Definition of False Teacher: One who presumes to teach in the Name of the Lord when God has not sent him.

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False Teacher – Buff Scott, Jr.

Mislabeled a Cult 

The Error of a Man Who Will Not Listen to Reason

After a lengthy discourse, an embittered preacher labels us a cult and writes a generic paper listing many subjective characteristics of a cult. We show how these characteristics often don't apply to us, but when they do, it's in godliness. And when they apply to him, it's in ungodliness, because he is in the contradiction of sin and all wrongness.

I’ve had a document awaiting completion for a few years. If you don’t have the time, you make the time.

We have replied to Buff Scott Jr. covering a range of issues, but for Truth’s sake and for those whom the Lord chooses for His glory and purposes, I delight to show the magnificent difference between truth and error.

And it won’t require us to cover the entire multitude of Buff’s false accusations or claims against us, condemning us as a “cult.” In 2013, after much correspondence, Buff wrote concerning us at ThePathofTruth.com:

Although they call Calvin a liar, they have adopted one of his principal creeds, Free Will—that is, the unregenerate man cannot choose to serve the Lord, for he does not have the free will to do so. This, of course, slaps Jesus in the face, for He declared, ‘If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God…’ (John 7:17).

Buff fails to make the distinction between free will and choice, and there is a difference. Indeed, the function of choice is to demonstrate that man doesn’t have a free will while he chooses to believe by the influence of the serpent (read Whose Will Is Free?). Just try to choose some things and see how much of a free will you have to carry them out. No slap from us in the face of the One we love.

This cult has utilized a major component of the Seventh Day Adventist sect—namely, believers today are to honor and celebrate the Jewish Sabbath.

Are the Seventh Day Adventists a “cult” or a “sect”? Is there a difference? Does Buff differentiate? And while we have nothing to do with the SDA’s, God forbidding, we DO indeed keep the weekly Sabbath. We challenge Buff to show us in Scripture where God has omitted so much as one jot or tittle of His Law, even the entire Fourth Commandment, the only one we are warned to REMEMBER to keep.

As strange as it may seem, these cultist zealots have borrowed another cult’s chief doctrine, universalism—simply, that everyone will ultimately be reclaimed and saved, including Satan.

Are we zealots? Oh, I so hope. I often feel I’m not nearly zealous enough for the Lord. As Jehu once had zeal for Him, so may we even excel his zeal, and by God’s grace we will, and while Jehu’s zeal was short-lived, let ours be unceasing and unabated forevermore. If that makes us cultish, I plead guilty as charged.

As to condemning us as “universalists,” Scott in all his wisdom fails to see his error and stubbornly accuses the Lord’s brothers of error – not sin, apparently, but error. We are not in agreement with those commonly called “Universalists,” particularly in spirit. Read The Deadly Error of the Universalists.

But we do believe in the reconciliation of all things because we know the Blood of the Lamb of God is Perfectly Efficacious for all His creation, as testified by the Scriptures, the Spirit of God, and Holy Reason. Jesus Christ will bring home the proceeds for the Price He Paid in Full. He declared that all He had made in the beginning was good, including the subtle serpent (Satan) among all other beasts.

It’s leaders claim to receive new revelations from the Lord. Consequently, to disagree with them is equivalent to disagreeing with the Lord.

I don’t know about “new” – that’s certainly relative, but we have indeed received revelation from God, unlike many. Shall we apologize for the grace God has poured out on us? And if any disagree with what He has given us, aren’t they disagreeing with Him Who gave it? Did the Lord not say, “He that rejects you rejects Me and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me”?

So yes, to disagree with what God has revealed to us is certainly disagreement with the Lord. The problem is that Buff doesn’t believe us because He doesn’t believe God.

Buff now gives his definition of a cult and lists a number of characteristics with us in mind:

Allegiance and devotion to any human person, or to any human principle, or to any human standard as a means of eternal salvation is cultism.

But by His Grace Alone our allegiance is to the Lord Jesus Christ and we call for allegiance and devotion to Him and Only Him. Read How One Is Saved and do tell us if those are human principles and standards or God’s. If you were to tell us they are ours, you would be in error or lying. How do we know? We know because God gave them to us.

