St. Paul speaks to us about the Church which he says is the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18,24). The Church is the Body made up of many members – it is a community to which we belong more than a place to which we go. It is a fellowship of believers rather than an abstract idea or authoritative body whose main purpose is to enforce rules.
“Christianity was not primarily a ‘doctrine’, but exactly a ‘community’. There was not only a ‘Message’’ to be proclaimed and delivered, and ‘Good News’ to be declared. There was precisely a New Community, distinct and peculiar, in the process of growth and formation, to which members were called and recruited. Indeed, ‘fellowship’ (koinonia) was the basic category of Christian existence.” (Georges Florovsky, Christianity and Culture: Vol. 2, p 67)
The Church is people, repentant sinners who have accepted Christ’s invitation to become His Body. The Church is those people who know they need healing because of their spiritual illnesses and who recognize Christ to be the Physician of their souls and bodies.
“It is just the same with the history of Christianity. It cannot be judged by external facts, by the human passions and human sins that disfigure its image. We must recall what Christian people have had to contend with in the course of ages, and their bitter struggles to get the better of ‘the old man’ – of their ancestral heathenism, of their agelong barbarity, of their grosser instincts; Christianity has had to work its way through the matter that put up such a solid resistance to the spirit of Christ, it has had to raise up to a religion of love those whose appetites were all for violence and cruelty. Christianity is here to heal the sick, not the whole; to call sinners, not the righteous; and mankind, converted to Christianity, is sick and sinful. It is not the business of the Church of Christ to organize the external part of life, to overcome evil by material force; she looks for an inner and spiritual rebirth from the reciprocal action of human freedom and divine grace. It is an essential quality of Christianity that it cannot get rid of self-will – the evil in human nature – for it recognizes and respects the freedom of man.” (Nicholas Berdiaev in Tradition Alive, pp 95-96)
One thought on “Christianity: Not Just a Culture But a New Creation”
Thank you for sharing the stirring icon of Christ liberating Dachau. It is very powerful,and reminds one that Christ is in all things, and here to save sinners of every degree!
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