Turretin on marks of the true visible church (part 3)

More historical stuff from Francis Turretin.  My quoting of Turretin is in no way, shape, or form, an endorsement or a promotion of him as a true Christian.  It is my hope and prayer that true Christians will be benefited from the information provided (any underlining emphasis mine).

“XII. (4) Because there ought to be some method for distinguishing a true church from a false, as for distinguishing a false church from a true, and false prophets from true teachers. Now this is no other than falsity of doctrine and its disagreement with the word of God (Is. 8:20; Dt. 13:1, 2; Lk. 16:29). Hence, Christ (speaking of the false prophets) says, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ (Mt. 7:16); not only as to morals and life, but especially as to doctrine (as is gathered from Lk. 6:45). And John wishes the spirits (i.e., the teachers) to be tried, whether they are of God (1 Jn. 4:1). If you seek the rule of trying, he brings it forward in the following verses from the truth of doctrine: ‘Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God’ (vv. 2, 3). And more clearly in the second epistle, ‘Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son’ (2 Jn. 9); ‘If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house’ (2 Jn. 10).

Paul confirms this when he denounces an anathema upon him who wished to preach another gospel than what had been preached: ‘If I, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed’ (Gal. 1:8). He not only wishes to be rejected whatever would be foreign to the gospel, but that an anathema should be denounced upon him who should dare to introduce it into the midst of them, whoever he might be, whether an apostle on earth or even an angel from heaven (by whom after Christ nothing more illustrious and more to be revered can be granted).

Thus Paul excludes the most specious marks of au­thority and the greatest miracles which can be obtruded (such as the descent of an angel from heaven). Now if the presence of an angel or the authority of an apostle cannot secure faith from us (if it is opposed to the gospel), how much more ineffectual will that authority be which a local or personal succession can conciliate, since such successors cannot be reckoned greater than the apostles? Again, if the apostles wished the doctrine of the gospel to be the rule by which true or false teachers are known, how much more today when nothing infallible remains to us except the Scriptures?”

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