Common Traits of a Cult

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Common Traits of a Cult

There are many well intentioned churches out there that have some of these traits. What exactly is a cult? There are so many definitions. Cults are most often religious groups that use teachings and social structures to exhibit strong and/or a controlling influence over it’s members financial, material and social circles. Their beliefs are particularly driven by a single cult leader, and a specific set of religious beliefs unique to that group. A cult is generally a group that has split off an orthodox type group that has a set line of teachings. Most of the groups we’re going to talk about here are Christian cults, so they split off of orthodox Christianity, and then they start denying the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and even the secondary doctrines of the Christian faith.

They might accept one or two of the core doctrines, but for the most part, they will deny the essential doctrines, and then they will go after the secondary doctrines, which aren’t essential, but if you are a Christina, you probably should be believing these things.

There’s usually a single leader that everybody gathers around, and then they split off of orthodox Christianity, and create what is usually referred to as a sect. A sect is a little splinter group that splits off, they don’t have huge influence. Generally they don’t have one single leader, although sometimes there is. They’re generally not as far out as cults.

Cults will often start coming up with their own special revelations, and they’ll start taking their group off on a whole new trail, a trail that nobody has gone down for thousands of years, yet this group has special revelation, and sometimes they’ll claim that the original apostles believed this, but somehow corruption came down the line. There was a big falling away or something like that. Now, everything is corrupted, Christianity is of the devil, and salvation is through this little cult group.

You’ll find in many cult groups that the cult will become the mediator between you and God. So you can’t really get to God except through this cult. A cult is then a  group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible and is characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

Particularly, that God became man in Jesus Christ.

These groups are all lead by false teachers and false prophets. We are warned about false teachers throughout the Bible.

Every cult has a single, powerful, human leader. This group leader is always right. Group leaders are often the exclusive means of knowing truth or receiving validation. No other process of discovery is acceptable or credible.

Questioning doctrines, especially doctrines that come from the leader, is discouraged. Often there is no tolerance for questions or critical inquiry of the cult leaders words or teachings of the cult. They are to become absolute truth, overshadowing the Word of God.

The convenient answer is that the Bible is corrupt. If they match, they will use the Bible as proof text. If they don’t match, the Bible is corrupt.

They claim to have found secrets that are not revealed in Scripture. These groups are often guilty of adding to the Bible with other publications or revelation. Each cult uses pressure tactics to coerce it’s members into submission. Some cult leaders will teach a Jesus that is not found in the Scriptures.

Ask them if they are saved. Ask them if they are confident they are going to spend eternity with God in heaven.

The cults often ask their converts to leave their families. You are urged to pull away from worldly influences all together.

When leaving a cult, there is no legitimate reason to leave. Former followers are always wrong for leaving. Negative, or even evil.

Cults will have a doctrinal statement that is not clear, or they will have radical changes in their doctrine.

You will find these kind of things in many cult type movements. The repetitive phrases, meditation, speaking in tongues. Another trait of cults is that the cult leader and its leadership will dictate all the major, and even minor decisions in your life. The leader is not accountable to any authorities. Many cult groups will encourage to take part in things that are generally considered unethical or flat out sinful, but they’ll justify it because “the ends justifies the means.” Often they’ll couch that in Christian language.