A few months ago, I met with a great young man, bright and articulate, who introduced himself as a Christian. But, 10 minutes into the conversation, I found out he was a Mormon. So we talked about that. He insisted Mormons were Christians, so I asked him just one question, “Do you believe Jesus Christ has always been and is today the Son of God, a member of the trinity?
“We believe Jesus is a great prophet and became God through his obedience, we revere his teachings in our church,” he answered. “I know that,” I said, “but one of the central tenants of historical orthodox Christianity is that Jesus is and always has been one with God the Father and Holy Spirit. To not believe that, is to be outside of the Christian faith. That’s why we consider Mormonism a Christian cult. It embraces many Christian beliefs, but rejects Jesus as an eternal being. That’s a deal killer for Christians!”
He continued to insist he was a Christian, because I believe to do so adds legitimacy to Mormonism. So, lets examine some of the key issues that separate “Christian Cults,” from true, historical Christianity. I’ll end with two questions you can ask anyone in a cult who claims to be a Christian. 1. Major Christian cults in the US.
The Unification Church (Moonies)
2. Christian cults add the teachings of their founders to the Bible and make them equal to or superior to the Bible.
Essentially, the writings of their founder become a “third testament.” And, since these new writings are the latest writings, they become the most important of all “scripture.”
3. Christian cults consider themselves to be the only true church.
While there are many denominations in Christianity, there are very few who claim to be the only true church. When cults take that position, it fosters an “us versus them” mentality that destroys unity.
4. They either deny Jesus is actually God altogether, or that faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection alone is the basis of salvation.
They all believe Jesus was the adopted Son of God, but not that Jesus is a member of the eternal godhead.
More importantly, people are saved by living out what both Jesus and the Christian cult teach. It is salvation by grace, plus works.
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” 2 Peter 2:1
What’s the difference between a sect and a cult?
Generally, a religious group is called a cult if it makes a break with historic, orthodox Christianity as described above.
A sect on the other hand, is a small religious group that has broken with some traditional religious system or denomination, but has not done so radically. They are usually in sharp disagreement over some issue, but not heretical.
Two Questions So here’s the two questions you should ask any Christian cult member you meet: 1. Do you believe Jesus is God and a member of the Trinity? 2. Do you believe humans are saved by faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial and resurrection alone, regardless of anything they do in addition to that?
Some Great Resources I recommend that every believer purchase, “The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error” pamphlet by Brookes and Robertson (http://amzn.to/1tG1Fbx). It is a very simple outline of what 10 different cults believe and why Christians reject their teaching as error. I also highly recommend, “Comparing Christianity with World Religions,” by the same author (http://amzn.to/1pM6D3U).
How following Jesus works in real life.
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