Is there only one true church? And if
there is, can we identify it? Does it have marks by which it can be
known? These questions often create quite a controversy but God answers
them objectively and clearly in His Holy Word. The true church is not a
denomination or a building or a cathedral. Locally, it is an assembly of
believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Universally, it includes all those
chosen by God to be born again (Eph. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:3). The church is
made up of all believers of past generations from all nations and
cultures. These believers have been purified by the blood of Jesus,
sealed by the Spirit of God and sit securely in the hand of God (John
10:28; Eph. 1:13; 1 John 1:7). Addressed as saints, they have been
baptized by one Spirit into one body (1 Cor. 1:2; 12:13). They are
visible to others when the light of their good works shines before men
to glorify their heavenly Father (Mt. 5:16). They are also invisible in
the sense that only God can infallibly see who among the "professing"
Christians are His (2 Tim. 2:19).
and Roman Catholic Churches together make up the "professing" Church.
The "true" church is only a small part of the "professing" church, which
includes both born again believers and mere professors of Christ (James
1:14). Jesus called believers "the wheat" and mere professors, who are
sons of the evil one, "the tares" (Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43). Unless the
tares experience the second birth, they will one day be deathly
horrified when they hear Jesus declare from His Great White Throne: "I
never knew you, depart from Me" (Mat. 7:23).
There is convincing biblical evidence which proves the
Roman Catholic Church is not "the one true church" nor "the household of
God" nor "the pillar and foundation of the truth." In his first letter
to Timothy, Paul uses the imagery of a spiritual temple to describe the
Church. The "pillars" are that which uphold the truth as revealed and
recorded in Scripture. Assuredly, the church upholds the truth but is
not named as the source of truth. The "foundation of the truth" is Jesus
Christ, who is the very personification of truth. Paul writes: "For no
man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is
Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. 3:11). Christ is the cornerstone of the foundation
which includes the prophets and the apostles, who gave divinely inspired
testimony of Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:20). Clearly this foundation was laid
and completed in the first century. Once a builder lays a foundation, he
does not continue to add to it. Yet the Catholic Church continues to add
to its foundation with claims of apostolic succession, infallible papal
pronouncements and evolving Tradition. The Catholic Church must be
rejected as the church of the apostles because it has subverted and
nullified apostolic doctrines with traditions of pagan origin. Like the
Jews of old, the Roman Church "mingled with the nations, and learned
their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to
themÖThus they became unclean in their practices, and played the harlot
in their deeds" (Psalm 106:35-39).
Only the true church is the pillar of truth, because
all its members have come to the knowledge of the truth and are saved (1
Tim. 2:4). The household of God includes those who have been called out
of the world by believing the truth (James 1:18). Contrast this with
Catholics who are always learning and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth because they have compromised the Gospel (2 Tim.
3:7). Roman Catholic Councils stand opposed to the faith of the Apostles
by condemning those who believe the Gospel. Thus, the institution must
be rejected as part of the household of God (2 Tim. 3:8).
The true church is made up of the spirits of just men
made perfect, whose names are written in heaven in the Lambís book of
life (Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 21:27). It is the bride of Christ, the flock
of the Shepherd and the adopted family of God. The church is one body,
with one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and
Father of all who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:4-6).
Its members are a chosen generation who were purchased and redeemed by
the blood of Christ. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it
(Matt. 16:18). It is the only Church which is certain to endure unto the
end. Nothing can destroy it. Its members may be persecuted, imprisoned,
beaten and murdered; but if it is ever blotted out in one country, it
will rise up in another.
The true church is united by faith in the Gospel
because all its members are taught by one Spirit and are one in Christ
(Gal. 3:28; 1 Jn. 2:27). All are united to Christ and to one another.
The true church is exclusive and set apart from the world. There is no
salvation outside this church. Until a person belongs to this church
they are lost, helpless and hopeless. However, once entering this
Church, there is no possibility of being cast away. All the ordained men
in the world could never excommunicate one member of the true church.
The continual intercession of Jesus and the sealing power of the Holy
Spirit keep every member secure in the Fatherís hand (Heb. 7:25; Eph.
