The Saint’s Joint Membership as One Body in Jesus Christ
by John Brinsley (1600-1665)
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John Brinsley (1600-1665), the younger, was a Presbyterian puritan divine who was a powerful Reformed Gospel preacher and writer.
Brinsley’s work in this volume is directed to encouraging Christians to act like biblical Christians in their relationship to one another as joint heirs in Christ, and to one another in the confines of their relationship as joint members of the church body. This is something sorely neglected as a theological topic in today’s contemporary church. Am I my brother’s keeper? The answer to this is a resounding, “YES.” Brinsley’s principle text is drawn from Romans 12:4-5, “For as we have many members in one body…” Here we find the joint-members of the church in one body, and that one body recognized under the head of Jesus Christ.
The reader will see that Brinsley is eminently clear in three points, 1. That there is a specific, biblical unity of the body [that it is one body]; 2. That there is a plurality of members [we have many members in one body]; 3. That there is a diversity of offices [and all members do not have the same office]. By the same token, Brinsley will also be exceptionally practical in his application of these three ideas, demonstrating what Christians are to do in the church, and what they are not to do in the church as it respects other members. Would it not be glorious to find a church in which there is no backbiting, malice, envy, murmuring, disdain, etc., for one another, and instead is found the highest levels of inward and outward respect, oneness of mind and love for one another? Some may say that such an ideal is only found in heaven, but that does not excuse the church from its method of sanctification now, here on earth, and its striving power to gain such ideals under the headship of Christ. May it be that the church takes Brinsley’s exposition to heart, and further heals the breaches of the church both inwardly in particular churches, and outwardly among neighboring ones, that the church may grow unified within the bonds of peace.
This is not a scan or facsimile, has been updated in modern English for easy reading and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.