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Who is the Founder of Christianity?

Who is the Founder of Christianity?

Table of Contents

We know that every worldly organisation has a founder who established it. Can we assume the same for all religious movements, too?

EVERY RELIGION A FOUNDER?

Take the Church of Latter-day Saints, also called Mormons, whose real founder was Joseph Smith. He started his religion in the early 19th century.  

We also know that Jehovah’s Witnesses had a real founder, Charles Russell, who founded his religion in the late 19th century. 

THE QUESTION ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN FOUNDER

IDENTITY

Are we to believe that someone called Jesus Christ landed about 2000 years ago and founded Christianity? It beckons the curious soul to delve deeper into the history of Christianity since it is still the dominant religion of the world.


Few figures in human history loom as large as the historical figure and enigmatic architect behind the Christian Church. It has shaped civilisations and ignited debates for over two millennia.

NARRATIVE

Who was the visionary force that breathed life into this global phenomenon of Christian faith? What narrative connects the ancient past to our present day? Who is the enduring influence that weaved Christian theology?

Allow me to take you back a moment to establish who founded Christianity. As we explore, we find ourselves peeling back layers of time to unravel how Christianity began.

 

WHAT SETS THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY APART?

1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND HISTORICAL FIGURE

1.1 ISRAEL

The Roman Empire ruled and reigned, and the official state religion worshipped pagan gods; Rome was into polytheism.

Pontius Pilate was the Roman official in charge of the Roman Empire province of Judea. Home of the Jews who worshipped One, Jehova God. They followed monotheism.

1.2 Unseen Founder of Judaism

Until now, Israel had an unseen founder for their Judaism faith — only a promise that one day, the Messiah would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem Eufrata.

1.3 Founder of Judaism Incarnated as Jesus 

According to the promise, Jesus would come from the line of David. This Jewish tradition was well established; thus, Matthew opened the New Testament with a genealogy of Jesus to prove this.

Christianity shares this intricate and profound historical connection with Judaism. Jesus was born and lived as a Jew. But He also claimed to be the One promised before the creation. 

1 Peter 1:20

“He (Jesus) was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”

Historical Background of Jesus is Jewish
Historical Background of Jesus is Jewish

2. JESUS EARLY TEACHINGS

2.1 CLAIM TO BE GOD

Jesus’ teachings were based on His claim to be God incarnated. The One who was there from the beginning manifested in the flesh.

John 1 “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

2.2 GRACE VERSUS LAW

The theologians of the time were the Jewish Pharisees and Scribes, who held on to Jewish tradition and law for dear life. Jesus taught that He came to fulfil the law and to establish a new covenant.

The law was holy and perfect, given by God the Father. It was a mirror for them to recognise their need for a Savior and to prepare for the coming Messiah. But they would not have Him and declare it a Jewish sect.

John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

2.3 GOSPEL INVITATION

Jesus Christ taught the Christian doctrine of the gospel, that He came to die for us so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life. 

Jesus’s death and resurrection became the basis for the Christian “Church.” The Greek word is “ekklesia”, referring to those who responded to the gospel invitation. They were called out and joined the Christian community.

The holy communion, instituted by Jesus, is the way to remember the gospel through the ages, pointing back to the cross.

 

3. ONLY ONE PERSON IS FIT TO BE THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY 

3.1 PETER THE STONE?

The Catholic Church believes that Christianity originated with God. However, it also believes that the apostle Peter is the stone on which the Church is built.

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. Isaiah foretold this role in the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ fulfilled it.

†ISAIAH FORETOLD IT

Isaiah 28:16 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.”

Acts 4: “8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said… 11Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.”

JESUS CHRIST CONFIRMED IT

Ephesians 2:19 “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”

Jesus Christ was and is the head and central figure of the early Church. He is the cornerstone on which the Church was built and the One that holds it in His hand.

John 6:39: “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”

NOTE!

The cornerstone was the first stone in building construction, and all other stones were set in reference to this stone. The disciples prioritised Jesus and not Peter. 

A Cornerstone for a Building
See Ostia-antica.org

3.2 APOSTLE PAUL?

HE WAS NOT THERE

The early Christians comprised a small group of twelve disciples first, and others followed Jesus. These were the eyewitnesses who became Christian writers of the four Gospels and the books of Acts for us. 

In the early Christian days, Paul, then known as Saul, emerged. He was a student of Gamaliel, a Pharisee (see Acts 22:3). As such, he fiercely opposed the Christian movement and vehemently persecuted followers of Jesus Christ. 

On the road to Damascus, Paul experienced a profound encounter with the risen Christ, resulting in a radical conversion. 

Acts 11:25-26 Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul (later called Paul). And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the Church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

SAME GOSPEL

The apostle Paul became a fervent advocate for the gospel and Christianity. He and other first century Christians were influential in spreading the gospel during their missionary journeys. 

Paul never established a religion. His theology is the Christian message of the gospel. He was brilliant in articulating theological concepts. Paul wrote two-thirds of the New Testament, addressing Jews and non Jews.

