Orthodoxy at Stake

The Great Ends of the Church

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life–this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and revealed to us ––we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have communion with us, and truly our communion is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  We are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete.” 1 John 1:1–4

In general, the churches . . . bore for me the same relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola: they promoted thirst without quenching it.” John Updike, A Month of Sundays[i]

For over a century, a small gem has been embedded in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Book of Order: the “Great Ends of the Church.” Six great purposes of the church’s life––the life of every congregation and of the whole denomination––present Presbyterians with markers for the character of our life together, pointing to basic works of the church that are foundational to who the church is and what the church is called to do.  

The Great Ends of the Church are:

• proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind;

• shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God;

•  maintenance of divine worship;

•  preservation of the truth;

•  promotion of social righteousness; and

•  exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.

The Great Ends of the Church express direction for faith and mission with a clarity and substance that is rarely found in the isolated, temporary products of church councils and committees. Perhaps that is why the church regularly ignores them when devising its endless string of vision statements, priorities, goals, and objectives.

The Great Ends of the Church are not a collection of disconnected items, but a holistic vision of the church’s life. A church cannot be faithful to the intention of the great ends by choosing to emphasize some while downplaying others. There can be no evangelism apart from demonstrating life within God’s rule, and no living the gospel without proclaiming the gospel. No care for ourselves without care for the world, and no justice apart from personal relationships. No worship that neglects truth, and no theology without praise and prayer. None of the great ends is independent of the others, and each depends on its relation to the others.

Worship in Spirit and Truth

Even so, I want to direct attention to the middle two: maintenance of divine worship and preservation of the truth. Unlike the others, these two sound a somewhat defensive tone. The bold language of the others–– proclamation, nurture, promotion, and exhibition––gives way to mild defense––maintenance and preservation––as if divine worship and truth were endangered, at risk, in need of protective measures. Who can doubt it? Worship and truth are always imperiled by cultural and religious accretions and accommodations.  Maintenance and preservation are the church’s constant task.

Maintenance of divine worship does not mean the conservation of worship that is simply divine, of course, but rather the continuance of the worship of God. In institutionalized, market-driven, entrepreneurial churches, it is precisely the worship of the one God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, that is in danger of being engulfed in a sea of functional Unitarianism, pop therapy, and institutional self-promotion.  The danger is not confined to mega churches, or liberal churches, or careless churches. Every pastor, including the most faithful, is aware of the hazard. In a fragmented ecclesial landscape of competing denominations and congregations, the temptation is ever-present to stir into the liturgical mix a little––or more than a little––self-help, entertainment, group-building, and organizational promotion.

Worship is not all about us. Neither is worship about the church.  Sustaining congregations in the worship of God is a primary task of the church. Focused devotion to God is not accomplished simply by using the Lutheran Book of Worship or the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship or the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (although they help). The whole liturgy––including music, the reading of Scripture, prayers of thanksgiving and intercession, preaching, and even announcements–– must draw congregations into praise of the living God who seeks and creates communion with us through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The Reformed tradition has always been aware that worship can drift away from God toward preoccupation with ourselves. Gratitude for God’s grace can be displaced by what worship cando to fulfill us. Calls to worship, hymns, prayers, and sermons can become words about us rather than proclamation of the Triune God who creates and sustains all things, who reconciles the world to himself, who leads us into truth and faithfulness. Even the sacraments can be reduced to chummy celebrations of human community.

Thus, it is no accident that in the Great Ends of the Church maintenance of divine worship precedes preservation of the truth, and that both are placed at the center:

maintenance of divine worship//preservation of the truth

lex orandi//lex credendi

rule of praying//rule of believing

the church’s worship shapes the church’s belief. 

The faith of most Christians is shaped more by the weekly gathering around font, table, and pulpit than by all the church’s other programs and activities. The old Latin pairing also works the other way around, of course––lex credendi//lex orandi––which is why the truth of the gospel must shape word and sacrament, prayer and praise, in order to maintain divine worship, worship of the living God. Worship and truth form a Möbius strip of continuous interaction.

