Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Incarnational Ecclesiology

Why Anglicanism? Part IV
We are the Body of Christ

It was an Anglican theologian, John A.T. Robinson, who challenged me to take seriously Paul’s organic language of the Church, and this idea that we are baptized into Christ together. One does not have a relationship with God in a vaccuum, but is offered relationship with God on the context of entry to his Church. Communion, among other things, is about communing with each other, not just Christ. It is not possible to separate one's treatment of Jesus from one's treatment of one's brothers and sisters in the Church, as well as the world at large. We honor and praise Jesus, or not, in whether and how we share our lives together.

Further, the good news that God has enthroned Jesus as King of the world can only be meaningfully conveyed through the experience of lives lived under his Lordship. Our communities are little outposts of the Reign of God in a world that is still struggling under the Principalities and Powers That Be. If Jesus is not to transform you and I in our dealings with one another, how senseless must it be to speak of his redemption of the world at large? Therefore, other Christians are part of my life, and I don’t get to cut out their perspectives for any reason. Disagree and dispute, certainly, but disregard, disrespect and impugn motives, no.

That is essentially what my confirmation in the Church of England signified to me: my committment to live in the context of the church catholic. To be certain I followed through, I promptly joined friends in a Pentecostal cell group, based in a congregation that was grounded in a worldview and philosophy of ministry that I happened to disagree. But I could "do the Jesus thing with them," and that was important. I've written before about that kind of struggle.

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