Friday, 5 December 2014

Who are Members of the True Church?

Westminster Confession (OPC Modern Language Version)

1. The catholic (that is, universal) church, which is invisible, consists of all the elect who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ its head. This church is his bride, his body, and the fullness of him who fills all in all.

2.  The visible church, which is also catholic (that is, universal) under the gospel (that is, not confined to one nation, as it was before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world who profess the true religion, together with their children. It is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, outside of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

3. To this universal, visible church Christ has given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the age. For this purpose he makes these means effectual by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise.

4. This universal church has been sometimes more and sometimes less visible. Particular churches, which are members of this universal church, are more or less pure to the extent to which the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, the ordinances are administered, and public worship is performed more or less purely in them.

OR The Moderator of the Church of Scotland:

He said: "I am fed up with the Church of Scotland publishing annual statistics which highlight a decline in membership when the truth about the number of people who belong to our faith communities is, in reality, quite different. I want, therefore, to open the New Year with a very serious challenge for the Church of Scotland.”
"Here, however, is the real challenge – it is to redefine membership in a way that allows us to include women and men, young and old who do not fit the post-second world war model of membership with which we are so familiar.”

"That pattern does not resonate with the vast majority of those who are 50 and younger and who will never buy into the kind of Church which sits so comfortably with me and my way of expressing my Christian faith.”

So this new category of virtual digital membership will embrace those who never attend church services on the Lord’s Day (contrary to Heb 10:25).  For those who know the Church of Scotland, we will say, “Nothing new here, then.”  A failing church fiddling statistics!

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