of contention; while secular princes claimed the right of investiture of spiritual offices. The secular rulers expected the Church to share the national burdens and duties, inasmuch as she was sharing the land-grants. The Church was in danger of becoming an annex of the State. Instead of being a universal Church, she was threatened with separating into a number of national Churches under territorial princes. This was the first step toward freeing the Church from the control of secular power. Pope Gregory VII, who ascended the papal throne in 1073, continued the work of reform by attacking the practise of simony, by forbidding married clergy to perform religious functions, and by depriving kings and feudal lords of their influence over the choice of bishops and abbots, evils which had resulted from the feudal system in its relation to the Church
Bible, Use of the - In the Catholic Church it is threefold, doctrinal, liturgical, and pietistic. Its doctrinal use grows out of the official teaching of the Church as incorporated in the decrees of the Council of Trent and the Vatican Council, which states that the Sacred Scriptures, together with Apostolic tradition, constitute the twofold fount of Divine revelation. Thus it is that Catholic theologians and preachers have ever considered the inspired Bible a treasure house from which to draw for proof and sanction of the Church's teaching in doctrinal and moral matters. In liturgy the Catholic Church, like the Jewish Church before it (Deuteronomy 31; 2Paralipomenon 29; Luke 4), has given Sacred Scripture, in both its Old and New Testament portions a most prominent place. The earliest accounts of the Eucharist Mass describe the reading of selections from both Testaments; and the official public prayers of the Catholic Church today, found in the Roman Missal and Breviary, are composed largely of biblical passages. From time immemorJal the Catholic Church has always directed her preachers, in their devotional sermons and the direction of souls, to draw heavily on the Sacred Scriptures, and the prayers which the Church has approved for the piety and sanctification of the faithful, are composed largely of scriptural passages. Also, the Church supplements these uses of the Bible by recommending that it be read in private as a means of personal sanctification
Congregation - In Tindale’s Version (1534) and in Cranmer’s (1539) ‘congregation’ was used instead of ‘church’ to translate both ἐκκλησία and συναγωγή. But Wyclif had used ‘church,’ and the Geneva Version, followed by Authorized Version , reverted to it. Revised Version , with one exception, has ‘church’ exclusively in the text, though in several places ‘congregation’ appears in the margin. The exception is Hebrews 2:12, where in the quotation from Psalms 22:25 ‘congregation’ is in the text and ‘church’ in the margin. Hort (The Christian Ecclesia, London, 1897) chose ‘Ecclesia’ as a word free from the disturbing associations of ‘church’ and ‘congregation,’ though the latter has not only historical standing (as above) but also the advantage of suggesting some of these elements of meaning which are least forcibly brought out by the word ‘church’ according to our present use (cf. So far, however, as there is any substantive difference between the two words as found in the English Bible, the ‘congregation’ of Revised Version margin points to an actual Church assembled in one place. ...
In the NT ἐκκλησία naturally designates the Christian Church
Use of the Bible - In the Catholic Church it is threefold, doctrinal, liturgical, and pietistic. Its doctrinal use grows out of the official teaching of the Church as incorporated in the decrees of the Council of Trent and the Vatican Council, which states that the Sacred Scriptures, together with Apostolic tradition, constitute the twofold fount of Divine revelation. Thus it is that Catholic theologians and preachers have ever considered the inspired Bible a treasure house from which to draw for proof and sanction of the Church's teaching in doctrinal and moral matters. In liturgy the Catholic Church, like the Jewish Church before it (Deuteronomy 31; 2Paralipomenon 29; Luke 4), has given Sacred Scripture, in both its Old and New Testament portions a most prominent place. The earliest accounts of the Eucharist Mass describe the reading of selections from both Testaments; and the official public prayers of the Catholic Church today, found in the Roman Missal and Breviary, are composed largely of biblical passages. From time immemorJal the Catholic Church has always directed her preachers, in their devotional sermons and the direction of souls, to draw heavily on the Sacred Scriptures, and the prayers which the Church has approved for the piety and sanctification of the faithful, are composed largely of scriptural passages. Also, the Church supplements these uses of the Bible by recommending that it be read in private as a means of personal sanctification
