Churches should not imitate the Pharisees, look whom Jesus condemned for compassing land and sea to make proselytes (Matt 23:15), but should rather follow the practice that prevailed in the first centuries of prolonged catechesis. The primary Christian mission, in short, is not to save souls but to be a faithfully witnessing people…When serving the world results in the neglect of the household of faith, the church becomes not a sign, but a countersign, a contributor to that human confusion that is the opposite of God’s design. It comes to resemble the philanthropist who loves humankind at a distance but not his neighbors or family in need. Its primary task should be to build up sisters and brothers in the faith, not to liberate the oppressed everywhere; and it is only through performing this task that it becomes a liberating force in world history.
George Lindbeck, “The Church,” in Keeping the Faith: Essays to Mark the Centenary of Lex Mundi, ed. Geoffrey Wainwright (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988), 192.