3. The Visible Church Defined

  1. The Visible Church before the law, under the law, and now under the Gospel, is one and the same, and consists of all those who make profession of the true religion, together with their children.
  2. This visible unity of the body of Christ, though obscured, is not destroyed by its division into different denominations of professing Christians; but all of these which maintain the Word and Sacraments in their fundamental integrity are to be recognized as true branches of the Church of Jesus Christ.
  3. It is according to scriptural example that the Church should be divided into many individual churches.

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