PAPER NO. 40
The Pillar and Ground of the Truth
- The Church
The Church is the people of God, the body of Christ, the Kingdom of God expressing itself in all of culture.
The Church consists of all those who make a credible profession of the Historic Christian Faith, and their children.
- The Pillar and Ground of the Truth
Christ is the eternal Word of God (the Logos) incarnate who makes God fully known. The Logos is Truth in its fullness.
The Church as the body of Christ is therefore the pillar and ground of the Truth to all mankind.
- Man’s Chief End
God created and rules over all things for his own glory.
Man is created in the image of God. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
Through the work of dominion given to mankind at creation, man is to fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.
- Fall and Redemption
Mankind is fallen in Adam. Although they knew God, they glorified him not as God (Romans 1:21).
Christ comes in the place of Adam to undo what Adam did (he is the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world), and to do what Adam failed to do (he is the Lord who rules to make God known).
- Worship and Discipleship
To worship God is to know and acknowledge him as he has revealed himself, and not in the imagination of one’s own heart.
The Church is gathered out of the world to worship God in spirit and in truth and to make disciples of all nations.
- Salt and Light
The Church is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
As Christ makes known the Truth of God to the Church, the Church makes that Truth known to the world.
Without the Truth there is division and apostasy in the Church and decay and collapse in the culture.
- Marks of a True Church
The marks of a true church are doctrine (Truth), sacraments (signs and seals of the Truth), and discipline through its oversight (upholding the practice of Truth in the Church).
Churches are more or less pure according to the presence in each of the marks of a true church.
- Truth in the Church
Christ, the Word of God (the Logos) incarnate, sends the Holy Spirit to lead the Church into all Truth: by reason, by the clarity of revelation in creation, and by Scripture; by its Councils and Creeds, by regeneration of unbelievers, and by the sanctification of believers.
- From the Garden to the City of God
The Church is to grow from the Garden of Eden to the City of God, the Kingdom of God in its fullness.
The Church must be taught to obey all that Christ has commanded.
The Church is to take captive every thought raised up against the knowledge of God to the obedience of Christ.
- The Discipline of Instruction
The Church is to be instructed in all knowledge, understanding and wisdom at every stage in the lives of its members in order to do its work.
The Church is to be established on its philosophical, theological and historical foundation by the discipline of instruction as called for by all vows made by its members.
The Church must express the worldview built upon its foundation in all of culture, until man’s work of dominion is completed.