With So Many Different Denominations Who Is Going To Heaven?
There are approximately 40 different main denominations that have branched off into over 1,200 denominations in the United States and thousands worldwide. With so many different opinions and interpretation of the scriptures there has been many divisions in the church. People started dividing into different groups according to how they believed. So now we ask the questions who is right, who is wrong, who is going to heaven and how can I be sure that I am going to heaven? This can only be determined by Gods word but first let’s take a look at when the divisions first started.
In 1st Corinthians we find that divisions had already started. This was approximately 20 years after the crucifixion of Jesus.
1Co 1:11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe's household, that there are
contentions among you.
1Co 1:12 Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of
We can drive through most American towns and are likely to see a variety of different church buildings. From Gothic stone and wooden steeples to modern forms and schoolhouse-like buildings. There are so many different names and denominations that it can be so confusing it is no wonder that a non-christian doesn’t go to church and if they do want to visit where do they even start?
Back up about two thousand years. It’s the night before Jesus is crucified. According to the Gospel of John, Jesus gathers together his closest followers. Knowing the adversity that lies ahead, he prays with them and for them. Then he prays for future generations of Christians:
Joh 17:20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;
Joh 17:21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world
may believe that You sent Me.
Joh 17:22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
Jesus prays for “complete unity” so that his future followers “may be one.” Well, what happened to that?
To get a better understanding we need to take a look at some bible history.
The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380's AD by John Wycliffe,
an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian. Wycliffe, (also spelled “Wycliff” & “Wyclif”), was well-
known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to
be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, called the Lollards, and his assistant Purvey, and many
other faithful scribes, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures.
They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe.
The Pope was so infuriated by his teachings and his translation of the Bible into English, that 44 years after
Wycliffe had died, he ordered the bones to be dug-up, crushed, and scattered in the river!
One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted
to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that
threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with
Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire.
Almost 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues
of problems and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. Martin Luther
went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the
German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. Foxe’s Book of
Martyrs records that in that same year, 1517, seven people were burned at the stake by the Roman Catholic
Church for the crime of teaching their children to say the Lord’s Prayer in English rather than Latin.
Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450's, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin
language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Ironically, though he had created what many believe to be the
most important invention in history, Gutenberg was a victim of unscrupulous business associates who took
control of his business and left him in poverty. Nevertheless, the invention of the movable-type printing press
meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time.
This was essential to the success of the Reformation.
In the 1490’s another Oxford professor, and the personal physician to King Henry the 7th and 8th, Thomas
Linacre, decided to learn Greek. After reading the Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate,
he wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.” The
Latin had become so corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the Gospel… yet the Church
still threatened to kill anyone who read the scripture in any language other than Latin… though Latin was
not an original language of the scriptures.
In 1516 the great scholar Erasmus was so moved to correct the corrupt Latin Vulgate, that with the help of
printer John Froben, he published a Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament. The Latin part was not the corrupt
Vulgate, but his own fresh rendering of the text from the more accurate and reliable Greek, which he had
managed to collect from a half-dozen partial old Greek New Testament manuscripts he had acquired. The
1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus focused attention on just how corrupt and inaccurate the Latin
Vulgate had become, and how important it was to go back and use the original Greek (New Testament) and
original Hebrew (Old Testament) languages to maintain accuracy… and to translate them faithfully into the
languages of the common people, whether that be English, German, or any other tongue. No sympathy for
this “illegal activity” was to be found from Rome… even as the words of Pope Leo X's declaration that
"the fable of Christ was quite profitable to him" continued through the years to infuriate the people of God.
William Tyndale was the Captain of the Army of Reformers, and was their spiritual leader. Tyndale holds
the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was
a true scholar and a genius, so fluent in eight languages that it was said one would think any one of them to
be his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the “Architect of the English Language.
