By Wes Garland
Remarkably, everyone in the religious world realizes that there is a church found in the Bible. But what church that is is where people begin making misapplication. The religious world believes in a particular belief that all churches that are in existence make up the church that you read in the Bible. This is known as the ecumenical movement. They teach that it doesn’t matter what belief, practice, worship, or name you call yourself, it does make you another church, but that every church makes up that church you see in the New Testament. In other words, you are just another piece of the big pie. They teach it as unity in diversity, which is a contradiction by definition and terminology. Is this true? Are there multiple churches that make up the church you read in the Bible.
There are multiple ways to show what the Bible teaches about this. One of which Is the usage of the definite article “THE”. When the definite article “THE” is used, it pinpoints specific rather than using the indefinite article “A” or “AN” that shows generic. We see this usage in Matthew 16:19 when it says, “The Kingdom”. We also see this in Acts 2:47 when it says, “The church” and in Ephesians 5:23-25 where it says “The church” two times and “The body” once. There are multiple other passages that we can look at, but these will suffice. Another way of seeing how many churches is found in the Bible is by looking at the numerical usage in the text. What I mean by this seeing if he Bible uses the words as plural or singular in usage. For instance, in Matthew 16:18, Jesus uses the word “CHURCH” and not “churches”. We also see in Acts 2:47 that Luke records that the Lord added to the “CHURCH” daily. We also see in Ephesians 1:22-23 that Paul uses the word “CHURCH” and “BODY” when speaking of the church. But why is this important? It is important that in its infancy state, God only told of THE CHURCH because there was only ONE that He established. Even though the world may be saying that there are numerous churches in existence, only ONE is His body, His church, and His kingdom.
Let me ask you a question, do you think that our Lord knows which church is His among all these other churches? ABSOLUTELY! If you are the one that built something, you know which one you built! You can see this understanding in Matthew 16:18 when the Lord said, “I will build MY church”. He says, in Ephesians 5:23 that “CHRIST is THE HEAD of the church, and He is THE SAVIOR of the body”. He even says in Ephesians 1:22-23, that the church that He is over is “HIS body” and “THE FULLNESS of Him who fills all in all”. When the Lord gives us the 7 ones in Ephesians 4, we see that He states that there is only “ONE BODY”. When the Lord has spoken, there is no more discussion, justification, or room for thought. The Lord made very clear where He stands on the matter of this question. He only built ONE church that we will have to be a member of to go to Heaven (1 Cor. 15:24, Eph. 5:23). My prayer for everyone is that they will do what they need to do to have the eternal reward in Heaven. But to have this, everyone will have to make that decision to be part of the church that is found in the Bible.Are you a member of the church that you read about in the Bible?
- Wesley Garland preaches for Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://warnerschapelchurchofchrist.org/