You Might Be a Cult If …

Bethel | Book | Sharing Jesus with the Cults

I took some time with Section 2 – What is a cult? from my upcoming book “Sharing Jesus with the Cults” in order to give a more helpful tool to help decipher how we should categorize different groups. Are they a cult? Are they Christians teaching false doctrine? Are they Christians with some quirky doctrines or practices?

Here’s how it works. Think of any group you suspect. Answer the main questions. For any of those questions you answered yes, answer the sub-questions. For any of the sub-questions you answered yes, answer the further sub-questions. There are 59 different questions in all by the time you are done. Do the math yourself and come to your own conclusion.

You Might Be a Cult If …

  1. Your group practices mind control
    1. B – Behavior Control
      1. Your group has a uniform
      2. Group members or leaders make important decisions for you
      3. Health code
      4. Time regulation
      5. Bizarre rituals and ordinances
      6. Financial obligations or commitments
      7. Regulate relationships and who you spend your time with
    1. I – Information Control
      1. Only allowed to read information produced by the group
      2. Group withholds information, lies, changes history and/or bends the truth
      3. Pyramid style doctrines (milk vs. meat)
      4. Encourage members to spy on one another
      5. New revelations trump old ones
      6. Hide leaders false prophecies and/or immoral behavior
      7. Always some type of worldwide conspiracy against the group
    1. T – Thought Control
      1. You are not allowed to ask questions
      2. You are taught thought killing techniques
      3. You are taught contention is of the devil
      4. There is no legitimate reason for leaving the group
      5. Attack the person instead of the information
      6. Put doubts on the shelf
      7. Dismiss facts because they are scary
    1. E – Emotional Control
      1. Emotions are the ultimate source of truth
      2. Use their family and their peers to manipulate their emotions and to keep them from leaving
      3. Social consequences if you leave the group
      4. Heavy use of fear and guilt
      5. Good feelings are from God and bad feelings are from Satan
      6. Irrational fears are implanted subconsciously of ever leaving or questioning the group
      7. Unethical use of confession
      8. Use of one’s past sins to manipulate them
      9. Never forgiveness or absolution of sins without complete obedience
      10. Double bind


  1. Your group has one central leader
    1. Who received their authority from God
    2. Speaks on God’s behalf
    3. Is never wrong
    4. Must always be followed
    5. The leader interprets Scripture for you
  1. Your group has unique teachings outside core Christian doctrines
    1. One God
    2. Deity of Christ
    3. Humanity of Christ
    4. The Gospel
    5. The physical bodily resurrection of Christ
    6. Salvation by grace alone through faith alone
  1. Your group becomes dependent upon the writings of the founder and/or current leader
    1. Living prophet
    2. Continuing revelation
    3. Additional Scriptures
  1. Your group believes in a complete apostasy
    1. The Bible has been corrupted
    2. Your group is the one true church
    3. Your group is the only one with the authority to act on God’s behalf
  1. Scripture Twisting
  1. Re-defining of Christian and biblical terminology