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How To Identify Cults

What are the characteristics of a cult?

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 ---SusieC on 7/21/09
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If, as dconklin states, SDA doesn't teach that it alone has all the truth....if they don't teach that SDA alone is the source of salvation...then I won't condemn them. I don't agree with them about the Sabbath. Some SDA's have some strange, unfounded beliefs about pigs. But if they don't bug me about the day to worship or my diet...I'll be friends. And if I ever have to be a vegetarian, I know where to go for some really good grub.
---Donna66 on 8/7/09


Jerry6593-- I have no idea if paganism was responsible for growth. I doubt that it was. I think Christianity was unique enough to grow because it had appeal. And certainly I wouldn't consider paganism good.

From a sociological viewpoint it IS just a matter of numbers, comparative numbers, plus how the the smaller group is accepted in larger society. There is no set standard.
(But relatively few people are interested in splitting hairs...except maybe you)

A lot of people have brain injuries. Some never even even know thy have had one.
---Donna66 on 8/7/09


Donna: If Christianity was originally a cult, but now isn't, do you think the pagan incursion caused the transformation? Wouldn't that make paganism a good thing? And if it were just a matter of numbers, what is the threshold, and who has the authority to set it? I wasn't arguing with Lee. I think he said he has some sort of brain injury, poor thing.
---jerry6593 on 8/7/09


I am convinced the SDA Church is no cult. As a non-Adventist I have preached in c40 SDA churches and seen no cultic behaviour. Some, are passionate about the Sabbath, but don't remember any who insist we are saved by Sabbath observance.

They hold some beliefs which I wonder about but that is true of other denominations. Follow what is written on these pages and see numerous views which are unsupported by, and often directly contrary to Scripture.

Some bloggers insist God used evolution to create however Scripture states the opposite. Why would Almighty God need to use such a slow, wasteful,violent form of 'creation.'

Others say we are saved by works, again not supported by Scripture, in fact contrary to Scripture.
---Warwick on 8/7/09


The SDA church doesn't teach that it alone has all the truth. In fact, our own history shows that we learned about the Sabbath from the Seventh Day Baptists. Did yours?

There's no evidence that the injury suffered as a child was the cause of any visions. See the work done by Donald I. Peterson, MD.
---dconklin on 8/7/09




jerry6593 -- That's right, in the first century, Christianity could have qualified as a cult, because they were a small group and out of the mainstream.
However, as more people accepted their beliefs, and their numbers increased they lost their "cult" status.. Of course, I'm using the "sociological" definition of a cult.

You are applying some "theological" and pejorative definition, which isn't clear to me, in your battle with Lee. I really don't care to be a part of that.
---Donna66 on 8/7/09


dconklin - there is really no requirement in any of the denominations that you listed that states one must believe in all their teachings to have eternal life, nor do they state that they alone possess the truth of the gospel as does those religious deviant groups that were established in the 19th century.

You may not want to admit it but the founder of one of those sects suffered a brain injury and as a result credited her visions as coming from God when even her own doctors discounted her assertion.
---Lee1538 on 8/6/09


>Totally agree, and that is exactly why I am a follower of Christ alone and not some half crocked religion group that started up early in the 19th century.

By that standard why would you be a follower of some religion that was created in the 1500's with the Reformation?

Or, the Presbyterian's which evolved primarily in Scotland before the Act of Union in 1707?

How about the Episcopalians which had its origins in 1582?

Or, the Baptists which can be traced back to the Radical Reformation of the 16th century?
---dconklin on 8/6/09


Barbara wrote>> - Any teaching that contradicts God's holy word found in the Bible is a cult.

I am not singling you out sis, just using this because it is asked of me often. My response to your statement would be, "according to who's interpretation?" According to which version? English only knowing the NT was written in Greek or Hebrew? Is the KJV or NIV inspired, or are the original letters written by the Apostles insspired?

When we have such a broad brush from which to paint a cult with, then ANYONE who doesn't agree with us could be called a heritic or a cult member and ONLY we are right then, despite still living in a curruptible state.

Peace.
Ken
---Ken_Rank on 8/6/09


Jerry //Not me! Call me a cultist if you like, but I'll stick to the original religion of Christ and not some Christian-Satanic blend.

