Why do People Think One Church is Different Than Another?

body-of-christGod says one church, one faith, one Lord, one baptism.  Why do people think one church is different than another?  I feel we all go to one church to receive the message no matter which church.  Is that wrong?

The passage referred to in the question is Ephesians 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.”  Paul clearly writes that there is one body in verse 4.  That one body is the church.  In Ephesians 5:23 Paul writes: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”  This verse shows three things.  First, it shows that Jesus is the head/leader of the church.  Second, it shows that the church is the body.  Third, it shows that Jesus saves the body/church.  Given that there is only one body (Ephesians 4:4) and that the body is the church (Ephesians 5:23), the implication is that there is only one church.  Notice also that Jesus is the leader/head of this one church and its savior.  This means that Jesus will only save one church, His church, the church that follows Him as their leader.

Now, the questioner asks, “Why do people think one church is different than another?”  This answer is that churches are different in many things.  Many churches do not teach baptism is for the forgiveness of sins, but the Bible teaches that (Acts 2:38, 22:16).  Which church is following Jesus as their head?  Many churches do not believe in having elders to oversee churches, but the Bible teaches that (Acts 20:28, 1 Timothy 3:1-2).  Which church is following Jesus as their head?  Many churches no longer teach that homosexuality is a sin, but the Bible teaches it is (Romans 1:26-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  Which church is following Jesus as their head?  There are many other differences that we could discuss.  The question always comes back to whether or not the church is doing what is practiced in the Bible.  If we want to be a church that is considered the body of Christ, then we need to speak as God speaks.  First Peter 4:11 says, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

So, it isn’t right that just going to any church will satisfy God.  We need to go to the church that claims Jesus as its leader and head, and not all churches do this.  So, we must do like the people of Berea.  The Bible says, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).  We also need to follow the advice of the apostle John when he 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” (1 John 4:1).  Even Jesus said that we needed to beware of false prophets.  “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).  We cannot just assume that all churches are going to be the same and that anywhere we go we are going to find the church that we read about in the Bible.  We need to be diligent and go to the church that is following Jesus as their leader and head, and this means to know and follow Jesus’ teachings in the Bible as practiced by the apostles.