[Article VIII(IV): What the Church Is]

Written in Latin by Philip Melanchthon (1531)

Translated from the Latin into German by Justus Jonas (1531)

English Translation by Ambrose and Socrates Henkel (1851), Revised by W. F. Lehmann (1854)

Link to Bente/Dau Translation from Latin (1921)

[1(47)] Our opponents approve the whole of the eighth article, in which we say, that hypocrites and ungodly men are found in the church, and that the Sacraments are not inefficacious, although administered by hypocrites; because they are administered by these men instead of Christ, and not on their own authority, according to Luke 10:16: "He that heareth you, heareth me." [2(48)] Yet we ought not to receive or hear false teachers, because they are not in Christ's stead, but are "Antichrists." In regard to these, Christ clearly commanded, Matt. 7:15: "Beware of false prophets;" and Paul says, Gal. 1:8: "Though we or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

[3(49)] Moreover, with respect to the lives of the priests themselves, Christ admonishes us in the parables concerning the church, not to create schisms, as did the Donatists, when the priests or the people do not everywhere live a pure and Christian life. [4(50)] Those, however, who excited schisms in some places, on the ground that it is not lawful for priests to have possessions or property, we regard as seditious; for the possession of property or goods is a temporal regulation, and Christians may employ all kinds of temporal regulations as freely as they use air, food, drink, and common light. For even as heaven and earth, the sun, moon, and stars, are ordained and preserved by God; so systems of government and everything belonging to them, are by God's ordinances, and preserved and protected by him against the devil.