Seven Myths of Denominationalism
by David B. Brown
Preface and Table of Contents
The purpose of this book is to increase bible study by those who are disciples of
Jesus Christ. This study will greatly enrich all that participate, and it will lead to a greater
respect for the Word of God. I am not so arrogant as to think that my conclusions
regarding the holy scriptures are the only ones acceptable to God. However, the average
church member in the denominational world has never considered some of the major
truths of God's word. For that reason they are accepting, practicing and teaching many
false doctrines that were inherited from the Roman Catholic church or that have evolved
since the reformation. Most alarming, the average members have been so conditioned by
emotionalism that they seem no longer to care.
This book is for the average member of denominational churches. The author was
raised in a denomination and taught by family and church not to challenge the religious
beliefs of others. This is the essence of the problem. For our failure to challenge the beliefs of
others very quickly leads to a failure to challenge our own beliefs. "If everyone else is all right,
then I must be all right as well." This is a sure formula for complacency and ignorance.
Many have been conditioned to believe that it just does not matter what we believe
or practice. If so, there is no reason to bother studying or discussing biblical truth. But
the bible itself states emphatically that it does matter. As you read the scriptures quoted in
this book, this will become quite clear. We plead with you to allow these scriptures to find
their way into the fertile soil of an open and contrite heart. Your eternal destiny depends
Our country is in a major moral crisis due to a lack of regard for biblical teaching.
Well over 30 million abortions have been performed since it was legalized, eclipsing
Hitler's holocaust. Homosexuality and other forms of sexual deviancy are being
rationalized and taught in our public schools as "alternative life styles." Teen pregnancy
has soared. Marriage for life has become the exceptional family mode. Gambling has
become the politicians' tax of choice. Our airwaves are flooded with pornography. Our
jails are overflowing, and the only solution that the politicians are proposing is to build
more. Drugs and alcoholic beverages dominate our recreational activities. We could go
on and on, but if these obvious alarms do not wake up the reader, nothing will. We can
continue to bury our heads in the sand, or we can begin looking for the only solution:
What has this to do with the myths of denominationalism? The denominations have
failed to teach the truth on some of the most fundamental and obvious of biblical truths. Is it any
wonder that they flounder with regard to the moral issues which plague our country? If
the bible is not the standard of authority with regard to our salvation and our relationship
with God, then why should we trust it with regard to these moral issues? We will prove
that the denominations have rejected the bible as their standard of authority. Thus,
members have drawn the most logical of conclusions: "the bible should not deter us from
doing exactly what we want to do when we want to do it." While we do not deny that
there are notable exceptions, any objective, unbiased observer would agree that this is the
predominant attitude in our country today.
If this book should find some degree of success, we fully expect that it will be cited
as a divisive instrument of the devil by popular denominational teachers. Those familiar
with the New Testament will recognize that this is identical to the reception that the
religious rulers of Jesus' day gave Him (Mt. 12:24; 22:15-45). He clearly taught that His
followers would have to suffer the very same treatment that he suffered (Rom. 8:17).
We fully recognize that this does not prove the validity of our assertions -- many
cults and devil-worshipers are rejected (and some persecuted), and they are far from the
truth. On the other hand, the fact that the vast majority believes something does not
make it right (Mt. 7:13-14). It is God's word and God's word alone that determines the truth
(Rom. 3:4). We only ask that the doctrines put forward in this book be evaluated in that
To those who feel that this is just all negative, please recognize that it is impossible
to assert a positive without being negative toward the opposite position. Read Matthew
23. Jesus teachings were opposed at every turn by the religious establishment of His day,
but He did not stop because His teachings were considered negative toward them.
