(note: This node is 25th in a series of 33 nodes. for the entire series, please see the metanode Westminster Confession of Faith
CHAPTER 25 - Of the Church
I. The catholic
or universal Church
, which is invisible, consists of the whole number 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.
II. The visible Church
, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law
), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion, together with their children
; and is the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; the house and family of God, through which men are ordinarily saved and union with which is essential to their best growth and service.
III. Unto this catholic and visible
Church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering
of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by his own presence and Spirit, according to his promise, make them effectual thereunto.
IV. This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine
of the gospel
s administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
V. The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture
: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no Churches of Christ
. Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
VI. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ
: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin
and son of perdition, that exalt
eth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God
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