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Cults vs Religions

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Cults vs Religions
What is the difference between a "Cult;" and a non-Christian Religion?

I think there are many myths about what a cult is; and how to describe same from the Bible only.

Would we say that Islam/Muslims are a cult? Think carefully about the answer to this. Most definitions I have seen for what a cult is, really just amounts to doctrinal differences.

Given what the term "cult" usually insinuates in our society today; would it be Biblically accurate to label all that we disagree with as "cult?"

I am doing ongoing research into what people say a cult is; and what the Bible might have to say about it. I will appreciate feedback from others who are or have studied the topic too.

I would like to challenge posters here to try and find Bible examples of a cult, and then compare this to what we usually say a cult is.

Very few "apologetics" web sites or ministries would have such info on their web sites. I have visited and studied with a number of them now, and most answers go along the lines of: "Well, the word "cult" is not actually in the Bible, so we have to go with these other definitions."

Those definitions; I have found to be mostly phsychology, or just plain bigotry.

I will give two hints to get us started for this topic:

1/ When we study the life of Jesus, from the Bible, we will see various cults try to influence/harm Jesus.

2/ While the word "cult" is not in the Bible; we must note that it is like the word "Trinity." That word is also not in the Bible; but we know that the trinity, as in the three persons of the Godhead, is in the Bible.

There are good Biblical examples of what a cult is; and it is a sad fact that most definitions we see today of a cult, simply do not fit.
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Re: Cults vs Religions In reply to
I see that noone has posted on this forum for a while. But I am going to give a response.

I believe a cult is one that believes we obtain eternal life by our works, or the work of the Holy Spirit in the life.

Also a cult does not believe that Jesus came in the flesh. That is, that he was not God in human sinless flesh.

Some cults believe that Jesus came in the flesh, but they believe He had a sinful flesh just like we were born with, which we inherited from Adam and Eve.

They do not believe in the finished work of Jesus on Calvary, but believe they can add to their acceptance with God by their works.

Would anyone like to comment?

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Re: Cults vs Religions In reply to
I have a question? Is this a SDA website?

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Re: Cults vs Religions In reply to
I believe the word "cult" is just an insulting word used to define someone elses beliefs that we disagree with.

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Re: Cults vs Religions In reply to
What is the difference between a "Cult;" and a non-Christian Religion?

The word 'cult' has, like many other words in the English language, undergone several shifts in meaning, due to the changing fashions of general and popular useage.

It used to be used in reference to the 'officiallly recognised' officials of a system of worship. I.e. the Jewish priesthood, all having proof of Aaronic descent, (now all named Cohen) were the official leaders of the 'cult' of temple worship. That is, they were the preservers of the traditions and the regulating authority controlling the ceremonial duties and how they were performed. There is no insulting or detrimental component to the application of the word 'cult' to the Israelite Priesthood.

However, the word has become detached from this rather specialised useage and now carries markedly negative and 'insulting' implications.

It's present use seem to me to infer that one or more of the following aspects of 'false religion' may be operative systematically within any true 'cult'.

1) The 'cult' is unquestioningly adherant to the distinctive teachings of a living, (or recently dead,), persuasively charismatic personality. (Christianity itself would most probably would have passed through this stage initially, so this does not necessarily make a 'movement' a 'cult')

2) The 'cult' has an inward looking, protective and controlling spirit of exclusiveness. This usually makes it agressively evangelistic, socially very cohesive and very reluctant to allow it's members the freedom to 'think for themselves'.

3)The 'cult' places 'high value' on it's own distinctive 'doctrines'. This is usually what distinguishes it from the outsiders, unsaved or whatever terms the cult uses to identify it's enemies or non adherants.

4)The 'cult' is very secretive and discourages normal relations with 'outsiders' on the grounds that this threatens the well being of the whole cult. This effectively allows the leadership to have an udue ability to 'control' the cult 'members' and often leads to all sorts of 'abuse' both spiritual, mental and physical. Restrictions applied by the 'cult' leaders might be :

what may or may not be worn, clothing, ornaments etc.

What may be said and by whom in their meetings. (i.E. no woman may speak or all women must wear head coverings etc.)

What may be watched or listened to in their own homes. Tv, radio, cinema etc.

What is alowed or not to be eaten or drunk by 'cult members'.

The list could be endless.

If your Church shows signs of fitting into any of these 'behaviours' then it may be heading for the status of 'culthood'.

If your church shows none of these traits, it probably isn't a church at all. That is because these tendencies are human tendencies and both churches, (and cults) are comprised of human beings, with all their faults and failings.

It is the responsibility of all 'inspired believers' to oppose and expose any tendencies toward 'culthood' that they see happening in the church they are members of. If the practices continue to increase then it is time to leave and find a church where love is.

Regards Chris.