CULTS OF CHRISTIANITY ON THE INCREASE

There are many cults of Christianity.  Scripture tells us that they will be on the rise during the last days and will increase as we draw closer to the end of this age and the start of the great and terrible tribulation described in the book of Revelation. 


So I did a little query on cult definitions.  Some describe a cult as, "a religious system of worship with rites and ceremonies."  That could ambiguously apply to both the Catholic and mainstream Protestant faiths and so I'm a bit offended by such a limited definition.  Others read: "Great veneration for a person, place, or thing." 


I like this term: Cult of Christianity.  A Cult of Christianity describes a group that incorporates, misapplies, and manipulates "Christian" (Bible) teaching. This term aptly implies a distinguishing difference between Biblical-grounded faith and worship - and those cults that pervert the Word of God while inter-weaving damaging rituals or abusive methods aimed at controlling a group of people in a social, psycho context. The motivation behind a cult is always satanic, but superficially grafted to individuals via specific sins of greed, power, and lust.     


Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1st John 4: 1)  Scripture clearly tells us that false prophets will be on the increase in the last days.  And why wouldn't this be true since satan is opportunistic and this is the start of the information and social networking age par excellence.  This is not to say that information and knowledge is bad... so I'd appreciate not being misquoted.  Daniel tells us that in the "end times" information will increase.  When these false prophets perform "miracles" or signs and wonders we are not to believe or follow after these people or systems.  Let us be forewarned.  In knowing, reading, and studying scripture for ourselves we are also forearmed. 


Harold camping is merely a more recently exposed false prophet among many who have predicted the end of the world and then offered a specific date.  Read my blog of: May 14, 2011
 

The Religious News Blog reports:
It is more than a decade since more than 1,000 people perished in a church building in Kanungu, Uganda, after what is believed to have been a well-planned move by cult leaders who thought the world was coming to an end on December 31, 1999 but it never came to pass.


This subject of worlds-end was on the mind of the apostles.  Clarity on this event was one of the very last questions they asked our Savior, Jesus Christ, Prince of Life, before He ascended to glory.  So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1: 6). 


In other words, "is it now that you'll deliver us from the persecution of Rome?  Then... will the world end and you'll restore Israel to your heavenly Kingdom?"  Jesus responded with an answer that is just as relevant for us today.  Jesus' answer is meant to inform our skills of critical thought as we weigh the claims of those who offer extra-biblical truth; making them a cult of Christianity. 


He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1: 7).   


Harold camping now tells his followers that he made a miscalculation.  There is a new date for the end of the world which, if you're interested, you can google for yourself. That Harold Camping would offer a date at all tells us that he is a false prophet.  The rise and prevalence of false prophets, some of whom will perform satanic-preternatural imitations of what may present as miracles, is another sign that the end of our age... the Church Age; draws near.  


See to it that no one misleads you.  For many will come in My name, saying,'I am the Christ', and will mislead many (Matthew 24: 4b, 5).  Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many (Matthew 24: 11).  Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold here is the Christ;' or 'There He is,' do not believe him.  For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24: 24). 


Scripture tells us how we can recognize a false prophet.  By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world (1st John 4: 2, 3). 


John goes on to offer hope.  Not only hope but the confidence of power in the Holy Spirit working through us.  You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1st John 4: 4). 


I would add that any group that limits a person's right to self determine a course of action is a dangerous and dysfunctional group.  In Christianity we don't seek to control people.  We let them go their own way trusting that God has a plan.  The gift of saying goodbye to such people is the gift of releasing a loved one to God's care.  It is the hope and prayer that they will eventually find a personal life-giving relationship with Jesus at a time and circumstance relevant to them.  We read that salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit even as we commit to pray.  God's spirit is faithful to show up at these divine junctures of life; consequence and personal need. 

The Holy Spirit is called the "Spirit of Truth."  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you (John 16: 13, 14).   

Although teaching is a spiritual gift we do not reverence a teacher or church leader that in any way supersedes Christ.  Learn to listen to those catches in your spirit that tell you something is wrong.  God's Spirit draws people to Christ and no teacher or leader is above Christ.  Truly, Truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him (John 13: 16).  On the other hand I have grown in my faith and understanding under anointed preaching and teaching from those who have the pastoral gifts.  God calls these persons to service, but they are not above censorship. 


Cults cannot be effective unless they first isolate  individuals and families.  Not only do they physically isolate, but they mentally and intellectually isolate. While Christianity nourishes intellect, a cult cannot suffer persons to think for themselves.  In the context of faith Jesus Christ welcomes our questions; desiring life-inspiring interaction as we grow in Him.  True Christianity opens a wealth of opportunity; drawing us to joyful, genuine fellowship with a Savior that values His creation.  In Christ we are sent into the world as light.  We are not narrowly constrained by an individual or a group of leaders.  We are a light on a hill when we (again choice) allow God to use us in the context of our spiritual gifts for His glory.     


And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."  Most gladly, therefore I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (2nd Corinthians 12: 9). 


You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5: 14-16). 

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