NEW TO THIS SITE?

Welcome! If you are a BSSM student or involved with sozo and Bethel Church, please know this ministry loves you and prays for you. You are welcome here to browse this site. All the factual research on here has been conducted out of love for you with absolutely no financial gain. The research on this site is not merely anecdotal but research based on fact and careful study. Bethel Sozo Research does not hate any leaders or pastors at Bethel Church (no malice/ill-will toward them). We simply wish God's best for them - that they would change their deceptive ways and speak truthfully to people. If these leaders will not teach the Biblical truth about Christ's hypostatic union/divinity to the public, that is their free choice, but they must not call themselves 'Bible teachers' because that is not respecting the true Christian faith (Jude 1:3; Acts 4:12; 2 Cor. 11:4; Matt. 7:15; 1 John 4:1). Enjoy this site and God bless you! With love and civility, BSRJ
Showing posts with label Cultic Practices Disguised as Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cultic Practices Disguised as Christian. Show all posts

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sozoed from sozo? A closer look at the Greek definition and how Jude's letter says to 'sozo'...

Hello!  Please note that I have finally added a "follow" button to the right side of this page (that is, if you find these articles educational and would like to subscribe).  

The inventors of sozo have named it this, claiming they know the Greek meaning.  Whenever an individual says they know the "Greek" origin of a word, they (can) sound like they know just what they are talking about!  Perhaps this makes them look more competent and that they have done their research.  Many manipulative teachers carry out this tactic these days (claim to know the Greek language and origin of words) in order to trick their followers into thinking that they are intelligent and trustworthy.

The irony in all this is that the word sozo from the Greek origin (Strong's Concordance number 4982) literally does mean to "save, heal, preserve or rescue; to deliver out of danger and into safety" - but this is referring to saving from danger, and that includes the false, deceptive, dangerous practices like sozo and their teachers.  This is one of the dangers the Bible is warning about (see also 2 John 1:11, etc)!

Here is what Jude explains in his letter...  
"And others save [sozo 4982] with fear, pulling them out of the fire..." (Jude 1:23)
What was the purpose of the letter Jude wrote?   He was trying to warn and hopefully sozo the people from the false teachers' tactics (vs. 4).  

He urged people to "contend for the faith" (vs. 3) and warns of these "certain men" (vs. 4). 

They were men who were greedy for profit (vs. 11).  He even calls them "brute beasts" (irrational animals).  They "flattered people to gain advantage" (vs. 16).  I know that doesn't sound very nice or "loving", but he was looking out for the innocent people and their well being.  That was loving.

Jude then tells his hearers to "save (sozo) with fear, pulling them out of the fire". 
"We must watch over one another; faithfully..." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jude 1:23) 
Why do you think Jude, the brother of James, saw so much danger with false teachers and their practices?  Was he overreacting?  Do you think it was brave of him to speak up despite it being "negative"?  Do you see the irony in the name sozo?  Do you think this was done on purpose to confuse people into thinking that they need sozo?  Do you think certain institutions can be very tricky and deceptive?

It is ironic that the sozo teachers promise people liberty and freedom, when truly people need to be set free from this practice.
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." 2 Peter 2:19
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." 2 Cor. 11:13-15
 
In His Love,
BSR    


Sozoed from sozo? A closer look at the Greek definition and how Jude's letter says to 'sozo'...

Hello!  Please note that I have finally added a "follow" button to the right side of this page (that is, if you find these articles educational and would like to subscribe).  

The inventors of sozo have named it this, claiming they know the Greek meaning.  Whenever an individual says they know the "Greek" origin of a word, they (can) sound like they know just what they are talking about!  Perhaps this makes them look more competent and that they have done their research.  Many manipulative teachers carry out this tactic these days (claim to know the Greek language and origin of words) in order to trick their followers into thinking that they are intelligent and trustworthy.

The irony in all this is that the word sozo from the Greek origin (Strong's Concordance number 4982) literally does mean to "save, heal, preserve or rescue; to deliver out of danger and into safety" - but this is referring to saving from danger, and that includes the false, deceptive, dangerous practices like sozo and their teachers.  This is one of the dangers the Bible is warning about (see also 2 John 1:11, etc)!

Here is what Jude explains in his letter...  
"And others save [sozo] with fear, pulling them out of the fire..." (Jude 1:23)
What was the purpose of the letter Jude wrote?   He was trying to warn and hopefully sozo the people from the false teachers' tactics (vs. 4).  

