Health & Freedom Abundant Life Newsletter

Abundant Life Newsletter - Vol 5.1.3

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Cult?

Let us study and ponder and determine what God’s perspective might be.

First, to be in the body of Christ, you need only comply with Romans 10:9 which says: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Once you are in the body of Christ, it is for keeps. You may break fellowship, but you are still God’s child. So, if you are saved, and therefore a joint heir with Christ, but mistakenly associate yourself with a “cult”, is that a greater sin than those common to us all?

What about the multitude of Christians who do nothing but warm a seat at church on Sunday? Will they be rewarded?

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” Gal. 6:1-5

Our attitude toward those we think are in a “cult” should be one of meekness and love. We should go to God’s word humbly, and ask that God reveal where we may be deceived. Only when we walk in love can God give us a divine appointment to speak a word of healing, encouragement, or reproof to those in need.

What is a cult anyway? Where did the term come from? Is it in the Bible?

A cult is a particular system or way of religious worship. Today, the term is always used in a derogatory manner. It is used to scare the public. The same concept was what motivated Saul (Paul) to persecute the Church.

“I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.”  -- Acts 22:3-4. Paul thought he was right. Therefore he was very zealous. But he was absolutely wrong. Are we to follow the example of Saul before his conversion, or should we have his attitude after his conversion:

“What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”   -- Phil. 1:18

Paul was in prison and people were teaching that they had a more accurate knowledge of God than Paul. But Paul understood that Christ was the important thing, not the teacher. We must be as the Bereans: “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” If you follow your leaders blindly, you are in the same predicament as the “cult” followers.

Do you remember learning about the Inquisition? Many good Christians were killed at that time because the “accepted” religion viewed them as heretics, cultists. What we call the Lutheran church was viewed as a cult in its early days. Every denomination today had its day of suspicion. 

Another place we see the word “cult” is in the word “culture”. These two words have different roots, but are related because a “cult” controls the “culture” of its members. Now I found this interesting: This is the definition from the Shorter (only two volumes) Oxford English Dictionary of 1933:

Culture, sb. ME. [a. F., ad. L. cultura: see CULT.] 1. Worship 1483. 2. CULTIVATION I. ME. 3. CULTIVATION 1625; spec. the artificial development of microscopic organisms, esp. bacteria, in prepared media; concr. the product of such culture 1884. 4. fig. Improvement or refinement by education and training 1510. 5. absol. The training and refinement of mind, tastes, and manners; the condition of being thus trained and refined; the intellectual side of civilization 1805. 6. CULTIVATION 3 (rare) 1876. 2. The soil is clay, and difficult of c. 1806. 3. the c. of the vine 1856, of silk MORSE, oysters (mod.). A c-fluid…that contains…various species of organisms KLEIN. 4. The education of children (is called) a C. of their mindes HOBBES. 5. C., the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world M. ARNOLD. Hence Cu-ltureless a. rare, uncultivated (lit. and fig.). Cu-lturist, one engaged in the c. of plants, fish, etc.; and advocate of c. 
Culture, v. Now rare. 1510. [a. F. culturer, f. culture; see prec.] To subject to culture, cultivate. lit. (usu. poet.) and fig.
 

The world is full of “cults” much more pernicious than the ones that are popular to persecute today. Consider the lies that are “artificially developed” in the “prepared media” of TV, radio, and print! Most people fill their minds daily with these and expect to be full of faith after an hour or two at church. We must each develop a Godly culture which will cultivate faith in ourselves and our children. If we stand determined as God has led us, we may be viewed as a cult also. But “who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.   – Rom. 14:4. There are no perfect churches, only our heavenly Father and His son Jesus.

In addition, I have read several books on “cults”, the authors’ main purpose being to establish the reader in an accepted denomination. Much of the information in the books is hearsay and inaccurate. But the authors know that the groups they describe are powerless to defend themselves or too focused on their mission to the world to waste time writing books or filing defamation suits in response.

The current events prompting this column concern me, because Christians are believing the media reports and contributing to the aim of the devil to eliminate our national freedoms. I believe these are the goals of the attack on David Koresh and his followers:

*To discredit any unaccepted Christian group as fanatical.

*To discredit home education

*To discredit anti-gun control groups

*To cause the general public to fear all of the above

I have been interviewed for newspaper articles in the past and most of the information that they printed was inaccurate. And the “quotes” of me were distorted beyond recognition. So I don’t trust what I read in the papers or hear on the radio. But I reason through all the information that I find. And usually that still small voice says, “Peace, be still and know that I am God, not you.” So I reserve judgment for later. We don’t’ need to pass judgment on situations in order to walk in love toward the people involved. I only fully trust the Lord and His Word. I exhort everyone to pray fervently about the “cult” situation in Waco.

Home-Schooled Kids Don't Lag

Youngsters taught at home by parents don’t lag in social development when compared with those of the same age who attended conventional schools, a University of Florida study says.

The study compared behaviors and social development test scores of two groups of 70 children ages 8 and 10. The study found no big difference between the two groups in self-concept and assertiveness as measured by the social development tests. However, videotapes of the children at play showed that youngsters who were taught at home by their parents had consistently fewer behavioral problems, according to psychotherapist Larry Shyers, who did the study for his doctoral dissertation at the University’s College of Education.

He said the study suggests that children taught at home behave better because they tend to imitate their parents, while traditionally schooled children model themselves after other children in the classroom. “Traditionally schooled children were considerably more aggressive, loud and competitive than home-schooled children of the same age,” he said.

Home-schooled children score as high or higher on standardized achievement tests than children in conventional schools, said Shyers.

---Summarized from the Ann Arbor News, 7/22/92