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Richard Baxter on Schism

August 9, 2016

 

1. There is a causing divisions in a particular church, when yet no party divideth from that church, much less from the universal. . .
2. And if this be a fault, it must be a greater fault to cause divisions from, as well as in, a particular church, which a man may do that separateth not from it himself: as if he persuade others to separate, or if he sow those tares of error which cause it, or if he causelessly excommunicate or cast them out.

3. And then it must be as great a sin to make a causeless separation from the church that you are in yourself, which is another sort of schism. If you may not divide in the church, nor divide others from the church, then you may not causelessly divide the common from it yourselves.

4. And it is yet a greater schism, when you divide not only from that one church, but from many; because they concur in opinion with that one, (which is the common way of dividers).

5. And it is yet a greater schism, when whole churches separate from each other, and renounce due communion with each other without just cause: as the Greeks, Latins, and Protestants in their present distance, must some of them (whoever it is) be found guilty.

6. And yet it is a greater schism than this, when churches do not only separate from each other causelessly, but also unchurch each other, and endeavour to cut off each other from the church universal, by denying each other to be true churches of Christ.

 

Richard Baxter and William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 5 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 157–158.

 

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