Is salvation a consequence of membership in, or affiliation with, “the church” (whatever one means by that term), or is membership in the Body of Christ a consequence of salvation?
By “the church”, most people, most of the time, mean some human organization — a bureaucracy with which one may or may not be affiliated. Sometimes, by “the church”, people mean “the Body of Christ”.
Indeed. But it ill behooves us to do theology on the basis of the vernacular use of technical philosophical terms. Properly speaking, the Church is the Body of Christ, and not vice versa. I.e., the Church takes its being from the saving act of the Son in his Incarnation, and not vice versa.
Salvation *is* membership in the Body. To be saved is to put on the mind of Christ, and to be informed by him. The Church on Earth is a sacrament – an outward, material sign of that inward and spiritual Grace. Wherever that Grace is effectual, there is the Body of Christ.
In the comments of Dr. Bertonneau’s most recent portion of his valuable series on TS Eliot, I wondered idly why the Powers decided that we ought to use “Muslim” in place of the traditional “Moslem.” There followed some interesting offline conversations with Ilion and another regular commenter at the Orthosphere, which led to the discovery of some unexpected connections to apparently unrelated issues.
Really, should we ever be surprised at such discoveries? In a coherent world, how could anything fail to be connected to everything else, whether trivially or not? What is thought but an exploration of that network of connections?
This post then is mostly a recapitulation of the exploration I undertook with Ilion and my other correspondent. My thanks to them both.
What did the exploration unfold? “Language is an instrument of power, whether we want to think of it that way or not. E.g., I doubt you would say that the move from AD and BC to CE and BCE was innocent of political implication.” Ergo: Politically correct speech is a type of jizya, the head tax Muslims imposed on infidels under their power: Christians, Jews, &c.