If you’re looking for historical evidence that Jesus founded a Church, it matters. I’m not saying that the word has to be mentioned. Certainly passages in Luke and John that speak of Peter “strengthening the brothers” and “feeding the sheep,” or of Jesus giving the apostles power to forgive sins, also count.
But given the immense importance of the term and concept “ecclesia” in Christian history, the fact that it doesn’t occur in three of the Gospels is pretty significant. It’s not like “Trinity,” which was a “technical term” that early Christians came up with to explain a paradoxical reality in which they had long believed. “Ecclesia” is a common word referring to an assembly of people. Indeed, the difficulty with “ecclesia” is to figure out just what the earliest sources mean by it, because it had such a general, “secular” meaning. So the fact that even this very basic term for an organized community doesn’t occur in Mark, Luke, or John causes many scholars to think that Jesus can’t have given any explicit indication of intending to form any such community. (I grant that the passages in Luke and John to which I referred above are counter-evidence, but the silence of Mark on anything like this is still very significant.)
Note: I’m not saying that Jesus didn’t found a Church. I’m saying that by purely historical evidence one cannot show with even reasonable probability that He did. To accept that Jesus founded a Church you have to accept the authority of the Church in the first place. Again, the spiral argument fails utterly.
Then why would you want to isolate Matthew? How about you isolate the Gospel according to John? How about you isolate the Kingdom of Heaven?
Or, how about you isolate Jesus’ first miracle in turning water into wine? - by your same argumentation is is improbably for us to believe it.
Or maybe we need to make another denomination: The Historical Critical Church - it’s not catholic, not protestant, not orthodox, not even bible - it’s just historical critical… wait… we already have it! - it is secular and their pastors are known as scholars.
Historical evidence is pretty darn evident:
Was there a Church at Rome founded by Christians?
Yes - Paul’s letter to the Romans - not only was there a Church but there Church was heard off throughout the area!
Were Peter and Paul at the Roman Church?
Did they lead this Roman Church?
Is this Church still standing today?
Case is closed. No man made institution can last this long, period. History is immensely against you here.
There is no need to complicate or go secular on what is pretty obvious. Historical criticism is just that - a way to criticize, the evidence speaks for itself. Your argument is self-defeating because the big white elephant in the middle of the room is, in fact, looking at you.