The Body of Christ

I also plan to attend the Believers’ Church Conference that Hinke mentioned a few days ago, at Canadian Mennonite University. (Hopefully, Hinke, we can meet up at some point!) I’m presenting a paper on Michael Sattler—everybody’s favorite Anabaptist, right?—and I plan to write up a little blurb on his understanding of the church for discussion here sometime in the next week. For now, though, I want to pose this question: What does it mean to call the church the body of Christ?

The theme of that conference, as Hinke hinted, is “Congregationalism, Denominationalism, and the Body of Christ.” It’s raising questions about what it means for the church to be, supposedly, one body, and what the implications are for church structures, practices, and self-understanding. For now, we can keep the question even broader. For you, is “the body of Christ” a meaningful description of the church? What specifically does it suggest? Where has it been used correctly or incorrectly?

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor 12:12–13)