Which Church Did Jesus Start?


What follows is a transcript I made of Patrick Madrid’s CD: Why I Am Catholic When I Could Be Anything Else

Jesus founded a Church. Who Started Your Church?

Mt 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

Let us do a thought experiment and suspend judgment about which Church is the church that Jesus founded.

FIRST CLUE:

Mt 5:1“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.14″You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16″Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

The Church that Jesus is establishing is VISIBLE so that the Father will be glorified. Now this passage is not necessarily about the Church but why would Jesus give us a advice that he Himself would not take? Why would he tell us to be visible and yet build a Church and leave us all questioning which Church it was? Does that make any sense?

Now why would Jesus go to the trouble of establishing a Church and then make it so obscure and difficult to find that no one could know if they were in the True Church or not? Does that make any sense?

Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket”

So why would he allow His Church be so difficult to find among thousands of competing beliefs that it is equivalent to lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket?

SECOND CLUE

Mt 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

We see here that Jesus declared His plan to build His Church. Whichever Church this is, that He is establishing, it is His Church. He started this Church. No other human being would be able to claim to have started this church.This also is a church that is being built by Christ. Although the members of this church are human the builder and perfecter of this church is Christ Himself.

CLUE THREE

Mt 28:18 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

First Jesus declares, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore..”

Go ….Why?Whenever you see the word “therefore” you have to find out what it is there for? And the rule of thumb is that the answer can be found in something previous to it. And there we find Jesus saying

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

So because of the authority given to Jesus He is sending the apostles out into the world with a certain authority. Some may argue that that is stretching it. Jesus isn’t exactly saying that there. I believe He is but we can bolster that with passages such as Luke 10:16:

And Jesus said, “”The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

To Peter

Mt 16:19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

And also to the Apostles:

Mt18:18“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

So there are a number of places where it is clear that the disciples were being sent forth with the authority of Christ. And they are being sent forth to the whole world. Not to just one country or town. Not to just this race or that, or a certain era in time, but to everyone, in the whole world, for all time, until the end of time. Jesus’ Church is a universal Church. This is not a church that convinces people to say the sinner’s prayer and then moves on. This church makes disciples…..of all nations. This is just another way of saying, “Make Converts”. When you convert someone you bring them in to the Church. And the doorway into the Church is the doorway of baptism, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Mt 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Next we see that this is a teaching Church.

“…teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”

So, Jesus gave commandments for the apostles to teach. They were not just suggestions. These are teachings Jesus commanded the disciples to pass on. So, when this church, whichever this church may be, goes forth and teaches; what she is doing is not saying, “This is what we think should be taught.” But rather, this is what Jesus Himself taught us. And we are simply passing that on to you.

And then Jesus says, Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Think about what that means. What must it mean?

Jesus Christ was neither a liar nor a fool. So since He was not deceiving us when He said those words, nor was He mistaken, we can rely on what He said about being with this Church that He was going to establish. That must mean that never could there have been a time nor will there ever be a time when this Church stopped or fell away or was ever vanquished by anything, because Jesus was going to be with it to protect it.

So, now lets get into the heart of the thought experiment. Let’s consider where we are today. The Catholic Church is one Church among many other churches that claim to be the true church. It is visible. People can see Catholic Churches in their town. There are Catholic schools and universities, there is St. Peter’s in Rome, etc.these all make the Catholic Church visible.

But we are not just talking about buildings. The priest, bishops, and pope are all visible. The lay people may not be prominently visible but if you are friends with a Catholic their catholicity becomes visible, sooner or later, either by seeing a crucifix around their neck, a rosary on their car mirror, pictures or statues in their home, praying with the sign of the cross, etc.

And the Catholic Church is visible in a particular way in its teachings. If you go into a town and ask for the Church where they confess their sins to a priest, and they pray for the dead, baptize babies, believe in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, teach that the mass is a sacrifice, begin and end prayers with the sign of the cross. What church are they going to send you to? No one is going to send you to the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church or any church other than the Catholic Church.

It is also visible because it has distinctive Catholic teachings. You might even say peculiar Catholic teachings that are unique to the Catholic Church. But there are other churches out there and some do and believe in one or two of the distinctive Catholic teachings.

So, let’s continue with our thought experiment. Let’s roll the clock back 50 years. The Catholic church is there but there are no Calvary Chapels. Chuck Smith was alive and probably still Catholic. But he hadn’t yet founded the first Calvary Chapel. It was founded in 1965.

Let’s go back 200 years to the year 1810. The Catholic Church is there. The pope, the bishops, the teachings, you’ll see all those outward signs of the presence of the Catholic Church we mentioned above. But there is something you will not find, no matter how hard you look, in the year 1810. You will not find the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It did not exist. It had not been founded yet by the man who would establish it, Joseph Smith. There also were no Jehovah’s Witnesses in the year 1810. Charles Taze Russell, the man who would start that religion had not been born yet. There were no Seventh Day Adventists, because Ellen Gould White had not started that religion yet. There were no Christian Scientists because Mary Baker Eddy would not found that church for another nearly 70 years, in 1879.

But now let’s go further. Let’s go to the year 1510. Again, the Catholic Church was visible alright, a lot like today. It was a very messy time. There were priest scandals, the lay people were not well catechized in the faith, tumult and tension in the Catholic Church. But you can see it in 1510, the pope, the bishops, saints and sinners and everyone in between. But there is something you can’t see in the year 1510. Protestantism. It just did not exist. Luther would not pound his 95 Theses on the door of the church for another seven years. Calvin, Zwingli and many others had not yet begun to break away from the Catholic Church or the Lutheran Church. Think about that. In the year 1509 Protestantism did not exist anywhere in the whole wide world of Christiandom. No Presbyterians. No Baptists. No Methodists. No Lutherans, etc.

