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Identifying a Cult?

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  • wglmp
    In a forum I frequent, someone offered this definition of cult : Main Entry: cult Pronunciation: kəlt Function: noun Usage: often attributive Etymology:
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 9, 2008
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      In a forum I frequent, someone offered this definition of 'cult':

      Main Entry: cult
      Pronunciation: \kəlt\
      Function: noun
      Usage: often attributive
      Etymology: French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care,
      adoration, from colere to cultivate — more at wheel
      Date: 1617
      1: formal religious veneration : worship
      2: a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of
      adherents
      3: a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of
      adherents
      4: a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its
      promulgator <health cults>
      5 a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as
      a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or
      intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usually small
      group of people characterized by such devotion

      Someone else suggested:

      Major points that define a 'Cult':
      1. Extrabiblical Authority: All cults deny what God says in His Word
      as true. Cults have shifted their theological point of authority away
      from God's full and final written Word, the Bible, to their own
      unique, self-promoting opinions about the Bible; they generally will
      use parts of the Bible but will have their own unique scripture which
      is considered to be superior to the Bible. While some cult groups
      give token respect for the Bible and go through the motions of
      accepting the authority of Scripture, in reality, they honor the
      group's or leader's novel interpretation of Scripture as normative.
      2. Works Salvation/Legalism: Cults teach that eternal life depends
      upon something other than the Atonement; i.e., faith in the atoning,
      finished work of Christ on the cross is deemed not to be sufficient
      (usually replaced with human works and human responsibility). Rather
      than relying on the grace of God alone for salvation, the salvation
      message of the cults always boils down to required obedience to, or
      abstention from, certain obligations and practices (some even
      including obedience to the Old Testament law).
      3. No Assurance of Salvation: The issue of a cult member's salvation
      is never settled, but is constantly affected by the changing
      circumstances of life; in this way, cult leaders are able to produce
      continued obligation and spiritual bondage, rather than spiritual
      freedom.
      4. Guru-Type Leader/Modern Prophet: The cult leader is looked to as
      the infallible interpreter of Scripture, specially appointed by God
      to be a special saint, guru, or contemporary messiah, and thereby,
      has divine authority that must not be violated. Cultists almost
      always quote their leader rather than the Bible. The cult's adherents
      often expound the virtues of the founders and seek to cover the
      founder's sins and wickedness.
      5. Vacillating, Ambiguous Doctrines/Spiritual Deception: In order to
      gain favor with the public, and thereby aid in the recruitment of new
      members, cult 'doctrine' tends to be characterized by many false or
      deceptive claims concerning the cult's true spiritual beliefs (e.g.,
      Mormons are not quick to reveal their belief that God was a man, who
      has now become the God of planet Earth).
      6. Exclusivity from/Denunciation of Other Groups: Each cult group,
      regardless of what other doctrines are taught, will all have this one
      common idea -- 'The Only True Church Syndrome.' The members of each
      specific organization have been taught that their church,
      organization, or community, is the only true group and that all other
      groups are false. The group's leaders will explain that it is
      impossible to serve God without being a member of the specific group.
      Moreover, when the cult leader announces himself as the
      true 'Messiah,' all others are declared to be dishonest, deceitful,
      and deluded, and must be put down; alternative views are denounced as
      being satanic and corrupt. Persecution is welcomed, and even
      glorified in, as 'evidence' that they are being persecuted for
      righteousness sake. Thus, if a member decides to leave the group,
      they have been told that they are not simply leaving an organization,
      but rather they are leaving God and His only true organization.
      Hence, for a member of a cult who has been in a group for any length
      of time, the action of leaving the group is much more difficult than
      what most Christians understand. To leave the group is, in the minds
      of the cult member, tantamount to leaving God.
      7. Claims of Special Discoveries/Additional Revelation: Acceptance of
      new, contemporary, continual revelations that either deny the Bible
      or are allowed to explain it. The fundamental characteristic of
      Christianity is that it is historical, not dependent upon private
      knowledge and secret, unconfirmable relationships, while the almost
      universal basis of cult religion is the claimed exclusive revelation
      that one person has supposedly received. Rather than conforming to
      Biblical rules of evidence (2 Cor. 13:1), cult leader revelations
      almost always emanate from hallucinations, visions, dreams, private
      discoveries, etc. These new revelations often become codified as
      official written 'scripture' of the cults (e.g., The Book of Mormon),
      and are considered as valid as that of the apostles (and even more
      relevant because they are given in these end times).
      8. Defective Christology: Cults always have a false view of the
      nature of the Person of Jesus Christ; a cult will usually deny the
      true deity of Christ, His true humanity, His true origin, or the true
      union of the two natures in one Person.
      9. Defective 'Nature of Man': Most cults do not see man as an
      immortal being; instead they see him either as an animal without a
      soul or as a being which is being perfected to the point of becoming
      a god. They usually do not see man as a spirit clothed in a body of
      flesh awaiting the redemption of body and soul.
      10. Out-Of-Context Scripture Use as Proof-Texts/Segmented Biblical
      Attention: Cults tend to focus on one verse or passage of the Bible
      to the exclusion of others, and without regard for the context in
      which Scripture is given (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:29 used by Mormons to
      justify baptism for the dead). In addition, cults have made an art
      form out of using Christian terminology, all the while pouring out
      their own meanings into the words.
      11. Erroneous Doctrines Concerning Life After Death and Retribution:
      Covering the gamut from soul sleep to annihilationism to purgatory to
      universalism to the progression to godhood, cults invariably deny the
      existence of a final judgment of, and a final 'resting' place for,
      the unrighteous.
      12. Entangling Organization Structure: The less truth a movement
      represents, the more highly it seems to have to organize itself; the
      absence of truth seems to make necessary the application of the bonds
      of fear. Cults often demand total commitment by their converts to an
      organizational involvement that entangles them in a complicated set
      of human restrictions, giving the impression of passionate and often
      irrational devotion to a cause.
      13. Financial Exploitation: The cultic practitioner strongly implies
      that money contributed to the cause will earn the contributor
      numerous gifts, powers, and abilities, and in many cases, outright
      salvation.
      14. Pseudomystical/Spiritistic/Occultic Influence: Occult influence
      is many times found in either the origin of the group and/or in its
      current practices.