Martin Luther had a small head-start on Tyndale, as Luther declared his intolerance for the Roman Church’s
corruption by nailing his 95 Theses of Contention to the Wittenberg Church door. In his theses, Luther
condemned the corruption of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the papal practice of asking payment
called “indulgences”-for the forgiveness of sins. Many church members traveled to purchase them. When
they returned, they showed the pardons they had bought to Luther, claiming they no longer had to repent
for their sins. Luther’s frustration with this practice led him to write the 95 Theses, which were quickly
snapped up, translated from Latin into German and distributed widely.
A copy made its way to Rome, and efforts began to convince Luther to change his tune. He refused to
keep silent, however, and in 1521 Pope Leo X formally excommunicated Luther from the Catholic Church.
That same year, Luther again refused to recant his writings before the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V
of Germany, and declaring Luther an outlaw and a heretic gave permission for anyone to kill him without
consequence. Protected by Prince Frederick, Luther began working on a German translation of the Bible,
a task that took 10 years to complete. In the 1530’s he would go on to publish the entire Bible in German.
In 1539, Thomas Cranmer, hired Myles Coverdale at the bequest of King Henry VIII to publish the
"Great Bible". It became the first English Bible authorized for public use, as it was distributed to every
church, chained to the pulpit, and a reader was even provided so that the illiterate could hear the Word
of God in plain English. It would seem that William Tyndale's last wish had been granted...just three years
after his martyrdom. Cranmer's Bible, published by Coverdale, was known as the Great Bible due to its
great size. Seven editions of this version were printed between April of 1539 and December of 1541.
It was not that King Henry VIII had a change of conscience regarding publishing the Bible in English. His
motives were more sinister… but the Lord sometimes uses the evil intentions of men to bring about His
glory. King Henry VIII had in fact, requested that the Pope permit him to divorce his wife and marry his
mistress. The Pope refused. King Henry responded by marrying his mistress anyway, (later having two
of his many wives executed), and thumbing his nose at the Pope by renouncing Roman Catholicism,
taking England out from under Rome’s religious control, and declaring himself as the reigning head of
State to also be the new head of the Church. This new branch of the Christian Church, neither Roman
Catholic nor truly Protestant, became known as the Anglican Church or the Church of England. His first
act was to further defy the wishes of Rome by funding the printing of the scriptures in English… the first
legal English Bible… just for spite.
Throughout the 1600’s, as the Puritans and the Pilgrims fled the religious persecution of England to cross the Atlantic and start a new free nation in America, they took with them their precious Geneva Bible, and rejected the King’s Bible. America was founded upon the Geneva Bible, not the King James Bible.
The first English language Bible to be printed in America by Robert Aitken in 1782 was a King James Version. Robert Aitken’s 1782 Bible was also the only Bible ever authorized by the United States Congress. He was commended by President George Washington for providing Americans with Bibles during the embargo of imported English goods due to the Revolutionary War.
Conclusion of Bible History
As Christians, we must be very careful to make intelligent and informed decisions about what translations of the Bible we choose to read. On one extreme, we have people who would give us new translations that attempt to change God’s Word to make it politically correct.
But equally dangerous, is the other extreme… of blindly rejecting ANY English translation that was produced in the four centuries that have come after the 1611 King James. We must remember that the main purpose of the Protestant Reformation was to get the Bible out of the chains of being trapped in an ancient language that few could understand, and into the modern, spoken, conversational language of the present day. William Tyndale fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”
We therefore have a responsibility before God as Christians to make sure that each generation has a modern translation that they can easily understand, yet that does not sacrifice accuracy in any way. Let’s be ever mindful that we are not called to worship the Bible. That is called idolatry. We are called to worship the God who gave us the Bible, and who preserved it through the centuries of people who sought to destroy it.
The reason for so many different denominations is due to differences in doctrine that comes about from different interpretations of the Bible. However in all denominations, those who have repented and been baptized and truly love the Lord and are trusting Him for victory over sin as He leads them day by day, are true Christians. If you sincerely ask God to guide you, He will show you His truth and the way He would have you follow.
