The Purpose of the Church

Let’s dispense with the idea that our God has one and only one (i.e., “The”) purpose for the church.

Let us set aside — without necessarily objecting to — some previously purported propositions for the purpose of the church (e.g., “the three-fold mission of the church,” “the work of salvation,” “bringing us to Christ”, “to assist the Father in His work and glory”).

Proposition:

Christ’s Church must prepare and encourage us to constantly commune with the Holy Spirit, anticipating that the Holy Spirit will prepare us to commune personally with and to know Christ, anticipating that the Son of God will prepare us to commune personally with and to know the Father.

We presume that the only way back to the Father is through the Son. While one could make a case that the Son might use His church to bring us into the presence of the Father, I can think of no example where that has ever happened. Further, I can think of no case where His church has ever brought someone into His presence.

It seems that the church has a mission to teach us of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that we may learn of God (e.g., His character, His dealings with man, His commandments, His example), hope in Him, and develop and exercise faith in Him; and furthermore provide us encouragement and opportunity to commune regularly with the Holy Spirit.

Is it not folly to presume that regular communion with God through the Holy Spirit is equivalent to being in His presence, is equivalent to knowing the Son, or is equivalent to knowing the Father? If we are commanded to know God, why do we procrastinate?

On a personal note, I have only recently recognized that I have treated the Holy Spirit as though He was a silent partner that walked three steps behind me and presented at my occasional bidding. What arrogance. Shouldn’t constant companionship mean that He is constantly by my side, constantly in my heart, and that I constantly feel His presence? Shouldn’t it mean that I have a ready ear to listen to the voice of  God and quickly act upon what I am told? Shouldn’t it mean that I am being constantly taught by the Spirit? How else could I possibly learn truth, much less the mysteries? If I can’t do that, why would He bring me to the Savior? If I can’t do that, why would the Savior’s Spirit (see sacrament prayer: “His Spirit”) attend me? Why would He send angels to minister to me?

 

 

 

 

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