If There Is One Bible, Why Are There So Many Churches?

Glen Tattersall

If there is one Bible, why are there so many churches? It’s a legitimate question to ask. After all, the various churches claim to follow God and they all say they believe in the Bible. Yet they are divided by different names, teachings and practices. How did this confusing state of affairs come about?

In the New Testament book of Matthew, in response to Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus responded by saying: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:18). Notice that Jesus said He was going to build His church (singular), not churches (plural). Incidentally the rock upon which the church would be built was Peter’s confession, not Peter himself.

In praying to His Father Jesus also prayed for unity amongst His followers: “. . .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.” (John 17:21). Other passages in the New Testament also teach that the followers of Christ are not to be divided.

So what happened? As time went by men were not content to simply follow the Bible’s teaching. They began to add in or take away from what God had said. Gradually the “church” began to look less and less like the church Jesus established. It became a man-made denomination. Men of great courage tried to reform this church but unfortunately, because they too, were unwilling to carefully follow the Bible, their efforts resulted in a whole host of denominations, all of which the Bible does not mention.

Jesus Himself warned: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matt 7:21) and again speaking of religious people and groups: “. . .Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.” (Matt 15:13). From these verses we learn that we can sincerely believe in Jesus and yet still be lost in sin if we are members of man-made churches.

However if we just follow the Bible in context, and seek to simply be Christians according to the teachings of the New Testament, then we cannot go wrong. We become members of that pre-denominational church Jesus built.

At the Balfour Street church of Christ, this is the approach we encourage amongst all. Not to be yet another denomination, but to be members of the Lord’s church.

We want to help you to understand this simple and clear approach to Christianity and the church of the Bible. If you live in Tasmania, we offer a range of free, non-denominational Bible Studies including personal home studies and correspondence courses. We also invite you to attend any of our meetings. For more information please contact us at the address on the right. If you live outside of Tasmania, we invite you to explore our web site. If you are living outside of Tasmania then please explore out our web site where you will find a variety of articles and links that we hope will help you get to know about the Bible and Jesus Christ.


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