Menno Simons on ... the church
Those who are one with Christ in Spirit, love and life; who teach that which was commanded by Christ, such as repentance and the peaceable gospel of grace, which he himself received of God, and taught to the world, all those who hear, believe, keep and fulfill the same in true fear, are the church of Christ, the truly believing, christian church, the body and bride of Christ, the ark of the Lord, the mount and paradise, the house, people, city and temple of God, the spiritual Eve, flesh of Christ's flesh and bone of his bone, children of God, the chosen generation, the spiritual seed of Abraham, children of the promise, branches and trees of righteousness, sheep of the heavenly pasture, kings and priests, a holy begotten people which is God's own. Besides, they are chosen to proclaim the power of him who has called them from darkness into his marvelous light, Col. 1:14; 1 Cor. 12:27; Heb. 12:22; Matt. 5:14; 2 Cor. 6:16; 11:5; Eph. 5:30; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rom. 9:8; Isa. 61:3; Ps. 95:7; 79:13; Rev. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:9. [p. 345]
THE TRUE SIGNS BY WHICH THE CHURCH OF CHRIST MAY BE KNOWN
I. By an unadulterated, pure doctrine, Deut. 4; 6; 5; 12; Isaiah 8:5; Matt. 28:20; Mark 16:15; John 8:52; Gal. 1.
II. By a scriptural use of the sacramental signs, Matt. 28:19; Mark 16; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12; 1 Cor. 12:13; Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 3; Matt. 26:25; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:22, 23.
III. By obedience to the word, Matt. 7; Luke 11:28; John 7:18; 15:10; Jas. 1:22.
IV. By unfeigned, brotherly love, John 13:34; Rom. 13:8; 1 Cor. 13:1; 1 John 3:18; 4:7, 8.
V. An unreserved confession of God and Christ, Matt. 10:32; Mark 8:29; Rom. 10:9; 1 Tim. 6:13.
VI. By oppression and tribulation for the sake of the Lord's word, Matt. 5:10; 10:39; 16:24; 24:9; Luke 6:28; John 15:20; 2 Tim. 2:9; 3:12; 1 Pet. 1:6; 3:14; 4:13; 5:10; 1 John 3:13 [p. 83]
Some of the other parables, as of the net in which good and bad fishes are caught; of the wise and foolish virgins and their lamps; of the wedding of the king's son and the guests, and of the threshing floor with wheat and chaff, although the Lord spoke them in allusion to the church, yet they were not spoken for the purpose that the church should knowingly and willfully accept and suffer open transgressors, drunkards, carousers, defilers of women, avaricious, robbers, gamblers, and usurers, in their communion; because, then, Christ and Paul would differ in doctrine; for Paul says that we should avoid and shun such. But they were spoken because many intermix with the christians, in semblance only, and place themselves under the word and sacraments, who, in fact, are no christians, but are hypocrites and enemies before their God; and these are likened unto the refuse fish; unto the foolish virgins who had no oil in their lamps; unto the guest without a wedding garment, and unto the chaff, which will be cast out by the angels, at the day of Christ. For they pretend that they fear God and seek Christ; they receive baptism and the Lord's Supper, and outwardly act in semblance, but, in fact, no faith, repentance, true fear and love of God; no Spirit, power, fruit nor work is found in them. [p. 88]
All excerpts are from The complete works of Menno Simon (Elkhart, Ind., 1871).