And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)
Since Christ is the head of his body, the church, he alone can determine doctrines for her. Nothing is to be received as divinely warranted except it comes with his stamp upon it.
It is nothing to the faithful servant of Jesus Christ that a certain dogma comes down to him with gray antiquity of the ages to make it venerable.
Like a sensible man, the Christian respects antiquity, but like a loyal subject of the King, he does not bow before antiquity as to let it become ruler in Zion instead of the living Christ.
A multitude of good men may meet together, and they may, in their judgment, propound a dogma and assert it to be essential and undoubted, and they may even threaten perils most abundant to those who receive not that verdict.
But if the dogma was not authorized long before they decided it—if it was not written in the Book, the decision of the learned council amounts to nothing. All the fathers and doctors and divines and confessors put together cannot add a word to the faith once delivered unto the saints.
Yea, I venture to say that the unanimous assent of all the saints in heaven and earth would not suffice to make a single doctrine binding upon the conscience unless Jesus had so determined.1
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