Fiji's Family Network
HOW TO IDENTIFY A CULT
If the answer is "yes" to ten or more questions, it is almost certainly a cult.
If you require help getting out, please feel free to contact Jubilee Ministries. We will seek to locate a Christian Ministry close to you who will give you the support you require. We have links with many ministries in various countries.
Deceived People Don't Know They're Deceived People
Jesus Christ warns us to "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them", (Matthew 7:15-16a). Jesus Christ also warns us that even mature Christians are at risk of deception, (Matthew 24:24). The Apostle Paul warns us to beware of those who preach "another Jesus", and who are empowered by "another spirit" other than the Holy Spirit, and who's gospel is actually bad news, (2 Corinthians 11:4). If you think you cannot be deceived, then you probably already are. What a sobering thought.
Deception is when we believe a lie, about God, about His church, or even about ourselves. Deception misleads us, causes us to follow the wrong course. It uses enticements, and deludes us to accept the false and yet call it "Truth". Deception is not only just one mis-truth - but a whole collection, and usually ends up being empowered by a spirit of deception. Final deception results in a strong delusion.
God in His grace allows us a way out of deception. We've observed the following pattern:
1. God warns us through Scripture;
2. Conviction of the Holy Spirit follows;
3. God sends someone to speak into our lives; if we harden our hearts then
4. the consequences kick-in (we call it God-pressure);
5. The Holy Spirit again convicts of sin;
6. If we continue in the sin of deception, then we aren't taken into the Promised Land. (Revelation 22:15; Galatians 5:19-20, & others)
We need to know enough about groups and practices which claim to be "Christian" to be certain whether they actually are or not. Claiming the title isn't enough.
Dr. Charles Farah wrote, "Whenever that Church or a segment of the Church takes a particular teaching or truth of the Bible, and detaches it from its relation to the total truth, pushing it to its logical extreme, it inevitably results in heresy. Heresy is not latent paganism. Heresy is truth distorted, exaggerated to an intolerable extreme. It is truth out of focus, out of balance with the whole." (From the Pinnacle of the Temple - Faith or Presumption, p41.)
We must never attempt to build a doctrinal basis for action or ministry on an isolated verse, nor to distort it out of it's context. That's what cults do. That's why they are cults - believing heresies which true Christians reject on the basis of Bible truth. We need the totality of Scripture to get true doctrine. Scripture needs to balance Scripture to avoid presumption and false doctrine.
"Nothing is more rigid or more opposed to the Holy Spirit's blessed moving in our age than bad theology. Bad theology says that miracles cannot occur in our century. Bad theology says no Christian can be tortured by a demon. Bad theology says only lack of faith prevents healing," wrote Dr. Charles Farah. (ibid p57)
Major Signs of a Cult
* Adding to the Bible with other books, publications or revelations
* The Bible is reinterpreted to suit group doctrines
* Denial of the deity of Jesus Christ
* Denial of the deity or personality of the Holy Spirit
* God is reduced to an elevated or evolved man
* Man is inflated with deity-potential
* Salvation is received by doing something (works)
* Repentance of personal sins minimised
* Belief that there are many ways to God
* Belief that there is more than one God
* Belief that they are the only true church
* Belief that their church is the only source of salvation
* Questioning of doctrines, leaders etc. discouraged
* One leader or group of leaders always right
* Individuality eroded & group conformity promoted
* Denial of the Priesthood of All Believers
* Information about the group from outsiders discouraged or not permitted
* Contact with family or friends discouraged
* Fear & guilt used to control members
* Group schedules so busy no life outside the group
* Unquestioning obedience expected
* Compulsory tithing plus other offerings only to that group
To Avoid being Deceived by a Cult
* be familiar with what the Bible actually teaches
* have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
* invite the Holy Spirit to be your companion & guide in all things
* be in fellowship with other Christian believers
What about what we might call "Pre-cult Spiritually Abusive Churches?" Can a recognised Christian church fellowship become a cult? The answer is an obvious yes. Is this process preventable? Is it reversible? The answer to both questions is "YES!" How? Such a process will require much prayer and sacrifice, and especially repentance by those leaders who have deviated from the Biblical order. Leaders who don't or won't repent should be removed.
How can we recognise such a "Pre-cult Spiritually Abusive Church?"
Here are some questions which will assist uncovering such a sickness in the Body of Christ.
