Why so many denominations and what they stand for.
Let’s start by giving the most accurate definition of a cult for the christian.
Cult: a group of people polarized around someone’s interpretation of the Bible & characterized by major deviations from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the christian faith. Particularly the fact that God became man in Jesus Christ.
Dr. Walter Martin
I ask for your grace on this article as I tried to break them down by doctrine,justification beliefs and who they believe Jesus is.There is a lot of information so please make sure you read all of it that you can get a clear understanding of how these cults operate.
People in other denominations say it’s unfair for us to call them a cult. What is unfair friends is for the religious cults to bring in new meaning into the orthodox christian faith & teachings, thus changing the true biblical orthodox christian faith yet still calling themselves “christian”. Either change your theology or change your name!
No person or organization can call themselves “christian” if they don’t embrace the central tenets that gave rise & definition to the term Christian. If they don’t adhere to those tenets they can be classified by definition Anti- Christ. Devotion to a particular ideology means embracing and being faithful to specific beliefs. The Bible has specific foundational beliefs that are expected to be believed if you claim to be a Christian. We are commanded in scripture to contend for the faith & truth in order to avoid error. How do we avoid error? By comparing a certain belief to the scriptures as an absolute. For a true christian is not an option to defend the faith, it is a biblical command.
The ABSOLUTE authority of the Bible (the 66 books).
Jude 1:3 “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”
The faith was handed down to the saints once and for all meaning there will be no need to revise the faith in order to be more relevant to a specific group or age. It has been given once and for all.
Now this passage clearly states what we must be on the look out for. ANY gospel contrary to the one the apostles taught! Those who have departed from the faith teach a different gospel, from demons!
Gal 1:6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
1 Tim 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
Matt 7:15,16 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
Acts 20:28 “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Whoever wants to add or take away from the foundational christian principles, by definition have departed from the faith. There are those who will try to twist & change the faith and we are called to expose those false teachers/teachings. The apostles were more concerned about false teaching springing up from within the church than from the outside. See Acts 20: 29,30, 2 Peter 2:1, Gal 1:7 & 2 Cor 11:15. Over 25 times in the Net Testament alone, God warns us about the potential for deception. From satan, false teachers and from within ourselves.
You can look these scriptures up on the subject. Matt 24:4 & 24:24, Mark 13:5, Luke 21:8, Rom 16:18, 1 Cor 3:18, 1 Cor 6:9, 1 Cor 15:33, Gal 6:3,7, Eph 4:14 & 5:6, 2 Thess 2:3, 2 Tim 3:13, Titus 1:10, James 1:22, 2 Peter 2:13, 1 John 1:8, 1 John 3:7, 2 John 1:7, Rev 12:9, Rev 13:14, 18:23, 19:20, 20:3,8,10.
For something to be true, it has to be 100% true. If anything is 1% false, it is a lie & this makes them the most dangerous religions because of it’s proximity to the truth.So if any of these denominations claiming to be christian change the truth by 1%, what does it make them? Some may say ” they interpret the bible differently” according to scripture there is an absolute truth, not many truth’s according to interpretation. The gospel taught by the apostles! Period!
John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The cults have capitalized upon the failure of the Christian church to understand their own teachings & to develop a workable methodology both to evangelize & to refute cult adherents. It is astonishing the number of christians who have no idea what the bible truly says, they take one passage and run with it without properly interpreting the text in context with sound biblical doctrine. We are an ignorant church, because we look for pastors/teachers to do the homework for us instead of getting in the word ourselves and presenting ourselves approved to God. We want to be fed instead of becoming a scholar of the Word. Therefore we waver and get tossed about depending on the teaching we “think” we want to adhere to or we “feel” is truth. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I also will forget thy children.”
Now what are some marks of a cult? These are just a few…
Any organization who ADDS to the 66 books of the Bible or claim to have some new revelation or KEY to interpret the bible. Thus they are the only ones to be able to interpret it. Anyone who subtracts from the trinity of God or the deity of one or more members of the Godhead. Those who multiply the works (necessary for salvation). And those who divide the loyalty of followers from God & the universal church by focusing on salvation as an exclusive province of their specific group.
Cult vs Religion
Even though they deny the cardinal doctrines of the christian faith, they call themselves christian. They go as far as to say they are the purest/truest religion. A world religion like Hinduism does not claim to be christian.
Who is Christ to some of these Cults?
Well the Jehovah Witnesses believe Christ is a created being. He was the archangel Michael before He became Jesus and now He is the archangel Michael again. He is subordinate to the father.
Mormons believe that Jesus is the Spirit brother (older brother) of Lucifer.
The first thing any false teacher needs to do is to get rid of the authoritative power of scripture, since this would keep him from executing authority over others. He has to mute he Word of God, to gag God in His Word.
If anything is contrary to scripture is wrong. It anything is the same as scripture, it is not needed. If anything goes beyond Scripture, it has no authority. Dr. Curtis Crenshaw
Anyone or any group who claimed to have NEW revelation to interpret the Word after Jesus is absolutely wrong. Heb 1:1-2 “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” God HAS spoken, past tense. Everything has been revealed!
