Church History

Reformation Day & Martin Luther’s 95 Theses

Before October 31 was Halloween it was Reformation Day.  On October 31, 1517, a monk named Martin Luther posted his “Ninety-five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Indulgences were certificates that people could purchase from the Catholic Church that, upon purchase, promised forgiveness of sins and the promise of escape from purgatory.  One Catholic preacher named Johann Tetzel reveals the ugliness of the indulgence system with a little saying he liked to use when selling indulgences–he would say, “As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs.”  Against the Catholic Church, Martin Luther believed that forgiveness of sins came through faith in Christ alone.  His nailing of the 95 Theses is believed by many to have been the major catalyst of the Protestant Reformation.

Below are Luther’s 95 Theses:

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2.This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3.Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

20. Therefore by “full remission of all penalties” the pope means not actually “of all,” but only of those imposed by himself.

21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope’s indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

34. For these “graces of pardon” concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope’s pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The “treasures of the Church,” out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church’s poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ’s merit, are that treasure;

61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the “greatest graces” are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: — “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”

83. Again: — “Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”

84. Again: — “What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul’s own need, free it for pure love’s sake?”

85. Again: — “Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?”

86. Again: — “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”

87. Again: — “What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?”

88. Again: — “What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?”

89. “Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?”

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace!

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

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Why Francis Asbury Never Married

Francis Asbury was a circuit rider turned superintendent of American Methodism of the late 18th and early 19th century.  He was appointed to the office of superintendent by John Wesley himself.  He endured great things for the Lord and won many souls to Christ.  Here is his account, from his journal, of why he never married:

If I should die in celibacy, which I think quite probable, I give the following reasons for what can scarcely be called my choice: I was called in my fourteenth year.  I began my public exercises between sixteen and seventeen; at twenty-one I traveled [i.e., became a circuit riding preacher]; at twenty-six I came to America: thus far I had reasons enough for a single life.  It had been my intention of returning to Europe at thirty years of age, but the war continued, and it was ten years before we had a settled, lasting peace.  This was not time to marry or be given in marriage.  At forty-nine I was ordained superintendent bishop in America.  Among the duties imposed upon me by my office was that of traveling extensively, and I could hardly expect to find a woman with grace enough to enable her to live but one week out of fifty-two with her husband.  Besides, what right has any man to take advantage of the affections of a woman, make her his wife, and by a voluntary absence subvert the whole order and economy of the marriage state, by separating those whom neither God, nature, nor the requirements of civil society permit to be put asunder?  It is neither just nor generous.  I may add to this, that I had little money, and with this little administered to the necessities of a beloved mother until I was fifty-seven.  If I have done wrong, I hope God and the sex will forgive me.  It is my duty now to bestow the pittance I may have to spare upon the widows and fatherless girls, and poor married men. (January 27, 1804)

Is Multi-site Baptist?

The following post contains excerpts from a recent paper I wrote for a doctoral seminar at Southern Seminary.  I have included the introduction, one section of the body, and the conclusion.  The sections from the body of the paper that I did not include (the bulk of the paper) are similar to the section I did include–historical examinations of Baptist churches that Hugh Wamble categorizes as “scattered.”

Introduction

The question “Is multi-site biblical?” is a much more important question than whether multi-site is Baptist.  Nevertheless, since some theologians favorable to the multi-site movement have recently argued that precedent for multi-site church structure exists in early Baptist history, a response to the question of whether multi-site is Baptist seems warranted.  To support their claims, these theologians appeal to G. Hugh Wamble’s dissertation entitled, “The Concept and Practice of Christian Fellowship: The Connectional and Inter-Denominational Aspects Thereof, among Seventeenth Century English Baptists.”[1] Wamble shows that some early English Baptist churches considered themselves one church though they consisted of multiple meetings and meeting places.  One theologian who has used Wamble’s work to argue that multi-site church structure is consistent with historic Baptist ecclesiology is Chad Owen Brand.  In his book on the Cooperative Program, Brand states,

[I]n some cities individual congregations are developing several satellite churches.  This does not necessarily entail a violation of Baptist principles.  Many seventeenth-century Baptist churches existed in two or more locations at the same time for various reasons, but they retained a commitment to Baptist integrity.[2]

Brand cites Wamble here to support his claim.  Another theologian that has recently appealed to Wamble to claim that multi-site has a home among Baptists is Gregg R. Allison.  In an article entitled “Theological Defense of Multi-Site,” Allison argues that “concrete precedents for multi-site churches can be found in seventeenth-century British Baptist history,” and that

[c]onsideration of these historical precedents may help to dispel the notion that the contemporary multi-site church phenomenon is merely the latest (twentieth- and twenty-first century) fad fueled by business models of franchising and branding, a lust for notoriety, or other insidious reasons.[3]

Allison bases his claim on Wamble’s work.