Sacrament - The word came to be usedfor those ordinances of the Christian Church possessing an "outwardsign" and conveying an "inward grace. " Thus the Church Catechismtreating of the two Sacraments "generally necessary to salvation,that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord," defines asacrament as being an outward and visible sign ordained by Christ,of an inward and spiritual grace given by Him as its accompaniment. This definition has reference to the Sacramental system of theChurch and means that Christ appointed only two Sacraments that aregenerally or universally necessary to salvation. It does not implythat there are not other Sacramental agencies in the Church—butonly that these two are absolutely necessary to salvation. Forexample, if a man would be saved he must receive Holy Baptism andHoly Communion where these Sacraments are to be had; but for hissalvation it is not necessary that he should be married, or ordainedto the Sacred Ministry, and yet Marriage and Ordination arethoroughly sacramental in character in that they are graceconferring, and therefore, in her book of Homilies the Church callsthem Sacraments, The great English divines generally take thisposition in regard to the Sacraments and the Sacramental Systemof the Church. Thus Archbishop Bramhall declares: "The proper andcertain Sacraments of the Christian Church, common to all, or (inthe words of our Church) generally necessary to Salvation, arebut two, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. " So also, Bishop Jeremy Taylorsays, "it is none of the doctrine of the Church of England, thatthere are two Sacraments only, but that 'two only are generallynecessary to salvation
Christian Apologist - Some of the Fathers of the Church in the 2nd and 3centuries, e. , Saint Justin, Saint Irenaeus, are called by that name because it devolved upon them to defend the Church against her first enemies within and without the fold
Wife - Revelation 19:7 (b) This is a type of the Church. Here we find the real Church of GOD, which has been prepared for the meeting with the Lord by the new birth, by redemption, and by salvation
Apologist, Christian - Some of the Fathers of the Church in the 2nd and 3centuries, e. , Saint Justin, Saint Irenaeus, are called by that name because it devolved upon them to defend the Church against her first enemies within and without the fold
Charismatic Gifts - The special spiritual gifts given to the Church. They are for edifying and building up the Church
Liturgy - ) An established formula for public worship, or the entire ritual for public worship in a Church which uses prescribed forms; a formulary for public prayer or devotion. In the Roman Catholic Church it includes all forms and services in any language, in any part of the world, for the celebration of Mass
Angels - ) It is also to be noted that the term"Angels" is used in the New Testament for the Bishops of the Church,as in the Epistles to the seven Churches of Asia (Rev. 2 and 3)which are addressed, "unto the angel of the Church of———",i
Aisle - This term is often wrongly applied to the alleys orpassageways between the pews of a Church. Aisle, properly speaking,is an architectural term given to the side or wing of a Church orcathedral separated from the nave by rows of pillars and arches
Facts, Dogmatic - Certain truths which, though not revealed by God, come nevertheless under the teaching authority of the Church because of their close connection with revealed doctrines. They are involved, for instance, in such questions as these: Was the election of Pius XI canonical, so that he is the rightful successor of Saint Peter? Are the Saints canonized by the Church really in heaven? Is this or that condemned teaching really contained in a certain book? If the Church did not enjoy infallible authority to determine such matters, it would be practically impossible for her to carry out her Divine mission
Dogmatic Facts - Certain truths which, though not revealed by God, come nevertheless under the teaching authority of the Church because of their close connection with revealed doctrines. They are involved, for instance, in such questions as these: Was the election of Pius XI canonical, so that he is the rightful successor of Saint Peter? Are the Saints canonized by the Church really in heaven? Is this or that condemned teaching really contained in a certain book? If the Church did not enjoy infallible authority to determine such matters, it would be practically impossible for her to carry out her Divine mission
Dean - In England the Dean is a Church dignitary and ranks nextto the Bishop. The word is used in the American Church, but with aconsiderable modification of its original meaning. The Cathedral inthe American Church not having become fully developed, the dutiesand rights of the Dean as the presiding officer of the Cathedralhave not been fully determined, or at all events not made areality
Deposition - When a Bishop thus deposes any one, he isrequired to send "notice of such deposition from the Ministry tothe Ecclesiastical Authority of every Diocese and MissionaryJurisdiction of this Church, in the form in which the same isrecorded. " The object of this is to prevent any one thus deposedfrom officiating anywhere in the Church. He has been cut off fromall office in the Church and from all rights of exercising thatoffice
Evangelical - ) Earnest for the truth taught in the gospel; strict in interpreting Christian doctrine; preeminetly orthodox; - technically applied to that party in the Church of England, and in the Protestant Episcopal Church, which holds the doctrine of "Justification by Faith alone"; the Low Church party
