Section Two - The Importance of the Church
Why did God send the Son to earth 2,000 years ago instead of today in modern times? Why before the printing press? Why before video so we could all for real believe and have faith? Why did Jesus never tell the Apostles to “write that down”? Jesus supposedly never wrote anything down. None of this is “on paper”, only the testimonies of MEN were used for documentation. My personal and humble opinion is that at least in part, it has to do with the establishment of the church from the very beginning.
We will most definitely get to Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide later on (and if you are unfamiliar with either of those please do at least a high level google study of them so you can be prepared for the refutations later on). But first the church. I grew up in a culture where the church was a loosely attached body of believers, with faith being the only real connection point. There are 30,000 denominations of protestants, so the church doesn't really have a universal definition across all of them. I will not try to create that definition.
Instead, let's look at the importance of the Church.
Matt 16:18-20 - 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.”
We have already looked at this verse, but this time we focus on Christ telling Peter that on this rock I will build my church. This church must be great to be started right then and there by Jesus himself, and it will be strong enough to withstand the powers of Hell for all time. Pretty important.
The following is a direct quote from Cliffsnotes as a summary of Acts (which there are many summaries saying the same thing):
The Book of Acts, which continues the narrative that Luke began in his gospel, is especially important because it was the first written history of the Christian church. Acts concerns the very vital period in Christian history between the resurrection of Jesus and the death of the apostle Paul, the time when Christian ideas and beliefs were being formulated and when the organization of the church into a worldwide movement was being developed. Only with knowledge of this background can we understand the writing of the Gospels, as well as the other New Testament literature that followed.
The entire book of Acts concerns the creation of scripture the church. It is the foundation that bridges the 4 Gospels with the rest of the New Testament.
Ephesians gives the importance of the Body of Christ.
Eph 4:11-16 - 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Eph 5:22-33 - 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Eph 4:4-6 - 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
The church is so important that it is described as the SPOUSE of Christ. The very same spouse that becomes one flesh, united for life, and can never divorce. Irrevocable. As one. United. From the beginning.
Forget everything else for a moment, just look at the logic. Does this sound like the Catholic Church with universal doctrine, practiced since the church fathers, or does this sound like modern protestantism with an explosion from 1 main church to over 30,000?
Eph 2:19-22 - 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
1 Tim 3:15 - 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
As fellow citizens, we are now members of the household (church), built on scripture the foundations of the apostles and prophets. The whole building is joined together (united?). If the church is the pillar and foundation of anything, it must be there from the beginning. You cannot build a church steeple before the fo undation is laid, the walls built, the roof put on, etc. Therefore, the protestant church cannot be the foundation of truth, or anything, because it did not exist in the beginning. And if the protestant church is not the pillar and foundation of the truth, then what church is? Bingo, the Catholic Church, the one that has been around and Hades has still not overcome it.
**Secondly, 1 Tim 3:15 says that the pillar and foundation of the truth is scripture the CHURCH. Christ came to earth to die for our sins and establish the Church, which is an authority of the truth. How could the church not be an authority of what is true if it is considered the pillar and foundation? Remember, this is essentially the ONLY authority during the early church since NT scripture had not even been written yet!
A few more that put importance on the church and the unity of the church.
1 Cor 1:10 - 10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
Sounds like the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Finally, Christ himself gives authority to the Church for dealing with sin.
Matt 18:15-17 - 15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Eph 3:8-12 - 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
God’s clear intent was that NOW scripture the church will make known the wisdom of God. As a C of C member from birth, I had no idea the importance and immediacy of the church until I read the bible again with a clean lens. I would read passages, but say “yeah, ok, church is important” and leave it at that. But when the 100’s of passages about the church are really studied, it is clear that the Church was so important that it is the spouse of Christ.
CHRIST CAME TO EARTH TO DIE FOR OUR SINS AND ESTABLISH HIS CHURCH. This is not controversial. And if he established the church when he was alive and resurrected, what church did he intend to create? The one that would last from the beginning and not be overcome by Hades? There is only one church that fits that description.