Now, because Christians, as long as they live here in this life, never completely divest themselves to be clothed with Christ, never completely die to themselves so that Christ lives in them entirely, but still daily err and sin in many ways, it is necessary to have in the church and congregation of Christ a constant teaching, discipline and leading—that is, a rule whereby Christians are continually prompted and led to learn to deny themselves more and abandon and dedicate themselves entirely to Christ the Lord as their Head.Martin Bucer (1538)
Wheresoever God’s Word hath supreme authority, where Christ Jesus is affirmed, preached, and received to be the only Savior of the world, where his sacraments are truly ministered, and, finally, where his Word ruleth … there is the true kirk of Christ Jesus.
A letter to his brethren in Scotland, dated December 1, 1557 in Select Practical Writings of John Knox.
I believe that every Christian ought to be joined to some visible church; that is his plain duty, according to the Scriptures. God’s people are not dogs, else they might go about one by one; but they are sheep, and therefore they should be in flocks. If I meet a man, all by himself, snapping at everybody,—I may be called uncharitable, but, I should hardly think that he was a sheep, I should be afraid that he was a dog. But when I see a man who consorts with his fellow-men, feeds with them, takes delight in their company, and with them draws near to the Great Shepherd of souls, I say to myself, “I think he must be one of the sheep, for that is the way in which that animal always acts.” So, beloved, you should go in flocks or companies; that is to say, you should be joined to some Christian church.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
“The Head And The Body,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle (Banner of Truth Trust, 1876), sermon 2653.
One of the greatest needs of our times is for living, biblical churches. No other institution can adequately replace them. Every Christian ought to give much thought and prayer to this subject., and then order his life in such a way as to further the work of God’s true churches. This is not a time for an apathetic, easy-going attitude toward churches. The needs are great. The pressures of ungodliness are heavy. Those who demean God’s churches are legion. Let us, then, rise up and go forth with boldness to declare ourselves servants of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by following His will in His local church wherever His providence directs us.
—Daniel E. Wray
The Importance of the Local Church (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), 15.
Wherever we find the word of God purely preached and heard, and the sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ; there, it is not to be doubted, is a Church of God.
— John Calvin