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MY CHURCH

MY CHURCH

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.


"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not
revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say
also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My
Church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." MATT.
xvi. 17, 18.
BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.


"Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath not
revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say
also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My
Church ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." MATT.
xvi. 17, 18.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 31, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/07/2014

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MY CHURCHBY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D."Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for flesh and blood hath notrevealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I sayalso unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build MyChurch ; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." MATT.xvi. 17, 18.THESE words have acted like a dreadful fate inthe world. They have been interpreted as variouslyand diversely as a Delphic oracle. Round theinside of the vast and lofty dome of St. Peter s atRome, the words, " Thou art Peter, and upon thisrock I will build My Church," have been set inletters of gold. They express the sincere andpassionate belief of those who worship beneath themthat Jesus bestowed on Peter and his successorsthe spiritual dominion of the world, and gave himand them the earthly authority over the souls andlives of men. An Archbishop sits in Canterburywhose title and whose claim is a protest againstthis interpretation. He traces his order andauthority back through an unbroken succession toPeter and his fellows, and reads these words as thesanction of his office and his service. Those whoMY CHURCH 43deny the accuracy of his history, and the fairness of his reading of the words of Christ, he places beyondthe pale of the visible Church. But there are millionsof men who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sinceritywho deny both these interpretations. When theymeet for the government or discipline of theirworshipping assemblies they also claim that these
 
words are the ground of their authority. Theybelieve that these assemblies are only an enlargement of this first little company to whom Jesusspoke, and that, so long as they can make Peter sconfession and be inspired by Peter s faith,they shall overcome the gates of hell. Suchhas been the burden which these words havecast upon Christian minds, that scholarship hasbitten into them with its critical acid to see if they were really spoken by Jesus. But theirstrangeness, and daring, and depth of meaning, andeven their form, bear the hall-mark of the mint of Christ.ow the surest and soundest interpretation of aword of Christ is always the simplest. We mightlearn more of the mind of Christ could we read Hisword without the prepossessions of our training andour traditions. Let us endeavour to forget theseopposing and defiant expositions. Let us attemptto leave the controversies of past centuries behindus. Let us endeavour to purge our hearts of self-will and of partisan feeling. Let us pray to be ledinto the thoughts of Christ. In two ways we may44 THE SECRET OF THE LORDbe able to escape into a calmer and a cleareratmosphere. We can, to begin with, recall the timeand the place and the circumstances under whichthese words were spoken. We can conjure up thatquiet glade in the coasts of Caesarea Philippi onwhose green sward the Master sat with His disciplesat His feet. We can look into the faces of theseunlearned and ignorant men, whose hands wererough with their toil. We can remember the deepdevotion of their hearts and the spiritual insight of the foremost among them. Then we may be able
 
to understand what Christ meant these words totell these unlessoned and yet loyal and quickenedhearts. In the next place, we can keep in mindhow these words were interpreted by the mind andin the life of the ew Testament believers. It is aposition which no Christian mind can refuse toaccept, that what Peter and James and John andPaul strove to realise was their understanding of the purpose of Christ. This was His disclosure of the purpose of His ministry, and we can be surethat any interpretation of it which will not accordwith the ew Testament reading is not loyal to thethought of Christ. Whatever theory of the development of the Church men may hold, or whateveradjustment of its forms and agencies men mayconsider themselves at liberty to make, no manwho is loyal to Christ dare contradict the teachingof these words of His, as those who heard themaccepted them.MY CHURCH45I. In the first place, it is clear that the Churchis a society founded by Christ.He calls it significantly " My Church," and itwas the one thing He ever called His own. Jesuswrote no book. He consecrated no holy place.He left behind no form of church government andno directory of worship. He named no successor.This only He did He founded a society whichwas to be a brotherhood of believing men gathered

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