Christian Cults & Sects

Without boundaries, the Church would fall apart. Whenever the boundaries fall, or become blurred, people lose their way, lose their convictions, and often even lose their faith. Good boundaries are drawn on doctrinal lines, that is, they're based on what the people within those boundaries believe concerning God, salvation, and the Bible.

Bad boundaries are drawn primarily along practical lines. That's not to say our practice isn't directly linked to our belief, just that many bad boundary makers aren't concerned with beliefs at all. They're more interested in having the right kind of music, the most appealing message, and the coolest facilities in order to attract the most people.

Sometimes, though, bad boundaries are drawn to keep the group as small as possible, or at least to ensure every individual within the boundaries is carefully walking the party line. While the first kind of bad boundaries give way to apostate Christianity, the second type leads to cultism.

A cult forms when a person or group of people do lethal damage to the core doctrines of Christianity. For instance, Jehovah's Witnesses deny the deity of Christ and the substitutionary atonement; Mormons believe there are multiple gods, that faithful Mormons will eventually be gods themselves, and that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer; Rastafarians believe smoking marijuana is a sacrament allowing the smoker to commune with God.

Obviously, there are degrees of cultic silliness. While most people are going to realize right away that Rastafarianism has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with 4:20, Mormons (for instance) are much more adept at looking and sounding like adherents of true Christianity, and thus at leading people astray.

But cults aren't the only groups that lead people astray. Many who claim to be Christians have unbiblical beliefs and practices that are even more dangerous than those of cults, because they appear so much closer to the truth. Those who preach the so-called "prosperity gospel", those who proclaim false prophecies, the leaders of the"emergent church", etc., are all false teachers posing as leaders of the Church.

Unfortunately, these groups are gaining more and more ground among believers and in churches, turning people from the true Gospel toward a false gospel powerless to save. Why? Primarily because Christians have long since ceased to pay close attention to doctrine, and have bought the lie that denominations divide and are even sinful.

Denominations and sects aren't sinful, they're necessary. How can we know if a group is teaching the truth unless they clearly present what they believe? And if there are no boundaries, then why should we preach the Gospel? If, as the Mormons believe, basically everyone will end up in heaven, then why adhere to true biblical doctrine?

To combat the presence of error, Christians must be steeped in the truth of God's Word. But we also need to understand the errors taught by groups who twist and abuse the truth, in order to fight them intelligently and effectively. Christians are called to spread the Gospel and defend the faith; we believe the resources you'll find here will help equip and prepare you for that task.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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