Site Meter
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|

Previous · Home · Next

A Remedy to Tyranny


image

For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. —1 Corinthians 5:3–5

According to God’s design, the church is placed under the authority of elders, but, as human history has shown, power concentrated in the hands of one or few is bound to go wrong—even when those few are of the godliest character. As Calvin writes, not even Paul—an apostle, holding the highest position in the church under Christ—was entrusted with the power of excommunication.

image

It is to be carefully observed, that Paul, though an Apostle, does not himself, as an individual, excommunicate according to his own pleasure, but consults with the Church, that the matter may be transacted by common authority. He, it is true, takes the lead, and shows the way, but, in taking others as his associates, he intimates with sufficient plainness, that this authority does not belong to any one individual. As, however, a multitude never accomplishes anything with moderation or seriousness, if not governed by counsel, there was appointed in the ancient Church a Presbytery, that is, an assembly of elders, who, by the consent of all, had the power of first judging in the case. From them the matter was brought before the people, but it was as a thing already judged of. Whatever the matter may be, it is quite contrary to the appointment of Christ and his Apostles—to the order of the Church, and even to equity itself, that this right should be put into the hands of any one man, of excommunicating at his pleasure any that he may choose. Let us take notice, then, that in excommunicating this limitation be observed—that this part of discipline be exercised by the common counsel of the elders, and with the consent of the people, and that this is a remedy in opposition to tyranny. For nothing is more at variance with the discipline of Christ than tyranny, for which you open a wide door, if you give one man the entire power.

Calvin’s Commentaries Volume XX, Commentary on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Baker Books, 2009), 1:182–183.



Posted 2019·08·08 by David Kjos
Share this post: Buffer
Email Print
Posted in: 1 Corinthians · Calvin’s Commentaries: 1 Corinthians · Church Discipline · John Calvin

← Previous · Home · Next →



Who Is Jesus?


The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian


Norma Normata
What I Believe


Westminster Bookstore


Comments on this post are closed. If you have a question or comment concerning this post, feel free to email me.