About Marsha West

Marsha West is the general editor of Christian Research Network.

Cold Hard Facts On Cults

 Marsha West, General Editor CRN

Marsha West, General Editor CRN

Six years ago I penned a piece entitled “Caught up in a cult?”  My concern at the time was that a growing number of people were being drawn into cults and cult-like groups that call themselves Christian.  They had no clue that they’d strayed off The Safe Path into The Deep Weeds.  So I laid out what a cult is and listed several groups to beware of.  Six years later the numbers of people in cults has increased.  The main reason is that there’s a famine of spiritual discernment in the land.

Many so-called evangelical Christians do not know the Truth.  Why?  Largely because they have little or no interest in reading and studying their bibles. Moreover, a growing number of Christians have abandoned the essential doctrines of the faith altogether.  You know things are bad when a believer’s theology is “experience based” rather than based on God’s written Word.  Doctrine, after all, is divisive.  Several years ago, our late brother Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries lamented: “People are drifting into a highly subjective murky mysticism where one decides truth about God by what they ‘feel.’”

One troubling fact is that our younger generation—especially Millennials–have bowed down to the idols of moral relativism, political correctness and tolerance.  Wanting to be seen as “loving” and “tolerant,” Christian Millennials have adopted liberalism’s social justice gospel to avoid offending their neighbor.  They haven’t a clue that the social justice gospel (social action and involvement in issues of justice) saves no one.  Even worse, they completely miss the fact that the true Gospel of Christ has always been, and will continue to be, an offense to the unredeemed mind!

So a word of warning.  Christians who wander away from the safety of the sheep pen to explore The Deep Weeds may find themselves in a den of wolves.  Once inside the wolf den, there’s no easy escape.

Before I move on, I’d like readers to know that those of us involved in a counter-cult ministry oppose anyone, including Christian luminaries, who besmirches the Name of Jesus Christ.  Likewise, we’re concerned for our brethren who’ve been drawn into apostasy and our desire is to lead them out of The Deep Weeds onto The Safe Path.  To that end, the research material at the bottom of the page will help Bereans determine if a group is biblically sound.

“Caught up in a cult?”  (2010)

Countless people are caught up in cults and cult-like groups.  To avoid being one of them you must become familiar with the nature of a cult and their schemes. Granted, there are no easy answers to the question, “What exactly is a cult?” But there are some cold hard facts that most people are unaware of.

One thing you can count on is that some of your relatives, friends, neighbors and even the friendly face who checks your groceries at the local market may be caught up in a cult or a cult-like group.

Cult typically refers to “A system of intense religious veneration of a particular person, idea, or object, especially one considered spurious or irrational by traditional religious bodies; as, the Moonie cult.” Add to that: “A strong devotion or interest in a particular person, idea or thing without religious associations, or the people holding such an interest; as, the cult of James Dean; the cult of personality in totalitarian societies.” [1]

Probably the most well-known pseudo-Christian cults are Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) and Christian Science, but there are a whole host of other pseudo-Christian cults.  Some members of these cults may find my assertion humorous.  Others may even become angry.  Sorry about that, however, as a Christian I’m not called to be nice; I’m called to speak the truth in love and to “contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Here’s the truth.  JWs, Mormons and Christian Scientists claim to be Christians yet they deny fundamental Christian doctrine and manipulate the Scriptures to fit in with their own beliefs.  From the Church’s perspective, which is what really matters, these groups have deviated from the historic, orthodox teachings that are derived from the Holy Scriptures and confirmed through the ancient ecumenical creeds.  Thus, people in these cults aren’t true Christians.  This should come as no surprise. After all, they’ve had to defend their spurious beliefs for decades.

Christians are not the only ones caught up in cults.  Pagans, agnostics and atheists may very well be involved in a destructive cult or cult-like group and not even realize it.  For example, devotees of any of the following groups/movements/theories/celebrities, can be exposed to mind control techniques and even open themselves up to the world of the occult!  Here’s a short list to ponder: (Warning! This is not for the easily offended.)

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Weather Channel Founder Slams Bill Nye: Calls him “a pretend scientist in a bow tie”

Marc Morano of Climate Depot reports on the storm brewing between John Coleman and Bill Nye. Recently, Nye actually suggested that climate change skeptics should face jail time for their dissenting views.  So it was no surprise when he announced his skepticism over the soon to be released global warming film “Climate Hustle.”  Morano has the story:

Storm cloudWeather Channel Founder John Coleman, a meteorologist for over six decades, slammed Bill Nye, ‘the science guy’ for saying that the new skeptical global warming film ‘Climate Hustle’ is “very much not in our national interest and the world’s interest.

Coleman is featured introducing ‘Climate Hustle’ in theatres on May 2 for the one-night only showing.  www.ClimateHustle.com Nye is also featured in the panel discussion that follows the skeptical film in theatres on May 2.

