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What is a Cult?

Discussion in 'Christian Cults' started by CoreIssue, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    With this being the End Times and apostasy abounding, this is a very relevant question. While there are a range of definitions out there, here is my take, which encompasses most others from literal Bible believers:
    For a Christian Cult, or Cult of Christianity, which some feel is more accurate, this would be:
    • Denial of the Trinity, meaning the absolute equality, power, knowledge and omnipresence of the three distinct united persons of the Godhead. Denies they are without beginning or end.
    • Denies salvation is via grace alone by faith in Christ via his substitutionary death and resurrection. There is no other way.
    • Denial Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity who incarnated in human flesh. That he is still fully God in his spirit and fully human in his flesh. He did not become a God-man, but God in a man. United as one being sharing two natures.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  2. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    The word ‘cult’ has some valid neutral meanings. However in recent years it has been degraded to a word with negative overtones and used to disparage a particular group that a person disagrees with.

    What you appear to have done here is invent your own personal meaning to the word in order to attach it to a group you disagree with, and by implication carry with it those negative overtones. In other words it’s just used as a pejorative term to disparage groups you disagree with, in particular the Catholic Church.

    I recognise that in the thread .Roman Catholicism. you do say why you disagree with the Catholic Church. But by labelling it a ‘cult’, based on a personal definition of the word, you are “poisoning the well” before anyone gets to that.
     
  3. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    Cult is very much not a neutral term and never has been

    Here is a Catholic site and says anyone outside of Catholicism is a cult. It also gave contorted and very unclear opinions as to what means.

    But,, even here, at least one poster says the RCC is a cult.

    In Christian theology here is the operative definition:
    I am very aware Catholicism defines the term very differently. So, the final arbitrator is the Bible. not the RCC.

    Fact is Catholicism, even with salvation, teaches something other than what the Bible teaches.
     
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  4. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    You are very wrong there as I will show shortly

    No link given.

    All you are giving is Alan Gomes personal opinion. Even then the Catholic Church does not qualify as a cult

    I'm not aware that the Catholic Church has defined the word "cult". It uses an old meaning to the term.

    Where does the Bible define the word "cult"?

    Not a FACT at all. It is just your personal opinion. No Catholic doctrine contradicts the Bible and the Bible does not contradict any Catholic doctrine.
    Two provisos:
    1. Scripture is properly interpreted.
    2. Catholic doctrine is properly understood.

    CULT
    We sometime hear the label ‘cult’ applied to some religious group. But what does the word ‘cult’ mean?

    The Online Etymology Dictionary gives us this:
    cult (n.)
    1610s, "worship," also "a particular form of worship," from French culte (17c.), from Latin cultus "care, labor; cultivation, culture; worship, reverence," originally "tended, cultivated," past participle of colere "to till" (see colony). Rare after 17c.; revived mid-19c. with reference to ancient or primitive rituals. Meaning "devotion to a person or thing" is from 1829.


    Cult in its original meaning is about devotion, reverence or worship. This is the sense of the first definition of the word given by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary:
    a system of religious devotion directed towards a particular figure or object.

    In this sense the term has respectable and neutral usage.

    In recent times it has been used in secular terms to express something that is fashionable. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition of that sense:
    [often as modifier] a thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group: a cult film.

    However it has also come to used (in very recent times) by some people as a pejorative word to label some groups, particularly religious groups, that we disagree with.

    The Concise Oxford English Dictionary gives this definition of that sense:
    a relatively small religious group regarded by others as strange or as imposing excessive control over members. (my emboldening)

    However such a usage of the word is no better than the second definition given by the Online Etymology Dictionary:
    Cult. An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree.

    According to this article http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c09a02.html Sociologists originally applied the word to some religious groups in particular way.
    They used the word ‘church’ or ‘denomination’ for large identifiable groups in mainstream religion.
    They then used the word ‘sect’ for small groups that broke away from these large groupings but still keep many of the beliefs and practices of the larger group.
    However this left groups that did not fit into either of these categories. Any group that wasn’t a church or a sect was labelled a cult. It was a ‘left-over’ category. Again this is a neutral usage.

