The Church Jesus Built

During the personal ministry of Christ, He announced to Peter, "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The promise was based on the fact that He was "the Christ, the son of the living God" (Verse 16). The basic fundamental of Christianity is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah prophesied throughout the Old Testament AND that He is in fact the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). The exclusive nature of Christianity is made clear by Jesus after His resurrection when He stated to doubting Thomas, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:5-6).

 Jesus, in this context, coins the term "church "to have reference to His disciples or followers. Although today we use church most often to refer to a building used for public Christian worship, the Greek word carries with it the concept of being "called out." Thus Jesus' use has reference to those that are called out of the world into the body of Christ (Colossians 3:15). As Paul put it to the Christians at Rome, ye are "the called of Jesus Christ" (Romans 1:6). In addressing the church  at Corinth, Paul wrote, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" (1 Corinthians 1:2).

 Historically, the churches of Christ today is an effort to be the church we read about in the New Testament. Realizing Jesus wanted His people to be one (John 17:11) with the father and the son, men of faith went about restoring the church Jesus built as revealed in the Word. The motivation for unity in Christendom was, as Jesus put it, "that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:21). These efforts resulted in "doing Bible things in Bible ways," and "calling Bible things by Bible names." As Thomas Campbell expressed in his Declaration and Address, "We shall speak where the Scriptures speak, and be silent where the Scriptures are silent." Biblical ecumenicalism, however, must be based on the Bible as God's revelation of His will to mankind.

 However, Christendom today seems to live in a post doctrine world. The integrity of God's Word has too often been successfully undermined. It seems that there is no longer an absolute faith in the Bible as God's Word. This ought not so to be! The church Jesus built rests on a three-legged foundation: (1) faith in God the Father; (2) faith in Christ as His Son; (3) and faith in the Bible as their Word. Destroy one leg and the church Jesus built falls.

 Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK