What the Bible Says


Two great concerns led to the founding of the Church of the Lutheran Confession in 1960:

  1. Concern for upholding the full truth of God’s Word and the precious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, apart from whom there is no salvation.
  2. Concern over the mixing of the false teachings of men with the true Word of God. False teaching poses a serious threat to our Christian faith. Satan tries to use it to undermine our confidence in the authority and reliability of the Bible. His ultimate goal is to destroy our faith completely by undermining our confidence in the Lord Jesus and His work of redemption.

This presentation is divided into two parts. Part one is a side-by-side listing of true doctrines of the Bible and false doctrines taught by various religious groups. Part two consists of a chart that identifies these groups with some of the errors they teach.1

We pray that this presentation will prove helpful to you as you seek to fulfill the responsibility God has given you as a Christian to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). May the Holy Spirit bless you with an abiding love for the truth of God’s Word and keep you in it unto eternal life. May He also bless you with eagerness and zeal for sharing with those around you the truth in Christ Jesus, the only name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

1. The reader should bear in mind that not all pastors within a specific religious group will openly promote these errors. Some groups do not hold their leaders to a particular standard of doctrine. Others bodies, while not officially promoting a particular teaching error, tolerate in their midst those who do. If you have questions about whether a particular religious group is teaching God’s Word faithfully, ask your pastor. He will be happy to assist you.


Christian Churches


ELCA: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
ELS: Evangelical Lutheran Synod (in fellowship with WELS)
LC-MS: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
WELS: Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (in fellowship with ELS)


BAP: Baptist
CHAR: Charismatic
CoC: Church of Christ
EPIS: Episcopal
HB: Holiness Bodies
RC: Roman Catholic
REF: Reformed2
SDA: Seventh Day Adventist

Non-Christian Churches3

CS: Christian Science
J: Jewish
JW: Jehovah’s Witnesses
LDS: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
U: Unitarian



2. Major denominations that fall within this group include: Assembly of God, Baptist, Church of God, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, and the United Church of Christ.
3. Any religious group that denies the humanity or divinity of Jesus Christ or that rejects the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not Christian.

Part 1: Teaching Differences Arranged By Doctrine

#1 Authority / Holy Bible True Doctrine

The Bible is the verbally inspired Word of God, and is therefore God-breathed. It is inerrant, containing no mistakes, myths, or contradictions. It is infallible, and so absolutely trustworthy. 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:16, John 17:17, John 10:35.


All miracles recorded in the Bible (e.g. the story of Jonah, the virgin birth of Christ, Jesus changing water to wine, calming the storm, curing the sick, raising the dead) are historical events that really happened. John 20:30-31.


Christ made all the statements attributed to Him in the Bible. Jesus is true God and true man. John 14:26, Mark 14:61-62, Luke 4:41.


We must look to the Word of God in the Bible — SCRIPTURE ALONE — for authoritative information about the way to heaven and for guidance in living a God-pleasing life. The 66 Canonical Books of the Bible do not contradict each other. Any translation that inaccurately reflects the original Hebrew and Greek texts should be avoided. Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19.

#1 Authority / Holy Bible False Doctrine

Some historical data, geographical references, and matters of custom recorded in the Bible may not be the true Word of God. Holy Scripture contains the Word of God and the word of men. It is wrong to speak of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. [ELCA, tolerated in LC-MS, some BAP, many others]


Many miracles recorded in the Bible did not necessarily happen as they are recorded. They may have been added later by the early church. [tolerated in ELCA, many others]


Many of the statements attributed to Christ in the Bible were added by the early church. Jesus isn’t God or the only god in world. [JW, tolerated in ELCA, many others]


Traditions of the church and the later witness of the church (supernatural visions, dreams, and revelations) are of equal authority to the Word of God in the Bible. [CS, LDS, RC]


Abortion / Beginning of Life True Doctrine

Life begins at fertilization. Every child, regardless of mental or physical condition, is a precious gift of God. Abortion is murder. It is a transgressing of God’s will in the Fifth Commandment. See Law/Gospel Tab to understand more about Christ’s forgiveness.  Exodus 20:13, Job 10:8-12, Psalm 127:3, Psalm 139:13-14, Jeremiah 1:5.

Abortion / Beginning of Life False Doctrine

It cannot be determined when life begins. Mothers have the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. The destruction of a fetus is not murder. [many churches]

Born Again Christian True Doctrine

A “born again Christian” is one who has been reborn spiritually by the power of the Holy Spirit through water and word of baptism. (Ephesians 2:1). This spiritual rebirth happens to all Christians at the moment of their conversion. (Water baptism and Spirit baptism are identical.) John 3:3-5, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 1:23, Titus 3:5.


The Spirit-filled life is evidenced in Christians by their confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and a life of Spirit-worked sanctification (fruits of faith). 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 12:3, Galatians 6:19-26.

