There is no perfect Church: Thoughts by John Calvin

“Still those of whom we have spoken sin in their turn, by not knowing how to set bounds to their offence. For where the Lord requires mercy, they omit it, and give themselves up to immoderate severity. Thinking there is no church where there is not complete purity and integrity of conduct, they, through hatred of wickedness, withdraw from a genuine church, while they think they are shunning the company of the ungodly …. If the Lord declares that the Church will labour under the defect of being burdened with a multitude of wicked until the day of judgment, it is in vain to look for a church altogether free from blemish.”

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.1.13.

R. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)
Anaheim, CA

3 Replies to “There is no perfect Church: Thoughts by John Calvin”

  1. Only let us hold true to what we have attained (Philippians 3:16 ESV).

    A new convert is looked upon in a different way than a mature believer. We bear with the weaknesses of a new convert because we know they need time to grow. Mature believers are expected to live up to higher standards.
    So it is with churches.
    A church that is moving toward reformation may be patiently attended, but a church in declension is not to be yielded to; a church growing in truth and repentance is decidedly different than one that is falling away from biblical standards and hardened; a church that is humbly submitted to the Gospel that also recognizes the Law as a rule of righteousness is to be distinguished from one that in practical terms would be free from both sin and the Law.
    When a person recognizes a church’s adoption of unbiblical practices as unhealthy and even destructive, the first thing they will want to do is leave.
    However, when we realise we are members of a church in declension, we are not free to just leave. Only after patiently attempting biblical reformation and finding ourselves opposed are we free to seek harbor elsewhere.
    Attempts to correct may go unrecognized, unheeded, or be unappreciated. Some men are ignorant because they have not learned, others are blind and will remain so.


  2. Reblogged this on The Shoup Assemblage and commented:
    For all those who are looking to find the perfect church. Here are some thoughts I am re-posting. The original blogger is worth following. He puts out some very thoughtful material.


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