Nevertheless, it must be noted that many on both the left and the right do not begin their ecclesiological discussions here. Many on the left begin with the church as a prophetic vanguard commissioned to fight within various political systems for the rights of those who are disadvantaged by those systems. Many on the right view the church primarily as the guardian of certain saving truths contained in Holy Scripture and in various creedal or confessional statements. These perspectives, different thought they are, lead those who hold them to similar visions of themselves; namely, as advocates and/or guardians who must, before all else, hold to principle.The authors of WR, though they care mightily about truth and justice, see both as contained within and witnessed to by something more basic; namely, a form of common life that is a sign of God’s will for the entire creation. Thus, they see unity, communion, and holiness of life as providing something like a circle of grace within which sinful people who have been brought into a new form of life by incorporation into Christ can struggle within the conditions of finitude and sin to bring about a faithful witness to God’s purposes for the world. Thus, unity, communion, and holiness of life are constitutive of the calling of the church. Truth and justice (along with love) are the fruits that arise within this circle of grace and so give light to the world. For the authors of WR, the matter of primary importance is for the church within its common life to be characterized by these three distinctive marks. Apart from them, the church loses its assigned character and so fails in its vocation.
Read the whole of this very helpful piece
here. [Editor’s note: this link is broken. We apologize for the inconvenience.]