How to avoid being victimized by a cult
First, we must define a cult. To begin with, a cult is a minority group that is regarded as holding unorthodox beliefs. Its founder is someone who stepped out of the norm for understanding biblical theology. Often the founder may write a secondary thesis that is considered to interpret the Bible. In many cases biblical principles and Scriptures are interwoven in the teachings of the cult, but are outside the basic understanding of God’s Word. Salvation is accomplished through good works and not through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. The cult may have a distorted view of death calling it a soul sleep or postponement. Sometimes the adherents are taught that they must go to a middle ground where souls are refined until they are ready to go to heaven which means there is no hell. They may create the appearance of scholarship and church history. Jehovah’s Witnesses explicitly denies the deity of Jesus and therefore the Trinity. They say he is the son of God but not God. He did not exist prior to his incarnation. The leader of the cult declares that he has restored the original teachings of the early apostles. This is merely a re-creation of third century heresies. Their systematic distortion seeks to explain away passages that clearly proclaimed that Jesus is God. Members of cults are drilled into the interpretations of the erroneous interpretations of Scripture. There is so much more about cults, but the point of this blog is to declare how to avoid being victimized by them.
If you are not highly familiar with Scripture and not deep in the word for doctrine, it is best that you do not allow yourself to be in a conversation with the person who is a member of a cult because they are highly skilled and trained in ways to manipulate your thinking. They may begin by simply saying they want to add to your understanding of the Bible or how to look forward to the coming of Christ. Some cult founders have dubious backgrounds that could even be criminal.
Be careful of the terminology they use because it is deceptive in the wrong way. If you are asked to read their Bible, check out the verses before and after the one that used to convince you of a certain point. They do not believe that the Bible is the only inspired word of God.
Avoid trying to refute every single point of the cult. Know that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Trinity and that he is divine having no beginning and no end. Someday he will return to rule the world. In the meantime, the Holy Spirit is the comforter and teacher of the believer.
Make sure you are ready to show that Jesus Christ from Scripture is the Son of God. There are times the cult practices speaking in tongues and claiming the ability for divine healing which means that their way of thinking is the only truth. Remember that truth is not based on experience but the teachings of Christ. If someone from a cult declares they have cornered the market on biblical understanding, invite them to leave.
Focus on the problem of sin and how it is resolved by Christ. There are some religions that say you can be a member of their group and still be a Christian. This is an impossibility. The brotherhood of mankind, world peace, and temperance sound good but to achieve that is only through the cult and sometimes by military means.
Detect if a member of the cult is allowed to think independently for himself. This might mean that this society of the cult is a final with growing authority. In some cases, the cult has an hierarchy in which the leaders determined what is true and proper. This could also mean that a person who does not comply with the authority of the cult leader would be shunned or killed.
Such beliefs as Christian Science capitalizes on people’s fear of sin, disease, old age, and death. It’s idealistic. Its moral emphasis may be attractive that plays of the imaginations of those who attend to its teachings. Mary Baker Eddy started the cult because of the death of a loved one. She could not accept that he left her. She created a false philosophical jargon. A legalistic spirit is often maintained within a cult. Be careful if a cult relies excessively on the teachings of the Old Testament and unhealthy view of other churches. Anytime the teachings of a cult reject the basic doctrines of the Bible that organization should be avoided.
The best defense against of a cult is to read and study the Bible so that you know the truth it proclaims. Be so familiar that anything contrary to Scripture is obviously not something you would want to accept. Finally, when you come across a cult member, afterwards pray for their salvation and your own strengthening of scriptural understanding. Truth is truth. The Bible needs no other substitute.