Three Models of the Church
NCW 69: August 2000 - January 2001
Q. Which view of the Church does the New Covenant Church of God believe in? (a) A sole-authoritative, Catholic/Orthodox-type model, or (b) a universal, Protestant-type model?
A. We believe, first and foremost, in the Universal Church of God which has no denominational boundaries whose membership depends on whether a soul is truly born of God and whose delimitation is determined and known only by God Himself. Authority is based essentially upon the spiritual life and the priesthood of all believers, and not on any legalistic claim based on apostolic succession. In this sense we are Protestant.
On a secondary level, we also believe that it is the wish and plan of God that His Church on earth should come to a unity of the faith and attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph.4:13). The goal of the Church must, therefore, be perfection. As the New Testament Church was briefly one and undivided, so we believe that the goal of the earthly Body of Christ must also be one and undivided. Unlike Protestant churches which as a rule do not have a central governing body (apart from democratically-appointed synods or councils), the New Covenant Church of God has an apostolic structure and thus, in some respects, reflects the Catholic model. Whilst we do not claim to have exclusive authority as Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox do, we do believe we are under a commission to establish a solely authorised church for the Millennial dispensation, whose authority will be recognised by all true believers by the clearly manifested signs of its power. We claim no sole authority in this so-called "Church Age" or "Church Dispensation".
This really means we subscribe to a third model which is basically Protestant in this current dispensation but which will resemble, in certain respects, the Catholic one in the next. The Church we most closely resemble in this particular matter (though not in many others) would probably be the Seventh Day Adventists who, whilst they do not claim to be the one and only true Church, imply that they might be it (though many members clearly believe they are). Where we differ from them is that we believe that we might become such a Church (accepting that there is every possibility that we might not). We are striving unconsciously to become the truest church by seeking as close identity as a body of believers with the universal, invisible church. I underline the word "unconsciously" for we are not competing with other churches, and if the truth be known, every denomination believes they are the truest church otherwise they would not exist. We believe, in addition, that being "true" is a very fluid thing for any body's faithfulness is usually in a state of flux.
In short, we are a "Protestant-type" church in this church dispensation with a mandate to become a "catholic-like" one in the next millennial one. We believe that the church dispensation is almost at an end and that we shall be increasingly moving into our millennial mode in the coming years. This will occur during the gathering of the wheat-from-the-tares phase which is about to start. Thus there is about to be an "overlap phase" as the Lord progressively withdraws from the Protestant-type model and moves towards the millennial one - I hesitate to use the word "Catholic" because the Catholic Church is completely unlike the Millennial Church which is coming. It would be better to say that Church history has moved in this direction:
NT/Sub-Apostolic Church > Catholic/Orthodox > Protestant-Messianic > NCCG
and that we are presently at the tail-end of the Protestant-Messianic phase and the beginning of NCCG. Since NCCG claims no legalistic authority there is no distinct "beginning" of its ministry which overlaps with much of what is happening in Protestantism.
This page was created on 22 January 2001
Last updated on 22 January 2001
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