Ephesians 4:4-5 states that “there is one body, one Lord, one faith and one baptism.” That one body is Christ’s church (Ephesians 1:22-23, Colossians 1:18,) composed of all persons in the entire world who have been saved by Jesus Christ. He adds all who are saved to His church (Acts 2:47).
The one church is not a denomination, nor is it a collection of denominations. It is not even a collection of local churches; it is the body of all saved individuals, and it has no earthly organization. One does not have to investigate all of the churches in the world to find the Lord’s church. Any believer in Jesus Christ who follows the simple instructions of (Acts 2:38) will be saved and added to it (Acts 2:41, 47). He has no other decision to make or joining to do.
Membership in a local church is another matter. The Ethiopian who was converted on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26-40) was surely saved and added to the church. But he was not a member of any local church; he had left Jerusalem, and there was no local church in Ethiopia at that time as far as we know.
The examples in the book of Acts clearly indicate that the Lord intended for saved individuals in a community to have fellowship in a local church. Such a church (assembly) was invariably organized when several individuals in a community were saved. In this sense there were many churches—we read of seven in the province of Asia (Revelation 1-3). Local churches were identified as “churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16) and “churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16). They were, however, independent of each other, each exercising autonomy over its own affairs.
Are All Local Churches Right?If you should ask the leaders of most local churches, regardless of the name they wear, if theirs is a church of God or a church of Christ, they would say, “Yes.” But sadly enough, more questions must be asked before we affiliate with such a church. We must be careful not to compromise our membership in the “one body” by affiliating with a local group that would make substitutions for the ones of Ephesians 4. That passage not only states that there is one body; it also says “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). In view of this, it is important to ask the following questions: