How to Discern Cults: 7 Characteristics--1 & 2 of 7
This is just one of 2 parts,i am not a teacher of the Word,so this is not something that i will teach,but something we all can discuss.
I will put up the next part i a day or two,this is a very large teaching.
How to Discern Cults: 7 Characteristics
I. KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH
A. A cult is a group that deviates from the doctrines and practices of historic Christianity and has an inordinate loyalty to one leader, whose beliefs are not found in Scripture (as affirmed b historic Christianity). Cult leaders or false teachers often believe that they alone possess the truth. If a group displays even one of these seven characteristics, they are a cult or have cultish tendencies.
B. We want all to be equipped to see and expose deception, to help others avoid it. We must warn
and rescue those who are involved in false teaching and practice by teaching them the truth.
C. Satan’s weapon is deception; our defense is love for the truth (2 Thes. 2:10).
32 You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (Jn. 8:32)
6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hos. 4:6)
D. Paul warned about false teachers in the mighty church of Ephesus (Acts 20:29-30; 1 Tim. 1:3-11;
4:1-8; 6:2-7, 20-21) and in the end times (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-17). Jesus emphasized this
(Mt. 24:4-5, 11, 24). False teachers usually are covetous and immoral (2 Pet. 2:9-14; Jude 8-10).
29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing
the flock. 30Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw
away the disciples after themselves. 31Therefore watch. (Acts 20:29-31)
E. False teachers pervert the teaching about the grace of God by legalism or lewdness. Legalism seeks to earn God’s grace. Lewdness reduces the message of grace to only receiving forgiveness,without seeing that it empowers us to love and obey God and to turn from our sin.
4 For certain men [false teachers] have crept in unnoticed…ungodly men,who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny…our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 4)
F. False teachers do not hold to the main and plain doctrines of Scripture. The battle for truth today focuses on defining who Jesus is and how we are to love Him. We must love God on His terms.
Our love for God must be expressed through allegiance to Jesus and the Bible. Truths about Jesus that offend humanists include His right, as God, to establish absolute standards of life and morality, to which the nations will be held accountable; second, that Jesus is the only way of salvation; and third, that Jesus possesses the wisdom and love to judge sin in time and eternity.
G.We must accept the main historical Christian doctrines, which include:
Jesus, God’s only son, is fully God and fully man, born of virgin birth, without sin.
Jesus’ death, bodily resurrection, and ascension. One God exists in three Persons (the Trinity) as
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Salvation is by faith alone, through grace alone, and in Christ alone.
The infallibility of Scripture; Scripture is our final authority for all matters of faith and practice.
The unity and diversity of the Body of Christ. We stand firmly with the teachings of historic orthodox Christianity as defined in statements such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed,and the Westminster Confession
II. SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTS
A. #1 Opposing critical thinking versus demanding that people think for themselves
1. Cults: Their members must accept what the cult leader believes without ever challenging their doctrines. They do not want their members to think critically for themselves.
2. The Bible: We must all test each teaching that we hear in the light of Scripture. Do not receive a teaching that you cannot see with your eyes in your Bible. Do not quickly accept new ideas but examine them. Loyalty to a ministry involves humbly challenging it when needed. Do not say, “Our leaders say…,” but rather say, “The Bible says…”
21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. (1 Thes. 5:21)
3. Christians are exhorted to test the spirits—to discern the spirit behind a teaching.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God;because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 Jn. 4:1)
4. We are called to test all doctrines and ministries that we are open to receiving from.
11 They [the Bereans] received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. (Acts 17:11)
B.#2 Dishonoring the family unit versus insisting on the biblical priority of the family unit
1.Cults: Children are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their parents. Women are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their husbands, and husbands are taught to accept this as normal behavior.
a. The cult leader seeks to take the place of fathers, mothers, or other authority figures.
b. The members often act as “dependent children,” seeking to win the approval of the
2. The members are required to cut ties with their family and friends who do not join the
group. They often urge the group members not to communicate with their families.
3. The Bible: The first relational priority in one’s commitments is to their spouse, children,
and parents. A person’s family is far more important than the ministry in which the person is involved.
a. Teaching that undermines the sanctity of the family unit is unbiblical.
b. Scripture urges us to seek reconciliation and to mend broken family relationships
through love, humility, and forgiveness (as far as it depends on us).
c. Those who genuinely love others will seek to regularly communicate with and honortheir families.