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Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Joseph Minich Sacred Doctrine

The Conquest of the Rock: A New Look at Matthew 16 and the Keys of the Kingdom

Matthew 16:13-20 has been the subject of enormous controversy in the history of the Christian church. This is particularly the case with respect to the interpretation of its famous “rock” and “keys of the kingdom of heaven” clauses.[1] It is safe to say, in fact, that the church has never quite arrived as a universal […]

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Archive E.J. Hutchinson Ecclesiastical Polity Nota Bene The Two Kingdoms

Matthew Arnold, Interpreter of Richard Hooker

One of the most important arguments that Richard Hooker makes in the preface to his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, now available in a modernized version from the Davenant Institute, is that church order (or polity) and discipline are adiaphora: neither Episcopacy nor Presbyterianism (roughly, the Genevan model) are required de iure divino such that the true […]

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Archive Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Ecclesiastical Polity Natural Law Sacred Doctrine

Burn, Baby, Burn?

In a truly bizarre thread on Twitter yesterday–the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation–started by our own Steven Wedgeworth, a number of traditionalist Roman Catholics speculated as to whether it would be a good thing for the church to take up the cause of burning heretics at the stake again, even if the […]

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Archive E.J. Hutchinson Ecclesiastical Polity Nota Bene Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

The Catholic Retreat To Commitment

In the 1950 encyclical Humani Generis, Pius XII, relying on Pius IX, makes a rather startling claim about the duty of theologians in the church: It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching […]

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Archive E.J. Hutchinson Ecclesiastical Polity Philosophy Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

The Rivers of Babylon: A Cartographical Inquiry

In a recent post at First Things, Archbishop Charles Chaput seems to want to appropriate Martin Luther’s image of “Babylonian captivity” to describe the situation of “believing Catholics and Protestants alike” over against the bugbears of modernity: for instance, consumerism, sex, technology, and sex (this last gets two mentions). In other words, “the world,” apparently, […]

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Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Mark Jones Natural Law Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine

Paul Zahl: The World Needs Tullian Preaching Again!

Paul Zahl and Tullian Tchividjian are busy writing love letters (See here and here) to one another on Tullian’s personal website. Zahl’s article makes the following contention: “I would go so far as to say that Tullian’s personal experience, as bad as you want to make it out, has qualified him (and qualified him brilliantly!) to […]

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Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Mark Jones Reformed Irenicism

17th Century Exclusive Psalmody & Hymnody

So, what do you know of Puritan hymnody? Did the Puritans sing hymns? If so, what was the nature of the hymns they sang? Earlier Reformed theologians debated this question and the evidence shows that no firm consensus existed on exclusive Psalmody in corporate worship. For example, the influential British theologian, John Ball (1585-1640), argues […]

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Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth The Two Kingdoms

Calvin, the Lord’s Day, and the Liberty of the Church

Though it triggers some Presbyterians to say so out loud, John Calvin was not a Sabbatarian. He did have a strict Sunday practice (and thus he most likely did not go lawn bowling on that day…), but this was always explained as a matter of human and not divine law. In fact, Calvin argues that […]

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Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth

Sic Et Non: Calvin on Rome’s Status as Church

The question of whether Protestants should regard Roman Catholic churches as “true churches” is very important to all ecumenical endeavors. Usually in reaction to those hardened Protestants who simply say that Rome is apostate and thus “no church at all,” the ecumenically-minded Protestants, who usually call themselves “catholic” in one degree or another, want to […]

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Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth The Two Kingdoms

Calvin Against Uniformity

Here are some important passages from Calvin to add to the two kingdoms files. In his commentary on 1 Cor. 14, especially having to do with order, he raises the question of uniformity when it comes to ecclesiastical polity, tradition, and external forms. He writes: The design of the admonition is this — that they […]