The following is a chart that seeks to capture the logic of the following confession from Article 29 of The Belgic Confession:
“The true church can be recognized if it has the following marks: The church engages in the pure preaching of the gospel; it makes use of the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them; it practices church discipline for correcting faults. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and holding Jesus Christ as the only Head. By these marks one can be assured of recognizing the true church—and no one ought to be separated from it.“
Marks of a Church
Preaching the Gospel – What creates the church, a community of those who believe the gospel.
Administration of the Ordinances – What marks out and makes known the boundaries of that believing community.
- Baptism = the initiating rite to mark off those who belong to Christ and his church.
- The Lord’s Supper = the ongoing rite which continually marks off those who constitute the church.
Exercising Church Discipline – What maintains the proper boundaries of the church, i.e., those who demonstrate lives consistent with their profession of faith in Christ.