Some years ago, a realtor drove me through a neighborhood to show me a house. On the way, we passed numerous church buildings."Isn't this wonderful?", she observed. "There are nearly a dozen different churches within walking distance of the house."
Many would concur with the realtor -- they consider the number and variety of churches in our country to be a blessing. I even recall a prominent televangelist thanking God for the plethora of churches in America.
Does this please God?
Jesus said, "…on this rock I will build my CHURCH (singular) and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against IT (not them)." (Mt. 16:18) He added in John 10:16, "...there will be ONE FLOCK and one shepherd." In John 17:20-21 He prayed, "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be ONE, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be ONE in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."
The apostle Paul repeatedly reinforced Jesus’ intention for THE church He built. In Eph. 1:22-23 he wrote, “(God) gave Him (Jesus) to be the head over all things to THE church, which is His BODY..." In Col 1:18 he added, "...He (Jesus) is the head of THE BODY, THE church." He told the believers in Corinth, "…for by one spirit we are all baptized into ONE BODY…" (1 Cor. 12:13). He repeated this truth in Eph. 4:4, "There is ONE BODY and one Spirit, just is you were called in one hope of your calling..." Again, to the church in Corinth Paul strongly admonished – “I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that you be PERFECTLY JOINED TOGETHER in the SAME mind and in the SAME judgment..."(1 Cor 1:10)
The mass of diverse churches with their conflicting doctrines and practices may please men, but they contradict the will of Jesus, and the inspired teachings of the apostle Paul.
The truth that Jesus built one church is not popular in today’s world. Nevertheless we must courageously promote the unity of THE church Jesus established, and reject the popular (but mistaken) notion that God approves of the existence of a wide variety of churches.
Jesus, always Jesus!