He urged people to "contend for the faith" (vs. 3) and warns of these "certain men" (vs. 4). 

They were men who were greedy for profit (vs. 11).  He even calls them "brute beasts" (irrational animals).  They "flattered people to gain advantage" (vs. 16).  I know that doesn't sound very nice or "loving", but he was looking out for the innocent people and their well being.  That was loving.

Jude then tells his hearers to "save (sozo) with fear, pulling them out of the fire". 
"We must watch over one another; faithfully..." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jude 1:23) 
Why do you think Jude saw so much danger with false teachers and their practices?  Do you think it was brave of him to speak up despite it being "negative"?  Do you see the irony in the name sozo?  Do you think this was done on purpose to confuse people into thinking that they need sozo?  Do you think certain institutions can be very tricky and deceptive?

In His Love,
BSR    


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tactic from the enemy to get sozo and Bethel members to not listen to the truth their loved ones present

Hi friends.

There is a tactic that the enemy is using to get Bethel members to shun family members or friends who are lovingly trying to warn them of this cultic group.  The tactic is a lie.  The tactic is to slander (the legal and Biblical definition of slander means to lie or speak falsehood; it does not mean to speak the truth) the family member and call he or she a "pharisee", "legalist", "religious spirit" and/or a "persecutor" if they lovingly warn of danger, and to not listen to them because they are just trying to keep you from entering God's blessing or a relationship with the "holy spirit".  This tactic is a lie, not the truth, and actually unnecessarily divides families.  It's not good or holy, and it's not of Christ or the real Holy Spirit.  It causes the Bethel member to falsely accuse or falsely believe that the loving family member is attacking them.  As a result, the Bethel member falls deeper into the cultic group, and further away from the Jesus of the Bible, the path of truth, and those who truly love them and are simply speaking the truth with love.  If only these Bethel members would see the truth of the people that love them so much and are trying to warn them of danger.  The leader or person (whoever that may be) teaching this evil tactic is a "conceited" false teacher who "understands nothing" and is placing divisions, "evil suspicions" and "strife" between Christians and those in the Body of Christ.  These are not the "sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Timothy 6:3).  Whoever is teaching this and dividing families will fall into the hands of the living God and will be eternally punished for their wickedness should they not repent.  Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God".

I will write more about this tactic the enemy uses in the coming days.  Hopefully this helps.

With the love and grace of Christ,
BSRG

Related:

Cult Warning Signs


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Beni Johnson posts another photo of herself on Instagram in cemetery!

I am so thankful that a reader of Bethel Sozo Research sent in a photo of Beni Johnson's Instagram page from about a week ago.  Thank you!

I have seen a similar photo before on Beni's Twitter page.  She is posting these photos of herself in cemeteries hugging or somehow embracing the gravestones of dead people.  I wrote about that previously and posted a photo of her hugging a gravestone.

What do you think of this?  Would God command someone to go hug a gravestone containing a dead body?  The spirit of the person is gone (2 Cor. 5:8).  This is not found anywhere in the Bible.  Except for maybe the scriptures concerning necromancy (communication/consulting with the dead is forbidden in the Scriptures.  God didn't like it then, and He doesn't like it now because He is the same God today; see Luke 24:5, Hebrews 13:8 and Deuteronomy 18:10).

Would the Holy Spirit really want someone to get some sort of "anointing" from a dead person?  Is it even possible to get an anointing from someone who is dead?  What benefit is there in hanging around dead people?

This is very sad that people are buying into this.  This practice was not done by Jesus nor the disciples.  None of the earlier Christians throughout the centuries did this.  The martyrs did not do this.

What's going on?  This is not Biblical Christianity.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Are you tossed? Mature Christians and immature Christians: Following false prophets and their various 'winds of doctrine' is like being tossed by a storm


These days, we must be extra discerning who we are "following".  Who are you learning from?
"That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive..." Ephesians 4:14
Are you a wise or foolish virgin (Matthew 25)?  The mark of a mature Christian is to not be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, to not be deceived by the sleight of men, by their cunning craftiness.
Deception most always comes in a package of light (2 Cor. 11:14).  Be careful!
"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." Matthew 24:5
Matthew 24:5 makes it clear that deceptive teachings would even come from those who look good, those who teach about Jesus (Acts 20:30 further illustrates this point).  There are even discernment ministries out there that are teaching very unbiblical things that sound good!
Who are you following on Facebook?  Twitter?  Is it any wonder that the Lord used the word "Follow" thousands of years ago?
"Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceitful spirits, and doctrines of demons..." 1 Tim. 4:1
Have a blessed day...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What on earth is a 'fire tunnel'? Did the earlier Christians practice 'fire tunnels'? Does the Bible teach us to run through 'fire tunnels'?