Apostolicity - One of the marks by which the Church founded by Christ on His Apostles can always be recognized among the large number of dissident creeds. It implies Apostolicity of mission, that is, Christ's Church is a moral body, possessing the mission entrusted by Him to His Apostles of baptizing and teaching all men in His name and transmitted through them and their lawful successors in the episcopacy in an unbroken chain to their present representatives. His Church being infallible, there is also implied Apostolicity of doctrine, which means that the deposit of faith entrusted to the Apostles has been preserved intact
Bohemian Brethren - a sect of heretics, according to the Church of Rome; but, in truth, a race of early reformers, who preceded Luther. Some time after this, they were driven by persecution from their native country, and entered into communion with the Swiss Church, as reformed by Zuinglius; and from thence sprang the Church of the United Brethren
Catabasion - ) A vault under altar of a Greek Church
Churchly - ) Pertaining to, or suitable for, the Church; ecclesiastical
Church-Bench - ) A seat in the porch of a Church
Churchdom - ) The institution, government, or authority of a Church
Alms-Box - (alms-chest) Permanent receptacle for alms, in a Church
Alms-Chest - (alms-chest) Permanent receptacle for alms, in a Church
Abuna - ) The Patriarch, or head of the Abyssinian Church
Mosque - ) A Mohammedan Church or place of religious worship
Methodius, Saint - There they organized the Church and made numerous converts among the Khazars. Cyril and Methodius are usually represented facing each other, supporting a Church between them, recalling that they were the founders of the Slavonic Church, also holding the letters of the Slavonic alphabet. Relics in the Church of Saint Clement, Rome, and in the Church of Saint Bruno, Moravia
Rents, Pew - Charges made for certain of the more advantageous seats or pews in a Church. This constitutes one of the sources of revenue for the maintenance of the Church and support of the clergy, especially in places where no state provision or endowment exists. ,a sitting, entitles one to occupy that place during the time of all or some of the Divine services held in that Church. In some dioceses the custom is tolerated of allowing one who retains a sitting in a Church to receive the administrations of the pastor of that Church, even though living in another parish
Catholicity - ) Adherence or conformity to the system of doctrine held by all parts of the orthodox Christian Church; the doctrine so held; orthodoxy. ) Adherence to the doctrines of the Church of Rome, or the doctrines themselves
Grecian - They formed a significant part of the early Church and created problems because of prejudice within the Church (Acts 6:1 ; Acts 9:29 )
Euodias - ” A member of the Church at Philippi (Philippians 4:2 ). She and another Church member, Syntyche, were quarreling with one another, and Paul urged them to resolve their differences
Presbyterian - ) Of or pertaining to a presbyter, or to ecclesiastical government by presbyters; relating to those who uphold Church government by presbyters; also, to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of a communion so governed. ) One who maintains the validity of ordination and government by presbyters; a member of the Presbyterian Church
Hymeneus - A member of the Church, probably at Ephesus, who fell into the heresy of denying the true doctrine of the resurrection, and saying it had already taken place. When first mentioned, 1 Timothy 1:20 , he was excluded from the Church; and when again mentioned, 2 Timothy 2:17,18 , was still exerting a pernicious influence
Nazareth - By 570 the dwelling of Mary had been converted into a basilica and in the 7th century the Church of the Nutrition of Jesus was erected. The Franciscan friars, arriving in the 14th century, were driven out twice, but in 1629 were allowed to build a Church, which was, however, ruined by the Bedouins. The friars built the present Church in 1730. The Franciscans built their Church so that fifteen steps led down to the ancient Chapel of the Angel, and two to the grotto with its altar of the Annunciation. The choir of the Church is directly above the grotto; the chapel is the traditional site of the house of the Virgin; and the Church of the Nutrition marks the home of the Holy Family
Kingly Office of Christ - Christ is King and sovereign Head over his Church and over all things to his Church (Ephesians 1:22 ; 4:15 ; Colossians 1:18 ; 2:19 ). He executes this mediatorial kingship in his Church, and over his Church, and over all things in behalf of his Church. This royalty differs from that which essentially belongs to him as God, for it is given to him by the Father as the reward of his obedience and sufferings (Philippians 2:6-11 ), and has as its especial object the upbuilding and the glory of his redeemed Church
Thessalonica - This was on his second missionary journey, when he founded the Church there, despite much opposition from the Jews. The Church consisted mainly of Gentiles (Acts 17:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). Although Paul worked to help support himself while in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8), he received additional support from another Macedonian Church, Philippi (Philippians 4:16). ...
