No visible Church has any right to say, “We are the only true Church. We are the men, and truth shall die with us.” No visible Church should ever dare to say, “We shall stand forever. The gates of hell will not overcome us.” This is that Church to which belong the Lord’s precious promises of preservation, continuance, protection, and final glory. “Whatever,” says Hooker, “we read in Scripture, concerning the endless love and saving mercy which God shows towards His Churches, the only proper subject is this Church, which we properly term the mystical body of Christ.” Small and despised as the true Church may be in this world, it is precious and honorable in the sight of God. The temple of Solomon in all its glory was nothing, in comparison with that Church which is built upon a rock.
J. C. Ryle, Warnings to the Churches
2 Replies to “Concerning the true church”
I appreciate Ryle’s call to humility and to not take our structures too seriously as “the kingdom come.”
Yes. Have you read Richard Neuhaus’s book _Freedom for Ministry_ it’s an excellent treatment on a realistic vision of the institution of the church.