RETURN TO THE CENTER
"This is the challenge to the Church today. The structure of doctrine and ritual and organization which it inherited are no longer adequate to express the Divine Mystery, like those of Israel in the time of Christ. The very principle of divine life which originally created those structures is pressing for their transformation. For the eternal Wisdom which remains ever the same has to manifest in the ever-changing forms of history and society, of language, thought, culture and social organization. The Church has a basic structure which derives from the New Testament, alike of doctrine, of ritual and organization, but the historical development of this structure is subject to continual change. It is the Graeco-Roman structure which was built on the original Jewish basis that is now breaking down. There is nothing in this, whether it is dogmatic formulas, or its sacramental system or its hierarchical organization that is not subject to change. We have to recover the original inspiration which created the Church from the ruins of Judaism. The struggle between the letter and the spirit, the law and grace, has to be renewed, as it has continually in all religion. There is nothing which remains unchallenged, no doctrine, no discipline, no law, no custom. What is demanded, as was demanded of Israel, is nothing less than a death and resurrection. 'Destroy this temple, and in Three days I will raise it up...But he spoke of the temple of his body.'
It is this Body of Christ which has to undergo this transformation, this temple of the eternal Wisdom. From the beginning of the world this temple has been building--the whole creation is the temple of God. From the beginning of history this Body of Christ, which is the body of humanity, in which the divine Spirit dwells, has been growing, age by age, Every religion has contributed to the building of this temple, every human being is a member of this Body. Christ is the cornerstone of this temple, the head of this Body, which is the 'pleroma,' the 'fulness of him who fills all in all.' Now the Church is this Body of Christ. It is the visible structure in which this mystery of the divine life among men is being manifested. But it is not possible to conceive this Church in isolation from the rest of the world. This Divine Mystery is present everywhere in the hearts of all men. It is present in every religion. The mystery of the Church, which is the mystery of the divine life among men, has to be seen in the light of this universal revelation. It is not sufficient to return to the Bible to discover the original source of Christianity. The biblical revelation has to be seen in the context of history as a stage in the manifestation of the Word of God, of the eternal Wisdom, which has been present to the world from the beginning." Return to the Center, the Eternal religion, by Bede Griffiths, pp.110,111.