Totally agree, and that is exactly why I am a follower of Christ alone and not some half crocked religion group that started up early in the 19th century.
---Lee1538 on 8/6/09




Donna: Now you have just admitted that Christianity in the first century was a CULT! And just what was the magical power that freed us from that terrible condition? Perhaps it was all the man-made, pagan rituals that crept into the church after the first century. You know, the kind of false worship that Lee's venerated "Church Fathers" brought in. Or maybe it's a numbers thing. If you get enough people to agree with you, then you're not a cult. (Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and MANY there be which go in thereat.)

Not me! Call me a cultist if you like, but I'll stick to the original religion of Christ and not some Christian-Satanic blend.
---jerry6593 on 8/6/09


Very well done Donna!

A secondary aspect of cults is that they tend to denounce any other belief system than their own as well as their adherents.

There is that 'we are the only ones that have the truth' or 'we are the remnant of God during these endtimes, 'all other Christians have fallen from the truth' etc.

Now we are left with why some consider the Adventists movement a cultic movement.

Perhaps Jerry would like to comment on this issue?
---Lee1538 on 8/5/09


jerry 6593--The word "cult" is defined on the basis of the larger society. Very common definitions in the sociology of religion are

CULT: group with a high degree of tension with the surrounding society combined with NOVEL religious beliefs. This is distinguished from

SECTS: have a high degree of tension with society but whose beliefs are TRADITIONAL to that society.

ECCLESIAS and DENOMINATIONS: groups with a low degree of tension and traditional beliefs.

Since a cult is a small group at variance with the surrounding society, the only time Christianity would be a "cult" is in the first century. Or in the midst of a Hindu nation, for example, a Christian group might be called a "cult"
---Donna66 on 8/5/09


Kathr: Good analysis of some points. One has to read who the scripture was written to, and how it applies.
However, when one applies dispensational thinking, then she/he tend to read a passage through that lens. Dispensation thinking says that Jesus is not an example, but our salvation. A twist to the truth. Dispensational thinking says the Sermon on the Mount is not for us, but for a different dispensation. Dispensational thinking tends to say nothing in the OT is for us today. However, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Salvation has always been by faith. God has never delighted in sacrifice. The "lens of dispensations" hids many concepts for today.
---Rod on 8/5/09


Donna:

"jerry5923--
Cristianity is far too broad and varied to be called a "cult". It cannot be a "cult"

Why is that?
---jerry6593 on 8/5/09


jerry5923--
Cristianity is far too broad and varied to be called a "cult". It cannot be a "cult" anymore than Islam can be a cult, or Hinduism or Buddhism.

Cults and sects occur WITHIN these religions. I was thinking of "Christian" cults when I posted, but from what I've read Muslim cults seem to follow the same general pattern. I don't know enough about other religions to comment on their various sects or cults.
---Donna66 on 8/4/09


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Donna: Each of your four defining points for cults may be applied to Christianity. Now what?
---jerry6593 on 8/4/09


Anything that does not line up with God's divine word is a cult. That could even be a religion that masks itself as as Christianity.
---Kelly on 8/3/09


- Any teaching that contradicts God's holy word found in the Bible is a cult.
- Anybody/organization that state they are the way to God is a cult.
- Anybody/organization offering multiple ways to God is a cult.
- Teachings that places focus on anything except Jesus is a cult.
- Anything that focus on works or ways to earn your way to heaven is a cult.
---Barbara on 8/3/09


I tend to agree with Donna. When you lose the right to be able to draw your own conclusions... make your own choices... when another has power over you and you can't explore anything that is taught in that congregation... you are in a cult.

Peace.
Ken
---Ken_Rank on 8/3/09


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Cults are not cults because of their doctrine.Some characteristics are:

1. usually they have a dynamic leader who dictates to members what they can and cannot do in their lives.

2. members are required to make sacrifices in some way for the cult or cult leader .members who disobey are usually punished in some way.

3. they urge members to separate themselves from friends or family who do not share the beliefs of the cult.

4. they believe that they are the ONLY ones who have the truth and only members of their group can be saved.
---Donna66 on 8/2/09


I tend to agree with Jerry that just because some denominations have rotten theology that there are cults.

