Illustration results for cults
I want to read to you the opening story from David Platt's book "The Radical Question" (Multnomah Press).
Imagine a scene that took place in Asia not so long ago:
A room in an ordinary house, dimly lit, all the blinds on the windows closed. Twenty leaders from churches in the region sit quietly in a circle on the floor, their Bibles open. They speak in hushed tones or not at all. Some still glisten with sweat; others' clothes and shoes are noticeably dusty. They have been walking or riding bicycles since early morning when they left distant villages to get here.
Whenever a knock is heard or a suspicious sound drifts in, everyone freezes while a burly tough-looking man gets up to check things out.
These men and woman have gathered in secret, arriving intentionally at different times throughout the day so as not to draw attention. In this country it is illegal for Christians to come together like this. If caught, the people here could lose their land, their jobs, their families, even their lives.
I was in that dimly light room that day, a visitor from America. I huddled next to an interpreter, who helped me understand their stories as they began to share.
The tough-looking man--our "head of security"--was first to speak up. But as he spoke, his intimidating appearance quickly gave way to reveal a tender heart.
"Some of the people in my church have been pulled away by a cult," he said. Tears welled up in his eyes. "We are hurting. I need God's grace to lead my church through these attacks."
The cult that had been preying on his church is known for kidnapping Christians, taking them to isolated locations, and torturing them, my interpreter explained. Many brothers and sisters in the area would never tell the good news again. At least not with words. Their tongues had been cut out.
I had a very animated professor at Bible college by the name of Dr. Emert. He taught us about the danger
of blaspheming God’s Son by claiming that He is anything less than God. He told how for some the earth
opened, for some fire fell from Heaven, and for some floods came. He told us that he had one response when
false cults come to proclaim their heresy. "I have just paid off my house and enjoy it very much. If you are going
to continue to spout evil doctrine that will anger the God of the universe, at least get off of my porch!
We live in a strange community, where it is not uncommon to see bumper stickers that say things like, I am Light, or Due to circumstances within our control Armageddon has been cancelled. But the one that really gets me is the one that reads simply, I AM. Thank God, the I AM doesn’t drive a VW van. If the guy driving that van has numbered our days, we’re in trouble. Somehow I don’t think he was the one that hung the stars in space and sustains all things by his word. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
Another of her like would be Ophrah – not a witch, but described by Christianity Today as one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America today – perhaps even all over the western world where her program is shown. This ex baptist now espouses the view that “one of the biggest mistakes we make is to believe there is only one way. There are many diverse paths leading to God.” She is described as a ‘postmodern priestes...
I would like to read you something I came across this week. It was written by a man named Tamim Ansary– who is an Afghani-American writer [ taken from Salon.com ]. I don’t generally like to read something of this length, but I think it is important for us to hear.
[start quote] I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we’re at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought especially hard about the issues being raised because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I’ve lived here for 35 years I’ve never lost track of what’s going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I’m standing.
I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They’re not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."
It’s not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country. Some say, why don’t the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they’re starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines. The farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that’s been done. The Soviets took care of it already.
Make the Afghans suffer? They’re already suffering.
Level their houses? Done.
Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done.
Eradicate their hospitals? Done.
Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs.
Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today’s Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They’d slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans; they don’t move too fast, they don’t even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn’t really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they’ve been raping all this time [end quote]
Someone has said “The advent of the new age can be seen as a mixed blessing for Christians who are called to respond in faith to the presence of new religions towards the end of the 20th century. While the new age may be drawing away from traditional faith many dissatisfied individuals who have not embarked on a personal religious quest, it might also be doing a service to Christianity by encouraging Christians to delve deeper into their religious tradition and rediscover its treasures.”
YOU BELIEVE WHAT?
Between 1976 and 1997, the number of Americans who believed in astrology grew from seventeen percent to thirty-seven percent. During the same period, the percentage of Americans who professed a belief in
reincarnation nearly tripled -- from nine percent to twenty-five percent. And crystal ball makers doubtless are glad to hear that those who put stock in fortune-telling nearly quadrupled -- from four to fourteen percent.
SOURCE: Chuck Colson 8/20/01 Breakpoint article.
Karen Hunt was a new ager who spent many years searching – exploring all sorts of religious practice. She says
“I’m now a Christian. I have been rescued from new age spirituality. It is a bondage. It is not the freedom it pretends to be. The fact that people are seeking should encourage us. They are spiritually aw...
I’ve heard many people say so many times that you can’t tell the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. Alice’s sister-in-law, Keiko, is a New Age Soka Gakkai Buddhist. She is so serene, so filled with peace and joy, that Alice’s brother, her Mom and Step dad, have all been drawn into this cult. Why? Because the “Christianity” that they experienced was full of criticism, anger and abuse. Where is the peace and love that Christ taught us? How can we live it? How can we show it to the world?
A man who was raised in a cult (A cult is a group that changes either the person of Jesus or the redemptive act of the cross) over a period of years gradually rejected the rules and works of religion. One day he cried out to a friend, "You’ve taken away everything I have depended on and believed in. All I have left is Jesus."