By George Welsh Tyler
At Denver, Colorado on May 21, 1962, the 174th general assembly of the United Presbyterian Church approved a record mission budget of $30,354,672 for the next year. More than 2500 packed the city auditorium for the Sunday night city-wide service. Dr. D. T. Niles, a Methodist minister from Ceylon, in delivering the chief address said, “The separate church denominations cannot do what needs to be done in the world.” “The gates of hell can prevail against the Presbyterians, or the Methodists, or the Congregationalists, other denominations.” He also said, “The gates of hell cannot prevail against the church of Jesus Christ . . . .” “Don’t clutter up your lives with all these things. God will tell you what to do – go out and do it! These other things will only sap you energy.”
Sometimes by pure accident, slip of the tongue, more comes out in these church assemblies, councils and conferences than was intended. One thing is certain Dr. Niles gave these Presbyterians, the Methodists and other denominations represented there that night something to think about for a long time. That which he said cannot be controverted. If these separate denominations could do what needs to be done in the world, then Christ Jesus would have built them and set them over the task! But He did not build them! Instead, He built His own church and gave it the commission to evangelize the world!. This left out every other “church” the world was ever to hear about!
When Christ promised that the gates of hell (hades) would not prevail against His church, that promise did not include any other religious bodies or groups! He said, “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Instead, Christ prayed long and fervently for the unity of His disciples. He said, “Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me” (Jno. 17:20,21). A close study of this prayer reveals that God’s Son prayed fervently against every denomination in existence today or that may yet come. The reason Jesus gave for making that request is, “That the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The only valid reason that can be assigned for the open infidelity, atheism, and skepticism prevalant in the world is a divided Christendom. Jesus is the authority for this statement. I believe Him. Do you?
Christ built His church and gave to it the great task of evangelizing the whole world. Paul writing to Timothy called it, “The house of God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Through this church, Paul says, “Might be known the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10,11). Christ said, “Aft authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). This being true, no one had or has any authority to start another church! Therefore any other church than the one which was started by Christ would be a counterfeit institution and could not do what God ordained His divine institution to perform. The church of Christ is adequate for every need, and there is just is no place in God’s provisions for any other. Second, third, fourth and all others are spurious and cannot offer salvation from sin to any one. The denominations lead thousands right up to the gates of salvation but refuse to tell them what is necessary for them to do before the gates will be opened for their entrance into Christ and His church where salvation is obtained.
The efforts put into any denominational church is labor and energy spent for nought! When Jesus said, “Go work today in my vineyard” (Matt. 21:28, AV), He excluded all denominational organizations of every class and description -all were ruled out. David wrote, “Except Jehovah build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psa. 127:1). The reward of salvation is only offered in Christ. Paul wrote, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ before our God and Father; knowing, brethren beloved of God, your election, how that our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance” (1 Thess. 1:3-5).
We plead with you with all the power we can muster to leave the human institutions, the man-made “churches” and the traditions of men. Seek safety and a field of labor in Christ Jesus our Lord by very humbly accepting His gospel plan of salvation, and Christ will be made preeminent and God will be glorified.
Truth Magazine XIX: 51, pp. 805-806
November 6, 1975