A case in point is those that have dietary laws and believe Christians must observe certain holy days as required for their salvation or proof of their salvation.
---Lee1538 on 8/2/09


frank cos - The TRUTH is that anything that does NOT line up with how God interprets the Bible is a cult. It sounds to me like you also think you are God = pride and idolitry. No one is God and knows better than God other than God alone. You basicly say that you know more than God - that was the devils mistake. This is NOT Burger King - you can NOT have it your way. It is ONLY God's way or you are in idolitry. This is what the Bible says.
---Leslie on 8/1/09


The Bible says that in the last days (which we are in) there would be lots of deception. People would claim to be Christ or of God, and really of the devil. People would preach doctrines of demons, and damnible (if you listen, would damn your soul to Hell) doctrines. People would claim Christ (to be Christian) in the church, but would be of the devil (non-Christians, wolves in sheeps clothing, tares in the wheat, angels of light). To not be decieved, we MUST ask God to open our spiritual eyes and give us the gift of decernment of spirits.
---Leslie on 8/1/09


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I tend to question the motives of those who wish to call others cultists. By most definitions of the word "cult," Christianity itself is a cult. Did not Christ dine with publicans and sinners?

Why do we love to point the finger at the other guy and say "you're a cultist and I'm not?" Aren't we, as Christians, to "esteem others better than ourselves?" - Php 2:3 Or do we, like the pharisee pray "God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, .... or even as this [cultist]. - Luk 18:11 Perhaps the cultist prays "God be merciful to me a sinner." - Luk 18:13 Which is the true child of God?
---jerry6593 on 8/1/09


Leslie

Sounds to me like you are in a cult. Anything you don't believe in is cultish? I'd suggest you expand your horizons some.
---frank_cos on 7/31/09


Ignatius>> In other words, "Anything that does NOT line up with my interpretation of the Bible is a cult".

GREAT point! Who's interpretation of scripture defines who is and isn't a cult member? I keep Sabbath but love Jesus and follow his lead because, as Messiah, he is the model by which I am to follow. Am I in a cult for keeping Sabbath, Passover, Sukhot? (Tabernacles) I believe Jesus Christ has come in the flesh to save us from our sins.... and... I believe the 10 commands are applicable to today, am I in a cult? I don't believe in the rapture, the trinity, (though I believe Jesus to be God), so am I in a cult? Who says, you (generic, not YOU Ignatious) or God?

Peace.
Ken
---Ken_Rank on 7/31/09


Ignatius - You are committing Idolitry (making yourself to be God) and being in Pride - You are NOT God. It is NOT your interpretation of scripture that counts, it is ONLY God's interpretation of scripture that counts. God does NOT care what your opinion on His Word is, He ONLY cares what His opinion on His Word is. Anything that does NOT line up with God's interpretation of scripture is a cult. Ignatius, you might just very well be a cult leader.
---Leslie on 7/31/09


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Lesie "Anything that does NOT line up with the Bible is a cult."

In other words, "Anything that does NOT line up with my interpretation of the Bible is a cult".

In IC.XC,
---Ignatius on 7/30/09


A church that is in contradiction to scripture and the words of the prophets are a cult of Satan. A rapture is a figment of the imagination and not biblical. Thesalonians talks about the 2nd coming which happens once. Not 2, 3, or 4 times. any christian church teaching it as doctrine does not follow God. That is why many have a form of Godliness, but they deny the truth therein. Liberal churches that teach gays can be ordained, you can commit any sin you want and be forgiven without living as an example of Jesus Christ is a cult. Also, repentence isn't needed, because Jesus died on the cross, baptism isn't needed, or disobedience to the commandmants will be rewarded belongs to a cult.
---ashley on 7/31/09


Anything that does NOT line up with the Bible is a cult.
---Leslie on 7/30/09


The idea of salvation through grace alone is NOT part of the OT and is not part of the NT. The concept of grace alone was an invention of Martin Luther and Calvin.Smithson***

Salvation through faith is not only in the OT but also in the New. Obviously Smithson never read Romans 4, or Hebrews 11.

Now GRACE NT is explained in Galatians 2:20-21 again in Hebrews 10,"a New and Living way through the veil, that is to say His Flesh",and is what Galatians 2:20-21 is saying, as well as Jesus in John 6 "to eat His flesh and drink His blood"!

