James Denham on the authority of synodical decrees

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
But it may be asked again, are synodical decrees to be received as infallible? Certainly not. A synod being constituted of men, however wise and grave, yet of like passions with others, may greatly err, and therefore all their decrees are to be examined by the Law and Testimony. But when as in the Synod at Jerusalem, they examine a question by the light of Scripture, and in the decree which they enact, hear and obey the voice of Christ, speaking in his word, then should that decree be felt binding on the consciences of those over whom the court rules, inasmuch as Christ has said, whatever they thus bind on earth, He will bind in heaven.

That power which church courts exercise, be it remembered, is not self-assumed — not self-created. It is derived immediately from Christ. He only has a right to make laws and appoint officers in His church; and the authority which they exert is therefore only ministerial. That is, as His servants they declare and carry into execution those laws, and those only which are agreeable to the expressed will of their Master. Like judges on the bench, they have no power either to make new laws, or change the laws already laid down. The Bible is their great code, and whenever they depart from that, they have no claim on your obedience. ...

For more, see James Denham on the authority of synodical decrees.
 
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