Francis Turretin’s Ecclesiology: 18.6
This section is even shorter than the previous, which leads me to this observation – scholastic theology really isn’t that bad. Some have called for dogmatic theology to be much shorter. Scholastic theology often gets a bad rap for its length. Think Turretin, Thomas, and even Barth is a scholastic of a certain type. But, most of these guys (Barth tends to be an exception) know how to get in, deal with something, and get out without excessiveness. The reason that their theology gets to be so long is that they keep working on it over a period of years with the necessity of teaching theology to students. In other words, theology gets so long because there is so much to say. Given that God is infinite, this isn’t a surprise. As Scripture tells us, “Of the writing of books, there is no end.”
Since some could construe my above comments as “Barth-bashing”, allow me a caveat. Barth’s verbosity is part of his theology. Barth’s theology is a literary theology, almost a narrative theology. The form is intimately bound up with the content. He brings nuance, greater clarity, depth, and further insight through his repetitious form. It is a theology that shapes the reader, rather than that makes clear, on the basis of straightforward argument based on evidence and distinction (although there is this in Barth), how to answer a particular question. Barth’s theology is a process (as it was for him to write it!) and not an answer.
That said, on to Turretin’s sixth question of section eighteen.
Like I said, this section is short. Turretin gives three ways in which the church can be called catholic.  “Catholic” refers to “all the elect and believers” past, present and future (p. 30).  The “catholic” church refers to the New Testament church, not the Old, because the NT church is more expansive that the OT. This is true with reference to places in that the NT church is scattered throughout the whole world (Turretin doesn’t seem to have access to information on the Jewish diaspora, so we shall forgive him), persons in that the NT church accepts all kinds of people and not just Jews (the citation for this says Romans 10.12 and Colossians 3.11 but Turretin specifically says “male and female” suggesting Galatians 3.28 – I think the editor just messed up on this one), and times in that the NT church will continue until the end of time.  That the church is “catholic” refers to the affirmation of “orthodox catholic doctrine”, and he calls on Vincent of Lerins for the notion that the church “holds what is believed everywhere, always and by all” (p. 31).
The opening sentences of this section single out the “Romanists” as Turretin’s opponents here, and he returns to this toward the end of the section – “it [catholicity] does not belong to the Roman church, since it neither holds the catholic faith, nor is it everywhere diffused” (p. 32). Turretin’s final comments are that catholicity is not a mark of the church, even though it is an aspect of the / a true church.