They practice separatism and devote much of their time trying to proselyte others.

So we practice separatism? Surely! Does Buff disobey the Lord?

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 MKJV
(14)  Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness?
(15)  And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?
(16)  And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
(17)  Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you
(18)  and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.

“And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you may not be partakers of her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4 MKJV).

Do we proselytize or preach the Gospel of salvation as God has commanded us? What does Buff Scott Jr. do? What is his newsletter all about?

Their efforts to convert others are underhanded and manipulative.

As one can readily see, we speak openly and have fully identified and made ourselves totally accessible to all. We make no secret of what we teach or do.

But Buff, what is your angle? You won’t declare God has anointed you to preach, but do you believe He has? Or are you simply trying to make your convictions and doctrines heard by as many as possible? Do you have an axe to grind? It seems so.

The group’s leaders claim to be God’s prophets or messiahs or apostles who receive ‘divine revelations.’

Because Moses, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Jesus the Messiah, Paul the apostle and all other prophets and apostles claimed to receive revelation from God, are they guilty now? Is Buff perhaps worshiping these after the flesh, that is, attributing to them godly virtue that can only be found in them and in no other man? How so? Can God not call others as He called them?

Buff, are you a Bibliolater and a worshiper of saints, no different from the Catholic Church you condemn? Or do you condemn its ways? You may not produce external images but you have them in your heart, don’t you?

They teach that all other churches and groups are lost unless they surrender what they have and join them. Their leaders are dictatorial and demanding, either directly or subtly.

Do you condemn Jesus Christ for that?

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 MKJV).

But have we done that? Do we require unjustly of others? Where does one find in our site and teachings any such thing as Scott suggests we may be guilty of?

Here’s what you will find – The Cross – Only the Death Sentence Will Avail, which offends the self-righteous. 

They claim to have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

We do! Guilty as charged. We have Him Who IS Truth! Is there something wrong with that? Isn’t that what Jesus Christ came to give to His sheep?

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things” (1 John 2:20 MKJV).

“But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true and no lie, and as He has taught you, abide in Him” (1 John 2:27 MKJV).

“But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16 MKJV).

However, if there is any error with us, we eagerly stand to be corrected. But are you setting forth substance or simply condemning us with your opinion, your narrow-minded perspective?

So Buff, are you not telling you have a mixture of truth and lies, as you imply can only be? Is that the best the Lord’s true disciples can do? Or do you believe the Babylonish mixture is satisfactory for the Lord Who would have a bride without spot or wrinkle? Some sin that cost Him His blood is acceptable to you, is it?

Members are expected to attend study sessions where they are firmly indoctrinated (‘brainwashed’) with the group’s mundane creeds and human theories.

Do tell us if and how we do these things, Buff. Can you say?

They resent having their doctrines and creeds questioned.

Do we have a problem of resentment when questioned? How so? Are you a judge of hearts, Buff? But if we tell you you’re wrong when you try to convince us of your beliefs, is that necessarily resentment? Might we be reproving the works of darkness, perhaps, as commanded by God (Ephesians 5:11), “contending for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3)?

They believe salvation and afterlife are found only in their camp.

Some surely believe that. I was Catholic; Catholics believe that very firmly. I was a Southern Baptist; they believe that. Dutch Reform churches believe that. True-blooded Calvinists believe that. United Pentecostals believe that. So do many other cults. How about you, Buff? Do you believe only “inclusivists” like you, who exclude so many, will find favor with God? How you contradict yourself!

Do WE believe salvation is only found in our “camp”? It depends. If by “camp,” you mean the saints of Mount Zion as described in Hebrews 12, we DO believe it. The saints of God are of one heart and mind, the Lord’s Mind.

But if you mean that unless saints are physically or organizationally joined to us, they have no salvation, we don’t believe any such thing. That said, we know that any of those who are genuinely the Lord’s wouldn’t hesitate expressing unity with us in godly form. That’s because in spirit we are one in Christ. And those who don’t hear, understand or receive our words are not of God. The Scriptures declare so, do they not?

“We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:6 MKJV).

Those who desert the group are judged evil and apostates.

We do believe our beloved brother John on this. Shouldn’t we?

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out so that it might be revealed that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19 MKJV).

