by C. Parker Thomas

It is a common thing today to hear some group call themselves a “New Testament Church.” Some supposedly are New Testament Baptist, New Testament Methodist, New Testament Pentecostal or otherwise.

Still others claim that their faith goes all the way back to John the Baptist, Jesus, or the apostles. And there are legions who claim theirs came through a special revelation from God. Those making such claims are as far apart in their belief and practice as the east is from the west.

It would be interesting to know which New Testament Church they have reference to. Some are definitely like the churches of Galatia who turned away from the gospel of grace to a false legalistic concept saying you have to keep the law to be saved. Gal. 1:6-12 & 4:19-31.

Some are like the church at Corinth — guilty of gluttony, drunkenness, fornication and other forms of strife, division and rebellion such as brother going to law against brother, rejection of apostolic authority and a divisive party spirit. I Cor. 3:1-4, 5:1-13, 6:1-8 & 11:18-22.

Most of these claiming to be New Testament churches had better thank God they are not like the church right after Pentecost when the Lord killed Ananias and Sapphira because they lied to the Holy Ghost. Acts 5:1-11. Judgment such as that would eliminate so many members in most churches that there wouldn’t be enough left to bury the dead.

Most churches today can in no wise be classified as a New Testament church. If so, which one? The broad spectrum of division, divergent opinion and chaotic confusion testifies to the total lack of unity among ten thousand and one churches claiming Christ as their head.

In fact, I am amazed at the churches that owe their existence to strife and division that caused them to split off from another church.

In the beginning there was only one church. Then the splits and splinters started as Satan’s legion of demons invaded the ranks of local churches sowing seeds of discord, heresy, strife and division. Jude 5 warned us of ungodly men that will creep in unawares. Jesus told us to beware of false prophets which come in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravening wolves. Matt. 7:15.

In fact, Jesus said in Matt. 24:5, “For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

My conviction is that many have come supposedly representing Christ and have deceived many. This is why John said, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” I John 4:1.

The result and proof of all this is religious Babylon which even now is beginning to fall. All of these divisions and disunity are irrefutable testimony that Babylon is indeed “... the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Rev. 18:1-2.

God’s message from heaven to his people is, “... come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4.

When you consider which church is right, remember Paul’s words in Eph. 4:4-6. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 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.”

If these words of Paul in Ephesians are true, then where did all the divisions come from? Remember, “... God is not the author of confusion ....” I Cor. 15:33.

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