What’s the definition of a cult?

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Definition

The specific Christian definition of a cult is “a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of biblical truths.”

Common teachings of cults

The two most common teachings of cults are that Jesus is not God and that salvation is not by faith alone. Both of these teachings oppose what the Bible teaches clearly. A denial of the deity of Christ results in Jesusdeath not being a sufficient payment for our sins. The Bible declares, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17). And a denial of salvation by faith alone results in salvation being achieved by our own works. But the Bible declares, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Examples

The most known examples of Christian cults are the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. Both organizations, though claiming to be Christian, deny the deity of Christ and salvation by faith not works. They uphold their beliefs above the Word of God and follow the dictates and doctrines of their founders. Jesus said, “And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9).

A simple test

The Bible clearly states that God’s Word is the litmus test for the truth, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). There is a simple test to find out if an organization is a cult. Ask them the following questions:

• Do you pray to Jesus (Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 116:4; Zechariah 13:9; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2).

• Do you worship Jesus (Matthew 2:2,11; 14:33; 28:9; John 9:35-38; Hebrews 1:6)

• Do you consider Jesus as God (John 1:1-3; 20:28; Hebrews 1:2,3,8; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 1:23; Colossians 2:9-10; John 10:30; 20:31; 14:9-10).

• Do you see works as a means of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:21; Romans 11:6).

• Do you consider the Scriptures as the only basis for doctrine (John 17:17; Psalm 119:160; 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 119:151).

In cult theologies, Jesus is a created being. He is not to be prayed to, worshiped, or called God. A cultist accepts works as means to attain favor with God and doesn’t set the Scriptures as the basis for his beliefs. Sadly, he clings to some truths mixed with man-made beliefs (2 Timothy 4:4).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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