      MY QUESTIONS:
      A) How do we determine what is 'Erroneous Doctrines Concerning Life
      After Death and Retribution'? As anyone who has read the Bible can
      attest, the Bible gives several descriptions for what happens after
      we leave this earthly plane, this mortal coil. One Scripture says
      that 'the dead know nothing,' indicating that they 'fall asleep'
      until the resurrection. Another Scripture may describe being in the
      Divine Presence, or falling down a bottomless pit, or being in a lake
      of fire. Ultimately, we won't 'know' what exactly IS the TRUE life
      after death experience we will have until we get there.
      So how can one identify a 'cult' by 'Erroneous Doctrines Concerning
      Life After Death and Retribution'?

      B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
      questionable?

      M Tillman
    • Paul Leonard
      I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else a cult. wglmp wrote: B) Is there another sign of a cult on the above
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 9, 2008
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        I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else a "cult."

        wglmp <mtillman@...> wrote:


        B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
        questionable?

        M Tillman


      • kevinstubbings
        An interesting idea: so that means that you identifying the identifier means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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          An interesting idea: so that means that you identifying the identifier
          means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...

          --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard
          <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
          >
          > I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else a "cult."
          >
          > wglmp <mtillman@...> wrote:
          >
          > B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
          > questionable?
          >
          > M Tillman
          >
        • Paul Leonard
          Yep, that is the problem. It is why I do not use the word at all. Rather than being used properly today it is used as a pejorative. kevinstubbings
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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            Yep, that is the problem. It is why I do not use the word at all. Rather than being used properly today it is used as a pejorative.

            kevinstubbings <low.rate.fast.closing@...> wrote:
            An interesting idea: so that means that you identifying the identifier
            means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...

            --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard
            <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote:
            >
            > I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else a "cult."
            >
            > wglmp <mtillman@.. .> wrote:
            >
            > B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
            > questionable?
            >
            > M Tillman
            >


          • Harold Cerula
            It is necessary to first define cult. Paul Leonard wrote: Yep, that is the problem. It is why I do not use the word at
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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              It is necessary to first define "cult."

              Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
              Yep, that is the problem. It is why I do not use the word at all. Rather than being used properly today it is used as a pejorative.

              kevinstubbings <low.rate.fast. closing@gmail. com> wrote:
              An interesting idea: so that means that you identifying the identifier
              means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...

