One Holy, Catholic Church


“The church is not where we meet or what we do; it is who we are!”[1]

The Apostles’ Creed (with an assist from the Nicene Creed[2]) lists four characteristics of the Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. J. I. Packer explains, “In the Scripture… the church is the one worldwide fellowship of believing people whose head is Christ. It is holy because it is consecrated to God…; it is catholic because it embraces all Christians everywhere; and it is apostolic because it seeks to maintain the apostles’ doctrine unmixed.”[3] Let’s flesh those out a bit.

The Church is One

Alister McGrath describes the “oneness” of the church this way, “All Christian churches are based and founded on the one and only foundation of Jesus Christ himself. There is no other foundation on which they can stand. We could say that the Christian church is that body of people that acknowledges Jesus Christ as its head (Colossians 1:18).”[4]

The Church is Holy

We all know that most Christians are far from holy! However, as Donald Cole writes, “The word holy is an Anglo-Saxon equivalent of the Latin word sanctified. The root idea is “separation.” … “We believe in the …holy… church” means that we believe the church belongs to God.”[5] So, in that sense we (the church) are holy—set apart for God. 

The Church is Catholic

The word “catholic” refers to the fact that the church is universal—there is one church, of whom all believers—all over the world, and for all time—are members. Michael Bird explains, “The church is not restricted by geography, ethnicity, gender, class, or status. It is a universal assembly that is made up of people from every tribe, language, culture, and place.”[6]

The Church is Apostolic

This statement from the Nicene Creed explains what the teaching and focus of the one, holy, catholic church should be. Donald Cole explains, “the word apostolic refers to Paul’s description of the church as ‘having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets’ (Ephesians 2:20).”[7] McGrath adds, “[the church] continues steadfastly in the faith and teaching of the first apostles (Acts 2:42) and gladly accepts the Great Commission entrusted to them (Matthew 28:16-20). The faith and the tasks of the apostles have become ours.”[8]  And Albert Mohler warns, “Where the church fails to declare the truth, it forfeits its status as a true church. When churches capitulate and compromise the truth, they betray their status as part of God’s people.”[9]

One final word. R.C. Sproul reminds us that “Jesus personally guaranteed that the gates of hell will never prevail against the church. He made no guarantee that the gates of hell would not be unleased against it, however.”[10] As you think about that, remember to pray for your brothers and sisters around the world who are facing intense persecution because of their faith. 

[1] Michael F. Bird, What Christians Ought to Believe (Zondervan Academic, Kindle Edition), p. 194.

[2] This article in the Nicene Creed reads, “I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.”

[3] J.I. Packer, Affirming the Apostles’ Creed (Crossway, Kindle Edition), p. 122.

[4] Alister McGrath, I Believe (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1997), p. 91.

[5] C. Donald Cole, All You Need to Believe (Foundations of the Faith) (Moody Publishers, Kindle Edition), p. 117.

[6] Bird, p. 199

[7] Cole, p. 118.

[8] McGrath, p. 93.

[9] R. Albert Mohler, The Apostles’ Creed (Thomas Nelson, Kindle Edition), p. 153.

f[10] Sproul, p. 184. 


  1. duane skow on October 27, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Do you believe the Roman Catholic Church teaches the truth about salvation ??

  2. Cheryl Jones on May 10, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    This is a non-answer to your question. However, the Holy Spirit will deal with each of us as to what God wants of each of us individually. (see scripture at the bottom)

    On the other hand, since I write for blogs and occasionally cover topics of this kind, I want point out that regarding church purity, whether Catholic or Protestant, the “pot cannot call the kettle black”.

    Martin Luther left the Catholic Church due to perceived corruption. Today, among Protestant denominations, there are those who marry homosexuals. Corruption or operating contrary to scripture is not unique to a denomination. Man is fallen. Things become corrupted. That why we need Jesus individually and within society.

    Bella Dodd, a communist, who was converted through the agency of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, revealed that she helped get communists into the Catholic priesthood. This is why you see the corruption there you see today. They have infiltrated to high places.

    On the other hand, in my opinion, Freemasons, who are part of the Illuminati and NWO, have infiltrated the Protestants, either Freemasons or communists or satanists, or at the very least, bad doctrine. You can’t have some of the things you are having and the passivity against evil without there being something within to throttle back the church.

    In spite of it all, Catholics and Protestants and Evangelicals and Charismatics seek to bring people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    You have to have intellectual honesty and study and understand what different groups are saying and where they stand.

    As to whether the Catholic (catholic means universal) Church teaches the truth about salvation…it was the only church for 1500 years before Martin Luther. Since then, the Protestant church has split into multiple denominations within 500 years. Can we say that a church that Jesus Christ started and which lasted for 1500 years without any split, didn’t know what it was doing all that time and that it got it totally wrong?

    Again, going back to the pot calling the kettle black. In these days, it is more important than focusing on and splitting off in regards to denominational differences that we become one in the attempt to bring the gospel to the world and fighting the NWO, the anti-Christ. There’s been a lot of infiltration. Let’s focus on what we know. Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus is coming again. Until then, we are to occupy until He comes. His death, burial, and resurrection made a way for mankind to be reconciled to God. Each of us needs to do that individually. The Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Jesus said, “He that is not against us, is for us.” I think there is an openness between Protestants and Catholics to believe of each other that the opposite is seeking and serving the Lord, regardless of differences.

    The reason the NWO and satanists are winning is that they, like Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, operate more as one than the modern day church. The church is more concerned with who has the perfect doctrine and “my group is better than your group”. Jesus said, “he that is not against us, is on our part”. Let’s focus on fighting satan and not each other.

    This is a non-answer, but I hope it gives you some things to think and pray about.

    Matthew 19:16 Behold, one came to him and said, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”

    17 He said to him, “Why do you call me good?[a] No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

    18 He said to him, “Which ones?”

    Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder.’ ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ ‘You shall not steal.’ ‘You shall not offer false testimony.’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother.’Exodus 20:12-16; Deuteronomy 5:16-20 And, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”Leviticus 19:18

    20 The young man said to him, “All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?”

    21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.

    23 Jesus said to his disciples, “Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into God’s Kingdom.”

    25 When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

    26 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    27 Then Peter answered, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”

    28 Jesus said to them, “Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many will be last who are first, and first who are last.

    • Cheryl on May 10, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      Bible verse from the World English Bible, copyright free edition for the Web. I’d edit that in, but there is no edit function.

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