Thursday, May 14, 2009


I love cramming Ecclesiology into 3.5 days with my students. We are just hitting the high points. The only thing I want them to see is this: 
If you say that you love Jesus and you don't love the Church, then you don't love Jesus.

That is not for shock value. It means exactly what it says. I could argue this from logic. Meaning, if Jesus gave Himself for the church and that includes me/you, then we must love our brothers and sisters.

Or I could use that text to say that part of walking in the way of Jesus is loving what God loves and hating what God hates. God detests sin, injustice, the work of the enemy. God loves Himself, His world, and His people.

Furthermore, I could send you to John's writings. John often talks about the necessary and righteous love of God to His people, His people to Himself, and His people to themselves. You know, "The world will know that you're My disciples if you have love for one another."   

But none of those options is necessary.

"Peter, do you love Me?" This was Jesus' question. And the answer that makes it a reality is for Peter [and you and me] to love/tend/feed the flock of God.

But why did I say that my one-liner was the "only thing" I wanted them to see? Because that is pure ecclesiology. All of the fine points of ecclesiology [sacraments, church discipline, offices, etc] are merely ironing out that one bigger reality.

I guess I should still define "Church" shouldn't I? I'll save that for another time. But even varying definitions will not matter so much because the Church is about Jesus. That's my whole point!
If you say that you love Jesus and you don't love the Church, then you don't love Jesus.

1 comment:

Fr Longenecker said...

Wow! Good stuff. I'm waiting now for your definition of 'church'.