Why Are There So Many Churches?
By: Rod Rutherford
The following statement is typical of many that we hear: “There is one God and one Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one Bible. Why are there so many different churches?” There are literally thousands of different religious organizations in the world today which claim to believe in Jesus Christ. The number of these organizations increases daily. It is not surprising that sincere seekers after truth are confused. Our Lord prayed for the unity of all who would believe in Him. In John 17:20-21, Jesus spoke to the Father these words: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me.” Many turn away from Christ in confusion because of the many different churches which claim to be following Him today.
There are thousands of different churches in the world, but the Bible knows only one. Hear the inspired Apostle Paul: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were 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.” (Ephesians 4:4-6).
Please notice that “there is one body.” That one body is the church. Please note that God “put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him, who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22,23). If the church is the body and there is one body, that means there is only one church which is approved by God. If there is but one church, then no man has any right to start another one. In fact, none of the churches founded by men have the approval of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Every plant, which My heavenly Father has not planted, will be uprooted” (Matthew 15:13).
When our Lord Jesus Christ lived on this earth, He responded to Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” by saying: “And on this rock I will build My church” (Matthew 16:16-18). Please notice that Jesus used the singular. He did not say, “I will build my churches!” Nor did He promise to build many churches. He built only one! Because He is the Christ, the Son of the living God, He has the right to build the church. No one else can truthfully make the same claim. Therefore, no one else has the right to start a church or religious organization different from that one which Jesus built.
The church that Jesus built, the church of Christ, began on the first Pentecost following the resurrection and ascension of our Lord. We can read about its beginning in Acts, chapter 2.
Why not be content to become a member of Christ’s church? Follow the perfect pattern given for the church in the New Testament. Obey the same gospel which was preached on Pentecost day in the same way it was obeyed then and the same Lord will add you to the same church, the church of Christ!
You must believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 16:16; John 8:24). Repent of all your past sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30,31). Confess your faith in Christ (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 8:37). Be buried with Christ in baptism for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:16; Romans 6:4; Acts 2:38). You will thereby be added by the Lord to His one true church: “. . .And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2: 47).
You must serve the Lord faithfully in His church all the days of your life. If you do, you can be sure the Lord will reward you with eternal life in the Last Day (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:6-8).