Here, in part 3, Hemmingsen begins to list the titles of the church as found in Scripture. In the following passage he deals with two: “the house of the living God” and “the pillar and foundation of the truth.”
Haec Ecclesia variis titulis ornatur in Scriptura, 1 Timoth. 3 domus Dei viventis dicitur, quia in medio nostri, quos adoptionis gratia in filios recepit, habitat. Huius domus architectus est Christus, Ebrae. 4 et fundamentum, 2 Cor. 3. Fundamentum aliud nemo potest ponere, praeter id, quod positum est, qui est Christus Iesus. Sed quomodo rite super Christum aedificatur Ecclesia? Si ipse solus statuitur pro sapientia, iusticia, sanctificatione, redemptione, satisfactione, purgatione, denique vita et gloria. Columna et fundamentum veritatis 2 Tim. 3 dicitur, quia suo ministerio veritatem propagat et tuetur, pura Evangelii praedicatione. Unde colligitur, illic non esse Ecclesiam, ubi veritas sepulta iacet, et horrendum in modum diruta, eversa pedibus calcatur. Non dicitur columna veritatis, quasi ex ipsa simpliciter penderet, sed hominum respectu. Sustinet enim Ecclesia veritatem, dum eam puram retinet et sinceram, dum praedicatione transmittit ad posteros, dum suo praeconio ornat. (Enchiridion Theologicum, Classis III, Caput II)
This church is adorned with various titles in Scripture. In 1 Tim. 3 it is called “the house of the living God,” because he dwells in our midst, whom he has received as sons by the grace of adoption. The “builder” (Heb. 4)1 and “foundation” (2 Cor. 3)2 of this house is Christ. “No one is able to place another foundation except for that which is Christ Jesus.” But how is the church duly built upon Christ? If he alone is established as wisdom, justice, sanctification, redemption, satisfaction, cleansing–in short, as life and glory. In 2 Tim. 3, it is called “the pillar and foundation of the truth,” because it propagates and guards the truth by its own ministry, the pure preaching of the gospel. From this it is inferred that there is not a church there where the truth lies buried and, cast down in a dreadful way, it is trampled underfoot once it has been overturned. It is not called the pillar of the truth as if the truth were dependent upon it simpliciter, but in respect of men. For the church upholds the truth as long as it retains it pure and sincere, as long as it hands it on to posterity by preaching, as long as it adorns it with its own heralding.3
E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
The Calvinist International is a forum for research, resourcement, and renewal of Christian wisdom.