Westminster Larger Catechism – Lord’s Day 17
Q & A 61
Q Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
A All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.*1
Q & A 62
Q What is the visible church?
A The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion,2 and of their children.3
Q & A 63
Q What are the special privileges of the visible church?
A The visible church has the privilege of being under God’s special care and government;4 of being protected and preserved in all ages, notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies;5 and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation,6 and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved,7 and excluding none that will come unto him.*8
Q & A 64
Q What is the invisible church?
A The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.*9
Q & A 65
Q What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.*10
*1 John 12:38-40; Romans 9:6; Matthew 22:14; Matthew 7:21; Romans 11:7.
*2 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 15:9-12; Revelation 7:9; Psalm 2:8; Psalm 22:27-31; Psalm 45:17; Matthew 28:19-20; Isaiah 59:21.
*3 1 Corinthians 7:14; Acts 2:39; Romans 11:16; Genesis 17:7.
*4 Isaiah 9:5-6; 1 Timothy 4:10.
*5 Psalm 115:1-2, 9; Isaiah 31:4-5; Zechariah 12:2-4, 8-9
*6 Acts 2:39, 42.
*7 Psalm 147:19-20; Romans 9:4; Ephesians 4:11-12; Mark 16:15-16.
*8 John 6:37.
*9 Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 1:22-23; John 10:16; John 11:52.
*10 John 17:21; Ephesians 2:5-6; John 17:24.