Orthodoxy, orthōs doxa (right belief) is intimately connected to orthōs doxadzō (right praise).  Orthodoxy’s primary significance does not lie in its distinction from heresy, but in its lived truth within worshiping congregations. Orthodoxy is at stake every Lord’s Day in every congregation, not only, or even primarily, in the actions of denominational councils (although the actions of councils are secondary elements in the formation or malformation of believers’ faith and life). Focus on the real and perceived departures from “right belief” of national churches should not divert attention from the character of proclamation and teaching in congregations.  

Orthodoxy at Risk

In the church as well as beyond it, orthodoxy is too often regarded as inflexible adherence to rigid, doctrinaire concepts. It is seen as the reverse of tolerance and open-mindedness. Orthodoxy in politics, science, the arts, and most other human endeavors is seen as the enemy of inquiry, discovery, modernization, and progress. This negative assessment has now been joined by a naïve appropriation of the “hermeneutics of suspicion.” A well-known Presbyterian blogger recently posted an entry extolling the virtues of heterodoxy rather than orthodoxy. In his post he equated heterodoxy with diversity and orthodoxy with uniformity, going on to say that: “It is also important to remember that ‘orthodoxy’ was established by the winners of human debates, not handed down to us from on high.” He added, “The same goes for the contents of the biblical canon, for that matter.”    

It has become fashionable to say that “history is written by the winners,” and therefore we must recover the suppressed voices of defeated minorities. Elaine Pagels, for instance, contends that gnostic gospels were suppressed and forcibly eliminated by an ecclesiastical apparatus that would not tolerate the idea that people could find God by themselves. She also asserts that the recently discovered, so-called “Gospel of Judas” contradicts everything we have known about Christianity, presenting us with a version of history and of beliefs that is more in tune with modern struggles than the doctrines imposed at Nicaea.  

It is true enough that history’s winners shape the future, and it is true enough that winning does not always indicate veracity or righteousness. But “winners of human debates” often win, sometimes after long struggles, because their views come to be recognized as true and just. Who would assert that we should recover the discredited voices of racism, embodied in European pogroms, South African apartheid, and American segregation? Who would contend that the “orthodoxy” of racial equality is simply a viewpoint established by the winners of a human debate who now suppress and eliminate the misunderstood voice of racial bias?

Orthodoxy––right belief––does not imply narrow uniformity. Even the triumph of human equality over racism does not suppress discussion by imposing rigid constraints on all expression about matters of race. Are reparations due to African Americans for centuries of slavery? Does affirmative action promote racial justice or perpetuate racial divides? How should public schools best ensure racial diversity? What immigration policies are appropriate? All of these questions and more are discussed within the orthodoxy of racial equality embedded in law and embraced in custom. 

Do racists still exist in America? Does racial bias lurk beneath the surface? Of course, but we do not see racists as history’s unfortunate losers whose convictions must be recovered and understood lest they be eliminated by a legal apparatus that cannot tolerate the idea that some races are superior to others.

Christian orthodoxy is not the inverse of Christian diversity. Lutherans and Reformed have had a few differences over the years; Reformed and Anglican churches cannot agree on appropriate forms of episcopé; and Reformed, Lutherans, and Episcopalians differ from Baptists on the theology and practice of Baptism. However, aside from a few zealots in our midst, we do not label one another “heretics,” and we recognize that diversities can be encompassed within a generous orthodoxy of Christian faith and life.  Christian diversity is not an achievement of our (post) modernity, but an abiding feature of Christian faith and life. Tertullian voiced the relationship between orthodoxy and diversity at the conclusion of his rendition of the regula fidei: “Provided the essence of the Rule is not disturbed, you may seek and discuss as much as you like.”[ii]

And yet, within each of our churches, orthodoxy is “at stake.” I cannot speak for Lutherans or Anglicans, of course, but in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and other Reformed churches in North America “orthodoxy at stake” is not simply a matter of competing parties–– one orthodox while the other is … what? … heterodox? … heretical? … apostate? The real issue is a diminished commitment among pastors and other church leaders to serious, sustained attention to the faith, and thus a waning of shared theological conviction throughout the church. Orthodoxy is “at stake” among evangelicals as well as progressives, among LGBT opponents as well as proponents. 