* Is there any compulsion to attend several group meetings each week?
* Is there guilt if you miss any?
* Are there "inner" and "outer" circles of members, the inner ones being "more spiritual?"
* Are members of the outer circle required to agree to "shepherding," or control/direction by someone in the inner group? (We are not talking of normal discipleship here.)
* Is there pressure or manipulation to give a minimum of 10% of your income only to that church/fellowship?
* Are honest questions about doctrines or practises within the group regarded as "criticism" by leaders?
Look for a genuine Christian church which doesn't put people into bondage, but which equips and sets them free in Christ. The key is to show you how to depend on God, and not the organisation. Ultimately, leaving any group is a decision between God and you, and others should not interfere or manipulate you. Don't become a "Lone Ranger": find a place where you can be blessed with accountability without control, and where there is freedom to grow and mature into all God intends you to be. No one needs "The One True church" but every one of us needs the "One True Jesus Christ".
The Characteristics of a Cult
1. Devaluation of the Bible.
2. Devaluation of the nature of God.
3. Denial of the Trinity.
4. Devaluation of the Person of Christ.
5. Devaluation of the life and work of Christ.
6. Non-biblical teachings about the Holy Spirit.
7. Exalted view of human nature.
8. False basis of salvation.
9. Non-biblical teachings about the after-life.
10. Demonic activity denied or overemphasized.
1. Deceptive recruiting practices.
2. Dynamic and authoritarian leadership.
4. Cultic vocabulary.
5. Alienation from family and friends.
7. Induced fatigue.
8. Sanction oriented.
10. Thought stopping.
11. No professional clergy.
12. Doctrine in flux/false prophesies.
13. Financial exploitation.
14. Mind control.
Sources Consulted in Developing List of Cultic Characteristics
Arteburn, Stephen and Jack Felton. Toxic Faith: Understanding and Overcoming Religious Addiction. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.
Ashe, Steven. Cult Induced Psychopathology. n.a.
Breese, Dave. Know the Marks of a Cult. Wheaton, IL victor Books, 1980.
Brooks, Keith. "The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error." revised by Irvine Robertson. Chicago: Moody Press, 1985.
Cult Awareness Network, leaflet. Princeton, WV: Conner Printing, 1987.
Enroth, Ronald. "What is a Cult?" Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1982.
Hassan, Steven. Combatting Cult Mind Control. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1988.
Knapp, Pat. "Aberrant Christianity: What Is It?." The Shield, April, 1988, 1-3.
Lewis, Gordon. Confronting the Cults. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988.
MacCollam, Joel. Carnival of Souls: Religious Cults and Young People. New York, Seabury Press, 1979.
Martin, Walter. Essential Christianity. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1980.
The Kingdom of the Cults. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1985.
The New Cults. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1980.
McDowell, Josh and Don Stewart. Handbook of Today's Religions. San Bernardino, CA: Here's Life Publishers, 1983.
Tucker, Ruth. Another Gospel. Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1989.
You posts are getting bizarre every time. Nothing you've stated above has any element of truth in it.
It is well documented that the Worldwide Church of God core beliefs are false contradicting the Holy Bible.
The Worldwide Church of God
The Worldwide Church of God became known for an assortment of doctrinal distinctives that placed it at odds with historic Christianity. Among other aberrations, Armstrong:
You talk a lot of rubbish. May I quote you on this;
Now if you will just take a little bit,JUST A LITTLE BIT of your precious time,go through the history of the early church of God that was started by the apostles....unquote.
Let me tell you now, you do not know about church history. How do I know? It is because you do not know about 1 John 5:7. You were never a bible student. You learnt from parrot teaching...... vaka ga nona tukuna o Joe Bose.."sa rauti iko ga na sara video"...LOL.
Watch the space.
Quoting from Joe's comment above trying to discredit sure biblical teachings of Armstrong.,"
But Scripture supported it.
What a commentary!!!
There is a power in the spirit realm we must understand and access, and that is the covenant blood of Jesus. As you learn about the blood and begin to act on all you know, then you must trust God enough to act on what you don't completely understand. If it's in the Word, believe it by faith. Once you can do that, you will find that the blood will start doing things in your life just like it did in the lives of the people in the Bible. When you start seeing what the blood did for the people in the Bible, it will bless your socks off. And the first time you see it work for you, it will change your thinking.
