Saturday, February 03, 2007

Re-emergence....beginning of RW chapter...

Here is the (draft) beginning of my chapter on Rowan Williams' Ecclesiology...how does it strike you? What do you think about his assertion that the church is the "community of the forgiven"....what about his notion of the church existing as gift...and that the church itself exists in judgment?


Rowan Williams’ Ecclesiology

The Church as the Community of the Forgiven

In his doctoral dissertation, Rowan Williams examined the work of Theodore Lossky, the 20th century Russian Orthodox theologian. His own sense of the Trinity has roots deep within not only the Western Tradition, but also in informed by the Eastern notions of the Trinity. In his book The Truce of God[1], Rowan Williams discusses Lossky’s notion of the Trinity as a model of the church, as a communion between the persons of the Trinity; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Especially interesting to Rowan Williams is Lossky’s distinction between person and individual. The person is a gift of God, and is unique in attributes and qualities. However, this person is tied up in existence with the other members of the Trinity, the other persons of the Trinity. These persons are not individuals in our modern sense of the term, not individual monads that exist whether or not there are other individuals. The persons of the Trinity are who they are because they are in relation with the other persons of the Trinity. In Rowan Williams’ reading of Lossky, the three Persons of the Trinity lay out a model for Christians living in communion with one another. Not merely as individuals who can walk away from shared purpose and shared life, persons are wrapped up in one another and need one another. He has much to say in seeing God in the other, and seeing Christ in one another. Central to the claims made by Rowan Williams that inform his Ecclesiology are these four: 1) The Church and its members exist as gift; and 2) The Church exists in judgment by Jesus Christ, 3) The Church is the community of the forgiven; and 4) through the work of Christ and the Trinity, the Church is made up of persons, not individuals which can be likened to the persons of the Trinity, and 5) Christ is present in the interaction between people as they encounter and welcome those who are different than they are; that is, the other.



[1] Williams, Rowan Truce of God