I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-9
I spend a lot of time on here discussing Biblical Eschatology (the study of last things) primarily because 1) you don’t get it at your local church, 2) because Biblical prophecy is essential to the maturing in the faith of the believer, and 3) it is proof positive that God is real, and we are in the last moments of human history. However, it is necessary for us to re-visit those things which make our faith as a whole, unique and exclusive when compared to any other faith system, especially while discussing the issues of eternal salvation.
You’ve probably seen those asinine post-modernist bumper stickers with the word “COEXIST” on them using the symbols of many different faiths as if they were all somehow equally valid (i.e., pluralism). That has to be one of the most impossible slogans ever devised by Satan because reality doesn’t give us that option. Either the God of the Bible is true, and the rest is false, or none of it really matters. The truth is, both monotheism (one God- such as in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) and polytheism (many gods such as in Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism, etc.) cannot both be true, as those faiths (either side) do not leave the adherents with that option or else invalidating their own theological authority.
Moreover, when you drill into monotheism, Christianity is diametrically opposed to Islam and Judaism. Wait a minute Pete, how can Christianity be diametrically opposed to Judaism if Christianity came out of Judaism?
Judaism, at least up until this point, has still refused to embrace the Jewish Messiah Yeshua as God come in the flesh. Until they do, according to the Apostle Paul, they will remain accursed with spiritual blindness (Romans 11:25). In fact, the Pauline epistle of Galatians is aimed squarely at the Judaizers (who largely agree with many of the fundamentals of our faith), and he called them accursed for adding the law back into the process of salvation. Jesus, Peter, John, and even James were clear- salvation is by grace through faith, not of works. Our good works are evidence OF our salvation, not FOR our salvation.
As for Islam, well, they are in a huge pickle. Islam, which was created some 600 years after Christ, believes Jesus was just a prophet, not God come in the flesh. However, Islamists only know about Jesus from Christianity, of which, the orthodox Christian faith places Jesus squarely in the Triune Godhead. The real question for the Muslim then is, how can Jesus be a good man and a prophet of God, if He and the apostle are lying about His divinity? (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17, 1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Peter 5:4, Revelation 1:7; 2:8). If Jesus is not God come in the flesh, then He is a liar and not worthy of being either a good man or a prophet. If Jesus is God come in the flesh, then it means Christianity is true and Islam a lie. Like I said, big pickle.
Listed below are some of the damnable heresies about the true, living God. Also included in this list are those heretical teachings within Christendom (*) that present apostate views antithetical to what Holy Scripture teaches. In other words, they are perversions of what the Bible actually says and present a “different Jesus” to those who hold to them.
Theology (the study of God)
Atheist- God does not exist
Polytheist- There are many gods
Pantheist- God is everything
Paganism- Nature is God
*Open Theism- God doesn’t know everything
Humanism- I can become a god
*Tritheism- There are three separate Gods, not One God in three persons (e.g., Mormonism)
Satanism- (also Luciferianism) Similar to humanism, promotes self-deification and Satan as the liberator of mankind
New Age- universalist and Eastern mysticism merged into pantheism and humanism
Christology (the study of Christ)
Non-Christian faiths- Jesus was just a man
*Modalism- The belief that the members of the Trinity are not three distinct persons but rather, three different aspects of the same person. For example, in the Old Testament, God was the Father. In the Gospels, God was Jesus. In the Church age, God is the Holy Spirit
*Arianism- Jesus was not truly divine, but He wasn’t merely human either
LDS/JW theology- Jesus is a created being
Pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit)
*Arianism- The Holy Spirit is just an impersonal force (Hebrew Roots, Jehovah’s Witness)
*Modalism- (Oneness Pentecostals)
Soteriology (the study of Salvation)
Roman Catholicism- I can earn my redemption; My good works must outweigh my bad works; What Jesus did was not enough; Salvation can be bought
Liberalism- (non-political) scriptures are not inerrant or authoritative
Gay theology- the belief that homosexuality (and other alternative sexual lifestyles) are not a sin
Universalism- God would never send anyone to hell
Works righteousness- we must earn and/or maintain our salvation by good works
Social Gospel- the primary goal of the Gospel is not the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God, but to cure social evils
Baptismal Regeneration- the belief that one becomes saved during water baptism
Judaizers- attempt to reinsert the Mosaic Law back into the Gospel (SDA, Hebrew Roots, etc.)
