of the Cults
Have Jehovah 's Witnesses ever knocked at your
door? Have you ever passed by a building with the name “KINGDOM HALL”? Has your
family ever been visited by young, well-dressed Mormon missionaries? Have
you ever seen a church called "THE CHURCH OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS"? Have you
been to a shopping center, airport or some other public place and seen certain
people in strange clothes or with an unusual appearance (heads shaven, etc.)
passing out literature or trying to sell their magazines to people? All of these
are examples of what we could call cults.
DOCTRINES OF DEMONS (1 TIMOTHY 4:1)
Satan loves to confuse people and turn them away from the truth as it is found
in God's Word. The devil is able to use the cults as a way of getting people
tricked and trapped into false teaching. The following chart shows the great
doctrines of the Christian faith and in the following paragraphs we will see how the
cults deny and disbelieve these important truths:
Let us now consider some of these important doctrines and see what the cults do
with them (the numbers on the chart correspond to the numbers given in the
Quite often, people who belong to certain cults say that they believe the Bible.
They have been trained to find verses from the Bible and they can often quote
many verses from memory. People might think, “Their religion must be the true
religion because they seem to know the Bible so well!”
Don't be deceived! Just because a person uses the Bible does not mean that he
knows the God of the Bible. Who quoted from the Scriptures in Matthew 4:5-6 (and
compare Psalm 91:11-12)? _____________________ If Satan can use the Scriptures,
cannot his followers do the same? ________ The Sadducees once quoted from the
Bible (see Matthew 22:24) but they did not even believe the Bible (see Matthew
The Bible can be used and misused and abused. People have used the Bible to
prove almost anything. Even an atheist could say, “The Bible says that THERE IS
NO GOD. It says so in Psalm 14:1.” Is this what the Bible really says? People
often take verses out of context. This means that they do not carefully read
what comes before the verse and what comes after the verse. If we read the
context of Psalm 14:1, then we discover that this verse really teaches that the
atheist is a F_______.
How should we read the Bible? Should we make the Bible say what we want it to
say or should we let the Bible say just what it says? Circle which way is
a. I first decide what I want to believe, and then I go to the Bible and try to
prove that my belief is right and try to find verses that seem to say what I
want the Bible to say.
b. I first go to the Bible to find out what God has said, and then I believe
whatever God says, even if
I do not fully understand it.
For example, a person might say, “I WANT TO ROB THE BANK, TAKE THE MONEY AND
GO ON A FIVE MONTH VACATION. I'm going to go to the Bible and see if it is all
right to do this.” He then finds two verses which seem to support his wicked
1) 1 Corinthians 10:23--"ALL THINGS ABE LAWFUL FOR
2) Philippians 4:13--"I CAN DO ALL THINGS"
Is he using the Bible in the right way? ______ The Apostle Peter once warned us
about those who would WREST (twist, distort) THE SCRIPTURES unto their own
D ______________________ (2 Peter 3:16).
Not only do the cults twist the Scriptures and take verses out of context, but
they also ADD to the Scriptures. For example, the Mormons have another book
which they consider to be just as true and just as inspired as the Bible. They
call this the Book of Mormon. Those who belong to the Christian Science cult
have a book called Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, and all those
who are "seeking for the truth" are told to read this book. The Jehovah's
have their books and magazines which are supposed to help people understand the
It is very dangerous to add man's words to God's Word. God has warned us not to
do this (Proverbs 30:5-6 and Revelation 22:18). What man really needs is THE
BIBLE, THE WHOLE BIBLE AND NOTHING BUT THE BIBLE!
The Son of God
In 2 John 7 we are told that there are many D_________________ in the world who
do not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. These deceivers are in
error when it comes to their doctrine (teaching) of Christ. They do not believe
that Jesus Christ is GOD WHO CAME IN THE FLESH AND BECAME A MAN. Our Lord and
Saviour is the GOD-MAN, and most of the cults deny this.
For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses say that Jesus is not God. They teach that
God created Jesus as a great angel and then Jesus created everything else. This
makes Jesus a CREATURE--someone lower than God and less than God. The Bible says
that "the Word (Jesus) was G_______" (John 1:1).
