Bible Reading: Galatians 1:1-9
Key Verse: Verse 8 – “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Key Words: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed
In his book Handbook of Today’s Religions, Josh McDowell defines a cult as “a perversion, a distortion of Biblical Orthodox Christianity and/or a rejection of the historic teachings of the Christian church.” The Apostle Paul warned us that there would be false Christs and a false gospel that would attempt to undermine the work and ministry of the “true church” (II Corinthians 11:13-15).
Walter Martin defines a cult as “a group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from the teachings of the early church.”
A cult is any religion or religious group that meets one or more of the following items.
- A cult has “new truth.” Any group that promotes the false idea that God has revealed Himself in a special way to them and that they have added revelation apart from the Bible is a cult. An example of this would be the Mormons and their Book of the Mormon.
- New interpretations of Scripture. Some cults accept the Bible but say that those “in the church” interpret the Scripture incorrectly. This is how original “home churches” started in the 1930’s and by the 1950’s had reached their peak and were beginning to decline. An example of this teaching would be Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God. Martin also says that more cults have sprung out of “home churches” than any other movement.
- Cults teach “another Jesus.” A primary false doctrine of all cults is their teaching about Jesus. While cults accept the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, they reject the fact that Jesus is God, the Son!
- Cults reject Orthodox Christianity. A characteristic of many cultic groups is a frontal attack on Orthodox Christianity. The cultic groups argue that the church has departed from the faith, thus there is a need for a new church.
- Non-Biblical teaching on the Trinity is another sign of a cult. Cults reject on God in three Persons (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I John 5:7
- Strong (dictator) leadership. Cults are usually characterized by one certain figure who considers himself/herself as a prophet or prophetess of God with direct access to the Almighty. This leader develops a following which grows totally dependent upon him.
- Salvation by works. Cults always teach salvation by works: “do this, follow that.”
What to do:
✞ Make sure you know who you are following.
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