Betty have been sharing her personal Bible Studies since 2005. She also has a strong interest in American politics.
How do We Know?
Different Belief Systems
There are approximately 33,000 Christian denominations in the world today.
These are sub-categorized into 6 main systems as many share very similar beliefs and differ on specific doctrines.
The six categories are:
Which Denomination Teaches The True Jesus?
With there being so many denominations to choose from, which one is the right one?
The Bible says that there is a different Jesus. Islam teaches one such Jesus. However, isn't a doctrine taught by a denomination that does not line up with God's word also teaching a different Jesus?
It's not a matter of finding a church that meets up with what we want to hear. God's word speaks for itself, and should always be the center focus of any church.
A person can be very studied in his or her denominational teachings, and believe every aspect of a denomination.
Will that person go to heaven because he or she knows his or her doctrinal teachings so well?
That same person may meet someone who follows a completely different denomination, who is completely as versed as the first person, but his or her entire doctrine may not match anything that the other person believes.
I've personally studied the Bible intensely for 15 years. I've searched it and learned directly from it through prayerful studies, but none of that makes me a shoe-in as a person who will go to heaven.
The fact is, nobody really knows if he or she is going to heaven at the end. No matter how strong our beliefs are, they are just beliefs unless we are being taught by God.
Even then, what makes us sure of our final destination? I've read the Bible and I know it very well. I pray daily, and seek answers from God but has it made me a better person?
I'm not sure...
I know a woman who is very versed in her denominational teachings. She's very kind and demonstrates Jesus through her interactions with others. Simply observing her and how she lives and behaves, she definitely shines a light. I have no question that she loves God. But she follows her denominational teachings and does not study the bible without a denominational study plan.
I find that to be limiting. Jesus said "Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you." How is following denominational teachings seeking and knocking? Doesn't that mean that every person has a responsibility to seek out his or her answers through Christ Jesus and through Him alone?
I know a few people who spent years in denominational churches. Once they began to study and question some of the things they'd learned from their denominations, they ended up leaving the church. Some were shunned by their churches as though leaving the church meant that he or she was leaving God Himself.
In John chapter 6, vs 66 it says:
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Surely that is not the same thing as leaving a denomination because one feels that the teachings do not line up with God's word.
Jesus was in-fact, teaching when the disciples went away. They left because in the same chapter Jesus spoke to them a hard saying. They didn't understand it and found it too hard to grasp, so they walked away and never returned.
The twelve stayed though. When Jesus asked Peter if the twelve would go away also, Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
The point is, they all learned from Jesus Himself. Those who doubted walked away from Him.
Doubting a doctrine is not the same as walking away from Jesus. If Jesus has given a person an answer that does not line up with a doctrine most people who seek their answers out in Christ will find the answers and continue seeking.
Others might walk away and never return like those disciples who walked away from Jesus that day.
Study to Show Thy Self Approved
The only solution to there being so many denominations is through prayerful, individual study of the word.
Doing this cuts through the doctrines and denominational teachings and gives a person a direct and complete understanding of each concept.
But there must be more than simply studying the word.
The bible says that God's word changes us and cleanses us.
BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Psalm 119:9
It's not just studying His word that counts, it's living it directly from the texts that are written as we learn and grow in Christ.
Though I see those who follow their denominational teachings as being faithful to their doctrines, and they live their lives accordingly. Unless a person is seeking Jesus for him or herself, I have great difficulty seeing them walking the narrow path.
Will they go to hell? No, I don't believe so. There will be people on this earth when the new heaven and the new earth is formed.
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 2 Peter 3:13
There are measures given to men and women. We do the best with what we've got. Hopefully we all seek to follow Jesus truthfully and completely according to His instruction. I'm not sure that there are many alive who follow Jesus completely as His word instructs. I also question my own walk.
Many of the newer denominations have non-Biblical teachings. Some megachurches don't even crack a bible open during the services. They seem to be more motivational teachings than Christ centered teachings.
Today there are many prophets on the earth. In fact, there are probably more than there ever were in history. Do a search on YouTube using the word, "prophet," or "prophecy." You'll finds thousands there. I do believe that there are prophets, just not as many as those who claim to be a prophet are actually one.
The funny thing is there were just 83 prophets in the Bible. These prophets include thousands of years and for the most part, they existed at different times.
Today, we can find prophets everywhere.
I'm not a prophet. Though I wish I were. I know that the cost that those who are chosen for such a purpose is high in this world. Most prophets are seen as upstanding citizens and churches and their members respect them immensely. I dare say that a real prophet would likely be rejected by most churches today. They would not bring smooth words, or speak things that people want to hear.
In the Bible, prophets usually came bearing bad news and judgement. Just like Biblical times, they were rejected for the most part. Many were killed.
There are many who believe they are prophets, but I have an issue with hearing "smooth words," and nothing but good things.
I'd respect a person who says he or she is a prophet if he or she told me where I'm failing. I'd rather not hear about "promotions," or "inheritances." I don't want a new job, or any elevation.
My whole purpose in life is seeking, knocking and asking. Though I fall short in areas that are not hidden from myself or from God. I can't guarantee that I, or anyone else will be saved. I certainly hope so.
In the Bible, the pharisees thought they were righteous. Their righteousness became more about their positions on earth. They liked to be seen as "righteous," by the people observing them. Their concerns seemed to be more about appearances than their actual walk according to God's word.
I question all these things. Though I study, and though I know the Bible, I also do not know where, or how it will all end, or where I or anyone else will end up.
I'll just continue with my studies. I'll pray and ask questions, but I know that my fate is in God's hands. I pray that I listen well enough and hear Him well enough to make it. If anything counts in this world, that would be it.
James A Watkins from Chicago on December 03, 2019:
I enjoyed reading your thoughtful article. I am non-denominational, which I suppose makes me an Evangelical.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 28, 2019:
It's good to see you also Betty A F. I hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving! I agree with you, lukewarmness is never good. Once we know the truth we start learning and understanding how we should live. Being a Christian is not a static state of being, we should continually learn and grow.
Betty A F (author) from Florida on November 27, 2019:
Hi Edwin, I agree.
Thank you for your response.
Betty A F (author) from Florida on November 27, 2019:
Hi Kari,I believe that God doesn't want us to perish. The Bible says that God does not wish that any man perish but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth. I believe that is true. However, once we believe with our whole hearts, that's when the learning begins. We can be hot or cold, but lukewarmness is not good. The book of Revelations says that God will spew them out of his mouth.
Jesus also said that the road is narrow and there be few that find it. It starts with believing, but that's not the end of it.
It's good to see you.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on November 27, 2019:
I think that God wants to save us all. That is why he died on the cross in the form of Jesus. God states very conclusively when we believe Jesus died for our sins and believe Jesus is God then we are saved. All of us live flawed lives. I believe I am saved in spite of my flawed life.
Edwin Alcantara from California on November 27, 2019:
Hi Betty. Interesting article. Yes, and 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 points out that the most important thing is love, for we are bankrupt without it.