Characteristics Associated With Cultic Groups

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by salzer mtn, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. salzer mtn

    salzer mtn
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    Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.

    Compare these patterns to the situation you were in (or in which you, a family member, or friend is currently involved). This list may help you determine if there is cause for concern. Bear in mind that this list is not meant to be a “cult scale” or a definitive checklist to determine if a specific group is a cult. This is not so much a diagnostic instrument as it is an analytical tool.

    ‪ The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

    ‪ Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

    ‪ Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

    ‪ The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry—or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

    ‪ The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

    ‪ The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

    ‪ The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

    ‪ The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).

    ‪ The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt iin order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

    ‪ Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.

    ‪ The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

    ‪ The group is preoccupied with making money.

    ‪ Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.

    ‪ Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

    ‪ The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.


    The question I have, can a church that has some of the Characteristics mentioned above be on the verge of becoming a cult ? for example, pastor preaches all beliefs other than the way we believe are going to hell. To visit with other churches is to partake of their evil deeds. Pastor government over the church (No deacons). Being baptized after profession includes you are in total agreement with what the pastor believes. Whatever the pastor preaches in the pulpit is totally accepted and believed because the congregation will not study for themselves or their logic is he is Gods man so what he say's must be right. Example: 11 Cor 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. This scripture said pastor, means that all religions (meaning that don't agree with us) know Christ only after the flesh and not the Spirit. Pastor preaches Antinomian belief system that Christians are under no law whatsoever. Pastor preaches when one comes to know the Lord, he is just realizing that he has been a child of God all his life because we were in Christ Jesus before the world began.
     
  2. plain_n_simple

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    "The question I have, can a church that has some of the Characteristics mentioned above be on the verge of becoming a cult ?"

    Yes, and some do with less than the descriptions in the article. A strong personality that gives just enough truth to keep members coming back for more is a great candidate for a cult.
     
  3. drfuss

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    Partly because we have lived in four different areas in the past 60 years due to job locations, we have been involved in 6 churches none of which would be considered a cult. In each church, there were some who blindly follow (I.e. Worship) the pastor. Here are two quotes I heard years ago.

    1. I don't care what he has done, he is my pastor and I am going to support him.

    2. He is the pastor and he can do anything he wants.

    It appears some Christians are taught this early on and continue to believe this as they "grow spiritually".
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    you just described many characteristics I've seen among Bible Baptist churches and some 'independent' churches, especially in the Philippines.
     
  5. righteousdude2

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    There is the Emerging Church Movement to Deal With!

    It is my opinion, that the Emergent Church, taking the country and world by storm is just that, a cult that is following in line with what you have shared.

    Here are some of the warning signs:

    *Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority as the basis for the Christian faith.
    *The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
    *More and more emphasis is being placed on building the kingdom of God now and less and less on the warnings of Scripture about the imminent return of Jesus Christ and a coming judgment in the future.
    *The teaching that Jesus Christ will rule and reign in a literal millennial period is considered unbiblical and heretical.
    *The teaching that the church has taken the place of Israel and Israel has no prophetic significance is often embraced.
    *The teaching that the Book of Revelation does not refer to the future, but instead has been already fulfilled in the past
    *An experiential mystical form of Christianity begins to be promoted as a method to reach the postmodern generation.
    Ideas are promoted teaching that Christianity needs to be reinvented in order to provide meaning for this generation.
    *The pastor may implement an idea called “ancient-future” or “vintage Christianity” claiming that in order to take the church forward, we need to go back in church history and find out what experiences were effective to get people to embrace Christianity.
    *While the authority of the Word of God is undermined, images and sensual experiences are promoted as the key to experiencing and knowing God.
    *These experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations, contemplative prayer, experiencing the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of the Eucharist.
    *There seems to be a strong emphasis on ecumenism indicating that a bridge is being established that leads in the direction of unity with the Roman Catholic Church.
    *Some evangelical Protestant leaders are saying that the Reformation went too far. They are reexamining the claims of the “church fathers” saying that communion is more than a symbol and that Jesus actually becomes present in the wafer at communion.
    *There will be a growing trend towards an ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace claiming the validity of other religions and that there are many ways to God.
    *Members of churches who question or resist the new changes that the pastor is implementing are reprimanded and usually asked to leave.