And if you keep going back in time you will find that the Catholic Church has always been in existence since the time of Jesus’ resurrection. The Pope, the bishops, the teachings, etc. You find popes making decisions and bishops from across the world sending to Rome or traveling there themselves to get a decision from the Bishop of Rome. Who does not want to belong and trust the Church that Jesus Christ founded. Why would anyone prefer a Church started by a man?

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15 Responses

  1. Well, that was an interesting read. I’ve just been informed thatt Jesus started the Roman Catholic Church as the “True Church of Jesus”. Wow!! Anyway, that is so far from the truth. The Roman Catholic Church was started by man. In fact that man’s name is Constantine. (Please pick up a history book.) In fact, Constantine wasn’t even baptized as a Christian until he was on his death bed. There are several reasons why he adopted Christianity as the official religion for Rome. Initially, he was inspired by a vision he had before he went to battle. In which, he saw a cross and ordered his men, before battle, to paint the cross on their shields. Other reasons he started the Roman Catholic Church was in direct defiance and war with his brother-in-law Licinius, who ruled east Rome. The strife between these two emperors went on for years. Until, Constantine finally defeated his brother in law. Constantine was known as a ruthless ruler. Even killing his own son for supposed adultery and his wife committed suicide because she knew she’d be put to death for her lies against her stepson for adultery. As Constantine conquered and created new empires, he destroyed any remnants of what he considered not in line with his thoughts of Christianity. I could go on and on. However, the bottom line is that Jesus did not start the Roman Catholic Church. It was just the first official church of Christ, deemed by, a man, Constantine.

  2. Danielle,
    Constantine did not start the Catholic Church. Constantine legalized the Christian Religion which had been illegal for most of the preceding 400 years. Since the time of Christ the Catholic Church was an underground church and many Christians were martyred. During the first 200 years of Christianity every pope was martyred except one. So, the Romans knew who the head of the Church was!

    One of the fruits of the legalization by Constantine was that the bishops were now free to assemble and the Bible was finally canonized. Christianity flourished even amidst persecution and spread throughout the world during those 400 years….without a canonized Bible I might add, which made Sola Scriptura IMPOSSIBLE! But, of course, that doctrine was not even invented for another 1100 years.

    Constantine and the Catholic Church

    Around the year A.D. 107, a bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Near East, was arrested, brought to Rome and eventually martyred. In a farewell letter which this early bishop and martyr wrote to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (today Izmir in modern Turkey), he made the mention of “the Catholic Church.” This is the earliest written record we have of the use of this name for the Christian Church. He wrote,

    “Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church” 107 A.D. (To the Smyrnaeans 8:2;)

    Therefore, the Catholic Church was known by this name at that very early date because St.Ignatius does not need to explain what is meant by the term “Catholic Church.”
    Thus, at the dawn of the second century of Christianity, when the Church had scarcely begun the name of the Catholic Church was already in use.

    Roman was a slur attached to Catholic, by the English Protestants who wished to consider themselves the true Catholic Church. We have resisted this title because it is an oxymoron. Roman is a narrow designation and one city in the world. Catholic means universal. So the two adjectives together make no real sense.

  3. It is an occupational hazard for Protestants to try to read Catholic history written by very biased Protestants.

    • 200 or so years is a long time for someone to mess up Jesus’s Doctrine. How do you know The Church didn’t change, Christians didn’t leave out things, didn’t add in things to His Church? The Old Testament prophet Isaiah prophesied of a famine of the Word of God.
      It has happened, and is now over. Christ restored the Word of God to the earth in these latter days.

      I’m sorry, but christians should be visible by the way they act, not by a cross.

      P.S. why does everyone think the cross is holy? If someone shot my best friend or my leader I would not wear an image of the handgun they used, but rather a picture of that person instead.

  4. Aaron,
    If you are concerned about 200 years what about 1800 years until the time of Joseph Smith?

    Christians should be visible by their lives, I agree. The cross is the center of our Faith, that is why it is used to signify Christians. But, that is probably b/c we are so far removed from the reality of crucifixion. I wonder if the Christians intimately acquainted with real Roman crucifixion wore crosses. Maybe, since Jesus triumphed over the cross. But using a method of execution as a symbol for LIFE Giving Faith, is poetically contradictory, for sure.

  5. Sorry but the Catholic Church actually was “obscure and difficult to find” for most of the world’s population until Spanish and Portuguese colonialism began 500 years ago.

  6. The Orthodox Church also baptizes has “Mass” (Divine Liturgy) has THE Priesthood is Apostolic has the sacrament of confession and is more historically accurate to the original Christian community than the Romans who left the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church upon the Great Schism….remember?

    • Dear Genevieve,
      The Orthodox Church does have Holy Orders and all that you have said, except it left the Church founded by Jesus at the Great Schism. Hopefully we will be unified again soon.

  7. all religions is man made catholic means universal yes he did peter was the first pope protestant church man made

  8. I love how BFHU deleted the first comments on this chain, which provided a clear refutation to her claims… hmmm… delete subtance in favor of unlearned tradition; how very Catholic of you!

  9. Uhhhhmmm? What makes you think that? I only delete spammish type “comments.” I respond to substantive comments. If you think you or someone else can refute my post I would love to see it.

    • Been there, done that with you, miss. I was the first comment… all good. Put on whatever face for your readers you deem necessary; you and I both know.

  10. Hmmmmm…..Do you know Lisa who is on the way or maybe has recently been received into the Catholic Church?

    • Possibly. But if she still reads this thread, we both just jogged her memory; count one more person who knows how much of a phony you are! “Spammish”… you flatter yourself.

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