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Characteristics of Religious Cults

QUESTION: What are some characteristics of religious cults?


It is important to understand the characteristics of religious cults in order to identify a cult when we encounter one. So how do we recognize a cult when we see one? Study the following questions regarding the characteristics of religious cults:

  • Does the group claim to be a Christian organization or a friend of Christianity, but their teachings misrepresent Christian theology? Most often, the doctrines of the Trinity and salvation by grace alone are misrepresented in a cult's teachings.

  • Is the group characterized by authoritarianism? Are members who disobey to the slightest degree punished severely or excommunicated? Can a person think and study for themselves or must they rely on the group's leader for all of their instruction?

  • Is the Bible misinterpreted in the groups teaching? They may claim to interpret the Bible correctly, but does their biblical interpretation stand up under closely examination?

  • Are members of the group subject to psychological, physical, or spiritual harm?

  • When asked, can the group provide an accurate and detailed history of the founders and origin of the organization?

  • Do you sense intimidation or deception within the group or toward outsiders? Are the members manipulated - either by time-manipulation or thought-manipulation?

  • Is there secrecy?
1 John 3:7 says, "Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray…"

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What do you think?
We have all sinned and deserve God’s judgment. God, the Father, sent His only Son to satisfy that judgment for those who believe in Him. Jesus, the creator and eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible. If you truly believe and trust this in your heart, receiving Jesus alone as your Savior, declaring, "Jesus is Lord," you will be saved from judgment and spend eternity with God in heaven.

What is your response?

Yes, I want to follow Jesus

I am a follower of Jesus

I still have questions

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