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Thursday, February 16 2012

Who Do You Look Up To - God, Or A Man?

Although some have assumed that "cult" is an abbreviated form of "culture," they are in fact independent words in literal usage. According to The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary, the English word "culture" originated from the Latin word cultura which means to till (i.e. to cultivate), while the English word "cult" originated from the Latin word cultus which means to worship, or a system of worship.

The WordWeb Dictionary by Princeton University defines a "cult" as "Adherents of an exclusive system of religious beliefs and practices; An interest followed with exaggerated zeal; A system of religious beliefs and rituals."

What is it that makes a "cult" unhealthy and unrighteous? Is the "to worship" part of the definition bad? No, not if it correctly and wholly (i.e. the entire Bible, not just a few selected verses, or some favorite doctrine that someone has started to idolize) adheres to the Word of God. Is "a system of religious beliefs and rituals" bad? No, not if it correctly and wholly (again, the entire Bible, not just a few selected verses, or some favorite doctrine that someone has started to idolize) adheres to the Word of God.

Genuine Bible-based worship and system of religious beliefs are not bad. But let's consider the extremist parts of the definition - "an exclusive system" and "exaggerated zeal." The Holy Bible (see also Holy Bible Reading Plan) definitely says that a "cult" of that sort is very wrong.

Has Your "Religion" Become Your Religion?

True Christianity is not a hidden or closed-door "exclusive system," as the apostle Paul encountered, for example, when the Galatians were becoming cultic - and therefore blinding themselves to the whole Truth:

The Holy Scriptures

"4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? 4:17 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them." (Galatians 4:16-17 KJV).

The Gospel of The Kingdom of God is to be preached to the whole world (i.e. the genuine wholesome Gospel), to people of all nations, not just to a few people in the present day who claim to be "special," or to have some "new truth" (a doctrine invented by some human) - as though every Christian who ever lived before them, but "didn't have a clue" about their new or exaggerated doctrine, will not be saved. No one has the right to claim personalized righteousness.

"24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" (Matthew 24:14 KJV)

"3:7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:7-9 KJV)

True Christianity is not about "exaggerated zeal" i.e. swaggering (whether physically or psychologically) arrogance.

"1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 1:10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God." (3 John 1:9-11 KJV)

As shown in the example above with Diotrephes, Christian cults are often created by people who have replaced Jesus Christ with some mere human, or some mere human's self-righteous ideas and interpretations - most of the time without even realizing that they've done it. The apostle Paul, who was one of the greatest Christians that ever lived, warned against "personality cults" - being led by the spirit of a man rather than the Spirit of God.

"1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." (1 Corinthians 1:10-17 KJV)

Christian cults can also be formed from "strifes of words" - a wide-ranging term that can sometimes (if taken to unhealthy and unrighteous extremes) include anything from what "speaking in tongues" really means (see The Origin Of Speaking In Tongues) to the present-day "Sacred Name movement" that was started by a tiny group only in the 1930s (what about all of the true Christian people who lived before 1930?). Cults don't happen from honest and respectful disagreement; cults happen by people who haughtily put themselves and their ideas above everyone else.

"6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:4-6 KJV)

Cults are a product of carnal-minded people who seek greatness for themselves, by ignoring the greatness of God.

"3:13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:13-18 KJV)

"4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 14:1-7 KJV)

Fact Finder: How does a religion become a cult?
See Is Your Religion Your Religion?

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This Day In History, February 16

374: The ninth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred.

1349: Jews were expelled from Burgsdorf, Switzerland.

1559: Pope Paul IV called for the overthrow of any king who opposed the Church of Rome's doctrines (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).

1646: The Battle of Torrington in Devon; the last major battle of the First English Civil War.

1771: Astronomer Charles Messier presented his original list of 45 M-objects to the French Academy.

1808: France invaded Spain during the Peninsular War.

1918: Lithuania proclaimed its independence from Russia.

1923: Howard Carter unsealed the newly-discovered burial chamber of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

1940: The British destroyer HMS Cossack rescued British seamen from a German prison ship, the Altmark, in a Norwegian fjord.

1944: The Japanese naval base at Truk, Caroline Islands, was bombed by Allied aircraft, destroying 201 planes.

1948: "Miranda," a moon of the planet "Uranus," was photographed for the first time (while many scientists claim to reject religion, they nevertheless very often name heavenly objects after pagan gods e.g. Saturn, Uranus, Pluto).

1956: Britain abolished the death penalty.

1959: Fidel Castro was sworn in as Prime Minister of Cuba after leading a guerrilla campaign that ousted the C.I.A. and Mafia (the Cuba scenes in the "Godfather" movies are based on historical reality) backed dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Year's Day. The "out of the frying pan, into the fire" Cuban people went from being ruled by a fascist, foreign-ruled tyrant to a communist rebel.

1987: The trial of John Demjanjuk, accused of being "Ivan the Terrible" of the Treblinka death camp, began in Israel.

2005: The Kyoto Protocol came into force after its ratification by Russia.


Copyright © Wayne Blank