The Church Is Subordinate to the Word (And Not the Other Way Around)
Wilhelmus à Brakel:
If the Word of God is the only criterion by which we can determine a church to be the true church of God, then we must first acknowledge Scripture to be the Word of God before acknowledging the church to be the true church. Furthermore, we cannot receive the testimony of the church unless we acknowledge her to be the true church.
Thus, we do not believe the Word to be the Word of God because the church affirms it, but on the contrary, we believe the church to be the true church because the Word validates her as such. A house rests upon its foundation, and not the foundation upon the house. A construction is subordinate to its cause rather than the cause being subordinate to what it has constructed. (The Christian’s Reasonable Service, 1:29)