Why Are There So Many Churches?

by Don Blackwell

Watch this Sermon

Have you ever wondered why there are so many different churches today?

Several years ago research was showing that there were 38,000 churches professing Christianity worldwide. In the last five years, that number has increased to 43,000 churches, and the number keeps climbing exponentially.

This might be confusing for someone seeking the truth because there are so many different preaching and practices 

  • Could the different churches be right?

  • How did we get from one church to forty-three thousand?

The New Testament states only one church. 

Acts 2:47, Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 4:4

  • There is only one church in the Bible.

  • “Upon this rock I will build My church” (Singular church).

  • Shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

  • God has put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him to be the head over all things, to the church which is His body.

  • The church of Christ and the body of Christ are the same thing. If there’s one body there is one church.

There should be no divisions in the church

1st Corinthians 1

  • “that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.”

  • “What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

God predicted that there was going to be a departure from that one church system. 

Acts 20:29, 1 Timothy 4

  • “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” — Acts 20:29

  • “in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” — 1 Timothy 4:1

Two things involved in this departure

  1. Forbidding to marry.

  2. Commanding to abstain from meats.

  • The Roman Catholic church teaches their priests that they can’t get married and that they can’t eat certain types of meat.

Why are there 43,000 churches in the world today? 

Since the first century, we´ve got the seeds of denominationalism

  • During the 300s A.D, 313, there was a Roman Emperor in power, his name was Constantine. He began to take interest in Christianity and in 313 A.D. he passed the Edict of Milan, and it ended persecution against Christians. This gained favor with the Christians in and around Rome; and so the Roman government began to have a lot of influence with the elders in the Lord’s church and the end result of this was an adverse effect on a large part of Christ’s church.

  • Back in 325, history records a meeting, the Council of Nicaea and Emperor Constantine established Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. He named it by the Latin word Catholic, which means universal. It became the universal religion of the Roman Empire.

What happened then is the first official departure from the New Testament pattern.

  • Christians who were faithful to the Bible, who stood against the Catholic church, were persecuted.

  • The Catholic church created man-made doctrines.

  • 1054, the Roman Catholic church splits into two denominations: the Roman Catholic church with Roman Catholicism; and the Greek Orthodox church.

  • 1190, Catholics came up with a doctrine called indulgences, meant you could pay for a sin in advance, and so if sin was going to be committed they could go and pay the church for forgiveness.

  • 1500s, Martin Luther and other men began to speak up against the sale of indulgences. Luther challenged the Pope. He said the Bible is the only source of authority. Martin Luther’s widespread opposition to the Catholic church started a protest movement called the Protestant Reformation.

  • 1521, Anabaptist first appeared as a protest to the Catholic church. They thought it was wrong to baptize babies; they argued infants don’t have sins. The Anabaptist movement spawned several other churches such as the Baptist church, the Amish church, The Mennonites and the Brethren in Christ 

  • 1534, the church of England began because King Henry, the Eighth, desired to have his marriage to a Catherine of Aragon annulled and the Roman Catholic church didn’t accept. So he started his own church 

  • A small fraction of the churches that exist today some began out of good motives, but the majority of others were created under bad motives. They were all created by men.

Are all the denominations wrong?

In this country, a person can go to the government, he can start a church. People will follow this individual who’s only interested in money and power. Any church that was not built by Jesus Christ is going to be lost. 

The only church is built by Jesus Christ as shown in the New Testament with New Testament authority

Matthew 7:21, Acts 2:27, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:14, John 8:24, 1st Corinthians, 15:54-55

  • “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 7:21

  • Having good intentions is not enough. Having your heart right is not enough. You have to follow the New Testament pattern.

  • To become a Christian, to be a part of that church, you’ve got to hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized.

  • You need to hear that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and died for you, to pay the penalty for your sin so that you don’t have to go to hell. In Christ salvation is found.

  • A man must hear the gospel and believe that Christ is the son of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[a] from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Understand that the body of Christ is the church

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

Acts 8:12

Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God? It’s the church. That’s exactly right. It’s the church. They weren’t baptized until they understood the concept of the one church. After they knew the name of Jesus Christ and the one church they were baptized.

  • A person has to hear the Gospel

  • He has to believe it

  • He has to repent (Acts 17:30)

Repentance is a change of mind brought about by Godly sorrow. That results in a reformation of life which the Bible calls fruits of repentance.

I believe because of my sin God came in the flesh and died for me. I believe that He is the son of God. I believe that I was going to go to hell. I believe in the one church. I believe in the body of Christ.

  • Romans 10:10

Baptism is the point at which a person comes in contact with the blood of Christ.

  • Romans 6:3,4

  • Mark 16:16

For reflection:

Let’s just be plain and simple.

Christians let’s be saved the same way that they were saved, worship the same way that they worshiped.

There’s only one church that goes all the way back to the day of Pentecost, which is the church belonging to Jesus Christ. Would you leave all denominations and just be a part of the church that belongs to Jesus Christ?

If you have any questions about this lesson feel free to reply to this email. We will do our best to answer your questions as quickly as possible.

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