CULTS – DEAD ENDS OF DECEPTION
I’m told that one explanation of the meaning of the word ‘cult’ is that the word is derived from the Latin word ‘cultus’ which means ‘any kind of ritual, ceremony or liturgy’. The word ‘cult’ was also recently defined as being ‘a teaching, group or movement which deviates from orthodoxy while claiming to represent the true faith’.
Remember, all cults deviate from what is regarded as being orthodox. Christianity is for everyone – from the intellectual to the uneducated. A good litmus test is to question if what is being put to you is capable of being understood by an uneducated member of a remote tribal community, or not! When confronted by a person who tries to tell you that you are in the wrong place spiritually, you need to be able to apply Biblical standards in order to know if that one comes to you in ‘truth’ or not. Why? Because there are many similarities between ‘true Christianity’ and ‘false christianity’. Matthew 24:24 says, “If it were possible, they shall deceive even the elect”. The ‘elect’ referred to here of course, are true Christians. Logically, if a true Christian is in danger of being deceived, then how much easier must it be to deceive one who has no understanding of the Bible or sound Christian teachings?
Satan the Devil (yes, he really does exist and he is known as the Father of Lies), tries to frustrate the building of the true Kingdom of God by raising up those who are ‘false prophets’ (Matt. 7:13-23), ‘false apostles’ (2 Cor. 11:12-13), ‘false teachers’ (2 Peter 2:1-22) and ‘false pastors and shepherds’ (Acts 20:29-30). In simple terms all of these ‘false’ ones are going to look and sound just like true Christians!
Satan’s foremost strategy is to create confusion of which he is the creator and author! People who may have rejected the false (or the counterfeit) are often placed in real danger, through that bad experience, of rejecting the truth, because the truth is difficult to separate from the false. For deception to win, it has to have a very close resemblance to the truth!It is only because of a lack of knowledge and discernment that people are candidates for deception. The truth and what is false therefore, will have many similarities, such as:
• both will require strong leadership
• both will stress a need for loyalty and commitment to their leaders
• both will believe in a deep commitment to the group and its purpose and goals
• both will share the belief that we are living in what is called ‘The End Times’
• both will work to establish a hope for a different and better life-style
A point to remember is that true leadership will always work under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ; false authority will tolerate and encourage the deification (or the exalting like a ‘god’) of their leader, or leaders. The true always looks to the Bible for instruction and guidance; the false invariably will have other writings which embrace material supposedly superior, or additional to Scripture. For example, the Latter Day Saints have the Book of Mormon and other books; Jehovah’s Witnesses have the Watchtower Magazine and a multitude of other books. You will always be able to recognize a dangerous religious group that claims to be ‘Christian’ by their rejection of:-
• the Authority of the Bible, God’s Word
• the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is God manifest in the flesh
• the Cross of Calvary, and
• the Blood Atonement paid by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary’s Cross.
Dangerous religious groups will always promote the idea among their followers that they alone have the truth and that every religion other than theirs is of the Devil. Logically, this leads their members to believe that everyother group claiming to be Christian is the enemy!
Cults will always reject, or suspect all authority but their own. To illustrate, the Jehovah’s Witnesses will place themselves above the law of the land when it conflicts with their own teachings and belief. They justify it by quoting Acts 5:29 which says, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Such teaching leads to a group believing that they are above the law; which can have disastrous results, as it did for the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) in Malawi in the 1960’s when thousands of their members were killed and many more had to flee for their for their lives into neighbouring countries! The Malawian Government required people of voting age to register for an ID Voting Card, without which one could not vote! The JW’s are not allowed to vote, so they did not register and were considered a threat to society!
© Copyright Mandate Ministries 1997
CULTS – DEAD ENDS OF DECEPTION