|2010 > May||Christianity Today, May, 2010|
What if church is a relational entity? challenges Joseph Hellerman, professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He is the author of When the Church Was a Family: Recapturing Jesus’ Vision for Authentic Christian Community (B&H Academic).
His definition of church resonances with my thinking on what being church is all about.
Spiritual formation occurs primarily in the context of community. Persons who remain connected with their brothers and sisters in the local church almost invariably grow in self-understanding. And they mature in their ability to relate in healthy ways to God and to fellow human beings. This is especially the case for those courageous Christians who stick it out through the messy process of interpersonal conflict. Long-term relationships are the crucible of genuine progress in the Christian life. People who stay grow.