The Church continued to grow after Paul left, and within a short time had spread the gospel throughout the surrounding countryside (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14). An important man in the Church at Thessalonica was Aristarchus, who later went with Paul to Rome and remained there during Paul’s imprisonment (Acts 20:4; Acts 27:1-2; Colossians 4:10; Philem 24). (For an area map and for details of the two letters Paul wrote to the Church in Thessalonica, see THESSALONIANS, LETTERS TO THE
Archdeacon - A term introduced from the Church of England andapplied to a Priest who presides over an Archdeaconry or Convocation;or to one who is the General Missionary of a Diocese, or of aprescribed district in a Diocese of the American Church. ...
Articles of Religion, XXXIX—Certain statements of doctrine setforth by the English Church in a time of great controversy todefine her position as differing from Rome on the one handand from Protestantism on the other. They are called Articles ofReligion as distinguished from the Articles of the Faith, whichare contained in the Creed and recited in the services of theChurch. The Thirty-nine Articles were set forth in the year 1562,then revised as they now stand in 1571 and were adopted with theexception of the Twenty-first Article, by the American Church in1801
Colossae - Although Colossae was on the main highway from Syria to Ephesus, Paul apparently did not visit the Church there during his missionary travels recorded in Acts (Colossians 1:4; Colossians 2:1). ...
The Church in Colossae was probably founded during Paul’s stay in Ephesus on his third missionary journey, when the Ephesian converts took the gospel to the towns of the surrounding countryside (Acts 19:8-10). Epaphras appears to have been the person chiefly responsible for the establishment of the Church in Colossae (Colossians 1:7). At the time Paul wrote his letter to the Colossian Church, it met in the home of Philemon (Colossians 4:9; Philem 1-2,10-12; see COLOSSIANS, LETTER TO THE)
Parish - The term "Parish" as used in the American Church signifiesa local congregation having a Church building, and duly organizedunder the title of "Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen. John's, Christ Church, Trinity, etc. In the articlesof association, the Parish acknowledges and accedes to theConstitution, Canons, Doctrines, Discipline and Worship of theProtestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese in which it is located
Benedictional - A book containing benedictions or blessings used in the Church
Bow-Bells - ) The bells of Bow Church in London; cockneydom
Ecclesiology - ) The science or theory of Church building and decoration
Disendow - ) To deprive of an endowment, as a Church
Unmember - ) To deprive of membership, as in a Church
Women, Churching of - A blessing given by the Church to mothers after childbirth
Membership, Church - (See BAPTISM, HOLY; JOINING THE Church, andalso NAME, THE CHRISTIAN
Greek Church - A name often used for the EASTERN Church (which see)
Implicit Faith - This has been one of the chief sources of ignorance and error in the Church of Rome. The divines of that community teach, "That we are to observe, not how the Church proves any thing, but what she says: that the will of God is, that we should believe and confide in his ministers in the same manner as himself. " In an epistle to the Bohemians he has these words: "I assert, that there are no precepts of Christ but those which are received as such by the Church (meaning the Church of Rome. ) When the Church changes her judgment, God changes his judgment likewise. " What madness! what blasphemy! For a Church to demand belief of what she teaches, and a submission to what she enjoins, merely upon her assumed authority, must appear to unprejudiced minds the height of unreasonableness and spiritual despotism. We could wish this doctrine had been confined to this Church; but, alas! it has been too prevalent in other communities
Faithful, the - In early times, the baptized, confirmed Christian communicants, as opposed to the catechumens; members of the Church, because of their faith in the Divine Mysteries and of their fidelity to the laws of the Church
Bride - The relation between Christ and his Church is set forth under the figure of that between a bridegroom and bride (John 3:29 ). The Church is called "the bride" (Revelation 21:9 ; 22:17 )
Hierapolis - Sacred city, a city of Phrygia, where was a Christian Church under the care of Epaphras (Colossians 4:12,13 ). This Church was founded at the same time as that of Colosse
Achaichus - (1Corinthians 16:17), one of the members of the Church of Corinth who, with Fortunatus and Stephanas, visited Paul while he was at Ephesus, for the purpose of consulting him on the affairs of the Church
Church, Greek or Eastern - Comprehends the Churches of all the countries anciently subject to the Greek or Eastern empire, and through which their language was carried; that is, all the space extended from Greece to Mesopotamia and Persia, and thence into Egypt. This Church has been divided from the Roman even since the time of the emperor Phocas. ...
