The Networking of Differences That Makes a Difference: Theology and the Unity of the Church



Abstract What does the church mean when it confesses through the Creeds its oneness? My aim is to reflect on how and why theology needs to bring to the fore a hidden dimension in the discourse on the unity of the church, that is, its tendency to fall into a “solid” and “totalizing” disciplinary technology, i.e., an ideology. I will approach the theme following these basic theological pointers: (a) a biblical primary symbol as it emerges to unveil a new existence and practice—Paul's metaphor of the body in 1 Corinthians 12; (b) a secondary symbol through which the church understood itself to be lodged—the trinitarian understanding of being as a communicative relationship; (c) the regulative principle of law and promise as guiding a discursive practice that supports different levels of decentering and centering that signals a breakthrough of the eschaton—Luther's understanding of law and gospel. These overlapping theological dimensions allow a different metaphorization of the oneness and unity of the church.