HOW TO RECOGNIZE A CULT CHURCH
I write this for others to learn through my personal experience of over a decade in a cult community called The Synagogue “church” of all nations, Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, Nigeria. The term cult is hard to define. However, the Bible does not use the word “cult,” the idea is there – at least in seed form. It is a self-willed opinion that rejects the authority of truth, leads to division, and this causes the formation of a sect. We all live in the information age. Information has become a consumer product. We need to be concerned about from whom we get our information. Where we get out information from? Is the information censored? Is it Accurate? Is it Heresy? Is it Fact? Is it undiluted Truth? How do we know? In addition, who is accountable for deliberate misinformation when it is crucial? However, during the twentieth century, the term cult has become laden with negative and pejorative connotations. These negative associations can include ideas of ‘brainwashing’, conversion, and abuse. I have once lived in a cult environment for many years in the Synagogue “church” of all nations; it is not always easy to recognize the fruit of cults on the surface. You have to dig down to the roots through what they teach, and their character (fruit), if you are caught in one, may God send you help. Sometimes the cultish behaviours do not manifest until you have integrated into the community. At that point, it is harder to escape – but Jesus can set you free if you set your heart to go through the door into true Christianity, Amen. Cult is a group that deviates from the doctrines and practices of historic Christianity and has an inordinate loyalty to one leader, whose beliefs are not found in Scripture. Cult leaders, or false teachers often believe that they alone possess the truth. Though in Nigeria, we have not experienced such a gory tragedies as it happened in America, but yet, we have had the likes of Rev. King, who would become deviously lawless to set a devotee ablaze over sex; thank God he is cooling his unrepentant heart off in the gallow today. We have the likes of T.B. Joshua who would stop at nothing to make sacrifices of human lives on the altar of greed, love of money and worldly fame. TbJoshua sexually abusing underage girls to maintain his demonic power and his status quo in the occult. Are we going to fold our arms and wait until a more horrific than September 19th, 2014 in the synagogue “church” of all nation, repeat itself before we starts taking precautionary measures in our minds, families and in our religious society? In November of 1978, nine hundred people in Guyana, South America drank a deadly grape drink at the behest of cult figure Jim Jones. Everyone that heard it was mortified. In 1993, David Koresh led seventy-six souls to their deaths in the Waco, Texas compound of the Branch Davidians. Again, a cultist mentality was evident. Formerly known as Boston Movement; International Church of Christ, led by mind-control artist, Kip McKean. Members of this movement are slavishly dominated by the powers that be – ultimately by McKean himself.
They oppose critical thinking versus demanding that people think for themselves. Cult members must accept what the cult leader believes without ever challenging their doctrines. They do not want their members to think critically for themselves. They Dishonour the family unit versus insisting on the biblical priority of the family unit: Children/ members are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their parents. Women are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their husbands, and husbands are taught to accept this as normal behaviour. They use scriptures such as, “Jesus came to bring a sword, not peace” or “one must give up brothers, sisters, wife, parents, and house for the kingdom and be a true follower.” Children often become the most hurt because of strict rules enforced on them, they can be sexually abused by these pervert leaders. They lose their childhood innocence and are deeply affected, being unable to adjust later in life. The religious systems that are not balanced can be socially and psychologically disastrous for innocent children. They Isolates members and penalizing them for leaving versus helping them to do God’s will: Cults isolate their people from their families, the church, and society. They reject anyone who leave and warn them, saying that they will be judge by God or will lose God’s best if they leave. People are taught to make lifelong commitments to the group. Some groups teach that their members must get permission before joining another minister. They sought for inappropriate loyalty to their leaders versus loyalty and connecting people to Jesus: Cults seek to connect their members to the cult leader and require loyalty to him instead of to Jesus. Loyalty is defined as not questioning the leader. It is very dangerous, when the leader cannot be questioned.