Shall we please men or God? Foolish man! Wouldn’t you believe we are not of God if we were to leave you? Don’t you condemn us as a cult for departing from your doctrine and brand of faith?

They dictate almost every facet of the members’ lives—sexual, social, domestic, political, and spiritual.

Buff just doesn’t like to be told what to think or do, does he? He knows it all and sees no need for rebuke, reproof, admonishment, correction, instruction and discipline.

So let’s see how Moses and Jesus Christ, of Whom Moses testified, and His disciples, fare with Buff’s “ear marks” of a cult:

Sexual – Moses’ Law given by Jesus Christ covered adultery, fornication, legal sex, issues and menstruation; it covered hygiene. Paul spoke of decent, modest dress and wrote about how wives and husbands were to treat their spouses concerning sex, timing included. Paul warned to flee fornication. He commanded that a man be thrown out of a congregation for sexual indecency.

Jesus warned even of sexual thoughts, how much more words and deeds? He raised the bar, so to speak, when it came to dealing with lust and hatred. Many are the instructions on sexual issues. Were those instructions to be disregarded because people were “saved” or “under grace”? Shall a community of believers and their elders ignore infractions and do as they please? How so? Says who? Buff Scott Jr?

Social – The above matters are included in the social aspect, are they not? Besides those, the Bible constantly addresses social behavior for women, men, employers, employees, servants, elders, deacons and all the saints. So what’s the problem, Buff Scott Jr., you who like to preach and show yourself wise, yet don’t give a damn about facing evil head on? There, how’s that for a sample of addressing social misbehavior?

Domestic – Moses spoke of dealing with sins and misbehavior of men, women and children. Paul speaks of how wives and husbands are to respond to one another, husbands loving, wives submitting; how children ought to be dealt with, disciplined, not unduly angered, provided for and taught. Paul spoke of men ruling their households in the church. Just how are they to do that, according to Buff? Numerous are the Biblical directives for these matters.

Political – Paul calls on saints to submit to the authorities but to “vote” for Jesus Christ. So we teach. Are we to not address the political or to instruct our sheep in the same?

Question: Could it just be that we are approved of God and those accusing us are the cults, the rebels, the scoffers, who despise God’s ways and Law? Going on:

What about the multitudes of churches involved in politics, as was Jerry Falwell, for example, along with thousands of other congregations of various stripes? Not saying they’re right.

What is so wrong if we’re involved in guidance on political matters in our fellowship? Again, consider that our main “political strategy,” if you will, is to vote for Jesus Christ and teach that democracy is not the answer it’s made out to be, that politicians and other allegedly wise men of this world will not protect and provide for us and our loved ones.

They deny that God has other children scattered over the hills and valleys of sectarianism.

This we know: If God has children elsewhere, He will bring them out of the likes of Scott Buff Jr. and his pompous, self-righteous elitist nominal Christian riffraff. Those truly called of God cannot remain in Babylon indefinitely, and if they are God’s children, we will enthusiastically join in fellowship with them.

Oh, I hope Buff’s children will read this and take heart against the “pious” condemnation imposed on them by their father! Come on, Buff, are you not being anti-Scriptural and anti-Christian? What did Jesus have to say about this matter?

“And I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also lead those, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock, one Shepherd” (John 10:16 MKJV).

They believe God’s elect are found only within the borders of their own enclosure.

And just what are “the borders of their own enclosure,” Buff? Do you know? Because we speak with authority and not as the “scribe” you are, does that make us exclusive? Yet, if we are exclusive, was not the Lord Jesus exceptionally exclusive (speaking of the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures and not the mealy-mouthed, lovey-dovey, long-haired, social reformer the world worships with zeal, the kind guys like Clayton Jennings, Todd White and so many others preach)?

Honest dissidents are disciplined, avoided, and excommunicated. They insist on strict conformity to the group’s doctrinal standards.

True, cults do just that. Over the decades, I’ve seen and heard of it in practically every nominal, denominational church group and informal so-called Christian fellowship there is. I was one of those honest dissidents and experienced those very things before the Lord brought me out of men’s systems altogether. Do we exclude you, Buff? Should we? Are you honest?

