Religious cults are often easy to identify. They usually include a dynamic leader who is both persuasive and narcissistic. They usually hold to an ideology that is counter cultural and exclusive. And they often villainize those who aren’t part of their group. But the latest cult sweeping U.S. churches today has none of these indicators. This is why it is so deceptive and dangerous! Here is how it works…
It Starts With Learning
2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Throughout scripture, we see the importance of learning about God. In order for Christians to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus, they must learn about Him. You can’t grow in personal relationships with people if you don’t know about them. The same is true when it comes to Christians walking with Jesus. Christians must study their Bibles to learn spiritual truths and what it means to follow the Lord. This lays the foundation for spiritual growth in the Christian faith.
The danger facing churches today is that there is a fast spreading cult that also values reading the Bible. In fact, there is no way to detect cult members who may be in your church when talking about this topic. They are big on reading the Bible, talking about the Bible, and discovering new and important truths in the Bible. This is why the cult is going undetected and quickly becoming a problem.
It Grows With Pride
1 Corinthians 8:1 – … knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
You’ve heard the old adage “knowledge is power” which is often very true. Typically, the more you know about a topic, the more you are respected and admired in today’s world. Unfortunately, when it comes to your walk with Jesus, this can be the deathblow. In other words, Jesus wants us to use our Bible knowledge to humble ourselves and love others, not to be admired or respected. This, of course, will challenge our sinful tendencies toward pride and can be easily compromised.
Exploiting this challenge is where we see the most recent cult activity is taking place. Cult members will admire your knowledge of the Bible rather than challenge you to apply it. They will make you feel more godly simply by saying, “You know a lot about the Bible”, “You must be really godly”, etc. But in reality, they are simply appealing to your pride to get you to join their group. Beware! Knowledge will appeal to your pride and must be kept in check.
It Settles Into Hypocrisy
James 1:22 – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
God gives us the Bible to both read and apply (read my blog post, Why I Don’t Read the Bible). If you only embrace the read portion and leave out the apply piece, it will ultimately lead to hypocrisy with a lot of “knowing” but very little “growing”. During the days of Jesus, the cultic group that was spreading this message were called the Pharisees. But today, this same cultist group are simply called Christians. This is why they are so dangerous and deceptive.
But don’t be fooled, they will appeal to only the reading portion of the Bible with very little discussion about life transformation. They will redefine spiritual growth as simply acquiring more knowledge rather than life application. The primary way to truly detect a cult member and to make sure you haven’t inadvertently joined the group is to always measure your spiritual growth by how God’s word is changing your life and not just your mind! Any other measurement is a cultist and counterfeit Christianity.
Don’t be fooled and spread the word!
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