Jesus the Church Planting Failure? (Part Two)

The Right Foundation (we’re getting into some sticky stuff here, please remember: this is satire!)

Even if Jesus was the founder of Christianity, his theology did not resemble ours in some important ways. We now know that all Christian doctrine must be built on the twin pillars of Biblical inerrancy and justification by faith. While Jesus never commits himself for or against these pillars, his church planting potential was surely limited by not having these doctrines distilled into such a form as they are today.

Jesus never spoke outright against Biblical inerrancy, but he certainly could have made this essential doctrine a bit more clear in his teachings. First of all, he seemed to focus far more on his own authority, the Father’s plan of salvation, and the life-giving work of the Spirit. But what good do all of his “I Am” statements do us unless we have them printed as words that are 100% consistent and reliable? In fact, Jesus even muddies the water a bit, approving of David’s violation of the Levitical law (See Luke 6:1-5). How could Jesus say that the Bible is inconsistent like that? Such a statement lays a heavy burden on all who would fight to preserve the essential doctrine of inerrancy that all churches must be founded upon.

It is commendable that Jesus clearly states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” There can be no doubt that justification by faith was important to Jesus. Yet, he once again makes the issue far more complex than it need be. In certain discourses Jesus wanted to have it both ways: justified by faith AND works.

This business with the “righteous sheep” and their grab bag of good deeds is theologically indecipherable when laid beside the doctrine of justification by faith (Matthew 25 link). How can anyone successfully plant a church when preaching such a confusing Gospel? It is all too clear that we started planting suitable churches once “justificaiton by faith” was hammered out and placed in its undisputed place of prominence in the halls of Christian doctrine. All who would be successful in planting churches would do well to avoid such dogma-muddled sheep stories and stick to the essentials of Christianity.

Lastly, Jesus was attempting to start Christianity with one theological arm tied behind his back since the Reformation had not happened yet. The Reformation and the years that followed up to today have blessed us with a wealth of systematic theological knowledge. All of Christian theology is neatly laid out so as to remove confusion and lead to pure, unquestionable doctrine. The hodge-podge Rabbinnic free for all of Jesus’ day was surely a difficult situation to work in. Any religious system that allows seeming contradictions to coexist and welcomes disagreement and revision is divisive and illogical. Church planters require doctrine that is consistent and orderly, lest their young churches fall prey to incorrect theology and quarrells.

While we are surely indebted to the teachings of Jesus for jump-starting Christianity, it has taken us 2,000 years to finally get a handle on proper Christian doctrine. If only Jesus had known what we now know, his attendance would surely have jumped through the roof of his sanctuary.

One thought on “Jesus the Church Planting Failure? (Part Two)

  1. Ray

    As an Orthodox I agree with your satire, even if you only meant it satirically. :)

    I grew up in a tradition that taught the "two pillars". I pretty much reject the notion that this is the lynchpin of Scripture. I also think it’s a great point that Christ himself is the centerpoint. What’s more, Patristically that’s the starting point for all early Christian exegesis: what does the text say about Christ? (ala: Ethiopian Eunich in Acts).

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