democracy, see Thomas Armitage, in N. Amer. Rev., March, 1887:232243.
John Fiske, Beginnings of New England: ?In a church based upon such a theology [that of Calvin], there was no room for prelacy. Each single church tended to become an independent congregation of worshipers, constituting one of the most effective schools that has ever existed for training men in local self-government.? Schurman, Agnosticism, 160 ? ?The Baptists, who are nominally Calvinists, are now, as they were at the beginning of the century, second in numerical rank [in America]. Their fundamental principle ? the Bible, the Bible only ? taken in connection with their polity has enabled them silently to drop the old theology and unconsciously to adjust themselves to the new spiritual environment.? We prefer to say that Baptists have not dropped the old theology but have given it new interpretation and application. See A. H. Strong, Our Denominational Outlook, Sermon in Cleveland, 1904.
B. Erroneous views as to church government refuted by the foregoing passages.
(a) The world-church theory or the Romanist view. This holds that all local churches are subject to the supreme authority of the bishop of Rome, as the successor of Peter and the infallible vicegerent of Christ and, as thus united, constitute the one and only church of Christ on earth. We reply:
First, Christ gave no such supreme authority to Peter. <401618>Matthew 16:18, 19, simply refers to the personal position of Peter as first confessor of Christ and preacher of his name to Jews and Gentiles. Hence other apostles also constituted the foundation ( <490220>Ephesians 2:20; Revelations 21:14). On one occasion, the counsel of James was regarded as of equal weight with that of Peter ( <441507>Acts 15:7-30), while on another occasion Peter was rebuked by Paul ( <480211>Galatians 2:11), and Peter calls himself only a fellow elder ( <600501>1 Peter 5:1).
<401618> Matthew 16:18, 19 ? ?And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shalt be loosed in heaven.? Peter exercised this power of the keys for both Jews and Gentiles, by being the first to preach Christ to them, and so admit them to the kingdom of heaven. The ?rock? is a confessing heart. The confession of Christ makes Peter a rock upon which the church can be built. Plumptre on Epistles of
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