It is in response to Wamble and to these recent theologians who have used his work to claim that multi-site is not antithetical to historic Baptist ecclesiology that this paper is addressed.  This paper will argue that though scattered congregations did exist among some seventeenth century English Baptist churches, this practice was short-lived and did not become part of the Baptist identity that was just beginning to take shape in this early period.  This will be argued in two steps.  First, in order to understand the nature of the scattered church among early English Baptists, a description of the structures of the nine churches that Wamble cites as scattered congregations will be given.  Second, it will be demonstrated that this form of church structure fell out of practice very early in Baptist life, and was replaced by a commitment to the autonomy of the local assembly.  Thus, while some examples of early Baptist churches may be found whose structure is similar to modern day multi-site church structure (though, as will be shown, the number is less than Wamble claims), this practice never became part of Baptist identity, and, thus, should not be considered “Baptist.”

[Much of the body of the paper has been ommitted here.  With many of the churches that are discussed, I have found that the sources Wamble cites to prove that they were one church consisting of multiple assemblies do not sufficiently support his claim.]

Yorkshire and Lancashire

From the three sources cited by Wamble on the church at Yorkshire and Lancashire it does seem that this church, better known as the church of Christ in Rossendale, considered itself one church in multiple locations.  As Frederick Overend notes, the church in Rossendale was “a Church with its centre in Rossendale, and covering with its network of branches the whole district of Rossendale and an area extending to Bradford, Rawdon, and Keighley, in Yorkshire.”[4] After the church’s original meeting house was built, Overend states, “In course of time other meeting houses were built or set apart for the use of the many-branched ‘Church of Christ in Rossendale.'”[5]

W. E. Blomfield recognizes the scattered structure of the Rossendale church and the views on church leadership held by one of its founders and states, “This is Presbyterianism.”[6] What is the explanation for this Presbyterian church structure in this supposedly Baptist church?  The answer, Blomfield suggests, is that at this point (late seventeenth century) the church of Christ in Rossendale was not yet Baptist; in fact, it “was not Baptist for some years to come.”[7] Thus, at first, this church was “nearer to Presbyterianism than aught else, for the religious atmosphere was Presbyterian.”[8] Nevertheless, in the late 1690s the church was “moving in the direction of the Baptists.”[9]

Overend draws similar conclusions, noting that, even as late as 1705 the church at Rossendale “had not yet become distinctly Baptist,” though its founders “had long been Baptists.  The Rossendale Church,” states Overend, “was in process of transformation into a Baptist Church,[10]” but did not reach this state until 1710.  Within five years of becoming distinctly Baptist, branches of the Rossendale church started breaking off to form their own separate churches.  Within a decade, all of them had separated.[11] Now, instead of being multiple branches of one church, there existed multiple Baptist churches that came together to form an association, the first meeting of which was held at Rawdon (originally a branch of Rossendale, now its own church) in 1719.

The church of Christ in Rossendale provides a good example of how dissenting churches in general might have transitioned into Baptist churches in particular.  This church was influenced by Baptist ministers, was taught Baptist views, and then, eventually, adopted a Baptist identity.  Being one church in multiple locations certainly did not become a part of this developing Baptist identity in the church at Rossendale, for by the time they had become distinctly Baptist it was only a matter of a few years before each branch became its own separate church.  It will now be argued that what was true of the Rossendale church became true of Baptist churches in general.

The End of the Scattered Church and the Question of Baptist Identity

Wamble himself suggests that what happened in the case of the church at Rossendale became the norm for scattered country churches.  Toward the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries, large scattered churches became multiple, localized churches.[12] Thus, the simple fact that scattered churches consisting of multiple meetings occupied such a brief moment in Baptist history would explain why this form of church structure never became an identifying mark of Baptist ecclesiology.

Besides the circumstances of history, such as distance and persecution, there were theological reasons for the breakdown of scattered churches.  Wamble cites Hanserd Knollys’ argument from the New Testament as follows:

Although the Church in any City, at its beginning and first Planting of it, was but one Congregation, and assembled themselves together in one place . . ., yet when the number of the Disciples was multiplied . . . and the Multitudes . . . were added . . . then the Church was necessitated, for the edification of the Multitude, and great number of Members thereof, to assembled themselves together in particular Congregations, and become distinct Companies . . . and each Company or Congregation had their Elders and Deacons.[13]

Similar theological arguments for the church as an autonomous, local gathering abound in early Baptist literature.  For instance, Benjamin Keach writes,

A Church of Christ, according to the Gospel-Institution, is a Congregation of Godly Christians, who as a Stated-Assembly (being first baptized upon the Profession of Faith) do by mutual agreement and consent give themselves up to the Lord, and one to another, according to the Will of God; and do ordinarily meet together in one Place, for the Public Service and Worship of God; among whom the Word of God and Sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ’s Institution.[14]

