Continued from Part III
Before I begin framing arguments, it may be helpful to stop and restate my thesis. There are good biblical and theological reasons for thinking that the Trinity is the archetype of the communal life of the Church. Simply put, he Church images the triune sociality of God. The oneness of the community of the Church and the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are intimately connected.
This means, on the one hand, that the heart of the mystery of the unity of the church is de facto grounded in the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Cyprian described the church as “a people united by the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” This theological reality remains hidden from us and must be accepted by faith, even when it is not experientially evident in the historical church.
But the connection between Trinity and Church also means that the manner by which individual Christian people are united in one ecclesial community, in both local and larger contexts, ought to reflect the way in which Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are personally united. Clearly this simple assertion begs for clarification and qualification, a task I will address later. For now, suffice it to say that what I am concerned to defend is that the members of the Christian ecclesial community have a task set before them—to make their fellowship into a visible image of the community of the Holy Trinity. In other words, if the Church of Jesus Christ is to live in a godly way, she must by grace be transfigured into the kind of rich, loving community that is the triune God. To put it another way, if a person wants to live in a godly way, he or she will relate to others in the church in a manner that reflects the manner in which the three persons of the Trinity live together.
Remember, too, that God's renewal of humanity begins in the Church. The Church is the nursery for the kingdom. Therefore, the more the Church becomes a community modeled on God's triune communal love, the more we can expect the world as a whole to learn how to live as subjects of Christ's cosmic kingdom.
Go to Part V