|The one true church
LOOKING FOR THE TRUE CHURCH
A gracEmail subscriber wrote: "I heard someone on the radio urging listeners to look for the church which follows the New Testament pattern and does everything exactly as in the Bible. Can you tell me which is the true church?"
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Any number of denominations make that sort of claim. Some base it on their antiquity, others on their "apostolic succession" of bishops, still others on a supposed line of churches from the apostles to the present. Other denominations claim to have "restored" the true church, others say they are God's righteous remnant, others base their claim on spiritual gifts and supposed miraculous power. Far better simply to look for a church which preaches the message of the New Testament -- "Jesus Christ and him crucified" -- and leave it to God to build his church.
Scripture writers speak like this: "Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain" (Psalm 127:1). Christ "is a minister in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man" (Heb. 8:1-2). "We are the true circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and glory in Jesus Christ, and put no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3). Interestingly, this definition from the Apostle Paul includes none of the elements on which any of the "true" churches rely or about which they boast over their competition.
The Bible nowhere requires or even encourages us to prove that we are more nearly correct than others who follow Jesus, either individually or as a church. It does challenge us to keep busy learning about our Savior, seeking intimacy with God, cultivating personal holiness, and glorifying Jesus by performing acts of kindness to others who find themselves experiencing a spectrum of human needs. As we do those things to God's glory, others around will see Jesus among us, and we will not need to prove anything to them about ourselves.
For more on the true church, click here.