Thursday, May 19, 2011

De Ecclesia Militante - Chapter 1

Chapter One
About the Name of the Church

(1) The controversy about the Church militant has many parts. For she is first considered as she is in herself; then about her members, that is, about clerics, about monks, about laity. But returning to the Church considered according to herself, about which we now start to dispute, there are especially three controversies. The first is about the name and definition of ‘Church.’ The second, about the quality or about the visibility of the same. The third, about the notes, by which she is able to be known certainly.

(2) Now we begin from the first; and yet before that, on account of the zealous, we would note the name of the authors who have written about the Church, or rather, of those whose books we have read; for we have not read everything. And so, Bd. Augustine, in the lib. de unitate Ecclesiae; Bd. Cyprian, in a book of the same title; but also Optatus in book six contra Parmenianum, have written about this argument. Of the more recent, Thomas Waldensis, in volume 1, book 2 doctrinae fidei, has written; [as have] Joannes de Turrecremata, in summam de Ecclesia; John Driedo, in book 4 of de dogmatibus ecclesiasticis, chapter 2; Albert Pinghius, controversia 3; Cardinal Hosius [Stansislaw Hozjusz] in confessione, in explicatione symboli, and in book 5 contra prolegomena Brentii; Peter a Soto in the first part of his defense against Brentius; John Daventria, in confut. 7. art. Confessionis Augustanae; John Cochlaeus, in Philippica 4, and in the book de Scripturae et Ecclesiae auctoritate; John Eck, in the beginning of his Enchiridii; Alphonsus de Castro, in book 6 contra haeres.; Melchior Cano in book 4 de locis symboli; John Antonius Delphinus, in three books de Ecclesia, John of Louvain in explicat. symboli, and all others who have explained the Creed; and Francis Turrianus in two books, de Ecclesia, and ordinat. minstr. After which, beginning in 1577 we disputed in the schools these very things which we now bring to light. From which time Gregory de Valencia has written about the same thing in his Analysi fidei catholicae part 6, and others also have written, but he is not free to evaluate their books on account of other occupations.

(3) I come now to the proposed disputation: and as we speak first about the name and then about the thing itself, [we say] that the name ‘Church’ is Greek, and is derived from ’εκκαλέο, that is, ‘I call out/forth.’ And so, ‘Church’ is a calling out, or an assembly of the called. But the Church is designated a assembly of the called, because no one joins himself to this people through himself, and his own proper instinct; but all whosoever come, are prevented by the call of God. For the call is the first benefit which the saints receive from God: “Whom he calls,” says the apostle in Romans 8, “Those he justifies; whom he justifies, those also he shall magnify.” And Acts 2, “Whomsoever the Lord our God shall call.” Then too the apostle calls all Christians ‘called’, in almost all of his letters.

(4) But there are three things about this name that should be noted. First, the name ‘Church’ with some adjective can be taken both in a good sense and in a bad sense; for Psalm 25 says, “the Church of the Wicked,” and Psalm 88, “the Church of the Saints.” But this name put absolutely should not be understood except of the Church of Christ; except in one place in Acts 19 where it speaks about the people of the gentiles: “For the assembly was confused.”

(5) In the second place, note with Augustine on Psalm 81 on the passage “God stood in the assembly of the gods,” even though the Church of the Old Testament and that of the New are the same as far as the essence, nevertheless, because the status of the Church of the New Testament is by far more excellent, therefore, the names are also different. For the people of the Old Testament is properly called the synagogue, that is, the gathering, or congregation. The people of the New Testament is nowhere called synagogue, but always the Church, that is, the calling out. For being gathered, congregated, is common to men and beasts; but being called out is proper to men. Nor does it make any difference that the people of the Jews in the Old Testament are sometimes also called the Church. For both synagogue and Church, among the Hebrews, come from gathering ‘ādāh [עדה (ayin-dalet-he)]; what we translate ‘synagogue’ comes from yā’an [יען (yod-ayin-nun)] ‘to gather.’ Likewise qāhāl [קהל (qoph-he-lamed)], that is, “Church,” comes from qāhal [קהל (qoph-he-lamed)] ‘to be gathered.’ Therefore there are two names, but they mean exactly the same thing.

(6) Third note, in the same way that ‘city’ signifies at times a assembly of men, and at other times, the place in which that assembly dwells; so also ‘Church’ sometimes signifies the assembly of the faithful, as in Romans 16: “All of the Churches of Asia greet you,” and elsewhere that place in which the faithful are gathered, as in Judith 6: “The whole people prayed in the Church throughout the night”; although, now we are disputing only about the Church as it signifies the assembly of the faithful.

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