See article GREEK Church
Headstone - He is the beginning of the Church, and the end of the Church
Ecclesiastical Persons - In Church law, ...
those who are baptized and accordingly have all the rights and duties of Christians unless expressly limited
corporate bodies or institutions constituted by Divine right, namely, the Catholic Church and the Apostolic See, or erected by ecclesiastical authority, e
Rector - (Latin: rego, rule) ...
(1) A priest placed in charge of a Church which is neither a parochial nor a capitular Church nor annexed to the house of a religious community for its religious functions; loosely used also to designate a pastor, and hence the term rectory
the Faithful - In early times, the baptized, confirmed Christian communicants, as opposed to the catechumens; members of the Church, because of their faith in the Divine Mysteries and of their fidelity to the laws of the Church
Church, the - Definition of the Church . The New Testament word for "church" is ekklesia [ Acts 19:32,39,41 ). We may broach the subject of the biblical teaching on the Church by drawing three general conclusions from the data so far. ...
The Nature of the Church . The nature of the Church is too broad to be exhausted in the meaning of the one word, ekklesia [1]. Nevertheless, there are those metaphors that seem to dominate the biblical picture of the Church, five of which call for comment: the people of God, the kingdom of God, the temple of God, the bride of Christ, and the body of Christ. ...
To speak of the one people of God transcending the eras of the Old and New Testaments necessarily raises the question of the relationship between the Church and Israel. Rather, they talk about the Church and Israel in terms of there being both continuity and discontinuity between them. ...
Continuity between the Church and Israel . Two ideas establish the fact that the Church and Israel are portrayed in the Bible as being in a continuous relationship. First, the Church was present in some sense in Israel in the Old Testament. Acts 7:38 makes this connection explicit when, alluding to Deuteronomy 9:10 , it speaks of the Church (ekklesia [ Exodus 25:40 ; Hebrews 8:8-101 ; Galatians 4:26 ; 1 Corinthians 10:16-1798 ; Revelation 21:11 ; cf. ...
Second, Israel in some sense is present in the Church in the New Testament. The many names for Israel applied to the Church establish that fact. ...
Discontinuity between the Church and Israel . The Church, however, is not coterminous with Israel; discontinuity also characterizes the relationship. The Church, according to the New Testament, is the eschatological Israel incorporated in Jesus Messiah and, as such, is a progression beyond historical Israel (1 Corinthians 10:11 ; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 ; etc. What was promised to Israel has now been fulfilled in the Church, in Christ, especially the Spirit and the new covenant (cf. Although the Church is a progression beyond Israel, it is not the permanent replacement of Israel (see Romans 9-11 , esp. This background is crucial in ascertaining the relationship between the Church and the kingdom of God, because the Church also exists in the tension that results from the overlapping of the two ages. Accordingly, one may define the Church as the proleptic appearance of the kingdom. Two ideas flow from this definition: (1) the Church is related to the kingdom of God; (2) but the Church is not equal to the kingdom of God. ...
The Church and the Kingdom of God Are Related . The historical Jesus did not found or organize the Church. Not until after his resurrection does the New Testament speak with regularity about the Church. However, there are adumbrations of the Church in the teaching and ministry of Jesus, in both general and specific ways. In general, Jesus anticipated the later official formation of the Church in that he gathered to himself twelve disciples, who constituted the beginnings of eschatological Israel, in effect, the remnant. More specifically, Jesus explicitly referred to the Church in two passages: Matthew 16:18-19,18:17 . In the first passage, Jesus promised that he would build his Church despite satanic opposition, thus assuring the ultimate success of his mission. The notion of the Church overcoming the forces of evil coincides with the idea that the kingdom of God will prevail over its enemies, and bespeaks of the intimate association between Church and kingdom. The second passage relates to the future organization of the Church, particularly its method of discipline, not unlike the Jewish synagogue practices of Jesus' day. ...