Born Again Christian False Doctrine

A “born again Christian” is one who has undergone a special religious experience. This spiritual rebirth is a “second blessing” that happens only to certain Christians after their conversion. (Water baptism and Spirit baptism are two different things.) [CHAR, some REF]


The Spirit-filled life is evidenced in Christians by their ability to speak in tongues. [CHAR]

Church True Doctrine

The invisible Holy Christian Church is made up of all those who believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin, death, and the devil. John 1:12, Galatians 3:26. Only the LORD knows who all these people are because He knows the heart (2 Timothy 2:19).

Only believers in Jesus make up the spiritual body of Christ, the Holy Christian Church. Unbelievers and hypocrites aren’t part of the Church. Romans 8:9, Ephesians 5:25-27, 1 Peter 2:4-9.

There is no salvation outside of the Holy Christian Church. 2 Timothy 2:19.

Visible churches (church groups and denominations) are based on a confession of how each individual member, church, or denomination (synod) submits to the teachings God’s Word (John 8:31-32). Because we cannot read hearts, we base our fellowship with other believers on the individual’s confession about God’s Word and conduct in life (Matthew 7:15-16, 1 John 4:1).

Church False Doctrine

All people are children of God, whether or not they have faith in Jesus as their Savior. [tolerated in ELCA, some REF]


Everyone who claims to be a Christian is a member of the Church. [tolerated in ELCA and REF]



There is no salvation outside of membership in the denomination. [JW, LDS, SDA, RC – depending on the pope, and others]

Church Fellowship True Doctrine

United by confession: It is God’s will that Christians be united in their confession of all that the Bible teaches before joining in the practice of religious fellowship (worshiping, praying, and celebrating Lord’s Supper together) or engaging in church work. 1 Corinthians 1:10, Philippians 2:1-2, Acts 2:42, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Romans 15:5-6, 16:17-18.

A False teacher is one who holds to a teaching contrary to the Word of God as a confession/profession of their faith. That holding doesn’t necessarily damn to hell, but it certainly doesn’t build up the body of Christ nor should be tolerated. (Acts 20:28-30, Romans 16:17-20, Galatians 5:7-10, 2 Peter 2:1-2, ).

A Weak brother  is one who has stumbled into error, does not seek to involve or approve others in their error, and is willing to be instructed from the Word of God (Galatians 6:1, Romans 15:1).

(compare “Religious Unionism” and “Mission of the Church” below)

Church Fellowship False Doctrine

United by church: Christians may engage in worship and joint church work with no regard for teaching differences and variations in religious belief. It is not necessary or possible for Christians to be united in their confession of all that the Bible teaches. Differences of opinion on what the Bible teaches should be tolerated within the church. [RC, ELCA, tolerated in LC-MS, REF, many others]


(compare “Religious Unionism” and “Mission of the Church” below)

Conversion True Doctrine

Unbelievers are converted to faith in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Grace, the Gospel in Word and Sacraments. Romans 10:17, 1 Cor. 6:11, 4:15, 12:3; 1 Peter 1:23; Titus 3:4-5.


All human beings are born spiritually blind and dead in sin. Therefore they are unable to believe in Christ or make the decision to come to Him on their own. John 1:12-13, Romans 8:6-7, 1 Corinthians 2:14, 1 Corinthians 12:3.


No one is able to contribute in any way, or cooperate with God even a little, in his conversion. Ephesians 2:4-5,8-9, 1 Corinthians 12:3.

Conversion False Doctrine

Unbelievers may be converted to faith in Christ apart from the working of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel, “out of the blue,” without any means. [CHAR, HB]


Human beings, though born sinful, still possess the ability to come to Christ on their own. They can, by an act of their own will, make a decision to believe. [BAP, CHAR, other REF]

Some are converted to Christ because they have a better attitude toward God than others or because they resisted the Holy Spirit’s call to faith less than others. [ELCA, REF]

Creation True Doctrine

God created the world in six days by the power of His Word. The story of the creation, as recorded in Genesis 1, is a historical fact. See also Exodus 20:11, Hebrews 11:3.


Each of the creation days was an ordinary 24-hour day. Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11.


Adam and Eve were real historical persons. Genesis 1:26-27, Matthew 19:4.

Creation False Doctrine

The account of the creation in Genesis 1 is a myth. Evolution is a possible explanation for how our world originated. [tolerated in ELCA, many others]


The creation days were long periods of time. [tolerated in ELCA, others]


Adam and Eve were mythical characters, not historical persons. [tolerated in ELCA, others]

Holy Baptism True Doctrine

A Sacrament is a sacred act: not what we do for God, but what He does for us! 

Baptism means “to wash”

Meaning: Christ and His Apostles point to Baptism as a means of entering the kingdom of God (Romans 6:3-4). Baptism is a spiritual rebirth by the Holy Spirit through water and the Word. Baptism washes away sin and saves. Through baptism God forgives all sin (both original sin and actual sin). John 3:5-6, Titus 3:5, Acts 2:38, 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21.

