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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 14: The Church
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Q1 What is the church?

The church is a community of people who have been called by God (Acts 2:47) and purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28). Ephesians 4:4–6 mentions seven “ones” that characterize God’s church:

“One body” (v. 4). The members are “joined and knit together” (cf. Eph 4:16).

“One Spirit” (v. 4). The members have been baptized by one Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12:13).

“One hope” (v. 4). The members trust in the living God (cf. 1 Tim 4:10).

“One Lord” (v. 5). The members believe in one Lord—Jesus Christ—through whom they are justified (cf. Isa 45:25; Acts 13:39).

“One faith” (v. 5). The members share a common faith that is based on the teachings of the apostles, prophets and Jesus (cf. Eph 2:20).

“One baptism” (v. 5). The members have been baptized into Christ and have put on Christ (cf. Gal 3:27–28).

“One God and Father of all” (v. 6). The believers are sons of God on account of their faith in Jesus (cf. Gal 3:26).

Q2 When was it established?

The church was established on the day of Pentecost, when God  poured out His Holy Spirit (Acts 2). This anointing gave the apostles the power to preach the gospel and the authority to baptize believers in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38–41). 

Q3 Who founded the church?

Jesus said, “On this rock I will build My church,  and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). These words indicate clearly that He is the founder of the church. Moreover, apostle Paul describes the members of the church as being created in Jesus: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10). For this reason, the True Jesus Church does not recognize any human founders—only faithful workers who helped God to accomplish His will: the apostles in the time of the early church, and key workers in the formative years of the True Jesus Church.

Q4 Who does the church belong to?

The Bible speaks of the church as belonging to Jesus Christ (Mt 16:18) and to God (1 Cor 10:32; 1 Tim 3:15). It says that the heavenly Father “put all things under [Jesus’] feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,  which is His body,  the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph 1:22–23;  cf. Col 1:18). Jesus purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28), and through Him all the members have been united as one (1 Cor 12:12–13, 27). Apart from Jesus, no one else can claim ownership of the church. 

Q5 Did Jesus delegate authority for governing the church to anyone?

No, He did not. Jesus alone governs the church (Heb 3:6). He does this through His Spirit who guides, directs and coordinates her work and the workers (e.g. Acts 10:19; 13:2; 16:6–7). The church must therefore submit to the Spirit’s leadership.  

God’s church is based on the principles of love and unity: “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph 4:16). For this reason, there is no place for hierarchy or politics.

Within the church, there are different workers who have either been ordained or elected by the congregation, to plan, implement and oversee the work of God.  Importantly,  the nature of their leadership is spiritual: it is based on love, service and personal example. Jesus teaches us, saying, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant” (Mk 10:42–43; cf. 2 Cor 1:24; 1 Pet 5:2–3).    

Q6 How was the church organized in the time of the apostles?

The early church started in Jerusalem with a core group of apostles and elders using it as their base from which to coordinate church affairs and to discuss issues. Their role was to ensure that all the believers upheld a common faith—one that was based on the truth (see Acts 15:6–31; 16:4–5). Soon, the gospel spread far and wide—going beyond Jerusalem, to Judea, Samaria and abroad. Many local churches were established, but all shared the same faith, were joined together as one body, and heeded the guidance of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.  

Q7 Who makes up the church?

The church is made up of believers. Some are elected to particular offices by the congregation, including church board and committee members. Others—specifically, deacons, deaconesses, elders and preachers—are ordained by the church (1 Tim 3:1–13; Tit 1:5–9).

Q8 How does the Bible refer to the church of God?

The Bible uses a range of terms, metaphors and symbols to describe the church:

• Spiritual house built with living stones (1 Pet 2:4–5) 

• Temple of God, in which the Spirit dwells (1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:19–22)

• One flock with one shepherd (Jn 10:16) 

• Good seeds (Mt 13:38)

• God’s field (1 Cor 3:9)

• True vine and branches (Jn 15:1–4; Jer 2:21)

• Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27; Eph 1:22–23)

• Bride of Jesus (2 Cor 11:2; Rev 21:9)

• Ark that saves (Heb 11:7; 1 Pet 3:20)

• Chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s own special people (1 Pet 2:9; cf. Rev 1:6)

• Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, (Heb 12:22; cf. Rev 21:10; Isa 2:2–3)

Q9 Has the church remained the same since apostolic times?

The apostolic church was the one true church. However, as prophesied by Jesus, false prophets and false christs emerged to spread heretical teachings and to bring about her decline (Mt 7:15–16; 24:24–26). Indeed, after the apostles died, the church started altering the truth and introducing many changes, including the iconic veneration of Jesus, Mary and the saints; Sunday worship in place of the Sabbath; sprinkling as a mode of baptism; the sale of indulgences;[1][2] and the establishment of Christmas as a religious festival. 

In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther attempted to redress the Roman Catholic Church’s deviation from the truth by spearheading a major religious reformation. However, despite his best efforts, it failed to reinstate the complete truth and to restore the apostolic church. Today, we are left with the legacy: many Christians remain unaware of the biblical truth of salvation, and Christianity itself has become increasingly fragmented.

Q10 What are God’s requirements for the true church in the end time?

God’s requirements for the true church in the end time are the same as those for the apostolic church. She should:

• be “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph 2:20). It entails that she uphold all of the Lord’s commandments (Jn 14:21, 23–24; 2 Jn 9) and the apostles’ teachings (Acts 2:42).

• acknowledge Jesus Christ as her head (Eph 1:22; Col 1:18).

• preach the gospel of Jesus (1 Cor 15:1–2; Gal 1:6–9).

• perform water baptism for spiritual rebirth, the forgiveness of sins and salvation (Jn 3:5; Acts 2:38; Tit 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21).

• enable believers to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Zech 14:17; Acts 8:17; 10:44; 19:6).

• have the testimony of signs and miracles (Mk 16:17–18; Heb 2:3–4).

• be full of charismatic gifts (1 Cor 12:4–11). 

• be holy and set apart from the world (Jn 17:16–19; Rom 12:2; 2 Cor 6:17–18).

• manifest righteous deeds, being “arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright”, as is fitting for the bride of the Lamb (Rev 19:8).

• be the salt and the light of the world, giving glory to God and edifying others (Mt 5:13–16).

Q11 Why the name “True Jesus Church”?

In many cultures, a name expresses a person’s character or what something stands for. The same principle applies to the “True Jesus Church” which expresses the nature of God and His salvation.

Firstly, the word “True” testifies to the nature of God:

• “But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King…” (Jer 10:10; cf. Isa 65:16).

• “He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true” (Jn 3:33).

• “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know” (Jn 7:28).

• “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Jn 17:3).

• “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life” (1 Jn 5:20).

Likewise, the nature of Jesus, the Son of God, is true:

• “I am the true vine…” (Jn 15:1). 

• “I am the way, the truth, and the life...” (Jn 14:6).

• “...My witness is true…” (Jn 8:14).

• He is “the true bread from heaven” (Jn 6:32).

• Jesus is the “Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev 3:14).

• “...He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens’ ” (Rev 3:7).

Secondly, the name “Jesus” in “True Jesus Church” signifies that God accomplished His salvation plan through Jesus Christ: Jesus came to do God’s will (Heb 10:7); He was God manifested in the flesh (Jn 1:18; 1 Tim 3:16); He was “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Heb 1:3); He emptied Himself for our sake, becoming a servant (Phil 2:6–7) and obeying to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2:8). Because of His sacrifice, we have been reconciled to God (Rom 5:10–11; Col 1:21–22) and called by Him (Rom 8:28–30). Therefore, the Bible says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5; cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

Today, the True Jesus Church upholds the name of the Lord because:

• He shed His blood to purchase people for God “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev 5:9).

the church is the bride of the Lamb (Rev 19:7; 21:9–10). 

there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12). 

the church belongs to Jesus, as He refers to her as “My church” (Mt 16:18).

Importantly, “Jesus” is the name of God (Jn 17:6, 11–12)—the name that was wonderfully revealed to mankind in the New Testament era (Mt 1:21). The Bible says:

• God took from the Gentiles a people for His name (Acts 15:14).

• God promised: “…In every place where I record My name I will come to you, and I will bless you” (Ex 20:24).

• God indicated that His habitation would bear His name. His chosen people would go there to worship Him and make offerings (Deut 12:5, 11). 

the “church of God” (1 Cor 1:2) should rightly bear His name.

Thirdly, the word “Church” in “True Jesus Church” signifies that God is accomplishing His salvation through her. The original Greek word for “church” is ekklesia,[3] which is derived from ek, meaning “out of”,  and klesis, meaning “a calling”. In other words, it refers to a group of people who have been called out by God. Jesus says, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (Jn 15:19). 

Q12 When was the True Jesus Church established?

The True Jesus was established in China in 1917. She comprises saints past and present: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb 12:22–23). While the apostolic church was established 2,000 years ago on the day of Pentecost by the Holy Spirit of the early rain, the True Jesus Church was established in 1917 by the Holy Spirit of the latter rain (Hos 6:3). She is the revived apostolic church.

The True Jesus Church is the true church of the end time, as prophesied in the Bible (Song 6:9). Ezekiel spoke of her emergence from the east: “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory…And the glory of the Lord came into the temple by way of the gate which faces toward the east” (Ezek 43:2, 4). Similarly, Jesus prophesied, “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Mt 24:27).

Q13 Is it possible for the True Jesus Church to diminish or disappear?

“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11); “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity’ ” (2 Tim 2:19); “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8).

God’s workers have a duty to build upon the foundation of the church, in accordance with God’s instructions (Ezek 43:11–12; Heb 8:5). They must build with gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor 3:12). They must never use unworthy materials such as human glory, power, worldly values, strife and false teachings, for such work will not endure (1 Cor 3:15). Moreover, anyone who builds in this way will be removed when God purges the threshing floor to sanctify His church (Mt 3:12).

Finally, the workers must only preach Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:5), sanctify the Lord in their hearts (1 Pet 3:15) and endeavour to present everyone perfect in Christ (Col 1:28). In this way, the church will have an enduring presence.

Q14 Why should believers gather together?

As the church is a community upholding a common faith, the members should heed the exhortation in the Book of Hebrews: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:25).

The purpose of assembling is to worship (Acts 4:31; 1 Cor 14:25); praise God (Heb 2:12); share His word and give mutual encouragement (Acts 20:7–8; 1 Cor 14:26); partake of the Holy Communion (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor 10:16–17); observe the Sabbath (Acts 13:14; 16:13); and have fellowship (Acts 2:42).

Q15 What work has God entrusted to the church?

God has entrusted different types of work to the church:

• Evangelism (Mt 28:19–20; Acts 1:8)

• Pastoral care (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 5:2)

• Decision-making (Acts 15:6–29)

• Choosing and sending out workers (Acts 6:3–6; 8:14; 11:22)

• Hospitality (Acts 15:4; 3 Jn 5–8)

• Intercession (Acts 12:5)

• Giving aid (Phil 4:15–18; 1 Tim 5:16)

• Arbitration (1 Cor 6:1–3)

The greatest ministry is undoubtedly evangelism, as it entails the saving of souls (Mk 16:16), and through this work, God is greatly glorified.

Q16 What are the duties of the believers?

The believers in the church have a duty to:

• obey the commandments of God (Mt 19:17).

• listen to the church (Acts 16:4–5).

• show care and concern for the church (2 Cor 8:24; 11:28; Col 1:24).

• help strengthen the church (Acts 15:41).

• take care of the flock (Acts 20:28; 1 Tim 3:5; 5:17; 1 Pet 5:2).

• use their gifts to edify the church (1 Cor 14:12).

• give aid to those in need (1 Cor 16:1–2).

• avoid burdening the church (1 Tim 5:16).


© 2012 True Jesus Church.

[1]      An “indulgence” was a full or partial remission of the punishment for sin.

[2]      “Indulgence”, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2009.
http://www. britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/286800/indulgence.

[3]      Strong’s reference no. G1577.

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