We're saved by Grace through faith. Grace is Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection life. OT looked forward to the Cross,(as did Abel)NT realize the Cross.
---kathr4453 on 7/28/09


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Ephesians 4:

4There is one body,

and one Spirit,

even as ye are called in one hope of your calling,
now here is the heart of this Church Truth

5One Lord,

one faith,

one baptism,

6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

This seems to be overlooked, unfortuantely!
---kathr4453 on 7/28/09


David It seems you called me a hypocrite as an intended, and obviously empty insult.

Not good form!
---Warwick on 7/28/09


chris: The better question is how do we identify truth."

Most people can't. Everything today is only relative to one's personal belief. Just reading the differing ideas on these christian blogs should give you an idea. Christians don't recognize the truth as much as they don't recognize that we are living in the end times.
---Steveng on 7/27/09


Forgive and you shall be forgiven.
Not one or two things, everything!

Judge not, and you shall not be judge.
Why, you dont know how to judge.
You will condemn yourself in your judgments.

Look to these words, these words are mine.
Why, the lord my God gave them to me.

Look for the truth in your father!
Who he is! You are all one, in him!

If you only would believe the love he has for you.
Be ye holy, for I am holy!
God save us, from ourselves!
---TheSeg on 7/27/09


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Rod, the problem with the other is that they believe ALL scripture applies to today. It does not.

You will see in Romans 5 3 different dispensations

Adam to Moses
Moses to Jesus
Jesus Today

Scripture that spoke explicitly to Israel the Nation is NOT applied to the CHURCH...

The CHURCH is not under earthly blessings for obedience. We're blessed in Heavenly Places in the RISEN Christ...again, not available in the OT!!!
---kathr4453 on 7/27/09


If changing a single word of the bible makes a group a cult, then anyone using any translation is a cult. The KJV is FULL of errors and mistranslations of the original Hebrew. The idea of salvation through grace alone is NOT part of the OT and is not part of the NT. The concept of grace alone was an invention of Martin Luther and Calvin.

By your definition, modern Dispensationalists, Pentacostals, Assembly of God and all those groups are cults.
---Smithson on 7/27/09


The better question is how do we identify truth. Once we do that, anything that is not the truth needs to be personally rejected by us. We can usually do this while respecting others. My concern with the word "cult" is that it seems the intent is automatically to disrespect someone else (call them a name), rather than to just state what you believe and why in a loving and christian way. And, I do believe we can actually disagree and point out what we see as points of error in someone else's beliefs or understanding, but unless the person is acting with evil intentions, I do not believe we are justified in doing this in any other way than with respect.
---chris on 7/27/09


With all due respect, I am I to believe in a pre-trib rapture because others don't???
I believe we should live for/in Christ and follow Him, while anticipating His second coming.
Dispensationalists spiritualize also, just different verses than others do. They take literal what "fits" their system and spiritualize what does not.
The reason dispensationalism boarders on cults is because they deny that much of scripture applies today. Such as the beatitudes, the Gospels. The problem is, is that many people don't understand the dispendsational belief system and are not consistent in their belief of it.
Paul received "dispensations", do we? Yes, "commands" to live Godly in Christ Jesus.
---Rod on 7/27/09


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The BIBLE teaches DISPENSATIONS. We are NOW in the dispensation of GRACE...not OT LAW.


Dispensations also deal with TIME as well: Ephesians 1:10 for example.

1 Cor 9:17a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Ephesians 1:10
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him:

Ephesians 3:2
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

Colossians 1:25
Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God,
---kathr4453 on 7/26/09


You cannot easily identify cults unless you don't study well scriptures. Cults were using Satanic Bible, when they changed bibles with one word alone the whole is considered false! The best weapon is just to read and pray bec. deciever is almost everywhere operating inside church. Beware! If you are attending your chuch better leave. 1 Peter 4:17 Judgment begins at the house of God. Thanks
---rosalie on 7/26/09


Dispensationalism belief makes this statement. You must understand their system before one can understand the Bible.Rod***

Rod, are Mormons, RCC, Calvinists Dispensationalists who believe in the rapture? Actually they all hand you their suppliment...yet none of the above believe in the rapture. I believe all here including JW's believe in a Kingdom NOW/replacement/reconstruction Theology, which actually spiritualizes away the literal interpretation of scripture. Do you also spiritualize away the second coming?


Sorry Rod. It appears you don't believe in a rapture, but to say those who do are cults handing you suppliments to scripture is nonsense!
---kathr4453 on 7/25/09


No answer David?

David you wrote 'Warwick, you hypocrite!'

