In what is either a failure to grasp the meaning of the word “church” or a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel message, a former Catholic bishop from Italy recently said he’d be willing to allow Islam to displace Christianity if it meant saving migrants.
Speaking with reporters earlier this month, Raffaele Nogaro, the former bishop of Caserta, based his counterintuitive claim on the moral goodness of helping those in need.
“Morally, and as a man of faith, I would be willing to turn all churches into mosques if it were useful to the cause and if it helped to save the lives of poor and unhappy men and women, because Christ did not come to earth to build churches but to help men regardless of race, religion, or nationality,” Nogaro stated, according to AGI.
But in fact, Jesus Christ came with the express purpose of building his church, and a rudimentarily understanding of Scripture makes that fact pretty clear.
If Nogaro understands the meaning of the word “church,” he would know it’s not a physical building. If one sits through a basic Sunday school lesson he or she will come away understanding the “church” is the body of Christ — those who believe in and adhere to the gospel message — not a brick-and-mortar facility. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “On this rock, I will build my church.”
The “rock” Jesus was referring to was the gospel.
On top of all that, the goal of the Christian message is not to cure unhappiness. It is to reveal our wayward hearts and provide a path back to righteousness — a journey we cannot successfully navigate without the all-sufficient grace Jesus bought on the cross.
The believer’s chief endeavor should be to expose nonbelievers to the gospel, as we are commissioned in Matthew 28:19-20, which states, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Now, with that simple lesson, it seems rather than converting churches into mosques, it would be more consistent with Scripture for churches to open their arms to migrants in need, as many have already done.