Jesus expected his disciples to abandon their family, give away their possessions,
accept a life of poverty, and follow Jesus as an itinerant preacher who relied on the
charity of others. There are major anti-family aspects involved in this message. Some
passages which mention this are:
Matthew 19:27-30: Peter said that he and the rest of the disciples had left
everything to follow Jesus. He asked what would happen to them in the future. Jesus
replied that his followers would sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel. Verse 29 continues: "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or
sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times
as much and will inherit eternal life." (Some ancient manuscripts of Luke said "everyone
who has left...mother or wife")
Mark 10:28-30: This appears to be the source for Matthew 19:27-30;
its wording is almost identical.
Luke 9:59-62: "Then He said to another, 'Follow Me.' But he said, 'Lord,
let me first go and bury my father.' Jesus said to him, 'Let the dead bury their own dead,
but you go and preach the kingdom of God.' And another also said, 'Lord, I will follow
You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.' But Jesus said to
him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of
God.'" (NKJ) Jesus seems to be implying that to attain the kingdom of God, one is
expected to drop everything and follow Jesus. This was considered so important that a
person should violate a major Jewish law by not giving priority to burying their father.
Some might argue that the true church of today is that faith group that follows the
demands that Jesus required of his disciples: abandon their family, give away all of their
possessions to the poor, travel around as itinerant preachers of the gospel, and rely on
the generosity of others. This accurately describes an American faith group without a
formal name, which is sometimes called the Body of Christ, The
Brotherhood, Church of the Brotherhood, Brothers and Sisters, or the Roberts Group.
Counter cult groups, disaffected parents of Body
of Christ members, and others frequently call them by the derogatory term Garbage
After the death/suicide of Judas, the 11 surviving disciples of Jesus elected a twelfth
man to their group: Matthias. James, one of four brothers of Jesus headed the movement; Peter was
an important leader. Centered in Jerusalem, they spread Jesus' teachings to their fellow
Jews. They were called Nazoreans or Nazarenes (Notzrim in Hebrew) by the Jews, and Christians
(Christianoi or Nazoraioi in Greek) by the Gentiles (non-Jews). They were
observant Jews. They continued
to follow the Jewish laws concerning circumcision, diet, festivals, the Saturday Sabbath,
and ritual. They had animals ritually sacrificed at the temple on their behalf.
The Jewish Christians considered themselves to be a reform movement within Judaism.
They had followed Jesus and formed close emotional bond with him for at least a year
(according to the synoptic gospels) and three years (according to the gospel of John).
They knew more about Jesus' teachings than anyone else. It can be argued that they tried
to carry out his wishes when they organized the Jewish Christian movement. Perhaps the
"true church" is not a Christian church at all, but is today's
Which is the most successful denomination or family of
Since the various denominations have widely varying beliefs and
practices, and since all Christian faith groups believe in God, then it
might be argued that God would favor one denomination (or group of
denominations) over all others. If so, then one might expect the true
church to be the group that has the greatest number of members.
very early years of the Christian movement, i.e. the first few years after
Jesus' death, this would have been the Jewish Christian movement, centered
in Jerusalem under the leadership of James, the brother of Jesus. But
within about five years, Pauline Christianity surfaced as an alternative
movement within Christianity. It
eventually triumphed, and became
the Catholic Church, centered in Rome. Since then, it has continually had
the greatest number of members of all of the faith groups within
Christianity. At the moment, the Roman Catholic church membership is in
decline, and the Pentecostal movement is experiencing the greatest growth.
So, using the criteria of popularity, one might argue that the Roman
Catholic church currently represents the true Christian church. In a few decades, it
might be denominations within the Pentecostal movement.