              --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard
              <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote:
              >
              > I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else a "cult."
              >
              > wglmp <mtillman@.. .> wrote:
              >
              > B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
              > questionable?
              >
              > M Tillman
              >




              Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now.

            • kevinstubbings
              I would rather identify ----- the savier. And be identified with him. That my actions and attitude would be a mirror image of his. And in fact his actions
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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                I would rather identify ----->the savier.
                And be identified with him.
                That my actions and attitude would be a mirror image of his.
                And in fact his actions through me.
                Its the Christ in me thats the hope of my glory.



                --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard
                <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote:
                >
                > Yep, that is the problem. It is why I do not use the word at all.
                Rather than being used properly today it is used as a pejorative.
                >
                > kevinstubbings <low.rate.fast.closing@...>
                wrote: An interesting idea: so that
                means that you identifying the identifier
                > means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...
                >
                > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard
                > <anotherpaul2001@> wrote:
                > >
                > > I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else
                a "cult."
                > >
                > > wglmp <mtillman@> wrote:
                > >
                > > B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU
                find
                > > questionable?
                > >
                > > M Tillman
                > >
                >
              • wglmp
                In the other forum, one person supposed (before looking it up) that the word cult was linked to occult. Someone else DID look it up, and said it s not. The
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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                  In the other forum, one person supposed (before looking it up) that
                  the word "cult" was linked to "occult." Someone else DID look it up,
                  and said it's not. The mental association of cult with occult,
                  however, may be at work in the bad taste the word "cult" seems to
                  have to many people.

                  --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Harold Cerula
                  <haroldcerula@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > It is necessary to first define "cult."
                  >
                  > Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@...> wrote: Yep, that is the
                  problem. It is why I do not use the word at all. Rather than being
                  used properly today it is used as a pejorative.
                  >
                  > kevinstubbings <low.rate.fast.closing@...> wrote: An
                  interesting idea: so that means that you identifying the identifier
                  > means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...
                  >
                  > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Paul Leonard
                  > <anotherpaul2001@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else
                  a "cult."
                  > >
                  > > wglmp <mtillman@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
                  > > questionable?
                  > >
                  > > M Tillman
                  > >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > ---------------------------------
                  > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.
                  Try it now.
                  >
                • Paul Leonard
                  Well first we look up a definition. Then we still have to determine which definition fits. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 15, 2008
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                    Well first we look up a definition. Then we still have to determine which definition fits.

                    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This cult      [kuhlt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –noun
                    1.a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
                    2.an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, esp. as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult.
                    3.the object of such devotion.
                    4.a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
                    5.Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
                    6.a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
                    7.the members of such a religion or sect.
                    8.any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
                    –adjective
                    9.of or pertaining to a cult.
                    10.of, for, or attracting a small group of devotees: a cult movie.

                    Everyone points at #6 if THEY disagree with it. Yet they could apply that to the other group, and back and forth it goes......................

                    wglmp <mtillman@...> wrote:
                    In the other forum, one person supposed (before looking it up) that
                    the word "cult" was linked to "occult." Someone else DID look it up,
                    and said it's not. The mental association of cult with occult,
                    however, may be at work in the bad taste the word "cult" seems to
                    have to many people.

                    --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Harold Cerula
                    <haroldcerula@ ...> wrote:
                    >
                    > It is necessary to first define "cult."
                    >
                    > Paul Leonard <anotherpaul2001@ ...> wrote: Yep, that is the
                    problem. It is why I do not use the word at all. Rather than being
                    used properly today it is used as a pejorative.
                    >
                    > kevinstubbings <low.rate.fast. closing@. ..> wrote: An
                    interesting idea: so that means that you identifying the identifier
                    > means you are identified. figuritivelly speaking of course...
                    >
                    > --- In biblicalapologetics @yahoogroups. com, Paul Leonard
                    > <anotherpaul2001@ > wrote:
                    > >
                    > > I find that the cult is usually the one calling someone else
                    a "cult."
                    > >
                    > > wglmp <mtillman@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > B) Is there another 'sign' of a 'cult' on the above that YOU find
                    > > questionable?
                    > >
                    > > M Tillman
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                    > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile.
                    Try it now.
                    >


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