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The Church of Christ (James Bannerman)

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The New Testament places the church at the center of its practical vision of the Christian life and at the heart of the Great Commission. A church-less Christianity is no real Christianity at all.

As we head into a world very similar to Paul’s own context, in which pluralism dominates and Christianity is regarded with intellectual and moral suspicion, it is vital that Christians have a clear understanding of what the church actually is.

James Bannerman's The Church of Christ is one of the key historic texts of the doctrine of the church. Few will agree with everything the author has to say, but as Carl Trueman states in his foreword, 'the great thing about the book is that it will stimulate the reader to reflect on the nature of the church in a profoundly biblical and historically sensitive way'.

After dealing with basic principles and distinctions, such as the contrast between the visible and invisible church, and between the local and universal church, Bannerman takes up the important and far-reaching question of the relation between church and state. But the body of the work is really a treatise on church power—the nature, limits and exercise of Christ's power in the church in its connexional and local aspects. In what does the ordained ministry consist? Should the church micro-manage the lives of her members? To what extent should the church campaign for wider political or social causes? Is the church to be an agent for the transformation of society as a whole? What tools does the church have for making disciples and, if necessary, disciplining them? Answers to these questions can only come from a correct understanding of the nature of the church's power.

Although Presbyterian in conviction, the author has undertaken a 'comparative' study of the various classic positions on each issue under consideration as these are expressed in the confessional symbols and standard authors. It is this method which makes the book so useful for all serious- minded readers. The appendix also contains valuable bibliographical material.

This is classic Scottish theology at its best, and those who take the time to digest it will be richly rewarded.

Watch the video from the Bannerman Conference: An Evening Discussion on the Bride of Christ


'I am thrilled to see this classic work on Presbyterian polity being reissued. And if you think “thrilled” and “Presbyterian polity” don't belong in the same sentence, that's just one more reason we need Bannerman's book. In a day where the doctrine of the church is often thought obscure, irrelevant, and even divisive, Bannerman reminds us just how much our forefathers thought about this topic and just how much the Bible has to say on these issues. This big book on the nature and order of the church is more helpful, more contemporary, and more important than you might think.' — KEVIN DEYOUNG

Table of Contents

Foreword by Carl R Trueman xi

Editor’s Preface xvii

Preface by Principal Candlish xxiii

Introduction 1


I The Church as Defined in Scripture 5

II The Church a Divine and Spiritual Institution 19

III The Church as Visible and Invisible 31

IV The Church as Catholic and Local 45

V The Notes of the Church 59

VI The Members of the Church 73

VII The Church in Its Relation to the World 87

VIII The Church in Its Relation to the State 101


I The Source of Church Power 195

II The Rule or Law of Church Power 221

III The Nature and Character of Church Power 233

IV The Extent and Limits of Church Power 247

V The End and Design of Church Power 263

VI The Primary Subject of Church Power 277


Div I Church Power Exercised in regard to Doctrine 291

Div II Church Power Exercised in regard to Ordinances 339

Div III Church Power Exercised in regard to Discipline 703


I Divine Appointment of a Form of Church Government 719

II The Extraordinary Office-Bearers of the Christian Church 733

III The Popish System of Church Polity 765

IV The Prelatic System of Church Polity as opposed to the Presbyterian 781

V The Independent System of Church Polity as opposed to the Presbyterian 819

Appendix 857

Index 985

Product Details

Title: The Church of Christ  

Author: James Bannerman

Publisher: Banner of Truth

Pages: 1040

Binding: Cloth-bound

Size: 22.2 x 14.2 x 6.0 cm

ISBN: 9781848715028

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