Bruce Marshall on the role of theologians in a divided church

Even in its self-inflicted suffering and want, the divided church remains Jesus Christ’s own body. He can and will give it new life from the dead, in his own good time. As we await this mysterious outworking of the Triune God’s judgment and grace, we theologians cannot save the church. But we can love it, and put our ancient craft to work in the service of Christ’s body as it is, and not as we would wish it to be. What God will make of our efforts we cannot say, and need not know. Here too, as [Ephraim] Radner reminds us (pp. 10, 354), Israel grants to the church its needed prophetic figure: “You will rise up and have compassion on Zion … For your servants love her very rubble, and are moved to pity even for her dust” (Ps. 102:13-14).

from “The Divided Church and its Theology,” Modern Theology, Vol. 16, No. 3, (2000), 395-6.

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