A great example of this is this… “The watchtower founder stated that if you read the scriptures by themselves they would go into darkness. But if they read “his” writings along with the bible they would be in the light”. There kinds of organization claim that you need them in order to properly understand the bible.
“Thus the bible is an organizational book & belongs to the christian congregation as an organ, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the bible. For this reason the bible can’t be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind.” The Watchtower 10/01/1067 Pg 587
This is another quote from the watchtower, when they say “they” in this quote they are speaking of christians.
“They say that is is sufficient to read the bible exclusively either alone or in small groups at home. But strangely through such bible reading , they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom’s clergy were teaching 100 years ago.” The Watchtower 08/15/1981
Now we are going to go over to the Church of latter day saints (mormon church) and revise some of what they say about the bible.
The mormon church believes that the Bible is the word of God as long as it is translated correctly (by of course one of their teachers) & that the book of mormon IS the word of God. They have another 2 books (Doctrines and Covenants & The pearl of great prize), they believe that the mormon 3 books are higher revelation than the Bible and the Bible is the only book among the 4 with errors. Joseph Smith was the so called “prophet” of the mormon church who stated that the Bible was lost and that he was given the true and entire bible by God.
Bruce R. McConkie stated: “The Bible does not contain correct information”. Joseph Smith’s bible contains thousands of adds,deleted text and rearrangements. You can actually use the book of mormon to lead someone out of mormonism for it contradicts itself.
Once you believe you have to look outside the Bible (like an additional key) in order to understand Truth. You open yourself to everything and anything floating around doctrine wise.
Now let’s move on and go into the Pentecostal doctrine.
Pentecostals believe in the Oneness of God thus denying the Trinity of the Godhead. They practice modalism. This means they believe Jesus was the father himself just had a different name. They are a cult as defined in the beginning of the article. The early church actually called it heresy.
Now where are there hints of the trinity in the Bible? Everywhere! See Gen 1:26 and Isaiah 48:16
We will cover Isaiah 48:16. If the passage is interpreted in it’s natural and normal meaning, there are 3 persons in this passage who are all God. But how can God be sent by God unless there are several persons within the Godhead? Makes you wonder huh? Since the father sent the son in trinitarian theology. This is exactly the kind of passage one should expect to find!
John Gill states when speaking on Isaiah 48:16: ” Here is a glorious testimony of a trinity of persons in the Godhead, Christ the son of God is sent in human nature & as mediator, Jehovah the father & the spirit are the senders of Him.” John Gill, Exposition of the Old & New Testament Vol 5 pg 281.
“With the coming of the Holy Spirit the word of the Lord became a new book. Truths which had been hidden for many years were made clear. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pivotal doctrines of the absolute deity of Christ & the baptism in His name became tenets of faith.” Articles of Faith of the UPCI.
They use special revelation as a means to have authority or hold the key to interpret scriptures. It is evil to pervert the word of God. To minimize the word under someone’s authority or another authoritative, “key book” is purely evil.
Jehovah Witnesses and who they claim Jesus is.
JW’s believe that Jesus was a created being. He is a smaller God not an eternal God. Jesus is not fully God and He was the 1st thing Jehovah created. What should we call this friends? Another interpretation of the Bible? They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, they just happened to have a different take on a few things? Heresy!
1 John 2:22″Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
Col 1:15,16″He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him.” This is the very passage JW’s bring up to confuse people into thinking that this passage states Jesus was the created firstborn. See the twist? Now the problem I have with this view other than Jesus IS GOD and was NOT created is this…IF Jesus was made, he had to be made apart from himself. Yet that verse (Col 1:16) tells us that NOTHING was made apart from Him. If he wasn’t made He is GOD. Only God is uncreated.
Now we said earlier that false teachers needed to change the word in order to mute God. Here’s a great example. In the New World Translation (JW bible) they added the word “other” to Col 1:16. Jesus created all “other” things. So Jehivah created Jesus and He in turn created all “other” things. Now this is a lie from the pit of hell, just look at the greek. They had to add to the word in order to reconcile their heretic view of Jesus.
John 8:58 states “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Did you notice the phrase he used? I AM. Now go to Exodus 3, what was the name GOD used? I AM! He in essence is saying, look I am HE that spoke to Moses in the burning bush, God himself.
Now this is where it gets VERY, VERY, VERY interesting and the whole doctrine of the JW’s falls apart! John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What do JW do with a passage like this? This is how they explain it. Jesus is a small god with a small g. They solemnly adhere to Jehovah as the only God. They say in this passage Jehovah is the All-mighty God & Jesus is a mighty god. OK??? You still have the problem!!! Is Jesus a mighty true God or a mighty false god? And if He is a mighty true God then you have 2 Gods in the same verse which is called polytheism, which ironically JW’s are against. They (JW) believe Jesus became the man Jesus when He was born in Bethlehem, before that He was the archangel Michael. And after His earthly life he became the archangel Michael again.
Now if someone came and beat someone up and I stepped out and said don’t worry, I forgive you. That would be a little presumptuous, wouldn’t it? Yet Jesus was in the habit of saying “I forgive you”. Only God can forgive sins.
