Summary: There are many things about the cults that are rooted in core of our fundamentalist movement. Please heed the following ten precautions:
(Gal 1:6 KJV) I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
(Gal 1:7 KJV) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
(Gal 1:8 KJV) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
(Gal 1:9 KJV) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Title: Ten Warnings to our Church lest we become a Cult!
By the Webster’s dictionary definition of a cult, every spiritfilled born again Christian might be considered by some to be a cult member. That is, every born again Christian should have a fixed devotion to a person and a principle. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the chief principle of our faith is the gospel that was given unto us by the apostles.
A better definition of a cult would be: A cult is a perversion of the gospel, based upon an unholy devotion to a person, a principle, or both.
The purpose of this message is to caution our Bible preaching churches, lest we become cultist in our character. There are many things about the cults that are rooted in core of our fundamentalist movement. Please heed the following ten precautions:
Warning Number One:
Having authority but not being authoritarian.
A cult leader makes of himself the judge, jury, and the executioner. He is the supreme leader. The cult leader sees himself as the ultimate authority.
In true Christianity, the pastor of the Church is to preach with the authority of the scriptures. We see Christ and his Word, as the final authority of all truth.
A good example for us to follow is to note the change in the apostle Paul. This change sets us apart from a cult like mentality. Before Paul came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior, he saw himself as the judge, jury, and executioner of anyone who disagreed with his doctrine. Following his conversion experience, he preached with meekness and trembling the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If others did not agree with his message, he would simply wipe the dust off of his feet (or the rocks from off his head, in some cases) and move on. He believed that Christ himself would be the judge on the Day of Judgment. Therefore, he left that final judgment in the hands of the Lord.
And that ought to be the way of those in Church leadership today! The Pastor should never think of himself as a Baptist Pope.
Warning Number Two:
Being loyal without becoming a blind follower.
Christ has asked us to follow him. To be a good Christian is to be a good follower of Christ. So loyalty to leadership is a wonderful fundamental quality for all believers to have.
But let me illustrate the point of my precaution with the Old Testament story of Moses and the children of Israel.
Were the Children of Israel followers of Moses? In reality, Moses was instructed by the Lord to follow a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. If Moses had stopped following the cloud and the pillar of fire, then the children of Israel would have been foolish to have continued to follow Moses! It would have been clear to them that Moses was no longer following the leadership of the Lord. He had forsaken the way of the cloud and fire.
When a Pastor or Church leader is no longer following Christ, the people of that Church need to stop following that lead, lest they follow blind leaders of the blind!
Warning Number Three:
Being independent but not becoming independent of God.
In Acts 15:5 there is a word used that we need to reacquaint ourselves with. It is the word “sect.” This word was used to denote a group of men who had not yet made the transition between the Old Testament law and the New Testament liberty that we have in Christ. By failing to do so, they became independent of the apostles doctrine and that of the teachings of Christ himself.
I am the pastor of an independent Baptist Church, but that does not mean that I see myself as the only hope of America! I need the help of all of those who have come to claim the promises of Christ. I should see myself as a dependent independent Baptist preacher!
Again, I would ask you to study the text in Acts 15. When Paul could no longer stomach the harassment of this sect of the Pharisees, he and Barnabas took a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to confer with the other apostles in the matter. He did not see himself as independent of the wisdom of others!