On the other hand, we have certainly expelled rebels from our midst – sluggards, liars, blasphemers, and thieves, if they didn’t leave first of their own accord, refusing submission to the Lord and His servants. Didn’t the saints, elders, prophets and apostles do the same? Could this be a subjective matter, Buff? Are you painting the righteous with the brush of partiality and condemnation?

Would you permit us to remain in your fellowship with our disagreement? I think not. What are you doing with us as we speak? Hypocrite.

Their teachings contradict plain truth.

We know cults can’t stand the Truth. But aren’t you, Buff, contradicting “plain truth”? You don’t see it because you believe lies.

Their source of authority is of human origin.

If we tell you we have the anointing of the Lord as did those in the Scriptures, you say we’re of human origin. But you stand there to judge and proclaim our conduct and doctrine as though you’ve descended from above to judge all men. Are you speaking as “Thus says the Lord,” Buff?

They require a new convert to be rebaptized, even though he was sincerely baptized previously.

Yes, cults do that. For example, Reformers, Southern Baptists and United Pentecostals are very set on that procedure and required of me – I was “baptized” no less than 4 times in all, the final time in 1976 by United Pentecostals. So do several other nominal orthodox Christian denominations demand rebaptism, including Calvinists and Reformers, whom you espouse on several points. So who are the cults, Buff, and who is among them? Are you the one holy one here?

They have devised their own translation of the scriptures and prohibit any translation not approved by them.

Isn’t it apparent to you that every denomination or group separating itself from the rest of nominal Christendom is in effect, translating the Scriptures its own way, whether or not they have an official written translation? Isn’t it apparent that nominal orthodox Christendom has itself translated the Scriptures its own way? The so-called church fathers are responsible for much perversion of the Truth of God. Aren’t they the wolves Paul and Peter warned their flocks about who would come in ravaging them after their departure?

Aren’t you now condemning us because you “prohibit” our “translation” of the Scriptures by the understanding we in good conscience believe the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior has graciously granted us?

Come on, Buff; get honest; get real. Can you?

Members are expected to give large amounts of money and ample energy and time to the group’s activities.

We do not charge or unjustly require anything of anyone, but we do expect that if any are the Lord’s, they will identify with us and most certainly desire to devote their energies in whatever way possible for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God. Is that wrong, or isn’t that what God would expect of them and us?

They allege to be the only legitimate interpreters of scripture.

Not for our part, but that said, we do reserve the right under God to put forth our understanding of the Scriptures as we believe He has granted us. How about you, Buff? Did you sit and learn at Jesus’ Feet or at men’s feet? Can you honestly say? Do you claim your interpretation of the Scriptures is valid in God’s sight? If so, aren’t you guilty of what you accuse us? If not, what business do you have teaching anyone if you can’t distinguish between truth and error?

Do you or do you not believe we can learn from Jesus Christ directly? He has appointed the ministries for His Body. Is that not so? We can honestly say we’ve learned at Jesus’ Feet, receiving from His Mouth, having His Mind.

John 16:13-15 MKJV
(13)  However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come.
(14)  He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you.
(15)  All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore, I said that He will take of Mine and will announce it to you.

Buff, tell us, do you believe the Lord? Do you have any understanding of and faith in His Word?

They wrest scripture to foster their belief system.

Or have we been granted of the Lord to understand the Scriptures you’ve been wresting?

There are other cultic marks unknown to this scribe, but these are sufficient to establish our premise. The cult under study may not carry all of the earmarks mentioned above, yet she possesses enough of them to fall into the category of cultism.

Thus concludes the arrogant man who sorely contradicts himself. Is this not so? Buff, you are a scoffer, damning yourself. Is that good? Do you really think to escape judgment? It’s already on you!

Buff goes on to ask, “What features separate a non-cult from a cult?” He answers, “Here is a partial list of those features [of a non-cult]”:

They confess to being redeemed sinners in need of God’s grace.

Amen! We agree and do so!

Money, elaborate edifices, plush offices, power, and control do not occupy their time and energy.

We’re good there. But how many cults does Buff give tacit approval to that have all those things? How about all the nominal Christian denominations? Why is he picking on us? Could it be because we have the boldness to publicly differ with him while others preserve themselves in their social comfort zones and political correctness?

