Liberty Of Conscience

I haven't had the leisure to respond to certain objections to my post on Socinianism of 12 Dec. But the following comments address the issue further.

One of the implications of the fact that the church is obliged to teach God's Word with authority is "confessional communion." This is the view that church members who would be admitted to the Lord's Supper may not hold to doctrines which are contrary to what the church teaches as the Word of God. We can understand this view more clearly when we consider the biblical doctrine of "liberty of conscience."

The church must teach God's Word with authority, and it must teach God's Word alone. Everything other than the authoritative teaching of God's Word is the "doctrine of men." And God has left the consciences of believers free from whatever might be taught that is "in any thing contrary to His Word, or beside it, in matters of faith and worship."

Authoritative teaching of God's Word "is to be received with reverence and submission, not only for its agreement with the Word, but also for the power [whereby it is taught], as being an ordinance of God, appointed thereunto in His Word." And so, "because the power which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, oppose the church's lawful authority... resist the ordinance of God. And for their publishing of such opinions... as are contrary... to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or to the power of godliness,... they may be lawfully called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the church."

The church is not at liberty to teach anything other than God's Word, and so believer's are free to disagree if anything else is taught. And because the church must teach the Word with authority, believers are not at liberty to disagree with its biblical teaching.

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