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Examination of the Cults
By NiteOwlDave
The following verses in Matthew 24, 4-5 are certainly prophetic in view of the growing number of religious cults today.
Jesus said,
"Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ', AND SHALL DECEIVE MANY."
Most cults claim to be Bible-based, when in fact they borrow elements of biblical truth or add to the inerrant Word of God.
If what is promoted by a religious group flies in the face of Holy Scripture, that group must be called in error and judged as being false.
Its promoters and adherents will face the wrath of a Holy God; if not now, certainly in the afterlife.
The apostle John in the Book of Revelations warns in the third and fourth last verses in the Bible, Revelations 22:18-19,
"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
"And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book."
What is a cult?
The commonly held definition is that a cult is simply a belief system.
But more correctly, a cult is a group led by a dictatorial leader who demands unquestioning adherence to his doctrines which are generally taken from the Scripture out of context.
With the Bible being our measuring stick, let us examine here a few of the more prominent cults in North America.
Jehovah's Witnesses
The modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) was founded by Charles T. Russell in 1876.
Over the years the JW's have gone by the names Russellites, Millennial Dawnists, Watch Tower Society, and International Bible Students.
JW teachings are undeniably wrong when held up to the light of Scripture.
Aside from the facts that they refuse blood transfusions, will not salute the flag or honor any government, will have no part of war, or honor traditional Christian holidays (pet peeve items which we will not address here), Jehovah Witnesses:
1. Deny that Christ literally rose from the dead as the Bible states, but teach that Christ was raised an invisible spirit;
2. Deny that Jesus Christ is equal with the Father as the Bible states, but teach that Jesus was the first "created" being;
3. Deny the biblical teaching of an eternal soul, but teach that the soul fades away at death and that man will never face God for an accounting;
4. Deny the biblical teaching of the three-person Godhead, the Trinity;
5. Teach that God began to set up on this earth His kingdom in 1914, and that only 144,000 JW's will become part of that kingdom;
6. Denounce all organized religion, and teach that all ministers except themselves are frauds;
7. Denounce the existence of a literal Hell, teaching that it is an invention of the Devil who will ultimately be completely annihilated.
Christian Science
Christian Science, "discovered" by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866, is neither Christian nor scientific.
The textbook of Christian Science is "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which Mrs. Eddy wrote, she said, by divine inspiration.
This unbiblical cult:
1. Denies the existence of a personal God. God is taught to be a divine principle, a state of mind;
2. Teaches that Jesus Christ was a divine idea—not a real person;
3. Denies biblical creation, but teaches that man is "the expression of infinite mind";
4. Denies the biblical teaching of sin and teaches that sin "is simply a belief, an illusion";
5. Denies the biblical teaching of a literal Satan;
6. Teaches that angels are only exalted thoughts;
7. Denies there is a literal Heaven;
8. Denies there is a Hell;
9. Teaches that sickness and disease are not real. They are "mental errors";
10. Teaches that death is not real, only a "mortal dream".
Closely allied to the unbiblical thought of Christian Science is The Unity School of Christianity, founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1922.
Extremely hard to pin down its beliefs, Unity is a hodgepodge of thought. Unity:
1. Teaches that God is a principle. When man attains complete unity with this principle, good health and prosperity will follow;
2. Teaches that Jesus Christ was not a person;
3. Teaches that salvation is the "energy of light through which creative mind rules heaven and earth, when his mind of love synchronizes with creative mind";
4. Denies the biblical teaching of the fall of man, the new birth, and the reality of sin and Hell;
5. Teaches the Hindu doctrine of repeated reincarnation until perfection is attained.
Mormonism, also known as the Church of the Latter Day Saints, was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr., in Fayette, New York, in 1830.
Smith wrote The Book of Mormon which he claimed was divinely inspired.
A claimed visitation by an angel named Moroni at age 14, when he was given new revelation written on gold tablets, was the basis for the Mormon book, which is given equal authority to the Bible.
Upon the death of Smith, who was shot and killed by an angry mob, Brigham Young became leader, who established new headquarters in Utah.
