752) What is the Purpose of the Church?

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By C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

     This is the whole of Christianity.  There is nothing else.  It is so easy to get muddled about that.  It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects– education, building, missions, holding services.  Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects– military, political, economic, and what not.  But in a way things are much simpler than that.  The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life.  A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden– that is what the State is there for.  And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time.  In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw people into Christ...  If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time.  God became Man for no other purpose.  It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.

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John 12:32  —  (Jesus said), “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”

Colossians 1:16-20…28  —  For in Christ all things were created:  things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross…  He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.

John 3:16-17  —  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

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 Most gracious Father,
we pray to you for your holy Church.
Fill it with all truth;
in all truth with all peace.
Where it is corrupt, purge it.
Where it is in error, direct it.
Where anything is amiss, reform it.
Where it is right, strengthen and defend it.
Where it is in want, provide for it.
Where it is divided, heal it and reunite it in your love;
for the sake of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ.

–William Laud  (1573-1645), Archbishop of Canterbury

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