Cults & Heretical Teaching

Cults & Heretical Teaching
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Excerpt from Cold Hard Facts On Cults

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.)

  • New Age movement (occultism 101…magic, psychic phenomena, astral travel, divination, tarot cards, astrology, reincarnation…and a whole lot more)
  • New Apostolic Reformation (aka Dominionism, 7-Mountain Mandate, Latter Rain, Elijah’s List, IHOP, Bethel Church in Redding CA)
  • Spiritual Warfare movement (deliverance from demonic strongholds, casting out demons, binding territorial spirits, strategic level prayer)
  • Spirituality (new term for New Age occult beliefs)
  • Eastern mysticism (pantheistic, the opposite of Sola Scriptura…Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Disciplines, Centering Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, Contemplative Spirituality, Labyrinth, Lectio Divina, The Silence)
  • Secret wisdom (occultism)
  • Oprah Winfrey (New Age guru who claims to be a Christian but denies that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and also promotes occultism)
  • Wicca/witchcraft (occult-sorcery-neopaganism)
  • Secret organizations (Freemasonry, Ku Klux Klan, New World Order)
  • Radical political/social groups (feminists, environmentalists, animal rights, abortion, LGBT)
  • Hebrew Roots
  • Global warming aka climate change (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)
  • Academia (mind manipulation)
  • Darwinian evolution (dare to question “settled science” and see what happens)
  • Marxism

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. I don’t have the space to go into the details, but 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. Continue reading

RESOURCES

Ankerberg Theological Research Institute
Apologetics Index – cults, sects, alternative religious movements
Apostasy Alert – Jackie Alnor
Apprising Ministries
Berean Call – T.A. McMahon
Berean Research
Berit Kjos Ministries
Christians Answers for the New Age
Christian Apologetics Research Ministry – Matt Slick
Christian Research Network
Christian Yoga? – lots of links
Churchwatch Central
Critical Issues
Cult Comparison Chart
Cult Index – definitions: cults, New Age, Native American, UFOs and more
Deception in the Church–Sandy Simpson
Ephesians 5:11 – discernment ministry
Fighting for the Faith
Herescope
Justin Peters
Let Us Reason – Mike Oppenheimer
Lighthouse Trails Research
List of Cults and Non-Christian Groups
Messed Up Church
Reasoning from the Scriptures  – Ron Rhodes 
Saints Alive – Ed Decker
Spirit of Error
The Spirit Watch – deceptive spirituality & philosophy
Stand to Reason – Greg Koukl
The Watchman’s Bagpipes
Think On These Things
Watchman Fellowship  – discernment ministry


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:
Are Catholics deceived? – Mike Gendron
Berean Beacon
Can a Catholic be Saved?
Catholicism & Islam: Ties that Bind  – T .A. McMahon
Mariology Cult Gaining Wide Support – Deception in the Church

Roman Catholicism Research Paper

FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME:
False Memory Syndrome Foundation

FREE MASONRY:
Ephesians 5:11 Free Masonry
Freemasonry and Lucifer
Walter Martin on Free Masonry

HEBREW ROOTS
Addressing the Hebrew Roots / Sacred Name Movement – Christine Pack
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
Lots of articles – Joyfully Growing In Grace

HOLY LAUGHTER & THE TORONTO BLESSING:
Deceiving the Elect
Holy Laughter: Is It Biblical?
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
Former Members of the ICC
Sites Related to the Boston Movement

INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER (IHOP):
“Harp & Bowl” – Tricia Twillin
Mike Bickle – many articles
Mike Bickle

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