Been meaning to post this for days!  This is an open question for your consideration and commenting:
What on earth is a "fire tunnel"?
Seeing as how the word "fire" has come up several times in last few days, and that it is scorching hot where I am right now (think...sauna; no... furnace), I wanted to post this question.

I was once told (by a seemingly sincere Christian) that I "must" go to a Bill Johnson conference, and if given the opportunity to run through a "fire tunnel", I "must" do it.  My response was, "Sure, of course I will run through a fire tunnel"!  This answer was not based on knowledge but a lack of knowledge (ignorance of truth).

There are many references to "fire" in scripture.  However, there are zero references to "fire tunnels".

What is your take on a "fire tunnel"?
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." (Hosea 4:6)

Monday, April 29, 2013

New Bethel Sozo Research post: The Holy Spirit wants us to be sober-minded not drunk: What does drunkenness have to do with the Spirit of God and Christians?


1 Thessalonians 5

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Day of the Lord

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

- - -

Hello friends.  Hope you're having a good day.  In my Bible reading this morning, the Lord showed me something. I believe He (the Spirit of Truth) wanted me to share.

God wants His children to be alert and sober-minded.  He does not want us to be intoxicated or out of control.  He does not want us to act like crazy animals or drunken men or women.  The fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" (see Galatians 6:22 for all the fruits).  It is the real Spirit of the Lord that gives "self-control" as opposed to drunkenness.  Remember in Acts 2 -- the apostle said they were "not" drunk. The apostle did not say they "were" drunk.  Rather, it was the scoffers/mockers who were falsely slandering/ridiculing these holy men that they were drunk.  Now, some modern pastors will tell you that in Acts 2 (at Pentecost) the apostles acted drunk/out of control and were speaking gibberish that only God could understand.  This is not what happened at all at Pentecost. Rather, the opposite.  See here in the Bible: 

The Gift to Speak Languages (Acts 2)
4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6Now when this was sounded abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language.
7And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these who speak Galileans?
8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, in which we were born?
9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11Cretans and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What means this?
13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Peter's Sermon
14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, You men of Judea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15For these are not drunken, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel...
- - - 

The tongues the multitudes from the different regions (like the Egyptians, Arabians, etc.) heard were (quote) "in their own language". Peter the apostle told the mockers that these holy men (quote) "were not drunk". Peter then proceeded to deliver an eloquent sermon that people understood. He started by quoting the prophet Joel.

When pastors today say that the apostles were acting drunk and crazy, they are not acting like the holy apostles, but rather, they are acting like the mockers/scoffers that Peter corrected.  These men were mockers.  The NIV says these mockers were making fun of the apostles.  The NLV says these mockers were ridiculing them.  The Greek word for mocking is chleuazo which means to jest, mock or jeer.

This is rotten doctrinal fruit and a twisting in scripture.  Jesus said, "by their fruit you will know them" (Matthew 7).  

Throughout the Bible, the Lord exhorts Christians to be of a sober mind and to be wise.  Not... to be out of control or drunk (in body or spirit). I truly hope this post edifies and encourages you in sound doctrine. 

Have a truly wonderful day in the Lord filled with His goodness, mercy and truth! 

BSR 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Are other people 'googling' sozo and if so, what are the keywords they are asking? Answer: 'sozo bethel cult', 'gold dust appearing on christians', and 'fire tunnel bethel'...


Hello.  The following is simply the truth posted for your consideration.  All is said with love for all readers including those who may be involved with sozo.  :-)

Curious if other people are researching sozo too?  They are!  BSR made a discovery today... google search keywords in the stats section! In the blog, you can see what people are googling to get to your site.  Technology...amazing!  (Just catching up I suppose).

So, in case you were wondering, here are the keywords people, like you, are searching for in regard to sozo:


You are not alone.  Have a nice day...

BSR




Thursday, April 4, 2013

An online question about sozo: What do you observe from this photograph? An interesting discovery...