What is orthodoxy? Not the Westminster Confession, the Augsburg Confession, or the Thirty-nine Articles. Its roots are much deeper. Orthodoxy’s trajectory was shaped at Nicaea and refined at Constantinople. It was there that the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of “right belief” was articulated, establishing the rubrics for our talk about God. The Creed does not say everything there is to be said, but it establishes the margins within which the theological life of the church lives and moves. The Creed is dogma, which gives shape to the church’s ongoing theological work. Colin Gunton’s metaphor indicates both constraints and freedoms in the church’s ongoing theological task: “dogma is that which delimits the garden of theology, providing a space in which theologians may play freely and cultivate such plants as are cultivable in the space which is so defined.”[iii] 

While it might be difficult to find Presbyterian ministers who would abandon the Nicene garden by explicitly and publically rejecting the Creed’s affirmations, it would be distressingly easy to locate ministers whose preaching and teaching have little to do with the Creed’s foundational truth.  

Whatever may be the ecclesial failings or theological shortcomings of some in our churches, orthodoxy cannot be reduced to a slogan that is used to denigrate or castigate them. The task is not simply to criticize “the other side” for “abandoning the faith of the church,” but to identify differences constructively and articulate orthodox convictions faithfully. In the PCUSA, genuine theological differences are too often reduced to slogans and political struggles, complete with party platforms, legislative schemes, campaign strategists, and lobbyists . . . all leading to the tallying of votes.  Our task, and the task of those with whom we disagree, is to be fully aware of the theological and moral issues involved, and to engage one another in persistent, protracted dialogue. It is not enough to expound favorite themes within our own circles of conviction. It is necessary that we articulate our beliefs, and listen to the beliefs of others so that the differences (and agreements) between us become clear to all.

Nicaea and Us

Thus it was in the great controversy leading to Nicaea.  Ordinary Christians, as well as priests and bishops, came to understand that what was at stake was the very knowledge of God.  Specifically, the issue was the unity of the Son with the Father. The alternatives were stark.  Is the Son fully God, commensurate with the Father?  Or is the Son subordinate to the Father, a created being that is only “divine” in a subsidiary sense? Although the issue was theological, the debate was not abstract, for the matter went to the heart of Christians’ understanding of God, their own salvation, and the character of Christian existence. 

Could Christians believe that the Son was truly God, and therefore trust that the salvation announced and accomplished in Jesus Christ was God’s gracious will?  Or was the Son something less than God, so that God’s will remained mysterious––an uncertain purpose behind, above, and beyond the words and deeds of Jesus Christ? Were men and women “in Christ” thereby reconciled to God? Or was there another step that had to be taken in order to be reconciled to the still-hidden God who dwelt behind Christ? Had God come to humankind in the person of Jesus Christ? Or had God remained aloof, only sending an emissary?

Twenty-first century theological differences are not drawn along “orthodox/Arian” lines, yet the stakes are similar. The unity of God––Father Son and Holy Spirit ––is the essential guarantee that we are able to know God truly. If Jesus Christ is not truly God as well as truly human, then he is merely one path toward a god who remains essentially unknown. Similarly, if the Spirit is not the Holy Spirit of God, then our deepest spiritual experience is not an encounter with the one true God, but only an approach to a god who remains essentially distant. Now, as then, the church’s knowledge of God depends on its understanding of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and on its affirmation of the one true God––Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Note that the second article of the Nicene Creed has two distinct parts: a series of theological affirmations that confesses the full divinity of the only-begotten Son of the Father Almighty, and a narrative of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son our Lord (incarnation that is not limited to Jesus’ conception and birth, but encompasses his life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming again). The hinge that links the two is the very good news that it is all “for us and our salvation.” Our salvation centers on the reality that the Son of God is “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father” and that “he came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became truly human.” A Jesus Christ less than God or less than human would not have accomplished our salvation, would not have been “for us.” 