Application: The Bible doesn’t specify how the water should be applied in Baptism. The word “baptize” in the original Greek language simply means “to wash” (Acts 22:16).

Infant Baptism: It is God’s will that infants be baptized. (Acts 2:38-39) We baptize infants because 1) infants too are a part of “all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20), 2) infants too are sinful from conception (Psalm 51:15), and 3) infants too can believe (Luke 18:15-17).

Adult Baptism: (accepting Christ) – No one can say that Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). God creates faith in our hearts apart from any work or acceptance of Him on our own (Titus 3:4-7). Like the earth receiving a seed in the ground (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Triune God: Only baptisms administered in the name of the Triune God are valid. Matthew 28:19.

Holy Baptism False Doctrine

Baptism symbolizes the forgiveness of sins and salvation. [REF]


Baptism only forgives original sin and the sins we commit before our baptism. [RC]


All baptisms, to be valid, must be performed by immersion. [BAP]


Baptism is a dedication of person to God (whether a child or adult). It has no power to bring people into God’s family. Only those who have reached the age of discretion should be baptized. [BAP, REF]


Baptisms are administered in the name of a god that is not Triune. [LDS]

Holy Communion True Doctrine

A Sacrament is a sacred act: not what we do for God, but what He does for us! 

Communion means “sharing or participating together”

Communion (Real Presence): The body and blood of Christ are miraculously present in the Lord’s Supper in, with, and under the earthly elements, bread and wine. Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:18-20, 1 Corinthians 10:17, 11:24-25.

Communion with Christ: In the Lord’s Supper Jesus gives the blessing of the forgiveness of sins to all believing communicants. God blesses each believing communicant with the gift of salvation (eternal life in heaven) along with the gift of forgiveness. Luke 1:77.

Communion with Confessional Christians: When Christians commune with each other they give expression to the Spirit-worked like-minded unity of faith they share. The practice of close communion is out of love and concern for the believer and their soul, even among our own members (see definition below). John 17:20-23; Romans 5:5-6, 16:17-20; 1 Corinthians 1:10, 10:17, 11:27-29.

Close(d) Communion – There are those who say differences in teachings aren’t really that important. However, the LORD gives both Old Testament regulations in regards to the Passover (Exodus 12:43-51) and New Testament examples of this truth (1 Timothy 1:18-20; Romans 16:17). We practice Close(d) Communion out of love and concern for the believer and their soul, even among our own members (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). 

Holy Communion False Doctrine

The earthly elements bread and wine only symbolize Jesus’ body and blood (Representation). [REF]

The bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ (Transubstantiation). [RC]


The blessing of the forgiveness of sins is only symbolized in the Lord’s Supper. Salvation is not a blessing conveyed to communicants in the Sacrament. [REF]

Communicants receive the blessings of God’s love by the outward act of receiving the Lord’s Supper. The blessings of God’s love are obtained by the good work of communing. [RC]


When the Lord’s Supper is celebrated all who are present are eligible to commune, even when they are not united in their beliefs and confession (open communion). [ELCA, REF, tolerated in LC-MS]

Justification True Doctrine

God has justified (declared not guilty) all sinners for the sake of Jesus Christ, who made atonement for the sins of the world (objective justification) by His substitutionary death on the cross. Romans 3:24-25; 4:25; Galatians 2:16; 3:11


We are justified by grace THROUGH FAITH ALONE (subjective justification). Romans 5:18-19, 1 Corinthians 5:18-21.

Justification False Doctrine

God justifies sinners in view of their faith or because of a better attitude on the part of those who are saved. [ELCA]


We are justified by “grace infused” and the performance of good works. [RC]

Law / Gospel True Doctrine

God’s Law is described in the Broad sense of everything He teaches us from the Word of God in the Bible (Psalm 119:105). Law is also used in the narrow sense as a curb to warn sinners, a mirror to convict sinners, and a rule to guide sinners in righteous behavior that honors Him.  The Laws of God’s Word can fall into three categories: Moral law (10 Commandments), Ceremonial law (temple worship), and Civil law (social regulations for the nation of Israel). 


God’s Gospel is described in the Broad sense as the entire Word of God that leads sinners to learn of their Savior Jesus Christ (John 20:31). Gospel is also used in the narrow sense in describing the specific work of Christ’s redemption to save sinners and gift eternal life through His perfect righteousness (John 3:16-17). 