 

3.3 ROMAN EMPEROR CONSTANTINE

The Roman Emperor Constantine the Great reigned in 306-337 AD. It was about 300 years after the earliest followers of the first century Christians. Christianity was well established, and many Christians had given their lives in persecution by then.

Scholars and historians still debated his main objective. Still, the Christian religion became famous during his time, and the first pope made his entrance, too.

No doubt, Constantine’s decision to incorporate the Christian faith officially ceased the persecution and brought a turning point for Christianity. However, Emperor Constantine was not the founder of Christianity. He promoted it.

Roman Empire Constantine
Roman Empire Constantine

 

4. THE WHY BEHIND THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY

4.1 IT IS NOT RELIGION

JESUS NOT A FRIEND OF PHARISEES AND SCRIBES

Jesus was interested in founding something other than having a religion. He wanted to make it possible for fallible people to have fellowship with the God of the universe.


If Jesus had been interested in religion, he would have spent all His time in the Temple, and the Pharisees and scribes would have all been his pals. Jesus was not interested in religion.


Eyewitnesses tell us that Jesus had little time for the religious leaders of the time. Instead, He would visit those considered not good enough to join their religious organisation. He was always willing to stop and share with those seeking the truth.

JESUS CRITICISE RELIGIOUS BEHAVIOR

These religious leaders knew the Law and Prophets well. But they acted like lawyers and judges of religion, pushing rules and burdens on people. In effect, they were saying talk and do right, read our books, and you can join our religious organisation. But Jesus was vehemently against it. 

Matthew 11 “28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

4.2 IT IS GRACE

A mere organisation with rules would not allow us into the presence of the God of the universe. The best of us could never reach that high. God had to reach down into our midst to make it possible and to save us from spiritual death.

The climax came when the founder of Christianity stepped up to the occasion to die for His followers at the cross. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the crux of the Christian religion; the founder of Christianity, Jesus, paid for their sins.

Jesus’ message and His death as a substitute for us have immense spiritual and physical consequences for the followers of Jesus Christ.

 

5. PART OF A BIGGER PLAN

 The coming of Jesus to earth was much more than the brainchild of a founder of another religious organisation. It is part of God’s colossal plan, stretching over thousands of years, that still blows our minds today. See more Trusting Bible Prophecy is About Trusting God.

 

 5.1 JESUS’ BIRTH IS PART OF GOD’S PLAN 

PROPHECY 

Jesus’s coming to earth was not a last-minute resort to solve a problem. Neither was it a plan gone wrong; it went precisely according to God’s plan. 

Jesus fulfilled a promise that the God of the universe made. He foretold as far back as Genesis a coming virgin birth. 

Genesis 3:15

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

†PROPHECY FULFILLED

God prepared the world for the coming of Jesus Christ, and by the time Jesus was born, some recognised He was the one they had all along waiting for, according to God’s promise.

Thus, the very first verse in the New Testament was from Matthew, pointing out that Jesus is the promised Son of David.

Matthew 1:1 “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”

 

5.2 JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION, PART OF GOD’S PLAN

In the same manner, God prepared the world for Jesus’ Crucifixion. He foretold everything in detail about how Jesus would die and rise from death, and then He did.

†PROPHECY – DAVID

It was about 1000 BC when King David wrote a psalm, a prophetic portrait of the cross. 

Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? I am despised of the people.

14All my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. They pierced my hands and my feet.

18They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”

†PROPHECY – ISAIAH

The prophet Isaiah wrote about the Crucifixion in about 800 BC; God foretold what would happen to Jesus.

Isaiah 53:3

“He is despised and rejected of men….. we esteemed him not. 

5He was wounded for our transgressions…. bruised for our iniquities. 

6All we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.

†PROPHECY FULFILLED

Many years later, they crucified Jesus, piercing his Jesus hands and feet according to Prophecy. See more Crucifixion, prophecy fulfilled.

Matthew 37:35 “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

CONCLUSION

THE TRUE IDENTITY OF THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY

At the heart of the Christian faith lies a profound mystery that has captivated scholars, theologians, and seekers alike for centuries. 

Jesus Christ ignited a movement that had shaped the course of human civilisation like no other. Was Jesus’ teachings only that of a humble carpenter from Nazareth who wanted to found a religion, or does the truth lie much deeper? We conclude Jesus’ teaching was much more.

If Jesus never intended, on a whim, to find a religion to generate an income for Himself, what then is behind it? God always had a bigger plan for His creation, and Christianity is part of it. God is the actual author and founder of Christianity.

THE TRUE QUESTION ABOUT THE FOUNDER OF CHRISTIANITY

The question here may be: “Do you believe that Jesus is God?” The Mormons and the Jehovas Witnesses both do not believe that Jesus is God. They are religious organisations with relatively recent founders. 

But, historical records and religious texts offer insights into the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. If you believe that Jesus is God, then you will understand that the founder of Christianity is distinguishable from other founders. The founder is the triune God: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Matthew 37

"1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2He was in the beginning with God.

3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

JESUS CHRIST IS MORE THAN A FOUNDER

Who is the founder of Christianity? Jesus Christ came to lay the foundation for the Christian belief. 

Who is the founder of Christianity? God. Jesus Christ has always been part of the Trinity: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

THE END.