Gnosticism- salvation comes by acquiring esoteric knowledge (theosophy, Freemasonry, etc.)
Word of Faith- similar to humanism in that man can command God to do their bidding
To believe any of these is to consign oneself to eternal separation from the Creator and damnation. In other words, as bad as this world is, if proponents of these beliefs were to die in their sins tonight, this is the closest to heaven they will ever get. Remember what Jesus said;
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23
So what is the will of the Father in Heaven?
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:37-40
While this is not designed to be an exhaustive list of heresies, these are probably the most prominent ones we've seen in recent history. As for the heresies (not necessarily damnable), the list begins to double and triple depending on the particular biblical doctrine. For example, hyper (and ultra) dispensationalism, Amillennialism, and Preterism aren't damnable heresies in eschatology, but they sure do lead one down a dead-end path to confusion and bitterness. The same can be said for Replacement Theology, Arminianism, Calvinism, and other ecclesiological (the study of the church) confusions, etc. which are doctrines of demons designed to introduce confusion and a complexification of our Christian faith.
When one hears the phrase "doctrines of demons," one tends to automatically assume it's some obvious and egregious black lie that discerning Christians will see coming a mile away. In truth, doctrines of demons are often very close to the truth, mixing in just enough falsehoods that it SEEMS reasonable and/or biblical. Spurgeon once said, "Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right." In fact, the most damning of heresies are very close to the Biblical truth but only stray on certain essentials. Try talking to a Mormon someday and you will be amazed at their usage of our Christian language to the point you might believe they are actually Christian. But when you drill into what they mean by the same words they use, you'll realize they mean completely different things.
But the doctrine of demons will find its ultimate fulfillment, not in a worldly appeal to carnality or some subtle antichristian philosophies, but in a brazen, demand that the world worship a man empowered by Satan himself. This demand will come in the form of a biometric technology embedded into the hand or forehead as a measure of loyalty equating to six hundred sixty-six. Those on the earth will be given a choice, either take the mark or lose their life. Those who take the mark are consigning themselves to an eternity in eternal damnation. Those who refuse for the sake of Christ, will lose their lives, but gain eternal salvation and reign with Christ into eternity.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11
In closing, a person of sound mind MUST believe in the essentials of the Christian faith in order to be considered a Christian. These are:
The Deity of Jesus Christ (God come in the flesh)
That salvation comes by grace through faith- not our works (we cannot earn our own salvation)
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (the Gospel)
A true sincere belief in the Gospel to a saving faith (relationship- not religion)
The Triune nature of the Godhead (God is One Being expressed in Three Persons)
The reason I include "of sound mind" in this process is important. I believe God allows for the maturity and mental capacity of the individual to factor into any scenario. I mean a 6-year-old that comes to accept Jesus as his or her Lord and Savior, doesn't have to perfectly understand the process of Justification or the concept of the Trinity. They won't have the mental capacity to understand that, but God defaults to save them nonetheless (2 Peter 3:9). This means that the druggie in the gutter (or a thief on the cross) who cries out to Jesus to save them, can and will be saved (Luke 23:43-44, Romans 10:9-13). However, the believer then (given time to live and grow) must embrace these things in order to grow in the faith once entrusted to the saints. This list represents how the Bible God gave us describes Himself and develops our understanding of eternal salvation and the things accompanying salvation.
God knows our hearts and our intentions better than even we understand them.