Q – What is a cult? Or how do you identify Cults?
A – In his influential book ‘The Kingdom of the Cults’, Christian scholar Walter Martin defines Christian cults as groups that follow the personal interpretation of an individual, rather than the understanding of the Bible accepted by mainstream Christianity. So, whatever is taught by the Bible and believed by the earliest Disciples of Christ are believed to be true and anything that comes up in a different direction is identified as a cult.
Q – How many Cults are there?
A – There are many and many cults in India and across the world. . Few are recently born, few are evolved, few no longer exists and few are coming soon. To name a few:
- Children of God
- Christian Family Fellowship
- Christian Science
- Divine Light Mission
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Oneness Pentecostal
- The Unification Church
- The Way International
- Theosophical society
- Unitarian Universalist
- Now, no matter what cult comes up, there is nothing new, in a few hundred years after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there were cults in place. There are three broad categories that they can be bunched into:
- Gnostics: Coming from the Greek word “Gnosis”, this is just means knowledge. They said that they had some special hidden knowledge which was hidden from other people. For them, all matter is evil so, they denied the incarnation since God couldn’t become evil. This was old and the apostle John wrote 1 John and Colossians just to condemn this heresy. The groups such as worldwide church of God and even what is taught by modern day gurus such as Deepak Chopra… all speak the same language.
- Arianism: This came up in the 4th century under Arius of Alexandria. They believed that Jesus was not divine but a created being like the Angels but of a very high category. Groups such as Christadelphianism, Theosophical society and Jehovah’s witnesses, all teach Arianism.
- Monarchianism: They don’t believe in the Trinity but believe that Jesus is the only and only person who manifested as the Father in the OT, Jesus in the gospels and after ascension to heavens is now the Holy Spirit. Most prominently, groups such as Jesus only teach this philosophy.
If we read Ecclesiastes 1:9, “There is nothing new under the sun”… there is nothing new… what you see now has existed in some form or the other since centuries. Throughout all the ages, the Church has found that in order to remain true to the teachings of the NT regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ, it had to affirm the following 6 doctrines:
- Doctrine of the Trinity
- Doctrine of the incarnation
- The sinless life of Jesus Christ
- The sacrificial death of Christ
- The resurrection of Christ
- Salvation by grace through faith.
Anything that deviates or rejects any one of these doctrines is also called a cult.
Q – Which are the main ones operating in India and vigorously evangelizing?
A– There are many cults operating in India and evangelizing vigorously. In almost every state (not sure), a Christian cult is fully operational. Most popular cults in India are Jehovah Witness, Mormons, Bride Ministry, Dove Ministry Punjab, William Branham Ministries in India, Oneness Pentecostals, Unitarianism, Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church, World Mission Society Church of God and few more which are not much popular such as these.
I would like to say that there is no point in naming any denomination as a cult since as per what I mentioned above, any denomination which rejects the 6 fundamental doctrines is a cult. Now, names aside, I personally have been to so called protestant or “born-again” churches which teaches that works is still required for salvation… if you do this, you will go to hell… if you don’t do that, you will go to hell… etc etc… that can also be called a cult… this is a widespread problem and such a doctrine makes Christianity no better than Islam or Hinduism… if there is not “Saved by grace through faith”, Christianity has nothing to offer… if you are in a church which teaches such doctrine, you need to first study the topic of grace yourself… have a word with your Pastor on the topic… if you think you don’t have access to resources, then pray about it sincerely to God to and seek His assistance in finding you a good church. Also, if you feel there is any specific topic where you feel you would require some literature, you are most welcome to let us know any time. We will be very glad to share some resources with you.
We hope you enjoyed reading this, but hang on, this is just a tip of a never ending iceberg. We will be back with more on this. Your feedback is welcome… God Bless!