Tag Archives: Polity

“We may be satisfied that our constitution of church order is the very best in the world, and yet be lamentably cold in the feelings of our hearts towards Him” by John Newton

“I hope your soul prospers. That is, I hope you are less and less in your own eyes and that your heart is more and more impressed with a sense of the glory and grace of our Lord.

Oh, with what emotions of shame and grief, or wonder, love, and joy should we look first at ourselves and then at Him. We may be very orthodox, skilled in defence of the five points, satisfied that our constitution of church order is the very best in the world, and yet be lamentably cold and formal in the feelings of our hearts towards Him.

Indeed the Congregationalists and Baptists, who are both equally satisfied that they possess the perfect model of the tabernacle to a single loop or pin, need a double portion of grace to prevent their over admiring the supposed excellency of their forms.

There are a few of them however who know that the best forms are but forms still and remember that the Lord abhorred His most express and positive institutions, when the worshippers rested in them. They are sensisible that the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power, that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth ANY THING but a new creature (Galatians 6:15).

And are therefore hungering, thirsting, and pressing after the substance, life, and unction of the truth, that it may influence their whole spirit and conduct, fill them with humility, love, benevolence and peace, and subdue every angry and selfish temper.

I hope you are of the number of these.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 128.

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“The throne of the cross” by J.L. Reynolds

“When Christ uttered, in the judgment hall of Pilate, the remarkable words—‘I am a king,’ He pronounced a sentiment fraught with unspeakable dignity and power. His enemies might deride His pretensions and express their mockery of His claim, by presenting Him with a crown of thorns, a reed and a purple robe, and nailing Him to the cross.

But in the eyes of unfallen intelligences, He was a king. A higher power presided over that derisive ceremony, and converted it into a real coronation. That crown of thorns was indeed the diadem of empire; that purple robe was the badge of royalty; that fragile reed was the symbol of unbounded power; and that cross the throne of dominion which shall never end.”

–J. L. Reynolds, “Church Polity or The Kingdom of Christ (1849)” in Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents, Ed. Mark Dever (Washington, D.C.: 9Marks Ministries, 2001), 298.

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“Her exalted destiny” by W.B. Johnson

“The church of the Lord Jesus is the chosen agent for the exhibition of the manifold wisdom of God. The unfolding, the clear and full display of this wisdom, will necessarily present all the attributes of the divine Being in their harmonious, their sublimest operations.

These operations will develop the scheme of that ‘salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.’ It is not surprising then, that the church in her progress to full maturity, presents to the view of angels those things into which they desire to look.

If the church in the changes through which she passes to the completion of her honored destiny, attracts the gaze of ‘the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,’ she should be no less an object of intense regard to ‘all men’ on this earth.

But to those who are found in her membership and her ministry, her interests, her success, her honor, should be most dear. With those, her spiritual nature and constitution, her high obligations, and exalted destiny, should be subjects of profound study and growing importance.”

–W.B. Johnson, The Gospel Developed (1846) as quoted in Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents, Ed. Mark Dever (Washington, D.C.: 9Marks Ministries, 2001), 166.

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