Which Church?

Which church is the true church? It depends on who you ask ...

Some Christian groups are all too happy to point out which groups are not true Christians ...

"Liberal" Christianity sprang up in part because they think we should all get along and stop bickering about divisive topics.

I should mention that I am a born-again, on-fire-for-the-Lord, radically-saved, devout, faithful, orthodox Christian.

Which Church is the True Church? ...

The answer: they all are — with qualifications. Here are the necessary characteristics for a Christian community to be considered the "true church"...

This rules out ...

Phases of the Church ...

Six phases ...

  1. Jesus is conceived in the womb of Mary Jesus is baptized by John
    • The silent years.
    • Few really know who Jesus is — Those who do are: his mother, Mary; his step-father, Joseph; and perhaps a few close family members.
  2. Jesus begins ministry The birth of the church on Pentecost
    • The 3 to 3–1/2 years of his public ministry
    • Includes his death, resurrection, ascension, and the 40 days the disciples waited in Jerusalem.
    • He trained his apostles; he gave many signs.
  3. Church is born Apostles still alive
    • The apostolic church.
    • They teach the faith, write the New Testament, and ordain the next generation of bishops.
    • What an amazing time this must have been.
  4. Apostles gone About 400 A.D.
    • Doctrinal development — Trinity, canon of scripture, nature of Christ.
    • Persecution of the church.
    • Church becomes a state-sanctioned church — this has good and bad effects.
    • Many heresies and conflicts.
    • Bishops argue and fight.
    • Early Ecumenical Councils.
    • The church becomes institutionalized with bishops, apostolic succession, clergy/laity, etc.
    • Schismatic churches from this period are missing key doctrines (because foundational Christian doctrines are still being developed).
    • Fanaticism
    • Many differing views of the early church fathers.
    • Roman see (pope) considered orthodox.
    • There are "bad" bishops — faithless, corrupt, sinful, political, worldly.
  5. About 400 A.D. About 800 A.D.
    • More ecumenical councils.
    • More schisms.
    • Eastern and western churches start to become divided.
    • Roman see (pope) still considered orthodox.
    • Western (Catholic) church becomes more powerful — thinks of itself as above the state.
    • There are "bad" bishops and popes — faithless, corrupt, sinful, political, worldly.
    • The Bible becomes ever more important as the only trustworthy repository of apostolic authority.
  6. About 800 A.D. Today
    • In 1054 A.D. the eastern and western churches split — but the division occurred earlier than that.
    • One global institutional church is no longer possible.
    • Ecumenical councils are no longer possible.
    • Eastern (Orthodox) and western (Catholic) churches each claim to be the true church.
    • There are "bad" bishops and popes — faithless, corrupt, sinful, political, worldly.
    • The Protestant "Reformation"starting in the 1500's illustrates that the western (Catholic) Church is fanatical, troubled, extreme, controlling, off the mark (there were precursors to this hundreds of years earlier — Wycliffe and Hus).
    • "Ecumenical" Christianity is the "true" Christianity — but people are sometimes burned at the stake for believing this.
    • In our "modern" era there is some tolerance for variations of Christian practice and belief.
    • The Bible becomes ever more important as the only trustworthy repository of apostolic authority.

Between 864 A.D. and 1235 A.D the rulers of Bulgaria first chose the western church, then the eastern church, then the western church, then the eastern church. This is evidence that the unity of the church between east and west is no longer possible and that the true church is the "Ecumenical" Churchwhich includes east and west, as well as the various Protestant communities.

Now that the church has fragmented certain things are no longer possible. Examples ...

Related article ...

Which is the "True" Church?

There are so many varieties of Christianity (and pseudo-Christianity) . . .

To answer the question "which is the true church" we must compare each to the early church.