Summary: We are called to earnestly stand against false doctrines.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE CULTS
The world of apologetics and the confrontation with the false teachers of our times is not a popular theme in the church today. It was just as unpopular in the early days of the church. The twisting around of God’s Word by man has been going on about as long as man has walked the earth.
I. Our responsibility as Christians in respect to the false teaching.
A. Jude 1:3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
B. I Peter 3:15-16 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. And be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience. That, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ."
II. What is a cult.
A. The dictionary defines cult as "a system of religious worship or ritual"; "devoted attachment to, or extravagant admiration for, a person, principle, etc.", "a group of followers."
B. Generally, a cult is a group that is unorthodox in its beliefs and teachings, and calls for devotion to a person, object, or a set of new ideas.
C. The term cult can range from any group of worshippers of any God who pay no attention to the Bible, to a small, highly paranoid, apocalyptic people who gather around a charismatic leader that uses the Bible to control them.
II. Four Categories of Cults
A. Pseudo (False) Christian Cults
1. Jehovah Witnesses
3. Christian Science
4. Unification Church (Moonies)
C. Oriental Cults (including Hinduism, Buddhism, TM, Hare Krishna, Zen, Yoga, etc.)
D. Human Potential cults (New Age, Scientology)
E. The Occult ? Spiritism, Astrology, Witchcraft, Satanism, Native American/ Shamanism
III. Characteristics of cults.
A. They all claim special revelation and privilege.
B. Those that use the Bible invariably interpret it in disharmony with standard biblical understanding.
C. They distort the true biblical doctrines that effect salvation sufficiently to void salvation.
D. If it doesn’t use the Bible, it is a non-Christian religion and does not participate in the benefit of divine revelation.
E. Some cult groups add to the Bible.
1. Mormonism ? the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price.
2. Christian Science ? Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
3. The Jehovah’s Witnesses ? New World Translation
4. Revelation 22:18 "For I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:"
F. All cults add to the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
1. At the end of the life of Jesus, he cried out from the cross, "It is finished." So it must have been a success. But by human standards, his ministry at that point would have been judged a failure.