Special Focus: Cults

A renewed interest in cults has swept the country as a result of the events involving Heaven's Gate. What is a cult, and how is it different from a religious group? What is it that makes people stay in cult groups and sometimes be willing even to die for their group? To help you become more familiar with cult religions, we've highlighted the following articles from our resource-base.

Rich McGee

This article describes the four steps that draw a person deeper and deeper into a cult. Also, the author gives a summary of Christian beliefs and how cults depart from these major beliefs.

The New Age Movement
Dr. Bob Pyne

Claims to have cloned human beings are exaggerated. Researchers more correctly achieved artificial twinning of human embryos. True human cloning is still a far-off possibility with many ethical pitfalls.

Unity School of Christianity
Russ Wise

The Unity School of Christianity is a classic new age cult. The Unity School of Christianity is recognized as a cult because it exhibits several cultic characteristics. It is not Christian in any aspect of its doctrine or teaching.

The Scent of a Cult
Benjamin Wittes

This reporter for Legal Times in Washington, D.C., examines the traditional seven characteristics of a cult, as defined by the Cult Awareness Network, and proposes an additional criterion. Wittes writes, "The quickest way to detect a cult is to sniff for doublethink." He explores how cults redefine language to control their members.

Abusive Churches
Patrick Zukeran

Abusive churches may cut off contact between a new member and his family, friends, and anyone else not associated with the church. Allegiance to the church has priority over allegiance to God, family, or anything else. Some abusive churches have changed their name several times in the course of a few years.

Witnessing to the Witnesses
Patrick Zukeran

In this cult, Jesus is actually Michael the Archangel, the first of God's creation, who became flesh at the incarnation. The name of God in the Old Testament spelled YHWH, was considered holy, and was not to be read aloud. Encyclopedia Americana: "Jehovah" -- erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel. The Jewish Encyclopedia: "Jehovah" -- a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God.

The New Age Movement
Kerby Anderson

New Agers teach that God is an impersonal force, while the Bible teaches that God is an imminent, personal, triune, sovereign God. God, however, is separate from His creation rather than merely a part of the creation as pantheism would teach.The Bible teaches that God's creation is not an undivided unity but a diversity of created things and beings. The creation is not unified in itself but held together by Christ in whom "all things hold together"

Christ in a New Age
Russ Wise

In the occult world it is a common belief that there are twelve ages in evolutionary time and that each age lasts approximately two thousand years. For the New Ager, Jesus is one of many Christs who appear in a given age to direct humanity toward the divine--in effect, to show the way to divinity.

The Goddess and the Church
Russ Wise

Witchcraft is an attempt to reintroduce the sacred aspect of the earth that was, according to their belief, destroyed by the Christian world. A growing number within the feminist movement have bought into witchcraft as the central focus of their allegiance. Along with the deception that is subtly gaining influence in the liberal church, there are a growing number of churches affiliated with the New Age.

World Views
Jerry Solomon

Many books have been written on the subject of world views from both Christian and non-Christian perspectives. Ideally speaking, only one world view can correctly mirror reality.