The Church is Not
Updated: 5 days ago
What is the church is not in the concrete reality of everyday life with all its messiness, dysfunctionality, and sin? Two things stand out for me: First, the concrete church is not a dualistic entity with all its messiness in contradistinction to the spiritual church for the Holy Spirit is actively present in the concrete reality of the church in all its messiness, dysfunction, and sin. The Spirit is at work in the midst of it and in spite of it. To deny this would be to fall into something like the ecclesiological equivalent of Nestorianism, by splitting the church into a human part and a divine part, or into Ebionism, by thinking of the church as the product of human activity alone. Second, the concrete church in all its messiness is not, as it is sometimes assumed, to be an institution dedicated to passing its set of doctrines or moral principles to the next generation of its members. The church is misunderstood if it is assumed that its primary reason for existing is to pass on a system of beliefs. Such a view distorts not only the church but Christianity itself because the Christian faith is more a way of life than a set of doctrines because the Holy Spirit is operating within its midst orientating its adherents to the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord.