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 (Manna 71: What Does God Require of You?)
Unchanging Faith
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Based on a sermon by Aun-Quek Chin—Singapore

Changing Faiths, Changing Faith

In 2007, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey found that more than a quarter of American adults (28%) had left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion, or professed no religion at all. If the change in affiliation from one denomination to another was included, 44% of adults had either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.

Since its establishment by the Holy Spirit in 1917, believers in the True Jesus Church (TJC) all over the world have been united by “one body and one Spirit, … one hope of [our] calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (Eph 4:4–6). But in a world that prides itself on having change as the only constant, have we also – like the 44% of Americans - changed in our faith?

This is no empty threat. As in the days of the apostolic church, the TJC today faces renewed and relentless attempts to change her teachings. As individuals, these crises are a personal trial of faith for us. Do we truly believe? Why do we believe? Have we changed in our faith and faithfulness to the Lord’s word? Constant self-examination of our faith is critical (2 Cor 13:5). As the ultimate aim of our faith is salvation, we must know what we ought to do in order to be saved.

Half-Truths in the True Church?

Some may wonder how deviant teachings can possibly arise in the TJC, a church who has the truth and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In their disappointment, some even begin to doubt that the TJC is the true church. Yet we need neither be surprised nor disappointed, for the Holy Spirit has already revealed that such things will surely befall the true church. God allows this as a test for us. As Paul told Timothy, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”(1 Tim 4:1).

Paul did not just stop at warning Timothy but also added: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Tim 4:6). Today, every minister of the church, as a steward of God’s household, has the responsibility to remind the brethren not to heed deviant teachings and never to veer from the pure unadulterated word of God. Whether as part of our pulpit ministry or other areas of church work, we have the responsibility to protect the believers so that they are not deceived and can stand firm in the truth.

A Changing View of the One True Church Doctrine

In the TJC, believers are still strongly convinced that there is only one true God; we have no qualms proclaiming the one true Savior. However, when asked about their belief in the one true church that is saved, some hesitate. In fact, many have wavered in their belief and chosen to reject this article of faith. Why? There are two common reasons.

First, the doctrine of the one church that is saved is a concept that turns off many other Christians because it smacks of elitism and arrogance. Proclaiming this doctrine inevitably opens us to more quarrels with other churches. Some believers thus feel that, to co-exist harmoniously with the rest of Christendom and perhaps even grow in favor with them, the TJC ought not highlight her differences nor emphasize that we are the only church that is saved. They justify such reticence as diplomacy and “respect for another person’s beliefs.”

But reflect a little deeper. If refraining from the one-true-church claim were the right and wisest step to take, should we also stop preaching about the one true God and the one true Savior? Preaching these aspects has even more serious consequences. When we talk about the one true church that is saved, we merely offend other Christians. However, when we talk about the one true God and one true Savior, we risk offending every other religion in the world!

Although we could please non-believing friends and family by saying that “all religions are the same because they all teach you to be good, Christianity is just one of the many ways to God or the Ultimate Being,” we will never say that. We bravely proclaim that there is only one true God because we truly believe Jesus’ words that He is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). We strive hard to bring the people we love to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because we believe the Scriptures’ teaching that there is salvation in no-one else, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Similarly, we have made the decision to be baptized in the TJC, believing in all the “one-s” elaborated by Paul in Ephesians 4:4–6. Yet why are we afraid to say that there is a one true church that is saved?

This leads us to the second reason. We still firmly believe that “one true God” and “one true Savior” are part of the truth. But some of us are no longer totally convinced that the truth also includes the teaching that there is only one true church that is saved. We thus need to understand again why the true church concept is a biblical truth and not just a claim concocted by some ministers in the TJC.

The Fallacy of Love

When the TJC was first established in 1917 in China, the number of believers was small and many of the early workers came from poor financial backgrounds and were without much education. But they were unmovable in their belief that the True Jesus Church is the only church that is saved, and went forth to preach exactly that. Undoubtedly, they were met with skepticism, and the true church concept was criticized for its seemingly arrogant and cultic nature.

Almost a century later, we thank God that the TJC today is all around the world. No longer do other Christian churches reject her as a cult. Many have understood that we call ourselves the true church because we truly adhere to all that is commanded in the Bible. These other churches also acknowledge that there are some parts of the Bible that they have not truly obeyed, because they have different interpretations of those passages. But they cannot and do not deny that the teachings of the True Jesus Church are in accordance with the Bible. At worst, they merely describe the TJC as “fundamentalist” due to our strict adherence to the Scriptures or our relative conservatism.

Ironically, there are members and even ministers from within the TJC family who have stood up to challenge her claim to be the one true church that is saved. When believers who were already embarrassed to tell others that the TJC is the one true church hear of this, they are naturally attracted by such a message. These detractors even play the “love” card. They say that other churches are full of love. Their missionaries have taken the gospel to the poorest of poor countries. Some even emigrate to these countries with their spouse and children. Besides evangelism, these missionaries have also done a lot of charitable work. They have established orphanages, hospitals, and schools. And despite all their good works, the TJC says that they cannot be saved because the TJC is the only church that is saved. We have neither their love nor sacrifice, yet we mock them.

Hearing this, some may agree that it is embarrassing to continue to state we are the one true church. Is this right? Should we stop teaching a biblical truth because we have yet to match other churches’ standard of love and service to society? Should the TJC eliminate an article of faith because it disqualifies other churches whose social service and evangelistic efforts surpass ours?

We must return to the fundamental question—on what does salvation depend? If salvation could be earned through actions of love, Jesus would not have to be crucified and to die for us; and we would not need to talk about baptism, footwashing, Holy Communion, etc. As long as you have faith and love, you can be saved. It is your faith and love that saves you. This is the gospel of love advocated by some denominations.

While this gospel of love is appealing in its simplicity, can it truly effect the forgiveness of human sin and bring salvation to a person? When we read the Bible and study what Jesus says, we understand that man’s salvation does not depend on his actions, no matter how much love he has shown or how great a sacrifice he has undertaken. Instead, we are saved by believing that our sins are forgiven through water baptism in the name of Jesus. By and through Jesus’ love and His death on the cross for us, we receive the forgiveness of our sins, and thus salvation. By that reasoning, if a person has not and does not receive this forgiveness of sin, he or she will not be saved; no matter what great deeds of love he or she has achieved.

Why We Must Believe in the One True Church Doctrine

Understanding and believing the truth is thus very important, and belief in the one true church is an indispensable article of faith, which brooks no compromise. There are three reasons why.

Christ Only Established One Church

Firstly, there is only one church that is saved because Christ only established one church.

“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.” (Mt 16:18)

The Lord Jesus said, “I will build My church on this rock.” Jesus Himself established the church and personally built up this church. Importantly, He did not set up different churches. He only established one church to save both the Jews and the Gentiles.

“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (Jn 10:16)

It is the will of God for everyone to be saved, not just the Jews. However, there is a process for the attainment of God’s will. First, the gospel was preached to the Jews. Hence, in the time of Jesus, the sheep of the Lord referred to the Jews. When Jesus first sent out His workers, they were sent to the Jews to preach the gospel. After the Jews, the gospel was to be taken to the Gentiles so that the sheep of the Lord amongst them would return to Jesus’ fold (cf. Rom 15:15–19). These are also the “other sheep” that the Lord wants to bring into His fold.

Jews and Gentiles are to be one flock, belonging to one shepherd. Sheep of other flocks will have to be rescued and integrated into this one flock that belongs to Jesus. It stands to reason that there should only be one church that is saved, a church comprising not only the Jews but also the Gentiles. This is the church built by the Lord Jesus—the one church that is saved.

Christ Gives the Keys to Heaven to Only One Church

Secondly, the church that is saved is only one because the Lord Jesus has given the keys of heaven only to this church.

“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:19)

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said that He would build His church. There would only be one church through which both Jews and Gentiles will be saved. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus went on to say that He would give this church the keys of the kingdom of heaven. These keys confer the authority to open up heaven. Whoever holds these keys to heaven will have the authority to lead people into heaven. Such authority was not given to Peter alone. Rather, Peter accepted this authority on behalf of the church. Since the Lord Jesus has entrusted the church with the keys of heaven, she has the authority to mete out judgment and salvation.

Some claim that judgment and salvation is the sole prerogative of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, they teach that we only need to believe in Jesus and not the church, because Jesus has the sole authority to forgive or condemn us of sin. This is in direct contradiction to Jesus’ unequivocal statement: He has given this authority, these keys of heaven, to the church.

In particular, this authority refers to the true gospel that allows man to be saved so that they can enter into heaven. The Lord Jesus established the church so that the gospel of salvation could be preached to all man through the church. The church conducts the baptism that washes away sins, the footwashing sacrament that allows believers to have a part with the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Communion so that those who partake of it can share in the life of Jesus; the church also teaches the believers to pray to the Lord for the promised Holy Spirit. All these are Jesus’ instructions and are directly related to salvation. Rejecting the church’s role in conducting these is akin to rejecting the truth. The following examples illustrate:

Challenge 1: The TJC maintains that a person who does not receive baptism conducted by the church will not have his or her sins forgiven, and thus cannot be saved. Some challenge this by saying that their faith is established on Jesus alone, and that should be sufficient. Since different denominations have varying interpretations of the Scriptures, baptism in Christendom is conducted in many different ways. Hence, belief in Jesus is all that is needed for salvation. The church has no authority.

Clarification: It is crucial to recognize that the baptism sacrament conducted in the TJC was not invented by her ministers. Jesus Himself was baptized as an example for us. Moreover, Jesus instructed the church to carry out baptism, saying, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” (Mk 16:16a; Mt 28:19–20).

All these are instructions from the Lord Jesus that allow us to be saved. If we believe, our sins are removed and we are saved. If we do not believe in the baptism that saves, our sins continue to be pinned on us and we are bound to them. The church’s possession of authority does not arise because the church elders or preachers have such authority. Instead, the church’s authority is established on the truth and on the Lord Jesus.

Challenge 2: The TJC maintains that footwashing is a prerequisite for a person to have a part with Jesus. Otherwise, the person cannot be saved. Some challenge this by claiming that the TJC invented the importance of the footwashing sacrament. They describe footwashing as superfluous to salvation.

Clarification: If footwashing were merely a TJC invention, we would have to explain why Peter reacted so frantically when he heard Jesus say, “If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with me.” Peter had initially rejected his Teacher’s attempt to wash his feet, but now he accepted it. What was the reason for this dramatic turnaround? Peter realized that this was no ordinary footwashing custom. Instead, this was an important truth concerning salvation, and so Peter accepted the footwashing conducted by the Lord.


More generally, the TJC’s five basic doctrines—baptism, footwashing, Holy Communion, Holy Spirit, and Sabbath—are all instructions given by the Lord Jesus for salvation. Even our nearest and dearest cannot be saved if they adamantly refuse to believe in these doctrines. Our faith cannot save them.

It bears repeating that no individual has the authority to decide who can be saved or not saved. It is the church who has been entrusted with the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Hence, the church must carry out Jesus’ instructions to preach the gospel of salvation. A church that does not carry out the Lord’s instructions, e.g., they do not conduct baptism or they do not carry out footwashing, cannot be saved. It is not the TJC who has judged them. Instead, such a verdict is based on what the Lord Jesus has entrusted to the church and on His teachings.

Only One Holy Spirit Promised and Given to the Church

Finally, there is only one true church that is saved because there is only one Holy Spirit who has been promised and given to the church.

“Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:3)

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)

On the day of Pentecost, the promised Holy Spirit descended. When the believers received the promised Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, everyone was astonished. Peter then explained to the people that what they had seen and heard was the promised Holy Spirit of the Lord Jesus. Furthermore, he testified that Jesus is the Messiah, the Savior, and that the gospel that the disciples believed in is true and leads to salvation. The Jews were moved, because they had personally seen the promised Holy Spirit descending upon the disciples. So on that day, three thousand people were baptized into the one true church. This is the church that the Lord Jesus has established. This is the church that is saved.

Today, the gospel that the TJC preaches is the same as the gospel that the apostles preached. The Holy Spirit that we receive, evidenced by the speaking in tongues, is exactly the same Spirit that the apostles received. Hence, we believe that the true church today is the same as the church of the apostolic times; she is the one true church that is saved.

How can Christians in search of the truth that saves recognize the true church? Acts of the Apostles provides a model that allows us to see that the apostles preached the instructions of our Lord Jesus. They preached the truth that saves.


The Holy Spirit has already revealed that in the last days there will be deviant teachings and straying away from the truth. Indeed, we have seen for ourselves that some have deviated from the truth. Paul exhorted Timothy: “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen” (1 Tim 6:20–21). Today, all of us have this responsibility. We must hold fast to the pure word of God that saves. We must never allow this word to be changed or contradicted.

A modern ploy is to appeal to relationships, feelings, and “love.” Love is an important tenet in Christianity, but only the gospel, the word of Jesus Christ, can save us. Without the truth, all talk of love is meaningless. Therefore, we must hold firm what we believe in so that our faith is an unchanging faith.

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Author: Aun-Quek Chin