Sunday, December 18, 2016

Kraemer: worldly ecclesiology

Sunday, December 18, 2016
    Advent IV
    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
    —Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
    One of the heritages from history which prevents us so often from seeing the Church, with all its greatness and misery, in its true light, is the distinction between the “empirical” and the “ideal” Church. It is to such a degree an element of our thinking that we hardly notice it. It has been since the first centuries a standard view, a means to give account of the, indeed, often disappointing state and quality of Christian faith and practice in the Church as it appeared. As such it is understandable; but nevertheless it proceeds more from the counsels of worldly wisdom than from the faith-as-response by which the Church should live, and the call to incessant renewal under which the Church stands as “God’s own household,” “growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” However stubborn and refractory the stuff of ordinary reality may be—and it is—the Church, though with clear realism seeing this reality, can never permit itself to put the divine indicatives and imperatives, which are her peculiar directives and points of orientation, behind considerations which are properly speaking worldly in character.
    ... Hendrik Kraemer (1888-1965), A Theology of the Laity, London: Lutterworth Press, 1958, p. 88 (see the book)
    See also Eph. 2:19-22; Gal. 6:10; Eph. 3:6,14-15; Phil. 3:20; Heb. 12:22-23; 1 John 3:1
Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, You bless Your church.
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