What is the “True” church? #3

What is the definition of a true church? Here we will continue our discussion of what a legitimate church. Are we supposed to “start” a church in order for a church to “true” or does church simply happen? In other words we pose the question of whether a local church is purely an intentional endeavor. With the obscurities concerning the “how to” of a local church in the New Testament, many have dogmatized a certain way to do church failing to recognize that it is the principles that ultimately matter, not so much the particular way which we implement those principles.


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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    3 replies to "Theology Unplugged: What is the “True” Church #3"

    • Vance

      OK, let me try to predict Michael’s answer to the question of whether the Catholic Church is a legitimate “Church”. He will say that, to the extent that any local Catholic body of believers is doing those things which constitute an “Acts 2 Church” (with Rhome’s communion and baptism thrown in), they are, indeed, a legitimate Church. This would be in spite of, rather than because of, the larger superstructure of the Catholic hierarchy and various dogmas and doctrines that have been passed down.

      However, here is a question to add into the mix, and one that has been covered to some extent: how far of can the doctrines and teachings be to remove them from the “Apostolic Succession of teaching” and still be a legitimate Church? I remember the programs on Catholicism, in which there WERE some “deal breakers” which seemed to create some serious, possibly fatal, issues.

    • C Michael Patton

      Vance! Quit trying to steal my thunder. You are always doing that 🙂

      We deal with many of these issue in the next three sessions. It will be fun to get your thoughts.

    • J. Robert Ewbank

      This may be helpful.
      J. Robert (Bob) Ewbank’s book “John Wesley, Natural Man, and the ‘Isms’ has been published. The ‘Isms’ are Heathenism, Judaism, Deism, Roman Catholicism, Quakerism, and Mysticism. The questions being answered are: how does each of them differ from John Wesley’s idea of True Christianity, and what are the prospects for those holding these views being saved.

      Written for the layperson as well as the scholar, there is a Study Guide in the back of the book to help individual or group study. The Guide has questions in the front, which are answered later in the Guide.

      Bob has a B.A. from Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas and an M.A. from Garrett-Evangelical. He is currently Lay Leader of St. Mark UMC, in Mobile, AL.

      Bishop Rueben P. Job of the United Methodist Church has written some kind words on the back cover.
      Sam Royappa District Superintendent of the Coulee District in Wisconsin has recommended this book to his clergy and laity.

      To find the book go on the internet to:

      1. http://www.wipfandstock.com (Wipf and Stock) For your information, the book is $23.00 at bookstores, but at the web site it is only $18.40
      2. The book is now available at Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, Cokesbury, WJE at Yale (The Jonathan Edwards Center), Kalahari.net, Paddyfield.com,www.deepershopping.com, Booktopia, abdbooksellers.com; Christianbooksbibles.com, and Amazon.com among others.

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