• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • June 2023
    M T W T F S S
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Martyn Lloyd-JonesMartyn Lloyd-Jones:

The main trouble with the Christian Church today is that she is too much like a clinic, too much like a hospital; that is why the great world is going to hell outside! Look at the great campaign, look at it objectively, look at it from God’s standpoint. Forget yourself and your temporary troubles and ills for the moment; fight in the army. It is not a clinic you need; you must realize that we are in a barracks, and that we are involved in a mighty campaign.

Sin is a Requirement


R.C. Sproul writes:

“For a Christian to be a Christian, he must first be a sinner. Being a sinner is a prerequisite for being a church member. The Christian church is one of the few organizations in the world that requires a public acknowledgement of sin as a condition for membership.” (Reason to Believe: A Response to Common Objections to Christianity)


Let There Be Holy Churches

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

My longing is that the churches may be more holy. I grieve to see so much of worldly conformity in believers. How often wealth leads men astray. How many Christians follow the fashion of this wicked world? We have among us avowed lovers of Christ, who act too much like “lovers of pleasure.” I charge you by the living God, do not profess to be followers of Christ, for He bids you come out from among them and be separate.

An unholy Church! It is useless to the world, and of no esteem among men. It is an abomination, hell’s laughter, and heaven’s abhorrence. The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy Church. There cannot be faith in the heart unless there is holiness in the life!

The Church and the Hypocrite

We must be careful when looking for evidence that someone else is a Christian. We make the mistake of thinking that every Christian should look exactly like us. There is a much higher standard! Are you consistently trying to walk in holiness? Does even a “little sin” in your life bring you to your knees to ask forgiveness? Charles Spurgeon, in the following article, takes an uncompromising stand on the great gap between holiness and hypocrisy:

Oh! The great thing the Church needs is more holiness. The worst enemies of the Church are the hypocrites, the formalists, the mere professors, the inconsistent walkers.

It is shocking to think how persons dare to remain members of Christian churches, and even to enter the pulpit, when they are conscious that their private life is foul. Oh, how can they do it? How is it that their hearts have grown so hard? What! Has the devil bewitched them? Has he turned them away from being men, and made them as devilish as himself, that they should dare to pray in public, and to sit at the sacramental table, and to administer ordinances, while their hands are foul, and their hearts unclean and their lives are full of sin?

I charge you, if there are any of you whose lives are not consistent, give up your profession, or else make your lives what they should be. May the eternal Spirit, who still winnows his Church, blow away the chaff, and leave only the good golden wheat upon the floor!

And if you know yourselves to be living in any sin, may God help you to mourn over it, to loathe it, to go to Christ about it tonight; to take hold of him, to wash his feet with your tears, to repent unfeignedly, and then to begin anew in his strength, a life which shall be such as becomes the gospel. (“The Gospel’s Power in a Christian’s Life” No. 640)

Useful Servants In The House Of God

From Charles H. Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening:

He did it with all his heart and prospered. (2 Chronicles 31:21)

This is no unusual occurrence; it is the general rule of the moral universe that those men prosper who do their work with all their hearts, while those are almost certain to fail who go to their labor leaving half their hearts behind them. God does not give harvests to idle men except harvests of thistles, nor is He pleased to send wealth to those who will not dig in the field to find its hid treasure. It is universally confessed that if a man would prosper, he must be diligent in business. It is the same in religion as it is in other things. If you would prosper in your work for Jesus, let it be heart work, and let it be done with all your heart. Put as much force, energy, heartiness, and earnestness into religion as ever you do into business, for it deserves far more. The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities, but He does not encourage our idleness; He loves active believers. Who are the most useful men in the Christian church? The men who do what they undertake for God with all their hearts. Who are the most successful Sabbath-school teachers? The most talented? No; the most zealous; the men whose hearts are on fire, those are the men who see their Lord riding forth prosperously in the majesty of His salvation. Whole-heartedness shows itself in perseverance; there may be failure at first, but the earnest worker will say, “It is the Lord’s work, and it must be done; my Lord has bidden me do it, and in His strength I will accomplish it.” Christian, art thou thus “with all thine heart” serving thy Master? Remember the earnestness of Jesus! Think what heart-work was His! He could say, “The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up.” When He sweat great drops of blood, it was no light burden He had to carry upon those blessed shoulders; and when He poured out His heart, it was no weak effort He was making for the salvation of His people. Was Jesus in earnest, and are we lukewarm?