Have you ever gone to a car dealership and spotted a new car you liked? You think it's special and unique because it's not like anything you've ever seen before. But when you drive out of the dealership, all of a sudden you begin to notice there are cars like it everywhere. Once you become aware and your eyes are opened, it becomes obvious what you had previously overlooked.
That's the way it is with the Word of God. As you study about the blood, you may not think the blood has too much prominence in the Word of God. But once you start seeing it, you'll find the blood is throughout the Scriptures.
There are several things we must establish before we dig deeper into the mysteries of the blood:
1)Life is in the blood. Now if life is in the blood, then death must be in the absence of the blood. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11).
2) Everlasting life is in the blood of Jesus. Jesus said, "Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:54). Jesus is not talking about His physical flesh and blood. This scripture has a spiritual connotation. We commemorate the blood of Jesus by acknowledging His blood when we take communion.
3) We access the blood of Jesus by faith. In the Old Testament, the priest would sacrifice animals to cover sin. Those who came to be cleansed saw the blood. It didn't take faith to know the blood was there. It took faith to know what the blood did. Hebrews 9:12 tells us Jesus entered into the holy of holies in heaven and put His blood on the mercy seat once and for all to pay the price for our sin.
Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
We need to realize we are saved from destruction because of the blood of Jesus. It's not your good works that save you from destruction. There are Christians having disasters happen to them all the time. However, the protective power is available for a Christian just by accessing the blood of Jesus that has already been shed.
Vivita vinaka vakalevu na wasea tiko na dina ena veitalanoa oqo. Totoka vakaoti na commentary qo.
The Errors Of Armstrongism
Jesus said, “You must be born-again.” (John 3:7)
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
Armstrongism is a strange mixture of faiths. The Worldwide Church of God, also known as the Church of God, International, was founded by Herbert W Armstrong and continued by his son, Garner Ted Armstrong. Herbert stated in the ‘Plain Truth’ magazine (July/August 1973) that ‘the work going on from the Ambassador College and the Worldwide Church of God, is the only work on earth proclaiming the very Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in great power’. The Armstrong’s actually believe that from the death of the apostles until Armstrong began his church in 1934, the true Gospel was lost and he restored it. They also believe that Herbert Armstrong was ‘the Elijah that was to come’. He certainly was not because Jesus told us that John the Baptist was the one who came in the Spirit and power of Elijah. For more information, read ‘John the Baptist was Elijah’ on this website.
A man named Ronald Weinland believes he is one of the end-time prophets spoken of in Revelation. He is not because the two witnesses are Jewish men from Jerusalem. We regard that as delusions of grandeur. As we do a study of this cult, we will see that there are many other glaring errors in their doctrine. Like all cults, as people cluster around a certain leader or false prophet, erroneous facts come to light. Without fail, every false prophet leads others to believe that he and only their particular followers have the last word from God, and light is found only within their organisation – all else is darkness.
The Bible speaks clearly about such beliefs and tells us not to accept them. One such scripture can be found in Galatians 1:9; ‘As we said before so I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a Gospel different from that which you received from us, let him be accursed (doomed to eternal punishment)’.
Ephesians 4:25; ‘Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbour, for we are all parts of one body’.
Although the Christian church is divided into many man-made segments – such as Baptists, Evangelicals, Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Pentecostals etc, all have the one steady basic belief – that Jesus was born as a man to die for our sins and did so with great victory, defeating death when He was raised from the dead. Believing that, makes us all part of the one body of Christ. Not one of the above mentioned denominations is better than another and all genuine believers will enter the Kingdom of God set up by Jesus, regardless of what building they choose to fellowship in.
Armstrongites believe that they will become gods, and this idea of created men or angels wanting to become like God, or ‘as gods’ is not a new idea. It is the age-old blasphemy taught by the devil to the gullible. Eve was challenged by this same thought in Genesis 3:4; ‘You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God …’ Isaiah 14:14 records Lucifer saying, “I will be like the Most High.” That arrogant attitude had him thrown out of heaven forever.
Not only do Armstrong publications discuss subjects like ‘What it means to be equal with God’ (Tomorrow’s World, April 1971), but the same article goes on to promise Armstrong’s followers that they will some day advise and counsel God Himself! Revelation 5:10 promises Christians that we will be joint-heirs with Christ as kings and priests but we will never, ever be gods. There is only one true God revealed in the pages of the Bible and there is no one equal to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They alone are worshipped; all others worship Them. In Isaiah 48:11 the Lord says, “I will not give My glory to another.” And in Isaiah 44:6 He says; “I am the First and the Last and besides Me there is no God.” Isaiah 45:5; “I am the Lord and there is no one else; there is no God besides Me.”
