What are the signs, or marks, of the true church?
I could appeal to what the Reformers said, which would’ve been the preaching of the Word and the right administration of the sacraments. An easy way to identify a true church is often, first, by what happens in the pulpit. Is the Word of God being faithfully expounded there?
The second thing would be, What is that preaching doing to the congregation? Is it producing the fruit of the Spirit in the congregation? If those two things are true, then whatever other deficiencies there may be in the church and whatever its church government may be, the essential things are present.
A third thing that I think we need to add is this: Are we a community that’s willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel? I think that may be more into the future, but that will be quite an important mark of the church. It will be an identifier of how true and real to us the things that we confess to believe really are.
This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with Sinclair Ferguson and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.