How Many Churches Did Jesus Establish?

Recently, I had a reader ask a question that I thought was pretty good and a very viable question at that.

Note — I want you all to know that if a person comments on a post on this blog, it does not automatically end up becoming a new post for me.  The only reason that I repost this text is because I thought it might edify other members of the Bride of Christ – The Church.

And now on to the lesson:

Good day sir, please i have a question for you. how many Churches did Christ build in the bible? Mathew 16:18

Wow – thank you so much for your question.

I’m not exactly certain where you are going with this question but I think I will attempt to answer more than just your initial question as well as an other question which many others (as well as you might fall into this category as well) have asked regarding this text. I’m sorry ahead of time for the probability for this answer being a bit long but I believe for a complete answer to your question, it is required.

You reference, Matthew 16:18:

[KJV] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Just breezing through this text, one would presume that it is indicating just one church, Peter’s, correct? The Catholic Church believes that Peter was the founder of their faith also being their first pope. That is strange considering that Peter lived in the first century A.D. and the Catholic Church wasn’t founded until nearly 400 A.D. You do the math.

Actually, many believe that this text is indicating that Jesus is telling Peter that He will be building His church on him (Peter), believing that the Greek word for “Peter” and the Greek word for “rock” is the same greek word, “Petra” (G4073 πέτρα petra (pe’-tra) n.).

Here is a brief study on the original words that were used in this verse. The belief is that the verse (belief of the above statement) is stating that Peter is the head of the Church from that point forward; There is one Church (branching into many other sects), the Roman Catholics, that believe this such statement.

Here is the truth to this verse:

The Greek word for “rock” is: G4073 (Strong’s number), πέτρα (the Greek spelling), petra (English translation), (pe’-tra) (the pronunciation of the word in English), n. (indication of the type of word it is, in this case it is a noun – person, place, or thing.

  1. (properly) a mass of solid rock (such as a solidly massive foundation or as jutting upward for hewing out a large family chamber tomb).
  2. (person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua.
  3. (Note) The solid rock is in distinct contrast to a piece of rock or a rock fragment.

The Greek word for “Peter” is: G4074 (Strong’s number), Πέτρος (the Greek spelling), Petros (English translation), (pe’-tros) the pronunciation of the word in English), n/p. (indicating that this could be used as a noun or a pronoun, indicated by context, not personal preferences – in this case it is used as a noun.)

  1. a (piece of) rock.
  2. as a name, Petrus, an apostle.

Notice the differences between these two words.

The word “petros” is being used as the “name of an apostle”, but if it were looked at as a form of rock, it would only be a small piece of rock… not much to put a church on.

The word “Petra” is being used as “(person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua”. If it were looked at as a form of rock, it would be a massive amount of rock, such as a foundation (bedrock).

Comparing the two, it, in my mind, and I think it is obvious the way the accurate translation should be, it should be the “rock” that is being used in this instance to build the Church upon is Jesus, The Solid Rock, The Bedrock, The Foundation of our Faith.

I have to answer your question as: There is only ONE Church being created in the verse, Matthew 16:18. The Church is NOT the Catholic Church, but rather the Church of Christians.

Christ-ian – literally means “little Christs” or “Christ-like, following Christ’s teachings and lifestyle”.

Where Peter was very instrumental in the early Church, especially in reaching the Jews with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul (previously Saul) was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Neither of which started their own sect or “religion” under their own names. They only spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

(All specific references to words used in the Bible come from, Mickelson’s Enhanced Strong’s Dictionaries of the Greek and Hebrew Testaments)

–Mark

©2016 ChristiansAreUs.com

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8 Comments

  1. Miguel

     /  March 14, 2019

    Private interpretation, incomplete and Without authority.

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    • This is NOT ‘private interpretation’. To the contrary, this interpretation is quite well-known as the Christian Church has held to that teaching since Christ roamed this earth after His glorious resurrection and ascension into Heaven.

