Cult and sect are often used as synonyms today. There are many christian oriented cults. A cult is a group that has deviated from the New Testament scriptures, promoting false teaching. They first void what the scriptures teach and then add their own interpretations. Traditionally, Christians have labeled groups who teach false doctrines as cults.
The Shorter Oxford Dictionary
Today, the words “cult” and “sect” are often used as synonyms. Traditionally, Christians have used the word “cult” to refer to groups that have few Christian characteristics.
A sect is a small religious group that is an offshoot of an established religion or denomination. It holds most beliefs in common with its religion of origin, but has a number of novel concepts that differentiate it from that religion.
A statement I find to be misleading is, depending on how you interpret the verse. If a particular New Testament verse is very understandable to what it says and is interpreted to have a different meaning, we have here a situation what is read into the verse, not what the verse actually says. This is how cults get started, they read into a verse, a different meaning of what the verse actually says then the verse becomes what they want it to mean.
Depending on how you interpret the verse has lead to the staggering amount of unscriptural Christians churches and cults.
These cults or sects start slowly then expand adding their own beliefs. Many teach that the New Testament got corrupted down through the years which allows them to add their own doctrine.
This voiding of what so many of the verses teach so muddies the waters that those searching for a christian based doctrine are lead astray to a false organization. So many Christian oriented churches are out their with hundreds of different names, those seeking true doctrine don’t know which one to choose, not realizing what the New Testament actually teaches.
Voiding teaching of the New Testament is how hundreds of cults have sprung up. If you stick to what the verse says, reenforced by other scriptures, you can then logically make up your own mind on what the verse teaches.
Christians usually use the term “sect” to refer to heretical offshoots of Christianity, such as the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The New Testament promotes truth and opposes evil.
Some verses Paul the apostle wrote to reflect on:
Paul in Titus 1:9 (KJV) on elders teaching
- 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
- 10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:
- 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.
- 12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
- 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
- 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
- 15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
- 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
Paul on different gospels pertaining to sects and cults, Galatians 1:6 (KJV)
- 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
- 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
- 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
- 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
- 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
- 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
- 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul in Galatians 3:1 (NASB) He tells them that they have been bewitched
- 1 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?
Here’s a list of 30 cults, notice the various names and wonder how anyone could belong to one.
- Alamo Christian Foundation
- Anthroposophical Society
- Children of God
- Christian Family Fellowship
- Christian Identity Movement
- Christian Science
- Church of Armageddon
- Divine Light Mission
- Foundation of Human Understanding (Roy Masters)
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
- Life Spring
- Oneness Pentecostal
- Self Realization Fellowship
- Silva Mind Control
- The Farm
- The Unification Church
- The Way International
- Two by Two’s
- Transcendental Meditation
- Unitarian Universalist
The point of this article of course is to impress on oneself that a cult is a group that has deviated from the New Testament scriptures, promoting false teaching.
Now that we’ve exposed cults for what they are we can turn our attentions to the one true church and see what it is and how to become a Christians.
The Introduction gets us started and the category Church of Christ Doctrine has articles supporting the one true church, with the Salvation article showing the way to become a Christians.