Have you ever thought about all the different religious groups in existence today? So many of them, teaching so many different, even contradictory things, and yet all claiming to be God's church, to be pleasing to God. While our society today values a sincere emotional response as the criteria for what pleases God, this is not what Scripture tells us pleases the Father. Of course, sincerity and feelings are important, but only when they conform to the truth of Scripture.
That truth is God's criteria for what pleases Him and is clear when you examine Scripture, our only sure source of authority. Paul wrote, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!" (Galatians 1:8). There can't be a diversity of faiths, of different beliefs, that God has given us, as Jude encourages us to "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 1:3). John reminded his readers, "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son" (2 John 1:9).
Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). He didn't say He was one of many ways, that He offered one of a variety of truths, that there were other lives offered besides what He provided. We must be honest with what He reveals in His Word, the Bible, and consistent with what it teaches. Remember, Jesus told us "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). So, realizing this, what does the Bible teach about the church? Well, Christ affirmed it would be His church (singular) that He would establish; "upon this rock I will build My church" (Matthew 16:18). In New Testament times, there were no denominations, just the one church Christ died for. In writing to the congregation of the Lord's church in Ephesus, Paul reminded them that Christ was "head over all things to the church, which is His body" (Ephesians 1:22-23). He calls the church of Christ the body. Later in this same letter, he emphasizes there is one body (Ephesians 4:4). So, why are there so many different religions in the world today? Suffice it to say, their origins come from the mind of people, not the will of God. Christ revealed God's truth and by His death established one church. Is it possible to be added by the Lord to His church, as people were in the first century (Acts 2:47)? Can people be Christians only, members of the body of Christ, without being part of a human organization? The answer is yes. Scripture reveals to us what one must do to be saved, what life and worship in the Lord's church must be like, and the hope and encouragement that comes from being in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let's allow Scripture alone to be our guide in these and all matters spiritually. May you be blessed by the information that you read!