Probably no charge creates more prejudice against a group of people than the charge that they think there is only one church that is right. This fact clearly indicates that most Americans consider all churches right. Is it possible that only one church is right?
At least three other questions must be answered before this one can be answered intelligently.
These verses do not allow for our modern broad-mindedness. Such broad-mindedness, however, is not really new; it existed in the first century among the Ephesians to whom this was written. Paul became the focus of a riot because he insisted “that there are no gods made with hands” (Acts 19:26). To put it another way, he preached there was “one and only one” God. The Ephesians were tolerant of many gods, but intolerant of anyone who said there was only one. Most of us would agree that there is one and only one God. But the same verses say, “there is one body.” What is this one body? The same writer says in Ephesians 1:22-23 that God has given Christ “to be head of all things to the church which is His body.” So if there is one body and that body is the church, this is saying there is one church. If one God means only one God, then one body means one body or only one church.
What is the one church? Without doubt, the one body (church) referred to in Ephesians 4:4-6, was the church than Jesus promised to build (Matthew 16:18). It was to be founded on the fact that He was the Christ, the Son of God. That church began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), when Jesus was first publicly proclaimed to be the Christ, based upon the facts of His resurrection from the dead. Those who believed asked, “‘What shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’. . . Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them...And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:37-38, 41, 47).
Please note that all who were saved were added to the church. It includes all who were saved, for the Lord added all who were saved to it. But if it included all who were saved it was not a denomination, for a denomination by definition is only one part of a whole. Neither was it a combination of all denominations, nor even an association of local churches known as “churches of Christ.” The one body was made up of individual members, not of local churches. It was the one true church to which all who were saved were added. It was that one body described in Ephesians.
How can this church be identified? Jesus said that the gates of Hades would not prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18). It must be in existence today. If it is, it has Jesus Christ as its only Lord and the gospel as its only faith. It is entered by the one baptism, it still includes all who are saved, and it is not one of many. It is the body of Christ (Colossians 1:18), Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18), the church of God (Galatians 1:13), the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15). It is the one and only church that is right.