    --->My question to you is: Do you not see some of these warning signs within some our own mega-Baptist churches?<---

    Here is the link the above warning signs came from, The entire link is great! We do need to be concerned, really concerned! - http://www.understandthetimes.org/commentary/c54_pf.shtml
     
  6. thisnumbersdisconnected

    thisnumbersdisconnected
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    So far, so good, but then ...
    That, when linked back to your first line after wading through all those "warning signs," would seem to imply some mega-Baptist churches are joining the emergent church movement. Do you have evidence of this?

    And in answer to your question, no, I don't think you could find any of those going on in any so-called "mega-Baptist church" -- so why the alarmism?
    The name "Baptist" never appears in Oakley's article. I've got to wonder, on what basis you ask the above question? This is the second post in the last 24 hours, RD2, that seems to be making an anti-Baptist remark on a Baptist discussion board. Why?
     
    #6 thisnumbersdisconnected, Apr 16, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2014
  7. righteousdude2

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    My for instance is:

    ....Rick Warren! A lot of what the man is doing is hinging on the emergent church style [might I suggest you go back and look at what this group is doing and you can see for yourself that Saddleback is following some of those things]. Even his Purpose Driven Life is questionable (SEE:http://www.fundamentalbaptistminist...DO NOT FOLLOW THE 'PURPOSE DRIVEN' SCHEME.htm ... and "There are many satanic gimmicks, which deceptively present only part of the truth, and they are always bestsellers, because Satan knows that undiscerning people always gravitate toward evil. It is spiritual fast food and junk food that people clamor for in search of gimmicks that compensate for their lack of true repentance. The Purpose Driven Life book by Rick Warren is one such masterpiece of deception!" from this link - http://www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract13.html), especially since many emergent churches have patterned their churches and how to reach people after the PDL.

    YOU want proof....Every time Rick holds a ecumenical/multi-church events [bringing in Muslims, and Catholics, and others together], he is following the pattern of the emergent church to practice the ecumenical fellowship!

    One concept he is dangerously close to broaching is: The centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by humanistic methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.

    SEE: http://www.christianpost.com/news/e...t-muslims-christians-view-god-the-same-70767/

    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/muslims-341669-warren-saddleback.html

    This should not be seen as anti-Baptist. I was given something to discuss, and it was just fine, until I bring up something that may be a little to close to home!

    I did not say the Baptist church as a whole is falling in line with cults or becoming cult. But with Westboro and David KOresh of Waco [When he was 22, Koresh had an affair with a 15-year-old girl who became pregnant. He claimed to have become a born-again Christian in the Southern Baptist Church and soon joined his mother's church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church] there are the possiblities that people from any denominational groups can go over the edge and become a cult!

    Why would that upset you, I am surely not lumping anyone in this group into a cult? However, every denomination on the face of this earth has at one time or another, contributed to a cult.

    TND ... I consider it rather flattering that you are not only reading my posts, but keeping a watch on the time that passes between what I say and do on the board! I would say that you tempered your accusation nicely, by saying that "it seems" I am making anti-Baptist remarks! If I didn't know better, I'd think you are looking for a reason to have me removed from your "hallowed hall" of what you deem to be not Baptist enough?

    Don't you worry about me brother? Because like the Word says, surely when you see a splinter in the eye of your brother, you are overlooking the log into your own eye!

    I may not be Baptist enough, for your liking, but I assure you I am Baptist enough for God; and that is the only one I aim to please in this live,; on earth; and on this board!

    I have every right in the world to say what I said. I was not trying to put down Oakly in any way. I was merely making a point on what I am observing as going on around me! I am certainly not even going as far as to claim that the emergent group is a cult ... but to point out how their beliefs are sharply different than what we traditional, conservatives believe!

    I'd be more concerned with the rapid growth of the emergent church, as it is siphoning off the young people from all denominations, including Baptists, and what will come out of this movement are groups that closely identify with one denomination or another, and eventually morph into a form of Baptist, but a form that has come out of the emergent belief system, and thus we have another group to contend with, and whether it is a cult or not, depends upon who is judging it!
     
  8. Yeshua1

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    CHARASMATIC CHURCHES /Groups into WoF and prosperity are indeed into a cultic environment, as what the teacher/pastor states is "thus sayeth the Lord", so literally in spiritual matters, anything goes!
     
  9. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Is it any wonder people are creaped out? I sat around a table with four people yesterday and all indicated that churches have in some way or another have hurt them. This list of yours is pretty dead on.
     
  10. Aaron

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    Nuff said. :thumbs:
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    What in the world does having Deacons or not have to do with this so called "Pastor Government". Deacons are not an authority in the church or part of church government anyway.
     

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