Church False Doctrines

By Bro. David Cloud
Bro. David's Cloud's Testimony

Way of Life Website

November 3, 2005 - David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143. Send e-mail:

The Bible Gateway -

Bible Verse Links - A word of warning: The Bible Gateway - site gives the user access to some very helpful tools for Bible study. While the default version is the KJV, several modern versions of the Bible, including the NIV, NASB, NLT, among others, are also available. By having this link I am not promoting, nor do I condone, the use of these versions. In my humble opinion, you should use the KJV only.

The following are some of the major false doctrines that are a particular danger to Bible believing churches in our day and a concise biblical refutation of them. We use the following to train our church members.


1. Jesus warned about false teachers (Matthew 7:15-17).

2. Paul warned about false teachers (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Timothy 4:3-4).

3. Peter warned about false teachers and said that many will follow them (2 Peter 2:1-2).

4. John warned about false teachers (1 John 2:18-20).

5. Jude warned about false teachers (Jude 3-4).


1. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

2. We are to continue in the apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42).

3. Preachers are to give themselves to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13).

4. No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Timothy 1:3).

5. Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Titus 2:10).

6. We are to separate from false doctrine (Romans 16:17).


1. The false teaching that salvation is by grace plus works (Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of Christ, Roman, Catholic Church)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says salvation is by grace without works and that works follows after salvation (Romans 4:1-6; Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8).

b. The Bible says that grace and works cannot be mixed together (Romans 11:6).

c. Grace means a free gift. Salvation is called a gift 16 times in the New Testament. If salvation requires some works, then it is not a true gift. The gift of     God is free for the sinner because Jesus Christ purchased it at great price with His blood and death on the cross.

2. The false teaching that Jesus is not God (Jehovah's Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible plainly says that Jesus is God

(1) Isaiah called Jesus God (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6).
(2) Matthew called Jesus God (Matthew 1:23).
(3) Jesus called Himself God (John 5:17-18; John 8:58-59; John 10:30-33; Revevation 1:8).
(4) John called Jesus God (John 1:1; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 5:20).
(5) Thomas called Jesus God (John 20:28).
(6) Paul called Jesus God (Acts 20:28; Philippians 2:5-6; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13).
(7) God the Father called Jesus God (Hebrews 1:8-10).

b. In His incarnation the Lord Jesus Christ "made himself of no reputation" and became a lowly servant to God and man (Philippians 2:7). The Greek     word for "made himself of no reputation" is "kenoo," meaning "to empty, to abase, to make of none effect" (Strong). Jesus did not cease to be God.     Philippians 2:6 plainly states that He is God, but the Son of God willingly laid aside His glory for the purpose of redeeming man by the cross.

c. There is an order to the Trinity. God the Son submits to God the Father, even though they are equal.

3. The false teaching that God is not a Trinity (Jehovah's Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The term "trinity" is not in the Bible, but the doctrine is (Matthew 28:19; John 14:16, 26; John 16:7-15; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6;
    1 John 5:7).

b. The O.T. teaches that God is one in a plurality. Though the Old Testament does not fully reveal the doctrine of the Trinity, it does teach us that God      is a plurality. It is left for the New Testament to open up this revelation fully.

Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew word for God here is elohim. This is a plural noun, but the verb is singular, teaching that there is one God in a plurality.

Genesis 11:6-7. Here again God is spoken of in the plural and in the singular at the same time.

Deuteronomy 6:4. This verse could be translated, "Jehovah our elohim is a united Jehovah." The word "one" refers to a unity. The same word for one is used in
Genesis 2:24
, speaking of the oneness of a husband and wife. This verse summarizes the Bible's teaching about God. He is one but exists in three Persons.

Psalm 45:6-7. According to Hebrews 1:8-9, God the Father is speaking inPsalm 45, and He is referring to the Son as God. Sometimes people ask, "If Jesus Himself was God, why did He address the Father as God?" The answer is that Jesus addressed the Father as God for the same reason that the Father addressed the Son as God-because they are both God!

4. The false teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-4). It is the blood and death of Christ that takes away     our sins, not water or religious rituals.

b. Paul says that baptism is not the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins
    (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Baptism only symbolizes the gospel.

c. The book of Acts teaches us that baptism follows salvation ( Acts 8:36-38; Acts 16:30-33; Acts 18:8).

d. Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism is a part of salvation, because Peter later taught that baptism is a symbol (1 Pet. 3:21). Acts 2:38 teaches that     we are baptized because we have been forgiven of our sins not in order to be forgiven.

5. The false teaching that infants should be baptized (Roman, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist)

Bible Answer:

a. Baptism is only for those who believe (Mark 16:15; Acts 8:36-38). When a child is old enough to believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, then he     can be baptized. But an infant cannot do this.

b. No infants were baptized in the New Testament.

Some say that there must have been infants baptized in the case of Cornelius since his kinsmen and friends were present (Acts 10:24, Acts 10:47). Contrariwise, Acts 11:17 says that those who were saved and baptized with Cornelius were those "who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ." Obviously these were not infants.

What about the case of Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15). Nothing is said about infants in this passage, and it is highly unlikely that this busy merchant woman would have had babies. There is no evidence here whatsoever for the practice of infant baptism.

What about the Philippian jailer and his household (Acts 16:30-34). This passage clearly says that Paul spoke the Word of God to the entire household (verse 32) and that the entire household "believed" (verses 32-33). This could not be said of infants.

What about the household of Crispus (Acts 18:8)? Those who were saved and baptized in this family were all believers, for we are told, "Crispus ... believed on the Lord with all his house..." Obviously they were not infants.

What about the household of Stephanas (1 Corinthians 1:16)? Again nothing is actually said about infants being present or baptized. In
1 Corinthians 16:15 we are told that this household addicted themselves to the ministry. This could not be said of infants.

6. The false teachings of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement (Assemblies of God, etc.)

6a. The false doctrine that tongues speaking is for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says tongues were a real language (Acts 2:3-11).

b. The Bible says tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Corinthians 14:21-22). After Israel rejected God's sign of tongues and Jerusalem was     destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth, the need for tongues as a sign was finished.

c. Biblical tongues had to be used according to the teaching of the apostles, yet the Pentecostals and Charismatics do not submit to these restrictions:

(1) Women are not allowed to speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:34)
(2) Tongues were to be spoken only by course (1 Cor. 14:27)
(3) Tongues must be interpreted (1 Corinthians 14:27)
(4) There is to be no confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33)
(5) Everything is to be decent (1 Corinthians 14:40)
(6) Everything is to be orderly (1 Corinthians 14:40)

d. Tongues were not spoken by every believer even in the days of the apostles
(1 Corinthians 12:28-30).

e. Biblical tongues were not sought after but were sovereignly given by God
(1 Corinthians 12:11).

f. There is no instruction in the Bible about HOW to speak in tongues. Those who believe in tongues speaking today claim that they can teach people     who to do it.

g. The Bible says tongues speaking, prophesying, and words of knowing will pass away (1 Corinthians 13:8). When the New Testament was completed,      there was no further need for these particular gifts.

6b.The false doctrine that healing is promised in the atonement

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that not all sicknesses are healed (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20).

b. The Bible says that the physical part of our salvation is for the future (Romans 8:17-25).

c. Peter says that Isaiah 53:5 refers to spiritual healing of the soul (1 Peter 2:24-25).

6c. The false doctrine that miracles should be sought

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus warned that it is not good to seek miracles (Matthew 12:39).

b. The miracles performed by the apostles were special (2 Corinthians 12:12). Not every Christian could perform miracles.

c. Faith does not come from miracles but from God's Word (Romans 10:17). Multitudes witnessed Jesus' great miracles, but most did not believe.

6d. The false doctrine that the Holy Spirit baptism follows salvation

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) and this was fulfilled in Acts 2 for the Jews and in Acts 10:44-47 for the Gentiles.

b. Since then, every believer receives the Holy Spirit when he believes (Ephesians 1:12-14).

c. The book of Acts is a transitional book. Not everything that happened then is the pattern for the rest of the church age.

d. In the epistles, the reception of the Holy Spirit is always mentioned in the past tense (Romans 8:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22;
    2 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:13).

6e. The false doctrine that we should exalt the Holy Spirit

Bible Answer:

a. The Lord Jesus Christ foretold what role the Holy Spirit would have in the church age (John 16:13-15). In this passage we learn that the Holy Spirit     does not exalt Himself and the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself.

b. There is no example in the N.T. of praying to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, not to the Holy Spirit
     (Matthew 6:6,9;

a. The Lord Jesus Christ foretold what role the Holy Spirit would have in the church age (John 16:13-15). In this passage we learn that the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself and the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself.

b. There is no example in the N.T. of praying to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, not to the Holy Spirit
     (Matthew 6:6,9; John 16:23). The Apostle Paul taught us to pray to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:8;      Romans 7:25).

c. There is no example in the New Testament of inviting the Holy Spirit to work. Neither Jesus nor the apostles did that.