How important is it that people believe the right thing about Jesus (see John
3. The Holy Spirit
Many cults deny that the Holy Spirit is a real PERSON. Again, let's listen to
what the Jehovah's Witnesses say:
As for the "Holy Spirit," the so-called
"third Person of the Trinity," we have already seen that IT is not a person but
God's active force (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, page 24).
refer to the Spirit as an "IT" and not as a person (to describe a person we
would say "HE" but to describe a force we would say "IT," like the force of a
storm where we might say "IT thundered and the lightning caused much damage").
Did the Lord Jesus describe the Holy Spirit as a person (using personal
pronouns like “he, himself”) or did He describe the Holy Spirit as an "IT" (see
John 16:13-14)? _______________________________________________________
4. The Trinity
Throughout the centuries true Christians have believed that there is one
God and this one God makes Himself known in three Persons--Father, S_______ and
__________ Ghost or Spirit (Matthew 28:19). Many of the cults deny that there Is
a Trinity. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses say that only JEHOVAH is God.
They say that Jesus is not God and the Holy Spirit is not God and thus they deny
the doctrine of the Trinity. Can you find the three Persons of the Trinity
listed In 2 Corinthians 13:14?
None of the cults teach the true way of salvation. They all teach salvation by
of these notes). They believe that they will be saved if
they fulfill the many requirements that are demanded of them by the cult they are in.
They believe that if they live a faithful life and do everything that they are
supposed to do, then they hope to have eternal life. Salvation is something that
they are working at and laboring for. In a Jehovah's Witness book it says, “By
loving obedience to Him (God), you will put yourself in the way that leads to
eternal life” (The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life, page 26). Does the Bible
say, “Obey God and thou shalt be saved” (see Acts 16:31)? ______ [Note:
Once a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, they will want to obey the God
who saved them. We don't obey in order to be saved; we obey because we are
There is a simple way to test every person who is a member of a religious
cult. All you need to do is ask him (or her) the very same question that is
asked in Acts 16:30. You can go up to the cult member and say, “Let me ask you a
very important question. What must a person do to be saved?” Then compare his
(or her) answer to the correct answer that is found in Acts 16:31. YOU CAN BE
SURE THAT HIS (or HER) ANSWER WILL BE DIFFERENT THAN GOD'S ANSWER! You can then
show this person what God says about salvation.
Because cult members are trying to work their way to heaven by their own
faithfulness and obedience, you will notice that they often seem to follow high
moral standards. They may not drink or smoke. They may not get involved in worldly
activities. They are often very clean cut and well dressed. They are careful about
these things because they believe that in living this way they are earning their
way to heaven.
Even though we know that salvation is by God's grace and not by our own good
works or righteous deeds (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5), why should we as true believers
be careful about maintaining high moral standards? What is wrong with this
statement: "Since I am saved by grace and going to heaven, I can live any
way I please"?
Since cult members believe that their salvation depends on their own
faithfulness and obedience to certain requirements, they can never be completely
sure that they will be in heaven. There is always the possibility that they will
not measure up to the requirements and that they have not been faithful enough.
Thus they have a very uncertain hope. They can never be sure, while in this
world, that they have eternal life. They have no assurance of their salvation.
As God gives the opportunity, you could ask them this question:
"Do you know for
sure that you have eternal life and that you will spend eternity in heaven?"
You can then share with them that you do have this assurance (see 1 John 5:13
and John 5:24).
They also have no good news for a dying sinner. Another question that you could
ask is this: “Suppose a man were on his death bed with only five minutes to live.
All his life he had lived in sin and great wickedness. What message of hope
could you give to this person?” This is a difficult question for cult members,
because this man would have no time to live a faithful life of obedience. Does
the Bible give any hope for such a man (see 1 Timothy 1:15 and Luke 23:39-43)?
