What constitutes a "CULT"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Berean, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Berean

    Berean
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    Just as we see the term heresy thrown around often, and lots of time it is only when someone elses belief differs from ours I would like to hear what your criteia for judging a religion as a "cult" ?
     
  2. Dale-c

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    This has been on my mind lately as well. I am not sure I have the answer to it.
     
  3. Johnv

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    Christians sometimes define a cult as "something you do in worship that I don't like" :D
     
  4. ReformedBaptist

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    A congregation of worshippers who have any other object of their worship, devotion, prayers, or service other than Christ and Christ alone.
     
    #4 ReformedBaptist, Sep 2, 2009
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  5. Crabtownboy

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    It depends on the country and culture you are talking about. Baptists are considered a cult in some countries in Eastern Europe.

    Cult = a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/cult
     
  6. Allan

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    Here is what I heard of, learned and use from the Watchman (a group that keeps up to date on the cults and false teaching presently and historically).
    Here is link to some information and below is a excert from it:
    From the link given:
     
    #6 Allan, Sep 2, 2009
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  7. Berean

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    Would Roman Catholics who tend to deify The Virgin Mary be considered a cult?
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    The papacy is the mother of all cults. But to answer your question simply, yes.
     
  9. Allan

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    I think it depends on the church.

    Some add to the scripture with the OT Apocryphal, and or Deuterocanonical and some even contain NT Apocryphal books (such as Easter Orthodox) or even Pseudepigraph, not to mention the popes declarations are considered equal to the scriptures and supercede them at times as well. - There is your adding.

    This one can be debatable; They subtract or diminish Christ's by placing Mary as a co-redemptor and divine in status. - There is your sudtraction

    They also multiply requirements of salvation with a number of things, in addition to faith. - There is your multiplying.

    They are very divisive against other groups, via brutality, misinformation, murder (<--though this is more a past aspect here) etc.. (I have some missionary friends in middle Mexico who are quite literally scared of how the catholics hostility against them has increased incredibly)Though they have recently claimed protestants can be saved, officially it does not mean they necessarily are. I believe the above constitutes the divide catagory.

    So I guess the question is - if YOU put together the facts, what do you think?
     
    #9 Allan, Sep 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 2, 2009
  10. HankD

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    My test is simple...

    The Incarnation.

    Is Christ fully human?
    Is Christ fully God?

    If either question is denied or needs to be qualified then one is dealing with a cultist.

    Therefore, I personally wouldn't consider Catholicism as a true cult (apart from Allan's observation) and I'm a former Catholic.


    HankD
     
  11. Zenas

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    A cult is a to which other people (not yourself) belong. Not all groups are cults but you will never hear a person say, "I belong to a cult." :laugh:
     
  12. Joseph M. Smith

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    I understand the term "cult" to be reserved for those religious groups which involve a close and unquestioning allegiance to a leader. Jim Jones and his group spring to mind as an example.
     
  13. Marcia

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    The problem with this test is that Oneness groups (those who deny the Trinity) can answer "yes" to this. They are a cult.

    Cults are defined both sociologically and religiously. From a general view, it is an authoritarian group that controls the lives of its members. From a Christian view, it is an authoritarian group that does not allow any challenges or questions to those in authority and that departs from the essentials of the Christian faith.

    Other characteristics can include isolating members from family and friends, mind altering techniques, special diets, rules one must abide by or be "lost," pressure on members to recruit, and more. Cults can range from spiritually destructive (all of them are) to physically and emotionally destructive (Jim Jones, Koresh, Heaven's Gate).

    World religions such as Hinduism and Islam are false but they are not cults.

    The LDS and JWs are considered Christian cults because they use the trappings of Christianity but depart from and/or deny the essentials.
     
  14. Johnv

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    I don't believe denial of the Christian essentials qualifies a religion as a cult, in and of itself. It qualifies them as not being truly Christian, but as a cult? No.
     
  15. Marcia

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    If they claim to be Christian but deny the essentials, yes, they are a cult (Mormons, for examples, and Oneness groups).

    Or if denying the essentials is part of the overall pattern of authoritarian leadership and some or all of the other characteristics I listed, yes, it's a cult.

    I took a course on Contemporary Cults in seminary - Ron Rhodes taught it. He is considered an expert. Check out his books on Amazon. He has one on cults in general. He also has quite a few books on witnessing to cultists.
     
  16. HankD

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    You are correct Marcia.
    The assumtion is that I am talking to someone who claims to be a Christian.
    It is a simple test that most cultist fail.

    If they answer in the affirmative, I then go on to the Trinity and ask:

    Do you believe in the eternal Trinity as three distinct persons in one divine essence?

    Again, Catholic doctrine is the same as Baptist doctrine as to the Trinity.

    Next would be the sufficiency of the Blood Atonement of Christ.

    Though to hold a weak position or a works position IMO does not constitute the basis of a cult given the two other essentials above.


    HankD
     
    #16 HankD, Sep 2, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  17. Marcia

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    Good questions to ask, Hank!
     
  18. Revmitchell

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    Apparently if you raise your kids to be family oriented.
     
  19. Allan

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    Brother, look again at my post. I did not actually say they were or were not a cult. I gave some answers to the four basic views that are typically used to define what a cult is. However in my post I said if YOU take the facts what do YOU come up with. I left the final decision in the mind of the observer who is to look into it themselves.
     
    #19 Allan, Sep 2, 2009
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  20. HankD

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    Oh, you are right Allan, "cult" is a subjective thing and I was actually agreeing with you. The important element is why we need the information and for what purpose. Presumably it is to help some deceived soul rescue himself from the snare of the devil.

    2 Timothy 2
    24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
    25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
    26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.​

    When they understand and receive the proper scriptural view of Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh, everything else falls in place and the light of truth is turned on whether cultist, Catholic, Family International, JW, Mormon, etc...

    That is why when I have opportunity with the deceived, I concentrate on the person of Christ and not what we call them or they call themselves or which antichrist (there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time) they follow.


    HankD
     
    #20 HankD, Sep 2, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009

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