Churches are entitled to their own beliefs,
but NOT their own facts* 1:
- What basis in fact is there for the claim of "churches" to represent the teaching of Jesus Christ as reported in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ?
- What did Jesus teach about a "church" in the gospels? Only one of the four Gospels has Jesus even mentioning the word "church" (a total of 4 times in 2 verses). (see below)
- What did Jesus teach about a "priesthood"? The only priesthood that Jesus referred to was the Jewish priesthood, to whom he frequently directed his followers.
- What did Jesus teach about a "papacy"? In three of the four Gospels absolutely nothing, and all of the many Christian denominations but one insist that the one church that makes a big deal out of Matthew 16:18 has "made a mountain out of a molehill" (or "out of a pebble", if you will).
- What did Jesus teach about clerical superiority? He directed that "leaders" in his movement should be the very opposite of the aristocracies of the world. He directed them to be humble, unselfish, servants instead of arogant, know-it-all, self-serving, pompous masters. Yet today, we have humble secular public servants who shun titles of honor and pompous luxuries, while "princes of church" do the very opposite!
Jesus is reported to have used the word "CHURCH" only by Matthew and only in these 4 verses:?
(Mat 16:18 NRSV)
"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."
(Mat 18:15 NRSV)
"If another member of the church sins against you, go and
point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you,
you have regained that one."
(Mat 18:17 NRSV)
"If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the
church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one
be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
(Mat 18:21 NRSV)
"Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, if another member of
the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?"
This is especially noteworthy considering the fact that Paul's Epistles were circulating prior to the publication of the Gospels and they mention the word church 43 times. (The book of Acts mention "church" 17 times.)
Jesus is reported to have used the word "kingdom (of heaven)" in all four Gospels over 100 times. Many "churchmen" might claim that when Jesus said "kingdom of God", or "kingdom of heaven", he was talking about "the Church". Some passages do indeed allow for that interpretation, but some don't. See what you think yourself. Here are all those passages. I will put a brief comment (in parentheses) after some of them :
(Mat 3:2 NRSV)
"John the Baptist preached: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." (Did "the Church" exist at this early date?")
(Mat 4:17 NRSV)
"From that time Jesus began to proclaim, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." (Did "the Church" exist at this early date?")
(Mat 4:23 NRSV)
"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and
proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every
sickness among the people." (Was "the Church" the good news?)
(Mat 5:3 NRSV)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". . . (Was "the Church" their reward?)
(Mat 5:10 NRSV)
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Was "the Church" their reward?)
(Mat 5:19 NRSV)
"Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these
commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
(Mat 5:20 NRSV)
"For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the
scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."(How is this standard applied to church membership?)
(Mat 6:33 NRSV)
"But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well."(the Church ?)
(Mat 7:21 NRSV)
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."(How is this standard applied to church membership?)
(Mat 8:11 NRSV)
"I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."(the Church ?)
(Mat 9:35 NRSV)
"Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in
their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every
disease and every sickness."(the Church ?)
(Mat 10:7 NRSV)
"As you go, proclaim the good news, ' the kingdom of heaven has
come near." (the Church ?)
(Mat 11:11&12 NRSV)
"Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen
greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force."(the Church ?)
(Mat 12:25 NRSV)
"He knew what they were thinking and said to them, "Every
kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided
against itself will stand."(the Church ?)
(Mat 12:26 & 28 NRSV)
"If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how
then will his kingdom stand? But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then
the kingdom of God has come to you."(the Church ?)
(Mat 13:11 NRSV) He answered, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of
the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given."(the Church ?)
(Mat 13:19 NRSV)
"When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not
understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart;
this is what was sown on the path."(the Church ?)
(Mat 13:24 NRSV)
"He put before them another parable: " the kingdom of heaven may
be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; (the Church ?)
(Mat 13:31 NRSV)
"He put before them another parable: " the kingdom of heaven is
like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field;
(Mat 13:33 NRSV)
"He told them another parable: " the kingdom of heaven is like
yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of
it was leavened."
(Mat 13:38 NRSV)
"the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of
the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one," (the Church ?)
(Mat 13:41 & 43 NRSV)
"The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out
of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, Then the righteous
will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!
(Mat 13:44 NRSV)
" the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,
which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has
and buys that field."
(Mat 13:45 NRSV)
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of
(Mat 13:47 NRSV)
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown
into the sea and caught fish of every kind;
(Mat 13:52 NRSV)
"And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been
trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings
out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
(Mat 16:19 NRSV)
"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven , and
whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on
earth will be loosed in heaven."(this has certainly been applied to the clergy of
the Roman Catholic Church, but why would God entrust such power to some of the
most evil men to inhabit the earth ? See Popes vs Christ.)
(Mat 16:28 NRSV)
"Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not
taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."(the Church ?)
