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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers S-Z : Adolf Schlatter : Quotes by Adolf Schlatter on Church Life

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"The terms by which Paul describes God¬ís grace provide the personal life of the individual with its greatest escalation. The concept of guilt places the decisive event by which our relationship with God comes into being or is broken within the depth of the individual life. As the agent of justification, Christ turns to the individual as the one who gives; ¬ďhe loved me an gave himself up for me¬Ē (Gal. 2:20). The individual is granted God¬ís love in such greatness and glory that his Spirit moves him. He has become free. That the Pauline community doe not merely not hinder, or grudgingly overlook, or just tolerate this rich and strong emphasis on the individual life but that it rather produces it, provides it with its peculiar greatness. Only the community that truly is the community of Christ, that represents his body, that becomes god¬ís temple, can consist of such vigorous and free members."



"Moreover, the public confession of Jesus’ lordship produced in them a union that oriented everyone’s conduct toward the same goal, and the Spirit’s presence invested the community with a thoroughly spiritual dimension. Baptism did not result in a multitude of autonomous congregations but the one church, because baptism called its recipients to the Christ. Likewise, the table around which the community gathered was not the table of a teacher or baptizer or bishop but Christ’s table. By receiving their share in Christ, they simultaneously entered into communion with all other believers. The concept of the church thus took on a universal dimension from the start that remained undiminished, just as the individual local Jewish congregation had always been considered to be part of the one Israel."


"As soon as the concept of love becomes the central term of ethical instruction, the community’s indispensability is secure. In the isolation of the individual, love would lose its sphere of operation and wither to an empty attitude. If it truly comes to permeate the human will, a union of giving and receiving arises for which the recipient is as indispensable as the giver. By recognizing God’s will to be love, the community receives irreproachable sanctity. "





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