Groups that hold the “One True Visible Church” (OTVC) doctrine teach that their group is the only church, that all honest people will come to them, and that God is not working with any other group but them. If they put you out of their fellowship, they hold that you are no longer saved. They would beleive the same to be true about any who would leave – no matter what the reason.
Examples of groups that hold this teaching are the Watchtower Society, 2 x 2, Church of Christ groups, Church of God in Christ Mennonite (Holdeman), and Church of God (Restoration). This teaching is used to build a union in conduct, dress, and doctrine. The ministers of these different groups claim they have the authority to cast disagreeing members out of the Body of Christ, and to take away their right standing with God.
The Restoration would feel that it is unfair and unjust to put them in the above list of groups, and I don’t want to leave the impression that I am comparing them to the above groups in all areas. The only area where I am comparing them to the other groups in is their OTVC teaching. This is the company they are keeping when it comes to this teaching — and it is not very good company. Other than the OTVC teaching, the similarities between the Restoration and the above groups end.
The objection of course, will be made that the church that was founded by Jesus was the one true visible church — and to this I agree. But it was Peter, John, James, Paul and other leaders that were laying out doctrine, holding minister meetings and making decisions, and writing the letters that we hold dearly, not Daniel Warner and Danny Layne — and this makes a big difference.
Typically, groups that hold the OTVC teaching hold that if you leave their group you are no longer a Christian. The only way you can be re-saved is to come back to the group and meet the requirements that they hold for a person to be saved. While most OTVC groups would hold that there are people outside of their group that are saved, they would feel that if those Christians are presented with their version of the “truth” and they reject it they are no longer saved.
When I was cast out of the Restoration, I was basically told that if I wanted to come back I would need to recant my 16 Objections to Restoration Practices and Doctrines and get saved again. The Restoration would also hold that there is no way for me to get saved outside of their group. Read my 16 Objections and you will find I only objected to non-essential practices and doctrine.
It is very sectarian and even sinful to use the threat of putting someone out of what they are calling “the one true visible church” and thereby damning that person to hell to get them to accept what they are calling the “truth”. This is done to get a member to accept their non-essential teachings (like the Restoration’s anti-medical or marrying the church teaching), or to accept them as the “one true visible church”.
The OTVC teaching appears to be used as a way to beat the sheep into a uniformed outward standard, uniformed doctrinal standard, and to get them to bow to the leaders that are many times carnal, rude, overbearing, and accusative. It seems that ‘unity’ can’t be obtained by the Spirit of God, so it is gained by threatening to expel people from the OTVC and hence to doom them to hell.
You dress like us, you believe like us, you bow to our ministers no matter what they tell you to do, or we will sideline you and apply pressure using spiritual abuse to get you to conform. If you refuse to conform over time, we will accuse you of having a divisional spirit and ask you to leave and go to hell.
This system looks very attractive from the outside because of the unity of conduct, dress, and doctrine. You may even find congregations of OTVC groups that have very humble, spiritual, caring and loving ministers. But it is a system that is doomed to fail, as it has no working checks and balances. It is a system that has no independent judicial system, no free property, no free press, and no freedom of religion — it contains all the marks of a dictatorship that imprisons and murders its citizens at will.
A system that is controlled not by the Spirit of God, but by back room meetings with ministers that are only accountable to themselves who are self-appointed judges, juries, prosecutors, police, and prison guards all in one.
They break up families and friends, they embitter the spiritually weak, they destroy the lives of the simple, and they hide sexual criminals — all in the name of Jesus for the betterment of the “one true visible church”. May God deliver us all from such a monster!
So, with love towards all and malice towards none, this warning is issued to all church groups – not just the Restoration – that teach that they and they alone are the “one true visible church”. The excluding of others from Christian fellowship over non-essential teachings and pretending to have the power to put Christians out of the body of Christ is sectarian at best, arrogant, bigoted, and sinful at the worse. May God have mercy on the ministry of all groups that do these very things.
Warning: There are three groups in Aylmer that hold the OTVC teaching and those that are considering associating themselves with any of these groups should to be aware of what they are getting into. The following three groups hold this OTVC teaching:
Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall — Corner of 73rd Hwy and Glencolin Line, Aylmer.
The Church of God Meets Here — 751 John St. N. (#73), Aylmer.
Church of God in Christ Mennonite — John Wise Line and Hacienda Rd in Luton (South of Aylmer).