“I have always been amazed that anyone would pay attention to Bill Nye, a pretend scientist in a bow tie,” Coleman said today.

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Target’s Stock Down 5 Percent, Brand Damaged, by Public Rebuke to Pro-Transgender Bathroom Rules

According to Breitbart:

Target’s stock price and its favorability among shoppers are crashing as the public rebukes the retail giant for ignoring their vigorous protest against mixed-sex changing rooms and bathrooms.

The company’s stock was two cents shy of $84 on August 19, when it revealed it would not allow shoppers to use single-sex bathrooms or changing rooms. Instead, all rooms were opened up to anyone claiming to be of either sex. As of 4.00 p.m. Friday, the stock had dropped almost $4.50, down to $79.50.

That’s a huge loss of 5 percent in stock value, costing shareholders roughly $2.5 billion in company value.

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Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Hudson’s Bay stores have same bathroom policy as Target

Thus far more than 700,000 people have pledged to boycott Target over their bathroom policy that permits men who say they identify as women to use the store’s ladies room and changing rooms.  Now we discover that Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Hudson Bay has the same transgender policy as Target.  But what’s going on with Sears, Walmart, Macy’s, Whole Foods and shopping malls across the country? USA Today has the story:

Transgender bathroom policy

Many women feel unsafe when a man occupies a stall or changing room next to them.

Retailers are weighing in on the question of transgender rights as momentum builds against Target, whose stance on which bathroom transgender customers and employees can use in stores has sparked major backlash from customers who say they’re going to stop shopping there.

Starbucks, Hudson’s Bay Co. — parent company to Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue — and Barnes & Noble all told USA TODAY that employees and customers in their stores are welcome to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.

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We all lie, scientists say, but politicians even more so

Deception starts early.  One researcher says that children learn to lie around 3 years old, “often when they realize that other people don’t know what they are thinking.”  Not surprisingly lying comes naturally to youngsters.  According to Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press, it takes more energy to lie than to tell the truth. He writes:

Pinocchio We watch with fascination as candidates for the world’s most powerful job trade falsehoods and allegations of dishonesty.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump routinely calls rival Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted.” Cruz retorts: “Falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie and something Donald does daily.”

News organizations such as The Associated Press and PolitiFact dedicate enormous resources to separating candidates’ truthful wheat from their dishonest chaff.

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Denmark ethics council calls for tax on red meat to fight “ethical problem” of climate change

The Independent reports:

Denmark is considering proposals to introduce a tax on red meat, after a government think tank came to the conclusion that “climate change is an ethical problem”.

The Danish Council of Ethics recommended an initial tax on beef, with a view to extending the regulation to all red meats in future. It said that in the long term, the tax should apply to all foods at varying levels depending on climate impact.

The council voted in favour of the measures by an overwhelming majority, and the proposal will now be put forward for consideration by the government.

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Emotional manipulators: The truth must die

Heads up, brethren!  Amy Spreeman of Berean Research has some disturbing news to report.  She writes:

I’m about to share complete blasphemy with you, wrapped and bound snugly in the heartstrings of emotionalism and self esteem. Before you see this in your youth group, in your women’s Bible study, on your timeline, or even from the Jumbotron at your church, I hope you see it here first.

I post this story as a preemptive strike against those who will perpetuate the lies of the enemy of our souls. Thy do it beautifully, with skilled manipulation cloaked in tears. If a wolf cries real tears, then what they are saying must be true, right? After all, God judges the heart, and this wolf’s heart is humble.

If that sounds harsh, I don’t mean it to be. You see, the battle for truth is very real, and very wicked. The enemy’s tactics are as old as “Hath God really said?”

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Congratulations, Target: You’re The First Company I’ve Ever Boycotted

After thinking about Target’s new policy for a few days, Christine Pack of Sola Sisters has decided to boycott Target.  “What can I say?” states Christine.  “There is a first time for everything. I’m boycotting not because I hate homosexuals or those who identify as transgender. I don’t hate them. In fact, God’s love and mercy and forgiveness is extended to them, and I am deeply burdened that they have been encouraged by this perverse culture to embrace their sexually immoral desires.”  Pack is boycotting for safety reasons. “I don’t want to be in a dressing room or bathroom where a 200 pound man built like a linebacker might decide that he is going to take advantage of Target’s liberal new policy, and say ‘Today, I identify as a woman,’ after which he would be able to walk into the bathroom with me, and attack me.”

Christine’s piece includes Target’s public bathroom statement.

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Cruz announces Fiorina as choice for running mate

Fox News reports:

 Ted Cruz, looking for a shake-up in the 2016 race as Donald Trump moves steadily closer to the Republican nomination, on Wednesday announced former GOP primary rival Carly Fiorina as his choice for running mate should he win the party nod.