Without fail, every cult denies salvation is by grace alone, through faith and Armstrongism is no exception. They substitute a ‘works program’ designed to have their followers look to their organisation for salvation rather than to our Saviour, Jesus. This is in spite of the clear words written in Ephesians 2:8 & 9; ‘For it is by free grace that you are saved through faith, and this salvation is not of yourselves but it is the gift of God; not because of works lest any man should boast’. We cannot be saved through works. We mortal humans simply cannot work out our own salvation. We depend entirely on God the Father, and His Son Jesus. Good works should certainly follow salvation but works are not a condition of salvation because it is free!
Armstrong’s have corrupted the term born-again. Jesus fully explained in precise detail what being born-again means in John 3:1 to 21. Armstrong teaches his followers they are not born again until the resurrection and expect them to believe they are to live out their lives as ‘embryo’s’ and are not ‘born’ until they die. The devil knows if you keep waiting until your death before you attempt to be born-again, then he has got you for eternity and he knows it! There is not one verse in the Bible that can back up Armstrong’s theory. As genuine born-again believers, Christians can point out scriptures like; ‘But as many as did receive Him, He gave the authority to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in His name’ (John 1:12). ‘You have been born-again, not from mortal seed but from One Who is immortal, by the living Word of God’ (1 Peter 1:23). There is also the second scripture written on the top of page one of this text taken from Romans 10:9. Our born-again experience occurs when we receive Christ, many years prior to our resurrection.
Further to this, Colossians 1:13 tells us our transformation into the Kingdom of God is immediate – at our conversion. ‘The Father has delivered us out of the kingdom of darkness, into the Kingdom of the Son of His love’. Note it is written in the past tense!
When we are saved, we are already living in the Kingdom of God, right now. Jesus also spoke in the past tense in John 5:24; “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words and believes in Him Who sent Me, has eternal life and he does not come into judgement but he has already passed over out of death into life.”
Armstrongism also denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus, teaching instead that He was raised as a ‘spirit’ being. Jesus already refuted that in Luke 24:37 to 39; ‘But they were so startled and terrified because they thought they saw a spirit. And Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? See My hands and feet, that is I, Myself! Feel Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have’.” Jesus is not a spirit, He is still a Man and always will be a Man. Read 1 Timothy 2:5; ‘For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus’.
One major error of Armstrongism is the denial of the exclusiveness of the triune Godhead, reducing the Holy Spirit to an impersonal force and an ‘it’ while at the same time exalting men to be ‘gods’. That teaching shows the wrong attitude to the Holy Spirit and is blasphemy. The Holy Spirit is a ‘He’ and He is a Comforter and a Teacher. Jesus said so in John 14:26; ‘But the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and He will cause you to recall everything I have told you.” Then 1 Timothy 4:1 & 2 says; “The Holy Spirit distinctly declares that in the latter times, some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared.”
We are not to quench (suppress or subdue) the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We are not to grieve (offend, vex, sadden) the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and called Him ‘Father’ (Luke 10:21). Let’s see what Jesus says about having the wrong attitude to the Holy Spirit; “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this world or in the world to come (Matthew 12:32).” “Whoever speaks abusively against or maliciously misrepresents the Holy Spirit can never get forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting trespass (Mark 3:29).” “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit (that is whoever intentionally comes short of the reverence due to the Holy Spirit) it will not be forgiven him; for him there is no forgiveness (Luke 12:10).”
Armstrongism has other doctrinal errors designed to keep his followers isolated from their families, friends and the true Christian body, to make their members dependent on the cult group for all their social life. All of these errors in doctrine can be corrected by simply studying the scriptures, which are the God-breathed words of the Lord (2 Timothy 3:16).
No cult has the answer to salvation and following a cult will result in misled people going to a lost eternity. Only accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and accepting His sacrifice on the cross for all mankind will result in an eternal life with God the Father, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit Whom God sent to us after Jesus ascended into heaven (John 14:26; John 20:22 and Acts 2:1 to 4).
Amen and God bless you.