What Are the Prospects for Greater Unity of Christ's Visible Body in Our Time?

Michael S. Horton
Thursday, August 2nd 2007
Sep/Oct 1998
"For the Lord esteems the communion in his church so highly that he counts as a traitor and apostate from Christianity anyone who arrogantly leaves any Christian society, provided it cherishes the true ministry of Word and sacraments."- John Calvin, Institutes 4.1.10.

Does God have a prayer? This strikes us as a provocative question because of the paradox. We all know what it is for us to pray to God, but it sounds odd to think that God might also petition God. Yet that is precisely what happens in John 17, the so-called "High Priestly Prayer" of our Savior. Here, God the Son, incarnate in our flesh, addresses God the Father in the power of God the Holy Spirit, joining his brothers and sisters in the posture of dependence and need. And what does he pray for? From the first moments of his ministry, zeal for the elect's redemption had consumed him so that he had given no thought to his own happiness. This famous prayer crowns his selfless active obedience. But at the heart of this prayer for the ingathering of the world (i.e., the elect from all nations) before his crucifixion is the petition, "that they may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you; that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that you sent me" (v. 21).

This is not merely a petition for the world's general health or salvation. In fact, "I do not pray for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours," he prays (v. 9). From papal encyclicals (Ut unum sint) to Promise Keepers, "that they may be one" has been a reigning slogan. Meanwhile, the visible church appears hopelessly divided. Like a window pierced by a pin-sized hole, the visible unity of Christendom continues to crack and break into ever-smaller pieces. This reality came home to me over the last couple of years as irreconcilable differences in our denomination led to the formation of a new Reformed church. Is this the result of a low view of the church? Is division ever justified? How do we know when? These are the questions we will address, though fall short of adequately answering, in this article.

The Invisible Church

Just as the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles frequently reminded us, even in the Old Testament the elect could sometimes be found outside of the visible covenant community (Melchizedek, Rahab, Cyrus), while only a remnant of the visible church actually persevered in faith to the end: "For they are not all Israel who are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6).

Theology has, therefore, long held a distinction between the invisible and visible church which has a firm exegetical basis. We find it also here in Jesus' prayer. He prays not only for the visible church, but more specifically, "for those whom you gave me." This phrase occurs also in John 6:39: "This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day." Four chapters later, we read, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). But he tells the group of religious leaders who seek to stone him upon hearing this message, "But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand" (v. 25-29).

Referring to the eternal covenant made between the members of the Trinity for the salvation of a people, the secret source of Christian unity is election in Christ. God gave the Son a people, a people who would be called to faith in the Son by the Holy Spirit. It is no wonder, then, that as he is about to finish the task of their redemption, Jesus would bring their everlasting welfare before the Father. After all, it was all that was on his mind despite his fear of experiencing the Father's wrath upon the cursed tree.

The Visible Church

But this secret election is just that: secret, known only to God in intertrinitarian covenantal fellowship. God alone knows those who are his (2 Tim. 2:19). Thus, whenever we talk about "the Church," it is of little use for us to refer to the Church in its invisible hiddenness. Just as we know nothing of God's secret plan for our lives and must rely only on what has been clearly revealed, we can also only know and experience "the communion of saints" in its visible manifestation. This wisdom which was hidden is now revealed for all the world to see in the ministry of the Word and Sacraments, faithfully upheld and advanced by the divinely ordained offices and discipline established by Christ.

This is where our Lord spends most of his time in this prayer. First, he prays "not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one" (v. 15). This visible community exists for the salvation of the world, not against it. Called out of darkness into the light of God's new creation, Christ's disciples are not to remove themselves from the world, but to be separated unto God in the world. How does this happen? Is it simply an act of will on the believers' part? Is it by following a distinct style of dress, lifestyle, or customs? Not at all. In fact, they do not separate themselves unto God, but are separated by God by gracious election and redemption. They are made holy by Word and Sacrament: "Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth" (v. 17). As Paul tells us, Jesus has been made our sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30). Thus, the marks of the true Church are the Word, Sacraments, and discipline: all the ministry of Christ the Prophet, Priest, and King.