Law / Gospel False Doctrine

God’s Law is a helpful moral guide for this life, but one is free to decide what is right for them. Culture has changed a great deal since the Bible was written and so one can’t expect to agree with everything in it. Church discipline is a thing of the past and love should rule. Churches should be welcoming to all regardless of how they view God’s law. [REF] Penance must be made for certain mortal sins by following the priests instructions for absolution. [RC]


God’s Gospel is that he is a loving God and wouldn’t condemn anyone. Hell isn’t an actual real place we should fear. There are multiple ways to get to heaven. God blesses good people and wants to bless you if you are good. [ELCA, REF, and others]

Mission of the Church True Doctrine

The mission or purpose of the Church is to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission to proclaim and spread the saving message of His Gospel to all people. Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 24:47, John 20:21-23,  1 Corinthians 2:1-2.


The Great Commission is to baptize all nations and to teach all that the Lord has commanded in Scripture … and only Scripture. Matthew 28:20, 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

Membership in a congregation is a blessing from God to build up faith (Acts 2:42), to walk and Commune united (1 Corinthians 10:16-17), and to care for one another’s faith and life (Galatians 6:10). 

Discipline in the Church is commanded by God in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-20). It is meant to be carried out with patient love towards and from all members as well as elected members on behalf of the congregation (Hebrews 13:17). The goal of any discipline or admonishment from God’s Word is to direct the soul back to following Christ (Galatians 6:1). If a member of the congregation is unrepentant of any particular public or private sin, they will be asked to refrain from taking the Lord’s Supper until fruits of repentance are evident (1 John 1:5-9).

(compare “Church Fellowship” and “Mission of the Church”)

Mission of the Church False Doctrine

The mission of the Church is social in nature. [many]


The Church is to teach what is in the Bible, plus the traditions of the church. [LDS, RC]


Church membership is not something that is necessary or important. [many churches]


(compare “Church Fellowship” and “Mission of the Church”)

Religious Unionism True Doctrine

False teaching is any teaching that contradicts the Truth of the Bible. (The teachings of the Bible are clear.) Jeremiah 23:31-32, Psalm 119:105, John 8:31-32).


All religious teachings should be tested in the light of Scripture. Teachings contrary to Scripture should be rejected. Jeremiah 23:25-29, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, 1 John 4:1.


God tells us to avoid religious fellowship with false teachers as soon as it is noticed that they are defending or promoting (“sticking to”) their error. Romans 16:17-18.


God tells us to avoid religious fellowship with false teachers out of love for the false teachers (to warn them of the danger to their faith) and out of love for our souls (to prevent our faith from being damaged or destroyed). 1 Corinthians 14:8, Galatians 5:9, 2 Timothy 2:17-19.4

4  Weak brothers (that is, Christian people who show a weakness in their faith or an ignorance in their knowledge of Bible teaching) shouldn’t be avoided. In their case God wants us to provide patient instruction in the Word so that their Bible knowledge may grow and their faith in Jesus may be nurtured and strengthened. Romans 15:1-2, Galatians 6:1-2.
(compare “Church Fellowship” and “Mission of the Church”)
Religious Unionism False Doctrine

It is not possible for anyone to know or teach the whole Truth. (Many teachings of the Bible are unclear.) [many]


Differences of opinion about what the Bible teaches should be tolerated in the Church. [ELCA, REF, tolerated in LC-MS].


Fellowship with false teachers may continue until you have reached the conviction that warning them about their error will serve no purpose, or as long as you believe there is hope of leading them back to the way of truth. [LC-MS]


To avoid religious fellowship with false teachers and their adherents is unloving.


Joint activities with other church bodies are a means of re-unifying the Christian Church. (RC)


(compare “Church Fellowship” and “Mission of the Church”)

Resurrection True Doctrine

Jesus rose physically from the dead on Easter morning. Matthew 28, Luke 24, 1 Corinthians 15.


All the dead will physically rise on the Last Day. Believers will enter eternal life in heaven. Unbelievers will suffer eternal punishment in hell. Job 19:26-27, Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:28-29, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57.


(compare “Second Coming of Christ” below)

Resurrection False Doctrine

Jesus did not rise physically from the dead. [J, many others]. The biblical account of His resurrection is a myth and not a historical event. [tolerated in ELCA, others]


Some will be taken to heaven bodily before the Last Day. [CHAR, JW, SDA, tolerated in ELCA, all who espouse the millennialist teaching of a 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ]


(compare “Second Coming of Christ” below)

Salvation True Doctrine

Jesus died on the cross for all sinners and God has declared all of them forgiven for Jesus’ sake. Romans 5:6, 2 Corinthians 5:19, 1 John 2:2.


The sinner is saved BY GRACE ALONE through faith in Christ, apart from the works of the law. Romans 3:24; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9.


God wants to save everyone. 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9.


Jesus Christ is the one and only way to heaven. Acts 4:12, John 14:6, 1 John 5:11-12.


(compare “Justification” above)

Salvation False Doctrine

Jesus died on the cross only for those who end up in heaven. [some REF]


The sinner is saved by “grace infused” and by doing works of the law. [RC]


God chose some people to be saved and others to be damned. [REF]


There are other ways to get to heaven besides Jesus. [CS, J, U, others] All who are sincere in what they believe will be saved. [tolerated in ELCA, U, others]


(compare “Justification” above)

Second Coming of Christ True Doctrine

On the Last Day the Lord Jesus will come from heaven to the judge the living and the dead. Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:28-29; Acts 1:11, 10:42, 17:30-31; Romans 2:5.


