Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Christ and the Church

I heard an 'interesting' talk the other week about the relationship between Christ and the church. The speaker was preaching that Christ and the Church are one and the same thing. His argument rested on the fact that persecuting the church is the same thing as persecuting Christ. In Acts Saul(later Paul) persecutes the church but on the road to Damascus Jesus says to him
‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' Acts 26:15

Thus, the reasoning went, for Christ to say that he was persecuted whist in reality it was the church that was persecuted must mean that Christ and the church are synonymous.

There are several things wrong with this, primarily the fact that it is simply wrong. If I for instance burnt down your place of work, killed your children and beat up your wife then, though I hadn't harmed you, you may feel that I am persecuting you, and you would be justified in that belief. Or if you were a king and I started killing your subjects because they were your subjects then I would again be persecuting you even though no physical harm befall you.

There is also the fact that the relationship between Christ and the church is made explicit elsewhere: The church is the bride of Christ (Rev 12:2) and the body of which Christ is the head (Eph 5:23, 1 Cor 12:27).

These specifically mark the differences. A bride and bridegroom are not the same thing, a head and its body are not the same thing but they are still one; intimately related. The beauty of salvation is that we are brought back into relationship with Christ, we do not become deified which we would have to be if we were actually turning into Christ. Christ and the church are distinct yet united. Does that remind you of anything? The trinity maybe? Through Christs death on the cross we too are grafted into this complex loving relationship.

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