Cults that are leading Christians away from the faith

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Spirit and Truth, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. Spirit and Truth

    Spirit and Truth
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    There seems to be so many new cults these days, that it is hard to keep track of them. I found the site linked below to be an interesting resource. This is a good place also for Pastors to learn about the latest move and how to identify them.

    http://www.seekgod.ca
     
  2. Chrissy

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    The problem with this idea is WHO decides what is a "Cult"? Me? You?

    I was on Pal Talk, a Voice Chat program and they kept making rooms talking about "Cults", so I asked what their definition of a "Cult" is. Their answer: "Any Denomination that doesn't go along with Mainstream Christianity".

    Well their is a BIG problem with that,and here's what I told them, "Martin Luther sure enough didn't go along with Mainstream Religion. If he had of, we'd all be praying the Rosary and bowing to the Pope."

    Next week, someone may decide YOUR Church is a Cult. I believe just by reading and listening to conversations about this topic in various Christian groups, that "Cult" is used as an easy and convenient weapon to "label" a Church, just so that people will automatically shun that Church without bothering to ask questions. "Oh that Church is a Cult" "Well then, I'm staying away from it!"

    I have been to sites that claim to "expose the Cults" and have seen many that don't have a CLUE as to what MY Church really teaches and believes, so I don't trust their ideas any further than I could throw them. So I sure am not going to use their sites as a reference to find out what any other church really teaches or believes. If I want to know what a Church teaches I will go to THEIR OWN MATERIALS to find out. Then I will go around asking people of their faith, "Am I getting the proper perspective on this?" ...and so on.

    It seems to me that these sites, or at least many of these sites, who claim to "expose Cults" just set out with this sort of "get 'em" mentality and think a Church is untrue and then they pick out statements out of context to prove their points about the Churches... which in reality may have no real basis in fact.

    I went to one Christian Bulletin Board for instance, and this one man started up a thread about MY Church (he makes it a practice to do that to various denominations, he doesnt even believe in denominations, in fact) and he lists these supposed "beliefs" of my Church and I was astounded at what he said. Nearly everything he said was rumor, untrue, etc. I had to laugh. I had decided not to even reply but then changed my mind and took one point at a time going through it and correcting all the false assumptions he had put there (he got them all from one of these "anti-Cult" sites), and by the time I got all done with it, everyone there was saying "wow, your Church isnt a Cult at all, like he claimed it was!"

    People ought to compare what a Church teaches with THE BIBLE. And here's the thing, if there are 600 churches out there and they all teach different things, then who is to say if some church is a "Cult"? They cannot ALL be right!

    Now, to me, a REAL CULT is a Church/Group that uses mind control and things like that on their Church members. Like the Moonies. [​IMG]

    Chrissy
     
  3. Doubting Thomas

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    Chrissy said:
    The thing is if it were just a matter of comparing a church's teaching to the Bible, then we wouldn't have so many denominations, sects, etc. The problem is in WHO is doing the comparing. Each group, when it compares its teaching to the Bible, assumes it is the one doing things correctly, as it brings its own presuppositions and traditions to process of interpreting Scripture. (It's natural that one's interpretation of Scripture validates his preconceived ideas.) However, as every other group does the same thing, who is to decide between them? You are correct--they all cannot be right! Who claims to have a "neutral" hermeneutical grid for interepreing Scripture, and how can we validate that claim? Or is something else needed?
     
  4. Abiyah

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    I believe Chrissy is right. Just who is deciding the
    definition of a cult for us? While I have called my
    old church a cult, and meant it, it was more out of
    disdain for it and the shameful way I was treated
    than for other reasons. I get the feeling that others
    do the same things. While I still do consider that
    church a cult, it is because of its control issues.

    How can we trust those who are naming various
    entities "cults"? Certain ones of those naming
    them have, themselves, come under rightful
    scrutiny which has shown them to be just as
    cult-like as those they name cults.

    WIth regard to the site address given above, my
    first question is who is behind the site? What is
    criteria? I have not read the entries on the site, but
    as soon as I saw Michael Rood's name there, I
    thought, "Well, he certainly is cultish and a false
    prophet as well." When I saw his books in my
    local Christian book store, I advised them to get
    them out. They did -- eventually.

    A short time later, funny thing happened with
    regard to his prophecy about Messiah's return. He
    was seen by a friend at the Western Wall,
    surrounded by a crowd to whom he was preaching
    on the day he had prophesied Messiah would
    return, but the day after, he was nowhere to be
    found in Jerusalem. Hm-m-m-m.
     
  5. dianetavegia

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    CULT:
    Christians generally have a doctrinal component to their use of the word. Cult in this sense, is a counterfeit or serious deviation from the doctrines of classical Christianity. In most cases the group claims to be Christian, but because of their aberrant beliefs on central doctrines of the faith (God, Jesus, and salvation), the organization is not considered to be part of orthodox, biblical Christianity.
     
  6. Doubting Thomas

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    But what are these central doctrines of "classical Christianity"? Who decides what they are, and how are they determined? :confused:
     
  7. dianetavegia

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    The definition clearly includes that.

    Diane
     
  8. Abiyah

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    Diane --

    You know I love you as much as one can from a
    distance, never having met you, merely reading
    what you write on a public board, so please read
    the following knowing that! :)

    When I call an entity a "cult," it is a very unloving
    thing toward the organization I am calling a cult
    for me to do, and I know it, even while I am saying
    it. For example, while I have never publicly named
    my old church, I have publicly called it a cult, and it
    was not because I love that church's practices. (I
    do, however, love the people in it.)