The return of Christ for judgment at the end of the world is certain. The exact time of His return and of the end is only known by God. Matthew 24:36, 1 Peter 4:7, 2 Peter 3:10.


(compare “Resurrection” above)

Second Coming of Christ False Doctrine

Before the Last Day He will come from heaven to take believers off the earth in a secret rapture. Later He will return to rule visibly on earth from the city of Jerusalem for 1,000 years. Still later, He will return for judgment on the Last Day (millennialism). [CHAR, REF, HB, JW, many others]


It is possible to calculate the exact time when the end of the world will happen. [JW, CHAR, REF, HB, many others]


(compare “Resurrection” above)

Sexuality True Doctrine

Adultery is any sexual activity or intercourse between a married person and someone who is not his or her spouse (Exodus 20:14, Proverbs 6:32, Matthew 5:27-28).

Fornication is any sexual activity or intercourse among people who are not married (Hebrews 13:4). God makes it clear that sexual immorality should be put away from us and not cause others to stumble into sin (Ephesians 5:3).

Heterosexuality is the sexual desire, activity, or intercourse between members of the opposite sex (1 Corinthians 6:9). God calls these lusts, desires and actions sinful outside of marriage (Matthew 5:28, Hebrews 13:4).  

Homosexuality is the sexual desire, activity, or intercourse between members of the same sex (Romans 1:26-27). God calls these desires or actions sinful whether married or not (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10). 

Transgenderism is spoken against by God in that He created us male and female since the beginning (Mark 10:6-9, Deuteronomy 22:5). 

Churches who desire to be faithful to God’s Word should not condone living together outside of marriage, bless same-sex marriages, nor retain in the public ministry those who defend, condone, or persist in words or actions contrary to God’s Word. We assure the repentant who are struggling against any sin that they have forgiveness through the blood of Christ. God provides the remedy for all moral failure through faith in Jesus Christ and the life changing power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 John 1:5-9. See Law/Gospel Tab for God’s Word about forgiveness.

Sexuality False Doctrine

Adultery may be frowned upon, but tolerated if the couple is no longer in love. 


Fornication outside of a marriage is a natural expression of one’s sexuality (whether heterosexual or homosexual).


Homosexuality is OK if the couple is in a loving and committed relationship. Homosexuality is a predetermined orientation that is normal and natural for some, just as heterosexual orientation is normal and natural for others.


Transgenderism or Homosexuality are not sinful. It is simply the way that an individual expresses human love and sexuality.


The church should bless same-sex marriages. Openly gay or lesbian pastors may be ordained. [tolerated in ELCA, many others]

Sin True Doctrine

Sin literally means “to miss the mark” of perfection in keeping God’s commandment(s) perfectly. Matthew 5:48.  See Law/Gospel Tab. There are three types of sin: 

  • Inherited sin (original) – The sin that every person inherits from Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12).
  • Sin of Commission – When we transgress God’s law by doing something that His law prohibits (Exodus 20:13).
  • Sin of Omission – When we transgress God’s law by not doing something that His law commands (Exodus 20:8).


Man lost the perfect righteousness and knowledge of God’s will (image of God) with which he was created. This happened when he was tempted by Satan and sinned (Genesis 3). Since the fall into sin, everyone is conceived and born in sin (original or birth sin). Everyone is inclined by nature to transgress God’s law by evil thoughts, words, and deeds (actual sin). Psalm 51:5, Genesis 5:3; Matthew 15:19, 1 John 3:4.


All people are accountable to God for their birth sin and their actual sin, including babies. Both adults and children are liable for God’s punishment for their sin. Romans 5:12, 6:23a.

Sin False Doctrine

There is no such thing as sin. Evil is the result of the corrupt environment we live in. All talk of Satan and demons in the Bible is symbolic. [tolerated in ELCA]


God does not hold little children accountable for the sins they commit until they reach an age of discretion. [BAP, CoC]


Baptism removes original (inherited) sin, but penance must be done for other sins after Baptism. [RC]


Certain sin, such as ‘venial’ sin is a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell as an unrepented “mortal” sin would. [RC]

Trinity True Doctrine

The true God is Triune (one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). All three Persons of the Godhead are co-eternal, and co-equal in honor, power, and glory. Deuteronomy 6:4, Numbers 6:24-26, Matthew 28:19; John 8:58; 14:7-10, 16; 15:26; 2 Corinthians 13:14; the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds.