Now back to the original topic:
With So Many Different Denominations Who Is Right? Most denominations today do believe that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins and taught that we must be born again by repenting and being baptized. This is what the bible teaches us so if you have been born again and truly love and obey God then you are on your way to heaven. Stay away from any religion that teaches anything different. Regardless of the church denomination the bible clearly tells us about the only way to get to heaven.
What Some People May Think
There may be as many opinions on who gets to go to heaven as there are people. Here are a few of the most popular ones:
• Everyone becomes an angel and goes to heaven when they die.
• Whoever obeys the Ten Commandments will go to heaven.
• Whoever goes to church will go to heaven.
• Whoever does more good things than bad things will go to heaven.
• Whoever believes in God will go to heaven.
• Whoever has not killed anyone or done anything really bad will go to heaven.
• Everyone in a Christian household will go to heaven.
These opinions may seem OK, but they are all wrong.
“If none of these are correct then who gets to go to heaven?”. The answer is simple. The people who get to go to heaven are the ones who have repented and made the decision to get right with God by beginning a personal relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, understanding how to “get right with God” became unclear as organized religion developed over the centuries. Although “religious people” have been telling others how to go to heaven for a long time, what they say can be distorted by their opinions. That is why it is vital to go back to the unchanging foundation-the Bible. Here are a few of the many scriptures that shows us what we must do to be saved.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John 3:3 says: Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see
the kingdom of God."
Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Mar 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Joh 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have
everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Rom 10:13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
Joh 14:15 "If you love me, keep my commands.
Who is not going to make it to Heaven.
Some denominations believe that once your name is written in the Book of Life then it will never be removed. This is simply not true. Jesus warned the Church of Sardis that they were dying spiritually and he told them to repent:
Rev 3:5: He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I
will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
If they didn’t listen to his warning then there name would be removed from the Book of Life.
You can’t get saved and continue doing the things of the world and expect to go to heaven.
Let’s look at some scriptures:
Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the
will of my Father who is in heaven.
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators,
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
1Co 6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time
past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Rev 21:7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Rev 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall
have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
These scriptures don’t mean that we have to be perfect. We are human and we will make mistakes. Only Jesus was perfect, and we are to strive to be like him and also strive to have a perfect heart. If we continue to sin and turn our backs on God like the prodigal son did then we are in trouble.
The scriptures listed above are referring to those who continually do these things.
We may make mistakes but if we stay sincere in living for Jesus then he will always be there to help us with any problems or situation. Remember that if we do sin that we just need to repent and continue in our relationship with Jesus.
Comparison of English Translations of John 3:16
• 1st Ed. King James (1611): "For God so loued the world, that he gaue his only begotten
Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life."
• Rheims (1582): "For so God loued the vvorld, that he gaue his only-begotten sonne: that
euery one that beleeueth in him, perish not, but may haue life euerlasting"
• Geneva (1560): "For God so loueth the world, that he hath geuen his only begotten Sonne:
that none that beleue in him, should peryshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe."
• Great Bible (1539): "For God so loued the worlde, that he gaue his only begotten sonne,
that whosoeuer beleueth in him, shulde not perisshe, but haue euerlasting lyfe."
• Tyndale (1534): "For God so loveth the worlde, that he hath geven his only sonne, that
none that beleve in him, shuld perisshe: but shuld have everlastinge lyfe."
• Wycliff (1380): "for god loued so the world; that he gaf his oon bigetun sone, that eche man
that bileueth in him perisch not: but haue euerlastynge liif,"
• Anglo-Saxon Proto-English Manuscripts (995 AD): “God lufode middan-eard swa, dat he
seade his an- cennedan sunu, dat nan ne forweorde de on hine gely ac habbe dat ece lif."
Timeline of Bible Translation History
1,400 BC: The first written Word of God: The Ten Commandments delivered to Moses.
500 BC: Completion of All Original Hebrew Manuscripts which make up The 39 Books of the Old Testament.
200 BC: Completion of the Septuagint Greek Manuscripts which contain The 39 Old Testament Books AND 14 Apocrypha Books.
1st Century AD: Completion of All Original Greek Manuscripts which make up The 27 Books of the New Testament.
