Wednesday, November 06, 2013

a tale of two churches

I was teaching on church today in my Introduction to Christian Thought class. I have been thinking a lot recently about the vision of church and the reality of church. So I pulled together a tale of two churches. I took the vision, the ideal, four Biblical images of church as explored in Paul Minear, Images of Church in New Testament. That is one tale of church.

I laid that alongside a second tale of church, the reality, the who is the church, the how did the church act, as explored in Kirsteen Kim’s survey of the church in global history, in Joining in with the Spirit: Connecting World Church and Local Mission

It generated some excellent connections, as we realised how much church changes over time and space, and how that frees us to think about fresh expressions of church today.

Posted by steve at 09:47 PM


  1. Sounds like an excellent discussion – would like to have been a part if it! Through time it appears we change/innovate > settle > resist change > finally change/innovate … Interesting to look at leadership & property use in each of those. I love to share re theology of property as it helps us to understand where we are & the journey we’re on.

    Comment by Lynne Aird — November 7, 2013 @ 7:48 am

  2. That’s really helpful addition Lyn. Are you saying you could share on a theology of property for each one? That would be rich addition to the table


    Comment by Steve — November 7, 2013 @ 7:52 am

  3. And yes your point re change is exactly why I did it


    Comment by Steve — November 7, 2013 @ 7:54 am

  4. I think labelling one tale of church as “theological and one as concrete” is a bit tough. All the examples were faithful, innovative, even revolutionary of their time. The Medieval Catholicism for example was as much a “fresh expression” of church that sort to take a holistic approach to faith and life, particularly to the poor that was never attempted before. It was a faithful transforming act of the Spirits movement on peoples lives. Even if the church may now perceive them as out dated.
    Lynne’s comment on property are really useful for me thanks as I’m currently working on missional use of property and how resources are used across the synod.

    Comment by Geoff — November 7, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

  5. Not totally sure how to respond Geoff. I don’t mean theological or concrete as being of more or less value, simply different ways to describe church. The New Testamenf images are often collected to offer a theology of church. Yet the historical descriptions are also church. In making them, they open up some quite different approaches. All the concrete are theological eg all are expressions of people of God but the concrete opens up different ways to express people.


    Comment by Steve — November 7, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

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