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David Bentley Hart on the Church as Christ’s Counterhistory

Christ’s moment of most absolute particularity – the absolute dereliction of the cross – is the moment in which the glory of God, his power to be where and when he will be, is displayed before the eyes of the world. When the full course of Christ’s life is completed and is raised up by the Father, his “hiddenness” is shown to be a different kind of substantial presence, one that is only in being handed over in love, surrendered, and given anew; thus his “hiddenness” is in fact that openness with which his presence is embodied in the church’s practices, the exchange of signs of peace, the sacramental transparency of the community of the body of Christ. The church exists in order to become the counterhistory, nature restored, the alternative way of being that Christ opens up: the way of return. It is in this sense, principally, that the Word assumes human nature (as Irenaeus understood): by entering into the corporate identity of the body of the old Adam, the body of death, to raise all humanity up again in his body of glory.

David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), 327.

One Comment

  1. D.W. Congdon wrote:

    I definitely appreciate the emphasis on recapitulation in Hart’s theology. There is much in that doctrine worth rehabilitating for the church today.

    Great quote. Thanks for posting it.

    Monday, January 15, 2007 at 12:42 am | Permalink

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