TWO THINGS of the church of Jesus Christ critics often make mockery of are “one-man churches” and “mushrooming of new churches.”
They often speak against the formation of more churches and call it mushrooming of churches. Now, what do these critics mean when they talk about new and one-man churches? Do they really understand what a new church is?
Certainly, if there are new churches then there must be old churches. Well, what are the old churches in the world today? Do they mean to say that there are new and old Christian churches in terms of their object of faith and purpose? If that is what they mean then they are ignorant and uneducated about the church of Jesus Christ. Perhaps, they should talk about new names of ministries, denominations or religious organizations.
Moreover, there may be old and new Christian denominational traditions, practices or dogmas. But all Christian churches in the world today are modern; some are mature, whereas others are young churches. There are no old or new Christian churches in the world today in terms of their object of faith and purpose unless the meaning of the word “church” is not properly understood.
In the Bible, the word “church” does not mean physical buildings, religious systems, names of denominations, ministries or religious organizations which some people proudly identify themselves with. Biblically and scripturally, the word “church” means “the elect of God”, “the assembly of called out ones”, “governmental assembly of God”, “congregation of God” or “the community of believers”, with Christ Jesus as their King.
You can see that Christian churches refer to believers who are people. This means an old church refers to old believers, most of whom are dead and gone. And a new church refers to present or current congregation or assembly of believers. Thus Christian churches we see around and hear of in the world today are all modern or present-day churches.
However, there may be new Christian churches in terms of believers who have experienced new births in Christ Jesus. The apostle Peter makes us to understand that people who hear the gospel of salvation, believe in Jesus Christ and receive regeneration or spiritual renewal in Him are newborns (1 Peter 2:2). In other words, they may be described as new church, belonging to the glorious Kingdom of God.
Jesus Christ, the Author and the Finisher of the Christian faith, is not building new churches with new object of faith, doctrines and ordinances. He is always building on the foundation of the one big universal assembly of believers He began building through His 12 apostles over 2000 years ago. The Christian churches in the world today are being built on that foundation, thereby creating more churches.
However, we know that there are false ministers, agents of the devil who are sent into the world to counterfeit the work of true ministers. These false ministers are also used to build false churches just to dent the image of the churches of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ Himself predicted their coming into the world. And avid readers of the Bible are not ignorant about these things.
Obviously, the works of these false ministers somehow give credence to what critics call mushrooming or proliferation of new churches in many parts of the world. But these are not new churches of Christ; they are actually false churches of the devil established by his false ministers to ridicule the image of the church of God.
Another thing the uninformed critics must understand is that as the population of people within a given geographical area i.e. country increases, the number of churches in it are likely to increase if vigorous preaching and evangelization is carried out and sustained. This is not different from how the number of pubs, lotto kiosks, stores, drinking spots and others also increase greatly in some countries.
Now, from the discussions so far, you can see that it is scripturally incorrect for any person to use the term “a one-man” or “one-woman church” to mock or ridicule a pastor. Anyone who uses the term “one-man church” is ignorant scripturally; in fact, there is no such term as “one-man church.” A one-man church is a church made up of only one believer. And such a church is rare in the world.
Now, if critics use the term “one-man churches” to refer to churches which are led, shepherded or supervised by one man, who solely makes decisions for the church he shepherds, then their opinions are absurd. First, the founder of the church, Jesus Christ, who is the object of faith, is one. Christ said, “I will build my church…” He never said, “We will build our churches…”
Besides, every Christian denomination you know about: Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, Anglican, Assemblies of God, The Church of Pentecost and others were all started and led by one servant-leader of God. That was the situation until they grew numerically and opened several branches with several overseers, thereby necessitating the formation of governing councils or presbytery or executive board to steer their affairs and ensure needed administrative practices.
By James Quansah