The Church and the Spirit’s Mission

Ethicist Oliver O’Donovan offers this interesting perspective on the dynamism of church structures:

The catholic identity of the church derives from the progress of the Spirit’s own mission. It is therefore always larger than its ordered structures, taking its shape from the new ground that the Spirit is possessing. It remains for the church’s structures to catch up with this mission, to discern what the Spirit has done, and to construct such ordered links of community as will safeguard brotherly love. Informal Christian phenomena are found all around the margins of the structured church, and to deplore the untidiness of the these is simply to betray an ignorance of what that rock is upon which the church is founded. (The Desire of the Nations, 169-170)

I might want to ask the further question, however, about what role the Spirit might play in reclaiming dead centers of the church—and how this might unsettle church structures.

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