WAYS TO IDENTIFY A CULT
Bible texts are from the New King James Version
unless stated otherwise)
913 members of the People’s Temple followed their leader,
Jim Jones. They followed him to death in the jungles of
Guyana. Multiplied thousands more are following cult leaders
to certain spiritual, if not physical, death.
sprouting up all around us and thousands are being deceived. How can
you and I identify a cult immediately? How could the members of the
People’s Temple have identified Jim Jones as a fraud? What should
have tipped them off? This study will give you five identifying
features of a cult so you need not be deceived.
1. What did Jesus say regarding false religious
leaders at the time of the end?
MY BIBLE SAYS: “For false christs and false prophets will rise
and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible,
even the elect.” Matthew 24:24.
2. How can we be kept from the powerful delusions of
MY BIBLE SAYS: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free.” John 8:32
Identifying Feature #1:
Cults usually have a single powerful human leader who becomes the
3. What do the Scriptures say regarding placing
implicit confidence in a human being for salvation?
MY BIBLE SAYS: “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son
of man, in whom there is no help.” Psalm 146:3.
4. Who is the sole source of our salvation?
MY BIBLE SAYS: “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the
earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22
Identifying Feature #2
The cult leader’s word, or the teachings of the cult, become
absolute truth, overshadowing the teachings of the Scriptures.
5. What does Jesus say about placing the teachings
of men above the Word of God? .
MY BIBLE SAYS: “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as
doctrines the commandments of men.” Mark 7:7
Identifying Feature #3:
Each cult uses “pressure” tactics to coerce its members into
6. How does the Bible emphasize the necessity of
freedom of choice?
MY BIBLE SAYS: “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord,
choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods
which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River,
or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me
and my house, we will serve the Lord.” “And the Spirit and the
bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And
let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the
water of life freely.” Joshua 24:15; Revelation 22:17
Identifying Feature #4:
Each cult denies the central truth of the gospel that Jesus is the
divine Son of God, without beginning or ending. They deny His death
has provided salvation for the entire human race. As a result,
salvation is earned by adherence to the teachings of the cult rather
than accepting Christ and obeying Him through love. Ephesians 2:8;
MY BIBLE SAYS: “For by grace you have been
saved... it is the gift of God.” ..... the gift of God is eternal
life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Identifying Feature #5:
Cults often urge their “converts” to leave their families. By
isolating family members they accomplish their “brain washing”
tactics. Biblical Christianity calls men and women to follow Jesus
and stand for truth, but it does not call them to leave their
families. (I Corinthians 7:13 14. Matthew 10:38: Ephesians 5:22,
7. Why will thousands be deceived by the rising
number of cults in our society? What is our greatest safeguard?
MY BIBLE SAYS: “And with all unrighteous deception among those
who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that
they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong
delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be
condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in
unrighteousness.” II Thessalonians 2:10-1 2.
With the advent of television, our hero need only be
a good orator or actor, and how easily we follow. Teenagers respond
en masse to “rock” groups and mimic their lifestyles, no matter
We dress according to the latest fashion mode. We
dine at the latest “in” places. We follow whoever and whatever
is in vogue. If it’s chic to have a martini for lunch, we have a
martini for lunch. Why? What has happened to the individual?
There is a certain type of caterpillar that will
follow its leader devotedly. It can be placed on the rim of a clay
pot within reach of food and starve to death because it will not
break its rank. Yet caterpillars are not people.
God is looking for men and women who will be
sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s pleading—who will listen to His
voice and follow Him in spite of the obstacles—who will not
devotedly adhere to the voice of an earthly religious leader rather
than His voice—who will not deny the voice of the Spirit to their
heart to listen to some human voice. God is looking for men and
women who will be true to conscience at any cost.
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men
who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are
true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name,
men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole,
men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” —Education,
Will you be God’s man, God’s woman? Will you say, “Lord, I
choose to listen to Your voice and Your voice alone. I cannot, I
must not, I will not allow another’s voice to drown out the voice
of Your Spirit. I will be loyal to you at any cost."