There is truth in this David as to a greater and lesser extent we are all hypoctites. t Paul (Romans 7:24) admitted his failure in this area.

Nonetheless David where does my hypocrisy lie in this specific case?
---Warwick on 7/23/09
---Warwick on 7/25/09


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I found this definintion of dispensations quoted from a person who calls himself Pastor David F. Reagan. "It is a doctrinal system. This is an organized framework designed to give greater meaning to the entire body of biblical doctrine. It acts as a lens through which the truth of scripture is viewed." Notice the word "lens." It's like the proverbial "rose colored glasses."
Now, be careful before throwing stones. There is more than one legitimate way to look at Scripture.
I hope I do not deliever this too harshly, I am becoming passionate about this distortion of Scripture.
---Rod on 7/24/09


Always entertained by the infamous "cult" question...look up the definition of a cult...Christianity meets the general definition! The fact is that many well meaning people on these blogs describe a cult as anyone who doesn't believe as they do. They are people who believe whatever they've been taught and don't bother doing any legitimate research on their own.
---anonymous on 7/24/09


I couldn't help but respond when I read this, "If someone hands you a book (suppliments to scripture) and says, "you really can't understand salvation or scripture unless or until you read this first". run for your life!! Run Forrest RUN!!!"
Dispensationalism belief makes this statement. You must understand their system before one can understand the Bible. That's where the rapture belief comes from.
I am not saying dispensationalism is a cult, but....one might think about running. All the concepts of pre-trib, tribulation, 1000 year rule, is based on dispensationalism.
---Rod on 7/24/09


SusieC,
Characteristics would be things done in secret...

Teaching a doctrine that limits God's Grace yet calling that His Sovereign right to limit Himself. Kind of an oxi-MORON there.

Worshiping of a man's doctrine over the authority of scripture.

If someone hands you a book (suppliments to scripture) and says, "you really can't understand salvation or scripture unless or until you read this first". run for your life!! Run Forrest RUN!!!

That you HAVE to belong to their organization or demonination or follow their Theological Guru.

AND if they don't pass the Colossians Chapter 2 test!
---kathr4453 on 7/24/09


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BruceB - *I see, Lee. And your comment is, somehow, fundamentally contrary to the premise, "Virtually every 'church' says they are the only 'true' church"?

The claim to be the only 'true' church is clearly NOT made within the denomination that I belong to.

As I stated, we truly recognize others that are in Christ regardless of denominational affliation.

The early church had only elders & deacons and that is according to the governoring structure we attain to.
---Lee1538 on 7/24/09


to alanuk

RCC is not a cult? my only questions are why is
there purgatory? is that biblical?
why does RCC accept the worship & prayer to mary? is that biblical? mary considered herself a sinner
they consider mary the mother of jesus, when she is only an instrument?
why are there idols in catholic churches?
and finally
why do they consider the pope 'god on earth' called his 'holiness'? paul, peter, and the other disciples preached the gospel not make themselves 'a pope' after christ rose from the dead.
---mike on 7/24/09


I have heard various Pastors teach that any religion, organization, church, etc.. that have their own rules and regulations which contradicts the bible is a cult. Those who attend churches that require strict adherance to their doctrine and/or rules that take priority over God's Word are considered cults. They all believe they are the true church and their way is the right way. All born again believers are baptized into the body of Christ by the same Holy Spirit and are children of God. His children all belong to the same church, the church of grace. God bless all the brethren!
---Bob on 7/23/09


There is one God and one faith.

you can't pick and choose what you want to believe out of the bible. You must embrace all of it, and obey all of it.

u

All the Apostles were on the same page..

Jesus thought them...

shouldn't we follow what the Apostles did, we have churches that believe different things... somebody is in error.

I don't see how you can go wrong following the the Jesus thought Apostles.

when churches deviate, they represent the false Prophets that the bible warns s about
---batieste on 7/23/09


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"While we certainly believe that our denominations more closely represents the early church in structure and belief..."

I see, Lee. And your comment is, somehow, fundamentally contrary to the premise, "Virtually every 'church' says they are the only 'true' church"?
---BruceB on 7/24/09


"Churches" are not buildings, denominations and non-profit corporations. The meaning of church is a christian group.

Christ is returning to join with (marry) not a building, denomination, or a non-profit organization, but his people, christians.