Others might think of the marks of the true Church in terms of its members: Are they really "born again"? Are they "Spirit-filled"? Do they really love the Lord? Is the church growing and is there a lot of life? Against the Anabaptists, the Reformers and the Reformed confessions labor to distinguish the ordained ministry from its ordained ministers for just this reason. What happens when the church finds out, God forbid, that the pastor is a philanderer or even an atheist? Do they conclude that his ministry was a sham? Although the pastor is obviously removed from office, and even though his own life may well have been a sham, his ministry was an effectual means of grace if the Word was correctly preached and the Sacraments were rightly administered. We cannot look on the heart, but we can look on the visible marks.

We are sanctified by the Word of truth, the Gospel of an imputed (or credited) righteousness: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth" (v. 19). Jesus next moves in his prayer beyond the immediate circle of disciples to sweep the whole visible church into his petition, "those who will believe in me through their word." It is these people, together with the prophets and apostles, for whom Jesus prays, "that they all may be one." This is not a prayer that all the elect may be one, for they are already one in God's secret plan. Rather, it is a prayer that his visible church, mixed with unbelievers and hypocrites as well as the regenerate, will be united until he comes to separate the wheat from the chaff. And why? Once more his pastoral heart is laid bare: "… that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them as you have loved me" (v. 23).

Does Evangelicalism Seek Unity?

So we ask the question: Does division always betray a low view of the church? When we actually think about it, Evangelicalism has championed church unity for a long time. At a time when denominations were frequently fighting with each other, revivalism brought churches together for the evangelization of the lost. "Breaking down the walls" of denominational strife has been a hallmark of evangelical activism long before the Promise Keepers' slogan. This love of church unity contrasts sharply with the disunity of confessional Protestants.

Or does it? What if Evangelicalism has been able to champion church unity only because it has a low view of the church? What if behind all of the rhetoric of "breaking down the walls" lies a weak appreciation for Jesus' prayer here in John 17? Let me see if we can pursue this argument along the following lines.

First, what if Evangelicalism has no doctrine of the visible church? Whatever official teaching might be, in actual practice, "the church" is understood by most evangelicals today to refer to everybody who is "really born again." This not only assumes that we can understand the hidden things of both God and our neighbor, but lodges the "marks of the true Church" in the members (or "seekers") rather than in Christ's ministry. Parachurch ministries can, therefore, include in their purpose statement "making disciples" and in many cases even administer Sacraments because they believe that the church is invisible. Like the anti-material Gnostics who denied Jesus' literal incarnation, atoning death, bodily resurrection, etc., a new gnosticism insists that "the spiritual" is what is really important. It is the invisible, secret work of the Spirit in one's life, separated from the visible means of grace and external operations of the church, which is effective. Many of the arguments which are advanced in favor of this entirely "invisible" notion of the church and its ministry could just as easily be applied to Christology (the doctrine of Christ), leading us to deny that "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh," which "is the spirit of the Antichrist" (I John 4:3). Thankfully, this logic is not followed,…but it could be.

So why not break down the walls if one already has such a low estimation of walls-or, for that matter, physical structures at all? The doctrine of the church maintained by many evangelical brothers and sisters today parallels exactly the radical Anabaptist "enthusiasts" against whom the Reformers struggled. As God the Son has "come in the flesh," so the heavenly Jerusalem is "incarnated" in the visible organism which, despite its fractures and dislocations, is united by the external preaching of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments. Its outward organization and discipline are not to be disparaged as less spiritual.

