The Unity of the Church by Matthias Loy [Journal Article]

“The church is, and in order to be the body of Christ, must be essentially invisible. She possesses not a single essential attribute by which she is visible. If it were not for the instructions of the Holy Spirit, we would be ignorant, not only of her nature, but even of her very existence. We would see men and their deeds, and would know them to be a peculiar organization; but that which is the very life of the organization, without which it is a mere human society, not the church of Jesus Christ, we could never see and never know…

“We learn that this church exists in any given place, not because we see her there, but because the means of grace, which will accomplish that whereunto they are sent, are used there. But the means of grace are not the church: in them we have evidences only by faith; to our mere senses they prove nothing, because there is no natural connection between these means and the church. The Holy Catholic Church is an object of faith, not of sight.” – Matthias Loy

Matthias Loy (1828-1915) served as president of the Joint Synod of Ohio, Columbus Seminary and Capital University. He edited the Lutheran Standard and the Columbus Theological Magazine. Many of his books are available in Lutheran Library editions.

Book Contents

  • Invisible and Visible
    • The Marks Are Not The Body
    • The True Body Is Invisible
    • Men Compose The Church
    • The Church Is Also Visible
    • The Visible Church Has Rights And Duties
  • The Church Is One
    • In The Epistles
    • Errors Coexist With The Indwelling of the Spirit
    • Not Every Error Excludes One From The Congregation
    • Charity In The Face Of Error
    • Doctrinal Error Is Not Indifferent
    • The Church Will Always Be One
    • All Spiritual Things Intended to Exercise Influence In This World Must Assume A Corporeal Form
    • The Sacrificial Acts Require A Church Visible
    • Both Kinds Of Acts Require The Union Of Believers In A Congregation
  • How The Church Is Designed To Be United
    • Unity Is An Essential Attribute Of The Invisible Church
    • The Scriptures Urge Unity
    • Schism Can Only Exist In The Visible Church
    • In What Does This Unity Consist
    • So Long As The Life In Christ by Faith Is Preserved
    • Purity of Word and Sacrament The Only True Test Of Unity
    • “I Believe The Bible” Is Not Enough
    • The Manifestation of Internal Evil By A False Confession
    • Heresy and Schism
    • An Errorist Is Not A Heretic
    • Is Non-Heretical Schism To Be Treated As Innocent?
    • Is It The Church’s Duty To Unite And Cooperate With Non-Heretical Sects?
  • We Are Commanded To Unite With Those Who Remain In Apostolic Doctrine And Fellowship
    • Unity With Heretics And Schismatics Is Sin
    • But Which Groups And Denominations Are Schismatic?

Publication Information

  • Lutheran Library edition first published: 2020
  • Copyright: CC BY 4.0
Matthias Loy
Matthias Loy

President of the Joint Synod of Ohio, the Columbus Seminary and Capital University, and edited the Lutheran Standard and the Columbus Theological Magazine. In 1881 he withdrew the Joint Synod from the Synodical Conference as a result of Walther’s teaching about predestination.