The Main Points of Church Government and Discipline – by Christopher Love (1618-1651)


Love sets down the plain teaching of Scripture demonstrating Presbyterial Government. It is a simple, but profitable, short, but sound teaching on the subject.


The Main Points of Church Government and Discipline by Christopher Love (1618-1651)

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eISBN: 978-1-62663-348-3

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ISBN: 978-1-62663-349-0

Christopher Love (1618-1651) was a fiery and practical Puritan preacher. His works consist of some of the best written and preached biblical expositions in the English language.

In this work, Love sets down the plain teaching of Scripture demonstrating Presbyterial Government. It is a simple, but profitable, short, but sound teaching on the subject. Though the work is shorter than most works on the subject, there is a great deal of matter in a few words. It is a brief but yet biblically solid work so that not only the weak may be instructed, but the strong also established in the truth.

There has always been a debate surrounding church government, concerning the question, “What is the best oversight of the church that could be had by Christ’s people while the church militant is established in the world?” Mr. Love will demonstrate, in catechistical form, that Presbyterial Government is of Divine Right, and is the best means for governing the people of God under Christ as a church body. The government of the church by Presbyters or Elders, who have the rule (Heb. 13:7, 17, 1 Tim. 5:17), and the keys of Christ’s church (Isa. 22:22, Rev. 1:18, 3:7), as well as power to remit and retain sin (John 20:23), are those who feed and govern the flock (1 Peter 5:2, Acts 20:17, 28), and are over people in the Lord (1 Thess. 5:12). Such men, as Love masterfully demonstrates, are Guides, Leaders, Bishops, Governors, and Pastors. And it is by this Divine Right that Christ rules his church in a Presbyterian form of church government. His section on the support of the church, minister and tithing is worth the cost of the volume alone.

This work is not a scan or facsimile, has been carefully transcribed by hand being made easy to read in modern English, and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.

Table of Contents:
The Essence of the Church 6
Meet Christopher Love 30
The Epistle to the Reader 38
A Plain Platform of Presbyterial Government 39
Question 1: What government of the church is most agreeable to the Word of God? 39
Question 2: What kind of Government have Presbyters or Elders over the church? 40
Question 3: From whom receive they their stewardly and ministerial power? 41
Question 4: But do they not receive their governing power and authority from the body of the church of / or the people? 42
Question 5: You spoke of a general visible church; does the Scripture hold out such a church? 44
Question 6: But we read of churches (Gal. 1:2, 1 Cor. 14:34, Acts 9:31) in the plural number, of many churches in the New Testament, and therefore, there is not only one Church? 45
Question 7: What sorts of Elders has God appointed in his church? 47
Question 8: In what church has God set these elders? 49
Question 9: How are men made ordained elders? 52
Question 10: To whom, do you say, has God committed the power of ordination of elders? 55
Question 11: But is not ordination by one or more grave men deputed by the Congregation more lawful, and valid than ordination by the Prelates? 56
Question 12: Who has power to preach the Word in the church? 58
Question 13: What maintenance do you mean? If you mean tithes, or any other felted maintenance, neither private men nor ministers ought to receive such maintenance. 60
Question 14: Who may lawfully be admitted into the Church? 66
Question 15: How did particular churches come to be one in themselves, and to be distinguished from one another? 68
Question 16: How large or how little may particular churches be? 71
Question 17: May not every congregation enjoy all the ordinances of God within itself? 74
Question 18: Does the Scripture warrant the use and subordination of congregational, classical, provincial, national, and ecumenical assemblies? 75
Question 19: It is granted that the Scripture does warrant elective occasional Synods, such as that was, Acts 15, but does it mention or warrant set, stated, Synodical Assemblies to meet monthly or yearly? 79
Question 20: But they cannot judge authoritatively, nor excommunicate one or more offending churches, they may only withdraw communion from them; for if a national Synod should exercise jurisdiction, then every member of it would be a national officer, and have a relation of elders to all and every church within a nation; and why are they not to preach to all the churches, as well as to rule over them, and to feed by doctrine, as well as by discipline? 81
Question 21: But can you show that elders may put forth any act of power and authority over other churches? 84
Question 22: But those that dissent in these particulars are good and gracious men, and their way seems to be purer than other ways; and therefore, I would not have any one to oppose these men; for if the work is of God, it will stand; if of men, it will come to nothing. 86
Question 23: What is the difference between Provincial, Presbyterian, and Independent Government? 90
Other Works by Christopher Love Published by Puritan Publications 93

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