Much of the dialogue I have been around in recent years about the church carries an emphasis to return to the teachings of Jesus. Many have described how the church has tended to overemphasize the epistles of Paul in recent decades, and there is a definite push to spend more time with the Gospels. After all, if the term Christian means to follow Jesus, it would make sense that we spend a lot of time studying and meditating on what Jesus did in his time on earth, and how we continue that work today. By way of illustration, though their views might be very different on many things, including some of Jesus’ teachings, both Driscoll (Vintage Jesus) and McLaren (The Secret Message of Jesus) apparently agree on the need to restore an accurate picture of the work of Jesus in his time on earth.
A few years ago, in The Shaping of Things to Come I was first introduced to the idea that our understanding of Christ (Christology) must shape our mission (missiology), and that understanding of mission must then shape what it means to be the church (ecclesiology). I have spent a lot of time with that idea in recent years, and have found it a helpful way to think about what it means to truly be the church in any context.
But this morning, I find myself struggling with that idea a bit. If Jesus is only an equal third of the trinity, does the above thinking too strongly emphasize Jesus in the work and mission of the church? Is it possible to overemphasize Jesus at the expense of the other two thirds of the Trinity (even in typing that, I find great discomfort in suggesting that one might possibly overemphasize Jesus)? What does it look like to live out faith in a way that equally emphasizes the whole of the trinity? What does a trinitarian-informed ecclesiology look like?