XXVI. Of the Church

1. The Catholic or universal Church, which (with respect to the in­ternal work of the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole anumber of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

aHeb. 12:23; Col. 1:18; Eph. 1:10, 22–23; Eph. 5:23, 27, 32

2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the Gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession by any Errors everting the foun­dation, or unholiness of conversation, aare and may be called vis­ible Saints; band of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.

a1 Cor. 1:2; Acts 11:26 bRom. 1:7; Eph. 1:20–22

3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject ato mixture, and error; and some have so degenerated as to become bno Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a cKingdom in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.

a1 Cor. 15:1–58; Rev. 2:1–29; Rev. 3:1–22 bRev. 18:2; 2 Thess. 2:11–12 cMatt. 16:18; Ps. 72:17; Ps. 102:28; Rev. 12:17

4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the appointment of the Father, aall power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner, neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is bthat Antichrist, that Man of sin, and Son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

aCol. 1:18; Matt. 28:18–20; Eph. 4:11–12 b2 Thess. 2:3–9

5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so entrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the World unto himself, through the Ministry of his word, by his Spirit, athose that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the bways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or cChurches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that public worship, which he requireth of them in the World.

aJohn 10:16; John 12:32 bMatt. 28:20 cMatt. 18:15–20

6. The Members of these Churches are aSaints by calling, visibly mani­festing and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up them­ selves, to the Lord and one to another by the will of God, bin professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.

aRom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2 bActs 2:41–42; Acts 5:13–14; 2 Cor. 9:13

7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that apower and authority, which is any way needful, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.

aMatt. 18:17–18; 1 Cor. 5:4–5, 13; 2 Cor. 2:6–8

8. A particular Church gathered, and completely Organized, accord­ ing to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar Administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he entrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World are aBishops or Elders and Deacons.

aActs 20:17, 28; Phil. 1:1

9. The way appointed by Christ for the Calling of any person, fitted, and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder, in a Church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common asuffrage of the Church itself; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the bEldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon cthat he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.

aActs 14:23 b1 Tim. 4:14 cActs 6:3, 5–6

10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, awith watching for their Souls, as they that must give an account to him; it is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to give them all due respect, bbut also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves centangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising dHospitality toward others; and this is required by the eLaw of Nature, and by the Express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.

aActs 6:4; Heb. 13:17 b1 Tim. 5:17–18; Gal. 6:6–7 c2 Tim. 2:4 d1 Tim. 3:2 e1 Cor. 9:6–14

11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also agifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.

aActs 11:19–21; 1 Pet. 4:10–11

12. As all Believers are bound to join themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admit­ted unto the privileges of a Church, are also aunder the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.

a1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess. 3:6, 14–15

13. No Church­members upon any offence taken by them, having performed their Duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any Church order, or absent them­selves from the Assemblies of the Church, or Administration of any Ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow­ members; but to wait upon Christ, ain the further proceeding of the Church.

aMatt. 18:15–17; Eph. 4:2–3

14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to apray con­tinually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (everyone within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may enjoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold bcommunion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

aEph. 6:18; Ps. 122:6 bRom. 16:1–2; 3 John 8–10

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or Administration; wherein either the Churches in general are con­cerned, or any one Church in their peace, union, and edification; or any member, or members, of any Church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth, and order: it is accord­ ing to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together, do by their messengers meet to consider, aand give their advice, in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled are not entrusted with any Church­power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any Churches, or Persons: or bto impose their determina­tion on the Churches, or Officers.

aActs 15:2, 4, 6; Acts 15:22–23, 25 b2 Cor. 1:24; 1 John 4:1

Elders' Comments Regarding Article 26: Of the Church

26 Of the Church

26.4 “The Pope of Rome…is that Antichrist, that Man of sin, and Son of

perdition…whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming”

Whereas we have some understanding of the rationale of the framers of the LBC leading them to this conclusion, considering the conflict around the Gospel of Christ generating the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century and the ongoing official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, obviously the conclusion drawn here is not one found in the pages of Scripture. We also advise caution in seeking to arrive at any such conclusion.

26.9 “the Calling of any…unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder…that he be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the church….And of a Deacon that he be chosen by the like suffrage…”

We believe Scripture indicates that men and women may serve in the office of Deacon (e.g., Rom. 16:1, etc.).

Our practice for the calling of Elders and Deacons from within our church involves the active participation of all church members, though not through a process of formal voting. This includes a due duration of time for all to seriously and prayerfully consider any candidate for these offices and to bring any concerns forward to the candidate, and if needed, to the Elders, for resolution or further processing, guiding the decision whether or not to affirm any candidate into said office.

The Elders of Canyon Bible Church may also choose to call a man an Elder if he comes to us having been ordained at another church, has remained in good standing, and fulfills the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. (1 Thess 3:2)

26.15 Speaks of activities among “Many churches holding communion together”

We affirm the value and importance of partnering with like-minded churches (those united in the Gospel of Christ), collaborating for mutual edification and support (e.g., Conferences, joint projects, fellowship, the sharing of resources, etc.)