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BeachOfEden
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Rick Ross has also witten extenstively on other fundamental Protestant groups such Calvary Chapel, Assembly of God, and Vineyard Christian Fellowship.

 

When The Word "Cult" As Merely A Means Of Theolically Getting Even With Faith Groups You Don't Like Or Agree With

 

I would like you to read the following quotes from the article:Reconceptualizing the Word "Cult" by Jon Trott [first published in Cornerstone,Jesus People USA Issue 122] "The term “cult” has become a catchall word used, as one cynic put it , against any organized group one happens not to like."

 

THE WORD AS A WEAPON

 

"There are a few errors we Evangelicals continue to make regarding NRMs. The first and most glaring error we make is the often unspoken assumption that we have the entire truth and NRM members are lost in error. History teaches us of many evils committed by self-proclaimed Christians with a corner on “the truth.” Humility is in order."

 

"Christians should show profound respect for others’ spiritual journeys, realizing that in fact the others may be journeying toward Christian belief. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and as such it is our duty to present the great news and, by example, show forth His love."

 

Should we tag peaceful alternative religious groups like Hare Krishans and Bahia long side dangerous killer REAL "cults" like Jim Jones?!?

 

"Again, the word “cult” has become the property of mass media, and like the word “######” some decades ago, is used to completely dismiss those who don’t fit into the majority’s preconceived ideal of “American.” We’ve got to face it: the NRMs often bear little resemblance one to another, but like the Anglo-American viewing a person of color, we’re tempted to say “they’re all the same.” Christians should be on the forefront of defending the legal and social rights of even the smallest and oddest religious groups."

 

"The NRMs often make specific and exclusive claims regarding the nature of God, salvation, and other aspects of reality." And does not Fundamental 'Born Again' Protestants? Evangelical Protestants tagged Jehovah's Witnesses a "cult" because JW's claim that all who dare disagree with their take on the Bible will not get into paradise. Yet Evangelical Fundamental and/or Pentacostal Protestants claim all who dare disagree with their take on things be "left behind" and/or tossed into hell forever. If such exclusive claims to salvation are the marks that call for one to be marked "Cult"..then certainly such Evangelical fundamental Protestants should add themselves to the list!

 

"Joining an unorthodox [in both the Evangelical Protestant and the majority of society's views) group may in fact be a sign of coming awake, not of going to sleep. I’m not suggesting that joining the Moonies will lead one to salvation; it may lead to no change in one’s habits, or it may lead to a lifelong adherence to Moon’s false Messiahship. But as sociological studies have shown, the majority of those joining his Unification Church do not remain there. Do they stay awake, or do they go back to sleep? Did any Christians they met along their journey’s path treat them as fellow sojourners rather than brainwashed idiots?"

 

"Yet what of the gentle Baha'i faith, with its martyred leader and beautiful emphasis on reconciliation between races, peoples, and religions? A critique of Baha'i will certainly require our praise as well as our disagreement on key issues of God's identity and the nature of salvation."

 

"The New Age movement (host to a variety of NRMs as well as more mainstream groups) exhibits concern over ecology and the caretaking of our planet; this echoes scriptural standards despite their disavowal of personal sin and God's sacrifice for that sin." " Likewise, our discussions of Jehovah's Witnesses rarely, if ever, touch on the fact that the Nazis murdered many of them. To know these things takes commitment to learn about the world of ideas and assumptions a Bahaist or Jehovah's Witness lives in; easier is the quick-stick label, "cult ."

 

Many extremist branches of Fundamental Protestant try to prey on XJWs, X-Mormons and other faith groups that their community deems "unorthodox." Sometimes their claims are true and other times they are not. But underneath their surface image of wanting reach out to those who were spiritually abused in JW or Mormons, etc., is a hidden agenda, and that agenda is to replace the former JW or Mormom past brand of fundamentalism with 'their' own brand of fundamentalism.

