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.


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?


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.


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?


35 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.

    • WRONG! Jesus said to St. Peter, “You are the Rock and on this rock I will build my church.” If you look at the history of the lineage of Popes, St. Peter is number one. It’s not that difficult to figure out. Read the bible, not some history book written by man. Jesus did indeed start the Catholic Church. End of story. Move on to something you actually know about.

    • St. Peter started the Catholic Church and that’s why he is buried on Vatican Hill in the Basilica. WHAT IMPERFECT MR. SO AND SO STARTED YOUR CHURCH AND IN WHAT YEAR?

  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.

      • Aaron, the Cross represents what Jesus did for us. He died for us so that we might have eternal life. THAT MAKES IT HOLY. Your reference using a handgun to the cross is ridiculous and secular. By this I am not surprised.

  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.

  11. if it wasn’t for the Catholic Church i wouldn’t be Christian. The Witness needs to be credible for me. I won’t go into the existing documentation available to anyone who is seriously interested. Suffice it to say that, even in this protestant country, six of our nine Supreme Court Justices are Catholic. The other three are Jewish. They weren’t selected for their religious preferences. They were selected for their ability to reason….There’s not a single protestant among them.

  12. The answer is no Jesus Christ did not find the Catholic Church. Know we must look in the scriptures to see how he never found the Catholic Church. First Jesus Christ tells us through out the bible that he is to be worshipped alone. Many Catholics say they don’t worship Mary or that saints but honor them. Well you see through out the bible it is so important to pray to God, because it’s a way to communicate with him and it’s actually worshipping God also because When you pray God exactly can see that we realy do trust him as the God almighty who lives for ever and ever. But sadly Catholics specially the Mexican Catholics instead of praying to God they pray to Mary, because Catholics specially Mexicans tend to forget about God. If you watch Spanish Guadalupe shows they face problems that instead of praying to God they pray to idols. And if you pray to someone you are worshipping that person such as Virgin Mary. It’s okay when you pray to say Virgin Mary but not to pray to her. We must understand that Virgin Mary is important but that she hates it when people pray to her because they are actually praying to Satan and his demons. Which type of Christianity did Jesus Christ find ? If you truly know Jesus Christ this a very easy question to you. The answer is found in every book in the New Testament but I have a verse from the book of John that says ” God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. We know that any one who believes in God is called a Christian. So the answer is Jesus Christ only found The only true church which is the Christian church. all of the modern day churches use to be the one true church into false prophets started to rise, when false prophets added false doctrines, the people who believed in them were the Catholics that others started to expose them, and that those who exposed them which were true were falsely exposed, that people separated from the one true church because its members exposed themselves, that people wanted find there own church that today there are so many false churches, but because this people decided to join in there own church, There was no space for them found in the truly one Christian church of Jesus Christ. We must understand that the truly one church were not in a buildings but were true believers of Jesus Christ who joined his church. The one truly church is the big family of Christ, that has many prophets, many saints not catholic, many evangelist, many priests.

    • Matthew 16:18
      And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

    • Spot on with your answer.I follow the the United Church of God and they agree with everything you said. Ucg.org

  13. the church that Jesus establish is the apostles.whe he came in this world his father josef and Maria were attending Roman catholic church but Jesus didnt follow them he establish his own church

    • Dear Glucia,
      I am afraid you are a little mixed up. Mary and Joseph were Jewish and they went to the Temple in Jerusalem or the local synagogue. They did not attend the Catholic Church b/c it was not founded until Jesus founded it upon Peter and the Apostles.

  14. I think the true church is Jesus Himself. True Christians must follow the teachings of Jesus which can only be found in the Bible- the only book for all Christians. No one goes to the father expect through Christ-so if our aim as “members of the true Church” is to go the father and find salvation- live happily with him and the angels in Heaven- we should all go to Jesus, the true church, for he alone is the way. I do not think it should matter that much knowing where the true Church originates because the true Church is Jesus. True Christians all belong to and follow Jesus! The Holy scriptures do not ask us to argue on the origin of The True Church, they simply teach us how to live as true Christians or followers of Jesus who obey and follow his teachings.

    Jesus est la vraie eglise- Pardon ! Je suis Francophone et j’ai fini mon commentaire en francais. Je suis catholique, mais je ne me permets pas le droit de dire telle ou telle autre religion est la vraie ou a ete fondee par Jesus lui-meme. En conclusion, c’est Jesus lui-meme qui est la vraie eglise. Thank you all !

  15. Dear Joshua,
    The Church is the Body of Christ. I agree He is our savior. All of those who are a part of the Body of Christ certainly are blessed by Him. God loves all of His children! Nevertheless, according to the Holy Scriptures, Jesus did say He was going to build His Church. And in Jn 17 He desires unity. Unfortunately, Christians have failed in the unity, One Church, department.

  16. It’s about Jesus, His work on the cross for the payment of my sin. We are saved by Gods grace through faith in Christ and this is not from ourselves it’s a gift from God. Today is the day of salvation.

  17. How could Jesus himself start a church when he is jewish? Jews do not go to church, nor did they when Jesus was alive or during his life span. I believe in in history & history shows it was a couple of apostles that started the church for these new believers of Christ.

    • Here is what Jesus said to Peter:

      18 And I tell you that you are Rock and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.
      -Matthew 16:18

  18. LOL.. No, the Catholic church has not always been in existence since Christ.. You cannot find any Catholic church in the New Testament.. What you will find is a church at Rome that was a local congregations of the “churches of Christ”(Rom 16:16).. It was that local congregation at Rome that went apostate and later took on the name Catholic.. Then it wasn’t until a later time that the bishop started calling himself “Pope”.. There are no Popes or priests in the New Testament because there was no such things until the Catholic church was invented.. The Catholic church does not belong to Christ.. The Catholic church is a heretical, blasphemous, apostate mother of harlots!

    You’re a false teacher!

    • Hi Will,
      True, the term Catholic Church is not in the NT. But like St. John said all the books in the world could not contain everything Jesus did.

      John 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

      John 21: 25 But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

      You seem to be under the impression that all truth must be in Scripture. However this belief was invented by Martin Luther and is not contained in Scripture.

      In addition to that we have a written record of the Church being called Catholic in 107AD.

      At Antioch, Ignatius was ordained by Paul,…. On his way to Rome to be martyred, he wrote several letters to fellow Christians in various locations, expounding on Christian theology…..

      In one of his letters (to Christians in Smyrna), he wrote,

      “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.”

      This is the earliest known written record of the term “Catholic Church” (written around A.D. 107), but Ignatius seemingly used it with the presumption that the Christians of his day were quite familiar with it. In other words, even though his is the earliest known written record of the term, the term likely had been in use for quite some time by then, dating back to the time of the apostles. Catholic Answers

  19. People who believe in God are not necessarily christian. People who believe in Jesus are christian.

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