Are there warnings about believing you are the only denomination going to heaven?


Some church denominations say, "We are right and all other churches are wrong" (concerning Bible interpretations). Or they say, "We are going to Heaven. All other denominations are not." Do the Scriptures give any warnings or guidelines about this "attitude" held by certain groups? Thank you!


Behind this question is the assumption that multiple denominations (i.e. various divisions in the church) are an acceptable state. "Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," "I follow Apollos," "I follow Cephas," and, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? ..." (I Corinthians 1:10-13).

The Bible is clear that there is only one church (Ephesians 4:4-6). And while it predicts that divisions would arise (I Timothy 4:1-5; II Thessalonians 2:7-12; I Corinthians 11:18-19), it does not declare those divisions as acceptable. See "Why are there different denominations?" for further discussion of this issue.

In regards to entering heaven, it is Jesus who told us the requirements are limiting. "Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Today people act as if Jesus said the opposite. Anything goes. Anything is acceptable. It is little wonder that most denominations no longer stand up for their beliefs.

In regards to interpretation, again the answer is that there is only one way to understand the Bible, and that is God's way. "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation. For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit" (II Peter 1:20-21). Multiple interpretations arise because multiple men are seeking to please themselves. "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn't be a servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). Our duty as followers of Christ is to understand what he has taught and not to advocate our own agenda. "Therefore don't be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). This command could not be carried out if there were multiple, conflicting "understandings" which God found acceptable.

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