 

Thus they may go from the frying pan into the fire. The frying pan being JW's Aramegeddon threats to fundamental Protestant's hellfire. However, the AMCs don't just go after the non-Protestant fundamental faith groups they don't like. They also Unitarian Universalists, Bahias and sometimes even their own more liberal or moderate peers, such as United Methodists, tagging them as a "cults."

 

The fellowing is a list of resources I have pulled together on the ACMs and their roots, as well as non-fundamental resources who research and study Alternative Religions of America. "Alternative Religions,ARs are what they call such religions that they see as not dangerous instead of cults. In contrast to the AMCs, such researchers have NO hidden agendas to spread a religious fundamentalist propagenda.

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BeachofEden,

 

Thank you for this post. You may or may not be responding to my use of the word "cult" in reference to the Self-Realization Fellowship. I did not mean it as an attack on SRF. It, as does my own Kriya community, has many qualities of a cult. Cult, as in ...

 

 

adherents of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices

 

Given the way cult has been used, it was innappropriate of me to use it. My apologies to any SRFers out there. You have my utmost respect.

 

My only complaint is that SRF has used legal litigation to invalidate other non-SRF kriya communities.

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That is also a good point.that is..that lot's a time if a group of people break off of a faith group in order to create what they feel is a more progressive answer to their former faith..then their former faiths often tag them "cults."

 

ACM & The Doctrinal Issues

 

If a Alternative Religious Group Reject 1 or More of The Following Fundamental Protestant Doctrines...Then The ACMs Say They Are A "Cult":

 

Denies The Trinity

 

Denies That Holy Spirit Is A Person And Says Instead That It Is God's Active Force

 

* Claims Exclusive Rights To Salvation

 

Denies The Bodily Resurrection Of Christ

 

*Group Adds Extra Books To The Bible. Or Perfers a Certain Translation Because It Agrees More With the Groups Beliefs.

 

* Devolopes Certain Interpretations Of Bible Passages: They Take Passgaes Out Of Context, Pick and Choose Certain Key Verses While Ignoring Others; Mistranslates Key Words.

 

* Group Frequently Quotes Bible Passages About False Prophets Rising Up And Confuses Many

 

Indeed 'THEE' #1 Reason why ACMs as well as Fundamental and Pentecostal Protestants tag NRMs "Cult" is merely on the ground that they refuse to embrace THEIR definition of 'The Trinity'. Now at this point you may be thinking: "Hey wait a minute... What does all these views on whether God is a trinity or whther Christ was resurrected like this or that,etc. have to do with ACMs claims of NRMs being emotionally demaging? Ah yeah, good point!

 

Janja Lalich, an EXPERT on CULT Behavior says: "Cults, in my opinion, are about BEHAVIORS and NOT BELIEFS."

 

Indeed, these prime favorite targets that ACMs/ Fundamental Proestants aim their attacks against:

 

Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Bahia...Eatern Faiths and Liberal and Progressive christians.etc...

 

are REALLY based on DOCTRINAL ISSUES and 'NOT' based on these groups being EMTIONALLY DESTRUCTIVE IN BEHAVIOR, as the ACMs often 'claim'. ACMs tag Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses,and Assembly of Yahweh as "Not Christian", and "Not bibical", "Cults"...and yet each of these groups continually proclaim that they DO embrace the Bible and Christ as Savior. But because they do NOT do it in the WAY that Fundamental Protestants find agreeable then there proclaimations fall on deaf ears.

 

These claims #3,5,6 and about groups being indentify as "cults" because they make claims that they alone have the copy rights to God and salvation all these "characteristics of a 'Cult' "... that ACMs tag on JWs and Mormons also fit THEM!

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The REAL Motivating Factor & Inspiration Behind The Zeal of ACM

 

Point To Ponder Upon:

 

Is It Not Curious How ACM Voices Concern Over The Fact The JW's Belief in Non-Members Getting Destoyed At Armageddon...When Fundamental and/Or Pentecostal Protestants Merely Replaces This Fear With Their Own Eternal HellFire & Getting "Left Behind" during Their 'Rapture'?