It is true enough that the Creed once inoculated believers against heresy, and it may do so still. But the more basic issue at stake in the Creed is human salvation and Christian identity. Who is God? Who are we? Does God care about us? How does God act in our lives? How, in God’s grace, shall we live together? The Creed tells the story of God and ourselves, the story of our redemption and new life.

The task of orthodoxy today is not to defend itself, to protect its integrity, or to fend off barbarians who clamor at the gate, much less to retreat into an enclave of imagined purity. The task of right belief, embedded in right worship, is to proclaim the good news that it is all “for our sake,” “for us and our salvation.” Orthodoxy cannot be confined within a defensive citadel, for it only lives in faithful proclamation to a world in desperate need of what it has to say.

Several years ago, the Lilly Endowment funded the most comprehensive survey ever conducted of American congregations and their pastoral leaders. The survey revealed that most pastors find their vocation to be genuinely satisfying. But the survey dug deeper, asking pastors to identify the aspects of their vocation that were most and least satisfying. Astonishingly, the least satisfying, voiced by a large majority, was “difficulty reaching people with the gospel today.” Does the difficulty lie in pastors’ capacity to proclaim the gospel or the difficulties posed by American culture? Or does it lie in uncertainty and confusion about the shape of the gospel itself? Probably all of the above, but I have become convinced that the basic problem is the absence of clarity about the gospel itself.

What does it mean to be saved? And how is salvation accomplished? The deep tradition of the church, expressed in the church’s “right belief,” has an answer that is not simply a treasure to be preserved, but a proclamation to be made to a culture that does not know what God has done “for our sake.” Orthodoxy, right belief, is not restricted to the Nicene Creed, but it is the place to start. In a church that recites the Creed regularly, but pushes it to the side when shaping faith and life, those who wish to “preserve the truth” should articulate the Creed’s affirmations cogently and compellingly, calling upon the whole church to engage the affirmations that have sustained the church for two millennia.

The Importance of One and Three

It may be particularly important to engage the Creed’s first and third articles. Too often, orthodoxy’s champions focus on Christology, assuming that the first article of the Creed expresses generalized axioms, and acting as if the third article has remained as it was left by the Council of Nicaea in 325: a terse “and the Holy Spirit.”  If it is orthodoxy that is at stake, it is the whole of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed that is at stake. 

It is usually assumed that we all know what we mean when we utter the word “God.”  Even in the church, we seem to operate in the naïve belief that our talk about “God” is intended and heard in the same way by all.  The proponents of “inclusive language” suppose that reference to God using the masculine pronouns he and his can easily be replaced by God and God’s because the meaning is self-evident. However, sociologists tell us what we should know already: “God” is a word that can be filled with some pretty bizarre meanings. 

Feuerbach understood religious references to God as disclosing that “theology is anthropology.” He asserted that God “expresses nothing other than the essence of man; man’s God is nothing other than the deified essence of man.”[iv] Feuerbach was half right, for much of popular religiosity is just that––our projection of our desires onto “god.” The god of human projection is found in both conservative and liberal forms, often expressed as, “I can’t believe in a god who would . . .”  Baylor University’s 2008 Survey of Religion summarized the four gods Americans believe in––the Authoritative God, the Benevolent God, the Critical God, and the Distant God.[v] The National Study of Youth and Religion characterizes the beliefs of American youth (and the churches that teach them) as “therapeutic moralistic deism.”[vi] None of this is a new phenomenon. Calvin called human nature “a perpetual factory of idols.”[vii] Our constant temptation is the effortless creation of “god” in our image.

