Research: Christian Cults

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Excerpt from Cold Hard Facts On Cults – updated.

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.”

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, Christians are not called to be nice; we are 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! Not for the easily offended.)

  • New Age movement (occultism 101…magic, psychic phenomena, astral travel, divination, tarot cards, astrology, reincarnation…and a whole lot more)
  • New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism. NAR teaches Kingdom Now theology, which humanizes God and deifies man, believes in the restoration of apostles and prophets, and has as its goal to take dominion over the seven mountains of influence, i.e. the 7 Mountain Mandate. Also called Latter Rain, Joel’s Army, Third Way and Manifest Sons of God. Beware of Elijah’s List & Kansas City Prophets (IHOP), plus the Charismatic Renewal. Bethel Church in Redding CA is a full-blown NAR church.
  • Spiritual Warfare movement (deliverance from demonic strongholds, casting out demons, binding territorial spirits, strategic level prayer)
  • Spirituality (current term for New Age, occult beliefs)
  • Eastern mysticism (pantheistic, the opposite of Sola Scriptura…Spiritual Formation (spiritual disciplines), Centering Prayer (contemplative spirituality, breath prayers, The Silence, labyrinth, Lectio Divina, mindfulness)
  • Secret or hidden wisdom, secret oaths (Gnosticism, Freemasonry – occultism)
  • Oprah Winfrey (New Age guru who claims to be a Christian but denies that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, also promotes/practices occultism)
  • Wicca/witchcraft (occult-sorcery-neopaganism)
  • Secret organizations (Freemasonry, Ku Klux Klan, New World Order, Builderberg)
  • Radical political/social groups/activists (LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, feminists, environmentalists, animal rights, abortion)
  • Global warming, climate change, climate crisis (mind manipulation)
  • Self-improvement (personal transformation)
  • Holistic Health movement (occultism)
  • Esoteric groups (UFO’s, Mind Science, Mind Therapy, Transhumanism)
  • Multi-level Marketing (mind manipulation)
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (12-steps – occultism)
  • Advertisements (mind manipulation)
  • K-12 education, academia (mind manipulation)
  • Darwinian evolution (dare to question “settled science” and see what happens)
  • Marxism
  • Nephilim (Genesis flood, pseudo-humans, space alien)

For the record, some of the above-mentioned groups may not be bona fide cults. But they’re not averse to using mind manipulation techniques as a means to an end – and this is what the cults do! Granted, some cults or cult-like groups may not be psychologically harmful. However, for the true Christian it can be spiritually damaging to become involved in any sort of occult practice. And it’s spiritually harmful to follow the teachings of charismatic cult-like leaders whose teaching is decidedly unorthodox. The Bible calls these men and women false prophets. (Jer 5:31).

Some people will believe almost anything, regardless of its absurdity. When confronted with the facts they refuse to listen. Why? Because knowing the truth could deflate their fantasy world so they choose to remain in denial. This is why religious/spiritual gurus, social activists, the media, advertisers, celebrities, doctors, dispensers of pills/vitamins, multi-level marketing groups and powerful political leaders have such an easy time sucking people in – then sucking the life blood out of them! Take est for example. Chances are you haven’t heard of est, as it was big in the late 60s. Space doesn’t allow for going into the details; what’s important to know is that the trainers used mind manipulation techniques on willing participants during feel good weekend seminars. “We’re going to tear you down and put you back together.” Critics of the training called it a cult. Eventually the organization changed its name to Landmark Education and now promotes The Landmark Forum…but only the name has changed. (Source)

NEED TO KNOW

Walter R. Martin, Christian apologist and founder of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, as well as the Christian Research Institute, was known as the godfather of the countercult movement. Dr. Martin gave us fair warning about the cults and the world of the occult. One of the cults Dr. Martin warned about was The Unity School of Christianity, now Unity. In The Riddle of Semantics he sounded the alarm:

If the reader consults the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary, published by the Unity School of Christianity [Unity], he will see the masterpiece of redefinition for himself. For in this particular volume, Unity has redefined exhaustively many of the cardinal terms of biblical theology, much as Mary Baker Eddy did in her Glossary of Terms in the book Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures. The reader will be positively amazed to find what has happened to biblical history, the person of Adam, the concept of human sin, spiritual depravity, and eternal judgment. One thing, however, will emerge very clearly from this study: Unity may use the terminology of the Bible, but by no stretch of the imagination can the redefinition be equated with the thing itself.

ARTICLES

The Basics — The Holy Trinity By Kim Riddlebarger

The Roots and Fruits of the New Apostolic Reformation By Bob DeWaay

Snares of the Modern Church – Christian-Cloaked Occultism –The Dissenter

Christians Have A Choice To Make: Paul Of Tarsus Or Taurus The Bull. Which Will It Be? By Marsha West

What is a ‘gateway verse’ and why is it dangerous? — ChurchWatch Central (Cult leaders often use key Bible verses to lead people down heretical “rabbit holes.”)