Surely formalism is no substitute for "spiritualism." Nevertheless, it seems undeniable that much of Evangelicalism connects "life" and the "real work of the Spirit" with the invisible church (i.e., the activity of individual believers who come together rather than of churches), and this Gnostic and docetic ecclesiology represents a dangerously low view of the church. No wonder then that those who follow this tendency fail to take "the walls" seriously. If a few tiny denominations merge after years of blood, sweat, and tears, it might merit a notice in a Christian periodical here or there. But if millions fill stadiums across America for a few years, it is a news magazine's cover story. American Evangelicalism (often in contrast to its expression in other parts of the world) can only pride itself on bringing about Christian unity because it values the church so lightly. Any brilliant entrepreneur can pull together a movement; but only God can build the Church. And he does so through his ordained structures. It is these structures which, admittedly, get in the way of us all being one in visible unity. These structures house the sheep and protect them from the evil one who stalks them, especially when they stray from the visible Church. There is no "evangelical church" in America. There are evangelical churches, but we must not confuse movements of individual Christians with the ministry and advance of the Church of Christ in the world.

So, again, is it possible that many evangelicals can contrast their unity-seeking missions with the alleged bigotry of confessional churches only because they have a low view of what that unity really involves? Tragically, this seems to be abundantly demonstrated in the practice of Evangeli-calism over the last two centuries. Alexander Campbell, Joseph Smith, and a host of nineteenth century sectarians founded new denominations under the pretext of restoring the true church of God upon the earth. Others, like Charles Finney and his evangelical heirs, simply substituted their movement for a new denomination, as each new "revival" was proclaimed as "God's new work" in bringing about church unity. Instead of being for this confession or that confession, the question asked in churches across America is, "Are you for X (Toronto, Pensacola, PK, or whatever) or against it?" The true legacy of American revivalism is not unity but the two most schismatic centuries in the history of the Christian religion.

But let's take this one step further. It is one thing to say that Evangelicalism's notion of unity actually rests on a low view of the church and its visible unity. But is it possible that Protestant "enthusiasm" shares some surprising affinities with Rome on this point? Let me briefly explain.

It is widely known in ecumenical discussions that the millennium-old schism between Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy is viewed, at least by the Orthodox, as the product of the former's violation of the ecumenical and catholic spirit of the apostolic and post-apostolic fathers. They cite the warning of Early Church fathers concerning any episcopal tyranny in which one bishop might esteem himself as the superior of the others, and conclude that this is precisely what happened when Rome proclaimed itself "the apostolic see." As if these pretensions were not enough, the papacy appropriated to itself power over all of Christendom. In the modern era, the pope even declared himself infallible when speaking ex cathedra(literally, "from the chair"). Despite the aggiornamento (modernizing) of John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Rome persists in demanding that church unity means being in union with the pope. Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things, who together with Prison Fellowship Ministries' Charles Colson, is the architect of "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," has quite clearly told me that this is his ultimate goal. Unity means that one has reached sufficient agreement with Rome's unalterable and infallible dogma, not that two Christian families have found common agreement which may challenge each other's prior claims. The Spirit is with "the Church" (meaning Rome), not with the Word and Sacraments wherever that sacred ministry is upheld.

At the time of the Reformation, John Calvin repeatedly compared the Anabaptist "enthusiasts" to Rome, since both separated the Spirit from the Word in an attempt to justify their pretensions to ongoing revelation. Both groups undermined the peace and catholic unity of the visible church by refusing to be normed solely by scripture. Like a republic that is forever adding amendments, presidential decrees, and other articles to its constitution, Rome can only maintain unity by force, either physical or spiritual. Sectarian bodies refuse to limit their authority to the Word and insist on raising their own prophets, priests, and kings above the offices of Christ.

Throughout the first half of the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformers burned the midnight oil in the effort to arrive at concord in the Gospel, even with Rome. A number of leading churchmen-theologians, bishops, and even a few cardinals-were sympathetic to the evangelical thrust of the Reformation. Much had been confused in medieval thought and practice. Too many concessions had been made to philosophy. In addition, too little attention had been given to the proclamation of Christ in the simplicity of scriptural preaching and liturgy. Abuses plagued the church to the extent that the masses of the laity often regarded it as a hypocritical institution and only obeyed her under threats. But most importantly, they said, the glory of God and the sufficiency of Christ's righteousness and grace had been obscured if not ignored. These Roman Catholic leaders, before and during the Reformation, ought to be remem-bered by us as faithful brethren in Christ. A number of conferences were held, some called by kings, in which the Reformers met with representatives of the Roman curia in hopes of settling the controversy and restoring catholic unity. Nevertheless, when the dust from the Council of Trent settled, it was clear who had won. In 1564, Calvin died and the Council's anathemas against those who trust in Christ's merit alone for justification before God were officially promulgated (i.e., made church dogma) by the pope. Just as in its pride it had separated itself from the Eastern churches, now five centuries later Rome caused a division within the Western churches. Rome is an inherently schismatic body, demanding that all churches find their catholicity in her rather than in the only true head of the Church.