1:13-14; Jn. 10:29).
Some glorious promises are given to the true church,
those who are united by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. They
include: the complete forgiveness of sins, His imputed righteousness,
the assurance of eternal life and a relationship with Him apart from
mediators. The Catholic Church not only withholds these promises from
their people, but condemns anyone who believes them.
Members of the true church have equal access to the
throne of grace through the veil that was torn open at the moment of
Christís death (Heb. 10:19-22). They are all royal priests who offer
"spiritual" sacrifices to God. The Roman Catholic Church has a select
priesthood who offer "physical" sacrifices to God for the sins of the
people. Jesus Christ is the head of the true church. He is one Shepherd
of the one flock (John 10:16). Yet, the Catholic Church declares the
pope to be the infallible head of all Christians.
The purpose of the church is to proclaim the Gospel of
Jesus Christó"the excellencies of Him who has called [sinners] out of
darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). Only the true church
knows and believes the true Gospel. If you take any of its members from
the remote corners of the earth and ask them to define the Gospel, they
will all be in one accord. Take several Roman Catholics from the same
corners of the world and you will find no unity in the Gospel of Jesus
Christ. Instead they will proclaim another gospelósalvation through a
system of sacraments, rituals and human effort. The Roman Church and its
gospel is hostile and opposed to the unique message of Christ as
evidenced by its history and dogmas. For centuries the Roman Church
persecuted, tortured and murdered members of the true Church. It has
also been the most anti-Semitic institution on earth in the last 75
There is only one door to enter the true church and
that door is Jesus Christ. He alone, by His Spirit, admits members of
this Church. Until He opens the door no man can enter. The gate and the
way to eternal life is narrow (Mat. 7:13). The few who find it must
strive to enter by testing it with the word of God (Luke 13:24). Those
who find it will one day be presented blameless before the Fatherís
throne (Jude 24). Many of the one billion souls in the Roman Catholic
Church have entered the road to eternity through the wide gate that
leads to destruction. There is no striving to enter this church because
water baptism, without personal faith, is the normal means of entering.
The members of this church, who have taught and believed a false gospel,
will be judged at the great white throne and then cast into the lake of
fire (Rev. 20:11-14). In the end, those who did not belong to the true
Church, it would have been better if they had never been born.
Are any members of the true church worshipping in the
Roman Catholic Church? There may be a few whom the Holy Spirit has yet
to call out. Eventually, those who are born of the Holy Spirit, who
abide in Godís word, will come to know the truth and be set free from
the legalistic deception of Rome. As they speak out against Romeís false
gospel, they will find themselves unwelcome, and be forced to leave.
They will also find themselves at odds with the deadly errors and
idolatry of the Roman Catholic Church and will desire to come out of her
to worship God in Spirit and Truth.
For those who may not be members of the one true
church, may God give you the grace to turn to its Supreme Head, the Lord
Jesus Christ as He is revealed in the Bible. Only then will you see that
He is sufficient to save sinners completely and forever. You will also
see that if you continue to trust your own righteousness, your good
works, the sacraments, purgatory, indulgences and other mediators, you
are nullifying the grace of God (Rom. 11:6). Since grace is the only
means by which God saves sinners, you must come to Christ with empty
hands of faith. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and
that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works,
that no one should boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).
In summary, here is a side-by-side contrast between
the true church and the Roman Catholic Church
Membership by Spirit
There is no salvation
outside this church.
Members enter by Godís will
upon believing His Gospel.
Members are secure in
Christ, can never be excommunicated.
infallible Word of God.
One Head and One Mediator.
Foundation is Jesus and the
Proclaims the true Gospel.
Justified by grace through
faith in Jesus Christ.
Promise of future glory with
Roman Catholic Church
Membership by water
There is salvation outside
Members enter by manís will
or by parentsí desire.
Members are not secure, can
be excommunicated and condemned to hell.
Bible, Tradition and the infallible Magesterium.
Two Heads, many mediators.
Foundation is Peter.
Proclaims another gospel.
Justified by faith plus
Promise of a purging or
punishing fire for sins.