Trinity False Doctrine

The true God is not Triune. [CS, J, JW, LDS, U, tolerated in ELCA] Jesus was a mortal man, not the eternal Son of God. [CS, J, JW, LDS, U, tolerated in ELCA]. The Holy Spirit is an impersonal force. [JW]

Virgin Birth True Doctrine

Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 2:35.

Virgin Birth False Doctrine

Jesus was conceived in a natural way like all others. [tolerated in ELCA, LC-MS, BAP, others]

Women and Men's Role True Doctrine

Headship – is the principle that defines the roles God has placed for men and women in the home and in the church (1 Corinthians 11:3). Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women.  The headship principle established by God in his creation of man and woman and the institution of marriage (Genesis 2) is not simply a matter of culture or tradition.


In the home – A godly understanding of the headship role is seen in the husband’s selfless, humble leadership. Sin unfortunately inclines a husband to either desire domination, or passivity (Ephesians 5:21-33). Rather, a husband is to reflect how Christ sacrificially behaves towards us. A wife’s godly understanding is seen in willingly to submit herself to the spiritual leadership of her husband, instead of a sinful usurpation, or servility. Submit is the same understanding used of Jesus’ lovingly submitting to His Father’s will (John 6:38; 1 Peter 3:1-7). 


In the church – Sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or abandonment of spiritual responsibility (1 Peter 5:3). Sin inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries. Redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation (Galatians 3:28). Still, some teaching/governing roles are restricted to men (1 Corinthians 11:1-16, 14:34-36; 1 Timothy 2:8-15). This is not based on God-given gifts or ability, but on God’s designation of these roles from before and after the fall into sin (further study). Men and women who have a heartfelt call to ministry should not use that feeling to ignore God’s direction for particular ministries. Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective and submissive discernment of God’s will for all of us in our lives (1 Peter 4:11).


In society – Scripture doesn’t indicate a designation of these headship roles like He does within the home or in the church, so neither should we. However, both men and women alike should show one another the love and respect Christ calls for from all His disciples regardless of gender (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5).   

Women and Men's Role False Doctrine

Women are allowed to serve as pastors. [EPIS, ELCA, REF]


Woman suffrage is practiced in the church. [ELCA, EPIS, REF, practiced in LC-MS, others]

Part 2: False Teachings Arranged by Religious Group


(Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc.)

The heathen religions teach
  1. Worship of a false god (idolatry)
  2. The true God is not the Triune God
  3. Jesus is not the eternal Son of God
  4. Jesus is not the only Way to heaven
  5. Good works are essential for salvation
  6. The Bible is not God’s Word

Many other unchristian beliefs

But the Bible Says
  1. Exodus 20:3, Matthew 4:10
  2. Matthew 28:19
  3. John 1:1, John 5:23
  4. John 14:6, Acts 4:12
  5. Ephesians 2:8-9
  6. 2 Timothy 3:15-16

Non-Christian Cult Religions

Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach
  1. The Bible isn’t the sole authority in matters
    of faith; beliefs are based on writings of men (Watchtower Magazine, etc.)
  2. The true God is not triune
  3. Jesus is a created being; He is not a Person of the Triune God
  4. The Holy Spirit is an invisible force, not a Person of the Triune God
  5. Christ’s death isn’t sufficient to atone for the sins of all
  6. Christ rose from the dead with a re-created body
  7. Only 144,000 will be saved
  8. Christ will return to rule on earth for 1,000 years (millennialism)
  9. Quote and apply Bible passages out of their context
But the Bible Says
  1. Proverbs 30:5-6, Luke 16:29, John 17:20
  2. Matthew 28:19
  3. John 5:23, Colossians 2:8-9
  4. Acts 5:3-4
  5. Romans 3:23-26, 5:1
  6. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Luke 24:38-40
  7. John 3:16
  8. John 18:36
  9. 2 Peter 1:20

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)

The Latter Day Saints teach
  1. Bible not the sole authority in matters of faith; base their beliefs on writings of men and ongoing revelation (Book of Mormon, etc.)
  2. The true God is not triune
  3. Jesus is not the eternal God
  4. Salvation is by faith and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the church
  5. There are many gods; all male Mormons are striving to become a god
  6. There will be eternal marriage in heaven
  7. Baptism for the dead is practiced
  8. Polygamy is practiced
But the Bible Says
  1. Proverbs 30:5-6, 2 Peter 1:21, Jeremiah 23:31-32
  2. Matthew 28:19
  3. John 1:1, John 5:23
  4. Ephesians 2:8-9
  5. Genesis 3, Deuteronomy 6:4, Isaiah 43:10, 1 Timothy 2:5
  6. Matthew 22:30, Romans 7:2
  7. Hebrews 9:27
  8. Genesis 2:24, 1 Corinthians 7:2

Christian Science

Christian Science teaches
  1. The true God is not the Triune God
  2. Jesus is not the eternal God
  3. Jesus is a “Way-shower” to heal oneself, not a Savior
  4. All sin, disease, death is unreal (overcome by faith and prayer)
  5. Their book Science and Health supersedes the authority of the Bible
But the Bible Says
  1. Matthew 28:19
  2. John 1:1, John 5:23
  3. Ephesians 1:7, Titus 2:13-14, 1John 1:7, 4:2-3
  4. Romans 6:23, 7:18; Acts 14:22
  5. 2 Peter 1:21, Timothy 3:16-17

Other groups such as the Unification Church (“Moonies”), Unitarian and Universalist churches, and Spiritualists like to hide behind the guise of Christianity but are unchristian in their teachings and beliefs.