      And, it is NOT ‘incomplete and without authority.’ As soon as the Bible was written (not necessarily compiled yet) it was completed – and that was just after the Apostle John died, on or around A.D. 94. As far as the interpretation being ‘incomplete’, it is quite complete in what I wrote in the article. And the ‘authority’ of ‘my’ interpretation is given to me in and through the Bible (II Timothy 3:16), hence by God. You will also note that I try as much as I can to back up what I say with the Bible, because, if it isn’t reinforced by the scriptures then it stands for nothing. In the case where it might be questionable, scripture helps to translate scripture, even if we have to go back to the original writings, to help clarify how a scripture is intended to be used within that context.

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  2. Biblechristianguy89@gmail.com

     /  September 18, 2018

    I don’t get it. When you say Peter’s church, that means you’re saying he started it? I thought the first was Jesus telling Peter that Jesus was going to build a church. “…my church. ” I’m wondering where is this church?

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    • Dear BibleChristianGuy,
      To clear things up just a little bit, I didn’t say that it was actually “Peter’s Church”. I did say, “Just breezing through this text, one would presume that it is indicating just one church, Peter’s, correct? The Catholic Church believes that Peter was the founder of their faith also being their first pope.”

      I only made the assumption that I was saying that Peter actually started the church. On the contrary…

      To freshen things up a little and to clear the water just a little bit, this is the verse that all of this is based on:
      [KJV] “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

      And, you are correct in saying that Jesus was going to start a church. First, let’s take a look at the meaning of the word Church. I always turn to the Strong’s Concordance where they take all of the words of the Bible and categorize them and show what words are related and how. It also shows the roots of the word and where it’s found in the Bible with that usage. It’s a great resource and if you don’t have it you should get it so you can study deeper into the Word of God.

      Here is what Strong’s says about the word “Church”:
      G1577 ἐκκλησία ekklesia (ek-klee-siy’-a) n.
      1. (literally) a “calling out.” (see H4744 for usage in Israel).
      2. (concretely, of Greece) an assembly of citizens (as called out by the town crier for a specific purpose).
      3. (specifically, of Jesus) a called out assembly of the Redeemed of Jesus (Yeshua).
      4. (specially, of Jesus) the citizenry of the Redeemed of Jesus whether being on earth or in heaven or both.
      5. (of ancient continuity) a called out assembly (of the Redeemed Kinsmen of Yahweh— out of captivity; see Nehemiah 8:8, then Exodus 6:6, Exodus 15:13).

      So, as we see the word ‘church’ used in Matthew 16:18, the form of that word relates to Strong’s number G1577, which in English, it is pronounced as, “ekklesia (ek-klee-siy-a)” in a noun form. (Person, place or thing)

      The best usage of the ones listed would be, either number 3 or number 4. The Church (capital C) refers to the (number 4) “citizenry of the Redeemed of Jesus whether being on earth or in Heaven or both.” In other words, God/Jesus has called out all who are redeemed of Him, making them all the cumulative ‘Church’, whether they are alive on earth and also those who have gone on (or will go on) before us in death, whose soul has left their bodies and has been transported by God to Paradise or as we would normally call it, Heaven.

      The usage in number 3 is, “a called-out assembly of the Redeemed of Jesus (Yeshua)”, is primarily used in referring to the current Church on earth, still alive, both depending on context. The usage of “church” with a small ‘c’ refers to a church building or a single local church entity.

      In the case of Matthew 16:18, the usage of ‘Church’ is primarily referring to the number 4 definition.

      Jesus was in the very beginning stage of establishing His Church. He was nearing the time where He would be crucified and He was trying to say some words of endearment to His disciples. He (paraphrased) came to all of His disciples and asked who other people say that He is, and then He asked whom they (the disciples) say that He is. That is when Peter rose up and said that He was the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the Living God. And for that, Jesus said to Peter that the Holy Spirit had revealed it unto him. And then He proceeded to say that, “I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”.

