There has been floating around for some time a list of "Seventeen Points of the True Church" that supposedly was compiled by a group of people studying the Bible as students (or servicemen, or whatever), based on the church Jesus established as described in the New Testament. According to the story (of which there are conflicting versions), when these people broke up and went on about their lives (after college, after the war, whatever), each of them searched diligently among the various religions for the "true church" according to the list of points. Many years later, they all discovered that each of them had independently found... Guess! Yes, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! Oh, isn't that a heart-warming testimonial?

Here is the list.

17 Points of the True Church of Christ

  1. Christ organized the Church (Eph 4:11-14)
  2. The true church must bear the name of Jesus Christ (Eph 5:23)
  3. The true church must have a foundation of Apostles and Prophets (Eph 2:19-20)
  4. The true church must have the same organization as Christ's Church (Eph 4:11-14)
  5. The true church must claim divine authority (Heb 5:4-10)
  6. The true church must have no paid ministry (1 Cor 9:16-18; Acts 20:33-34; John 10:11-13)
  7. The true church must baptise by immersion (Matt 3:13-16)
  8. The true church must bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-17)
  9. The true church must practice divine healing (Mark 3:14-15)
  10. The true church must teach that God and Jesus are seperate and distinct individuals (John 17:11; 20:17)
  11. 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)
  12. The officers must be called by God (Heb 4:4; Ex 28:1; 40:13-16)
  13. The true church must claim revelation from God (Amos 3:7)
  14. The true church must be a missionary church (Matt 28:19-20)
  15. The true church must be a restored church (Acts 3:19-20)
  16. The true church must practice baptism for the dead (1Cor 15:16&29)
  17. "By their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt 7:20)
Quite by coincidence, I recently received the following from an old high school pal of mine:

Dear Richard,

I know you are interested in questions having to do with religion. You might find the following of some interest.

During my college days a group of us fellows used to get together to discuss religion. We all belonged, more or less, to different churches, but none of us was very devout or spiritual, and we realized that our lack of enthusiasm for the churches of our birth was because we weren't certain that we were in the "true church" of our Lord. But we felt we needed something in our lives, and so we met regularly with our New Testaments and studied carefully, making notes of what points we might look for, to find the True Church. After about a year of meeting, studying, and praying together, we had our list of twenty points. If we found a church with all twenty, we would know we had found the True Church, and we promised to inform all the other members of the study group.

We parted, and our lives took us each in a different direction. But each of us carried the list, and each continued his solitary search. Here is our list. After you have studied it, I will tell you the amazing result of our searches.


Teachings of the True Church:

1. There will be no physical, visible coming of the Kingdom of God (John 18:36, Luke 17:21).
2. The celebration of the Lord's supper includes bread, wine (Matt 26:26-29) and the washing of each others' feet (John 13:4-15).
3. Marriage and divorce are frowned upon (1 Cor 7, Matt 19:9, Mark 10:2-12).
4. The Jewish Temple ritual will be observed (Acts 2:46).
5. The Church takes priority over family (Luke 14:26, 12:51-53, Matt 10:21).
6. Women must cover the head while praying (1 Cor 11:5-10).
7. Eunuchs will have special respect in the Church (Matt 19:12).
8. Only two commandments: Love God and love thy neighbor (Matt 22:36-40).

Members of the True Church can be recognized by the following:

9. They hold all things in common ownership (Acts 2:44-45).
10. They do not sin (1 John 3:6-9).
11. They can drink poison without harm (Mark 16:18).
12. They do not strike back if you strike them (Matt 5:39).
13. If you ask to borrow anything from them, you do not have to return it (Luke 6:30).
14. They never have to hire movers or earthmoving equipment, or use UPS; they can literally move anything by the power of God (Matt 17:20, 21:21, Mark 11:23).
15. They have no retirement plans, savings account, or food supplies stored away (Matt 6:25-34). And no possessions (Matt 19:16-21, Mark 16:21, Luke 18:22).
16. They never pray in public (Matt 6:5-8).
17. They are like sheep or children (Matt 19:14, 18:3-4, Mark 10:15, John 10:2-27, Heb 13:20).
18. They do not go to a doctor when ill, but heal each other with prayer (James 5:13-15, Mark 16:18).
19. Their children are not rebellious; they kill them if they are (Matt 15:3-9).
20. They do not die (John 8:51, 11:25-26).

I confess that I never found a church that fulfilled all twenty of these points as described in the New Testament. Recently I happened to meet another member of the group, whom I had not seen since our days together, and he had made the effort to track down every member of that original group. And here is the amazing part of our story: Every single one of us had independently come to exactly the same conclusion: THERE IS NO TRUE CHURCH!"

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