Mormons believe:
1. With the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and a few other chosen writings, the Mormon church believes it is the only true church and is in possession of all divine written revelation;
2. That sect founder Joseph Smith was born as God's prophet;
3. That man was not created by God despite what the Bible says; and that man pre-existed in a celestial world before becoming human;
4. That man was in the beginning also a God, the same as Jesus;
5. That eventually man may return to God status and reach the perfection of the deity;
6. That a living Mormon can be baptized on behalf of another Mormon who died without being baptized. The Holy Spirit—a needed element for salvation—enters a Mormon through water baptism;
7. That until it was outlawed by the federal government, plural marriages were promoted and practiced by the cult. While the practice is now outlawed, the written doctrine has not been changed;
8. That marriages extend into eternity;
9. That, according to many Mormons, Christ was married to Mary and Martha, sisters of the resurrected Lazarus;
10. That salvation is gained by doing good works and following church orders.
Conclusion: Mormon cult teachings are diametrically opposite to what the Bible teaches. It is therefore a "doctrine of devils" and is totally false!
Seventh-Day Adventism
One of the fastest-growing and most deceptive religious cults is Seventh-day Adventism (SDA).
For public consumption the sect preaches the biblical "gospel".
A deeper look shows it preaches poison.
Most believe the fundamental difference between traditional Christianity and SDA is that the Adventists chose to observe Saturday as the Sabbath as opposed to Sunday.
The present SDA movement began with the mistake of William Miller who predicted the coming of Christ in 1843, then 1844 when Christ was a no-show.
His followers would not admit to an error, so they claimed that Christ had in fact come—not to earth but to a different part of Heaven!
The false foundation of the Seventh Day Adventists was inspired from a Mrs. Ellen White, whose vision spawned the following unscriptural doctrine that states:
1. Christ came back in 1844 and has been in the "Sanctuary" of Heaven since then to complete the atonement He began at Calvary;
2. The SDA are a select "remnant" group chosen by God who alone have total truth;
3. They are the 144,000 of Revelation 7, and they alone have the message of the last days;
4. The three angels of Revelations 14:6-11 are a prophecy of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church of the "latter" days;
5. That Sabbath-keeping will constitute the "seal of the living God" and is the final mark of salvation;
6. Observing the Sabbath on Sunday and not Saturday will be the "mark of the Beast" (in other words, one's salvation is determined by which day is observed as the Sabbath);
7. That the "scapegoat" in Leviticus 16 was symbolical of Satan, upon whom the sins of the people were laid, thus making Satan our sin-bearer;
8. That Jesus inherited our Adam's sinful nature, and therefore possessed an inborn inclination to sin;
9. The verses which speak of a Christian, upon dying, being "present with the Lord" are false, where death means soul sleep;
10. That there is no Hell, where those who are not Christians at death will in the end be reduced to ashes;
11. That the Millennium of Revelations is bogus and that Christ will not reign on earth for 1,000 years.
The Seventh-Day Adventists do teach enough Biblical truth to blind the eyes to the wretched wrongs which are cleverly mixed in with the truth.
With its roots in Persia, Bahai is one of the strangest religions in the world.
The present movement is the outgrowth of an earlier cult founded by the "Bab", a Persian prophet.
Bahai acknowledge Jesus as being a great prophet, but proclaim Mohammed as greater.
Following the execution of the "Bab" by Mohammedan authorities in the public square at Tabriz, Persia, in 1850, the movement was taken up by the Bahaullah who had been designed by the "Bab" as the final Messiah who would cause the whole world to accept the Koran (the Mohammeden Bible) as the final word of Allah.
Since 1957 when prophet Shoghi Effendi, called the final Messenger, died, there have been a dozen leaders elected to oversee and direct the affairs of Bahaism.
Bahaism teaches that:
1. God is unknowable except through Bahai prophet;
2. Divine revelation is continuous and progressive;
3. The evolution of man's spiritual and social position occurs in cycles of one thousand years;
4. The mission of Bahaism is to unite all men in one faith and one religion—Bahaism;
5. The final age of peace will come through God's prophet, the head of Bahaism.
So what conclusions can we draw from this brief look into a few of the more-popular cults?
Well, they each swipe elements of clear Biblical theology.
They then add or subtract from the Holy Scripture to make a bogus, hodge-podge theology.
They refuse to accept the Bible as the total, God-inspired, don't-mess-with-it, all-inclusive Word of God.
The cults each claim they have been given new revelation through their prophets.
This then makes THEM God's final witnesses to the world.
There can only be two sources of final witness—God of Glory or destructive Satan from the pit of Hell.
(Note: Examinations of other cults will be examined and posted here over time.)