(Mat 18:1 NRSV)
"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the
greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?"
(Mat 18:3 NRSV)
"and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like
children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."(the Church ?)
(Mat 18:4 NRSV)
"Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."(the Church ?)
(Mat 18:23 NRSV)
"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a
king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves."(the Church ?)
(Mat 19:12 NRSV)
"For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there
are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have
made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven . Let anyone accept
this who can."(the Church ?)
(Mat 19:14 NRSV)
"but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do
not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."(the Church ?)
(Mat 19:23 NRSV)
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, it will
be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven."(the Church ?)
(Mat 19:24 NRSV)
"Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the
eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."(the Church ?)
(Mat 20:1 NRSV)
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out
early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard."(the Church ?)
(Mat 20:21 NRSV)
"And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him,
"Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at
your left, in your kingdom."(the Church ?)
(Mat 21:31 NRSV)
"Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The
first."Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the
prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you."(the Church ?)
(Mat 21:43 NRSV)
"Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away
from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom."(the Church ?)
(Mat 22:2 NRSV)
" the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a
wedding banquet for his son."(the Church ?)
(Mat 23:13 NRSV)
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you
lock people out of the kingdom of heaven . For you do not go in yourselves, and
when others are going in, you stop them."
(Mat 24:14 NRSV)
"And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed
throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will
(Mat 25:1 NRSV)
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids
took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom."(the Church ?)
(Mat 25:34 NRSV)
"Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, you
that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world;" (the Church ?)
(Mat 26:29 NRSV)
"I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine
until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."(the Church ?)
(Mark 1:15 NRSV) (John the Baptist) "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has
come near; repent, and believe in the good news."(the Church ?)
(Mark 3:24 NRSV)
"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot
stand."(the Church ? the church is divided into thousands of competing "churches".)
(Mark 4:11 NRSV)
"And he said to them, "To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God , but for those outside, everything comes in parables; (the Church ?)
(Mark 4:26 NRSV)
"He also said, " The kingdom of God is as if someone would
scatter seed on the ground," (the Church ?)
(Mark 4:30 NRSV)
"He also said, "With what can we compare the kingdom of God , or
what parable will we use for it? (the Church ?)
(Mark 9:1 NRSV)
"And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing
here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come
with power."(the Church ?)
(Mark 9:47 NRSV)
"And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is
better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes
and to be thrown into hell," (the Church ?)
(Mark 10:14 NRSV)
"But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them,
"Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as
these that the kingdom of God belongs."(the Church ?)
(Mark 10:15 NRSV)
"Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God
as a little child will never enter it."(the Church ?)
(Mark 10:23 NRSV)
"Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard
it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God !" (the Church ?)
(Mark 10:24 NRSV)
"And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus
said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God ! (the Church ?)
(Mark 10:25 NRSV)
"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God ."(the Church ?)
(Mark 12:34 NRSV)
"When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You
are not far from the kingdom of God ."After that no one dared to ask him any
(Mark 14:25 NRSV)
"Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of
the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God ."(the Church ?)
(Mark 15:43 NRSV)
"Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who
was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God , went boldly to
Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
(Luke 1:33 NRSV)
"He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his
kingdom there will be no end."(the Church ?)
(Luke 4:43 NRSV)
"But he said to them, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose."(the Church ?)
(Luke 6:20 NRSV)
"Then he looked up at his disciples and said: "Blessed are you
who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God ."(the Church ?)
(Luke 7:28 NRSV)
"I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than
John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."(the Church ?)
(Luke 8:1 NRSV)
"Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages,
proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God . The twelve were
(Luke 8:10 NRSV)
"He said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God ; but to others I speak in parables, so that 'looking they may not
perceive, and listening they may not understand.'
(Luke 9:2 NRSV)
"and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to
(Luke 9:11 NRSV)
"When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he
welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God , and healed those who
needed to be cured."
(Luke 9:27 NRSV)
"But truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will
not taste death before they see the kingdom of God ."
(Luke 9:60 NRSV)
"But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but
as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God ."
(Luke 9:62 NRSV)
"Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and
looks back is fit for the kingdom of God ."
(Luke 10:9 NRSV)
"cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of
God has come near to you.'
(Luke 10:11 NRSV) 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe
off in protest against you. Yet know this: The kingdom of God has come near.'
(Luke 11:2 NRSV) He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your
name. Your kingdom come."
(Luke 11:17 NRSV)
"But he knew what they were thinking and said to them, "Every
kingdom divided against itself becomes a desert, and house falls on house."
(Luke 11:18 NRSV)
"If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his
kingdom stand? –for you say that I cast out the demons by Beelzebul."
(Luke 11:20 NRSV)
"But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out the demons,
then the kingdom of God has come to you."
(Luke 12:31 NRSV)
"Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be
given to you as well."
