Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love


justifying the church


Church doctrine is part Jesus and a part Paul. By that I don't mean all of Paul plus all of Jesus comprise that doctrine. I mean a part of Jesus and a part of Paul plus a bit of human assumption and surmise thrown in for added measure. If Christianity's theology was 100% Jesus, for instance, we would have next to nothing describing the church or homosexuality, the church's sin obsession of the moment. Who is the author of Christianity, as we know it, Jesus, Paul, or the church? Certainly, it is not possible to build church doctrine solely from the words of Jesus or Paul or even both in combination. Human reasoning accounts for a good portion. The church claims to be great at reasoning about the Bible, while disallowing anyone else the right to reason for themselves.


Jesus ministered for three and a half years and based on the biblical record, his disciples hardly knew a thing about the church. Yet, today, if you want to embrace Jesus you have to join the institutional church. It's a package deal, supposedly. I suspect many folks would just love to have Jesus if they could just skip the church with all its negativism and self righteousness.


Some want to justify the church by equating the kingdom about which Jesus had much to say and the church which he barely mentioned at all. As I noted before, this doesn't wash because Jesus said plainly that the kingdom was invisible and internal. Nothing internal and invisible about the church. If Jesus considered the church as we know it to be essential to his mission and equivalent to the kingdom, he would have clearly said so.


The evident disconnect between the emphasis of Jesus on the eternal kingdom and the preoccupation of Paul with the church disappears when one realizes the temporary first century nature of the church as described by Paul. Many in Christianity recognize and admit that what we have today with the institutional church, splintered into hundreds of sects and towering church buildings on ever other street corner, is not what Paul or Jesus taught. They can't fail to admit that the sectarian confusion of current day Christianity could not be God sanctioned. However, most of these same people want to claim that their particular segment of this otherwise confused religious institution is the real deal, appointed by God to minister for Him on earth.


No, the institutional church is a manmade addition to the teachings of Jesus, and Paul for that matter. Neither one envisioned what we experience in the name of Christianity today. Jesus didn't appoint any minister, priest, preacher, elder, apostle, or evangelist to instruct and oversee your relationship with God. He knew what that would inevitably lead- to confusion, manipulation, greed, and personal glory.