Note: Many cults also believe in “soul sleep.” They say that when a believer
dies, his soul sleeps until the resurrection. Between the time of his
death and his resurrection, his
soul will just sleep and he will not be conscious or aware of anything. Is this
the true teaching of the Bible (Luke 23:43 and notice the word "This day" or
"Today"; Philippians 1:21-23; 2 Corinthians
Most cults say that there is no such thing as ETERNAL PUNISHMENT (a punishment
that lasts forever). Some, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, believe in ANNIHILATION. This means that a wicked
person is destroyed in the flames and consumed so that he is no more! He ceases
to exist. His punishment lasts just for a moment and then he is gone forever.
Did Jesus teach that there would be everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46)?
______ How long will people be tormented in the lake of fire (Revelation
Many of the cults have much to say about future events and the second coming of
Christ. Many groups have foolishly tried to set dates for the Lord's return and
the beginning of God's kingdom. For example, Jehovah's Witnesses teach that
God's heavenly kingdom began its active rule in 1914 (the year in which World
War I began).
Another man, William Miller, thought that Daniel 8:14 meant that Christ was to
return in 1843. In October 1843 thousands who had accepted his teaching waited
eagerly for the return of the Lord but they were greatly disappointed. A new
date was set and the Lord was expected a year later--in October 1844. Again the
Saviour did not appear. One of his followers, Ellen G. White, began what is now
known as the Seventh-day Adventist movement. She taught that Christ entered the
heavenly sanctuary in 1844 (this helped explain why no one saw Christ return;
according to this theory, He did not
come to earth; He came to the heavenly sanctuary).
In more recent years a man by the name of Edgar C. Whisenant predicted that
Jesus would return in 1988. He wrote a book, 88 REASONS Why The Rapture Could
Be In 1988. A few years later a man named Harold Camping told everyone
on his national radio broadcast that Jesus would come on or between Sept. 15,
1994 and September 27, 1994. Both of these men were greatly embarrassed
and shown to be false teachers when their predictions did not come to pass.
What did the Lord say about the time of His return (Matthew 24:36,44)?
_________________________________________________________________ If Jesus
taught us that no one knows the time of His coming, should we try to set dates?
SPOTTING THE COUNTERFEITS
It is impossible to study all of the cults in detail. There are too many of them
and new ones are being formed every year. A person could spend a lifetime
studying all the false doctrines of the many, many cults. How can we be trained
to look at what a person or group teaches and spot what is false?
How are men trained to spot counterfeit twenty dollar bills? Are they given 20
different false twenty dollar bills and asked to spend hours studying the peculiarities
of each one? Obviously that would be a waste of time. There is a much better way
to discern the true from the false! These men take a true, genuine twenty dollar bill
and they begin studying it. For many hours they examine this bill, noting
every tiny mark and mastering every detail. They saturate their mind with what a
true twenty dollar bill looks like and then the moment they see a false twenty dollar bill,
they will be able to spot it immediately. They will be able to say, “Something
is different about this! It just does not look right!”
The more we study and look at the truth as it is found in God's Word, the
easier it will be for us to spot teaching that is in error. "Then said
Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word,
then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free" (John
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE CULTS?
1. Active cult members are often more familiar with the Bible than many
Christians. They know where to find verses and they seem to have an answer to
every argument that you give them. They are very well trained in their false
teachings. Because of this many Christians are afraid of talking with those who
belong to a cult. If anyone should know their Bibles well, should not it be
those who are born again Christians? And yet, sad to say, the average Bible
believer is horribly ignorant of God's truth.
2. Usually a cult member is not ashamed of the false gospel which he preaches (see
Romans 1:16). He is ready always to give an answer to every man that asks him
a reason of the false hope that is within him (compare 1 Peter 3:15). If anyone
should go forth proclaiming a message, it should be those of us who know and
love the truth. DO WE REALLY HAVE A MESSAGE OF GOOD NEWS? If so, are we living
it? Are we spreading it to others? Are we sharing it with others at every
opportunity we have?
3. Cult members are totally indoctrinated
by false teaching. Even though they are wrongly taught, they are well
taught. They are well trained in their doctrines. There is nothing
wrong with indoctrination, as long as the doctrine we are learning is sound,
healthy doctrine. The TRUTH needs to be diligently taught to believers,
and yet many of our churches are not doing this as they should. Believers
are not being fed spiritually as they should. See our paper,
What is The Purpose of Local Church?
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