It is not our intent to be divisive -- in fact, those who consider themselves part of
Christianity are so divided now that further division would seem impossible. The basic
structure of denominationalism itself is the main reason for this, as we will show in
As you consider this book and the criticism of it, ask yourself: who is interested in
the truth, and who is interested in maintaining the status quo? Who is benefiting from the
current ignorance of God's word? What are they doing to perpetuate the myths, and
why? As in Jesus day, the answers are tied closely to political and economic power of a
leadership that can only be sustained by the enslavement of their followers in ignorance
(Jn. 8:32). Those who love the truth will appreciate criticism of current practices and
teachings which are inconsistent with Gods holy word. 3
We do not want you to believe anything that we write without scriptural evidence. We
hope you will challenge everything in this book. Other than the scriptural quotations, this
is not an inspired work; to claim such would be sinful and would curse this author with
the plagues written in the book of Revelation (Rev. 18:22-23). Believe only God's word;
for it, and it alone, is capable of "thoroughly furnishing you unto every good work" (2 Tim.
3:16-17). If I am wrong, correct me as you would a brother. If this book does nothing but
get some to read and study the bible (even to defeat what is taught here) it will
accomplish its mission.
Before continuing, please consider some basic definitions to get us started, and
some comments on the version of God's word that we will use for quotations.
To assure a common understanding, it is important that we define terms before
proceeding. When we say myths we are referring to erroneous but commonly-accepted beliefs.
To identify a myth we need only compare it with the truth of God's word. If it is obvious
that it contrasts with the clear teaching of the bible, then it is a myth. We have tried to
deal with those which are most vulnerable (see chapter headings). These myths are not
universally accepted by all members of all denominations. No doctrines are. There are
always exceptions, and perhaps you (or your entire group) do not believe the myths
stated in some of the chapters. If so, we commend you for your stand against the majority
and for the truth. However, if you are in fellowship with general denominational
teachings, you cannot help but being sympathetic with their generally-accepted doctrines;
we urge you to teach your friends and neighbors the truth.
It should be clear that we are not saved by myths, no matter how much we might
believe them to be true (Mt. 7:21-23). No greater injustice can be done to a person than to lead
him to believe that he is saved when, in fact, he is not. The propagation of myths as faith in
God is evil, and those who do so will give an accounting of it before God (James 3:1-2).
When we use the term denominationalism we are referring to the general teachings
(doctrines) of the collective of those religious organizations which consider themselves
denominations of the universal church of Christ. Of course, there is no such written
doctrine, since the denominations do not formulate common doctrine. However, there
are a set of beliefs which have come to be known as "traditional Christian beliefs."
Certainly, we are not asserting that all of these are myths. However, we are asserting that
these traditional doctrines contain significant myths to the point that they lead people to
believe that they are saved when, in fact, they are not.
The verb denominate is used throughout this book with the meaning of to give a
name to with the intent of distinguishing one group from another. Thus, a denomination is a
religious organization which has been distinguished from all others by the assignment of
a unique name. Those organizations which have as one of their beliefs that they (as an
organization) are part of the universal church of Christ (along with all others) will be
called the denominations. The doctrines which are generally accepted by all of these
groups will be collectively referenced as denominationalism.
Biblical quotations are from the King James version of the Holy Bible. This is not
an endorsement of the King James version -- we have chosen it because it is the most
widespread and available valid version. We believe that God's divine providence has
assured that the truth can be ascertained from any valid translation. By valid we mean a
translation which was objectively interpreted from the most ancient available manuscripts
by a diverse team of objective Greek and Hebrew scholars. We discourage the use of
paraphrases since they tend to bias the reader in favor of the writer's viewpoint. In
addition, it should be obvious that if an entire team of the translators have the same
religious bias, of if the translation cannot be accepted by objective Greek and Hebrew
scholars, it should be discarded as invalid. Since all translations are subject to the errors
of men, no translation is perfect. However, the truths essential to salvation can be
ascertained from any valid translation.
The only modification that we have made to the King James version is the
substitution of Holy Spirit for Holy Ghost. We feel that this change will be much more
meaningful to the average reader, being consistent with the common name applied to this
member of the Godhead.
Brackets  will be found in many of the quoted scriptures. These are words that
were inserted by the translators in an attempt to capture the true meaning (as opposed to
the inference of a literal translation). In most King James versions of the bible these are in
italics; however, we use brackets since italics are used for emphasis in contemporary
English writings, which is just the opposite of the intent of the translators.