The Good Pastor

I have no doubt that it is much easier to write about what a good pastor should be than it is to live up to the expectations. I almost attended seminary once about 25 years ago. I believed that God was creating the providential circumstances to encourage me to become a preacher/pastor. People told me that they believed they were really learning the Bible when I filled the pulpit for an absent pastor or taught an adult Sunday School class. The seminary even offered me a 75% scholarship and a part-time job working in the education department if I would attend their school. As all this was coming together, the Lord made it clear to me one day that I was not pastor material. You see, I could teach a lesson or preach a sermon, but I did not have in my nature the social skills that a pastor must possess to demonstrate how much he personally cares for and loves the members of his congregation. My ability, by God’s grace, to teach or preach and my good listening and counseling skills were simply not enough to serve God in the capacity of a pastor over a church. I began to understand that my “calling” was to be a Bible teacher working with adult classes or small groups. This was the way for me to develop personal relationships in which I could also grow in Christ.

So, when I look for a good pastor – just what am I expecting to see? You cannot give a good pastor too much credit. A pastor is a man with many tasks set before him; however, his primary task is the preaching of the Gospel. God uses him to build the church and to assist in converting sinners. The pastor is to expound and explain the truths found in the Scriptures (including doctrines) and to guide men to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. A true pastor is a man of mercy from a God Who loves us.

The Bible must be preached to the mind and heart. It must be understood as well as felt. A pastor must understand his congregation’s intellectual ability. He should know that many of his flock are weighed down with the troubles of life. All must be considered if his preaching is to be successful. All men and women want to hear preaching that will warm their hearts with the love of Christ; to be encouraged as they face their troubles; and to be armored against temptations. It is a grand mistake to preach exclusively for intellectuals or the illiterate. The object of preaching is to focus attention on the subject of the preaching; not the pastor, but Jesus Christ our Savior.

The pastor in the pulpit should not come across as a cold fish. His preaching should make the congregation feel the power of God’s Truth. The preacher must devote time to discovering the true meaning of his selected text. He must be zealous to show forth the burning truths that he has learned in his studies. The pastor must cultivate his thought and speech to the utmost, but it must all be for the glory of God.

A good pastor will read much, meditate on God’s Word and pray much for God to bless his preaching and his congregation. He will do his best every time he preaches to exalt Christ and save men’s souls. After all, he is preaching to dying men. Who knows if someone is listening to the last sermon he will ever hear! The pastor must take into account all the sudden sicknesses and accidents that may occur to prevent members from attending church again. With that in mind, his congregation must witness the love of Christ in their pastor’s conduct.

The great value of a man’s immortal soul should motivate all Christians to passion and faithfulness; especially the pastor. The salvation of one soul merits the focused attention of your life, strength, and your most faithful labors. The pastor will one day have to give an account for the souls that have been under his ministry. The author of Hebrews reminds us: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” (Hebrews 13:17 ESV)

In conclusion, I recognize that there are many more duties a Pastor performs than what has been mentioned here; but pastors I admonish you before Jesus Christ to remember that you are called to preach the truth of God. You are to preach the whole truth even if it is unpopular in your age. Your message must be absolute Bible truth. Don’t wander into the assertions of popular magazines, the trends that are in, or copying other churches because they are popular and have big crowds. If you are faithful in preaching God’s Word and ministering to your congregation, the Holy Spirit will build a Christian Church.