Rather, ministering to any in need and sharing as a communal people are accentuated.

I’m surprised! We’ve been called a cult just for that kind of thinking and doing. So being communal and sharing is a good thing after all, is it? You mean like Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, Pentecostal end-time farms, Catholic monasteries, and so forth?

They see themselves as only part of the one body of believers, and affirm that wherever God has a child, they have a brother or a sister.

Amen to that; however, there’s a caveat: Not all who call themselves believers are children of God and we don’t call false brothers true brothers just because they claim to be God’s children. Like Buff?

They do not claim to have truth cornered or God corralled.

Amen to that, Buff! Think about it. Where’s your corner, or do you maintain a lukewarm center?

They comfortably acknowledge their mistakes and weaknesses, believing that God shames the proud but extends grace to the humble.

Amen to that, Buff! Could you use a bit of coaching along those lines, just maybe? You’ll see. You’ve had some already, but you’ve done precious little repenting of your mistakes, being stiffnecked.

They are believers only, but not the only believers.

Amen to that! However, you sound like you’re trying to flatter a certain segment of discontented, self-righteous, separatistic malcontents while using the official orthodox language and call cards.  

They place their confidence in Messiah Jesus, not in flesh and blood or palpable organizations.

A hearty amen, again!

They view heaven as life hereafter, not earth as heaven.

Amen, but again, with a caveat: Heaven begins here upon genuine faith – like with Zacchaeus, for instance. The New Jerusalem, of which you are a stranger, Buff, comes down from Heaven. Saints begin life in Heaven here and as they endure, continue in the hereafter. But you don’t know that because you’ve never known the Lord; you’re still dead and in darkness and torment.

They accept all those God accepts, and they love those the world hates.

Amen!

They do not seek public recognition or fear public scrutiny.

Amen! Does it appear to you like we’re hiding, Buff, or fear public scrutiny? Aren’t we coming after you and many others to expose your foolishness and hypocrisy? Are we serving ourselves or others by making the truth known publicly?

They don’t make unrealistic claims or promote ridiculous agendas.

Well now, doesn’t that sound subjective, Buff?

They see Jesus as a healer, redeemer, and peacemaker, not as a conspirator and false prophet.

Amen again! Jesus Christ is Lord and Almighty God, the Savior of all men! Are you willing to go that far? You praise Him with your lips but your heart is far from Him, even as He has said.

And what counterfeit Christian, a tare posing as wheat, sees Jesus as a conspirator and false prophet, claiming He doesn’t heal, redeem, or make peace? No, Satan comes as an angel of light, telling lies while citing the truth.

Buff’s concluding remarks:

A cult never admits to being a cult.

Not quite true. We are a cult as far as Buff Scott Jr. and nominal orthodox Christianity is concerned, and we declare we are a cult in contrast to them and are thankful to God for it.

Some cults lay no claim to religion or divinity…

We do lay claim to divinity. We are His sons! Isn’t that divine? Read what brother John says:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be. But we know that when He shall be revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope on him purifies himself, even as that One is pure” (1 John 3:2-3 MKJV).

And the Lord Jesus said:

“Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 MKJV).

One can hardly be perfect as the Father without being divine, can one?

… Most cults are non-violent—that is, they’re not physically or militarily combative. But when we ponder other forms of injury and abuse they bring to bear upon their followers, they’re as guilty as those who use guns and knives.

Very true. How about you, Buff? Just how much damage of the tongue do you inflict on others while condemning people in your bitterness?

Judgment of the severest kind awaits those self-proclaimed prophets, messiahs, and money-mongers who twist innocent minds and deceive receptive and hungry hearts.

You sound hopeful for such retribution on those whom you despise, Buff. It appears you are a bitter old man. Your judgment has already fallen on you and the remarkable thing is that most dwelling in death and hell don’t even know it. Perhaps it’s a measure of God’s mercy on the wicked?

It never ceases to amaze me how those accusing us are guilty of the very things they accuse and condemn us for, while we stand innocent of the charges. To God be all the glory.

Satan, you come and find nothing, but nothing, in us, praise God!

