Cults: Captivating, Corrupted Pseudo-Christianity

Cults: Captivating, Corrupted Pseudo-Christianity

Cult…a word that conjures images of suspicious glasses of Kool-Aid and black Nikes. But not all cults are centered around UFOs and pentagram tattoos. Many claim Christ as the motivation and foundation of their beliefs and organization.  Some have claimed to be Christ returned. And nearly all claim the Bible as the holy text guiding their practices. Cults convince people to abandon their families, sell their homes, subject women and children to sexual abuse, give up technology, give up personal freedom, and in some cases, give up their lives.

The Branch Davidians believed David Koresh was the messiah, all women were his spiritual wives, and an armed compound was needed to prepare for the end of the world. It was at the compound that a 51 say siege with the ATF ended the lives of 77 followers.

Heaven’s Gate began with believing that founders Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles were the “two witnesses” prophesied in Revelation 11:3. It ended with 39 people committing group suicide in hopes of reaching a spaceship…their eternal resting place.

Unification Church was founded by Sun Myung Moon. He claimed that God sent him a vision when he was 16 that Jesus Christ did not finish his work of making “perfect children” and he was called to continue the work. He decreed that all spouses in his church had to be chosen by him and only after 7 years.  His mass wedding ceremonies were notorious. He died in 2010 but the church continues on today.

World Mission Society Church of God believes the second coming of Christ already happened with the birth of their founder, Ahn Sahng-hong. They also insist there is also a “god the mother”, who they believe is currently incarnate as Zang Gil-Jah, the widow of the now deceased Ahn Sahng-hong. They have been accused and charged with everything from harassment to kidnapping by their ex-followers. The organization is currently reporting 1.7 million followers in 150 countries.

I know what you’re thinking…what’s wrong with these people? Who would follow these leaders and believe these lies? The answer. Anyone. Even you and I.

I have viewed and read numerous testimonies from ex-followers of pseudo-Christian cults and there is a recurring theme: people captivated by the lies of human philosophies and not the true words and person of Jesus Christ. For example, did you know Jim Jones, the infamous leader of the tragic Jonestown massacre, with his cult founded a racially integrated church in the 1960s Indiana (unheard of at the time), preached racial equality and justice, and operated free social and medical programs for the needy. My point is that any of us are susceptible to being drawn in to the sound and look of an appealing belief that is actually anti-Christ if we don’t take time to pay attention and study the Bible ourselves. It could even happen in our own churches. That’s why the Bible warns us to:

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

AND

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)

Here’s a quick 2 min video about how to recognize a cult…

Sync a little deeper…

Why do you think Christians join cults?

If someone asked you, how would you explain the difference between a real Christian church and a cult?

How are you guarding yourself from being “captivated” by philosophy and empty deceit?

Next Steps

Now that you have finished reading it’s time to SyncUP with God.  SUBSCRIBE and receive access to the “Weekly SyncUP Guide” via email. It provides 5 daily guides on scripture reading, reflection questions, life application steps, and prayers to help you have your own daily SyncUps with God for the rest of the week.

DON’T FREAK OUT…if doing all 5 this week is overwhelming, set a goal of 2 or 3 and work your way up from there. Enjoy Life and God Bless!

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3 thoughts on “Cults: Captivating, Corrupted Pseudo-Christianity

  1. Why? The answer(s) can range and my answers would be based purely on assumptions.

    A real Christian Church constantly points you back to the gospel. It does not isolate it’s members from the world and it’s views, but challenges us to see how to be a better Christian in the world we live in, work in and play in. Which ultimately shows how much more we need to be disciples in this world. Lastly, we are called into community, which allows accountability, support and growth in our faith. From what it seems, in short, cults point you away from the gospel. Sometimes using the scriptures in a manipulated way to fit the idea of one individual. I can go on but I will end there.

    I would like to believe that I could never be captivated by a cult. However, I serve a real God who has challenged me in ways that highlighted my vulnerabilities and naivity. So by reading, not being afraid to ask questions about the bible and being apart of a gospel centered church, helps me from being captivated by ill-teachings. (Yep..just made that word up).

    1. Ill-teaching is a greatly word! I agree with you. It’s easy to think we are too smart or street savvy to be taken in. But like you said, our confidence can’t be in ourselves but in God’s word. Thanks for sharing.

    2. Mo, you brought up an excellent point which I am grateful for; we are part of a Gospel-centered church with leaders and disciples pointing us back to the Word for Truth. Vision Church challenges me to be a more committed student of the Word, which helps me discern what is true and what is a lie in this world.

      Natasha, another great post! It challenges me to dig deeper into the Word as it can be very easy to be led astray.

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