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The Church of God and Sects Contrasted.
In this chapter I will briefly contrast the church of God and sects. Many of the points that I shall consider have already been touched, but I wish to present them here in such a manner as to draw a clear line of distinction and contrast between the true church of God and all sect institutions.
First. The church of God was built by Christ, whereas all sects have been founded by man. “And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matt. 16:18. Three things stand out prominent in this text. First, Christ is the builder, founder, and organizer of his church. “I will build” shows that the church of God is not man-made, but is of divine origin. It was prophesied by Daniel as a kingdom set up by the God of heaven. “It is the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Heb. 8:2. All sects have been organized by men. The church of God is divine; all sects are human. The former was built by Christ; the latter, by men. Christ built but one church. Since sects are separated into multiplied divisions, God is not their author; for he is not the author of confusion, but of peace. The church that Christ built he denominates “my church.” No sect, then, is his church, for sects were all built by man. Since they are not Christ's, they belong to men and the devil; for there is no neutral ground. The church that Christ built was to stand eternally. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” “It shall stand forever.” Dan. 2: 44. Since it was to stand forever, it is in existence today. The same church that Christ built nineteen centuries ago is still standing. In it alone we hold membership; to it alone we belong. Thank God, it will stand while the cycles of ages roll.
Another point of contrast. In A. D. 32 Jesus said, “I will build my church.” In A. D. 33 “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). This proves that the church of God was already built. Its complete organization dates from Pentecost. Since all sects have come into existence since A. D. 33, not one of them is the Bible church. Of sect-Babylon, the Catholic is the oldest, but its organization does not date back farther than the third or fourth century. The Lutheran is the oldest sect of Protestantism, but its creed was not formed until A. D. 1530. Since that date all the other sects of Protestantism have arisen. They can not be God's church, for it was centuries old before they came into existence. It is the true; they are false. It is the real; they are substitutes. It is the genuine; they are all counterfeits. We, as the saints of the Most High, discard all the latter and abide in the former. We cling to the church of God and reject all sects. Are we not orthodox in so doing? Who can deny it?
But some will say, “The churches (meaning sects] are necessary to the government, the organization, and the success of the people of God.” If this is true, how does it come that in the days of primitive Christianity and for centuries before these sects arose, the people of God got along so well without them? What improvement have modern sects made on the government, the organization, or the success of Christianity? Let the devotees of sect-Babylon answer. “But,” says one, “the church of God in the days of the apostles was a perfect organization.” So it was, and so it is today. We abide in that very church that in the days of the apostles had government and was perfectly organized; and, thank God, its government or its organization has never changed. Then why plead for worthless sects? There was no Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, Disciple, Mennonite, Dunkard, Shaker, Quaker, Free-Methodist, Amish, Episcopalian, Pentecost Band, Christian Catholic, Gospel Worker, Universalist, Mormon,
Mormon, Adventist, United Brethren, etc., in the days of primitive Christianity. All these sects have arisen since. Did not the cause of Christ prosper more in the earth before their existence than since?
Second. The church of God is the body of Christ; no sect composes this body; therefore no sect on earth is the church. “His body's sake, which is the church.” Col. 1:24. “He is the head of the body, the church.” Verse 18. “The church which is his body." Eph. 1:22, 23. These texts are conclusive; the church is Christ's body. This body is composed of all the saved. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular." 1 Cor. 12: 27. Since there are other bodies, and these are no part of the church; and since the church ex