Christian Groups

Roman Catholic Church

Roman Catholicism teaches
  1. The Pope is the representative of Christ on earth
  2. Papal pronouncements are authoritative and infallible (on a par with the Bible)
  3. There are three authoritative sources for religious teaching: The Bible, papal decrees, and church tradition
  4. We are saved through faith in Christ and the performance of good works
  5. There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church (the pope has made several contradictory statements to this more recently)
  6. We should pray to Mary and the saints to intercede to God for us
  7. Indulgences (remission before God of temporal punishments for sin) should be dispersed in the church
  8. The Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) is when the bread and wine are transformed by the ordained power of the priest into the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation) and becomes a sin re-sacrifice of Christ
  9. Priests should not marry
But the Bible Says
  1. Matthew 23:9, 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 Corinthians 3:11
  2. Proverbs 30:5-6; Matthew 15:9, Jeremiah 23:31
  3. John 17:17, 2 Peter 1:21
  4. Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:28, 10:4; Galatians 3:10-11
  5. John 3:16, Romans 10:9
  6. Matthew 4:10, John 16:23
  7. Psalm 32:5, John 19:30, 1 John 1:8-9
  8. Hebrews 7:26-27, 10:18;
  9. 1 Timothy 3:2, 4:1-3

Eastern (Greek) Orthodox Church

The body traces its roots back to the Great Schism of 1054, when it separated from Rome due to a power struggle in the church. The Eastern Orthodox Church is virtually identical in its teachings to the Roman Catholic Church, except that it does not accept the authority and infallibility of the Pope.

Other Major Denominations - Often referred as "Reformed"

Major denominations within this group include: Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, and Pentecostal groups such as Assembly of God and the Church of God. Most TV Evangelists also are Reformed in their beliefs.

The Reformed Churches teach
  1. Babies are not born sinful (Or: God does not hold babies accountable for sin)
  2. Babies should not be baptized
  3. Water baptism does not forgive sin or save (it is only a symbol or representation of God’s forgiveness)
  4. Christ’s body and blood aren’t present in the Lord’s Supper, only symbolized
  5. Unbelievers have the ability to come to faith (decide for Christ) on their own
  6. Jesus’ death on the cross was intended only for the salvation of some, not all
  7. Baptism of the Spirit is an event occurring after salvation; it is something some Christians will experience, not all
  8. We should expect the Holy Spirit to bestow charismatic gifts on Christians today (speaking in tongues)
  9. Confession that “Jesus is Lord” sufficient for the practice of religious fellowship
  10. Christ will return to rule on earth for 1,000 years (millennialism)
  11. The time of Christ’s return can be predicted
  12. The pastoral office is open to women
  13. All Christians must tithe

Note: Not all of these errors are taught by all Reformed denominations. These are only general areas of difference between Reformed churches and Bible-based confessional Lutheranism.

But the Bible Says
  1. Psalm 51:5, John 3:5-6, Romans 6:23a
  2. Matthew 28:19, Acts 2:38-39
  3. Galatians 3:27, 1 Peter 3:21
  4. Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:27-29
  5. 1 Corinthians 12:3, John 6:44, John 15:16
  6. John 1:29, 1 Timothy 2:4, 1 John 2:2
  7. Romans 6:3-4, Ephesians 1:3-14
  8. Mark 16:17-18,20, Acts 2:43, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Hebrews 2:3-5
  9. Romans 15:5-6, 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:10
  10. John 18:36
  11. Mark 13:32
  12. 1 Timothy 2:11-14, 3:2; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  13. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Seventh Day Adventists (SDA)

In addition to many of the errors listed for Reformed Denominations:

The SDA Church teaches

In the SDA statement of “Fundamental Beliefs” (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.htm), you’ll find many fine things with which we would agree completely. Here are some of the SDA distinctives that we find troubling, however:

  1. Perhaps the “trademark” SDA emphasis–the teaching that, at Creation, God established Saturday as a mandatory day of rest for his people of all time. In SDA practice, there is a strong streak of legalism–i.e., the view that life with God is fundamentally about “keeping the rules” instead of about faith in Christ–in other matters, too. “The rules” have included diet, tobacco, alcohol, appropriate apparel, jewelry, tithing, etc.

