The Church As A Christian Community

1573 words - 7 pages

Few organizations are as present in our cities and towns than churches. While every municipality has dozens of fraternal organizations, shops, and information centers, it is entirely common to look across a cityscape and see the spires of a steeple peeking out above the surroundings. However, the use of the word “church” to describe this buildings fall short of its original meaning, with the word indicating a body of people, joined for a specific theological purpose. Different Churches see different ways at succeeding at fulfilling this purpose. While the Church often seems antiquated in modern times, I will analyze its importance in the modern world. Finally, I will identify the place of the Church in the modern world. It is important to recognize I will be performing this argument and analysis from a Catholic perspective, and some vocabulary and answers will be distinctly Catholic. In this paper, I will analyze the place of the Church in theological discussion, and in the world. I will argue that the Church is a body of peoples, and that it has a specific purpose, a means for achieving this purpose, and a precise mission and place in the modern world.
The modern world too often views the Church as a singular building, were worship services are held and specific business is taken care of. However, this is not the case, and the Church is better described as group of peoples, with the origin of the word coming from the Greek term for “assembly” . Throughout this essay, I will use capitalization to identify between church: a building, and Church, a group of people. Even when it is understood that the Church is a body of people, it is still easy to only imagine the clergy, or the members of the bureaucracy of that body as being the Church. The reality of the matter is the Church is an incredibly large group of people, who include the laity, clergy, religious, and hierarchy, working together for a common cause, and each group complementing another. Pope Francis commented on this in his interview “A Big Heart Open to God,” saying that the Church is “both the ‘people of God’ and ‘holy mother the hierarchical [C]hurch’” . Francis identifies that the two ideas of the people of God, and those people who are called to be leaders of the people, and realizes that they are in separable because of their purpose. Without the people as a whole, the hierarchy would have few means of reaching the world as a whole; without the hierarchy, the people would lack leadership, and from a Catholic perspective: the Grace found in the Sacraments.
It is through Grace that the Church endeavors to complete its primary mission: the salvation of souls . The first task in working towards the salvation of souls is the spread of the Gospels. The Church desires to spread the Gospel through preaching and works, to take up Christ on his command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19). The Church does this in a special way by being a presence in the world, to spread...

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