Karl Barth recognized the power of Feuerbach’s critique. Our knowledge of God, he wrote, “could so easily be an empty movement of thought––that is to say, if, in the movement which [we] regard as the knowledge of God, [we] are really alone and not occupied with God at all but only with [ourselves], absolutizing [our] own nature and being, projecting it into the infinite, setting up a reflection of [our] own glory. Carried through in this way, the movement of thought is empty because it is without object.  It is a mere game.  … We are not dealing with God, but at bottom with ourselves.”[viii] The Creed guards us against an “empty movement of thought” by drawing us to Scripture’s naming and narrating the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the one God who creates redeems and sustains, the Father Son and Holy Spirit. 

The church does not confess a generic deity who is merely the presupposition behind Jesus of Nazareth.  The church confesses faith in the one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen; in the one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God; in the one Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life.  This one God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, is not our projection of what we want a god to be, for this God is beyond our imaginings. The Creed encapsulates Scripture’s witness to what we could not otherwise know. In the midst of the culture’s (and the church’s) loose talk about “god,” the right belief of the Creed can be proclaimed as the good news of the God who is not our creation.

It may be that “right belief’s” faithful proclamation of the only God requires renewed attention to the Creed’s third article. The explicit issue in the Arian controversy leading to Nicaea was the relationship of the Son to the Father. Although the oneness of the Son and the Father was established at the Council, there was no affirmation of the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Creed of 325 concluded with the mere, “… and the Holy Spirit.” It was inevitable that the Arian controversy would provoke a parallel debate about the divinity of the Holy Spirit. “The Arian heresy “speaks against the Word of God,” wrote Athanasius, “and as a logical consequence profanes His Holy Spirit.”[ix] If the Son is a subordinate, created being as the Arians asserted, surely the Spirit is as well.

In the decades following Nicaea, the Arians attacked the Spirit’s divinity, earning for themselves the epithet pneumatomachoi––“fighters against the Spirit.” Basil the Great voiced the seriousness of the matter before the church: “All the weapons of war have been prepared against us; every intellectual missile is aimed at us. … But we will never surrender the truth; we will not betray the defense like cowards. The Lord has delivered to us a necessary and saving dogma: the Holy Spirit is to be ranked with the Father. Our opponents do not agree; instead they divide and tear away the Spirit from the Father, transforming His nature to that of a ministering spirit.”[x]

In too many of our churches the Holy Spirit is reduced to a mere “ministering spirit,” a vague spiritual presence that is useful in community building, or in justifying decisions of church councils, or in developing personal human spirituality. The Council of Constantinople (381) affirmed that the Holy Spirit was the Spirit of God, and so one with the Father and the Son, and so a central character in the narrated drama of God with us and for us.  Constantinopledid not address the issue of the Holy Spirit by using the technical terms of the second article, ousias and homoousias, but instead completed Nicaea by employing the biblical, narrative language of the church’s developed baptismal instruction, the regula fidei.

And so the church confessed, and is called to confess anew, faith in the Holy Spirit . . .

“. . . the Lord, the giver of life.” The Holy Spirit is one with the Lord Jesus Christ and with the Maker of all that is.  This identification of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Son and the Father is not the product of an abstract theological calculus, but a reflection of the whole range of biblical testimony. The narrative of God’s Way encompasses the narrative of the Holy Spirit, from the waters of creation to the heavenly invitation of Revelation. The Holy Spirit is not a surd that fills our own longings or justifies our own preferences, but the very presence of God poured out on all flesh, abiding with us and in us, leading us into the truth about God, about ourselves, and about God’s new Way in the world.

“. . . who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.”  Basil said, “I reckon that this ‘glorifying’ [of the Holy Spirit] is nothing else but the recounting of His own wonders.  To describe His wonders gives Him the fullest glorification possible.”[xi] The church worships the Holy Spirit as it testifies to the Spirit’s gifts in its midst: prophesy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, generosity, diligence, cheerfulness (Rom. 12); wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, discernment, tongues and interpretation, assistance, leadership, and love (1 Cor. 12); apostolicity, prophesy, evangelism, tending and teaching (Eph. 4). The church fails to worship and glorify the Spirit when it claims all of these as its own capabilities and achievements. 

