Which Church Is The Right Church?
By Joe Keim
September 1, 2007
Do you ever wonder which church is the right church? I mean, when you get right down to it, we have all kinds, and all types of different churches in the world that we live in. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, there may be as many as 34,000 different types of religions in the world today. Among the Amish alone, we have a wide range of church types. For instance, we have the Beachy churches, the Troyer churches, the Schwartzentruber churches, and the New Order churches, the King churches, the Old Order and even those who call themselves the Old, Old, Order churches. There are the buggy Mennonites, the car Mennonites and the Black car Mennonites. There are the Brethren and Baptist churches, the Lutheran and Methodist churches, the Pentecostals, and the Charismatic groups; the list goes on and on. Sometimes I can't help but wonder why the Lord Jesus doesn't just come back and put an end to all the confusion.
Do you ever wonder if in God's eyes, there is one church among the thousands who is 100% right? According to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are approximately 1,000 Christian faith groups in the U.S. and Canada alone, who believe they are the only true Christian denomination.
At this point I would like to draw our attention back to the Amish church. Because of confusion, and probably some personal frustration and church turmoil, there have been several cases in past years when Amish groups felt led to go back to Switzerland where our Amish forefathers started out. The main purpose for one group to return to Switzerland was to go back to our grass roots and ask for forgiveness from a certain Anabaptist group. Their desire, from what I can gather, has been to start over, to start afresh, to get back to what our forefathers died for.
But the question in my mind has been... why only go back to our Anabaptist roots? Were they not just human beings like us? Did they not make mistakes and have church turmoil, much like we have today? Why only go back 270 years? Why not go back to the very, very beginning and see how we compare to the first church that was ever mentioned in the New Testament?
I think you will agree with me, the reason there is so much confusion and so many differences in church believes, standards, and traditions today is because we have strayed away from the "STANDARD," which is the Word of God. Clearly, the Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 3:11, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Imagine for a moment, that a forefather of the past leads a group of believers to go off course by just 1 degree. At first it was so little that most people were not able to recognize it. But over the years and through and through several generations, the distance widened and the gap grew further and further away from the standard.
Eventually, the lie starts to look right, and the truth starts to look wrong. One day a man in our generation wakes up and starts to see where the group has come to. And the man says, let's turn back and let's get back on track again...BUT...he only goes half way back to the beginning. Most of us would say, well, at least he is headed in the right direction, but why doesn't he go all the way? Why doesn't he go all the way back to the very beginning?
And with that in mind, let me draw your attention to a time, long ago. Farther back then our Anabaptist forefathers in Switzerland; farther back then 500 years ago; 1,000 years, or even 1,500 years. Let's go all the way back to when the church started, 2,000 years ago. Let's for once, stop trusting in our forefathers and human beings and let's start trusting the Original; our Standard - Jesus Christ.
Did you know that the church is not mentioned one single time in the Old Testament? That is because the church was not in operation during the Old Testament. God worked through priests, prophets, and kings, but not once was there any mention made of the church.
In the New Testament the word "church and churches" is used 128 times. The church had become a brand new concept, thus called the New Testament - meaning a New Covenant. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Founder, the Owner, the Head, the Chief Corner Stone, and Foundation of the New Testament church.
The "church" idea all started at Caesarea Philippi, when Jesus called a meeting with his disciples. If you notice in the scripture below, He starts his meeting out with a question, in V-13 and ends with a statement, in V-18. Our focus will, for the most part, be on the statement He makes in verse 18.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying,
Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say
that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others,
Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona:
for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
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 [overcome] it.
Peter's confession (or one might say, Christ Himself) was the rock. Christ said, "You are Peter and on this rock [I, Myself, the great truth of your confession] will I build my church." There is no question that the church is built upon Christ. He is unquestionably the builder of the church and the power behind its structure (see 1 Cor. 3:11). It is He who takes every believer, all the "living stones," and places them into the structure of His church (see 1 Peter 2:4-8). The church depends upon Christ, not upon Peter nor any other man or combination of men. It was first built by Peter after Pentecost; but it is held up and held together by Christ, the only foundation.
Note the exact words spoken by Christ.
Fact 1: "My church" The church is Christ's not man's.
Fact 2: "I will build" Christ builds the church.
Fact 3: "The gates of hell shall not prevail" Christ Himself protects the church.
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