There Is Only ONE Church!
By: Brian A. Yeager
With this article, we are beginning a series of lessons exposing the errors of various denominational churches and cults. Within this article, we are going to show how simple it is to expose any and all denominations as false religions. The way we are going to do this is by showing that God has established the right for only one church to exist with His authority. Therefore, not one denomination has the right to exist!
Throughout the course of these articles we will expose some of the erring religious practices of some denominational churches. We will see how many man-made doctrines exist within these churches. Of course, those of us who study the Bible honestly know that all man-made doctrines are cursed (Galatians 1:6-12). We also know that any worship or practice done in the name of God without His permission is in vain (Mark 7:1-9, John 4:23-24, and II John 9). Honest Bible students also know that it is sinful to add or remove one word from the instructions that God has set forth in His word (Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, Proverbs 30:5-6, Colossians 3:17, I Peter 4:11, II Peter 3:16-18, and Revelation 22:18-19). We shall capitalize on each of these points and more as we expose the errors of denominationalism in our study.
Having said those things to let us prepare for our series of articles, let’s set the tone for this study you are reading today. We will prove with all certainty that God’s plan was to have ONE church and He put that plan in place with the death of His only begotten Son. Then, we will see that denominations have no right from God to exist. That alone, is all we need to expose any Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc. In fact, we will see that God tells us there is only one church. God even tells us what that one church is to be named. Yes, some make a fuss that there is nothing in a name. They do most certainly err in that argument. We will see that too. So, open your Bibles and study through this and the series of articles to come showing the errors of denominationalism. We will begin by finding that the Scriptures show God had a plan concerning the church.
One Plan For One Church
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:1-12).
If you will carefully notice Paul’s words above, there are some very clear things. First, that the Gentiles would be part of one body. Paul did not just write this once, but several times throughout the New Testament (I Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 2:11-16, and Colossians 3:11-15). We will see throughout our study that the “one body” is the church (Ephesians 1:22-23). Secondly, in Paul’s inspired words from above, we notice that the plan for Gentiles to be part of one body existed from the beginning of the world and was not revealed to man until the New Testament was written. Then, you’ll notice that the existence of the church, since the church is the one body, makes known God’s eternal plan. The church that Paul spoke of didn’t begin in the 600’s (Roman Catholicism), 1500’s (Lutheran church, Presbyterian church, Congregational church, etc.), 1600’s (Baptist church, etc.), 1700’s (Methodist church, etc.), 1800’s (Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventist, Christian Scientist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) 1900’s (Christian Church, Community Churches, Non-Denominational multi-faith churches, etc.), etc.
The plan for one church is also seen in the words of Christ. Notice: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:13-18). Jesus promised to build His church. The church He promised to build would not be a building, but a people (I Corinthians 12:27 and Hebrews 3:6). Christ’s church is not something that we are waiting for today. The church that Christ promised to build was built in the first century.
The One Real Church Existed In The First Century And Still Does Today!
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:37-47). This church still exists (Hebrews 12:22-28).
As you can see from the text above, those who were converted to Christ were added to the church from the text in Acts chapter two and forward. For those in denominational churches (such as those listed above and many others), this should tell them all they need to know. Every denominational church and cult that exists today did not exist in Acts chapter two. This is one reason we know there is one church and all denominations are not that one church. However, the evidence does not stop there. We also have God telling us very plainly that there is one church. As we read forward, don’t forget that when the Scriptures discuss the body of Christ that is the same thing as the church of Christ (Colossians 1:24).
When God Says There Is One Church That’s The Final Word!
When God says something that is the final word (Psalms 97:9, Psalms 115:3, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Matthew 28:18-20, John 12:48, and Romans 14:11-12). This discussion should therefore end when anyone is shown the following verses: “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another… For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ… There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all… And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Romans 12:4-5, I Corinthians 12:12, Ephesians 4:4-6, and Colossians 3:15). The Lord has plainly told us there is one church. Now, how do we know which one is that one church?
Which Church Is The One Church?
We must understand that there is something in a name (Acts 4:10-12). The Lord has given the church several terms that all speak towards one name. The church of God was purchased by God’s blood (Acts 20:28). There are three persons identified in the Bible as God (I John 5:7). We have God the Father (John 6:27), God the Son (Romans 9:5), and God the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:1-4). So, which of the three died to purchase the church? It was Christ who did so (Ephesians 5:25). We also read of the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). Again, this is in reference to Christ (Romans 8:29). As we study along, we find that every term points to Christ as the owner, head, and identity of the church. God plainly declares, through the pen of Paul, what the churches assembling with His authority are to be called. Notice: “Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16).
To denominate is to “give a name to” (New Oxford American Dictionary). Denominations are wrong because we are commanded of God not to be called by other names (I Corinthians 1:10-13). Christ is the head and savior of His body, the church (Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:18). The church of Christ was built upon Christ, the apostles, and the prophets (Ephesians 2:19-22). Every denominational church was formed by men, are ruled by men, and Christ will not save them! While they profess to do good works, they truly know not our Lord (Matthew 7:21-23). Denominationalism is SINFUL!
The church of Christ is the pillar and ground of the truth (I Timothy 3:15). We stand out from denominationalism by many things we’ll cover in this series of articles. For one, we stand out in allowing only the Scriptures to be our standard of authority (Job 32:8, Proverbs 16:25, Luke 4:4, Luke 6:46, II Timothy 1:13, and II Timothy 3:15-4:5). We stand out and are identifiable as the Lord’s church because we worship God correctly (Philippians 3:3). Not many denominations remember the Lord’s death every week. We remember the Lord’s death, for this is what the church you read of in the Bible did (Acts 20:7; cf. Matthew 26:26-29). Every denomination is about social activities (plays, concerts, dinners, games, sporting events, etc.). The Lord’s church realizes such are not the works of the local church (Romans 14:17). This article has just touched the beginning of all we shall discuss throughout this series of articles exposing denominationalism. Continue to read along! There is much more to be said.
Volume 10 – Issue 1- September 27th, 2009