Similarly, W. B. Johnson states, “[T]he term church indicates one church, one body of the Lord’s people, meeting together in one place, and not several congregations, forming one church.”[15] J. L. Reynolds also held that a church is a gathering that meets in one place.  He states, “[T]he only organized church is a particular church, a society of believers, who statedly meet in one place.”[16] Likewise, P. H. Mell argues, “The word “church” is used again in the New Testament to designate a local society . . . who are able to meet together in one place.”[17] John L. Dagg makes a similar statement when he writes, “Whenever the word ekklesia is used, we are sure of an assembly; and the term is not applicable to the bodies or societies of men that do not literally assemble.”[18] Dagg expresses his disdain for the practice of subordinating smaller assemblies of Christians to the rule of one larger church government when he calls this practice “progress towards popery.”[19] Thus, while there were historical circumstances (distance and persecution) that led to the breakdown of early, scattered Baptist churches, there were many theological convictions that drove Baptists in this direction as well.

Whether the reasons were historical or theological, the fact is that scattered churches that consisted of multiple gatherings did not last long in early Baptist life.  As the several parts of these congregations separated to become their own distinct churches, whatever scattered churches did exist were replaced by a network of autonomous churches that cooperated for the cause of the Gospel without being connected by a hierarchical form of church government.

Conclusion

This paper has sought to show that while some early English Baptist churches met in multiple locations and still considered themselves one church, this structure was short-lived in Baptist history and never became an identifying mark in Baptist ecclesiology.  After evaluating the sources that Wamble cites for support, it has been shown that, in many cases, they provide insufficient evidence for his claim.  What was much more common among Baptists both before and after the dissolution of scattered churches was the full ecclesial status of each local assembly and a commitment to local church autonomy.  Thus, while there seems to have been a brief period of time in which some Baptist churches incorporated a one church in multiple locations model of church structure, this can by no means be considered a Baptist distinctive.  Because of this, the modern multi-site church structure cannot be considered Baptist.


[1]G. Hugh Wamble, “The Concept and Practice of Christian Fellowship: The Connectional and Inter-Denominational Aspects Thereof, among Seventeenth Century English Baptists” (Th.D. diss., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, 1955).

[2]Chad Owen Brand and David E. Hankins, One Sacred Effort: The Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2005), 72.

[3]Gregg R. Allison, “Theological Defense of Multi-Site,” 9Marks eJournal 6/3 (May-June, 2009): 14 [on-line]; accessed 14 November 2009; available in PDF from http://involve.9marks.org/site/DocServer/eJournal200963MayJune.pdf?docID=641; Internet.

[4]Frederick Overend, History of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Bacup: Together with an Historical Account of the “Church of Christ in Rossendale,” Based on the Mitchel and Crosley Letters, hitherto Unpublished (London: Kingsgate, 1912).

[5]Ibid., 63

[6]W. E. Blomfield, “The Baptist Churches of Yorkshire in the 17th and 18th Centuries,” in The Baptists of Yorkshire: Being the Centenary Memorial Volume of the Yorkshire Baptist Association (London: Kingsgate, 1912), 80.

[7]Ibid., 82.  See also another source cited by Wamble that points out that the term “Baptist” did not even appear in the 1712 deed of the Rawdon church when it separated from Rossendale to form its own congregation: David Glass, “Baptist Beginnings in the West Riding,” The Baptist Quarterly 3 (1926-27): 182.

[8]Ibid., 73.

[9]Ibid., 81.

[10]Overend, History of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Bacup, 8-9.

[11]Ibid., 120, 122, 127-28.

[12]Wamble, “Christian Fellowship,” 259ff.

[13]Hanserd Knollys, An Exposition of the Whole Book of the Revelation (London, 1689), 172.  Cited in Wamble, “Christian Fellowship,” 259-60.

[14]Benjamin Keach, The Glory of a True Church and Its Discipline Display’d Wherein a True Gospel-Church Is Described. Together with the Power of the Keys, and Who Are to Be Let in, and Who to Be Shut Out. (London: John Robinson, 1697; reprint in Polity: A Collection of Historic Baptist Documents: Biblical Arguments on How to Conduct Church Life, ed. Mark Dever [Washington DC: Center of Church Reform, 2001]), 64-65.  Emphasis added.

[15]W. B. Johnson, The Gospel Developed through the Government and Order of the Churches of Jesus Christ (Richmond, VA: H. K. Ellyson, 1846; reprint in Dever, Polity), 171.

[16]J. L. Reynolds, Church Polity or the Kingdom of Christ in Its Internal and External Development (Richmond, VA: Harrold & Murray, 1849; reprint in Dever, Polity), 396.

[17]P. H. Mell, Corrective Church Discipline: With a Dvelopment of the Scriptural Principles upon Which It Is Based (Charleston, SC: Southern Baptist Publication Society, 1860; reprint in Dever, Polity), 442.

[18]J. L. Dagg, Manual of Theology, Second Part: A Treatise on Church Order (Charleston, South Carolina: Southern Baptist Publication Society, 1858; reprint, Harrisonburg, Virginia: Gano Books, 1990), 77.

[19]Ibid., 90.