Which is more appropriate and faithful to the biblical story?
1. Faithfulness to Christ = Faithfulness to Church
2. Faithfulness to Christ –> Faithfulness to Church
I’m concerned that as Protestants we’ve got a utilitarian understanding of the Church–it’s good as long as we can be certain of its usefulness, but it may be abandoned in order to follow Christ most faithfully. Such a view cannot help but see Jesus and his Church as essentially separate, having been joined together by rivets along an overlapping seam. This seems to be the way we function whether or not we profess such a stance. But the biblical portrait seems to be different. There are two primary images I think of from the NT of the Church: Body and Bride. Body emphasizes the organic connection; Bride emphasizes the covenant connection. Both emphasize essential unity with Christ, for better or worse.
Hmm…more later perhaps…