Update: The photo below is of a ministry by a man named Avi Segal called Healing With the Light.  Christians, please be aware that this is a ministry which is similar to sozo in the testimonials, but this ministry supports the theory of "past lives" as seen in a session with "the light" many years ago, and therefore is unBiblical according to Hebrews 9:27.  Be very alert and test all things!  Even though people claimed nice results after their sessions, it does not mean the ministry is Biblical/Christian.  We must compare everything to God's Word to test ministries and practices. 

---

Hello friends.  While researching this week, I found an interesting discovery.  Before I discuss this discovery, here is a simple question I wanted to ask you who have experienced or witnessed sozo:

Do these testimonials in the photo below sound similar to a sozo session at all?

  • If yes, what are the similarities?  
  • If no, how is this different?  
  • Please include as many details as possible from your observation.

Could you leave your comments and feedback in the comments section (you can do so anonymously if you would like)?  It would be much appreciated and helpful.  Thank you!


The above is a personal photo snapshot of an online ministry.  Please leave your feedback in the comments and I will revisit this topic in one week, Lord willing.  I will reveal the source of the photo at that time.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Alert! Jesus Culture Video, Part 2: A Call for Discernment! Are you Sure It's Your Jesus?



The Jesus Culture Band has a massive following, and just like sozo, has originated out of Bethel Church in Redding, California.  These are the roots of this band/movement that is sweeping across the world at an alarming rate.

Oddly, BSRG cannot find a "belief" page or "statement of faith" page anywhere on Jesus Culture's website.

We have asked and asked to no avail.  We asked the page owners at the Jesus Culture/Kim Walker Band event promotional pages.  No belief statement.  The best answer we received was a direction to the Bethel Church website.  This is mysterious and concerning, and BSRG is on a quest to find out why there is no belief page on this professed Christian movement.  Wouldn't a Christian movement have a belief page?  Red flag?

Another answer we got from a follower of Jesus Culture was to just listen to the lyrics of their songs and we will know they are of God.  Even more alarming is the massive numbers of youth who are following this band (blindly) without "testing the spirits" as Jesus Christ commanded.

www.biblecc.com


Stay tuned...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Look at Doctrinal Fruit: An Article 'Character of the Cults' by Patrick Zukeran


Character of the Cults


Article contributed by Probe Ministries

Challenge of the Cults


This church is growing so rapidly, sociologist Rodney Stark predicts that by the year 2080, it will become the most important world religion to emerge since the rise of Islam.1 What church is Dr. Stark describing? It is not a Christian church but the Mormon Church, an organization labeled as a cult. The rise of the Mormon Church represents the growing challenge facing the church, the kingdom of the cults. 

What is a cult? The greatest authority on the cults, the late Dr. Walter Martin, described a cult as “A group of people gathered around a specific person’s misinterpretation of the Bible.”2 Cults are groups that claim to be in harmony with Christianity but deny foundational Christian doctrines such as the Trinity or the unique deity of Jesus Christ. 

In Matthew 7:15-17, Jesus gives us a warning about the coming of the cults. He states, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” What Jesus was warning was that cultists will look, act, and sound like Christians. However, that is only in external appearance. One can parade as a true believer for a time, but eventually one’s words, actions, and especially one’s beliefs--their “fruit”--will give one away as a counterfeit.

The growth of the cults can be attributed to several factors. First, it is a fulfillment of the warning given by Jesus and the apostles. In Matthew 24:23-26, Jesus warns us that as His return draws near, there will be an increase in false prophets who will ensnare many in their false teachings. In 2 Peter 2:1-3, Peter warns us that false teachers will arise from within the church.

The second factor in the growth of the cults is the breakdown of the family. Cults provide the family atmosphere many from broken homes long for; the cult leader often takes the place of a father figure.

Finally, we can attribute the growth of the cults to the failure of the church. As my mentor repeatedly stated, “The cults are the unpaid bills of the church.” The cults thrive because Christians are lacking in biblical and theological understanding. Dr. Martin stated, “The rise of the cults is directly proportional to the fluctuating emphasis which the church has placed on the teachings of biblical doctrine to Christian laymen. To be sure, few pastors, teachers, and evangelists defend adequately their beliefs, but most of them -- and most of the average Christian laymen - are hard put to confront and refute a well-trained cultist of almost any variety.”3 If the church engaged in solid and in-depth Bible teaching, the cults would not flourish as they do today.

