ANSWER: The King James Version of the New Testament uses the phrase "church of God" several times. Interestingly, it is only the apostle Paul, and not any of the other Biblical writers, who uses this term either in speaking or in writing. Paul uses the phrase only twice in direct reference to a group of believers meeting in a particular city (1Corinthians 1:2, 2Corinthians 1:1). He also states that at one time, before his conversion, he went after those in the church (a general reference to those who, primarily in Jerusalem, believed in Jesus).
|9. For I am the least of the apostles, and am not fit even to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church . . . (1Corinthians 15:9, Holy Bible in its Original Order throughout, see also Galatians 1:13)|
The places where the words 'church of God' (or very close to it) occur in the New Testament do not refer to the 'official' name of a religious organization or denomination (Acts 20:28, 1Corinthians 10:32, 11:22, 1Timothy 3:5, 15 and those mentioned above). Rather, they refer in general to those who are converted believers.
The Bible does not state that one can determine who teaches the same foundational truths as the early disciples by the name of a fellowship group, organization, or denomination. In fact, attempts to label those who worship under the banner of a particular denomination or group as the entirety of true Christians on earth cannot be supported in Scripture and is foolishly self-delusional.
All the members in the TRUE church, which is a spiritual organism unbounded by space and time, are known only in heaven. The membership list of this unique group, personally called by the Eternal, is referred to as the book of life.
3. And I ask you, my true yokefellow, to assist these women, who labored with me in the gospel, and with Clement, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life (Philippians 4:1 - 3)
8. The beast that you saw was, and is not, but is about to come up out of the abyss and to go into perdition. And those who dwell on the earth, whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world . . . (Revelation 17:8, see also 20:12, 21:27).
Delineating what beliefs might constitute a "true" group who teaches the same things as the early New Testament church of God did is beyond the scope of this short answer. That said, you can hardly go wrong by fellowshipping with those who worship the Eternal with 'fear and trembling' (Philippians 2:12), who love each other (John 13:35), are of a 'humble and contrite spirit' (Isaiah 66:2) and who, like the Bereans, 'examine the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so' (Acts 17:11).