John Webster on the Church and Pastors

One article among many from John Webster that I’ve come to love is his 2001 piece titled, “The Self-Organizing Power of the Gospel of Christ: Episcopacy and Community Formation.”

It’s a dense explanation of how the gospel itself inherently leads to the usefulness of pastoral ministry. He argues that "a ministry of oversight is a necessary implication of the church’s confession of the gospel.”

He gets there by laying out two fundamental principles for a gospel-centered understanding of the church. And it’s just gold, man. Straight gold. 

In his words:

First, there can be no doctrine of God without a doctrine of the church, for according to the Christian confession God is the one who manifests who he is in the economy of his saving work in which he assembles a people for himself. Second, there can be no doctrine of the church which is not wholly referred to the doctrine of God, in whose being and action alone the church has its being and action.
— John Webster

Read the entire article (PDF). 

Or, at the very least, download it, file it, and read it another day.