Doctrinal Character of the Cults

How do you know if a religious group is a cult? Jesus said that you will know false prophets by their fruits. In stating this he was not only speaking of their words and actions but of their doctrinal beliefs as well. Cults deviate from biblical Christianity in several key areas of doctrine.

Cults promote false teaching on the nature of God. The Bible teaches there is one God revealed in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The central feature that distinguishes cults from biblical Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. All cults have a distorted view of this doctrine. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses condemn the doctrine of the Trinity, and Mormons teach tritheism, three gods who make up the godhead.

Second, cults teach a false view of Jesus. The Bible teaches that Christ is 100 percent man and 100 percent God. This has been called the hypostatic union. In 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul warned about false teachers teaching another Jesus. A modern-day example of false teaching is Christian Science which teaches that Jesus was not God but a man who displayed the Christ idea. He neither died for sins, nor was He resurrected.

Third is a false teaching on salvation. All cults have a works-oriented Gospel. The death of Christ is believed to give followers the potential to be saved. So after believing in Christ, one must serve the organization to attain salvation. Salvation is found in the organization and one is never really sure if one has done enough to be worthy of salvation. In the International Church of Christ, for example, disciples are scrutinized by their discipler daily to determine if they performed as worthy disciples. Failure to meet the standards may result in discipline. Disciples can never be certain they have done enough for salvation.

Fourth, there is extra-biblical revelation and the denial of the sole authority of the Bible. Cults claim that extra revelation is given to the leader whose words are seen as inspired by God and equal to the Bible. If there is a conflict between the Bible and the leader’s words, the latter takes precedence. So in reality, the leader’s writings take precedence over the Bible. When interacting with cultists, I often hear them claim their teachings are consistent with the Bible. However, when I point out where their teachings deviate from the Bible, they eventually claim the Bible to be in error. In most cases, cultists claim the Bible has somehow been corrupted by the church.


Sociological Structure of the Cults


Not only do cults deviate doctrinally from biblical Christianity, they have distinctive sociological characteristics. The first is authoritarianism. The leader or organization exercises complete control over a follower’s life. The words of the leadership are ultimate and often considered divinely inspired. Going against the leadership is equivalent to going against the commands of God.

The second characteristic is an elitist mentality. Most cults believe they are the true church and the only ones who will be saved. This is because the group believes they have new revelation or understanding that gives them superior standing.

Third is isolationism. Due to their elitist mentality, cultists believe those who do not agree with them are deceived or under the influence of Satan. Therefore, many feel their members must be protected from the outside world, and physical or psychological barriers are created. Members are prohibited from communicating with those outside the organization who do not agree with the teachings of the group.

Fourth, there is closed-mindedness and the discouragement of individual thinking. Because of its authoritarian nature, leaders are the only ones thought to be able to properly interpret the Bible. All members are to turn to the organization for biblical interpretation and advice on life decisions. Therefore, individual thinking and questioning is discouraged. There is an unwillingness to dialogue and consider other viewpoints.

Fifth is a legalistic lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, salvation is not based on grace; cults teach a works-oriented gospel. This leads to a lifestyle of legalism. Followers must live up to the group’s standards in order to attain or maintain their membership and hope for eternal life. Followers are required to faithfully serve, and attend meetings, studies, and services. As a result, there is tremendous pressure to live up to the requirements of the organization.

Finally there is a difficult exit process. Since salvation is found in the organization, leaving the organization is considered by many to be leaving God. All former members who leave cults are shunned by members which often includes members of their own family. Many are warned that if they leave, they will be condemned to hell, or seduced by Satan. Many ex-members are harassed by the organization even after they leave. Exiting members often end up distrusting any religious organization and end up feeling isolated and alone.

Life in the cults is marked by fear of judgment, pressure, and legalism. This is a far cry from what we are taught in the Bible. Jesus and the apostles taught that the new life in Christ is one of grace, love, and freedom from the law. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” The peace and rest promised by Christ is seldom experienced by those in the cults.

Cultic Methodology


When you receive a knock on your door in the mornings, who do you assume it to be? A salesman? A Girl Scout selling cookies? For many of us, we assume it to be a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon missionary looking to tell us about his or her organization. One of the reasons cults have grown is their methodology.

The methods cults use to win converts are moral deception, aggressive proselytizing, and Scripture twisting. By moral deception I mean cults use Christian terminology to win converts. For example, New Agers use the term born again to support reincarnation. Mormons use terms like the Trinity and salvation by grace but these terms have different meanings than what the Bible teaches. Therefore, many untrained Christians are deceived into believing these groups are actually Christian.