The Church and the Kingdom of God Are Not Identified . As intimately related as the Church and the kingdom of God are, the New Testament does not equate the two, as is evident in the fact that the early Christians preached the kingdom, not the Church (Acts 8:12 ; 19:8 ; 20:25 ; 28:23,31 ). The New Testament identifies the Church as the people of the kingdom (Revelation 5:10 ; etc. Moreover, the Church is the instrument of the kingdom. This is especially clear from Matthew 16:18-19 , where the preaching of Peter and the Church become the keys to opening up the kingdom of God to all who would enter. Pentecost witnessed to the beginning of the fulfillment of that dream in that when the Spirit inhabited the Church, the eschatological temple was formed (Acts 2:16-36 ). However, that the eschatological temple is not yet complete is evident in the preceding passages, especially with their emphasis on the need for the Church to grow toward maturity in Christ, which will only be fully accomplished at the parousia. Similar imagery is applied to Christ and the Church in the New Testament. Christ, the bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the Church to be his bride (Ephesians 5:25-27 ). The body of Christ as a metaphor for the Church is unique to the Pauline literature and constitutes one of the most significant concepts therein (Romans 12:4-5 ; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 ; Ephesians 4:7-16 ; Colossians 1:18 ). The primary purpose of the metaphor is to demonstrate the interrelatedness of diversity and unity within the Church, especially with reference to spiritual gifts. However, Paul's usage of the image, like the metaphor of the new temple, indicates that the Church, as the body of Christ, still has a long way to go spiritually. ...
The Sacraments of the Church . At the heart of the expression of the Church's faith are the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper. The former symbolizes entrance into the Church while the latter provides spiritual sustenance for the Church. Baptism symbolizes the sinner's entrance into the Church. Third, the early Church practiced baptism, in imitation of the Lord Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17 /Mark 3:13-17/1:9-11 /Luke 1:9-11/3:21-22 ; see also 1618101507_59 ; cf. This rite symbolizes Christ's spiritual nourishment of his Church as it celebrates the sacred meal. ...
Second, the early Church practiced the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42,46 ; 1 Corinthians 11:23 ; etc. Negatively, to fail to recognize the Church as the body of Christ by dividing it is to participate in the Lord's Supper unworthily and thereby to incur divine judgment (Acts 15:14 ). ...
The Worship of the Church . The ultimate purpose of the Church is to worship God through Christ. The early Church certainly recognized this to be its reason for existence (Ephesians 1:4-6 ; 1 Peter 2:5,9 ; Revelation 21:1-22:5 ; etc. Five aspects of the New Testament Church's worship can be delineated: the meaning of worship; the time and place of worship; the nature of worship; the order of worship; the expressions of worship. Although many Jewish Christians probably continued to worship God on the Sabbath, the established time for the Church's worship came to be Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7 ), because Christ had risen from the dead on that day (Revelation 1:10 ). With regard to the locale, the early Church began its worship in the Jerusalem temple (Acts 2:46 ; 3:1 ; 5:42 ), as well as in the synagogues (Acts 22:19 ; cf. When Christianity and Judaism became more and more incompatible, the house-church became the established place of worship (1 Timothy 2:1-2 ; Colossians 4:15 ; Philippians 2 ; 2 John 10 ; 3 John 1,6 ; etc. The use of a specific Church building did not occur until the late second century. The biblical teaching on the worship of the Church involves three components, which are rooted in the Trinity. Both the language and the order of the early Church's worship were rooted in Judaism. With regard to the former, the Church utilized Old Testament terms like "high priest" (applied to Jesus, Hebrews 4:12-16 ), "priests" (applied to christians, 1 Peter 2:5-9 ), "sacrifice" (applied to Christ's death on the cross, Hebrews 9:23-28 ; 10:11 ), and "temple" (applied to the Church, 1 Corinthians 3:16 ; 6:19 ). With regard to the order of worship, the early Church incorporated into its worship the main elements of the synagogue service: praise in prayer (Acts 2:42,47 ; 3:1 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:2 ; 5:17 ; Romans 16:15 ; etc. In the New Testament, there are three main expressions connected with the worship of the early Church, each of which is based on sacrifice: the sacrifice of one's body to God (Romans 12:1-2 ; cf. ...