(Luke 12:32 NRSV)
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good
pleasure to give you the kingdom."
(Luke 13:18 NRSV)
"He said therefore, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to
what should I compare it?
(Luke 13:20 NRSV)
"And again he said, "To what should I compare the kingdom of God ?
(Luke 13:28 NRSV)
"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God , and you
yourselves thrown out."
(Luke 13:29 NRSV)
"Then people will come from east and west, from north and
south, and will eat in the kingdom of God ."
(Luke 14:15 NRSV)
"One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him,
"Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God !"
(Luke 16:16 NRSV)
"The law and the prophets were in effect until John came;
since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries
to enter it by force."
(Luke 17:20 NRSV)
"Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God
was coming, and he answered, " The kingdom of God is not coming with things that
can be observed;
(Luke 17:21 NRSV)
"nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For,
in fact, The kingdom of God is among you."
(Luke 18:16 NRSV)
"But Jesus called for them and said, "Let the little children
come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs."
(Luke 18:17 NRSV)
"Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God
as a little child will never enter it."
(Luke 18:24 NRSV)
"Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for those who
have wealth to enter the kingdom of God !
(Luke 18:25 NRSV)
"Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God ."
(Luke 18:29 NRSV) And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there is no one who
has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God ,"
(Luke 19:11 NRSV)
"As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable,
because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God
was to appear immediately.
(Luke 21:10 NRSV) Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and
kingdom against kingdom;
(Luke 21:31 NRSV)
"So also, when you see these things taking place, you know
that the kingdom of God is near."
(Luke 22:16 & 18 NRSV)
"for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in
the kingdom of God . . . for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit
of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
(Luke 22:29 NRSV)
"and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a
kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and
you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
(Luke 23:42 NRSV) Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your
(Luke 23:51 NRSV)
"had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the
Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God .
(John 3:3 NRSV) Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."(the Church ?)
(John 3:5 NRSV) Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit."(the Church ?)
(John 18:36 NRSV) Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my
kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from
being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."(the Church ?)
The New Testament books other than the Gospels used the word "Church" 77 times.
It is clear that after the death of Jesus, his followers believed in "churches", and even in the entire collection of such churches, which they called "the church" :
(Acts 5:11 NRSV)
"And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of
(Acts 8:1 NRSV)
"And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe
persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles
were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria."
(Acts 8:3 NRSV)
"But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house;
dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison."
(Acts 9:31 NRSV)
"Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria
had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of
the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers."
(Acts 11:22 NRSV)
"News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and
they sent Barnabas to Antioch."
(Acts 11:26 NRSV)
"and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it
was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many
people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called "Christians."
(Acts 12:1 NRSV)
"About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who
belonged to the church."
(Acts 12:5 NRSV)
"While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to
God for him."
(Acts 13:1 NRSV)
"Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers:
Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the
court of Herod the ruler, and Saul."
(Acts 14:23 NRSV)
"And after they had appointed elders for them in each church,
with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to
(Acts 14:27 NRSV)
"When they arrived, they called the church together and
related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith
for the Gentiles."
(Acts 15:3 NRSV)
"So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they
passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the
Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers."
(Acts 15:4 NRSV)
"When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church
and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with
(Acts 15:22 NRSV)
"Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the
whole church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to
Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas,
leaders among the brothers,"
(Acts 18:22 NRSV)
"When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and
greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch."
(Acts 20:17 NRSV)
"From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders
of the church to meet him."
(Acts 20:28 NRSV)
"Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which
the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he
obtained with the blood of his own Son."
(Rom 16:1 NRSV)
"I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church at
(Rom 16:5 NRSV)
"Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved
Epaenetus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ."
(Rom 16:23 NRSV)
"Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you."
(1 Cor 1:2 NRSV)
"To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are
sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in
every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
(1 Cor 4:17 NRSV)
"For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and
faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach
them everywhere in every church."
(1 Cor 6:4 NRSV)
"If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges
those who have no standing in the church?
(1 Cor 10:32 NRSV)
"Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of
(1 Cor 11:18 NRSV)
"For, to begin with, when you come together as a church, I
hear that there are divisions among you; and to some extent I believe it."
(1 Cor 11:22 NRSV)
"What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you
show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What
should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!
(1 Cor 12:28 NRSV)
"And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second
prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of
assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues."
(1 Cor 14:4 NRSV)
"Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those
who prophesy build up the church."
(1 Cor 14:5 NRSV)
"Now I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but even
more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues,
unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up."
(1 Cor 14:12 NRSV)
"So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts,
strive to excel in them for building up the church."
(1 Cor 14:19 NRSV)
"nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with
my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue."
(1 Cor 14:23 NRSV)
"If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak
in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are
out of your mind?
(1 Cor 14:28 NRSV)
"But if there is no one to interpret, let them be silent in
church and speak to themselves and to God."
