Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What is the Church? Questions about Ecclesiology

I've thought often about some advice given me by a colleague at Oxford a couple of years ago. He was a Canadian Mennonite who had been recently confirmed in the Roman Church. (Presumably he's still Canadian.) He suggested that I do some real work getting my ecclesiology sorted before getting anywhere near another potential ordination process.

Presumably my friends won't be free to frolic and play the whole time I'm in Oxford this month, so I'm going to do a bit of study in the RadCam. I want to do some focused reading on ecclesiology so I'll have some things to consider as I work a normal job for a little while. I want to get at the truth of what it's going to mean to spend my life as a Catholic Christian, and to do the theological work such that I'll know whether I can do that with integrity in an Anglican setting. Is there a future for Anglican Catholicism? I think it is our hope of a future, but of course I'm very biased.

So here's where y'all come in: as I consider what the Church is, what questions do I need to ask? What do I need to read? A kind Nashotah House reader reminds me not to neglect Ramsey's The Gospel and the Catholic Church, and I've wanted to dig into Radner's End of the Church and Reno's In the Ruins of the Church for some time now. I might go spend some time with deLubac's work and go back to see what my tutor has on his ecclesiology bibliography.



preacherman said...

Great blog, post and question.
I personally believe that the Church is us. Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ and become obedient disciples of Him. Obedience fiath would be confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, repenting from that old way of life of the world (yes we will sin but we are under the law of grace), baptism (Romans 6:1-6 talks about it related to grace) and the MOST IMPORTANT THING IS LOVING GOD WITH ALLL OF OUR HEART, SOUL, STRENGTH, MIND, SECOND IS LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR AS OUR SELF. We are the church. You and me. It isn't a building we go to. It isn't a sactuary we worship in on Sunday or Wed. It is you and I paid with the highest price of Jesus Christ. Cherish it. Love it. Live it.
I have put you post on my favorites because your blog challenges my faith and you ask questions that are real, that Christians need to ask.
May God bless you and your faith in ways you have never known before.

Anonymous said...


Long time no post bro'!

I'd also add that ecclesiology isn't just something one 'examines' with the rational centre, but is also to be 'found' in a relational kind of 'knowing'.

So don't just read the books. Perhaps, engage with the worship? i.e. don't neglect the 'eyes of the nous', even as you feed the logic of the mind.

Go well and God bless,


Peter said...

"The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity" -- not the whole thing mind you, but relevant sections. Go to the horses mouth as it were.

Also -- relevant stuff from St. Cyprian and St. Augustine -- i am thinking of his anti-donatist stuff.

Matt Purmort said...


Glad to see you're going to read Ramsey's work. Probably the best in terms of a viable Anglican position. On a slightly different angle I would recomend Miroslav Volf's "After Our Likeness" where he actually defends a free church ecclisiology. In it he also dialogues and critiques Ratzinger and Zizoulas on Trinity and Church.

Adrian Woods said...

Check out Darrell Guder, "Missional Church"

The Archer of the Forest said...

Rusty Reno is a personal friend of mine. I highly recommend his stuff.