      Let’s take a look now, using Strong’s again, at the words, Peter, and Rock as they are used in this verse.

      Peter:
      G4074 Πέτρος Petros (pe’-tros) (notice the small ‘p’)
      1. a (piece of) rock.
      2. as a name, Petrus, an apostle.

      So we can replace the name of Peter with the word ‘petros’ – which refers to a small stone/rock which was easily picked up and thrown.

      Rock:
      G4073 πέτρα Petra (Pe’-tra) (notice the capital ‘P’)
      1. (properly) a mass of solid rock (such as a solidly massive foundation or as jutting upward for hewing out a large family chamber tomb).
      2. (person) The Solid Rock (of Ages), Jesus, Yeshua.
      3. (Note) The solid rock is in distinct contrast to a piece of rock or a rock fragment.

      So we would then replace the word ‘rock’ with ‘Petra’ (much like the city) – which refers to a rock that was massive, that would be able to carve out a residence or a tomb, and the only One who might even come close to that definition would be Jesus. So in this verse, “thou art petros, and upon this Petra will I build my church,” we can then understand that even though Peter’s name might come close to the same as ‘rock’, that is just not what Jesus was trying to say.

      If this verse kept the original meaning that most believe is true, that would have actually have had to make Peter a god, because, in order to build a church upon anything, that foundation must be faultless. They definitely could not say that Peter was faultless, especially since he denied that he was associated with Jesus and because he cut off the soldier’s ear out of rage. Peter, many times, was one who would act, and then think. After Christ’s Ascension, and with the arrival of Paul (previously Saul), Peter was made responsible for spreading the Gospel to the Jews primarily, and Paul was responsible to minister to the Gentiles, although some Jews were reached as well.

      With that in mind, it would also have to be said that only the Jews were part of the Church as Jesus intended. FALSE! The Church is made up of ALL who have BELIEVED on Jesus as the Son of God and that He took all of the sins of the world (everyone’s) on Himself at the cross and died to be the sacrifice that was needed to suffice the penalty that we would have normally been responsible for. If we believe with our whole heart, that Jesus died and rose again on the 3rd day after that and He was shown to all of the disciples and even more than 500 other people on the day of Pentecost and then ascended into Heaven to someday return to receive His own (Christians) to Himself so that we can go to Heaven to be with Him.

      So, how many churches did Jesus establish? Only ONE and at the time they didn’t have any denominations, they were just called Christians (or Christ-like ones). Although, they did still have some that were divisive against Jesus and His followers and took the truth and bent it just a little bit, enough to make it sound the same as Jesus’ teaching, but enough to make it WRONG! It mislead many that were almost converted but diverted many from the Truth. And, the same is still true today. Hence the reason for denominations, otherwise, all churches would teach the same and all churches would be mega-churches because you wouldn’t need so many of them around.

      After the Catholic Church was established in the 400’s A.D., They may have posted someone by the name of Peter as their first Pope, but it definitely was not the same Peter that Jesus was talking to in Matthew 16:18.

      With the Crusades, both the Catholic crusades and the Islamic crusades, the different “denominations” began to pop up. The problem with these denominations each made the Bible, that they had at the time, mean different things and tried to find fault with it in different ways to suit their agenda, thus we have some denominations starting (with more to come later in life) with “Those of the Way” (later to be known as Baptists, because they believed in full body immersion baptisms), Judaism (those who still practiced the ways of the Old Testament), Catholics, with Luther became Protestants (later to be known as Lutherans), then came Islam (who totally perverted Christianity, made Jesus a prophet, rather than the Son of God, then made Mohammed the main prophet next to God, and his word was truth), then you had the Reformationists, The Church of England (English Orthodox), Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox (all “Orthodox” churches were just a branch of the Catholics but they believed that the Crown had more power than the pope (hence the Crusade fightings). When ‘religion’ crossed the Atlantic, there were some more branches that came about, such as, Methodists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the list continues to go on and on. Most of those that diverted from “Those of the Way” from the first century A.D. usually perverted the scriptures and believed what they wanted to believe, thus making it wrong, and those who follow that way were normally bound for Hell.

