The Gospel light is too good to keep to ourselves. But when we share it with others, we immediately create a community. We create the Church–two or more gathered together in the Name of Jesus. After 2,000 years of this sharing, it means that no one comes to faith without the witness of the Church. No matter when we profess our faith, we step into the stream of the Church that already exists. We never get there first.
The Church is the “unbroken chain of witness” that comes down the corridor of time, and one day reaches us us. We cannot personally verify the Gospel. We must receive it from those whose witness we believe. Moreover, we cannot believe on our own. Without someone to help us, we do not even know what the phrase, “I believe in Jesus” even means.
And finally, without the Church we have no way to insure that one person’s profession of faith is synchronous with another’s–whether those two believers be separated by miles or centuries.
So, it is the Church which declares the faith, invites us to embrace it, instructs us in its meaning, and gathers us to worship the God of Life. Without the Church, we cannot even pray, “Our Father….”