the church as the eschatological covenant community n.
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The Church as the Eschatological Covenant Community. Concepts of community and relation foundational to biblical narrative. Theme of community unfolds Moving towards ultimate consummation Communal destiny. The Church as Community. What is community? According to sociologists:

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Presentation Transcript
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Concepts of community and relation foundational to biblical narrative.

    • Theme of community unfolds
      • Moving towards ultimate consummation
      • Communal destiny
the church as community
The Church as Community
  • What is community? According to sociologists:
    • Share a similar frame of reference
    • Group identity
    • Forms its participants
  • We are a community of shared meaning
  • Grenz warns against beginning with idea of generic reality and fit church into this idea
slide4

God has been about creating community from the beginning

Community within God’s overarching plans for creation

Church as human and divine

Corporate dimension of salvation

community in the biblical narrative
Community in the Biblical Narrative
  • Genesis 2.18
    • God’s response to Adam’s solitariness
    • Together Adam and Eve reflect the imago Dei
      • Reflection of the triune God
  • God’s community creation unfolds throughout the text culminating in the vision of Revelation
  • From Babel (Genesis 11) to Pentecost (Acts 2)
israel as a covenant community
Israel as a Covenant Community

Image of the church as people of God is connected with the idea of Israel as God’s people

Israel understood itself as a people called into covenant with God

Ex 19.5; 23.33; Deut. 7.6; 14.2; Lev. 26.9-12

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Israel is God’s instrument

    • Deuteronomy 4, 7, 29: Israel is a sent nation, an example to other nations (also Isaiah 2)
  • Christ continues Israel’s mission
    • The Church shares in Christ’s mission
      • “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20.21
church as israel reconstituted
Church as Israel Reconstituted
  • Covenant is connected to community and we are people of the new covenant
    • I Cor. 11.25; Heb. 8.13, 9.15
  • The Church as the new Israel
    • Gal. 6.16; Phil 3.3; James 1.1; Rev. 7.4
  • His people (I Pet. 2.9)
  • A royal priesthood
    • Ex. 19.6; Isaiah 61.6; I Pet 2.9
  • Heirs of the covenant promise
    • Galatians 3.15-29
    • We share in the inheritance
  • People of God
    • Hos 1.10; 3.32; Romans 9; Galatians 3.16, 29
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Church as the new eschatological community

    • II Cor. 6.16 referencing Ezekiel 37.27; cf. Rev. 21.3
the ecclesial self
The Ecclesial Self
  • Church as prolepsis of divine image*
    • God as persons-in-communion or persons-in-relationship
      • Humans as created in the imago dei
      • Personal identity emerges from our reciprocal relations, i.e. to be is to be persons-in-communion
      • Dynamic not static
    • Telos-oriented image
      • Eschatological understanding of imago dei as corporate reality
      • What is the goal of human existence?

*For more on this see Grenz, The Social God and the Relational Self, esp. pp. 331-6.

See also, John Zizioulas, Being as Communion.

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Role of the Holy Spirit

    • Christ institutes, the Spirit constitutes (see Zizioulas, Being as Communion)
    • Compare with Israel, relational solidarity not in Abraham or ancestors but in Christ through the Holy Spirit. According to Russell Shedd:
      • “It is not a solidarity which exists as though the ancestor lived on in his progeny but is an actuality through the personal existence of the Holy Spirit in whom each member of the Church participates.” Shedd, Man in Community, 195.
    • Though H.S. we are made a community in Christ patterned after the perichoretic life of the triune God
      • “In creating the community of those united with Christ, the Spirit fashions in the present the foretaste of the new humanity…. The Spirit brings the ecclesial community to fulfill the divinely given mandate to be the prolepsis of the new humanity as the imago dei.” Grenz, Social God, 334, 335.
    • We “find” ourself in relation with others but not a destruction of particularity (e.g. chord)
trinitarian structure of the church
Trinitarian Structure of the Church
  • The ultimately Trinitarian structure of the Church is found when these three images are brought together in Eph 2.19-22:
    • “19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
    • Unity in diversity
      • Trinity as a model for balancing between the individual and the group
      • Importance of particularity but within an organic unity