Spurgeon’s Advice To Preachers And Teachers Of The Word

Charles H. Spurgeon

Preachers and teachers may have imperfect and feeble ministries. However, Charles H. Spurgeon, speaking to a conference of pastors, reminds them that; by the influence of the Holy Spirit, their words have been used to bring many to life. Spurgeon goes on to say:

Brethren, I long that we may all be “apt to teach.” The Church is never overdone with those who’s “lips feed many.” It should be our ambition to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” We all know certain able ministers who are expositors of the Word, and instructors of believers. You always bring something away when you hear them. They trade in precious things; their merchandise is of the gold of Ophir. Certain passages of Scripture are quoted and set in a new light; and certain specialties of Christian experience are described and explained. We come away from such preaching feeling that we have been to a good school. Brethren, I desire that we may each one exercise such an edifying ministry! Oh, that: we may have the experience, the illumination, the industry needful for so high a calling! Oh, for more richly-instructive sermons!

Brethren, look at many modern sermons! What fire and fury! What flash and dash! What is it all about? To what purpose is this display? We often meet with sermons which are like kaleidoscopes, marvelously pretty, but what is there in them? See, there are several bits of colored glass, and one or two slips of mirror, and other trifles, and these are put into a tube! How they sparkle! What marvelous combinations! What fascinating transformations! But what are you looking at? You have not seen any more after twenty displays than you saw at first; for indeed there is no more. Some preachers excel in quotations of poetry; and others excel in apposition and alliteration, or in the quaintness of the division of their texts. Many are great in domestic sorrows, and death-bed spectacles, and semi-dramatic picturings. Very telling, very sensational; and, under gracious direction, useful in its own measure; but when souls are to be saved, and saved souls are to be fed, more solid matters must take a prominent place. We must feed the flock of God. We must deal with eternal verities, and grapple with heart and conscience. We must, in fact, live to educate a race of saints, in whom the Lord Jesus shall be reflected as in a thousand mirrors.

The apostle Paul truly says, “Though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers.” He calls the general run of teachers pedagogues, and says that we have myriads of such; but we have not many “fathers.” No man has more than one natural father, and in the strictest sense we have each one spiritual father, and no more. How singularly true are the apostle’s words at this present hour! Still have we a lack of spiritual fathers. I would suggest to this Conference of brethren who have been for years in the ministry, that we have come to that point of age and experience in which each of us should set before him the image of a father as that to which he should approach more and more. (“What We Would Be”)

Charles H. Spurgeon: The Minister Must Know His Place


Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon could never be accused of using the gifts that God had given him unwisely. Spurgeon’s own influence for Christ was felt in the four corners of the earth before satellite television and radio. In this excerpt from a speech to ministers, Spurgeon reminds them not to be distracted and hold fast to the calling of God:

Our daydreams are over: we shall neither convert the world to righteousness, nor the church to orthodoxy. We refuse to bear responsibilities which do not belong to us, for our real responsibilities are more than enough. Certain wise brethren are hot to reform their denomination. They ride out gallantly. Success be to the champions! They are generally wiser when they ride home again. I confess great admiration for my Quixotic brethren, but I wish they had more to show for their valor. I fear that both church and world are beyond us; we must be content with smaller spheres. Even our own denomination must go its own way. We are only responsible so far as our power goes, and it will be wise to use that power for some object well within reach. For the rest, let us not worry and weary about things beyond our line. What if we cannot destroy all the thorns and thistles which curse the earth; we can, perhaps, cleanse our own little plot. If we cannot transform the desert into a pasture, we may at least make two blades of grass grow where only one grew before; and that will be something.

Brethren, let us look well to our own steadfastness in the faith, our own holy walking with God. Some say that such advice is selfish; but I believe that, in truth, it is not selfishness, but a sane and practical love of others which leads us to be mindful of our own spiritual state. Desiring to do its level best, and to use its own self in the highest degree to God’s glory, the true heart seeks to be in all things right with God. He who has learned to swim has fostered a proper selfishness, for he has thereby acquired the power of helping the drowning. With the view of blessing others, let us covet earnestly the best blessings for ourselves.