They Crosses biblical boundaries of behaviour versus walking in purity and financial integrity: Cult cross-biblical boundaries of behaviour especially in immorality and finances. False teachers can be detected by their covetousness and immorality. (2PETER 2:18)
Separation from the church versus a culture of honour towards the church: Cults separate from the wider church and operate with an elite spirit, believing that they alone have a special status with God. They have a polarized mentality of “us versus them.” They criticize the larger body of Christ and often claim to be the only ones truly saved. They view all other ministry and denominations as being in error. They lay much Emphasis on special revelations that contradict Scripture versus loyalty to Scripture: Cult emphasize the special revelations of their leader that contradict the Scripture
Cult members are “focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.” The leader is a strong-willed, domineering character who rules the group with tight control. He lets it be known in subtle ways that he is in charge of the movement. He makes the plans; he orchestrates the movements of the group or groups. He exercises his sway over them. He dispatches the workers, assigns their chores. Frequently, they begin to imitate his mannerisms in terms of voice inflection, language patterns, aggressive attitudes, etc. They become clones of their esteemed leader. It is not uncommon that the leader knows of weaknesses or past problems of people within the group. Thus, through subtle intimidation and fear he keeps them under his control.
Dissent and Discussion discouraged. “
CULT MEMBERS LAVISH THE LEADER IN LUXURY
The leader is preoccupied with raising money. There is always a need for increasing finances. New projects are ever in the planning. Members are strongly encouraged to greatly sacrifice for the leader’s current pet enterprise. There is little pressure let up; members of the group must be kept revved up on a continual basis. The cult leader always takes the major credit for the movement’s accomplishment. Members become psychologically dependent upon him. “What would we ever do without our leader?” is the cult mentality.
The cult leader generates within his members “a polarized” mentality. His people evolve an, us-versus-them outlook. Little by little, he criticizes other groups with which his members might tend to associates, undermining confidence in them, attempting to discredit anyone who could have influence over his flock. Cult members become suspicious; they imbibe the critical disposition. “No one is really sound as we are. We are an elitist group.” Therefore, seeds of isolationism are sown. The movement leader discourages reading any material, examining any ideas that he does not generate. He seeks to control the inflow of knowledge relative to his group.
REBELLION AGAINST OTHER SOURCES OF AUTHORITY
The cult leader has a clearly defined anti-authoritarian disposition. Within the context of the church, for instance, he would have an “anti-elder” attitude. Elders would be recipients of constant critical remarks. No cult leader would affiliate himself with a congregation having elders to whom he must be in submission. Control could not be maintained in such an environment. The cult leader will constantly criticize preachers, particularly those whose knowledge of the Scriptures eclipse his own. Members must be made to feel that he is the chief authority in spiritual matters.
ALTERATION OF PERSONALITY
Cult members are seen occasionally to take on a new personality. They begin to act differently. They become increasingly antagonistic to family members and long time friends. They may even boast, “I am not the old (name) that you used to know; I am a new person now.” In addition, indeed they are. They have become strangers to those who knew them well. They have been transformed into the image of their leader. The Christian must always be on guard against cult-like figures who would control their thinking and life patterns. Our challenge is to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2CORINTHIANS 10:5), AND TO NONE OTHER.
ASK YOURSELF FEW QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU JOIN
Ask yourself few questions before you join that group: Do they claim to have a special corner on the truth, something no other groups has? Are you told to not question what is being taught, as the leadership are godly, honest, have divine authority and you must trust them? Are you discouraged from asking questions as to why members have left, and expected to accept the reasons the group leadership gives you? Do they put down other churches, groups, etc, while pointing out their faults and errors to build themselves up? Do they use people’s faults and sins as examples of what to do and what not to do? Are you made to feel your failures, as though your performance is not up to par to their righteous standards? Do they stop you from reading anything negative about themselves? Do they call those who fall away enemies, dogs, prostitutes, thieves, even using examples from the Bible or other such materials? Do they place and emphasis on evil and the devil, declaring that the world outside is a threat to the group?Do they defend themselves in every area? Do they encourage and enforced individuality, whereby causing divisions among the members; so that they will not be able to exchange notes on the leader or his teachings in case they are suspicious? Do they operate in humility, or seem arrogant, and make demands on you to obey, using such statements such as “real believers obey without question or if you really were a devoted follower you would do such and such”?
Beware of instant bonding or friendship without even knowing you. Being told you have a special gift, or talents, calling, or potential and that if you join you will move further ahead: flattery is used often in cults. When you ask questions about the history of the group, and the answers are vague or avoided altogether, feeling that something is being hidden from you, please make the best use of your legs- RUN, RUN, RUN! for your LIFE!
Culled from ‘deception of the Age Unmasked’