 

The Fundamental & Pentecostal Protestants Claim That NRMs like JW's & Mormon Teach That They Alone Got Rights To Salvation...Ah Yeah...And as 'If' Fundamental Protestants Don't Make That Same Claim?

 

The Fundamental and/or Pentecostal Protestants teach that spiritual understanding and rehabilitation MUST take place ON THIS (imperfect) SIDE of The kingdom... Instead of During The 1,000 year rein of Christ where there is said there is going to be: A Resurrection of BOTH the the just and unjust. That 'if' one dies BEFORE they are saved then they are INSTANTLY CONDEMED TO HELL FOREVER. Or if the 'Rapture' comes and they and not come to accept Jesus as their personal Savior then they will be "Left Behind."

 

Hyprocrisy Displayed Amoung Fundamental & Pentacostal Protestants Claiming Concern Over JW's Fear Tactics of Armageddon Against Non Memebers

 

The complete hyprocrisy lies in that the ACMs/The Fundamental and/or Pentecostal Protestants often make Jehovah's Witnesses their prime targets of attck claiming that the JW's often teach that all who fail to embrace the JW's take on the Bible will(...

 

(A) Die at Armageddon and (B) will cease to be all togethre, NEVER to be resurrected back to life again.

 

Yet, ACMs/fundamental and Pentecostal Protestant teach that all who fail to embrace the Fundamental Protestant take on the Bible will (A)Get "Left Behind" during the 'rapture'(B) and/or will get tossed into hell forever.

 

Do Fundamental/Pentecostal Protestants actually think that their threat teaching of hellfire and getting "Left Behind" is suppose to, some how, be LESS emotionally destructive and "cult-like", and some how 'better' than the JW's Armageddon???

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Destructive Charismatic Churches

April 2002 By Rick Ross.

 

 

By a former member of the movement

 

I was once involved in a destructive Charismatic church for twelve years. My family and I left because of the behavior within that church, which became increasingly cult-like. For instance, our church was a strongly "prophetic" congregation. And when a "prophecy" came forth, it was considered the "word of the Lord," even if it didn't match up with the Scriptures. That put us in the frightening position of having to obey the prophecy, or consider ourselves as "opposing God."

 

Being a committed Christian and having spent nearly all of my Christian life within the Charismatic movement, I now recognize that some leaders within the movement have the propensity to overextend their authority. And as an elder under such authority for five years, I was once bound by fear. It seemed that if I didn't participate in a variety of "prophetic manifestations," which regularly happened within our church, I was somehow missing "God's best." However, when I objectively investigated my church's methods and beliefs, I saw its error and regained my personal freedom. Specifically I began to read the bible without the aid of any church interpretive material.

 

After more than a year of intensive research, from a variety of independent sources, my family and I were brought to a point of decision, which resulted in our "leaving the fold." The pain of that process was tremendous. After we left, not one person from our church visited us. The fear, which is engendered by the kind of manipulation we experienced, often locks people into a mindset that disregards common logic and even bypasses a simple heartfelt faith in the God of the bible. Instead, those involved will just "go with the flow." When I first looked seriously into my church's doctrines, I found that many of them had parallels with much criticized groups like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

The extreme teachings practiced by some churches within the Christian Charismatic movement have serious implications. Some of the particulars of these churches should be closely scrutinized. Consider the following:

 

 

Extra-biblical Revelation. Much of our belief system was based upon supposed "words of the Lord," without supporting Scriptures to validate the teaching. Those who believed the "revelations," were in the inner circle. Those who did not, were frowned upon as somehow "spiritually immature." This kind of personal revelation seems to be becoming increasingly common within some extreme Charismatic groups.

