Where is the true Church of God?

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QUESTION: Can the true church of God ever be found? Does there exist a fellowship or denomination that teaches the same thing as Jesus and the first century apostles? Does this group of believers have a unique name?

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 . . . 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 is part of the "true church," meaning those who teach the same foundational truths as the early disciples, simply 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.

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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. The Apostle Paul refers to this mysterious book in his letter to the Philippians when he asks the fellowship in Philippi to assist women who have helped him preach the gospel. These faithful believers, he states, had their names written in this special spiritual book (Philippians 4:1 - 3). Those who are not converted and therefore not "true church" members are said to not have their names written in this book known only to God (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).

Additional Study Materials
Why do people worship on Sunday?
Is the Bible Sabbath on Saturday?
What exactly is the book of life?

What is the church of God?
Bibliography

Holy Bible, a Faithful Version


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