Sunday, May 17, 2009

community of believers - R. T. France

While commenting on Matt. 18, R. T. France states that:

The portrait of the church which thus emerges is an attractive one. Status-consciousness and formally constituted authority have no place. The focus is on the relationship and mutual responsibility of all members of the community, each of whom matters, and yet all of whom must regard themselves only as 'little ones.' The resultant pastoral concern and action is not the preserve of a select few, but is the responsibility of each individual disciple, and, where necessary, of the whole group together. The structure is informal, but the sense of community is intense. And overarching it all is the consciousness of the presence of Jesus and of the forgiveness and pastoral concern of 'your Father in heaven.
found in R. T. France, The Gospel of Matthew, NICNT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 674-5.

France, in his footnotes, also directs the reader's attention to the formulation of a similar idea by E. Schweizer, who in G. N. Stanton (ed.), Interpretation, 161, states that Matt. 18 shows "a community which seems to know neither elders nor bishops nor deacons," in which "everyone is involved on a par with everyone else."

How does this view of the church compare with your body of believers?

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