Christians and the Church

Paul J. Griffiths

in The Oxford Handbook of Theological Ethics

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780199227228
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Christians and the Church

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There is no shortage of figural language for the Church. Much of it is biblical, and still more is woven into the fabric of the Church's hymnody and prayer. The Church is, according to her own account, wife and mother, city and garden, kingdom and diaspora, people and body, sign and sacrament, warrior and peacemaker, seed and harvest, pure and defiled, virgin and whore, lover and taskmistress, and lamb, eagle, hen, and doe. Christians are not formed morally only, or even principally, by the language they use. They are formed morally by the practices they perform, among which the deep and repeated use of figural language is only one. None the less, thought about what Christian figural language for the Church might provoke and intimate by way of understanding the Church as a theatre of moral formation may itself be an instrument of importance in furthering and deepening the conformation of Christ's body to Christ. Such thought is the focus of this article. If the figure is language's dreamwork, it offers an interpretation of dreams whose goal is to help those who dream the ecclesial dream to do so more fully, and perhaps also more interestingly.

Keywords: Church; language; Christ; body; Christian figural language

Article.  7590 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Philosophy of Religion

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