We recognize the inconvenience of many to look up the scriptures, and so, as much
as possible, we will include the scriptural reference when we give it (unlike the
introductory material above). However, we plead with you to go to the bible and read the
passage in its context to assure that it is not being mis-applied. We read all kinds of
religious materials that are loaded with scriptural references -- this does not prove that it
is scriptural. Those scriptures could be misapplied and misused -- they might not even
apply to the subject.
For purposes of convenience we will often cite the author of a given passage as
being the apostle or prophet who dictated or wrote it. However, it should be understood
that in doing so we are not trying to state that these things were not inspired by the Holy
Spirit. The apostle Paul stated in 1 Cor. 2:13: "Which things also we speak, not in the
words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing
spiritual things with spiritual."
Finally, we urge you to be wary of those who take issue with us to the extent that
they discourage or would prevent you from conducting your own independent personal
study. The bible teaches only one way to build faith: "So then faith [cometh] by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The only way that you can be defeated
and enslaved is if someone can convince you that they are the authority rather than God's
word. This subject is considered further in Chapter 1. 6
Table of Contents
Note: the first seven chapter headings are denominational myths, not biblical truths.
Myth 1:The Bible is Too Complicated to Understand
1.1 Why Believe or Teach This?
1.2 What the Bible Says
1.3 Supporting Evidence
1.4 Bible Complexity
1.5 You Can Prove Anything with the Bible
1.6 Why People Do Not Understand
Myth 2:The Old Testament is Just as Binding as the New Testament
2.1 Why is This Important
2.2 We Are Under the New Testament
2.3 The Truthfulness and Value of the Old Testament
2.4 Importance Revisited
Myth 3: We Are Saved by Faith Only
3.1 Why is this Important?
3.3 Why not Faith Only?
3.4 What the Bible Teaches About Faith Only
3.5 What it Means to be Saved by Faith
3.6 What Then Are We Saved By?
3.6.1 Entering into a Covenant Relationship with God
3.6.2 Keeping Ourselves Saved
Myth 4: Baptism is of Secondary Importance
4.1 Why all the Fuss? -- Definitions
4.2 What the Bible Says About Baptism
4.2.1 The Gospels
4.2.2 The Book of Acts
4.2.3 The Letters to the Churches
4.2.4 Other Baptisms
126.96.36.199 Baptism of the Holy Spirit 7
188.8.131.52 Baptism of Fire
184.108.40.206 Baptism for the Dead
220.127.116.11 The baptism of John
18.104.22.168 Other Mentions of Baptism
4.3 Common Objections Against Baptism
4.3.1 Salvation is Not by Works
4.3.2 The Thief on the Cross
4.3.3 Paul Not Sent to Baptize
4.3.4 Conversions Which Do Not Mention Baptism
4.3.5 If a Person Got Killed on the Way to Baptism ...
4.4 Is This Important?
Myth 5: Love is All You Need
5.1 Do We Love?
5.2 Love Defined
5.2.1 Greek Definitions
5.2.2 Biblical Definitions
5.3 Old Testament Love Extended
5.4 Making Love a Reality
5.5 Can We be Saved by Love Only?
Myth 6: The Rapture, The RAPTURE, THE RAPTURE!
6.1 A Most Popular Doctrine
6.2 A Proposed Scenario
6.3 Scriptural View of Judgment
6.3.1 The Gospels
6.3.2 The Book of Acts
6.3.3 The Letters to the Churches
6.3.4 The Book of Revelation
6.3.5 A Review of Our Scenario
6.4 More on the Chaining of Satan
6.5 On the Kingdom
6.6 On the Rapture
6.7 Is This Important?
Myth 7: Original Sin
7.1 Definition of Terms
7.2 Original Sinlessness
7.3 When we Fall
7.4 Misapplied Scriptures 8
7.5 Consequences of Original Sin Doctrine
Chapter 8: Where Does this Leave Us?
8.1 So What?
8.2 The Alternatives
8.2.1 Redirection and Evolution
8.3 The Nature of Local Churches
8.4 Reversing the Trend
8.5 Some Concluding Thoughts
Go to Chapter 1
SUMMARY WORD COUNT BY CHAPTER
CHAPTER WORD COUNT