Introduction to Cults
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
First of all, before I start typing an article here, I would like to point out the reason why I'm posting this. It's because there are many denominations these days and after you share the Gospel to your friends, you don't want them to get mixed up with some cult or something. Some cults go around "sharing" their "good news" to people which might confuse pre-believers and a baby spiritually person.
Introduction to Cults - Part One
Today is the day of many new religious cults and religions. Christianity in the eyes of many has become just another opinion in the whole sea of religious choices instead of being the light and the truth.
A cult can be defines as such - a distrotion of Biblical Christianity and/or a rejection of the histroric teachings of the Christian church. And it can also be called a group of people gathered about a specific person or person's misinterpretation of the Bible.
We are not being narrow minded by disagreeing with the view that "all roads lead to God" and instead believe the words of our Lord, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no other man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Jesus did not say, "I am one of many equally good ways" or "I am a better way than the others". JEsus' claim is absolute (complete) and loyalty to Him, as Savior of the world is to take priority over all other claims of man and religions.
1. There are several reasons for this growth of such cults and religions.
a. The bankruptcy of the materialistic values of our society promoted by our modern society. Materialism and humanism do not satisfy the spiritual needs and fulfillment that are part of every human being.
b. People are also trying to find meaning of life via an emotional and mystical experience, which is precisely what is offered by many cults today. Many Christians in churches are also babies spiritually and have a very shallow understanding of Jesus, the bible and salvation.
c. Some turn to cults due to loneliness or lack of personal identity. By submitting to the teachings and requirements of the cults, they hope to find the love, acceptance and fellowship they long for. In short, they think the cult met their human needs.
d. We must note that many churches are guilty of loosing their spiritual vitality and revelane to many Christians. Instead of attracting those on spiritual quest, they kep away people with their religious rituals and empty spirituality/philosophy.
2. Some common structures of characteristics of cults.
a. Firstly, the belief system of most cults are closed mindedness.
- they are usually not interested in a rational, logical, systematic evaluation of the facts - whether in the logicalness of the teachings of the leader or even scripture.
- usually, the cult organization interprets the facts to the cultist and the founder is the ultimate authority and source of its pronouncements/teachings.
b. Secondly, most cults systems have a great dislike and opposition of Christians.
- this is because most cults systems indoctrinate (program_ their disciples to believe that anyone who opposes their beliefs (usually Christians) are motivated by a satanic force.
- also, most cults teach that they have been freed from religious exploitation, which they accuse historic Christianity of doing i.e. they are superior to Christianity and the they are not like the Christian clergy who make use of the people.
c. Thirdly, many, if not all cultic systems show a authoritative dogmatism and intolerance for any positions other then their own and use the authority of the supernatural.
- many of the leaders of such cults like the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses, tell their disciples that God is the one who has revealed to them the new doctrine or the new practices. i.e. some new truth that the church does not know.
- many of them also like to teach that their writings in their books have equal authority or even higher authority than the bible as their have recieved this revelation by prophecy from God.
- many also teach "exclusiveness" ie. only they represent the true church on earth. All other "so called Christians" are deceived, going to hell and teach doctrines from Satan and demons.
- most cults have a system that needs conformity, ambiguity and extrememes of belief to control their followers.
d. Fourthly, most cults have prefer to be isolated from the rest of the world.
- within the structure of most historic Christian denominations, there is a peaceful co-existence of beliefs and opinions, no matter how diverse.
- most cults have had their teachings refuted (proven false) but by isolating their members from the general Christian community, they can continue to teach wrong doctrines without fear their members will realize the truth.
- Walter Martin writes that this is caused not only by a phychological blindness but also a spiritual blindness brought about by the isolation of man from God by the rebellion of human nature. Paul writes it very appropriately by saying, "whose minds the god of this world has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." (2 Cor 4:4)
3. Other points of note
a. Most cults liberally use/borrow Christian terms and terminology (almost always out of context) and sprinkle it with its terms whenever possible to its advantage.
b.They also take advantage of the average Christian who is totally unknowledgeable of most Christian doctrines and its cardinal teachings as they are usually very equipped or taught by the cult to answer or counter you arguments.
c. In thi way they normally can frustrate the average Christian by saying they are full agreement with what you say, when in reality they understand or interpret most Christian doctrines very differently from you.
Sources: Kenneth Boa, Cults, World Religions and the Occults, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1990
Walter Martine, The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House, 2003
Josh McDowell, Don Stewart, Concise Guide to Today's Religions.
This full article was written by a teacher in my Sunday School.