CCRS - Church Introductory comments
Module objectives • Explore the nature and function of Church • reflect on, and be challenged by, different models of Church; • be introduced to and challenged by the requirements of collaborative ministry and the role of the laity; • reflect on the relationship of Christian traditions to each other and to other major faith traditions and to the secular world.
And your objectives/questions • What would YOU like to get out of this module?
5 mins What is your experience of belonging to the church? How is the Church perceived by others? What does the Church do?
‘Belong’ • What does this mean? • How is this expressed?
Church • Derives from the Greek meaning ‘thing belonging to the Lord’ • ‘kurios’ – Grk - master, lord, king • Old English: cirice; circe; • Middle English: chereche-chiriche-chirche-churche • ...church and Church
Ekklesia • Originally a legislative assembly of citizens • Only citizens who enjoyed full rights could belong • So the significance of ekklesia implies both legality of the assembly and the dignity of membership • Ecclesial .....ecclesiology
Church is • The ongoing self-communication of God • God’s irreversible and historically tangible offer of himself • The actualising of salvation history in and through Jesus Christ
Church in Catholicism • The central role of church in mediating salvation • The mediating function of certain ministries, structures, institutional forms e.g. Bishop • Sacraments – God’s life communicated • The Petrine office; The role of Mary • Visible organisation
Church as mystery • ‘Mysterion’ = ‘sacramentum’ • Impossible to fully understand • A mystery to be dwelt on
Lumen Gentium • ‘faith seeking understanding’ • A reality which eludes definition • Both human and divine • “The Church….at once holy and in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” (Lumen Gentium N8)1964
In the creed the church is • One • Holy • Catholic • Apostolic
Church is one and holy • ‘One’ The Catholic Church is one because of her source: CCC 813 • ‘Holy’ The Church is holy because of her essential link with her founder Jesus Christ
The Church is the Body of Christ • A community of those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour • Who are baptised • Who participate in the Church’s worship and sacramental life • Who broadly ‘love their neighbour’ • So ‘the Church’ is the whole body of baptised Christians worldwide regardless of denominational differences
The mission of the Church • Word Kerygma • Worship Leitourgia • Witness Marturia • Service Diakonia
Church is catholic • ‘Catholic’ – as in ‘universal’ • The universal significance of Christ • Jesus / Paul in Galatians • LG13 – diversity supports catholicity • ‘belong to’ and ‘related to it’ • Jews and Muslims are related to it - CCC 839
Church is apostolic • ‘Apostolic’ • The Church is rooted in the first apostles and has an uninterrupted succession since that time. • The issue of succession is of course a controversial one in Christian communities.
Models of Church • Institutional • Community / People of God • Sacrament • Servant • Herald • Discipleship
Metaphors for church • A vine? • A petrol station? • Penguin colony? • Supermarket? • Sheepfold? • Body of Christ • Bride of Christ [Eph 5:21-33]
The Problem • Traditionally, the problem is not the existence of church but its origin • What connection exists between Jesus and the Church? • But now we might be asking why the church exists at all?
Developmental principle • The idea of church is seen to develop through many stages • Interpretation of various presentations is a delicate and subtle matter • Diversity of ecclesiological approaches within the NT • Also within modern-day theologians