    From the article linked to:
    Social scientists have since set out to refine their definition of "cult" into something more descriptive and precise. Yet no matter what they came up with, they invariably saw cults as religious groups that stood over against the prevailing belief systems of the culture -- which, of course, were reflected and identified with the Judeo-Christian religious institutions.

    Sects were recognized as offshoots that, for the most part, still held to the religious and cultural traditions from which they emerged. Cults, meanwhile, had a religious structure wholly alien to the prevalent religious communities. In a 1978 article written for the Annual Review of the Social Sciences of Religion, sociologist James T. Richardson explained that

    a cult is usually defined as a small informal group lacking a definite authority structure, somewhat spontaneous in its development (although often possessing a somewhat charismatic leader or group of leaders), transitory, somewhat mystical and individualistically oriented, and deriving its inspiration and ideology from outside the predominant religious culture.

    This definition is still neutral. However (and this is my suggestion) because many of these groups appeared to have strange and destructive tendencies (think David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, or Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple), the word cult as applied to these small groups took on a negative association. The term cult, with its negative association then came to be applied by individuals and groups to other groups that they disagreed with. The word was detached from its neutral sociological meaning and used to express negativity about another group. Cult in this type of usage could be defined as “An organized group of people, religious or not, with whom you disagree” (as per the Online Etymology Dictionary)

    In other words it’s just used as a pejorative term to insult groups you disagree with.

    Personally, I think that since this usage of the term has become degraded and abused, cult should not be used except in its centuries old meaning.

    Note: The article does not restrict itself to Christianity although the extracts I have given may give that impression.

    (Note: - I will be away for a few days from tomorrow so I will catch up with any replies when I return)
     
  5. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    Since you quote from Alan Gomes book, Unmasking The Cults, and bearing in mind his definitionof cult defines that such a group denies either explicitly or implicitly one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith, perhaps you should note this from the same book:

    3. Certain Christian doctrines constitute the core of the faith. Central doctrines include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and salvation by grace through faith. These doctrines so comprise the essence of the Christian faith that to remove any of them is to make the belief system non-Christian.

    7. All Christian denominations -- whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant -- agree on the essential core. The relatively minor disagreements between genuinely Christian denominations, then, cannot be used to argue that there is no objectively recognized core of fundamental doctrine which constitutes the Christian faith.

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/2765-cult-of-christianity

    This Alan Gomes does not regard Catholicism as a cult. Perhaps you should stop doing so!
     
  6. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    Cult is a theological term. In the Bible it simply rejects false religions and doctrines..

    We don't live in the past.

    Bottom line is it is common for Bible adherents to say the RCC is a cult. Catholics want to argue otherwise.

    So, with out points made and neither of us backing down, it is time to get to the meat and potatoes There are a lot of topics, but we can be more productive one at a time.

    Catholic Salvation:
    This says grace only inspires one to come to God but their is no salvation without works. Baptism is not required by the Bible, it is a sign of the change within a person. Penance does not exist in the Bible.

    Works earn rewards and result from salvation. They play no role in obtaining salvation, contrary to what the RCC teaches.
    All denominations do not agree on the essential core issues. The RCC redefines grace to non-Biblical meaning.
    Show me where the Bible talks about penance for sin. Where Baptism is required for salvation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  7. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    In other words the Bible does NOT define a cult in your terms.

    And false religions and doctrines are not the same thing as a cult.

    So we are back to your personal opinion. The Catholic Church is a cult because you say so.

    You wish to ignore all the objective evidence I have provided - even Alan Gomes whom you quote when it suits you - and stick to you personal opinion.

    Is that honest?

    I'll reply to your points about Salvation when I return
     
  8. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    The personal opinion claim is wearing thin. I can simple point back and say it is your personal opinion as well.

    Fact is I cited outside sources to defend my position. That is more than personal opinion.

    Also time to back claims with the Bible, as I did with Ephesians.
     
  9. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    I think the personal opinion things is wearing thin too.

    Perhaps you would start backing them up with evidence.
     
  10. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    I think it is time to summarise the Cult discussion so far.

    Cult – Theological meaning
    As I have shown the word cult, in a theological sense, has been used for centuries to mean a form of worship, or devotion to a person or object.

    Cult – Sociological meaning
    As I have shown the word cult began to be used in the early part of the 20th century, by sociologists as a word to describe very small groups that did not belong to either denominations (major groups) or sects (smaller groups that broke away from denominations). They were the small “left over” groups that didn't fit elsewhere.

