Karl Barth writes:

“When theology confronts the Word of God and its witnesses, its place is very concretely in the community, not somewhere in empty space. The word “community,” rather than “Church,” is used advisedly, for from a theological point of view it is best to avoid the word “Church” as much as possible, if not altogether. At all events, this overshadowed and overburdened word should be immediately and consistently interpreted by the word “community.” What may on occasion also be called “Church” is, as Luther liked to say, “Christianity” (understood as a nation rather than as a system of beliefs). It is the commonwealth gathered, founded, and ordered by the Word of God, the “communion of the saints.” These are the men who were encountered by the Word and so moved by it that they could not withdraw themselves from its message and call. Instead, they became able, willing, and ready to receive it as secondary witnesses, offering themselves, their lives, thought, and speech to the Word of God. The Word cries out for belief, for this acceptance in recognition, trust, and obedience. And since faith is not an end in itself, this cry of the Word means that it demands to be proclaimed to the world to which it is directed from the outset.” (Evangelical Theology: An Introduction)

 

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