So here is the real parallel between Rome and much of modern Evangelicalism on this point: Neither really succeeds in realizing that the Gospel is the standard, basis, hinge, and criterion of unity. "Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth," Jesus prays. The Apostle Paul indicates the same when he declares that ministers have been ordained by Christ in the church

… till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature person, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him who is the head-Christ-from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Eph. 4:13-16).

Unity is something toward which even the apostolic church had to work. Do we really want to return to the apostolic era? Do we recall the ungodly factions in Corinth? The discord which was nevertheless turned to profit in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15)? The apostles would not "agree to disagree agreeably" over such essentials. They didn't set aside their differences in the pursuit of a vaporous unity, but solved their doctrinal division through direct, prayerful and thoughtful interaction. And thank God, for our sakes, they did.

It is not by breaking down the walls of the visible church that unity is achieved, for these are the precincts within which Christ rules his kingdom of grace. Nor is it by achieving unity with a particular pastor, hero, or "prophet," but by growing up "into him who is the head-Christ-from whom the whole body" receives its life and growth. By lodging unity in movements and men instead of in the Gospel as it is made visible in the Church's ministry, Rome and Evangelicalism subvert the unity of Christ's body. Rome's doctrine of "implicit faith" declares that one must believe whatever the church decrees. One may be ignorant of essential Christian teachings, but if he or she trusts the pope and the magisterium to get it right, all is well. But is there not a parallel here with American Evangelicalism? Ignorance of even basic Christian doctrine is tolerated so long as one doesn't criticize Billy Graham, the charismatic movement, the "Toronto Blessing," Promise Keepers, or whatever may come next. Today, a "heretic" is not someone who denies a cardinal truth, but someone who refuses to accept the latest "revival." Thus, each new movement proclaiming the restoration of unity ends up creating more dissension. The role of the magisterium is filled by the revival, and the role of the pope is divided amongst a host of often competing entrepreneurs whose constituencies are their "churches" and whose fellow power-brokers are the "cardinals" who elect the next leader.

It is, therefore, not the churches of the Reformation which have done the most to sunder Christian unity, but Rome and Revivalism.

What About Confessional Christians?

But lest we place ourselves beyond the pale of responsibility for the sad state of visible Christian unity, we need to ask ourselves what (not whether) our Reformation churches have contributed to the problem. This discussion requires some candor, although I realize that I can only speak for myself in this article and not for my church.

The Colloquy of Marburg was a fiascao. Here, Luther and Zwingli met face-to-face and Zwingli was clearly the wrong person to represent the Reformed. After reaching complete agreement on every point of dispute between them, the two Reformers could not resolve the question of the Eucharist. Whatever Luther may have wanted to affirm in addition, the hinge of the debate turned on one question: Is Christ really and truly present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion? Holding (at least at that time) a memorialist view, Zwingli defended a position which has never received acceptance by any Reformed confession or catechism. In fact, it was rejected in the Second Helvetic Confession, which Zwingli's successor Heinrich Bullinger drafted in an attempt to reach unity with the rest of the Reformed churches which (especially under Bucer's and Calvin's influence) had written polemically against Zwingli's view. It was rejected in all subsequent Reformed symbols and catechisms (Geneva, Scots, Belgic, Heidelberg, the Thirty-Nine Articles, Westminster).

