In this section of the Baptist Larger Catechism, we begin our discussion on the church. Here, we will see that Baptist convictions on covenant theology and baptism produce important implications regarding the church, particularly the nature of the visible-invisible church distinction. These questions are an extension and expansion of questions 104-106 in the Keach Catechism. The extended responses are based on some of the language used in the 1689 Confession and in the Westminster Larger Catechism.
As before, feel free to comment on the questions below
Q. 159: What is the duty of those who are rightly baptized?
A: It is the duty of those who are rightly baptized to separate themselves from the world1 and to join themselves to a visible and orderly church of Jesus Christ so that they may walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.2
Q. 160: What is the visible church?
A: The visible church is the organized gathering of professing believers, in all ages and places, wherein the gospel is truly preached and the sacraments of baptism and Lord’s Supper are rightly administered.1
Q. 161: What are the special privileges of the visible church?
A: The visible church has the privilege of being under God’s special care and government1 and of being protected and preserved throughout the ages, in spite of the opposition of all her enemies.2 The visible church also provides fellowship for God’s people, functions as the ordinary means by which people are saved,3 and extends God’s grace through Christ to all her members in the ministry of the gospel, testifying that whosoever believes in him will be saved4 and excluding no one from fellowship who desires to come to Christ.5
3. Acts 2:39-42
5. John 6:37
Q. 162: Is everyone saved who hears the gospel and attends church?
A: Not everyone who hears the gospel and attends a visible church is saved. The elect are only the true members of the invisible church.1
Q. 163: What is the invisible church?
A: The invisible church consists of the whole number of the elect, in all ages and places, gathered into one under Christ, the head.1
Q. 164: What are the special privileges of the invisible church?
A: The members of the invisible church have the privilege of enjoying union with Christ, whereby they are spiritually joined to Christ as their head, and thus, partake of the power of His mediation in all things which manifests their union with Christ.1 The members of the invisible church enjoy the firstfruits of communion in the glory that Christ fully possesses2 and enjoy the full fruits of their communion in Christ following death, whereby they receive full redemption of their bodies3 and complete holiness of their souls.4