How to tell if you are in cult #4 evangelism is lost, evangelism is not the priority, our primary goal is not Christlikeness but promoting the cult. This is a study of some simple elements that are very common in cults, false religions, even bad political groups.
- 1 K. When evangelism becomes something other than the clear presentation of the gospel to the unsaved, with an appeal to believe in Jesus Christ.
- 2 L. When evangelism is not the most important thing. When being born again is not a passage of rite through which all must go, and live showing their new birth.
- 3 M. When our principle goal is not to get people saved and serving Christ in our same church, but rather something else.
- 4 N. When exemplary behavior is not being like Christ, but being obedient to the group.
K. When evangelism becomes something other than the clear presentation of the gospel to the unsaved, with an appeal to believe in Jesus Christ.
For example, the social gospel. Cults always lose the focus on the true gospel of the Bible. They see people’s problem not as the sin in their soul, but the lack of things. They divert the Bible’s gospel focusing on Christ saving the soul from sin, to something else. Their efforts become a social gospel. In other words, they focus on doing things for people instead of emphasizing and explaining the gospel to these people.
The Catholic Church has made a tremendous arm of their religion in helping “refugees” (illegals). They even have US federal funds coming into them. They give lodging and food. But that eclipses any religious part of what they are doing with these people. The people know it and they listen and ignore any religious talk. The Catholic Church in itself, in its our fabricated doctrine, refuses to accept salvation is by faith in Jesus and makes their salvation 1) if you are a member of their group, 2) belief in Mary (somebody other than Jesus), and 3) good works. These are classic elements of a cult.
L. When evangelism is not the most important thing. When being born again is not a passage of rite through which all must go, and live showing their new birth.
There is another “continental divide” which separates all other groups into being false religions and cults and the true church of God. This is salvation. For a church or a local or even worldwide group to be part of the true church of God, they must espouse a biblical view of salvation as well as a biblical emphasis on the salvation or gospel.
What is salvation? The short answer here is we are all sinners, Jesus is fully God that incarnated himself, lived his live on earth, and then died on the cross of Calvary to save us, and the Trinity (all three persons of the Godhead) resurrected Jesus on the third day as a show of the approval of God on the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.
To be saved, a person has to humble himself by admitting or confessing that he is a sinner, and then he must trust Jesus to be his Savior, that Jesus’ work on the cross be applied directed to that person. The Bible speaks of receiving Christ John 1:12 which is what preaching the gospel is, an explanation of how to receive Christ or what is involved as far as beliefs when you receive Christ.
A cult will shift this emphasis, and many times they will state that they believe exactly in this, such as the Catholic Church, but in reality and practice, they believe in Mary as a secondary but more important intercessor. Acts 4:12 states that there is no other intercessor except Jesus. 2Tim 2:5 also states this. But a cult and false religion will either directly deny Christ as God and intercessor, the only Savior, or some malign or mangle the concept of Jesus to make him into “another christ” instead of the Christ of the Bible.
Beyond what is in a group’s doctrinal statement, there is also what they actually practice, do they preach first and foremost Jesus Christ as the Savior? Jehovah’s Witnesses preach the coming tribulation and the only way to be saved is by studying with them in their services. Mormons teach that every Mormon man will become a god of his own universe. Jesus, according to them, was just one of those gods. So they demote Jesus to being one “son of God” among many millions, and Satan was his brother, his equal. This is typical of a cult, the destroying of the biblical concept of Christ.
People and a religious group is a cult, not true Christianity, when the focus and practice of all members and leaders are not living the Christ life. Churches that are good doctrinally, but are all mixed up in attacking and destroying the lives of one another through fights, well, it may technically NOT be a cult, but the net effect of suffering in a cult is the same as living in one of these churches.y
M. When our principle goal is not to get people saved and serving Christ in our same church, but rather something else.
Cults function by manipulating people. They draw people in with interests, personal benefit. You can tell when this is happening by simply observing. When there is a lapse of benefits, some people disappear until they start up again. Take a typical church of 100 people. Say there are 25 families. A typical person makes say $5000 a month. A tithe is $500 x 25 = $12,500 that should be coming in every month. When the offerings are around $6,000 a month, something is wrong. Maybe some poorer people are members, and maybe that is offset by some richer members. But you can ballpark guess what people are giving. People who are there only for what the church gives away in freebies are not going to tithe, or if they do, it will be much less than their tithe.
In our day, there are big Baptist churches that have give-aways of food and other things in order to get people to come. A biblical church motives their people to come for biblical reasons, to worship God, to have companionship with fellow Christians, to be edified spiritually by the service, the music, the preaching. Receiving financially really isn’t one of these reasons.
- Biblical churches do no use the motivation of self profit (goods or services) as their strong reason for people to come to their services or participate.
- Biblical churches do not use competition as the motive of laboring for Christ.
It makes absolutely no difference what other servants are doing or not doing nor how they are doing whatever they do. You, as a servant of Jesus Christ, should serve Him with your best no matter what. Your energy should be the best you can muster in order to please Christ, not beat some other worker. (There will always be somebody lesser than you, and somebody greater than you, so depending on if you want to be humiliated or be proud, just pick the appropriate one, but it is nothing in the eyes of Christ. Each must answer for his own actions)
N. When exemplary behavior is not being like Christ, but being obedient to the group.
To define what we should do and how we should act as a Christian, the Bible is our source. It lays this out for us. With these biblical principles we define good and sin. Moreover, God has given us a view, actually 4 views, of the life of Christ, and this standard of what Christ did is very clear to all.
In a cult, this standard is lost. Rather than comparing a person to Christ, he is compared to what serves their particular group or not. A leader has sex with an under-aged girl. If it is brought out or if that leader steps down, it ill affects the cult, so it is suppressed. In other cases, the cult preaches against abortions, but in this case, the girl is forced to have an abortion because she is carrying the baby of one of its leaders, and she is not his wife.
This hypocrisy is very obviously the works of a cult. It is commonly seen among churches that are not recognized as cults.
Marks of a Cult
- FP: False prophets worship other gods
- FP: Using Scripture or Following Scripture?
- FP: Unshackled from God’s Will
- Cults: Double Standards and Hypocrisy
- Cults: Lies and Deceptions