As America Enters Year Three of COVID, The Biden Regime Struggles to Reprogram Its Pandemic-Crazed Base (the cult of the mask) — Revolver News

HELPFUL WEBSITES

VIDEOS

The Marks of a Cult: A Biblical Analysis with Eric Holmberg

Counterfeit Kingdoms, NAR, and Modern ‘Apostles’

Interview with Charismatic Cult Survivor: Steve Forkin — Steve Kozar

BASIC ESSENTIALS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

There are several different lists of core Christian beliefs, i.e. the basic essentials of the faith. Nearly every list agrees on the following fourteen essential doctrines, but there are more:

  1. Monotheism (God is One)
  2. God exists as a Tri-Unity (the Holy Trinity)
  3. The Deity of Jesus Christ (fully human and fully God)
  4. Jesus’ sinlessness
  5. Human depravity
  6. Jesus’ virgin birth
  7. The necessity of God’s grace
  8. Necessity of faith
  9. Jesus’ atoning death or substitutionary atonement
  10. Salvation by God’s grace
  11. Salvation through Jesus Christ alone
  12. Bodily resurrection of Christ and ascension to heaven
  13. Second coming of Christ
  14. Inspiration of Scripture

BOOK

Essential Truths of the Christian Faith By RC Sproul

BIBLICAL CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

Drawing the Line: Why Doctrine Matters — By R. Scott Clark

WHAT IS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

What is the Gospel? — Pastor Chris Gordon

TOPICS

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS/12-STEPS:

Biblical View of Codependency and Alcoholics Anonymous

Book: The “Spiritual” Truth Behind Alcoholics Anonymous–And Why Christians Should Think Twice About Joining A.A.

BOSTON CHURCH OF CHRIST:

At What Price Success? The Boston (Church of Christ) Movement – James Bjornstad

The Boston Church of Christ

CATHOLICISM:

Research: Roman Catholicism

Are Catholics deceived? – Mike Gendron

Can a Catholic be Saved?

Mariology Cult Gaining Wide Support – Deception in the Church

FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME:

False Memory Syndrome Foundation

FREE MASONRY:

Ephesians 5:11 Free Masonry

Freemasonry and Lucifer

Walter Martin on Free Masonry

HEBREW ROOTS:

Hebrew Roots Heresies— Elliott Nesch

It’s Christmas time and that can only mean one thing: the Hebrew Roots folks are busy telling Christians they are sinning if they celebrate Christmas – Christine Pack

A Hebrew Roots Wife Speaks (and other articles) – Joyfully Growing In Grace

HOLY LAUGHTER & THE TORONTO BLESSING:

Deceiving the Elect New Apostolic Reformation – lots of links

Televangelists/Word of Faith – lots of links

What Bible verses are most commonly used to support “holy laughter,” and what is your response to them?

INTERNATIONAL CHURCH OF CHRIST/BOSTON CHURCH OF CHRIST:

Former Members of the ICC

At what Price Success?: The Boston (Church of Christ) Movement — Christian Research Institute

INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER (IHOP):

“Harp & Bowl” – Tricia Twillin

Mike Bickle – background – many articles

Mike Bickle IHOP: A House Divided — YouTube 3/20/24

Is IHOP a cult? One intern’s story – Berean Research

ISLAM:

Answering Islam

The Good Way Christian Response to Moslems

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES:

Research: Jehovah’s Witnesses

Reasoning From the Scriptures – Ron Rhodes’ book

MOONIES/UNIFICATION CHURCH:

Family Federation for World Peace and Unification / Unification Church — Apologetics Index

The Unification Church — CARM

MORMONISM /CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS:

Research: Mormonism

Mormon Research Ministry

Reasoning From the Scriptures – Ron Rhodes’ book

NEW AGE MOVEMENT:

Research: New Age Movement

Christian Answers for the New Age – Marcia Montenegro

OPRAH

Is Oprah Peddling Snake Oil?  By Marsha West

Oprah’s Counterfeit Christianity By Marsha West

Oprah Shifts to the Dark Side By Marsha West

NEW APOSTOLIC REFORMATION:

Research: New Apostolic Reformation

Shedding Light On the Diabolical NAR empire–Herescope

DR. MICHAEL BROWN – defender of a cult

Why Michael Brown has no credibility By Anthony Wade

How are we to regard Michael Brown, Todd White and other NAR leaders–ChurchWatch Central

Dr. Michael Brown — series of articles warning about his association with and defense of men and women who embrace heretical Latter Rain theology and some extreme teaching coming from Bill Johnson, Benny Hinn, Todd White and Jennifer LeClaire.

SCIENTOLOGY:

Apologetics Index on Scientology

Operation Clambake

Scientology: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power

Watchman Fellowship – lots of articles

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM:

Seventh-day Adventist Church — Apologetics Index

From AI’s Research paper: “Though several capable Christian scholars (e.g., Anthony Hoekema, J.K. Van Baalen, John Gerstner) have concluded that SDA is a non-Christian cult system, Christian Research Institute has continued to assert that this is not the case.”

UNITY SCHOOL OF CHRISTIANITY – Name Change: Unity:

Unity School of Christianity By Russ Wise

What is the Unity Church / Unity School of Christianity? — Got Questions

UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM:

Apologetics Index

WORD OF FAITH:

Research: Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel/Televangelists

Exposing the Word of Faith Prosperity Gospel — Justin Peters

WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD – Name Change: Grace Communion International – formerly Armstrongism 

About the WCOG and Major Changes under the leadership of Joseph Tekach Jr.

 

Views expressed by individual authors and/or sources don’t necessarily reflect those of Marsha West or Christian Research Network.