Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Do we believe that the other denominations are members of the Lord Jesus Christ's body, the Church?

When the Coptic Orthodox speaks of the "ONE" church, we are speaking about the:

"One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church". In the Nicene Creed we confess that we fervently believe in the Church. We recite, "I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church." What exactly do these words (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic) mean to the Orthodox faithful?

ONE: means that the Church is one because God is one. The Holy Book of Ephesians states, "There is one body, and one hope.... one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all."

The many denominations were started by the simple misunderstanding of the TRUTH. All long for truth and desire to come in deeper contact with God. It is indeed a blessing that many Christian denominations are seeking the oneness with the Lord Jesus Christ through the world council of churches and the ecumenical movement in general.

The Orthodox Church believes she is the ONE church established by the Lord Jesus Christ. She has fully preserved the teachings of the early church. History documents this without challenge.

HOLY: The Church is holy because the Lord made her holy. "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

CATHOLIC: Denotes that the Church is indeed universal. It includes all people from every nation, from all corners of the earth. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever should believe on Him would have everlasting life." (John 3:16) God's love is all-inclusive. Likewise, the Coptic Orthodox Church holds on to the faith of not one group of people but of the Church Universal (Catholic thus preserving the WHOLENESS of the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ and the early Christians.

APOSTOLIC: The Orthodox Church teaches what the Lord's apostles had taught. This can easily  be traced historically. Our church is original. Not all churches are apostolic as we see the men-established denominations of nowadays.

CHURCH: God does not need a church, but we as humans do. We need places especially dedicated to God. We bring God into our church through the icons, chants, vestments, chalices, sermons, candles, and incense. God speaks through our Divine Liturgy, and through our Holy Scripture Readings, and offers Himself through the Holy Communion. This makes the Church His House.

Our Sacraments are handed to us also from the holy Apostles and further bind us firmly to the early church historically.

Thus, when we speak of the restoration of the ONE BODY of the Lord Jesus Christ, we refer to the ancient, early church as founded by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself through His holy apostles.

As for the other denominations and the consequences of their beliefs, as explained above, we know for sure what constitutes the Body of Christ, but we don't know how God will judge them, as we are not the Judge of All.
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