Rethinking Essential Ecclesiology: Whoness

Continuing my unpacking of the essential properties (whatness, whoness, and whyness) of the Church from within my ecclesiological perspective, I move on to whoness.

The nature of the church.  We are the people of God.  We are peopled through our connection with the Triune God, not by our affinity.  Community is essential to our being and our essential communal nature shapes our structures and practices.[1]

Can the whoness of Church be described within the “be the people” category?

Haecceity: the status of being an individual or a particular nature; what makes something to be an ultimate reality different from any other [2]

Three key ideas surface in the be the people category.

  • peopled through our connection with the Triune God
  • essential communal nature
  • structure and practices shaped by that communal nature

What happens when we run these through the definition of haecceity?

Specific People. The Church is composed of all those and only those who are in Christ by the Spirit; we are peopled in our connection with God.  Our connection with God supersedes all other connectionsand voids all connections that divide us from one another.  Divisions are removed in Christ and distinctions  receive their good and proper significance.  Connection with Christ constitutes us and full presence with him will complete us.

Particular Nature. Our connection with the Triune God not only constitutes us as Church, but also creates an essential relational nature sourced not in our humanity, but inthe indwelling Spirit.  He connects us with God and with one another; he creates in us a yearning for God and for one another .  So, while humanity is relational by creational intent, the Church (the new humanity) is relational by the active presence of God himself.  This particular relational nature becomes the divine criterion according to which we shape our structures and practices.
Having just re-skimmed two-thirds of Minear’s Images of the Church in the New Testament, I fully realize that there remains a deep richness to our haecceity that has not even been approached in these scant paragraphs.  Unpacking and living such richness will surely take more than a lifetime.


[1] Springer, Laura K. An Articulation and Evaluation of an Emerging Church Ecclesiology. La Mirada, CA: Biola University, 2008. Unpublished thesis. p.4 n. 5.
[2] “haecceity,” Merriam-Webster 7.0 for Windows Mobile, (c) 2004-2007.

About Laura

My name is Laura and I am on a journey, pondering the implications of God's glorious design of humanity and integrating every aspects of this design into a description of whole life health.
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