evaporated into the kingdom.? To do the first is to set up a monstrous ecclesiasticism; to do the second is to destroy the organism through which the kingdom manifests itself and does its work in the world (W. R. Taylor). Prof. Dalman, in his work on The Words of Jesus in the Light of Post-biblical Writing and the Aramaic Language, contends that the Greek phrase translated ?kingdom of God? should be rendered ?the sovereignty of God.? He thinks that it points to the reign of God rather than to the realm over which he reigns. This rendering, if accepted, takes away entirely the support from the Ritschlian conception of the kingdom of God as an earthly and outward organization.
(d) The individual church may be defined as that smaller company of regenerate persons, who, in any given community unite themselves voluntarily together in accordance with Christ?s laws, for the purpose of securing the complete establishment of his kingdom in themselves and in the world.
<401817> Matthew 18:17 ? ?And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican; <441423>Acts 14:23 ? ?appointed for them elders in every church?; <451605>Romans 16:5 ? ?salute the church that is in their house? <460102>1 Corinthians 1:2 ? ?the church of God which is at Corinth?; 4:17 ? ?even as I teach everywhere in every church?; <520214>1 Thess. 2:14 ? ?the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus.?
We do not define the church as a body of ?baptized believers,? because baptism is but one of ?Christ?s laws,? in accordance with which believers unite themselves. Since these laws are the laws of church organization contained in the New Testament, no Sunday School, Temperance Society or Young Men?s Christian Association, is properly a church. These organizations lack the transcendent element (they are instituted and managed by man only). They are not confined to the regenerate or to those alone who give credible evidence of regeneration, they presuppose and require no particular form of doctrine. They observe no ordinances, they are at best mere adjuncts and instruments of the church, but are not themselves churches and their decisions therefore are devoid of the divine authority and obligation which belong to the decisions of the church.
The laws of Christ, in accordance with which believers unite themselves into churches, may be summarized as follows:
(1) The sufficiency and sole authority of Scripture as the rule both of doctrine and polity.
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