DIE PAULINIESE BEELD VAN DIE KERK AS BOUWERK VAN GOD

J H Roberts

Abstract


THE PAULINE IMAGE OF THE CHURCH AS GOD'S BUILDING

The article gives a short review of the Old Testament war language of breaking down (and plucking out) and building up (and planting) as symbolic of God’s judgement and salvation,and points out how Jeremiah introduced it as an image for God’s dealing with his people. This usage and its associated ideas are present also in the Pauline application of the building imagery in an ecclesiological sense.

Paul uses the image in an active and a passive sense, i e the action of building up the church and the idea of the church as God’s building.

The process of building up the church is presented as God’s salvatory action (from a trinitarian perspective), but for which he uses as instruments persons specially gifted by the Spirit and all who are part of his building.  The content of the building activity has a missionary as well as a consolidatory aspect: building up reflects both building new stones into the structure, and the inward strengthening of what already exists as God’s building.

The image of the church as a building (structure) strengthens the above-mentioned aspects and paints the picture of people existing together on the basis of God’s act of salvation in Christ and through the Spirit as messaged in the gospel.

The image thus pictures the church as God’s organisation in which the service of specially gifted functionaries and of all members blend in order to bring salvation to unbelievers and to mutually strengthen each other.  In all emerges the picture of a unitary church living under God’s gift of salvation and the rule of the Lord and his Spirit in order to do service to God and his gospel.

Keywords


God's building; Pauline image; Church image; Gods salvatory action

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/10-0-2033

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


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