Thoughts of a Living Christian

Musings of an amateur theologian and hopeful writer

The Church as a Trinitarian Community

Harper and Metzger[1] essentially argue one point – that the church, in the image of a triune God, is entirely one body, the Body of Christ, made up of many individuals. Thus, the church is relational and communal at its very core.

They state, “the church is being-driven – driven into the world by the communal and co-missional God who reigns and dwells in its midst as the one to whom the church belongs.”[2] Man is lovingly made in the triune God’s nature, Christ is the ultimate image of this God, man bears God’s name, are children, the household and temple of this God, and the body and bride of Christ. Each of these images reveals that the Church is entirely dependent on others, and on God.[3] Furthermore, paradoxically, the church is righteous yet sinful, one yet many, now and not yet.[4] This is neatly summed up in their second chapter:

When Christianity places undue emphasis on the individual, it reduces the church to a group of believing individuals or, worse, sees Christian identity as separate from participation in Christian community. But the church is greater than the sum of its parts, and the parts do not stand alone. We are only who we are in relation to others.[5]

The Trinitarian community of the church is relational, and finds its being in communion with others.

 

References

Grenz, Stanley J. Theology for the Community of God. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994.

Harper, Brad, and Paul Louis Metzger. Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2009.

Sarot, Marcel. “Trinity and Church: Trinitarian Perspectives on the Identity of the Christian Community.” International Journal of Systematic Theology 12, no. 1 (2010): 33-45.


[1] Brad Harper and Paul Louis Metzger, Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2009). 19-46.

[2] Ibid. 20.

[3] Cf. Marcel Sarot, “Trinity and Church: Trinitarian Perspectives on the Identity of the Christian Community,” International Journal of Systematic Theology 12, no. 1 (2010). Sarot states, “The relationship between God and humanity is not a relationship between two individuals…but a relationship between a community and a Trinity: the triune God.” Sarot thus similarly asserts that the Church cannot exist in isolation, but needs communion.

[4] Stanley Grenz notes, “as Christ’s people we are to show forth the divine reality – to be the image of God. To be the people in covenant with God who serve as the sign of the kingdom means to reflect the very character of God. The church reflects God’s character in that it lives as a genuine community – lives in love – for as the community of love the church shows the nature of the triune God…God calls the church to mirror as far as possible in the midst of the brokenness of the present that eschatological ideal community of love which derives its meaning from the divine essence.” (Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1994). 483).

[5] Harper and Metzger. 42.

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One thought on “The Church as a Trinitarian Community

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very wide for me. I am taking a look forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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