Chan on ‘Mother Church’

“If the church’s existence is not purely creaturely but a ‘divine-humanity,’ then we need to spell out its link with the triune God more precisely if we are to understand its true nature and function. For the role or function of the church grows out of its ontological status as a divine-humanity. This ontological status is sometimes expressed in the concept of Mother Church, made famous by Cyprian: ‘He who has not the Church for his mother, has not God for his Father.’ That is to say, the church is our nourishing Mother, and we are entirely dependent on her for our existence as Christians. We are not saved as individuals first and then incorporated into the church; rather, to be a Christian is to be incorporated into the church by baptism and nourished with the spiritual food of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Failure to understand this fact has led to a reduction of the church’s role to a largely sociological one of a service provider catering to individual believers’ spiritual needs.

Simon Chan, Liturgical Theology (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 24 (emphasis added).

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, transplanted to Pennsylvania...lived and taught in Eastern Europe for six years…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
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