I want to make the most of myself. I may not even yet know the way to be most useful, but I would like to know very soon. At least, I can honestly go the length of saying that, if I felt that I could be more useful outside of the pulpit than within it, I would hurry out of it at once. If there was a street corner where I was Divinely assured that, by my blacking of shoes, God could be more glorified than He is by my bearing witness before the great congregation, I would welcome the information, and practically obey it. Some men never can do much for God in the way which they would prefer, for they were newer cut out for the work. Owls will never rival falcons by daylight; but, then, falcons would be lost in the enterprise of hunting barns at night for rats and mice, and such small deer. Each creature is not only good, but “very good” in its own place, fulfilling its own office: out of that place, it may become a nuisance. Friend, be true to your own destiny! One man would make a splendid preacher of downright hard-hitting Saxon; why must he ruin himself by cultivating an ornate style? Another attempting to be extremely simple would throw himself away, for he is florid by nature; why should he not follow his bent? Apollos has the gift of eloquence; why must he copy blunt Cephas? Every man in his own order. It seems to me; that, nowadays, every man prefers his own disorder. Let each man find out what God wants him to do, and then let him do it, or die in the attempt. In what way can I bring my Lord most glory, and be of most service to His Church while I am here? Solve that question, and pass into the practical. (“What We Would Be”)

Is Evil Outside Or Inside?

I remember many years ago seeing a movie which was forgettable but at its end a quote appeared on the screen saying, “That there is a devil there is no doubt, but is he trying to get in or is he trying to get out?” For some reason this quote has remained with me through the years. Perhaps this is because we are always looking outside of ourselves for the source of our problems. Dorothy L. Sayers (fiction mystery writer) comments on the human desire to relieve mankind of all responsibility for evil:

[The] doctrine of man leads naturally to the doctrine of sin. One of the really surprising things about the present bewilderment of humanity is that the Christian Church now finds herself called upon to proclaim the old and hated doctrine of sin as a gospel of cheer and encouragement. The final tendency of the modern philosophies—hailed in their day as a release from the burden of sinfulness—has been to bind man hard and fast in the chains of an iron determinism. The influences of heredity and environment, of glandular make-up and the control exercised by the unconscious, of economic necessity and the mechanics of biological development, have all been invoked to assure man that he is not responsible for his misfortunes and therefore not to be held guilty. Evil has been represented as something imposed upon him from without, not made by him from within. The dreadful conclusion follows inevitably, that as he is not responsible for evil, he cannot alter it; even though evolution and progress may offer some alleviation in the future, there is no hope for you and me, here and now.

I well remember how an aunt of mine, brought up in an old-fashioned liberalism, protested angrily against having continually to call herself a “miserable sinner” when reciting the Litany. To-day, if we could really be persuaded that we are miserable sinners—that the trouble is not outside us but inside us, and that therefore, by the grace of God we can do something to put it right, we should receive that message as the most hopeful and heartening thing that can be imagined. (“Creed or Chaos?”)

A Noble Inheritance

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

Quoting Joseph Story:

Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence. (Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 718)

A Few Thoughts On Winning God’s Favor

Have you ever found yourself wondering how to win the favor of God? I’m sure this is an age old question and I am not the first to think of it. Many men have humiliated themselves, and brought themselves down in abject misery for this purpose. The History Channel often offers a view of how people of every land have starved themselves, slept on stones, lacerated their flesh and subjected themselves to all sorts of torture, thinking that these actions would win God’s favor.

Others try to win God’s favor through worship, sacrifices, by observing certain feasts and fasts, and elaborate forms of rituals. But even worship becomes monotonous and sacrifices lose their meaning. Then men come to believe in the power and action of obedience to touch God’s heart. Yet, according to Paul, man does not win God’s favor by physical degradation or ecclesiastical ceremony, or by obeying the Decalogue. There is nothing, he asserts, which a man can do which will win him the favor of God. It is not possible. The favor of the Eternal Father, therefore, is not to be earned even by obedience to the law, but is simply to be accepted as given by grace with thanksgiving and joy.