315 AD: Athenasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, identifies the 27 books of the New Testament which are today recognized as the canon of scripture.
382 AD: Jerome's Latin Vulgate Manuscripts Produced which contain All 80 Books (39 Old Test. + 14 Apocrypha + 27 New Test).
500 AD: Scriptures have been Translated into Over 500 Languages.
600 AD: LATIN was the Only Language Allowed for Scripture.
995 AD: Anglo-Saxon (Early Roots of English Language) Translations of The New Testament Produced.
1384 AD: Wycliffe is the First Person to Produce a (Hand-Written) manuscript Copy of the Complete Bible; All 80 Books.
1455 AD: Gutenberg Invents the Printing Press; Books May Now be mass-Produced Instead of Individually Hand-Written. The First Book Ever Printed is Gutenberg's Bible in Latin.
1516 AD: Erasmus Produces a Greek/Latin Parallel New Testament.
1522 AD: Martin Luther's German New Testament.
1526 AD: William Tyndale's New Testament; The First New Testament printed in the English Language.
1535 AD: Myles Coverdale's Bible; The First Complete Bible printed in the English Language (80 Books: O.T. & N.T. & Apocrypha).
1537 AD: Tyndale-Matthews Bible; The Second Complete Bible printed in English. Done by John "Thomas Matthew" Rogers (80 Books).
1539 AD: The "Great Bible" Printed; The First English Language Bible Authorized for Public Use (80 Books).
1560 AD: The Geneva Bible Printed; The First English Language Bible to add Numbered Verses to Each Chapter (80 Books).
1568 AD: The Bishops Bible Printed; The Bible of which the King James was a Revision (80 Books).
1609 AD: The Douay Old Testament is added to the Rheims New Testament (of 1582) Making the First Complete English Catholic Bible; Translated from the Latin Vulgate (80 Books).
1611 AD: The King James Bible Printed; Originally with All 80 Books. The Apocrypha was Officially Removed in 1885 Leaving Only 66 Books.
1782 AD: Robert Aitken's Bible; The First English Language Bible (KJV) Printed in America.
1791 AD: Isaac Collins and Isaiah Thomas Respectively Produce the First Family Bible and First Illustrated Bible Printed in America. Both were King James Versions, with All 80 Books.
1808 AD: Jane Aitken's Bible (Daughter of Robert Aitken); The First Bible to be Printed by a Woman.
1833 AD: Noah Webster's Bible; After Producing his Famous Dictionary, Webster Printed his Own Revision of the King James Bible.
1841 AD: English Hexapla New Testament; an Early Textual Comparison showing the Greek and 6 Famous English Translations in Parallel Columns.
1846 AD: The Illuminated Bible; The Most Lavishly Illustrated Bible printed in America. A King James Version, with All 80 Books.
1863 AD: Robert Young's "Literal" Translation; often criticized for being so literal that it sometimes obscures the contextual English meaning.
1885 AD: The "English Revised Version" Bible; The First Major English Revision of the KJV.
1901 AD: The "American Standard Version"; The First Major American Revision of the KJV.
1952 AD: The "Revised Standard Version" (RSV); said to be a Revision of the 1901 American Standard Version, though more highly criticized.
1971 AD: The "New American Standard Bible" (NASB) is Published as a "Modern and Accurate Word for Word English Translation" of the Bible.
1973 AD: The "New International Version" (NIV) is Published as a "Modern and Accurate Phrase for Phrase English Translation" of the Bible.
1982 AD: The "New King James Version" (NKJV) is Published as a "Modern English Version Maintaining the Original Style of the King James."
1990 AD: The "New Revised Standard Version" (NRSV); further revision of 1952 RSV, (itself a revision of 1901 ASV), criticized for "gender inclusiveness".
2002 AD: The English Standard Version (ESV) is Published as a translation to bridge the gap between the accuracy of the NASB and the readability of the NIV.
NIV 2011 This edition reflects the latest scholarship and changes in the english language and replaces the NIV 1984 edition and the TNIV
King Henry VIII