Friday, September 05, 2008



Strangely enough many people in the USA and lots more in the cultures of the world believe the myth that Jesus founded Christianity and the Christian Church. It's as if this was His intent and His purpose. This identification is a man-made connection between Jesus and Christianity and the organized Christian Church. When the Christian Church became an organization, Christianity became Christendom. The organized Church provides lots of services for the consumer, but it wasn't what Jesus intended. In Jesus' time there already was an organized Church in existence-the Synagogue. He didn't speak against it, but only against its leadership.

The damage of believing the myth that Jesus founded Christianity or the organized Christian Church is three-fold: FIRST-The religion of Christianity becomes a substitute for the personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus commonly is left out of the Christian, religious, expression of faith. When I spoke at the major Dalai Lama event, those who were set up to represent Christianity didn't even mention Jesus one time.

One of my hobbies is to read over Christian newsletters and prayer letters to see if Jesus made the editorial cut. It is amazing how many times Jesus is left out of their expression of what their ministry really is. Just recently a major article was published in a secular magazine about a visible and prominent Christian leader and his plan to change the world. Sadly, Jesus never made it into any part of the plan nor did Jesus even receive honorable mention.

SECOND-The organized Christian Church becomes a substitute for personal relationship with Jesus and with His people. This produces spectators and not participators. It's just too easy to check off Church attendance as one of the things you feel you must do. But as powerful as the Church experience might be through authentic worship and exceptional messages, the once-a-week "show" just isn't what Jesus intended. They already had this experience in the Synagogue. There's nothing wrong with it; it's just not what Jesus came to found.

THIRD-When you believe Jesus is the founder of Christianity or the organized Christian Church, you expect Jesus to be the author and architect of what is done in the name of Christianity and by the local organized Christian Church. Therefore, Jesus gets the blame for it all! He gets tied to the Crusades. He gets tied to pastoral moral failure. He gets tied to the raising of money and endless fundraisers.

Now to debunk this myth: Jesus was a founder, all right, but not of the organized Christian Church or the religion of Christianity. Check out these observations: 1. Jesus must be separated from Christianity and the organized Christian Church. Remember the bumper sticker and later the movie: "Lord, please save us from your followers." To link Jesus with the organized Church or the religious system of Christianity caricaturizes Jesus beyond recognition. And then the world criticizes Jesus and His movement on earth based upon the Church and the religious system. This is as absurd as judging Beethoven by how well the local Junior High School band plays his music.

2. I have come to believe Jesus is the unique Son of God. For me to believe this myth limits Jesus in most every way. He is to be preeminent above all things, peoples and religious systems. To keep Jesus in the position of being the founder of Christianity keeps Jesus in His holy box and unavailable to the rest of the world.

3. Jesus never intended to found or launch a highly organized Church with membership requirements and man-made labels. He founded and launched a movement-a dynamic, relational fellowship of followers of Jesus who love God and love their neighbors as themselves.

4. Jesus nor any of His disciples bashed the Synagogue of the day, which equates to the Church today. There was no thought or teaching on planting new Synagogues (Churches) to compete with the primary Synagogue in the city. This sets up the next observation:

5. The dynamic, relational movement Jesus launched was not about building an organization or a monument; He set in motion a movement that was loosely held together. This movement was not to take the place of the Synagogue nor is it to take the place of the organized Church today. However this movement is totally out of control-our control-and in the control of Jesus, the Head of His body.

It was to be a movement that orbited around the Synagogue (Church), the community and around the marketplace, demonstrating the love of Jesus to all. This movement doesn't have the privilege of gathering spectators together, because its all about participation in a fellowship, learning to love God and love one another. This movement is called the church (little c)-the gathering of the followers of Jesus into a fellowship. Jesus uses the term only three times, because His primary teaching was the Good News of the Kingdom. Big C Church was not taught nor was it in His mind or in the practice of the early disciples as they spread the message of Jesus and the Kingdom.

The book of Acts is sometimes called the Acts of the Apostles, but I think it's best to refer to it as the Acts of Jesus. The revolutionary movement of Jesus is still on today! The purpose of the movement is to do one of the most difficult things ever-to introduce Jesus to the world by demonstrating Jesus-walking, talking, thinking and loving like Jesus. You see, Jesus doesn't want you to demonstrate for Him, but to demonstrate Him and His love.

Jesus launched a revolutionary movement. Are you participating in this movement-the orbiting (little c) church movement Jesus founded-or are you still only playing spectator in a big C Church? You can do both and gain much out of your experience, but just don't miss out on the Jesus movement in your community right where you live! Jesus is already moving in the world around you. He's looking for you to join Him there!