When Paul says that Christians are no longer under law, he means that they are no longer under law as external restraint. When he says that the law has passed away, he means that it has passed away as a measure of coercion, but he does not mean that the life of man can ever safely depart from the principles ordained of God. It is no longer external restraint but internal constraint, no longer external compulsion but internal impulsion that appeals to the heart of God.

There are in these modern times, however, too many people in the church who do not know how to benefit from the grace given them. There is much havoc in today’s Christian church because men use the excuse of grace to please the flesh (if they are Christians at all). If there is no internal constraint, the number of professing Christians who make shipwreck of their religious life is appalling. No love of Christ constrains them to do what God would have them do. It is evident that their “Cultural” Christianity is a sham.

So, how do we gain favor with God? We know this when we trust Jesus Christ for our salvation and receive the Spirit of God who makes us free from the Law by grace. It is the Holy Spirit working a holy internal compulsion within us to live by the principles of the Law in service to God and strengthened by God.

Deceived By Ignorance

There are many in the Christian Church today who have taken a casual attitude towards those who claim there are many ways to heaven. Much of this self-deception stems from the fact that they also take a much too casual attitude toward reading and studying the Bible. This is why so many in the church today would accept the idea of a Zen Christianity with little debate. Charles H. Spurgeon wrote that “The glorious charity of the present day is such, that it believes lies to be as good as truth; and lies and truth have met together and kissed each other; and he that telleth truth is called a bigot, and truth has ceased to be honorable in the world!”

It is important for Christians to protect themselves in this modern world where truth is relative and words have no meaning. We must carefully research and study those clever new ideas which are brought into the church in the name of tolerance. These concepts are often presented in vague and unclear language. Scripture, on the other hand, consistently makes definitive statements about good and evil; truth and lies. Yet, simple observation demonstrates that it is becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to know when they are being taught false doctrine. The ultimate importantance of Christians studying the truth of the Scriptures is obvious.

Jesus said, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24) Later, Jesus states in John 8:31-32 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Only the absolute truth found in the Bible will give you the knowledge that will guide you to the one true God. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) This excludes personal opinion as the final arbiter of truth.

Can Christians Live In The World Without Becoming Worldly?

Has worldliness found its way into the Church? Does it really matter how Christians live their lives outside of the church? Can believers live in this world without becoming worldly? I believe it can be done. Why? God has proclaimed it in his Word. What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said:

“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:15-18, ESV)

Separation from the world’s value systems is evidence of a work of grace in the heart. A person, who is born of the Spirit, seeks to separate himself from the evils of worldliness. Many church leaders desire to make Christianity easy and to avoid self-denial. We hear professing Christians saying that we should not be too narrow and exclusive. They believe we may go anywhere, and do anything, and still be good Christians. It says in God’s Word, “Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you. . . .”

If you believe that anyone is a Christian who goes to church, in spite of how he lives or believes, you probably think very little about separating yourself from worldliness. But if you read your Bible, you know there is a difference between believers and unbelievers. An unsaved person thinks mainly on the things of this world. He is more concerned with pleasing man than pleasing God. This is why Christians must be a “peculiar” people, living their lives in a way that separates them from the unsaved.

Paul says to the Corinthians, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)

The true Christian refuses to be guided by the world’s standard of right and wrong. The rule of most men is to go with the flow. Whereas, the true Christian will ask, “What does God say in the Bible about this?” He believes that nothing is right that God declares wrong.

Christmas Is About Grace

The story of the birth of Jesus Christ upon which, I hope, we all meditate to a greater degree during this time of year is particularly a story of grace. Unfortunately, not everyone reads it this way. There are those people who think of it as a pleasant fantasy similar in meaning to the legend of Santa Claus. Then there are those who see it as symbolic of a business contract in which two parties are bound by oaths and laws to keep the conditions of an agreement.