    Cult as Insult
    Some of these cults were very negative and destructive to their members (e.g. David Koresh and the Branch Davidians) and so the word acquired negative connotations. People began to apply the word to any small group that they disagreed with; a label they could stick on a group as an insult and smear word

    At this level the word has become degraded and meaningless

    Cult and CoreIssue
    CoreIssue has invented his own definition of cult to smear the Catholic Church. He tried to support this by quoting from Allan Gomes book Unmasking the Cults. Alan Gomes is a Professor of Theological History at the Talbot School of Theology, Bila University and their site says “Dr. Gomes specializes in the history of Christian doctrine and in the theology of American religious cults.”

    Unfortunately for CoreIssue, this expert in cults does not support him in his contention that Catholicism is a cult saying “All Christian denominations -- whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant -- agree on the essential core. The relatively minor disagreements between genuinely Christian denomination, then, cannot be used to argue that there is no objectively recognized core of fundamental doctrine which constitutes the Christian faith.”

    CoreIssue says: “Fact is I cited outside sources to defend my position”

    Well the outside source he cited (Alan Gomes), does NOT support his position.
     
  11. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    OK, I see you have started yet another thread. So let us focus in it, not multiple threads.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2015
  12. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    But you provoide no evidence for that assertion.

    And nowhere does it give a definition that would include the Catholic Church. In fact it includes the Catholic Church under
    Meaning of the word "denomination:"

    It also says:
    (my emboldening)

    The link you give back up my summary of the usage of the word.

    Of course you want to move on. You have been shown to be wrong but stubbornly refuse to admit it.

    The two sources you have actually referenced both reject your slandering of the Catholic Church
     
  13. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    As shown on the other thread, I have not been wrong.

    This is not being productive.
     
  14. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    You have not shown me to be wrong.

    The links you posted to actually disproved your claims. Please read it again. And to save you going to the link here it is in full.

    The site you gave classes the Catholic Church as a demonination.

    Moreover its says concerning the word cult:
    My emboldening.

    Alan Gomes whom you claimed to suppoprt your defintion of cult includes the Catholic Church as a denomination.
    “All Christian denominations -- whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant -- agree on the essential core. The relatively minor disagreements between genuinely Christian denomination, then, cannot be used to argue that there is no objectively recognized core of fundamental doctrine which constitutes the Christian faith.”

    Your star witnesses all disprove you.

    Admit you are wrong. Get over it and then we can move on.
     
  15. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    Let others read the site and make up their own minds on who is correct.
     
  16. Mungo

    Mungo Getting Started

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    Is there anybody else on this site? :hmm:

    Or is it just you and me?

    :debate:
     
  17. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, there are others. But, since you challenged me, by name, they are not getting involved. Nor are they going to defend what you are saying.

    Just look at other threads listed on the main page and you see others.
     
  18. 2404

    2404 New Member

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    Reading the dialogue it feels too hot to touch.
    For me I only want to know where I stand with God.
    Mk.16:17 'And these signs shall follow them that believe;'
    Just one scriptural example of what I am looking to.
    If I see the Holy Spirit working in my life it doesn't matter what label I carry on this journey.

    I'm looking to spend some goooood times on the other side with all you believers.
    God Bless
    Ed
     
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  19. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Administrator Staff Member

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    That is a good verse to use as an example, At the same time the Bible warns against false religion, false Christ's, false doctrine and more.

    As said by Christ, many will stand before him at the White Throne claiming to have declared his name, preached his Gospel and more. But he will say them you were never mine and get cast into the Lake.

    We are commanded to study and test claims for the truth.

    I also look forward to being in Eternity with God and my family in Christ.
     
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  20. jeager106

    jeager106 Getting Started

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    F.W.I.W.
    In a Catholic context, a cult means a devotion to a saint, holy place, or holy relic or similar.
    In the popular media, it means a religion which is not socially respectable, and normally one which exerts a large amount of control over the lives of adherents.

    I object to the words "not socially respectable".
    What is not respectable about Mormons? J.W.'s?

    Here is a SMALL part of a list of religions that could fit the "cult" definition.
     

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