Nevertheless, some Presbyterian theologians in America have followed a more Zwinglian line in theory and many Reformed and Presbyterian churches have tended toward a more Zwinglian line in practice. This has only served to justify the historically unwarranted identification of the Reformed position with Zwingli, a misunderstanding which many Lutheran theologians find extremely difficult to relinquish. As Reformed Christians, we must come to terms with our own confessional theology and take the time to understand that of our next-of-kin. Further, if I may be so bold, if Lutherans, instead of reducing the Reformed position to caricature or identifying it with positions which the tradition does not hold, were to interact with the genuine areas of disagreement, perhaps we could at least achieve greater understanding.

Due in large measure to the massive immigration of the Scots-Irish and the Dutch early in colonial history, a process of "Americanization" tended to make Presbyterian and Reformed bodies far more susceptible to revivalism's influences than their counterparts in other countries. The contrast between the Reformed Church in America (the nation's first Protestant denomination), which is typically more pietistic and mainline Protestant, and the more historically confessional Christian Reformed Church (from a wave of Dutch immigration in the last century) is probably due as much to this factor of "Americanization" as it is to their respective histories in The Netherlands. The same contrasts could be (and have been) drawn between earlier American Lutheranism, with its dalliances with revivalism, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Typically, those who have been more strict in their Reformed and Presbyterian confession have, ironically, been more sympathetic in their evaluation of-and interaction with-the Lutheran tradition. And this seems largely true on the Lutheran side. It is not by diluting our confession, but by being immersed in it, that we actually discover that we share many similarities, despite remaining differences.

What about our relationship with the broad evangelical world? To be sure, this relationship is strained today, and this article is indicative of that fact. Nevertheless, even theologian Clark Pinnock, a champion of those who seek to eliminate vestiges of Calvinism from evangelical theology, has frequently observed that until quite recently evangelicals had to rely on the theological works of Reformed and Presbyterian writers. Most of the leaders of the modern missionary movement were avowed Calvinists. Furthermore, Baptists who adhered to certain Calvinistic distinctives (viz., the "TULIP" acronym) have included John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, and the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention among their number. Whatever important differences a Reformed believer may have with Baptists on the covenant (especially baptism), ecclesiology, and similar issues, someone like Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Seminary, Louisville, is more of a friend to confessional Reformed believers than are some leaders within our own bodies and institutions. Against the backdrop of contemporary Evangelicalism, such staunch defenders of Baptist distinctives are actually-again, ironically-more serious allies in the cause of truth than are our respective counterparts who are often enamored with the fads of modernity. Why shouldn't we engage in thoughtful, constructive dialogue on the issues which continue to divide us in an effort, as with the Lutherans, to at least arrive at greater understanding?

Relationships with other traditions could be explored. For instance, historically Anglicanism identified itself as part of the Reformed family. In fact, "the Reformed Church of England," as it was called in the major documents of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, is still served by a distinctly Reformed confession, the Thirty-Nine Articles. (The only notable exception is its episcopal rather than presbyterian polity.) Its first Prayer Book was authored under the theological guidance of Martin Bucer (Calvin's mentor) and Peter Martyr Vermigli (a Reformed theologian), whom King Edward brought to England to restore sound teaching at Oxford. Its Elizabethan bishops were returned exiles from the Reformed churches of Switzerland and Germany, and these bishops continued to look to their sister churches on the continent for guidance. Archbishop Cranmer and his fellow pastors often asked how they could be increasingly patterned after "the best Reformed churches." Calvin even sent the Duke of Somerset a plan which later Queen Elizabeth considered to unite all of the Reformed churches and was even willing to allow episcopacy as its form of government. Ecumenism has long been important within the Reformed tradition. Even today, many of the leading names in Reformed circles belong to the Anglican communion.

We could mention the Eastern Orthodox communion, which has (along with Rome) enjoyed a steady influx of young evangelicals. Stating our differences with Orthodoxy is an essential task, but so is finding common ground. In the seventeenth century, the Ecumenical Patriarch (Lucaris) embraced the staunch Calvinism of the Synod of Dort and officially adopted Dort's positions. Nevertheless, it failed ratification and was in fact repudiated. Although Orthodox theologians have a long memory, there are certainly points of agreement (especially the shared suspicion of papal authority and a common heritage in the church fathers), despite the tradition's apparent lack of interest in such essential doctrines as original sin and justification. Lack of interest does not entail denial and perhaps this affords some opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue.

