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What Does the Bible Say About..Establishing the Church?

Where does it say that Jesus intended to establish a church? I can't imagine Jesus founding an organization that is as ritualistic and traditional as the church. Jesus was a revolutionary and I think this often gets missed. The Kingdom of Heaven had nothing to do with choirs and scripture readings and offerings. The Kingdom of Heaven was about human beings living under divine rule, which entailed loving one another and abandoning all selfish desires, motivations, aspirations. Jesus had an intolerance for the rich because he saw poverty as being the solution, not the problem. In other words, the world is better off when everyone shares resources and wealth. Yet, we have rich preachers and poor congregation members. Jesus was a genius because he realized that such things as education and talent had nothing to do with people thriving and people not thriving. If everybody in the world had a degree, there would still be poverty because of the inherent system of survival of the fittest.

I think the church is, can be, a positive ally in this fight to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. I'm just not sure Jesus meant to establish a church. The early Christians did; not Jesus.


“Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Jesus very pointedly states his intent of establishing a church, a body of called-out believers. Furthermore, God “hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23) Not only did Jesus intend to establish a church, God intended to make Jesus the head of the church. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:9-11) Not only did God intend to make Jesus the head of the church, he intended it from before time began.

It is true that some churches (in the current usage of that word rather than the biblical use) have corrupted the organization and even the purpose of the church of God. Some have replaced love with tradition and compassion with ritual. Even Jesus taught against these attitudes. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” (Matthew 23:23) Nevertheless, even Jesus said that the ritual was right and proper. It was just not to entirely replace the “weightier matters.” Jesus himself participated in the “rituals” of scripture readings and offerings (Luke 4:16; Luke 21:1-2), so was not likely to condemn them in his church.

You don’t say of what church you are speaking. Your references to choirs and rich preachers makes it obvious that it is not a church of which I have ever been a member. A preacher is entitled to make a living. “For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” (1 Timothy 5:18) He should not be rich for his locality, but should be paid a reasonable salary.

I am not sure how you became aware of the motivation for Jesus in his condemnation of the rich. Certainly throughout the Bible the rich are condemned for attitudes of pride and for not helping those who need financial help. But nowhere do I find anything saying that Jesus “saw poverty as being the solution, not the problem.” He acknowledged the existence of poverty and the need to alleviate it. In some cases (as that of the rich ruler in Luke 18) he even recommended that the really wealthy lose their wealth so that they might gain a new perspective. On the other hand, he dealt with many rich people to whom we have no record of him recommending that they distribute their wealth (for instance Zacchaeus in Luke 19).

You say, “the church is, can be, a positive ally in this fight to establish the Kingdom of Heaven.” The problem I have with that statement is that the church IS the Kingdom of Heaven. See What Does the Bible Say About..The Kingdom for the scriptures showing that to be true.