The relationship of believer to Lord in the most primitive Christianity is not to be conceived as a mysterious timeless interiority betrayed by language, history and community; even for the Gnostic it is the result of specific historical activities in the shape of mission and conversion, and bears the marks of this. The ‘catholic’ insight is that it continues to be constituted by historical mediations – gospel and canon, sacrament, succession, communion, debate and exchange, with all the ambiguities involved in the life of historical and visible social realities, the problems of power and guilt and forgetfulness.

Rowan Williams, “Does it make sense to speak of pre-Nicene Orthdoxy?” in The Making of Orthodoxy, 17.