Chapter 5: Of the First of Church Power or, to Whom Church Power doth First Belong


Of the first subject of church power; or, to whom church power doth first belong.

1.The first subject of church power is either supreme or subordinate and ministerial; the supreme, by way of gift from the Father, is the Lord Jesus Christ: The ministerial is either extraordinary as the apostles, prophets and evangelists; or ordinary, as every particular Congregational church. Matt. xviii. 18. Rev. iii. 7. Isa. ix. 6. John xx. 21, 23. 1 Cor. xiv. 32.Tit. i. 5. 1 Cor. v. 12.

2.Ordinary church power, is either the power of office, that is, such as is proper to the eldership, or power of privilege, such as belongs unto the brotherhood. The latter, is in the brethren formally, and immediately from Christ, that is, so as it may be acted or exercised immediately by themselves; the former is not in them formally or immediately, and therefore cannot be acted or exercised immediately by them, but is said to be in them, in that they design the persons unto office, who only are to act, or to exercise this power. Rom. xii. 4, 8. Acts 1. 23, and vi. 3, 4, and xiv. 23. 1 Cor. x. 29, 30. 67