6f. The false doctrine that we should not test the Holy Spirit with the Bible

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible warns that there are false spirits and that the devil tries to deceive (2 Corinthians 11:4; 1 John 4:1). Therefore we must test everything     carefully or we will be deceived.

b. The Bible commands us to prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

c. The Bible commended the Bereans because they tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11)

6g. The false doctrine that the believer can be rid of his sin nature

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that the believer still has the struggle with sin (Romans 7:14-21; Galatians 5:16-17).

b. John teaches that the believer still has sin (1 John 1:8, 10).

6h. The false doctrine that victory in the Christian life comes through unusual baptisms and experiences

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible does not exhort us to make spiritual leaps through unusual experiences. Rather, it exhorts us to GROW in Christ (1 Peter 2:1-2;
    2 Peter 3:18).

b. The apostles wrote many epistles instructing the believers about how to deal with sin an spiritual problems, but they never instructed the believers to      seek a second baptism or other such special experiences.

6i. The false doctrine that visions and prophecies are for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says the faith was completed in the days of the apostles Jude 3).

b. The Bible says that the Scriptures are sufficient 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

c. The Bible says that Scripture is more sure than visions (2 Peter 1:16-21).

d. The Bible says that prophecies will pass away (1 Corinthians 13:8).

7. The false teaching that death is a sleep and not a journey (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The Old Testament plainly says that death is a journey (Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:18; Numbers 27:13; 2 Samuel 12:23; 1 King 17:21-22).

b. The New Testament plainly says that death is a journey:

(1) Jesus said death is a journey (Luke 16:19-23; Luke 23:42-43). That Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable is evident by the fact that Jesus named the names of Abraham and Lazarus. He never named names when He was giving parables. Further, even if it were a parable, it would still teach literal truth.
(2) Paul said death is a journey (
2 Corinthians 5:6-7; Philippians 1:23; 2 Timothy 4:6).
(3) Peter said death is a journey (2 Peter 1:13-15).
(4) The fact that the dead saints return with Christ from heaven at the time of the rapture shows that dead saints go to Heaven at death
      (1 Thessalonians 4:14).
(5) John's heavenly visions show that dead saints are conscience in heaven prior to the resurrection and during the Great Tribulation on earth      (Revelation 6:9-11).
(6) Moses' and Elijah's appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration proves that the dead have conscious existence between death and resurrection.       Moses and Elijah, though dead, were allowed by God to appear in time on that mountain and to converse about events which were soon to take       place in Jerusalem (Matthew 17:1-3; Luke 9:30-31).

c. The Bible sometimes speaks of death as a "sleep," but it is the body that sleeps not the spirit (James 2:26).

d. Ecclesiastes sometimes speaks of death as nothingness (i.e., Ecclesiastes 9:5), but this is because Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of the      man "under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:3, 9, 14, etc), the perspective of man looking at life the way it appears apart from divine revelation. To the      natural man who does not have the revelation of the Scriptures, death appears to be the end of things. But other portions of the Bible tell us that this      is not the case. Even the book of Ecclesiastes itself, in its conclusion, says thatdeath is a journey (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

e. The Old Testament speaks of the "spirit" as the breath once or twice, but usually the "spirit" of man is that non-material part which is separate      from the body and which lives on after death (1 Thessalonians 5:23). False teachers make the mistake of refusing to allow the context to define Bible      words and instead they put their own preferred definition on the word and force that definition into every context.

8. The false teaching that Hell is not eternal torment (Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The doctrine of death and hell were not fully revealed in the Old Testament; these were brought to light with the coming of Christ (2 Timothy 1:10).

b. The New Testament plainly teaches that hell and the lake of fire are places of eternal torment:

(1) Jesus said hell is a place where the worm does not die (Mark 9:43-44).
(2) Jesus said the rich man was in torment in hell (Luke 16:24). This is not a parable, because Jesus named the names of Lazarus and Abraham.
(3) Revelation says those who receive the mark of the antichrist will be tormented forever (Revelation 14:10).
(4) Revelation says Satan, the Antichrist, and false prophet will be tormented forever (Revelation 20:10).
(5) Revelation says all the unsaved will be cast into the same lake of fire
     (Revelation 20:15), and since the antichrist and false prophet are not burned up but are tormented forever in the lake of fire, it is obvious that other      sinners cast there will have the same experience.

c. The Bible says the punishment of the unsaved will be worse than violent death (Mark 9:42). This proves the punishment is not annihilation, but is      eternal torment. Jesus said it would have been better if Judas had never been born (Matthew 26:24). Jesus' words make no sense if Judas was only      going to be annihilated.

