Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici: The Divine Right of Church Government (Coldwell)

03 November 2020

A Pastoral Work on Church Government.

In 1646 the often tense relationship between the English Parliament and the Westminster Assembly of Divines, which had been summoned to advise Parliament on reforming the Church of England, came to a boiling point. When the House of Commons made it clear by an ordinance that a creature of Parliament would decide cases of suspension from the Lord’s Supper, the Assembly protested that this was “contrary to that Way of Government which Christ hath appointed in His Church, in that it giveth a Power to judge of the Fitness of Persons to come to the Sacrament unto such as our Lord Christ hath not given that Power unto.” The Commons charged the Assembly with breach of privilege and ordered that they answer nine questions about what the Scriptures mandate regarding church government, and then published the questions in an attempt to discredit the Assembly.

Jus Divinum Regiminis Ecclesiastici has long been considered the embodiment of the defensive reply of the presbyterian majority and in some respect the whole Assembly of Divines of what the Scriptures teach about church government.