People do not need to join a church to be saved like many of these denominations make you believe. You can have a real relationship with God without a denominational "church," but only fellowship with others.

Do an online KJV bible search for "one another," "each other," and "encourag" because living a christian life is a 24/7 lifestyle - not a once a week pep talk dished out by denominational "churches."
---Steveng on 7/23/09


If it does not comply with the Word of God. God tells us in the Bible we are not just to do what we are told, but to try it with the Scripture. Man is not to add or subtract anything from the Word of God. If he does then it is not of God.
---Jeanette_Nimick on 7/23/09


David you wrote 'Warwick, you hypocrite!'

There is truth in this David as to a greater and lesser extent we are all hypoctites. t Paul (Romans 7:24) admitted his failure in this area.

Nonetheless David where does my hypocrisy lie in this specific case?
---Warwick on 7/23/09


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ignatius....I said that the number one sign of a cult is if they say they have the only truth. There are lots of Christians churches which teach the truth. It's the cults that say they have the "only truth" or the "only prophet" that we need to avoid. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The church that He established is the true church and it isn't in a building.
---SusieB on 7/23/09


*Virtually every "church" says they are the only "true" church.

Not really true. I am a Presbyterian and we fully recognize other communions.

While we certainly believe that our denominations more closely represents the early church in structure and belief, we fully recognize the fact that there are true Christians that do not adhere to our belief system.

Cults on the other hand, teach that membership in their organizations is essential for salvation. Say the SDA that teaches they are the remnant of the end times and the only ones that truly follow the commandments of God.
---Lee1538 on 7/23/09


You only have to scratch the surface to see the support given to the Nazis by many Catholic Bishops and Cardinals to realise that cults attract cults.

There are many photographs showing Bishops and Cardinals giving the 'Hitler' salute, and many Catholic fascist dictators gave support to the Nazis, Benito Mussolini being one of them.

Cluny, I'm sorry but it appears you are in denial. The truth can often be a heavy burden to carry.

Warwick, you hypocrite!

Donna66- The head of the Anglican Church is the UK Monarchy. Whilst the Anglican Church is a sect of the RCC, I did not say they were 'subservient' to the Pope. However, Anglicans are in the main 'subservient' to the beliefs of the RCC.
---David8318 on 7/23/09


Virtually every "church" says they are the only "true" church.

As for Christian churches, how would Jesus have come off were He to state(?)... "I am the way the way, the truth, and the life: but then, so could Joe Schmoe be." Seems Warwick's four points regarding cultism are just about perfect for the purpose of this posting.

You see people periodically asking the question, "Why did God give us the Bible?" I think the answer is right here, in front of our faces--don't wanna join the "wrong" cult, now... do we?
---BruceB on 7/23/09


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Mima. I don't know. Which Church? Let's think about this for a second. Don't YOU believe your interpretations of Scriptures are correct and others are wrong? You have your set of beliefs that you believe strongly and others who don't share your view are not in the Truth. Am I wrong?

SusieB. You are wrong. Just because a Church claims to have the Fullness of the Faith does not mean they are a cult. If that is true the Holy Apostles and the Apostolic Church were a cult since they believe they was the only ones that was in the Truth! I would ask you the same question I ask Mima.

In IC.XC,
---Ignatius on 7/23/09


Mima...I know which one you are thinking about. But, there are thousands of churches out there teaching that they are the only ones who are right. Generally they are preaching that their pastor has a "new revelation" that nobody has ever seen or heard before.
---SusieB on 7/22/09


Mima ... probably not the one you are hinting at!!
---alan8566_of_uk on 7/22/09


alan8566_of_uk: "One Man controlling it,
Members not allowed own opinions,
Any other perception of faith invalid,
Must not associate with non-members,
Disfellowship = Families & friendships split,
Surrender your money to them. I think all those things are present in any cult ... and thus the RCC, however much I disagree with some of its doctrines and practices, is not a cult"

You may even call christianity a cult (one man controlling it - Jesus, etc.). Any denominational "church" can be classified as a cult. All churches within a denomination gets all their traditions, ways of living,a nd interpretations of the bible from their own synod.
---Steveng on 7/22/09


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\\These main religious groups also punish those not agreeing with its teachings. RCC persecution of the likes of Galileo & Nazi/RCC persecution of Jews during WWII.
---David8318 on 7/22/09\\

The roman Catholic Church did NOT join the Nazis in the persecution of Jews. This is simply a lie.