(1 Cor 14:35 NRSV)
"If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their
husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church."
(1 Cor 15:9 NRSV)
"For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an
apostle, because I persecuted the church of God."
(1 Cor 16:19 NRSV)
"The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca,
together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord."
(2 Cor 1:1 NRSV)
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and
Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the
saints throughout Achaia:
(Gal 1:13 NRSV)
"You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was
violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it."
(Eph 1:22 NRSV)
"And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the
head over all things for the church,"
(Eph 3:10 NRSV)
"so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich
variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly
(Eph 3:21 NRSV)
"to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all
generations, forever and ever. Amen."
(Eph 5:23 NRSV)
"For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the
head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior."
(Eph 5:24 NRSV)
"Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to
be, in everything, to their husbands."
(Eph 5:25 NRSV)
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and
gave himself up for her,"
(Eph 5:27 NRSV)
"so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a
spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind–yes, so that she may be holy and
(Eph 5:29 NRSV)
"For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and
tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church,"
(Eph 5:32 NRSV)
"This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the
(Phil 3:6 NRSV)
"as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness
under the law, blameless."
(Phil 4:15 NRSV)
"You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the
gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving
and receiving, except you alone."
(Col 1:18 NRSV)
"He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in
(Col 1:24 NRSV)
"I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my
flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of
his body, that is, the church."
(Col 4:15 NRSV)
"Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea, and
to Nympha and the church in her house."
(Col 4:16 NRSV)
"And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also
in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from
(1 Th 1:1 NRSV)
"Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians
in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace."
(2 Th 1:1 NRSV)
"Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians
in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
(1 Tim 3:5 NRSV)
"for if someone does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of God's church?
(1 Tim 3:15 NRSV)
"if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the
household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark
of the truth."
(1 Tim 5:16 NRSV)
"If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows,
let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those
who are real widows."
(1 Tim 6:2 NRSV)
"Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to
them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve
them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and
beloved. Teach and urge these duties."
(Phile 1:2 NRSV)
"to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to
the church in your house:
(James 5:14 NRSV)
"Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of
the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of
(1 Pet 5:13 NRSV)
"Your sister church in Babylon, chosen together with you,
sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark."
(3 John 1:6 NRSV)
"they have testified to your love before the church. You will
do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God;
(3 John 1:9 NRSV)
"I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who
likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority."
(3 John 1:10 NRSV)
"So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in
spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he
refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and
expels them from the church."
(Rev 2:1 NRSV)
"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the
words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the
seven golden lampstands:
(Rev 2:8 NRSV)
"And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the
words of the first and the last, who was dead and came to life:
(Rev 2:12 NRSV)
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are
the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword:
(Rev 2:18 NRSV)
"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are
the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet
are like burnished bronze:
(Rev 3:1 NRSV)
"And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the
words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your
works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead."
(Rev 3:7 NRSV)
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are
the words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and
no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens:
(Rev 3:14 NRSV)
"And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of
the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God's creation:
for another great article on this subject see :wfu.edu:/~matthetl/perspectives/eighteen.html
from which the following is excerpted:
"Christocentric Liberals believed that the Kingdom of God had been the focal point, if not the essence of Jesus' teachings, and that it represented the best category for framing a Christian social ethic. Second, the Christocentric Liberals held that the Kingdom of God is the only adequate category to use in interpreting the Christian goal of history. William Adams Brown described the Kingdom this way: "By the Kingdom of God we mean that society of redeemed personalities, of which Christ is at once the ideal and the mediator, the union of whose members, one with another and with God in the community of holy love, progressively realized in history, constitutes the end for which the world exists.
Christocentric Liberals were willing to admit that the Kingdom of God did not represent a present social reality, but it was not something lying wholly in the future either. It began with Jesus Christ who showed human beings what it means to live as a citizen of the Kingdom, and it is a reality that is progressively being realized in human society (things are slowly getting better). This allowed Christocentric Liberals to interpret the gospel in social terms. Brown did so when he wrote, "An unsocial Christianity is a contradiction in terms.
In many ways, this focus on the Kingdom of God was but another expression of American Protestantism's focus on the coming millennium. It was as if Christocentric Liberals dared to hold out hope that the long awaited Kingdom might be realized. Arthur McGiffert echoed this optimistic hope that Jesus' "message is just the message that the modern world is looking for. The Kingdom of God was the burden of his preaching, not a kingdom lying in another world beyond the skies but established here and now – 'Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth;' not a kingdom made up of isolated human lives moving along their several and separate paths toward heaven, but of the society of all humankind banded together in common labour under the control of a common purpose."
a paraphrase of the famous saying of the erudite Catholic Senator Patrick Moynihan from New York, "People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts."