How can you know which church is the real one?
Question: With so many denominations around the world promoting so many different beliefs and practices, how do I know which one is right? What are the signs of the true Christian Church? All the differences are very confusing, and the idea that “everyone has a little bit of the truth” doesn’t seem right.
Answer: You are right to be concerned and your confusion is very understandable—thankfully, the answer is simpler than you might think. Currently, there are more than 45,000 differing sects and denominations making up the professing Christian world, and it would be impossible to evaluate the beliefs, teachings, and doctrines of each one. Rather, it is important to know exactly what to look for.
The Bible teaches that God is not the author of confusion, that there is indeed one true Church of God, and that it is an individual’s responsibility to prove to themselves where that Church is today (Ephesians 4:4–5; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Jesus Christ tells those seeking the true Church that there are many identifying signs of it.
Jesus said He would build up His Church and that it would be preaching the Gospel of His coming Kingdom (Matthew 16:18; 24:14). Christ also said that the true Church could be identified by the fruits of His followers (Matthew 7:20–23)—that is, those who followed His teachings. Jesus simply said that there would be many using His name, sincerely believing themselves to be doing His Work, but really practicing “lawlessness.” Such people and groups profess to be Christ’s followers, but are breaking God’s laws.
To know whether an organization is God’s true Church, look for these signs: Its ministry will teach baptism in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of sins; it will teach obedience to God’s laws (1 John 2:3–4; Isaiah 8:20); it will preach God’s seventh-day Sabbath and biblical Holy Days—and faithfully observe them (Exodus 20:8; 31:13); it will teach God’s plan of salvation and His purpose for creating mankind, believing in a future resurrection and the establishment of a real, physical, godly government on earth at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Daniel 7:27; Revelation 5:8–10; 11:15) rather than “preaching souls into heaven” or condemning them to an ever-burning hell at death; its name will contain the biblical name “Church of God” (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 10:32; 11:22; 15:9; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13).
If a church or “Christian” sect is lacking any of these identifying signs, it cannot be the true Church doing the Work of God!
Some churches and denominations do speak about the Kingdom of God, but claim that it is something that exists in the hearts of believers or up in heaven—a “spiritual” or “figurative” kingdom rather than a real one that will be set up on earth when Jesus Christ returns. Others teach observance of the weekly Sabbath, but not God’s annual Sabbaths (the Holy Days), which Christians are still commanded to observe today. By contrast, God’s true Church teaches His “whole counsel” (Acts 20:27), not merely some of it.
Here at Tomorrow’s World, we encourage people not to merely believe us, but to diligently study the Bible and believe what is written in it. We offer study guides and materials to help, with more answers based on the pure word of Scripture, but recognizing how far most of professing Christianity has departed from the basic doctrines we’ve described here is a strong beginning.
Be sure to take advantage of the Tomorrow’s World Bible Study Course for an in-depth look at the teachings of the true Church of God. Another helpful resource for proving these doctrines to yourself in greater depth is the study guide Where Is God’s True Church Today? You can find both resources online or order your free copies at TomorrowsWorld.org.