“. . . who has spoken through the prophets.” Just as the Holy Spirit is not separable from the Father and the Son, so the Holy Spirit is not set apart from the testimony of Scripture. The Holy Spirit has “spoken through the prophets” and continues to speak to us through the witness of prophets and apostles. Scripture is not the church’s possession to be mastered, but the “eyeglasses” that enable us to see clearly God’s Way among us.[xii]

“. . . one holy catholic and apostolic church.”Just as the Holy Spirit is not separable from the Father and the Son nor set apart from Scripture, so the Holy Spirit is not detached from the church. The one holy catholic and apostolic church is not the product of human striving or an accomplishment of human faithfulness. It is the Holy Spirit who creates and sustains and reforms a communion that lives in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God. 

“. . . one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.”Just as the Holy Spirit is not separable from the Father and the Son nor set apart from Scripture, nor detached from the church, so the Holy Spirit is not aloof from our deepest experience. Our forgiveness, acceptance, reconciliation, redemption, sanctification––our salvation––is sealed in our lives through the Spirit, who unites us to Christ.  The Holy Spirit remains God with us and for us as we live out our baptisms by forgiving as we have been forgiven. 

“. . . the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.”Finally, the Holy Spirit is not remote from our fears and hopes for ourselves and for the whole creation The resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come are the sure and certain work of the Holy Spirit. We do not have to rely on technique or technology, on capability or power, for God’s Holy Spirit nourishes hope “that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay” (Rom. 8:21). 

The church worships and glorifies the Holy Spirit as it recounts to itself, and to the world, the wonders of the Holy Spirit within the church and throughout creation.  Christological orthodoxy is not theological orthodoxy unless it is pneumatological orthodoxy.

Orthodoxy is not an ecclesial party within a fractured, contentious church, but rather the wholeness of Christian faith that must be engaged by the whole church. Neither is orthodoxy an all-encompassing system, exalting every conviction to the status of “right belief,” but rather the sphere within which we are to carry out our theological work. Simply put, orthodoxy is the proclamation of the truth of the gospel. Perhaps, then, the last words should come from a Reformed theologian of some note, Karl Barth: “The language about God to be found in the Church is meant to be proclamation, so far as it is directed toward man in the form of preaching and sacrament, with the claim and in an atmosphere of expectation that in accordance with its commission it has to tell him the Word of God to be heard in faith.”[xiii] May it be so.


The Reverend Joseph D. Small has served as pastor, was the former director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Theology and Worship, and now serves as a consultant to the Presbyterian Foundation.


[i] John Updike, A Month of Sundays (New York: Knopf, 1975) 22.

[ii] Tertullian, “Prescription Against Heretics” in Early Latin Theology, ed. S.L. Greenslade (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1956) §13, 39f.

[iii] Colin Gunton, Intellect and Action: Elucidations on Christian Theology and the Life of Faith (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000) 1.

[iv] Ludwig Feuerbach, Lectures on the Essence of Religion, trans. Ralph Manheim (New York, Harper & Row, 1967) Third Lecture, 17.

[v] Rodney Stark, What Americans Really Believe: New Findings from the Baylor Surveys of Religion (Waco TX: Baylor University Press, 2008).

[vi] Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

[vii] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960) 1.11.8., 108.

[viii] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, II/1 The Doctrine of God, trans. T.H.L. Parker et al.  (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1957) §26, 71.

[ix] Athanasius, “Letter to Maximus” (c. 371), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 4, ed. Phillip Schaff & Henry Wace (Peabody MA: Hendrickson, 1892/1994) 567.

[x] St. Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, trans. David Anderson (Crestwood NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 1977), 10.25, 45f.

[xi] Ibid., 23.54, 86.

[xii] Cf. Calvin, Institutes 1.6.1., p. 70 and 1.14.1., 160f.

[xiii] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/1, The Doctrine of the Word of God, trans. G.T. Thompson (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1936) §3, 51.

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Joseph D. Small
The Reverend Joseph D. Small has served as pastor, was the former director of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Office of Theology and Worship, and now serves as a consultant to the Presbyterian Foundation.

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