Cults In Our Midst

Cults In Our Midst

Definition of a cult – A group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviation from orthodox Christianity, relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith particularly the person of Jesus, salvation and the trinity.

In order to ascertain whether or not something is Christian, we must first understand what makes something Christian in the first place. Throughout history, the Christian Church has gleaned from God’s word those essential doctrines that, if denied, place the person outside the camp of Christ.

The following are three of the essential doctrines declared by Scripture as being necessary. In other words, to deny any of these is to deny the heart of Christianity and be outside the camp of Christ.

1. The Deity of Christ

Jesus is God in flesh (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14). See also John 1:1,148:2410:30-33.

1 John 4:2-3: “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

The above verse needs to be cross referenced with John 1:1,14 (also written by John) where he states that the Word was God and the Word became flesh.

1 John 4:2-3 is saying that if you deny that Jesus is God in flesh then you are of the spirit of Antichrist.

2. Salvation by Grace

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast,” ( 2:8-9, NIV).

“You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace,”(5:4).

3. The Resurrection of Christ

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith,” (1 Cor. 15:14). “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins,” (1 Cor. 15:17).

To deny the physical resurrection is to deny Jesus’ work, sacrifice and our resurrection.

There are other doctrines such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the Virgin birth, etc. that are derivatively necessary. But these three points above are the ones in the scripture that are declared by the Bible as being essential. The derivative doctrines like the Trinity are orthodox and accurate teachings from the Bible.

Characteristics Of Cults

1. New truth.

2. Rejection of orthodox Christianity.

3. Non- biblical teaching on the nature of God.

4. Changing theology.

5. Strong charismatic leadership.

6.New interpretation of scripture.

7. Non- biblical source of authority.

8. Another Jesus.

9. Salvation by works.

10. Some form of initiation rights.

11. Reliance on emotionalism.

12. Use of threats to keep people in.

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