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|Proof for the multiple Church concept|
|Proof that Jesus built only "ONE" Church|
1. Did Jesus build one church, many churches or all churches?
2. This particular question is an emotional one, because:
A. One faces whether he or she is right or wrong religiously.
B. One sometime has to face whether his parents are right or wrong religiously.
C. One is concerned with whether the religious group, with whom they are deeply involved, active, and fond of is right or wrong.
3. The fact that this particular point is an emotional one is evident from the questions people often ask.
A. Are you telling me that the Church of Christ is the only ones going to heaven?
B. Do you mean to tell me that my mother and father are going to hell.
C. Are you telling me that I am lost even though I am a believer, live a good moral life and am actively involved in my church?
4. In determining the answer to this question, emotions must be placed aside, the Bible must be opened, and an honest investigation made to settle the question.
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I. PROOF FOR THE MULTIPLE CHURCH CONCEPT.
A. Churches of Christ.
Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. (KJV)
1. It is true that the Bible speaks of churches in a plural sense.
2. The plural form (churches) occurs some thirty-five times in the English New Testament.
Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. (KJV)
Acts 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches. (KJV)
Rom 16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. (KJV)
Rom 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you. (KJV)
1Cor 7:17 But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. (KJV)
1Cor 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (KJV)
2Cor 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; 19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: (KJV)
Gal 1:2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: (KJV)
Gal 1:22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: (KJV)
1Thess 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: (KJV)
2Thess 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (KJV)
Rev 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (KJV)
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (KJV)
Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (KJV)
3. When the plural form is used, it does not refer to different demoninations, all teaching different doctrines, offering different plans of salvation and diverse in their practice and worship; but rather to congregations who have obeyed the same Gospel.
1Cor 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (KJV)
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (KJV)
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (KJV)
And walk by the same rule.
Phil 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. (KJV)
B. The vine and branches
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (KJV)
1. The vine and branches are frequently used to justify different religious denominations.
2. The branches represent denominations. the vine represent Christ. Since branches are the product of the vine, and the vine represents Christ and the branches represents denominations then denominations are the product of Christ.
3. Consideration of the text:
a. The fact that the text is not referring to denominations is obvious from the text itself.
1. Note the pronouns (John 15:3,4,5,7).
2. It is clearly stated who is under consideration in verse six. "If a man abide not in me".
b. Note the context surrounding John 15:1-6.
1. John 15 shows that Jesus is speaking to His disciples.
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV)
John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (KJV)
John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (KJV)
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. (KJV)
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. (KJV)
John 14:31 But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence. (KJV)
Note verse 31, "arise, let us go hence".
2. Note John 15:8.
a. Verse 8, "so shall ye be my deciples".
b. Verse 10, "if ye keep my commandments"
Note if referring to denominations they were to keep His commandments, in keeping His commandments they would be practicing the same thing thus eliminating the very idea of denominationalism which is the product of division.
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II. PROOF THAT JESUS BUILT ONLY ONE CHURCH.
A. Matt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (KJV)
Note the word "church" is singular not plural. The fact it is singular denotes one. If two or more were under consideration the form would have been plural.
B. There is only one body.
1. Eph 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (KJV)
1Cor 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV)
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (KJV)
1Cor 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. (KJV)
2. The body and the church are the same.
Eph 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. (KJV)
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (KJV)
Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: (KJV)
3. Since the body and the church are the same and since there is only one body it follows there is only one church.
C. The church is the bride of Christ.
Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (KJV)
2 Cor 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (KJV)
Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (KJV)
Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (KJV)
D. The church is the house or family of God. The house of God is the church of God.
1 Tim 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (KJV)
The house of God is also called the family of God.
Eph 3:15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (KJV)
Note, the word house is singular in form as is family denoting only one household or family.
E. There is one shepherd and one fold.
John 10:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. 6 This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (KJV)
Christians are here depicted as the fold of God, but note that in verse sixteen there is one fold not many.
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1. The Lord Jesus Christ built only one church. Denominationalism is contrary to the scriptures and the Lord's prayer.
1Cor 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (KJV)
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (KJV)
2. The study of this subject is not a matter of being narrow minded but biblical.
3. Let us go to the Bible and it alone for our rule of practice and encourage all others to do the same.
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