9. The false teaching that Sabbath worship is for the churches today (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The sabbath, though mentioned in Genesis 2:2-3, was not delivered to man until it was given to Israel in the wilderness (Neh. 9:13-14).

b. The sabbath was given, not to mankind in general, but to Israel alone as a special covenant sign between her and God (Exodus 31:13,17).

c. Jesus kept the sabbath because He was born under the law to fulfill the demands of the law (Galatians 4:4-5).

d. The apostles and early churches met on Sunday.

(1) On the first day Jesus rose from the dead and first appeared to His disciples (Mark 16:9). The sabbath is associated with the old creation; the first       day is associated with the new creation.
(2) On the first day Jesus met with the disciples at different places and repeatedly (Mark 16:9-11; Matthew 28:8-10; Luke 24:34; Mark 16:12-13;
     John 20:19-23).
(3) On the first day Jesus ascended to Heaven, was seated at the right hand of the Father and was made Head of all (John 20:17; Ephesians 1:20).
(4) On the first day the Holy Spirit descended (Acts 2:1). Pentecost was on the 50th day after the sabbath following the wave offering
     (Leviticus 23:15,16). Thus Pentecost was always on a Sunday.
(5) The Christians met to worship on the first day (Acts 20:6,7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

e. The New Testament plainly teaches that the Christian is not bound to the sabbath law (Colossians 2:16-17).

10. The false teaching that the Prophecies of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-22 are not for the future but are being fulfilled today (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. The timing of the events of Matthew 24 are plainly given:

(1) Jesus said that the prophecy of Matthew 24 pertains to the end of the age and to the time of His return (Matthew 24:3-4). This includes the rule of       the antichrist (verse 15) and the  Great Tribulation (verse 21). (2) Jesus said the events of Matthew 24 will occur just prior to His return
      (Matthew 24:29-30).

b. Paul also taught that the antichrist is a real man who will rule the world just prior to Christ's return (2 Thessalonians 2:2-9).

c. The judgments of Revelation are the wrath of God (Revelation 6:16; Revelation 15:1), whereas Paul said the church-age believers are not appointed     to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).

11. The false teaching that God is finished with the nation Israel; that the church has replaced Israel (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. God's covenants with Israel are eternal (Jeremiah 31:31-37).

b. Paul said that Israel has been set aside temporarily, and that God will fulfill His promises to Israel after He completes His plan for the church     (Romans 11:25-29).

12. The false teaching that God chooses who will be saved and that only those who are chosen can be saved (Calvinism)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that God wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-5; 2 Peter 3:9).

b. Jesus died for the sins of all men, not just some who are pre-chosen (1 John 2:1-2).

c. God has ordained that every person who believes on Christ will be saved (John 6:40).

d. God has commanded that the gospel be preached to every person (Mark 16:15).

e. The Holy Spirit convicts every sinner and Jesus draws and gives light to every sinner (John 1:9; John 12:32; John 16:7-8).

f. Believers are the elect of God, but that does not mean that God chooses some to be saved and the others not to be saved. Election is based on God's    foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2).

13. The false teaching that the believer can only eat certain things (Seventh-day Adventist)

Bible Answer:

a. Dietary laws in the New Testament are a mark of false teachers (1 Timothy 4:1-5).

b. The New Testament believer has liberty in such things (Romans 14:1-4; Colossians 2:16).

14. The false teaching that there should only be one church in each village and city

Bible Answer:

a. This idea has no support in the Bible. There is no such commandment in the New Testament.

b. This idea is contrary to Christ's Great Commission. Jesus commanded all believers to preach the gospel and baptize every nation and individual      (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15). This commandment was not given just to one church in each area. Believers do not have to ask other churches for     permission to preach the gospel and baptize and establish churches. We have authority from Jesus Christ.

c. If this idea is true, how can it be accomplished? Such an principle would mean that one church would be able to forbid other churches to preach, but     Jesus said we are not to forbid others (Luke 9:49-50).

d. If there is only one church in each city, what church would it be? Who will have control to say which church it should be? This is what the Roman     Catholic Church claims for itself and what the cults such as the Jehovah's Witnesses claim for themselves.

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