In spite of my criticisms above, I think that we could even conceive of constructive discussions with Roman Catholic churchmen. The "irreformible" nature of Roman dogma makes this somewhat difficult. Nevertheless, a great deal of rethinking is taking place especially among biblical theologians. As with the other dialogues, conversation does not require ecclesiastical union as its goal. Nor must we first rescind our conviction that in its current confession Rome lacks the most essential mark of the church (viz., the pure proclamation of the Gospel). Understanding between Christians is a sufficient goal in itself.

Closer to Home

But the matter is even more pressing when we come to the divisions within the Reformed and Presbyterian family itself. In the last century, German Reformed theologians John Williamson Nevin and Philip Schaff complained that American Protestantism was governed by what they called "a sect-consciousness," a denial of the catholic spirit which pervaded the Reformers. I think that they are largely correct on this point and that we must struggle against this infection.

The divisions of this century are quite understandable. Princeton Seminary professor J. Gresham Machen and other conservatives were being disciplined by the church courts of the Northern Presbyterian Church while universalists and liberal professors were gaining ground. The "Auburn Affirmation" signaled a departure from the church's high view of Scripture. So the founding of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) in 1936 was a courageous effort to continue the Presbyterian witness to the Gospel. In the seventies, a similar division occurred within the Southern Presbyterian Church (PCUS), which led to the founding of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Although both the OPC and PCA are conservative denominations, merger talks in the eighties failed for a variety of reasons. Despite this fact, they enjoy close fraternal relations, along with other bodies with similar distinctives in the National Association of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. Although the PCA and OPC have broken fraternal relations with the Christian Reformed Church (CRCNA) over the latter's refusal to reconsider its synodical decision to ordain women to all offices, the United Reformed Churches (URC), the churches which seceded recently from the Christian Reformed Church, may seek admittance.

Given the nature of this fraternal body, should we allow ourselves even to conceive of the possibility that these member churches could become one new Reformed denomination in the United States? Are the differences between the Presbyterian and Reformed sides of the family great enough to warrant continued separation? Is passive acceptance of separation complicity with sinful division or is it justified by present realities? These questions could themselves become divisive within churches unless a catholic spirit of charity could prevail. But I can only hope that it can. The churches of the Westminster Standards and those of the Three Forms of Unity have far too much in common to squander their resources and witness on introspection and idiosyncrasies of culture, pride, recent histories, and lack of vision. Surely the great founding leaders of these bodies, who wept over their respective Jerusalems, would not want to see these churches either ape the culture of modernity which destroyed the mainline bodies or resign themselves to a Reformed/Presbyterian version of fundamentalism. In both cases, confessional vitality is surrendered to alien systems and forms of life.

I have wondered aloud enough for one article, and perhaps too candidly. There are many ways of fleshing out the details of what it might mean practically to see a greater unity of the visible body of Christ in our time. I have simply offered one pattern. But the imperative which I think is inescapable for all of us is to pray for and to actively seek greater understanding and, where possible (as in our own Reformed/Presbyterian communion), a renewed attention to the scandal of our divided witness in the United States.

After all, in John 17, Jesus does not pray for the church to be sanctified by the truth merely for her own sake: "As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (v. 18). Ecumenism: What is it good for? It burdened our Savior's heart on his way to Golgotha. Whatever course or strategies our synods and assemblies choose to take in the new century on these matters, there should be the deep longing in all of our hearts to see a zeal which is too often missing for the fractured Body which is Christ's visible presence in an already disintegrated and fragmented world.

May the same Spirit who ordered creation out of chaos in the beginning, and brought us into his new creation, sanctify and govern us by that same Word, "that the world may know" that the Father has sent Christ for our salvation.

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Michael S. Horton
Michael Horton is editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation and the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido.
Thursday, August 2nd 2007

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

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