May I remind you, David8318, that "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" does not go on to say, "unless thy neighbor is Catholic, then thou mayest lie thyself black in the face to the contentment of thy soul."
---Cluny on 7/22/09


---SusieB, now what church could possibly say they're the only church hummmmmmmmmmm
---mima on 7/22/09


David8313--

I can see how "the Pope" could qualify the RCC as a cult, but the history of the Anglican church hardly seems applicabe in the 20th and 21st century. Henry VIII is certainly not revered by anybody today! And Anglicans don't consider themselves subservient to the Pope!

SusieB. Yes. Any church that claims that they are the only church in which one can find salvation, is to be avoided at all costs.
---Donna66 on 7/22/09


David as Jehovah's Witness, be careful about pointing your finger at others-Matt. 7:3-5.

Bob Larsen says most cults share this in common:

A centralized authority which tightly structures philosophy and lifestyle.

A we versus them complex, pitting the supposed superior insights of the group against a hostile outside culture.

A committment for each member to intensively prosletyze the unconverted.

And an entrenched isolationism that divorces devotees from the realities of the world at large.

We non-cultists happily worship at any Bible believing Christian church. Cultists can't. As a decades long Christian JW's often visit to convert me! They will not accept I am a Christian, needing no conversion!
---Warwick on 7/22/09


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I have attended many churches of different denominations in Singapore, New Caledonia, Hong Kong, Thailand, NZ, UK, US, France, Spain. And throughout Australia, where I live. I would be happy to again attend most of these churches. I enjoyed the worship and was in one Spirit with the believers there. The denominational name is irrelevant as they are Bible believing. There are differences, often due to culture, but the one faith-brothers and sisters in Christ.

The cult member cannot do this, as all outside their particular cult are in need of conversion, not suitable worship partners. All of the Church, other than them is in serious error, they say.
---Warwick on 7/22/09


NUMBER ONE is if the church says that they are the only "true" church and that all others are wrong.
---SusieB on 7/22/09


The common denominator identifying 'cults', already identified by posts so far, is that they have a man (or woman) as its 'leader' who is given a measure if not full religious devotion.

On this point alone, the RCC is a cult as it has the Pope, a human as its leader who is given extra-ordinary devotion by many RCC followers.

Also in the cult pot is the Anglican church (plus its religious sects) which has as its head the UK Monarchy, which is itself a sect of the RCC (Henry VIII, divorce/Pope/protestant issue).

These main religious groups also punish those not agreeing with its teachings. RCC persecution of the likes of Galileo & Nazi/RCC persecution of Jews during WWII.
---David8318 on 7/22/09


Ignatius, in America's conformist culture, the requirement that people conform can be authoritarian and totalitarian. "thought reform techniques" > there can be an unspoken threat of rejection to ones who do not conform, so they learn not even to think about being different. "isolation" > ones can be isolated to incrowds, and marriages can be isolate us with someone we seek to use for what we want. Ones often appoint themselves as being the boss, etc. So, our general selfish culture is cultic, and this can breed more obvious cults. Also note > how conformist religion can have superficial standards so low that any psychopath predator can easily imitate these religious standards, and even become a pastor in such groups.
---Bill_bila5659 on 7/22/09


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My last post is for SusieC. One popular definition is "A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control".

What Are Some Characteristics of a "Cult" in this sense?
- Authoritarian in their power structure
- Totalitarian in their control of the behavior of their members
-Totalitarian in their world view
- Uses thought reform techniques
- Isolation of members (physical and/or psychological isolation) from society
-Charismatic or messianic leader who is self-appointed and has a special mission in life.
-Instills a fear of leaving the group, among other things.
---Ignatius on 7/21/09


As I said on another blog, among other marks of a cult are these three things:

1. Defective Christology.

2. Radical Sectarianism.

3. Doctrinal Novelties.
---Cluny on 7/21/09


A few of the features:

One Man controlling it
Members not allowed own opinions
Any other perception of faith invalid
Must not associate with non-members
Disfellowship = Families & friendships split
Surrender your money to them

I think all those things are present in any cult ... and thus the RCC, however much I disagree with some of its doctrines and practices, is not a cult
---alan8566_of_uk on 7/21/09


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