    Yes, that church has either rejected or over-
    emphasized or inflated or added to those
    doctrines considered central to the historical and
    traditional church. The fact is that I, personally,
    also reject, do not accept, and will not follow many
    of the things I believe are accepted and taught by
    the traditional and historical church. Therefore, I
    must also be accepted as part of a cult and the
    representative of a cult.
    </font>
    • * Are Calvinism or Arminianism cult
      practices? Both cannot possibly be
      considered "traditional Christianity."</font>
    • Is having a weekly or a quarterly
      Communion a cult practice? What if
      the entity only does a Passover once a
      year? All cannot possibly be consi-
      dered "traditional Christianity."</font>
    • Is Sunday as the main worship day or
      Sabbath as the main worship day
      considered "traditional Christianity,"
      therefore making one right and one
      wrong?</font>
    • What if a particular practice in
      "traditional Christianity" was started
      after the Bible was canonized. Would
      that not make this practice within the
      church a cult pactice?</font>
    • What if the church regularly neglected
      a practice or teaching that is in theBible:
      would that act of neglect not be cultish,
      when it is clearly taught in the Bible?</font>
     
  9. dianetavegia

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    Abiyah, note the wording: central doctrines of the faith: God, Jesus, and salvation! I see this definition to call churches a cult that veer from those Biblical truths and try to sway others away from those Biblical truths. Otherwise, it's a difference of opinion or comfort zones.

    Quarterlies, days of the week to worship, clothing, etc. are NOT central to the doctrine of grace and I would NOT use that as cult criteria. I thought it was a short, sweet and very clear definition and ruled out what we perceive to be Christian churches!

    Diane
    [​IMG]
     
  10. dianetavegia

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    In fact, I felt it really LIMITED the use of the term 'cult'. :D

    Diane [​IMG]
     
  11. Abiyah

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    Ah, Diane! :) ONLY God, Jesus, and salvation.
    This makes it much clearer, but (please pardon
    me!) I am personally still unsure.

    God and Jesus: These are fairly easy to define
    in human terms, and I think I can see where these
    would take us.

    But salvation: This leaves us open to defining
    salvation as gift-based or works-based.
    Calvinism holds to a totally gift-based salvation,
    if I understand it correctly, while Arminianism
    holds to a gift-plus-based salvation and some
    to a completely works-based salvation. Would
    the definition not still call some entities cults
    based upon these?
     
  12. dianetavegia

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    I guess I just took it very simply, Abiyah! I saw it as Jesus is the only way to God, etc... and I really REALLY think we're too quick to label churches cults because of things that don't matter. I guess I would say, if the belief doesn't affect whether or not you'll go to heaven, it shouldn't be included! Does that make sense?

    Diane [​IMG]

    LOL! Then we might ALL be cults in the eyes of the other guy! LOL
    Diane
     
  13. Doubting Thomas

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    Diane, you listed some words--"God", "Jesus", "salvation"--but you didn't spell out what exactly are the classic doctrines attached to those words.

    What about "God"? Is He unitarian (one person only) or Trinitarian (three Persons in one Being)? How do you know? (Folks on each side use the Bible to prove their point--how do you know who's doctrine is correct?)

    What about "Jesus"? Is He God Incarnate, or is he merely an exalted created being? How do you know, for as it was in the 4th century, people today on either side use the Bible to back up their position? Whose interpretation is correct and how is that determined?

    What about "salvation"? How is one saved? Is regeneration and faith monergistically imposed as taught by Luther and Calvin, or is their a synergy between God's grace and man's free response as most everybody else teaches? Is it "once-saved-always-saved" that wasn't taught until about 500 years ago or was it that man can apostasize from the faith as was the consensus during the first 1500 years of Christianity? Again, how do you know who's right because both sides can find support for their "doctrine" in the Bible?

    Again, what are the central doctrines of "classic" Christianity, and how do you know? :confused:
     
  14. Abiyah

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    Thank you, Diane, and I think you are right: if
    your God, if your Jesus, if your salvation is not
    just like mine, then you MUST be in a cult!!

    Ha-ha!
     
  15. dianetavegia

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    LOL Abiyah! But I am NOT shaving my head and standing at the airport! No Way! LOL

    Diane
     
  16. Abiyah

    Abiyah
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    Hey! I'll spring for your saffron robe!
     
  17. dianetavegia

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    LOL! That would match my two toned hair! LOL
     
  18. dianetavegia

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    Romans 14: 5 One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.

    I LOVE these verses! They say SO much!
    Diane [​IMG]
     
  19. BobRyan

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    So "lets say" a church starts tomorrow teaching that --

    1. They can "make up or change any doctrine"
    2. They can pray to their ancestors
    3. Their leaders are "infallible".
    4. They can torture and murder those who object to their practices.
    5. They can invent entire systems of afterlife (like Purgatory) and torture those that object to such teachings.
    6. Declares that their religious leaders be called "Holy Father".

    All this was done historically by the RCC - and represents "deviations" from what many Christians declare as "normal" Christian doctrine.

    However we do not classify them as a "cult".

    Given that level of "tolerance" - who "CAN" we classify as a "Cult" and what does the term really mean?

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. John Gilmore

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    Another attribute of a cult is the belief that God communicates doctrine directly via its prophetess:

     

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