Fortunately for us, however, God is not balancing our failures against His standard of righteousness if the babe born in Bethlehem is our Savior. This is the wonderful meaning and message of Christmas. Christmas is all about grace; a grace that allows us to have a relationship with God.

The utterly amazing thing about this relationship is that God was the initiator who sought out this relationship with human beings. Christmas is the point of grace where we discover the object of God’s desire – a redeemed people He will call His own. Without Christmas and finally the cross, we would never have known the depth of God’s love and the magnitude of His grace.

Grace was given while we were sinning against God. Grace was given while we rebelled against God. Grace was given even as we hated God. God gave us grace in the condition he found us. There was nothing to commend us to Him, yet his grace was freely given through Jesus Christ. At the time, very few understood the meaning of that first Christmas but an angel proclaimed to the lowly shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

On this first Christmas night a Savior was born into our world who embodied the fullness of God’s grace towards us. God came to earth as the son of man in the person of Jesus Christ to complete His divine plan. The One born this night would change the course of the world by extending God’s love and grace to thousands upon thousands down through the course of history. At Bethlehem we find an intersection between God and man which is of cosmic significance.

During this Christmas season, we, who are Christians, will gather in small groups, by the hundreds, and by the thousands in churches across America. We will celebrate the communion of the saints, the eternal embrace of Christ’s love, and God’s never ending grace that seals our citizenship forever in the kingdom of Heaven. If you do not know the loving grace of the Christ child this Christmas, please visit a local Christian Church and ask the pastor to guide you in coming to know the forgiveness and grace of God.

What Is Necessary For A Church To Be The Church?

Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Brunsw...

Image via Wikipedia

From a work by James Bannerman:

There is many a doctrine and truth of revelation, in regard to which a man may err without ceasing on that account to be a Christian man; and there may be many a duty recognized in Scripture as binding upon all, in which he may be totally deficient without forfeiting his Christianity. In other words, there is much in doctrine and duty, in faith and practice, necessary to the perfection of a believer, which is not necessary to the existence of a believer as such; and so it is with a Christian Church. What is essential to its *existence* as a Church is something very different from what is essential to its *perfection* as a church…. This distinction is of considerable value, and not difficult, under the teaching of Scripture, to be applied. We read in Scripture that the Christian Church is, “the pillar and ground of the truth,” and that, “for this cause the Son of God himself came, that he might bear witness to the truth.” In other words, we learn that the very object for which the Church of Christ was established on the earth was to declare and uphold the truth…. *Judging then by this first test, we are warranted in saying, that to hold and to preach the true faith or doctrine of Christ is the only sure and infallible note or mark of the Christian Church, because this is the one thing for the sake of which a Church of Christ has been instituted on earth. A true faith makes a true church and a corrupt faith a corrupt church: and should it at any time apostatize from the true faith altogether, it would by the very act, cease to be a Church of Christ in any sense at all. The Church was established for the sake of the truth and not the truth for the sake of the church*…. For this thing then the Church of Christ was instituted; and this thing, or the declaration of the truth, must therefore be, in its nature and importance, paramount to the church itself.

Again we read in Scripture that Christ,” gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” In other words we learn that ordinances and office bearers have been established for the object of promoting the *well–being* and edification of the Church. These things then, unlike the former were instituted for the sake of the Church and not the Church for the sake of them; and these things therefore, must be, in their nature and importance, subordinate to the Church. . . .

In the second place, what are those things which, unlike the truth, have been instituted for the sake of the Church, and not the church for the sake of them? Such, unquestionably, are those ordinances, office bearers, and discipline which have been established within the Christian society. These being instituted for the advantage and edification of the Church, are, from their very nature, subordinate and secondary to the truth, for the holding and publication of which both they and the Church itself exist. They may be necessary, and are necessary, for the *perfection* of the Church, but they are not necessary for its *existence* (James Bannerman, The Church of Christ, 1869 Vol. 1, SWRB reprint, 1991, pp. 56-59)

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