Victor Hafichuk
www.ThePathofTruth.com

Reformation Rumblings
BUFF SCOTT, JR.
__________
Sun, 9 Jun 2013 16:08:51 -0700 
From: Buff Scott, Jr. <renewal@mindspring.com>

A  New  Cult  Has  Been  Born

SPECIAL NOTE TO MY READERS— I have been in correspondence with a host of cult members under “The Path Of Truth” organization. You may connect to their Website by clicking on http://www.thepathoftruth.com/statement-of-doctrine.htm . I have confronted many cults in my lifetime, and written in detail about their eerie beliefs, but this new cult caps them all. It’s leaders and members are subtle, manipulative, and resemble to the “t” the self-righteous Pharisee in Luke 18. For more, continue reading.—Buff.

It all started when two of the cult’s leaders, Paul and Victor, responded to last week’s column, Will Doctrinal Defects Keep us out of Heaven? From there the exchanges evolved into a large number of their members jumping into the exchanges and spewing their doctrinal venom and accusations all over my computer screen. Let me condense this as much as possible.

This cult is peppered with major elements of a number of sects. Although they call Calvin a liar, they have adopted one of his principal creeds, Free Will—that is, the unregenerate man cannot choose to serve the Lord, for he does not have the free will to do so. This, of course, slaps Jesus in the face, for He declared, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God…” (John 7:17).
 
This cult has utilized a major component of the Seventh Day Adventist sect—namely, believers today are to honor and celebrate the Jewish Sabbath.
As strange as it may seem, these cultist zealots have borrowed another cult’s chief doctrine, universalism—simply, that everyone will ultimately be reclaimed and saved, including Satan.

These cult members come over as having attained complete doctrinal knowledge. They seem to consider themselves as “not being like other men,” carry a mindset of having arrived while others “who are not of them” are stranded in the valley of ignorance. They are, in reality, as per their walk and the self-righteous Pharisee’s walk,  in the same category—condemned by the Master.

It’s leaders claim to receive new revelations from the Lord. Consequently, to disagree with them is equivalent to disagreeing with the Lord.

They distort, misuse, misrepresent, twist, and manipulate scripture to their own advantage. No one’s interpretation of scripture is correct unless it coincides with theirs. This element, of course, is common with all cults.
Anyone who disagrees with them has devised his own religion and has ousted himself from the Lord’s domain. And I could go on-and-on about their weird and eerie teachings and creeds.

At this juncture, allow me to introduce what is commonly accepted in the Christian community as symptoms or earmarks of a cult, after which I ask you to compare the symptoms to the austere group under investigation. A good definition of a cult is:

Allegiance and devotion to any human person, or to any human principle, or to any human standard as a means of eternal salvation is cultism.

I affirm that any movement, sect, church, religious party, or denomination that falls into this category is either wholly cultic or partly cultic. Having stated this premise, I now want to list a number of cultic characteristics. The following marks of distinction are not listed in order of importance, but are chosen randomly.

They practice separatism and devote much of their time trying to proselyte others.

Their efforts to convert others are underhanded and manipulative.
The group’s leaders claim to be God’s prophets or messiahs or apostles who receive “divine revelations.”

They teach that all other churches and groups are lost unless they surrender what they have and join them.

Their leaders are dictatorial and demanding, either directly or subtly.

They claim to have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Members are expected to attend study sessions where they are firmly indoctrinated (“brainwashed”) with the group’s mundane creeds and human theories.

They resent having their doctrines and creeds questioned.

They believe salvation and afterlife are found only in their camp.

Those who desert the group are judged evil and apostates.

They dictate almost every facet of the members’ lives—sexual, social, domestic, political, and spiritual.

They deny that God has other children scattered over the hills and valleys of sectarianism.

They believe God’s elect are found only within the borders of their own enclosure.

Honest dissidents are disciplined, avoided, and excommunicated.

They insist on strict conformity to the group’s doctrinal standards.
 
Their teachings contradict plain truth.

Their source of authority is of human origin.

They require a new convert to be rebaptized, even though he was sincerely baptized previously.

They have devised their own translation of the scriptures and prohibit any translation not approved by them.

Members are expected to give large amounts of money and ample energy and time to the group’s activities.
 
They allege to be the only legitimate interpreters of scripture.