The Service and Organization of the Church . We conclude the topic of the biblical teaching on the Church by briefly calling attention to its service and organization. First, the ministry of the Church centers on its usage of spiritual gifts (charismata ), which are given to believers by God's grac
Episcopacy - The name given to that form of Church government inwhich Bishops are the Chief Pastors with Priests and Deacons underthem. Much controversy has been held in regard to Church government, asif the form was a matter of uncertainty, or not clearly revealed. In regard to Church government we find thatthe Church as an institution was always governed by Bishops, and thatfor 1500 years after Christ no Christian people recognized any otherMinistry but that of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. But even now the question of Church government may be consideredas a matter of fact rather than of theory. Of this number onlyone hundred million are non-Episcopal, so that we may concludefrom the universal acceptance of Episcopacy before the Reformationand from the large preponderance of adherents to this form of Churchgovernment at this present time,—from these facts we may safelyconclude that Episcopacy is in accordance with the mind of theMaster. For example, anon-Episcopal divine has set forth his conclusions in the followingstatement: "The Apostles embodied the Episcopal element into theconstitution of the Church, and from their days to the time of theReformation, or for fifteen hundred years, there was no other formof Church government anywhere to be found. Wheresoever there wereChristians there were also Bishops; and often where Christiansdiffered in other points of doctrine or custom, and made schismsand divisions in the Church, yet did they all remain unanimous inthis, in retaining Bishops. " So also, the historian Gibbongives his conclusion as follows: "'No Church without a Bishop' hasbeen a fact well as a maxim since the time of Tertullian andIrenaeus; after we have passed over the difficulties of the firstcentury, we find the Episcopal government established, till itwas interrupted by the republican genius of the Swiss and Germanreformers
Campanile - one built separate from a Church
Breviary - The book containing the daily service of the Church of Rome
Church Modes - The modes or scales used in ancient Church music
Churchlike - ) Befitting a Church or a Churchman; becoming to a clergyman
Antetemple - ) The portico, or narthex in an ancient temple or Church
Patristical - ) Of or pertaining to the Fathers of the Christian Church
ex-Voto - ) An offering to a Church in fulfillment of a vow
Papistry - ) The doctrine and ceremonies of the Church of Rome; popery
Excubitorium - ) A gallery in a Church, where persons watched all night
Altarist - ) A vicar of a Church
Antipasch - Low Sunday in the ecclesiastical year of the Greek Orthodox Church
Epaphroditus - An eminent servant of the Church at Philippi
Title Iii - Of the Organized Bodies and Officers of the Church,Nine Canons
Bishop - In addressing the elders of the Church of Ephesus the Apostle Paul stated, “the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (episcopous ), to feed the Church of God” (Acts 20:28 ). In the salutation to his Epistle to the Philippians he greeted “the bishops and deacons” of the Church at Philippi (Acts 1:1 ). ...
Paul, addressing the Ephesian “elders,” reminded them that the Holy Spirit made them “overseers” (episkopous ) “to feed (verb which is cognate to the noun “pastor”) the Church of the Lord. Moreover, according to Philippians 1:1 the Church at Philippi had more than one bishop. Churches came to have a single bishop, and then that bishop came to exercise oversight over nearby rural Churches as well as the city Church so that his ecclesiastical territory became known as a “diocese” or “see” (“eparchy” in the East). Bishops of Churches that had been founded by apostles were said to be in succession to the apostles, and hence their teaching was held to be authentic and their authority collegial. ...
Today the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Old Catholic Church, the Anglican communion, and the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden teach the doctrine of apostolic (or episcopal) succession. Other Lutheran bodies, the United Methodist Church (USA), and the Moravian Church have bishops who serve as superintendents
Definition, Papal - (Latin: definire, to enclose within limits) ...
A solemn and irrevocable decision emanating from the supreme teaching authority of the Church (the pope by his own authority or as presiding over an Æcumenical Council), concerning a matter of faith and morals, and made binding on all the faithful. The object of a definition may be either a doctrine revealed by God, and contained in the deposit of faith, which the Church has the duty to guard and propose authoritatively; or it may be a truth not so revealed but intimately bound up with revealed doctrine. Such definitions demand the unconditional adherence of every member of the Church
Parson - (persona ecclesiae) one that hath full possession of all the rights of a parochial Church. He is called parson (persona) because by his person the Church, which is an invisible body, is represented, and he is in himself a body corporate, in order to protect and defend the rights of the