IS ONE CHURCH AS GOOD AS ANOTHER?
A. Matthew 16:18
1. Ephesians 1:22-23
2. 1 Timothy 3:15
B. In the general public, many are cynical about the
numerous “Christian denominations” today – the notion
that one church is as good as another has given way to
the contemptuous view that churches as a whole are
C. In the churches, the “ecumenical” movement (which
promotes worldwide unity among denominations) is
popular, and denominational mergers are often in the
1. “Unity in diversity” is the basic principle of ecumenism
2. According to ecumenism, the various groups which
profess Christianity are more alike than they are different,
and since they have so much in common they can have
“unity” despite their disagreements.
D. Many have long believed it does not matter which church
one belongs to, as long as one is sincere.
1. Popular evangelists advise people to “join the church of
2. Common views:
a. If one needs a church, any church will do. One is
pretty much as good as another.
b. Churches are like vitamin tablets in a bottle – it
matters that you take one, but it does not matter
c. When it comes to churches, they are interchangeable
for all practical purposes.
E. One fellow compared churches to motor oil: “There are
many different brands with slight differences, but any
one of the major brands will get the basic job done.”
F. But does this viewpoint stand up to close examination?
A. COMMON SENSE
1. As already mentioned, indifference is usually the
forerunner of cynicism – when one (in the name of
open-mindedness) gets too lazy to make up his mind
which side he is on, the next thing is to flatter himself
that he is above the fray altogether.
a. Mark it down, the fellow who says any church will do
is likely to be a fellow who, deep down, thinks all
churches are pretty much irrelevant to real life.
b. If it does not matter what one believes, can it matter
whether one believes at all?
2. Can we not see that this issue is too important and urgent
to be cynical about?
3. Do we believe truth can contradict itself – or be
whatever we want it to be?
4. Surely our disposition ought to be like that of the Bereans
a. Acts 17:11 … does that sound like it doesn’t matter
what one believes?
b. Revelation 2:2
1) It does matter what we believe
2) Therefore one church is not as good as another
B. SCRIPTURAL CONSIDERATIONS
1. A person today looking for the Lord’s church is in
much the same position as a first-century person
looking for the Messiah Himself!
a. The question “Could this be the Christ?” was a
question one could not afford to be wrong about
1) John 4:29
2) John 7:25-31
b. But there were many who claimed to be the Christ
1) Acts 5:36-37
2) Matthew 24:5, 24
c. Were any of the many “Messiahs” who appeared
then as good as any of the others?
d. What was the likelihood that one of these, out of all the
others, was the “one true Messiah”?
2. Today, if we have correctly identified the Messiah,
would we want to connect ourselves to any church that
this Messiah did not acknowledge as belonging to
3. The truth is, Christ does not acknowledge just any
church that professes Him.
4. Apostasy was predicted early on
a. 1 Timothy 4:1
b. Some congregations soon disregarded Christ’s authority
such that He was about to disavow them
1) Revelation 2:5
2) Revelation 3:16
c. Then and now, faith and practice matters
enormously – Matthew 7:21
5. As with individuals, churches that go beyond the
“doctrine of Christ” forfeit the right to wear His name
– 2 John 9
C. A BASIC POINT OFTEN OVERLOOKED
1. If we ask whether one “has to be a member of the
Church of Christ to be saved,” we are probably missing
a crucial point.
2. The Lord’s church is not the one “correct”
denomination that one must find to be saved.
3. The church of the Lord consists simply of Christians,
those who have been “added to the Lord”
a. Acts 11:24
b. Acts 2:47
c. The Lord’s “disciples” are not members of any
d. They cease to be the Lord’s disciples if they attach
themselves to any congregation or organization operating
outside the boundaries of Christ’s authority –
4. It needs to be recognized that if one is in any
denomination at all, he is in something that came along
many years after the Lord’s church began.
A. In the New Testament, the question of which church to be a
part of is the question of which congregation to associate
with – not which denomination to join.
B. The person who has genuinely obeyed the gospel of Christ
will want to submit to the Lord’s will the question of which
congregation to work and worship with – Colossians
1. We must seek His will about all such vital questions.
2. That can only be discerned by a prayerful, honest
investigation of the Scriptures
a. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
b. 2 Peter 1:3
C. Thus the more basic question is whether one has actually
obeyed the gospel.
1. The question of whether one is actually a Christian – and
in fellowship with Christ – is a most important question.
2. If a group of churches do not teach the truth about this,
they can hardly belong to the Lord.