What is the Church? Is it the place we have made it to be? Is it merely were we go to purchase private religious experience? A place where we purchase initiation in particular social clubs, whether suburban, or impoverished? Is the church only a place where we buy and sell ideas, whether or not those ideas agree with buying and selling? What is the church? Much like the ad fonts approach of the Reformation, Gary Badcock in The House Where God Lives argues that we need to return to the very foundation of what the church is, its ressourcement, before we can articulate an ecclesiology sufficient to deal with our increasingly global culture. The church is non-negotiable for the Christian, not because of its community, not because of its social abilities, but only because God lives in the Church and nowhere else.
In a culture dominated by the individualistic values of political and social liberalism, Gary Badcock says that we seldom hear of the church as the creature of the Word of God. The church has been entrusted to us by God and belongs to the structure of the Christian faith itself. Ecclesiology is first of all theology because it is primarily about the presence of God, Badcock maintains, and is thus biblical and creedal (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic) something that we believe which is what undergirds its empirical, sociological, and even pastoral function. Rather than a hollow shell where humans dream moral dreams and do good deeds, the church is the house where God lives.
Professor of Theology at Huron College in London, Ontario, Canada.
King's College, Aberdeen, Scotland
"Written with clarity and filled with theological and spiritual perception, this account of the theology of the church is a work of high order, most of all because of the consistency with which it talks of the church by talking about God."
University of Edinburgh
"In identifying the church as a site of divine action, Gary Badcock offers a rich and nuanced discussion of ecclesiology. While remaining firmly theological in his approach, he remains alert to recent concerns surrounding the church as a social institution and to other disciplinary approaches. This is a lively, accessible, and important contribution to the subject."
Duke Divinity School
"Why do we as Christians confess we believe in the catholic church when we can see it? You normally do not believe in what you can see. It is, however, the great virtue of Badcock's book to help us understand why we rightly believe in the holy catholic church. For it turns out we can only believe in what God creates. Badcock's book is destined not only to renew the field of ecclesiology but also to help us see better what the reform of the church should look like."