Question: Sir, I was reading your site about the Catholic Church being the right one, and found it interesting, because the Bible teaches the exact opposite. In the Bible there is no (pope). We do not pray to Mary. We call no man on earth father, and on, and on. The Church that Christ built, Matthew 16:18, teaches the Bible, not tradition, which the Catholic Church teaches. There is but one Church that is right. Christ built only one. If you are interested in knowing about the one (true) church, just let me know. In His service
Answer: It is hard to know where to start with a letter like this, because to begin with, I doubt that this person even read the whole article on the Holy Catholic Church which is what he is referring to. First, nowhere in the article do I indorse any denomination. The point of the article is that in every denomination there are those who truly know Christ as Lord and Savior and thus are part of the Church. We may or may not agree with the things they teach in the church that they attend, but if they personally are born again, God knows that and they are a son or daughter of His.
This verse makes clear that a person at the moment of salvation is brought into the family of God, the Church: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free-and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13) To sum up again, without going over the whole article here, all I am doing is quoting Scripture, so if someone has a disagreement, it is not with me, but it is with the word of God.
Really in a sense this person is giving an example of how people who profess the name of Christ as their Lord and Savior are saying to other parts of the body of Christ, “You are not part of me.” The Corinthian passage goes on to say: “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.'” (1 Corinthians 12:18-21)
St. Paul in the Bible says: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6)
I think sometimes people are reacting to the word “catholic” which as I pointed out in the article simply means “universal.” Christ’s Church is the invisible Holy Catholic Church. The reason we say invisible sometimes is because the Church is made up of all born again believers from the Day of Pentecost until the Church is home with the Lord Jesus Christ. Obviously some have already gone to heaven and cannot be seen on the earth, but they are still part of the Church. Since the Church is made up of all the saved there is no one denomination that has all the believers in it. Please look at the third part of the Ephesians Bible study for more details on the Church.
This attitude that some have today that they are the only ones saved is seen in Paul’s time also: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) We have a study on 1 Corinthians also, these divisions would be discussed in part one, and the body of the Church is discussed in parts three and four.
I am not saying to unite as Christians with those who do not believe Jesus is God, but showing Christian love to those who have Christ as Lord of their lives. I know the Bible speaks of a time when there will be a one world government and a one world religion connected to it. I am not advocating for this, just the opposite, but those who are truly born again need to be accepted as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible makes very clear which are believers and which are not. “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3) “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:15-16)
So without saying much more, I would like to remind the people of the world and Christians that there is only “one” true Church and it is the one Christ is the head of. We are also called the Bride of Christ, and Christ is coming for a unified, sanctified, holy, body of believers, not having spot or wrinkle. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) I am not sure how He is going to do this, it might be through persecution for all believers to bring us together, or it might be through revival, but God has His plan.
Also, let me remind Christians that Jesus prayed in John 17 that we would be one as the Holy Trinity is One. This prayer of Jesus will be answered before He comes for His Church! Jesus prayed for His disciples and for us before He went to the cross to die for our sins: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which you gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and you in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)
There may always be denominations, but the world will see our unity and love as Christians in the future, why can’t we start to show this now to those in other denominations other than our own?! In heaven we will also fellowship together no matter what denomination we were in here, there it will not make any difference what name was hanging over our church here. The only thing that will matter there is that we are children of God and that we were saved by the blood of the Lamb!
In Christian love,
Your brother in Christ, Gary T. Panell
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