God’s Presence in the Church: A Critique of Extant Ecclesiological Paradigms
Keywords:Analogy, Church, Ecclesiology, God, Trinity.
AbstractThe doctrine of the church has continued to generate interest among scholars since the early history of Christian theology. This interest has been facilitated by the fact that this doctrine is one that touches on several other doctrines such as the doctrines of God, Christ, Holy Spirit, humanity, salvation and eschatology. A prominent approach in ecclesiological discussions is the use of analogy in describing the church. This is because, often times, complex issues get clarified by the use of analogies. This article reviews a number of the different analogies that have been used to describe the church and finds them deficient in capturing the depth of God’s relationship with the church. The article argues that a correct understanding of the nature of the church entails locating God in the church as a member and the head of the church. The nature of the church is not fully comprehended when God is not located within the church as its center and head. Other studies of the church ignore this important fact of the unity of God with the church. It is not enough only to emphasize the roles of God in the church which could leave room for perceiving God as a detached controller of the church. This article presents God contrary to this perception, as being in the church, the head of the church, indeed, a member of the church who orders and runs the church from within.
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