The Difference between Cults and Christianity
Alan Gomes writes: “A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.”
Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults (Zondervan, 1995)”A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.” (West & Langone, 1986)What are the Characteristics of a Cult?
— Controlling and authoritative: “This message is from God; I am a prophet… You must follow these rules… ”
— Financial involvement
— Isolation from outside.
— Lack of privacy
— Critical thinking discouraged; can’t question.
— Corporate identification with goals of group
— Demands Total Committment and unquestioning submission
— Value rejection: encouraged to denounce values and beliefs of former life.
— Deviates from orthodox teachings of historic Christian faith
— Denies and distorts fundamental orthodox Christian doctrines, ie., Trinity, deity of Christ, salvation by grace through faith alone.
— Threats about leaving and consequencesWhat are the Symptoms of cult followers?
— Emotional vulnerability
— Identity confusion
— Loss of free will
— Intellectual sterility
— Diminished capacity of judgment
— Suicidal tendenciesResources: Christian Research Institute and Larson’s New book of Cults by Bob Larson
See: Spiritual Abuse Profile at Watchman Fellowship
*If you feel that you have been in a cult or organization which has used some of the characteristics above and that you are experiencing some of the symptoms above, please get some help. You can contact AACC for a referral to a mental health professional.