How many churches are there? What saith the scriptures?
I believe the scriptures presented in articles ten and eleven say there is only one. Because I believe those scriptures show that from the first book, through the last of the Bible, there are scriptures which either say in no uncertain terms or necessarily imply the following things. That God from the beginning planned to make known unto the world his wisdom, by one church. That God through the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, and Jesus said one church is coming. That God through John the Baptist and Jesus said there shall be one church. That in the year 33 AD one church was established; and from that time until the year 90 AD, this one church, was the only church in the world.
Yes, I believe those scriptures say all these things. However, I challenge the whole world to cite even one scripture in all of God's Book, which either says plainly or even implies otherwise.
My readers, I also believe that the scriptures set forth in article 12 establish the scriptural impossibility of any other church being established. Yes, those scriptures affirm that God has only authorized the existence of: one king, head, shepherd, husband, undivided teacher, foundation, and vine. So, how could there ever be more than one: kingdom, body, flock, wife, doctrine, house and group of branches?
All right, that which is taught in many other scriptures, also shows the scriptural impossibility of the birth of church number two. If division had never raised its ugly head in the one church which Jesus established, well church #2 would still be unheard of. Yes. church #2 was begotten by division; but many scriptures declare that both Jesus and God abhor division.
John, in Jo. 17, recorded one of the Lord's prayers. The plea of Jesus in that prayer was, that all believers might be one even as he and his Father were one. Then in other scriptures, we hear God through his inspired writers plead, beseech, and command that there be no division among believers. Yes, these scriptures proclaim that all believers are to be at peace, of the same mind, speak the same thing and with one mouth glorify God (I Cor. 1:10, Rom, 12:16, Phil. 2:2,1 Pet. 3:8, Rom. 15:5-6, Rom. 16:17). According to Gal. 5:19-21, those who are involved in creating unnecessary division shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.
My readers, inasmuch as both God and Christ abhor division, have commanded all believers to be at peace, and have said that those who cause division shall not enter the kingdom of God, and since there never would have been even a second church if some of those in church one had not created division then I submit that the group of people who became church two were not acceptable with God. Oh yes, at that time, people began to say there are two churches; but with God it was not so. Because the above referenced scriptures teach that God will not tolerate division.
My readers, I have already proven that from 33 AD until 90 AD, all of God's people were members of one and the same church. So yes, as Paul in Eph. 4:4-6 said: There was just one church. However, some time later, much later say historians, church #2 appeared on the scene.
Now, why I ask, did it become necessary for some members of that one church to establish church #2? We can find the answer to this question by asking each other the following question. Why are you a member of church #489 instead of church #528? Because, say we, church #489 teaches this and that; and these teachings are not a part of the doctrine of church #528. Yes, the reason church #2 was established was because for one reason or another, all the people no longer believed in the same doctrine. Yes, in order for some of the members of church #1 to break away and establish church #2, they had to begin teaching either more or less or maybe both more and less than the teachings of Jesus. So yes, at that time the people began to say there are two churches in the world. However, I do not believe they at that time could say God has two churches.
The first five articles of this volume #3 were devoted to calling to your attention a multitude of scriptures, which I believe proves God has not granted unto us freedom of religion. But has said over and over again, your religion must not be that which is either more or less than what my Book proclaims. Yes, (in a nutshell) those scriptures establish the following things.
(1) Today God speaks to us through Jesus (Heb. 1:1-2).
(2) Jesus speaks to us through the Spirit (Jo. 16:12-13).
(3) The Holy Spirit speaks unto us through the apostles and prophets (Jo. 16:12-16, Eph. 3:1-5).
(4) All of the apostles and prophets preached that revealed message unto all the world (Mat. 28:18-20, Col. 1:24).
(5) Some of those Holy Spirit inspirited apostles and prophets recorded that message in the New Testament.
(6) All of God's will was revealed unto them (Jo. 14:25-26, Jo. 16:12-16).
(7) They declared all, but nothing more nor less than God's will (James 2:8-12, Rev. 22:19).
(8) Also they have taught us we must not add to God's will (Gal. 1:6-9, Col. 2:16-23, Col. 3:17, II Jo. 9-11, Rev. 22:18).
So all of these scriptures also set up an unavoidable scriptural road block which disallowed the coming of church #2. Then too, this same scriptural road block has also blocked its gate of entrance until this year 1989; and shall continue to do so until the end of time.
Oh yes, my friends if we the religious world today were stripped of all we are teaching, which is not taught in the Bible, then the hundreds of churches which now are, would be reduced to only one. Because we would have no need for more than one.
By: Tommy Hodge