Myth # 12: Jesus organized a church

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“Often to their dismay, Jesus’s close friends found that he would not stay in one place long enough for them to consolidate interests and central beliefs or take steps to organize a movement. Jesus always moved on. In fact, one time his three closest friends had a revelation on a mountainside, and wanted to build some kind of structure or monument to capture and display the glory of Jesus. But Jesus, the incurable itinerant, would have none of it. As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all who wander are lost.”

Jesus freely taught those whose hearts were open. Some of them followed Jesus and took up the truth he taught, and lived it for themselves. But it’s doubtful that Jesus ever took any steps to organize the church by ordaining twelve apostles, which is more closely aligned with the Old Testament tradition of the twelve tribes. Jesus was not involved in organizing the Christian church as the “new Israel,” an idea the Christian establishment fashioned after Jesus’s death. The whole notion of Jesus beginning a new hierarchy ruled by the chair of Saint Peter is a grave distortion of the whole character, life, and teaching of Jesus. Jesus’s central message was about the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of men.”

– Jim Palmer, Notes from (Over) the Edge

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