Was there salvation outside of the ark? Was there salvation outside of the nation of Israel? Is there salvation outside of the living church ministries videos of Christ? The answer to all of these questions, per the Bible, is clearly “no”.
Before your emotions get the best of you, calm yourself down and consider two preliminary points; (1) I was raised in one of the largest, main-stream denominations in America – not in the church of Christ, so I can speak directly to this issue. What I’m about to share with you comes from years of personal study, debating, argumentation, and absolute struggle with idea that salvation is in only one church. (2) Jesus said in Matthew 22:29, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Many “religious” people have formed their ideas about salvation on their own opinions, pre-conceptions, and statements that they’ve heard over and over since they’ve been children (rather than the Bible).
The Bible says that there is no salvation found outside of the church of Christ. The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 1:18 that Jesus is the head of the body, the church. The body and the church are one in the same. Paul told the Ephesians, in Ephesians 5:25, “…even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” The church is singular in existence, and Jesus gave Himself for the church. In Ephesians 5:23, Paul said, “…even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” For a person to say that they can be saved without being a member of the church of Christ reveals their ignorance of the Scripture, because the Apostle Paul says that Christ is the “saviour” of the body, and the body is the church.
How many “churches” was Paul speaking of? Now watch this; the same Paul told the Ephesians, in 4:4, that there is one body. If the body is the church, as Paul stated, and, as he also stated, that there is only one body, then there is only one church. A child can understand this simple Bible teaching.
Although, this begs the question, “Which church is the one church?” Well, let’s use a simple example. Martin Luther was a fine man with the noble desire to get back to the Bible. After Luther’s death, his follower’s established the denomination bearing his name; the Lutheran Church. Now, was this the one church that Paul spoke of in his epistles? How could it possibly be – the Lutheran Church didn’t exist when Paul wrote his epistle. In reality, the Lutheran Church was established some 1500 years after Paul spoke his inspired words; therefore, it is not logical, reasonable, or biblical to conclude that the Lutheran Church is the one church of the Bible, because it simply did not exist at that time (the first century)!
We’re still at the original question…which church was the one church of the Bible? It is, of course, the church that was established on the Day of Pentecost, as written about in Acts chapter two. It is the church that Jesus bought with His own blood, Acts 20:28, and it is the church governed by Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:18.
Some argue by saying, “Paul was speaking of the invisible, world-wide church, and that includes all churches!” I am sorry, but this common response is biblically false. How do we know? Luke said in Acts 8:1, “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Men could not and cannot persecute something that was/is “invisible”. The church was, and still is, a visible entity on this earth.