The oldest reference to cults in the Bible is as old as the early church. Although the Bible doesn’t use the technical term “cult” it says that Jesus warned his disciples about them in more than one occasion.
- “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)
- “For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5)
- “And many false prophets will appear and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)
- “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24)
Many other references to cults can be found in the post-resurrection writings also.
- “I know that after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29)
- “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.” (Romans 16:17)
- “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1)
Although cults widely differ from each other, often they share a common target which we call the foundational doctrines of the Christian faith. These doctrines are known as,
1. The infallibility of the Holy Bible
The Bible is the verbally inspired word of God and his complete revelation unto us. It’s the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 1:21).
2. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
Jesus himself said that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). He is both man and God (John 1:1; 1:14). Both natures coexist in him.
3. Atonement for the Sin of Man
All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). We are incapable of providing atonement for our own sins which is why Jesus died on the cross to provide atonement for our sin, (Mark 10:26-27; John 3:16).
4. The Resurrection of Christ Christ
Redemption of God applies not only to our souls but to our physical bodies as well (Romans 4:25).
5. The second coming/Final Judgment
Christ shall return to earth to capture the church to be with him. But the Bible doesn’t tell us when this will happen. In fact, not even Jesus knows the hour of his return. (Matthew 24:36-44).
Christ will judge all unbelievers when they appear before the “Great White Throne” and they will be punished according to their works (Revelation 20:11-15). Believers will also be judged, at a different judgment called the “judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10), but since Christ’s righteousness has been imparted to us and our names are written in the Book of Life, we will be rewarded, not punished, according to our deeds.
In my article I mentioned 5 major doctrines of biblical Christianity and what do the cults teach about them. It is important that we create an awareness of these within our congregations because these doctrines affect our knowledge of salvation directly and indirectly.
Image: Jay Free
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