Aggressive proselytizing is another method of the cults. Although many Christian groups use aggressive evangelism, they do so out of a love for God and a desire to see others come to know Christ. Many cultists proselytize for much the same reasons but added to this is the desire to win God’s approval. They work for grace rather than from grace. The cults require their members to evangelize. Many groups hold their members accountable for the number of hours they spend witnessing for the organization. Many members feel guilty if a day or so goes by without them proselytizing.

Scripture twisting is another method of the cults. Cultist quote verses in the Bible that support their position, but skip over the verses that do not. Often, there is gross misinterpretation of Scripture so that contradictory verses will better fall in line with their views.

For example, Jehovah’s Witness and Mormons try to use verses to show Jesus is a created being. However, their position is easily shown to be incorrect when you explain the context and correct meaning of the terms. Also, when you show additional verses that contradict their position, they are often surprised and realize they have never seen those verse before or that the organization’s explanations of those verses are unable to be supported.

To successfully engage in conversation and effectively witness to those in the cults, Christians must be prepared in the following ways. First Peter 3:15 states that we must always be “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” We must be prepared by knowing the word of God through diligent study of it. Second, we must be prepared to overcome our fears and lovingly reach out to cult members, exercising the fruits of patience and gentleness as we share the truth.

Danger of the Cults


The rise of the cults pose a serious challenge to the church because they present several dangers to the church and families involved. First, there is a spiritual danger. First Timothy 4:1 states “...that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Ultimately the spirit behind all lies and deception is the devil, so the ultimate force behind the cults is the evil one.

Galatians 1:8 states, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other that than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” The false gospel of the cults cannot lead anyone to salvation. There are eternal consequences for false beliefs. For this reason Jesus and the apostles are very harsh on false teachers.

There is also a psychological danger. The mind controlling techniques used by the organizations can cause immense damage mentally and emotionally. Living under the pressure, guilt, and dependence on the organization has proven to have tremendous negative effects on individuals.

Third, there is domestic danger. Individuals are taught that loyalty to the organization is equivalent to allegiance with God. Therefore, loyalty to the organization supersedes loyalty to family. Thus, if a family member begins conducting himself in a way the organization does not approve of, the cult will often separate the family from the individual member. Isolation can be emotional or physical. Numerous families have been separated as a result.

In some cases there is a physical danger. The teachings of David Koresh cost the Branch Davidians their lives. Hobart Freeman taught that believers did not need medicine for illnesses, and told his followers to throw all theirs away. As a result, he and fifty-two of his members died from curable conditions.

In light of this threat, what are Christians called to do? First, we are called to study and know the Word of God. Paul writes to Timothy and all saints saying, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the world of truth.” Christians should master the Bible so that they will not be deceived by any false teaching. Second, Titus commands us to be able to confront and refute false teachers. Finally, in Acts 20, Paul exhorts the leaders of the church to protect their flock from the false teachers that will prey upon the sheep. Every Christian is called to know the truth so well they can confront false teaching, and protect their church and family from it.

Bibliography


Cults

Ankerberg, John and Weldon, John. Cult Watch. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1991.
Boa, Ken. Cults, World Religions, and the Occult. Wheaton, lll.: Victor Books, 1990.
Martin, Walter & Hank Hannegraph. Kingdom of the Cults. Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House Publishers, 1997.
Geisler, Norman and Rhodes, Ron. When Cultists Ask. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Books, 1997.
Rhodes, Ron. Challenge of the Cults. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing, 2001.

Mormonism

Ankerberg, John, and Weldon, John. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Mormonism. Eugene, Ore: Harvest House Publishers, 1992.
Blomberg, Craig and Robinson, Stephen. How Wide the Divide? Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1997.
Oslting, Richard & Joan. Mormon America. San Francisco, Cal.: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Bowman, Robert. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ, and the Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1989.
_______. Why You Should Believe in the Trinity. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1989.
Rhodes, Ron. Reasoning From the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1993.
1 Richard Ostling, Mormon America (San Francisco, Calif.: Harper Collins Publishing Inc. 1999), p. XVI.
2 Walter Martin & Hank Hannegraph, The Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis, Mich.: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), p. 17.
3 Norman Geisler, When Cultists Ask (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1997), p. 15.
© 2003 Probe Ministries