The move was immediately dismissed as an act of “desperation” by the Trump team, but Cruz – while acknowledging it is “unusual” to announce a running mate so early – defended the decision. He claimed “nobody is getting to 1,237 delegates,” the number needed to clinch the nomination, and voters should “know what [they] will get.”

“After a great deal of time and thought, after a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee, Carly Fiorina,” Cruz said.

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China on course to become “world’s most Christian nation” within 15 years

The Telegraph reports that by 2030 the number of churchgoers in China could surpass those who worship in America, which shows the powerful of the Gospel. According to Tom Phillips:

It is said to be China’s biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to this Asian mega-temple to pledge their allegiance – not to the Communist Party, but to the Cross.

The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a “miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church”.

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Missouri Grad Student Thrown Out Of Counseling Program For Religious Beliefs

Daily Wire reports:

The veil is lifted yet again on the intolerance of the Left.

A student in a counseling masters program at Missouri State University allegedly got the boot for expressing his religious views. Andrew Cash said that he would not counsel a gay couple, citing his religious faith, but would have no problem counseling a gay man or woman. His sin against the Left, making a personal choice based on deeply religious beliefs, was met with his expulsion from the program by the oh-so-tolerant administration, claims Cash.

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Rutgers Removes Depiction of Jesus Crucified on Dartboard From Art Display Following Complaints

According to Christian News Network:

Photo from:  jihadwatch.com

Photo from:  jihadwatch.com

Officials at Rutgers University have removed a depiction of Jesus crucified on a dartboard following complaints from those who found the display to be blasphemous and disrespectful.

The display at issue was called “Vitruvian Man” and was part of an exhibition at the three-story university art library on Voorhees Mall. It featured a sculpture of Jesus affixed to a dartboard with darts on his hands and feet, as well as one in his side.

Last Wednesday, Rutgers student Natalie Caruso posted on on the Rutgers University Class of 2016 Facebook page that she had asked the university to remove the display.

“It is surprising that a state university would allow this,” she wrote. “I asked them to take it down because I found it disrespectful and they refused.”

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Colorado Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case of Baker Ordered to Make Cake for “Gay” Celebration

Christian News Network reports:

The Colorado Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of a baker who was ordered to make a cake for an event celebrating the union of two homosexual men, allowing the lower court’s order to stand.

“Upon consideration of the Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals and after review of the record, briefs, and the judgment of said Court of Appeals, it is ordered that said Petition for Writ of Certiorari shall be, and the same hereby is denied,” it wrote in a brief order.

Two of the court’s seven judges said they would have accepted the case on religious freedom grounds.

 

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16 “Pro-LGBT” Businesses That Operate in Countries With Poor Human Rights Records

According to The Daily Signal:

Big corporations have come out to criticize state religious liberty measures in Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina as discriminating against those who aren’t heterosexual, some going as far as to propose boycotting states that enact such laws.

However, several of the most vocal companies that say they stand with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans also operate in countries with troubling human rights records, including places where homosexuality can result in a death sentence, a review by The Daily Signal shows.

Details on the fate of the measures in Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina are below. The following is a list of 16 corporations that publicly attacked religious liberty measures in one or more of the three states, yet do business in countries that blatantly and sometimes brutally discriminate against LGBT citizens or otherwise have a poor record of defending human rights:

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Jen Hatmaker: “Christians should open wide their churches to LGBT community”

Amy Spreeman of Berean Research reports that “Christian” celebrity Jen Hatmaker has announced her decision to reject the authority of Scripture and join the LGBT community in their rebellion against God. Worse, she is encouraging her many fans to pick up a rainbow flag and follow her down the path that leads to destruction.  Amy writes:

So many Christian women who love the Lord are very upset with me for warning them about Jen Hatmaker. Yes, I know, Jen is the lovable mom, writer and speaker who is known for being “Raw and Real.” Apparently she says what women think, or wish they could say, and she tells a lot of great, emotional stories.

But if we judge her fruit (that’s her doctrine, ladies; not her social works) against the truth of Scripture, we find that underneath that sweet funny rawness of hers is a wolf who is luring women by the hundreds of thousands into the maw of deception. Is that unloving of me? No! I am trying to help women see Christ and warn them against counterfeits.  I got a lot of hate mail after posting “4 Concerns about Jen Hatmaker’s Teachings, and another slew after reviewing her “bible study” book that dips into sorcery: “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess” (Why aren’t we having women study the actual Bible?)

