一.无形的大公教会或普世教会由过去、现在和未来在教会的元首基督之下所召集的合而为一的全体选民构成;这教会是主的新妇、身体,是祂那充满万有的丰盈(弗1 :10,22,23;5:23,27,32;西1:18)。

The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.

二.有形的教会,在福音之下也是大公的、普世的(不像从前在律法之下仅限于一个国家),包括全世界一切信奉真宗教的人(林前1:2;12:12-13;诗2:8;启7:9;罗15:9-12),和他们的儿女(林前7:14;徒2:39;结16:20,21;罗11:16;创3:15;17:7;);这教会是主耶稣基督的国(太13:47;赛9:7)、上帝的家(弗2:19;3:15)。按照常例,教会之外,别无拯救(徒2:47)。

The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.

三.基督将牧职、圣言和上帝的外在方式赐给这大公和有形的教会,以便在今生直至世界的末了召集并成全圣徒;又照所应许的,藉着亲自临在和圣灵,使它们生效(林前12:28;弗4:11-13;太28:19,20;赛59:21)。

Unto this catholic and visible church, Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world; and doth by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto.

四.此大公教会有时比较显明,有时比较隐蔽(罗11:3-4;启12:6,14)。作为这一大公教会肢体的各个教会的纯正程度,乃是照其所信奉所教训的福音教理,所执行的外在方式,所举行的公共崇拜的纯正程度而定(启2,3;林前5:6-7)。

This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less, visible. And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.

五.世上最纯正的教会也难免有混杂和错谬(林前13:12;启2,3;太13:24-30,47);有些教会是如此地堕落,显然不再是基督的教会,而成为撒但的会堂(启18:2;罗11:18-22)。虽然如此,在地上总是有照着上帝的旨意崇拜祂的教会(太 16:18,诗72:17;102:28;太28:19,20)。

The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error: and some have so degenerated as to become apparently no churches of Christ. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to His will.

六.除主耶稣基督以外,教会没有别的元首(西1:18;弗1:22);因此,罗马天主教的教皇在任何意义上都不是教会的元首。

There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof.