Men have made many claims regarding the church. We have all heard statements like, “One Church is as good as another,” “Attend the Church of your choice,” and “We’re all going to the same place; we’re just taking different roads to get there.” How do these man-made claims compare to what the Bible teaches?
Jesus said He would build only one church (Mat. 16:18). The apostle Paul says there is only “one body” and that body is the church (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23). Jesus prayed for His followers, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). The only way to have unity with God and His Son is to obey God’s Word (14:15; 1 John 1:7). Paul, by inspiration, begs “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10). The only way we can speak the same thing and have the same mind and judgment is by using the same standard—God’s Word.
Those who follow God’s plan of salvation are added to the church of Christ by God (Acts 2:38, 47). After about 3,000 obeyed the Gospel on that first Pentecost after Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, the Bible says, “all that believed were together, and had all things common” (2:44). In like manner, if we desire to be a member of the New Testament church, we must follow the same pattern. Sadly, there are many patterns being followed among religious people today. Those patterns make them members of some denominational body, but not members of the one church we read about in the New Testament and the church for which Jesus died. Now let us consider the initial statements made by men with what God has to say. Man says “one Church is as good as another.” God says there is only one church (Mat. 16:18; Acts 20:28).
Man says, “attend the Church of your choice.” God says to attend the worship of only the one church His Son built and purchased with His blood (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28). Man says, “we’re all going to the same place; we’re just taking different roads.” God says there is only one way to Him (John 14:6) and that different roads lead to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14). The New Testament church can be recognized. The church of Christ has no creed but the Bible, and has only one Head, Jesus Christ.
The one church worships in spirit and truth (John 4:24)—singing without mechanical instruments of music (Eph. 5:19), praying to the Father through Christ (1 Thess. 5:17), teaching and preaching (2 Tim. 4:2), partaking the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7), and giving (1 Cor. 16:1-2).
The one church is overseen by elders where there are men qualified (1 Tim. 3:1-7) and has no state or national headquarters. The one church has no conventions and has no assemblies larger than the local congregation.
The one church preaches the same Gospel preached in the 1st century—hear (Rom. 10:17), believe (Heb. 11:6), repent (Acts 2:38), confess (8:37), be baptized to have your past sins forgiven (2:38), and live faithfully unto death (Rev. 2:10; 1 John 1:6-9). If we follow God’s pattern, we can know we are in His church and that we are pleasing unto Him.