Now the Mormon doctrine states that Jesus was the older brother of Lucifer. The heavenly father (Elohim) came down and married the virgin Mary and conceived Jesus naturally and they had more kids thus coming up with Jesus and Lucifer being spirit brothers.. So there is a heavenly father, a heavenly mother and their children. They believe atonement happened on the garden of Gethsemane, instead of at the cross. The mormon jesus was a married polugamist. And we have the opportunity to become gods one day.
“Jesus, being one body with God, may be called a second god, but he can by no means be God himself” Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Divine principle pg 211. This is the man who claimed to be the 2nd coming of Christ!
Now there are those who add works that need to be done necessary for salvation. Does Catholicism ring a bell? Pray these many Hail Mary’s, etc… I wrote an article on catholicism and why it is NOT christianity. That is why it is not in this classification of cults. This article can be found on this blog.
“The average non-christian cult owes it’s very existence to the fact that it has utilized the terminology of Christianity, has borrowed liberally from the Bible, almost always out of context & sprinkled it’s format with evangelical cliches & terms wherever possible or advantageous up to now this has been a highly successful attempt to represent their respective systems of thought as “christian”. On encountering a cultist then, always remember that you are dealing with a person who is familiar with Christian terminology and who has carefully redefined it to fit the system of thought he or she now embraces”. Dr. Walter Martin. The Kingdom of Cults pg 20.
Cults usually add works unto salvation because at the core they do not believe the deity of Christ. Something else has to be done (works) because Christ on the cross was a partial satisfaction to an infinite Holy God. Who is infinitely offended by sin!
How is a Jehovah Witness Justified?
This comes from their own literature: “Jehovah God will justify, declare righteous, on the basis of their own merit all perfected humans who have withstood that final, decisive test of mankind. He will adopt & acknowledge them as His sons through Jesus Christ”. Life everlasting in freedom of the sons of God. pg 400.
“Accepting the message of salvation & devoting ourselves & being baptized in water is only the beginning of our exercise of faith. It is only the beginning of our obedience to God. It sets us on the way to everlasting life, but it does not mean our final salvation.” This means everlasting life. pg 181.
In other words ultimate salvation is based on our performance not on what Jesus did on the cross! If that is not blasphemy I do not know what is!
Mormon’s justification (Latter Day Saints).
“As with all other doctrines of salvation, justification is available because of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, but it becomes operative in the life of an individual only on the conditions of personal righteousness”. Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal NT Commentary, pg 230.
“The sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil”. James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, pg 20.
Mormon’s believe that in order to get saved there must be full obedience to all ordinances & laws of the mormon books.
Joseph Smith (Latter day saints founder) goes as far as to say that “There are some sins so grievous that man may commit, that they would place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. The blood of Christ would not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf.” Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Smith
This cult believes on salvation by progression – learning how to become a God- not by justification.
Pentecostal Doctrine and salvation beliefs.
“The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be…full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the spirit gives utterance”. UPCI, Articles of faith fundamental doctrine.
The “process” of salvation for pentecostals goes as follows: You need to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ ALONE ( for if you are baptized in the name of the Father and Holy Spirit, you are going to HELL), then you must speak in tongues to be saved. THEN, to retain salvation you must keep(obey) what they call the standards, which happen to vary from congregation to congregation. This is a very legalistic cult due to the fact your salvation is based on the length of your sleeve…just read some of the so called standards of some of the pentecostal churches!
“God marvelously confirmed our message as the gospel was preached in it’s fullness. The power which was hidden in the name of Jesus began to be revealed”. Highlights in Church History, pp, 62, 63.
Pentecostals deny the trinity of God. “The oneness doctrine is important because it upholds biblical Christianity”. Meet the United Pentecostal Church International, pg 58.
Most cults divide the primary loyalty from God to the organization. The cult states that through them God speaks, they are the channel or vessel through whom God speaks to them.
When a JW opens his Watchtower magazine, they are lead to believe what it says is from Jehovah, yet the address is Brooklyn , NY.
When Mormons hear the general authority say something as revelation from God they think God has revealed this, but it’s coming from a pulpit in Salt Lake City.
These are some examples of the division these cults cause:
Watchtower organization claims to be the ONLY vessel for salvation, there is no salvation outside the JW. They hold the keys to salvation. Not the Bible, but their organization!
“If it had not been for Joseph Smith & the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”. Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pg 670.
Cult leaders alone have the correct understanding of scripture therefore salvation can only be found in their group or organization. They are the only way to salvation. Most cults believe that the early church was corrupted & the true way to salvation was lost until’ their founder showed up & recovered it. This allows them to dismiss the orthodox teachings they believed, they in turn went back and restored the TRUE gospel. Thus saying that the gates of HELL prevailed against the church & the gospel was lost. They restored it, therefore Jesus lied when He stated: Matthew 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
Beloved, there is a big difference between restoration and reformation. To restore is to find/fix that which was lost or in error. To reform is to purify that which we have. These cults “restored” the Bible, the reformation took the Bible and “changed/purified” the churches/people who were not adhering to the scriptures. Thus bringing back biblically sound doctrine, which is exactly what needs to happen TODAY!