 

Any attempt to correct a leader/teacher involved with this type of extreme Charismatic church, often is met with stonewalling, excuses, or anger. They may say, "How dare you presume to question doctrine coming from the pulpit." Those who do are frequently labeled as in the "outer court" or "immature." For example, in my own experience with churches influenced by the Brownsville Revival and Toronto Blessing camps this actually led to the demonizing those who disagreed. I remember Pastor John Kilpatrick of Brownsville issuing a "prophetic" threat of destruction against Hank Hanegraaff, when he criticized Brownsville.

 

 

Speical knowledge. Only for those who reach the higher "levels" of understanding. One of my pastors would not openly share his "knowledge" with just anyone. Instead, this was to be shared only with the enlightened, which really meant those who agreed with him.

 

 

Unreasoning disregard for contrary evidence. Any evidence brought into the light that contradicted an experience, vision, prophecy, or doctrine, which supposedly came from God, was completely disregarded. People simply refuse to discuss the situation intelligently, react in anger, avoidance and/or fear.

 

 

Fear. People become locked into accepting almost anything, because to question or disagree with the group's doctrine, was tantamount to questioning God. For example, when I left my church I found myself very afraid that God was angry with me and that I would lose His blessing. It was very difficult. One pastor I knew of a destructive Charismatic church told his flock, "If you question anything going on in this church, just watch out!" This fear-inducing admonition was preceded by his recitation of the account within Acts 5 about Ananias and Sapphira, who dropped dead after lying to the Lord. There are many other traits amongst some destructive churches, which mirror those found in cults, but those cited above will suffice for now.

 

I have spoken with others who have left extreme Charismatic churches. They too have lost their church friends, support, experienced family conflicts, trauma and have been targeted by gossip. Some have even received death threats that were supposedly "words of the Lord." It is a miracle that any of these Charismatic causalities can still maintain their faith in Jesus Christ after all they have been through. But through my own experience I've learned, wolves clothed as shepherds, cannot invalidate the message or its true messenger.

 

Please understand that there were many good times as well. This included church potlucks, fishing trips, praying for one another and helping each other through difficult times. But for all the love expressed during those years of faithfulness, it is both a source of pain and concern that our onetime church brethren are now afraid of us and wish no further close contact.

 

We faithfully supported (our tithes and offerings to one church totaled approximately $25,000.00), promoted, and led others into a group that we now recognize was largely based upon a destructive and often heretical beliefs. The love of Christ, our purchase from sin on the cross by His death and resurrection, was certainly preached. But so many additions and personal interpretations were consistently interwoven within that simple message, the net result was often harmful and chaotic.

 

Can a Charismatic or Pentecostal church be cultic? There are controversial preachers such as Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland, who have certainly caused many faithful Christians to ask this troubling question. And what about movements like the "Toronto Blessing," the "Brownsville Revival" or the "River" movement, which was spawned by both? Are they in some ways cult-like?

 

I have many friends still involved in these movements. And I fear and pray for them. At times I try to offer them helpful scriptural insights, if and when an opportunity presents itself. But it is hard to help those caught within such ideological snares and entwined by such groups and leaders.

 

It has been a difficult road back to the basics of biblical Christianity from the chaos and confusion my family was once caught within. One of the things that has helped us the most, was realizing that "bible-based" cults and those who borrow from them, did not originate their beliefs. They merely copied from other sources and redefined teachings. The damage done by these groups notwithstanding, Jesus Christ is still the Savior, and His message remains unchanged. Destructive leaders and groups, may dim the truth but can't snuff out the Light.

 

My family is still Pentecostal, but we avoid the maze and torment of aberrational teachings and/or pastoral manipulation. And we know that there are many good Pentecostal churches. They have helped us tremendously to get back to the truth of the Scriptures, and also guided us through the process of sorting out false doctrines, which have crept into many Christian churches. One thing we have definitely decided upon is this, we will follow no man with unquestioning obedience from now on. If what is being said from the pulpit, or even informally, does not match the biblical record, we will support neither the man nor the message.

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