Abstract

In today’s ecclesiology, the notion of the Spirit and the church has been heavily influenced by a recent and broad retrieval of Trinitarian theology. In this article, I discuss this in relationship to baptist and evangelical traditions as it is represented by Stanley Grenz. His “theology for the community of God” demonstrates the fruitfulness of the Trinitarian retrieval for such traditions. However, the main argument in the article is that it also implies certain risks. According to the Baptist tradition, the central message of the New Testament is the invitation to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. As Kathryn Tanner and Karen Kilby have argued elsewhere, when the biblical challenge to be like Jesus Christ is turned into a more general exhortation to become an image of the Trinity, it often results in abstract ethics and an ecclesiology that focuses mainly on general exhortations to love and to live in community. In contrast, this article claims that the biblical notion of discipleship has greater possibilities to allow for a more substantial and more holistic account of the Church, one that reunites ecclesiology, ethics and the Spirit’s transformative work within liturgy, charismatic service and mission.