      So, the question is: What Church is the true Church that Christ founded? The one that follows most closely to what the Scriptures say.

      Jesus established the New Covenant, making the Old Covenant (or the Old Testament) to be fulfilled, therefore everything that went into the Bible after the Prophets is otherwise known as the New Testament.

      So, who is the BEST “religion” (or church) to follow? That one that most closely teaches what the Bible teaches (and I recommend the King James Version 1611 edition), because if they try to divert from what the Bible has to say (and I know there are some questionable areas in the Bible, but it will never actually contradict itself). In my own teaching and personal studies, the one “denomination” that teaches what the Bible teaches is an Independent, Fundamental Baptist Church (the oldest church dating back to the first century).

      Remember that when we are looking for a church, it isn’t about what someone prefers regarding teaching, music or anything else, it is a matter of if you are getting to worship God in Body, Soul, and Mind and if the things said and done there are glorifying to the Lord Jesus Christ. If not, keep looking. There is a slight chance that if you give me your location, I might be able to locate a church that looks like one that might be the kind that you should be looking for.

      I hope that this answered your question. If you are still confused or maybe I opened up other avenues that you are not sure about, please let me know, either as a reply to this answer or you can send me a private message here.

      Thank you and God bless you,
      –mark

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    • Miguel

       /  March 14, 2019

      It’s the Catholic Church, the one that immediately battled the heretics. Ever heard of Apostolic succession ? It’s there, look it up. Read Rome sweet Home, by Dr. Scott Hahn, former anti-Catholic crusader that converted to the Catholic Church. Call Patrick Madrid on Relevant Radio, he is a Catholic apologist that will answer your questions. Read “Salvation is from the Jews” by Roy Schoeman, a Jew that is now a Catholic. Keep praying, May God The Father Bless You in Jesus’s name By The Power And Glory Of The Holy Spirit through The intercession of Mary, The Mother of God and The intercession of all The Angels And Saints, Amen !

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      • Miguel,
        I’m sorry to inform you that it wasn’t the Catholic church that Jesus established. Apostolic succession could not be the way that the Church was established by since the earliest “known” successor was in the mid-second century. Plus, the biblical concept of “Apostle” was One who was personally sent out by Jesus Himself, not a descendant of one of those Apostles. Although, there can still be disciples of Jesus Christ without any problem and still continue the Church, and that was exactly how the true Church was propagated.

        By the way, I am not going to read a book that is trying to convert me or at least change my thought process to the Catholic way of thinking when I am obviously set in my theology that is coming from the Bible and not someone that is charismatic and trying to win me over, nor am I going to knowingly listen to a radio show or podcast for the same reason.

        I appreciate the blessings from you in Jesus’ name, but I hate to tell you that Mary has just as much power as you or I (Heb. 7:3), except for the fact that she is dead, which at some point I will be too. Mary was a chaste virgin that God found favor with, just like He found favor with Abram when He named him the father of a wonderful nation, only because they had a great relationship with a God that they have never seen before. Also, Mary isn’t the mother of God or an intercessor of any prayers. Jesus is the only intercessor of our prayers (Heb. 7:25-28) and we are our own “priest” (James 1:9) so we can go to God one-on-one (Rev. 1:6).

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  3. Samson

     /  March 31, 2016

    i really want to thank you for the answer to my question, am really satisfied.Again i asked this question due to the kinds of different churches found in the world today, will all this forms of churches be saved by God? Today where is that church establish by Christ?please you can assist me in your subsequent response.

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    Reply
    • To keep from having to repeat myself, please read the above comment replies that I have provided.

      I’m sorry that this is so delayed. I have had some health problems that have kept me down and unable to perform my duties here.
      –mark

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