They wrest scripture to foster their belief system.

There are other cultic marks unknown to this scribe, but these are sufficient to establish our premise. The cult under study may not carry all of the earmarks mentioned above, yet she possesses enough of them to fall into the category of cultism.

What features separate a non-cult from a cult? Here is a partial list of those features:

They confess to being redeemed sinners in need of God’s grace.

Money, elaborate edifices, plush offices, power, and control do not occupy their time and energy. Rather, ministering to any in need and sharing as a communal people are accentuated.

They see themselves as only part of the one body of believers, and affirm that wherever God has a child, they have a brother or a sister.

They do not claim to have truth cornered or God corralled.

They comfortably acknowledge their mistakes and weaknesses, believing that God shames the proud but extends grace to the humble.
 
They are believers only, but not the only believers.

They place their confidence in Messiah Jesus, not in flesh and blood or palpable organizations.

They view heaven as life hereafter, not earth as heaven.
 
They accept all those God accepts, and they love those the world hates.

They do not seek public recognition or fear public scrutiny.

They don’t make unrealistic claims or promote ridiculous agendas.

They see Jesus as a healer, redeemer, and peacemaker, not as a conspirator and false prophet.

Concluding Remarks— A cult never admits to being a cult. Some cults lay no claim to religion or divinity. Atheistic communism is cultic, yet she denies religion and rejects spirituality. Most cults are non-violent—that is, they’re not physically or militarily combative. But when we ponder other forms of injury and abuse they bring to bear upon their followers, they’re as guilty as those who use guns and knives. Judgment of the severest kind awaits those self-proclaimed prophets, messiahs, and money-mongers who twist innocent minds and deceive receptive and hungry hearts.

From Buff Scott’s  http://www.mindspring.com/~renewal/Cults.html:

And on and on we go. Surely there must be traits that will help us determine whether or not a particular group is full-blooded or half cult. I’m convinced there are. Two of the definitions Webster offers of a cult are: 1) “An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric interest”; and 2) “Obsessive devotion to a person, principle, or ideal.”

“Well, now,” the observer announces, “if obsessive devotion to a person makes one cultic, all Christians are cultic, for they have an obsessive devotion to Jesus.” So a clarification is due. Allow me to define the matter in the following style:

Allegiance and devotion to any human person, or to any human principle, or to any human standard as a means of eternal salvation is cultism.

I believe this clarification will stand the test of opposition, and on that principle I affirm that any movement, sect, church, religious party, or denomination that falls into this category is either wholly cultic or partly cultic. Having stated this premise, I now want to list a number of cultic characteristics. The following marks of distinction are not listed in order of importance, but are chosen randomly.

  • They practice separatism and devote much of their time trying to proselyte others.
  • Their efforts to convert others are underhanded and manipulative.
  • The group’s leaders claim to be God’s prophets or messiahs or apostles who receive “divine revelations.”
  • They teach that all other churches and groups are lost unless they surrender what they have and join them.
  • Their leaders are dictatorial and demanding, either directly or subtly.
  • They claim to have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • Members are expected to attend study sessions where they are firmly indoctrinated (“brainwashed”) with the group’s mundane creeds and human theories.
  • They resent having their doctrines and creeds questioned.
  • They believe salvation and afterlife are found only in their camp.
  • Those who desert the group are judged evil and apostates.
  • They dictate almost every facet of the members’ lives—sexual, social, domestic, political, and spiritual.
  • They deny that God has other children scattered over the hills and valleys of sectarianism.
  • They believe God’s elect are found only within the borders of their own enclosure.
  • Honest dissidents are disciplined, avoided, and excommunicated.
  • They insist on strict conformity to the group’s doctrinal standards.
  • Their teachings contradict plain truth.
  • Their source of authority is of human origin.
  • They require a new convert to be rebaptized, even though he was sincerely baptized previously.
  • They have devised their own translation of the scriptures and prohibit any translation not approved by them.
  • Members are expected to give large amounts of money and ample energy and time to the group’s activities.
  • They allege to be the only legitimate interpreters of scripture.
  • They wrest scripture to foster their belief system.

There are other cultic marks unknown to this scribe, but these are sufficient to establish our premise.

 

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