If one wishes to speak of the Christian Church, to understand and describe it, one must always exclusively and consistently hold before one’s eyes the living congregation of the living Lord Jesus Christ. If one is of two minds here or stops half way, if one overlooks this reality only the least bit, the profoundest words which might be used on the subject become ambiguous, insipid, and ultimately meaningless. No matter how sincere, all praise of the Church as the Body and Bride of Christ, as the City, Colony, People, and Flock of God then becomes spurious and untrustworthy, for all these New Testament insights and words are related to the living congregation of the living Lord Jesus Christ and to it alone.  No matter how earnest, all discussion about the nature and unity of the Church, its order and task, its inner life and its commission in the world then leads into uninteresting dead-ends.  It is to be feared that no matter how honorable and zealous, all concern about the Church not focused concretely on this reality must ultimately be in vain.

Book Title: God Here and Now. Contributors: Karl Barth – author.
Publisher: Routledge. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year:
2003. Page Number: 75.