In what appears to be the closing hours of the present order of things in the light of Scripture, there is mounting concern about the Church’s role. The denominational “Babel,” or doctrinal confusion, is clearly at variance with the major scriptural references to the Church. This “church confusion” had its beginning with the Council of Nicea in A. D. 325 when The Church of God of apostolic times plunged into what history has called the “Dark Ages.”
During the subsequent 1,578 years, there were glimmering rays of light as the submerged TRUTH struggled to break forth—by the providence of God—into this world’s “gross darkness.” Then there came a divine revelation on June 13, 1903 in what is now known as Fields of the Wood. Though it found a welcome in hungry hearts who would give ear to it, and though thousands have accepted it, the enemy of TRUTH has waged an incessant warfare against it. This alone is the most convincing proof of its veracity.
The Bible declares that Christ came to “…gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (John 11:52); see also Ephesians 1:10. Jesus set His Church in order as that “one fold” (John 10:14-16) in which is embodied and will be manifested all of His fulness (Ephesians 1:22, 23). Therefore, it is imperative that the world know about The Church of God, “…the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
The Church has a several fold reason for existing in the world today. These important purposes are divinely originated and are found in the New Testament.
To keep and guard the faith
The faith of the gospel has been committed solely into the hands of the Church and thus the responsibility for keeping and guarding the faith rests upon the Church’s shoulders.
“…and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
See also Philippians 1:27-30 and 1 Timothy 1:3.
It is The Church of God’s duty to keep the faith pure and unadulterated and to defend it against all enemies. One phase of keeping and guarding the faith is the searching out and putting into operation God’s laws for the Church, the full restoration of the New Testament doctrine and governing principles.
To evangelize the world with the full gospel
In addition to guarding and upholding the faith it is the Church’s duty and obligation to spread the gospel. The world will not be evangelized completely, even if all are reached by denominational churches, until the whole gospel is preached to every creature. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). This gospel is committed only to the Church.
The “Great Commission” was given to The Church of God through the apostles. (Matthew 28:16-20) No other person, or group of people, ever received it. 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19 tells us that unto us (the Church) has been given the ministry of reconciliation. When Christ was on earth He said, “…I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12; 9:5), but before He returned to heaven He told the Church, “Ye are the light of the world...” (Matthew 5:14).
To gather God’s children into one body
Even though God has given us the obligation of helping to save the lost, our mission is still incomplete without preaching unto them the truth concerning Christ’s body here on earth. “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,” (Ephesians 3:9, 10). “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” (Ephesians 1:10).
To provide "machinery" for the perfection of the Saints
It is perfectly obvious that God’s children cannot be perfected if they are scattered about among various churches, being taught a variety of doctrines, and subject to different governments. Thus The Church of God is the place where God has planned to bring all His children together to be perfected. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:11-16). It is the Church’s job to get herself ready: “…and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).