preacherman

Friday, October 23, 2009

What Is A Cult?

In this post I would like for us to do is examine our churches to make sure that they are not cults.

What is a cult? When people hear the word cult, they automatically think of a group a particular group that is outside the realm of true Christianity. Maybe Charles Manson, Jonestown or David Karesh come to mind of those who hear the word cult. Is a cult really what we think it is? What is a cult?
www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult defines what a cult is and has some other useful information

http://www.howcultswork.com/ shows how cults work

http://www.cultwatch.com/ also gives cult information.

www.watchman.org/profile/patrnpro.htm tells of what to look out for when it comes to cults.

www.religioustolerance.org/cults.htm also gives a view into what cults are like in nature.

www.ehow.com/how_2308793_how-someone-leave-religous-cult.html# tips on how to leave


Why do some religious groups have cult like qualities? What does that say about that particular group? Should believers be concerned about cults today? Why? Are you concerned about your particular group or questioned some of your religious groups doctrines and practices as cult like in nature? Are their any red flags that you see within the church you attend? If you felt like you were apart of a cult would you leave it? Why or why not? Please share your story with us if you have been apart of a cult and left. Can any denomination end up being a cult?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.

24 Comments:

Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I think that there are three different kinds of cults (see here for more info. I think that it would be safe to say that almost every church/religious group has one of these cultic elements.. even the best ones.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Dusty Chris said...

It seems to me when a group isolates themselves from the fellowship of believers and begins to preach against others (instead of preaching the Gospel, you end up with a cult. Cults are religion being practiced in its most extreme way....

7:50 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
Your right.
I appreciate your blog.
The question I have is how many qualities does religion group or church have to have before it is a cult?

5:14 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

You are right Dusty Christ.
When a church or religious group isolates themselves from others from the fellowship of believers it does become a cult. Great thoughts with us. I greatly appreciate it.

5:15 PM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I think that unhealthy environments are created when more than one of these (Personality, Theology and Community) cultic aspects is present Kinney. Guess I am more concerned about the unhealthy environment than the label of cult. It is why church leaders must always be on the alert concerning abusive environments that result from controlling charismatic personalities, narrow dogmatic theologies and exclusive communities.

5:26 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
I believe so.
Preachers must be alert to what they preach and the possible abuses that they promote as believers.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preaherman,
I believe any religious group or Church that says we are the only ones saved, abuses divorces or shuns those who leave the group for another religious group is definately a cult.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Wendy J. Duncan said...

My husband and I were members of a Bible-based cult for a number of years. Most Christians think that a cult is only about doctrine, but what we discovered is that all cults have similar characteristics and generally form around an authoritarian, charasmatic leader.

Thanks for posting the links. Believers need to become more educated about "cults in our midst."

Wendy J. Duncan
Author: I Can't Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas Cult

7:57 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Anonymous I agee to a certain point. I believe a cult has to have more than one cult like characteristics to make it a cult. Thank you for you thoughts and please feel free to share again.

8:58 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Wendy,
First I want to thank you for sharing your story with us. Bible based cults I believe are the worst kind of cults because they take advantage of what Christianity is all about. It is amazing how many believers would be unwilling to leave a bible based cult in fear of shame from family and friends. The charasmatic leaders that lead these bible based churches can even be looked on as theologically sound or those of fresh ideas or knowledge. Again, thank you so much for sharing your story and God bless you and your family as you find freedom and grace without the bible-based cult. May God's grace and love of other believers pour out on you and your family richly.

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Steve M said...

I believe that any church that seperates itself from other churches or believers is a cult. Any church that abuses or uses guilt and ex-communication for fellowshiping with other churches or leaving the church to attend another denomination is a cult. Those who say you have to do it our way or else. Is a cult. Those who use fear and municpulation of hell and other techniques is a cult. Those who misquote and misinterpret the Bible into what they want it to say is a cult. Those who believe in baptism regeneration is a cult. Those who limit the trinity or Christ divinity are a cult.

9:09 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Steve M,
The only question I have is how many characterists or qualities make a cult a cult?

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Steve M said...

Preacherman,
Good question. I think that in order to be a cult you would have to have at least more than one of the qualities or characterists.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Keith Brenton said...

I would say that any group whose leadership seeks to exercise unusual control over the will and behavior of its members is a cult, whether other characteristics of a cult are present or not.

You'll want me to define "unusual," of course, and I'm not sure I can. Perhaps "unusual" is control that violates human rights and freedoms to choose for oneself.

The control need not be forced. It may be seductive and persuasive; rewarding the surrender of choice without punishment. It's still a cult.

9:04 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thanks Keith.
I totally agree.

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