7/10/2016 9:48:46 AM
The One True Church
Roman Catholicism teaches there is one, holy, catholic and apostolic church whose bishops are successors of the apostles and whose pope is the infallible head of the church. It teaches that whoever listens to its bishops is listening to Christ and those who refuse to enter or remain in the Roman Catholic Church cannot be saved.
However, the “true church" is the one which has continued the teachings and traditions of the first century church. Its growth, doctrine and traditions were all recorded in the New Testament. Nowhere in Scripture do we find the “true church” doing any of the ungodly traditions of the RCC such as: praying to Mary and the saints, submitting to a pope, praying for souls in purgatory, offering indulgences for the remission of sin, ordaining a sacerdotal priesthood, offering a Eucharistic Christ on an altar or baptizing infants.
The Bible warns that the church would come under heavy attack from the adversary and some would depart from the faith into an apostate form of Christianity. Paul wrote: “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears” Acts 20:29-31).
Thus, the basis for determining truth from error is not based upon WHO is teaching it, but whether it is recorded in Scripture (Acts 17:11). Peter contended against false teachers by saying we have a "more sure word" to depend upon (2 Peter 1:16-21). He was referring to the written, inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. Scripture is therefore the determining factor as to which is the true church and which churches have drifted into apostasy (1 John 2:19).
The one true Church is composed of all believers in the Lord Jesus who have been born again of the Spirit. It has only one Head, one Shepherd and one builder - the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone, by His Spirit, adds to the members of His Church when a man repents and believes the Gospel. At that moment, he becomes a member of this Church. Like the penitent thief, he may have no opportunity of being baptized; but he has that which is far better than any water-baptism - the baptism of the Spirit. He may not be able to receive the bread and wine in the Lord's Supper; but he is still part of the church. He may be excommunicated by ordained men, and cut off from the outward ordinances of the professing Church; but all the ordained men in the world cannot shut him out of the true Church. It is a Church whose existence does not depend on forms, ceremonies, cathedrals, churches, chapels, pulpits, fonts, vestments, organs, or any act of favor from the hand of man. Its existence depends on nothing but the presence of Christ and Spirit.
The Church is the body of Christ; the Bride; the flock of Christ and the household of faith and the family of God. This is the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven (Heb. 12:23).; this is the royal priesthood, the chosen generation, the peculiar people, the purchased possession, the light of the world (2 Pet. 2:9-10). This is the "Holy Catholic Church" of the Apostles' Creed; this is the Church to which the Lord Jesus promises "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", and to which He says, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world". (Matt. 16:18; 28:20).
This is the Church which seeks true unity for they are all taught by one Spirit and whose members are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. This is the only Church which is truly catholic with members in every part of the world where the Gospel is received and believed.This is the only Church which is truly apostolic because it is built upon the one foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). It upholds the doctrines they preached. This is the only Church which is certain to endure unto the end. Nothing can altogether overthrow and destroy it. Its members may be persecuted, oppressed, imprisoned, beaten, beheaded, burned; but the true church is never altogether extinguished; it rises again from its afflictions; it lives on through fire and water. When crushed in one land it springs up in another. Enemies throughout the centuries have tried to destroy this church and then they pass away to an eternal fire. The true Church outlives them all.
This is the only Church of which no one member can perish. Once enrolled in this Church, sinners are safe for eternity; they are never cast away. The calling of God the Father along with the continual intercession of God the Son coupled with the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit protect all who have been divinely chosen. They are labor in the fields white for harvest by proclaiming the voice of the Good Shepherd so His sheep will hear and follow Him. They are not citizens of this world but are only passing through on their way home to heaven. This is the Church which shall be truly glorious at the end. When all earthly glory is passed away then shall this church be presented without spot before God the Father's throne.
This is the true Church which man enters as he is born of the Sprit. If anyone does not belong to the only true church at the end of their days, it will have been much better if they had never been born.