Saturday, June 22, 2002

“One of the most unforgettable bishops in New York’s history electrified the large audience in the Bronx at his inaugural speech half a century ago. He had been preceded by a typical ‘brick and mortar’ administrator, fundraiser, organizer and ‘nice guy.’ But the new bishop announced, ‘I am here for one reason and one only. Everything I do for you will have one single aim: to save your souls.’

“The only justification for every dollar raised, every bible of hymnbook printed, every speck of dust swept up from under every pew, is salvation. That is the business the church is in.

“The church also seems to be in the social service business, the counseling business, the fundraising business, the daycare business—dozens of the same worthy businesses as the secular world is also in. Why? What justifies these things? The church’s ultimate end for all these things is different from the world’s end; it is salvation. This is its distinctive ‘product.’

“Why put out a product that is just the same as other companies’ products already on the market? Why would anyone expect such a product to sell? That’s why modernist or liberal Christianity, charitable as its services are, is simply not selling. The only reason for any of the church’s activities, the only reason for the very existence f the church at all, is exactly the same as the reason Jesus came to earth: to save poor and lost humanity. The church, after all, is in the same business as its Head. When the body runs in a different direction from its Head, it is like a chicken with its head cut off: it goes nowhere and quickly dies.”

—Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook for Christian Apologetics pp. 316-17


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