  2. Baptism is a confession of faith, not a means of grace; and it must be performed by immersion.

  3. The bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper are “emblems” of Jesus’ body and blood, not the real thing. Jesus also instituted foot-washing as a lasting ordinance for his church.

  4. The writings of Ellen G. White (1827-1915) are an authoritative source of teaching alongside the Scriptures. The Church in General Conference session may also be led by the Holy Spirit to revise its teachings still further.

  5. In 1844, Christ in the sanctuary in heaven began a work of “investigative judgment”–i.e., the work of determining which of those who have died were righteous and may participate in the Resurrection at Christ’s coming. When he comes, the “millennium” will begin, which is explained as a 1,000-year reign of Christ with his believers in heaven (during which time the earth will be occupied only by Satan and his angels). Christ and the believers will return to earth at the end of this period, the earth will be cleansed, and this renewed earth will be the home of believers forever.

A word should be said, however, about the SDA’s many admirable educational and charitable endeavors all around the world. Additionally, there has been something of an “evangelical movement” within the SDA in recent times that has led them to put more emphasis on Jesus’ forgiveness and less on “the rules.” We pray it will continue.

But the Bible Says
  1. Colossians 2:16-17

  2. Titus 3:5

  3. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

  4. 1 John 4:1

  5. Matthew 24:43-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, Revelation 16:15

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

Formed in 1988 by the merging of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA), the American Lutheran Church (ALC), and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches (AELC).

The ELCA teaches
  1. Bible contains errors, myths, and contradictions
  2. The true God is not Triune
  3. Satan is not a real being, only a symbol
  4. Jesus may not have arisen physically from the dead
  5. Jesus may not have been born of a virgin
  6. Salvation may be found in other religions
  7. Evolution is a possible explanation for the origin of the world
  8. “Agreement in the Gospel” is sufficient for the practice of religious fellowship
  9. Women may serve as pastors
  10. Abortion is a mother’s choice
  11. Homosexuality/lesbianism is an acceptable lifestyle



Note: Some of these errors aren’t part of the official doctrinal stance of the ELCA but are being taught or tolerated in their churches and seminaries.

But the Bible Says
  1. Proverbs 30:5, John 10:35, John 17:17
  2. Matthew 28:19
  3. Ephesians 6:11, 1 Peter 5:8
  4. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Luke 24:38-40
  5. Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 2:35
  6. John 14:6, Acts 4:12
  7. Genesis 1, Exodus 20:11, Hebrews 11:3
  8. Romans 15:5-6, 16:17-18; 1 Corinthians 1:10
  9. 1 Timothy 2:11-14, 3:2; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  10. Psalm 127:3, 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5
  11. Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LC-MS)

The Missouri Synod teaches
  1. Membership in lodges allowed
  2. Membership in scouting and fraternal benefit societies allowed
  3. Woman suffrage (voting privileges) allowed
  4. Joint church work engaged in with other churches without regard for teaching differences
  5. Open communion allowed
  6. Doctrinal discipline not carried out faithfully
But the Bible Says
  1. Romans 16:17-18, 2 Corinthians 6:16-17
  2. Romans 16:17-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22
  3. 1 Timothy 2:12-14
  4. Romans 16:17-18, 1 Corinthians 1:10
  5. 1 Corinthians 1:10, 10:17
  6. Romans 16:17-18

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS)

(in fellowship with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod)

The Wisconsin Synod teaches
  1. Since the 1950s, there has been a concern the WELS/ELS will continue religious fellowship and participation with false teachers until it appears that admonition is “of no further avail.” The WELS and ELS have officially adopted a Joint Statement on the Termination of Fellowship that continues to be evaluated along with other official statements. 
  2. Membership in fraternal benefit societies (e.g. Thrivent Financial) is viewed as acceptable even though, through one’s membership in such societies, financial support is given to false teaching churches and teachers.
But the Bible Says
  1. Romans 16:17-18
  2. Romans 16:17-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

O Holy Spirit, grant us grace
That we our Lord and Savior
In faith and fervent love embrace
And truly serve Him ever,
So that when death is drawing nigh,
We to His open wounds may fly
And find in them salvation.

Help us that we Thy saving Word
In faithful hearts may treasure;
Let e’er that Bread of Life afford
New grace in richest measure.
Yea, let us die to every sin,
For heaven create us new within
That fruits of faith may flourish.

And when our earthly race is run,
Death’s bitter hour impending,
Then may Thy work in us begun
Continue till life’s ending,
Until we gladly may commend
Our souls into our Savior’s hand
To rest in peace eternal.

The Lutheran Hymnal, #293

This content was prepared by Pastor Tom Schuetze in June 2007. It is a revision of a work originally published in the 1980‘s by Pastors Daniel Fleischer and David Schierenbeck under the title: “’Test the Spirits’ 1 John 4:1 – A Reference Chart of Doctrinal Differences.”

Biblical quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Rev. April 2015; and again by Immanuel Mankato June 2021

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