When Protestants encounter the words "catholic church," they usually think of a prominent branch of Christendom. When we confess, however, in the words of the Apostles' and Nicene creeds that we believe in "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church," we are one with Christians in all times and places in acknowledging an elect communion in Christ that is even now visible to some extent among us through the ministry of preaching and sacrament. "Catholic" here simply means 'universal'-the church in all times and places, where the Word is properly preached and the sacraments are properly administered. At a time when churches are divided along ethnic, political, socio-economic, and generational lines, the question is as urgent for us today as it was for the apostolic church: Will we be defined by Christ and his victory, or by the rival catholicities of this passing age?
Michael Horton is the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, People and Place, Putting Amazing Back Into Grace, The Christian Faith, and For Calvinism.
Issue: "Grace Over Race" Jan./Feb. 2008 Vol. 17 No. 1 Page number(s): 16-21
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