May 23 – LD 21, Day 3: The Attributes of the Church
by Prof Herman Hanko
Question and answer 54 of the Heidelberg Catechism is explaining the article in the Apostolic Confession: “I believe an holy, catholic church”. And so our teacher points us to the attributes of the church. They are three in number.
One attribute is the unity
of the church. Our teacher points out that this means that the church agrees
“in one faith.” There are many churches in the world and many denominations.
But this does not mean that all churches are part of the
Nor does it mean that
every member in a given denomination, even if that denomination holds to the
truth of Scripture, is a member of the
We are to learn,
however, that the true
Although the teacher at whose feet we sit does not mention this here, the one great truth upon which all the church agrees is the truth that God is the sovereign Lord who saves his church by his own work, and does so through the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. One who does not believe this truth with all his heart is not saved.
The unity of the church
as an attribute of the church is a fact both now and in heaven. Yet we are
admonished by Scripture to seek the unity of the church. This is Paul’s earnest
exhortation in Eph 4:1-3. And we are taught to pray this prayer for the unity
of the church in Psa 122: “Pray for the peace of
The peace of the unity of one faith is a priceless gift. It is our calling to do all in our power to preserve it.
To that one church, united in a true faith, I am and forever shall remain a living member.