What Defines A Christian Cult?A Loving God & Hell

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What Defines a Cult?

I What Is A Cult?

1a Webster’s New World Dictionary: “a) system of religious worship or ritual . . . b) a quasi-religious group, often living in a colony, with a charismatic leader who indoctrinates members with unorthodox or extremist views, practices, or beliefs”

1b Webster’s definition is generic and could be applied to cults regardless of location or religious affiliation, Webster does indicate two classes of cults 

1c Radical cults: groups that involve a charismatic leader, brain washing to some degree, isolation of its members from family and friend, and at times even suicide

2c Religious cults: groups that operate more like a denomination

2b Our definition: we are going to limit our definition to “religious cults” associated with Christianity

1c These are best known and most likely to impact us and our community

2c However, the same preventative measures to be used with the religious cultist fit as well with the radical

2a Scriptures: the Bible speaks of at least 7 characteristics found in religious cultst

1b They teach unorthodox doctrine (2 Pet. 2:1-2, 16-17; 1 Jn. 4:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 4:3-4)

1c Unorthodox doctrine is that which departs from the core truths of the faith

2c It is often characterized by (2 Pet. 2:1-2)

1d Secretive approach: introduced and progegated behind the scenes (1)

2d Heresy: a perversion of truth that leads to division (1)

3d Damnable or destructive: it ultimately brings spiritual ruin (1)

4d Blasphemous of the truth (2) – “Jesus is God”

2b They branch off from the orthodox faith (2 Pet. 2:15)

1c They appear at first to begin in the faith but eventually stray from the truth because the truth is not really in them (1 Jn. 2:19)

2c There are various reasons that this happens

1d Lack of biblical training (Eph. 4:14)

2d Quest for “greater truth” (1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4)

3d Dissatisfaction with the faith (2 Tim. 4:3) – they feel their faith is dead or irrelevant

4d Seek answers to difficult questions (how God be three and one; how could Jesus have a Father (2 Peter 3:16)

5d Follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1; Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:13-15)

3b They elevate the teachings of a central figure(s) (2 Tim. 4:3)

1c When the timing is right and the people are ready Satan sends his servant

2c They will elevate him or her to level close or even equal to the Lord Himself (Sung Yung Moon has said that he is "humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.")

4b They add to the Scriptures (Rev. 22:28-29; Deut. 4:2; 12:32)

1c Additional scriptures

2c Interpretation of the scriptures – necessary to correctly understand the Bible

5b They promote another gospel: (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:3-4)

1c Salvation by another path than Christ alone

2c Human efforts and religious practices

6b They use attractive but deceptive words (2 Pet. 2:3, 18: 2 Cor. 11:13-15)

1c They will have no problems twisting and distorting the truth in order to win converts

2c Many examples could be given

1d Mormons – the book of Mormon – the complete work of God is actually plagiarized from the Bible and other writings

2d JW: New World Translation

7b They recruit unstable souls (2 Pet. 2:14: Rom. 16:17-18; Eph. 4:14-15)

II HOW SHOULD A CULT BE ADDRESSED?

1a Congregation level

1b Teach the truth (Eph. 4:11-15): sound doctrine that will keep us from being deceived and point out the error of the cultist (

2b Test those who teach (1 Jn. 4:1-2)

3b Correct those who error (Titus 1:9) and order them not to teach (1 Timothy 1:4)

1c Sometimes in a loving spirit (Eph. 4:13; 1 Pet. 1:22)

2c Sometimes with a sharp rebuke (Titus 1:14) and rejection (Titus 3:9)

4b Withdraw from those who refuse to repent (1 Tim. 6:3-5; Rev. 2:1-2, 14-16, 20-22)

2a Individual level (2 Tim. 2:23-26)

1b Avoid arguments

2b Love them

3b Share the truth

4b Seek the Holy Spirit’s help

5b Pray for them

6b Turn them away (1 Jn. 4:10)