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Calvary Chapel, Bill Hybels, and Jesuit Mysticism

From Berean Research:

Roger Oakland of Understand the Times International says that Calvary Chapel has a new found connection with Bill Hybels, one of the architects of the seeker-sensitive movement.  Oakland wonders how big of an impact this union will have.  There’s a program Willow Creek implemented by Bill Hybels’ son-in-law Aaron Niequist called The Practice that Oakland sees as “the epitome of all that is emergent.”

What about Calvary Chapel’s connection to The Practice and contemplative prayer? Will this connect Calvary Chapel to the spiritual formation practices promoted by the Jesuits?  So many questions…

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Pro-choice Group Features Broken Baby Cookies to Support Abortion

In a piece over at National Review, Ericka Anderson writes:

Photo courtesy National Review.

Pro-abort group celebrates abortion by breaking, eating baby-shaped cookies. Photo courtesy National Review

Pro-choicers go to great lengths not to use the term “babies” when it comes to unborn children. Which is what makes it ironic that a University of North Georgia pro-abortion group decide to feature cookies in the shape of said babies to promote keeping abortion legal. Worse than just featuring the cookies, the group chose to break them in half, which can only be a reference to what happens to infants when they are torn apart in the womb during an abortion.  They were reportedly chomping off the heads and laughing about it as well.

God help us.

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NC Lt. Gov.: We’re Protecting Women, Children From Sexual Predators — LGBT Is Running a “Smear Campaign”

According to CNSNews:

Target StoresNorth Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest said the “bathroom law” in that state is designed to protect women and children from “predators and sexual offenders,” and that LGBT activists and their allies are running an “amazing smear campaign” that is “based on a bunch of lies.”

During an April 20 interview on Relevant Radio’s Drew Mariani Show, Lt. Gov. Forest explained how gender activists were attacking the state of North Carolina and misrepresenting the law in the Tar Heel state.

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Heavy teen marijuana use may cut life short by 60

CBS News reports that a new study shows that pot smokers have poorer health in general.  According to CBS, the drug is linked with lung cancer and increased heart problems.:

Heavy marijuana use in the late teen years puts men at a higher risk for death by age 60, a new long-term study suggests.

Swedish researchers analyzed the records of more than 45,000 men beginning in 1969 and 1970. The scientists from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm reported that 4,000 died during the 42-year follow-up period, and men who’d used marijuana heavily at ages 18 and 19 were 40 percent more likely to die by age 60 compared to guys who hadn’t used the drug.

The authors of the new study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, said the findings contradict previous research involving the same group of men.

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When tests detect birth defects, babies can still be born healthy

According to World Magazine, a new study shows that “the embryo has an amazing ability to correct itself” in the womb.:

New research suggests women who terminate their pregnancies because of an abnormal prenatal test may be aborting perfectly healthy babies.

Doctors frequently offer birth defect tests to pregnant women whose babies are at increased risk of abnormalities. One of the tests that can be performed earliest in pregnancy, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) analyzes cells from the placenta between 11 and 14 weeks of gestation.

Physicians often believe the presence of abnormal cells indicates the baby will most likely be born with birth defects like Down syndrome. Some moms choose to abort their babies when the test results are abnormal.

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How GPS Came to Be—and How It May Be Altering Our Brains

Is the system changing the structure of our brains? Bloomberg Businessweek has the story:

GPSIn Pinpoint: How GPS Is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds, Greg Milner tells two stories. One’s about how the Global Positioning System became one of the 21st century’s most important technologies. The other’s about how it may be stunting the brains of the ingenious species that created it.

We use GPS today to guide airplanes, ships, and tractors. It keeps tabs on sex offenders and helps find oil deposits. “GPS surveys land, and builds bridges and tunnels,” Milner writes. “GPS knows when the earth deforms; it senses the movement of tectonic plates down to less than a millimeter.” GPS can tell you how long until your Uber arrives—and even let you know if someone nearby is interested in a one-night stand.

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Trump Wants Republican Platform Changed to Include Abortion Exceptions

Christian News Network reports:

During his appearance on NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Donal Trump said that he would like the Republican platform changed to include exceptions to abortion.

Co-host Savannah Guthrie noted to Trump during the broadcast that the current platform does not cite any exceptions, and asked Trump if he would like them to be included.

“The Republican platform, every four years, has a provision that states that the right of the unborn child shall not be infringed. And it makes no exceptions for rape, for incest, for the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the exceptions that you have?” she asked.

“Yes, I would,” he replied. “Yes, I would. Absolutely. For the three exceptions, I would.”

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Cruz hits Trump for remarks that transgender people should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”

Fox News has the story:

Trump and CruzTed Cruz blasted Donald Trump on Thursday after the Republican presidential front-runner said transgender people should “use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”

Speaking at a “Today” show town hall Thursday morning, Trump said North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom law,” which directs transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificates, has caused unnecessary strife.

“There have been very few complaints the way it is,” Trump said. “People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.”

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