How do we know if ours is a New Testament Church?

First, let’s make sure we avoid some common mistakes:

Legalistic standards:

A list of bare minimums is provided by some authority which then proclaims that no church can be a NT church lacking these.

Creating a new denomination:

“We’re not Baptists or Roman Catholics;  we’re the NT Churches”

It’s important to keep NT church terminology from becoming titles.

Pride about truth:

Real truth humbles.  Jesus (Who is the Truth) invites those who come to Him to learn of Him for He is humble of heart.

Cutting off those who differ:

Jesus calls us to follow Him.  As we do, friends may turn back from following but that is their decision, not ours.  We cut off no child of God, but try to have fellowship with them on points of agreement.


Some hold that since so-called NT churches have similar practices, this proves that they are really just another denomination.  But there is another (obvious) explanation.  Perhaps such churches have been reading the same book and being led by the same Spirit!  Would we really expect churches following a divinely supplied pattern to have nothing in common?

So, how can we honestly answer the question?

Look at the chart on the preceding page and understand the following crucial point:

NT church principles are characterized by two elements:

  • A visible, external obedience  [column 2] to
  • An invisible, spiritual revelation [column 1].

Either one by itself  is not sufficient.  Believing the truths in column 1 but not applying them, will never produce NT churches!  In fact it is to be questioned whether such believing is true faith at all (James 2:20).  But practicing the externals in column 2 with no heart or conviction about the truths they represent is just tradition pure and simple.

What if I don’t accept your definitions?