According to a recent survey there are at least 38,000 indentifiable denominations in the world. That does not count all the "home grown" versions in basements, street corner store fronts and living rooms.
Of all these churches, how is one to ever determine which is the one and true church of Christ? The answer is both difficult and easy.
It's difficult to determine which is the one true church of Christ because man wants to be in charge and determine his own destiny. Satan's appeal to Eve was that she "could be as God" herself "knowing both good and evil." This approach is the foundational rock on which denominationalism is built. Denominationalism embraces, personifies and defines division. Denominationalism teaches that there are multiple paths to the same God and that individuals can determine what is right and wrong for themselves. Drive down any interstate and you will soon see a "Attend the church or synagogue of your choice this weekend" sign on a semi. Very American but hardly biblical. Jesus said that there was only one way, one truth and one life...and HE is it!
On the other hand, it's easy to determine which is the one true church of Christ because God has clearly revealed it in Scripture! As long as one is willling to set aside preconceived ideas and the influence of others, one can open the New Testament and discover quite quickly the one true church of Christ. Here are but a few identifying features of Christ's church:
1. The one true church of Christ was founded by Jesus Christ Himself and no one else. Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 - 20 that HE would build HIS church and that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against it. One church and one founder. If a church was founded by any other, it is of necessity, NOT the one true church of Christ.
2. The one true church of Christ bears the name of it's owner and founder and has but one head. Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:18 clearly state that Christ is the head of the body which is the church. A body can only have one head and a head can only have one body. "IF" denominationalism is part of God's will it would turn Christ into a monster, one head with many bodies. Division within the true Body of Christ is impossible according to Paul's argument in I Corinthians 1:10-13 where he asks the rhetorical question; "Is Christ divided?" No, Christ is not divided.
3. The one true church of Christ was founded in Jerusalem. Jesus Himself predicted this in Luke 24:27 when He stated that the message of repentance and remission of sins would be preached first in Jerusalem. This indeed took place. Any church founded in any other place cannot, by necessity, be the one true church of Christ.
4. The one true church of Christ was founded on the first Day of Pentecost following the death, burial and ressurection of Jesus Christ. (Acts 2) Any church founded on any other day cannot, by necessity, be the one true church of Christ.
5. The one true church of Christ has only one plan of salvation. When those convicted of sin "cried out" as what they must do, Peter and the eleven told them that they ALL were to be baptized into the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Upon doing so, in addition to having their sins forgiven, they received the Gift of the Holy Spirit and were added by the Lord to the one true church of Christ. (Acts 2:41, 47) Any church "offering" salvation any other way, by necessity, cannot be the one true church of Christ.
Dear reader, are you denominating, dividing and separating yourself from Christ in a church founded by someone other than Christ? Are you denominating, dividing and separating yourself from Christ in a church bearing the name of someone other than Christ? Are you denominating, dividing and separating yourself from Chrsit in a church founded in a location other than Jerusalem? Are you denominating, dividing and separating yourself from Christ in a church founded on a date other than the first Day of Pentecost after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Are you denominating, dividing and separating yourself from Christ in a church teaching salvation through any other means other than repentance and baptism in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins? "IF" you are, you had better get out! Paul warned the Galatians (Galatians 1:6-9) that "if anywone, even Paul himself or an angel from heaven were to preach a DIFFERENT gospel other than the one that Paul preached from the beginning, that person would be accursed!"
You have a standing invitation of visit the church of Christ. The church of Christ is not a denomination. The church of Christ was founded by Christ and bears the name of Christ Himself. The church of Christ began in Jerusalem, on the Day of Pentecost. The church of Christ preaches salvation through repentance and baptism. We hope to see you this coming Lord's Day at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC. Bible study is at 9 a.m., and worship follows at 10 a.m. We meet again for worship at 6 p.m. Sunday evening and again for Bible study at 7 p.m. Wednesday evenings. We have a "Community Bible Study" every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. at the SouthPark Panera Bread located on the NE corner of Park South and Fairview. Individual Bible studies are provided anytime by appointment. God bless you! See you soon!
For a FREE Bible Study: e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org!