Cross Examined has a piece by Brian Chilton who asks: “How does one know that a church has the characteristics of a cultic church?” Good question. According to Chilton, there is a difference between a cult and a cultic church and he gives some signs of cultic churches. So we want you to know what those distinctions are. We’ve included links for further study at the end that will help you grow in your faith:
A few weeks back, I was troubled to hear about a Word of Faith congregation in Spindale, North Carolina, that was guilty of abusing its members. Reports included young children being punched by the leadership while being called Satanists. Jane Whaley and her husband are at the center of these accusations. The full report can be accessed at http://wspa.com/2017/02/27/spindale-church-accused-of-abuse-responds-to-accusations/.
Unfortunately, cultic churches abound. Just last night, a guest pastor from the Philippines spoke about particular cults in his land. He noted that one cult did not allow the congregants to open their Bibles as everything had to be interpreted by the leadership. Churches like these are identified as cultic churches as contrasted with authentic churches. Authentic churches are the body of Christ. They are the assemblies of baptized believers who fully adopt biblical principles and have the freedom to grow and develop in their relationship with Christ.
Cultic churches are aberrations of the authentic church. Cultic church lead by power-plays and draconian control over their members. Cultic churches are distinguished from cults in that their theology may be close to orthodoxy (right beliefs)—however, upon further investigation most cultic churches border on heresy. In contrast, cults are completely separated from Christian orthodoxy in their beliefs. However, cultic churches are not authentic churches due to questionable orthopraxy (right practice). Their actions do not represent the loving precepts found in God’s Word. So, how does one know that a church has the characteristics of a cultic church? Consider the following 10 signs of cultic churches. Continue reading
Articles on Bethel Church in Redding California
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Good article identifying cultic practices in churches. Although the official statement of faith may fall in line with good doctrine (orthodoxy), I tend to think of Bethel/NAR generally as a cult, and not cultic, because it has distorted and gone beyond the accepted basic doctrines of Christianity, with their experiences driving their practices and teaching/doctrine.