There is a story occasionally repeated on websites about 5 friends who were searching for the true church of Christ. Together they compiled a list of 17 points that this church would embody based on the Bible. After going their separate ways in life, they caught up years down the road and found that each one of them had independently found the church that they had been looking for: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Now whether this is truth or fiction, or some blend of the two, is irrelevant. If true, it is indeed a remarkable story of faith and dedication on the part of these individuals. Even if it’s fiction, it provides a nice backdrop for the list below, while not affecting the veracity of the points outlined.
17 Points of the True Church of Christ
- Christ organized the Church (Eph 4:11-14)
- The true church must bear the name of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:23)
- The true church must have a foundation of Apostles and Prophets (Eph 2:19-20)
- The true church must have the same organization as Christ’s Church (Eph 4:11-14)
- The true church must claim divine authority (Heb 4:4-10)
- The true church must have no paid ministry (Acts 20:33-34; John 10:11-13)
- The true church must baptize by immersion (Matt 3:13-16)
- The true church must bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-17)
- The true church must practice divine healing (Mark 3:14-15)
- The true church must teach that God and Jesus are separate and distinct individuals (John 17:11; 20:17)
- The true church must teach that God and Jesus have bodies of flesh and bone (Luke 23:36-39; Acts 1:9-11; Heb 1:1-3)
- The officers must be called by God (Heb 4:4; Ex 28:1; 40:13-16)
- The true church must claim revelation from God (Amos 3:7)
- The true church must be a missionary church (Matt 28:19-20)
- The true church must be a restored church (Acts 3:19-20)
- The true church must practice baptism for the dead (1Cor 15:16&29)
- “By their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt 7:20)
These are important points and Biblical verses to consider. While this list is certainly not exhaustive of every characteristic that the Church of Christ will have, it does provide an excellent starting point. In addition, there are numerous churches which meet one, five, or even ten of these criteria, but I have found none that fulfill all 17 except for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.
Don’t take my word for it. Take the list above and use it as a starting point to begin your study of the characteristics of the true church of Christ. Once you have studied and pondered about it, I would then invite you to pray and ask God whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the true church. He will answer.