The Foundation on Which the True Church of God is Built

Jesus said to Peter: “And I also say to you that you are Peter [petros], and on this rock [petra] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).

This verse does not imply what some have assumed, that human authority, beginning with Peter, is at the foundation of the Church.

Peter’s name, Greek petros, means “a detached stone or boulder,” or “a stone that might be thrown or easily moved,” as opposed to petra, (Christ referring to himself), meaning “a mass of rock,” or “foundation” stone, or “rocky fortress” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words; Greek-English Lexicon, Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich). The Church is built preeminently on Christ, not Peter’s nor any other human authority (1 Peter 2:6-8; Ephesians 2:20-22).

Jesus, before his departure into heaven after his resurrection, authorized his apostles (all of them) and their helpers and successors to teach those things he had commanded them, not doctrines supplanting the the things he had taught. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me [Jesus Christ himself] in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:18-20).

“Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone [Jesus Christ], elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word [the word of God], to which they also were appointed” (I Peter 2:6-8).

“And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:17-22).

Paul, appointed an apostle by Jesus Christ (Acts 9:15-16; 1 Timothy 1:1), brought the gospel to the Greek city of Corinth, and in doing so laid the foundation for the Church he established there. What did he say was the foundation of that Church? “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 3:11). This was written as a warning to both the teachers in the Church and those being taught not to propagate nor give heed to false teachings.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’” (John 8:31). “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock” (Luke 6:46-48).

Those who claim authority to teach but do not abide in the doctrine, the teachings, of Jesus Christ, as found in the inspired Scriptures of the Bible, are false teachers, of whom we are warned about (Matthew 24:5, 11; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Hebrews 13:8-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Revelation 2:2, 14-16, 20). “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (II John 1:9).

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