The idea that one can be Christian without a church has become disturbingly common in today’s society. The reasoning behind such ideas is usually as follows: I don’t need a church between me and God. However, Christ himself was opposed to this idea. In actuality, he clearly said he intended to establish a church in Mathew 16.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” – Mathew 16: 18-19
Now, the usual response to this is the claim that by “church” Christ meant those who follow his teachings, not an organization. However, Christ didn’t say he gave the keys to the kingdom of heaven to the world or a community, on the contrary, he gave it to a single man, St. Peter, and his successors as the supreme pontiff and head of the Catholic Church. After Christ’s death and resurrection, the apostles we’re the leaders of the Church. The apostles traveled the world setting up parishes which they kept in contact with due to the apostle’s recognized authority. Even after the deaths of the apostles, their successors took their places as the church leaders (They even called themselves “Catholics” by the second century). Over time, these successors became known as Bishops (overseers). The Bishops of the Catholic Church remained the sole source of Christian doctrine for the next thousand years.
The Bible Has No Authority if the Church Holds No Authority
Any Christian will tell you that the Bible is a central aspect to the Christian life, but not many will be able to tell you where it cam from. The Christian Bible was compiled by the Catholic Church at the Synod of Rome in 382. If the Catholic Church holds no authority, then the Bible should be disregarded by independent Christians.
No Doctrine, No Dogma, No Bible, No Christian Faith
So, if history and logic dictates that Christ and the apostles fully intended for the Church to be organized, that the organized Church was the sole source of Christian doctrine for over a thousand years, and that that organized church compiled the Bible, then independent Christians must disregard the Bible, Christian dogma and doctrine, and Christ’s very own teachings. Therefore, independent Christianity hold no rational basis.