Obviously, there are people who are on both sides of this issue, within and without the various denominations, and some denominations which might be more exclusive than others. But when it comes down to it, the fact that two there are two different denominations under the same heading of "Christianity" suggests that—at some point—there was some serious conflict. My question is two-fold:

  • Whether some people of a particular denomination belief that those of other denominations will go to hell, why some people don't agree, and why there is a split there.
  • Whether the split between denominations always occurs because of a differing opinion on some interpretation of the Bible, or could have occurred simply because of a power struggle. For example, I view the split of Protestantism from Catholicism as one of viewpoint difference (sola scriptura/sola fide) as opposed to a desire for power by some group of people. On the other hand, I see other denominations as having formed because of a desire for separation and recognition, as well as status/power. I won't name any particular denominations, but I can use the outside (non-Christian) example of Scientology as such a case.

Any information on this would be great. Thanks!


2 Answers 2


I currently belong to an Independent Baptist church, and my answer is one that my Pastor would echo.

We do not believe that Christians from other denominations are going to Hell because of their denominational affiliation. We do not believe that all Baptists will go to heaven, either.

What we believe is what the Bible teaches, which is that ANYONE who does not receive Christ and accept His free gift of salvation are going to hell. Not because of what they believe, but because of their rejection of the free gift. (John 3:18)

The split between denominations primarily appears to be differences in interpretation of the Bible. The book Handbook of Denominations in the United States does a fair and unbiased job of examining the differences.

However, of course, there are splits that are caused by a struggle for power. The Church of England comes to mind. (Quote from this article below:)

Prompted by a dispute over the annulment of the marriage of Henry VIII, the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534 with the Act of Supremacy, beginning a series of events known as the English Reformation.


In Catholicism, this is generally covered under the phrase extra ecclesiam nulla salus--outside the Church there is no salvation. This sounds final, and there are schismatic strains of Catholicism that teach that unless one is a baptized, practicing Catholic (often of their branch only) then one will be damned. There are also indifferentist schisms that ignore this entirely.

However, the Catholic teaching is more subtle. It allows that salvation is availlable to any non-Catholic, but ultimately that salvation comes through Christ and His Church and her sacraments. However, a rejection after attaining a full understanding of the necessity of the Church would be damning.

see CCC 846-848

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview of what this site is about, please take the Site Tour. Thanks for offering an answer to this question from a Catholic viewpoint. Can you provide a link to where a person could read the material you reference? And could you add to the answer itself one or two key points from that material that relate to the question? If so, that would greatly improve your answer. See: What makes a good supported answer? Dec 8, 2015 at 20:52

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