A Cult is Not Rejecting the Trinity or the Deity of Christ

 

By Craig Bluemel

 

 

A Cult is NOT Believing…

 

·        What the Scripture Teaches (1 Timothy 3:16)

·        That the Man Christ Jesus is Not Deity (1 Timothy 2:5)

·        God is Only One and Not a Trinity (James 2:19)

 

 

 

History of Cult Awareness

 

·         Galatians 3:20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. New International Version

 

·         James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. New American Standard Bible

 

·         Mark 12:29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commands is, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.’”  Young's Literal Translation Bible

 

·         1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God , and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.  New American Standard Bible

 

·         Malachi 2:10 Do we not all have one father?  Has not one God created us?  New American Standard Bible

 

·         1 Corinthians 8:6 Yet for us there is but one God, the Father… New American Standard Bible

 

Most Americans have no clue what the dictionary definitions (plural) of the term ‘cult’ means; yet if asked how they feel about cults, nearly all will express a degree of fear and/or concern about cults.  Nowadays, the Christian church is permeated with a media-induced phobia of cults, which began in the 70’s. 

 

Religious sects have always posed some level of danger to society and its youth culture.  However, one main event in world history that took place in the steamy jungles of Central America would change the American way of viewing cults forever. This took place in what is now known as the infamous Jonestown murders.

 

It began with the mainstream television coverage of an apparent mass suicide, which involved hundreds of religious devotees; mostly all of them were followers of Jim Jones.  Early on, a few of the on-scene reports were leaked to the press prior to any civil investigation.  Before police or other law enforcement authorities arrived, these bogus news reports stirred a global media frenzy, which initially portrayed the Jonestown incident as a mass suicide-pact.

 

Those who are old enough to remember will recall the many follow-up stories published in magazines and newspapers.  Graphic imagery using color film, at the time, a fairly new technology in photography, provided what seemed to be evidence for the suicide story.  The photos showed detailed scenes of the dead, bloated bodies of mothers holding their children’s hands, or clutching infants, or man and wife hugging each other in a final, deadly embrace.

 

A massive investigation later determined that Jim Jones had used armed gunmen at his jungle compound in Guyana, to insure that anyone who would not voluntarily drink the poison-laced Kool-Aid concoction would do so at gunpoint.  By the time this official report made its determination, the fear had already swept across the nation.

 

Amid lurid coverage of the seduction of America’s youth by religious figures such as like Jim Jones, media hype continued its amplification of America’s concerns and fears about cultic groups with seemingly endless examples on the nightly news broadcasts.  A more sinister and psychopathic form of evil was displayed in men like Charles Manson and his murderous clan in the Tate & LaBianca murders.  This heightened parental worry that their children and teenagers were at risk.

 

At this same period media also coverage focused its coverage on large numbers pf American youth involving themselves with pseudo-Christian spiritual leaders like Reverend Sun-Yung Moon and his ‘Unification Church’ in Seoul, Korea (also known as ‘Moonies’).  Christian churches’ witnessed their youth were becoming involved with and/or embracing these false religions and teachings. 

Among many such teachings were that of people like American writer and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard’s ‘Dianetics’ and his religion known as Scientology.  It seemed as if America was experiencing an explosion of cultic activity, manifested in numerous sects, such as the Hare Krishna, and the excesses of the now infamous Indian guru, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. 

 

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who was a homeless drifter from India that developed a huge following of people, young and old.  His devotees gave him countless millions of dollars, with which he lavished himself in gross excess, even taking over Antelope, a small town in eastern Oregon.  News reporters in the field shot reels of film that showed Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh being chauffeured around with scantily clad young women in his fleet of brand-new Rolls Royce automobiles. He was later convicted of tax evasion and fraud, but along with others like him, his cult-like allure left an indelible impression upon the public mindset.

 

In efforts to fight back this invasion of evil, Christian churches began educating church members about various cultic and occultist religious movements.  Soon, Christian bookstore shelves were filled with anti-cult books, or cult encyclopedias with glossary lists of familiar ‘cults’ like Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. 

 

These types of books can be very useful, because they provide brief, but descriptive details about the doctrinal beliefs and practices of groups, such as the Mormons.  Typically, cult information books make ‘distinctions’ between extra-biblical writings of the cults, such as the Book of Mormon, and the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Bible version, which adapt to conform to the groups doctrine.

 

Oftentimes born-again Christians that had been saved out of a particular cult or false religion will found parachurch ministries who cater to the needs of those making personal exodus from a specific cult.  In sincere efforts to evangelize others and to use their own, past experience as a cult member, they help others who are or were trapped by the same deception.  These are typically the most credible and effective ministries and publications, because they don’t claim to be ‘expert’ in all fields.

 

 

Cult Awareness Turns Toxic

 

 

Ministries that furnish resources to the believer on the subject of what cults believe has proven helpful to Christians, who need such resources to protect their children, families, friends, and church members from deception.  The information is also helpful to those who have made an exodus from cult-like religions and who are converted to the true gospel of Christ.  

 

However, there is also a dark side to the whole ‘cult expert’ rhetoric, which is fueled by demonic inspiration.  You will know these trees by the kind of fruit they bear, which is rooted in the soil of manmade ecclesiastic tradition.  These men are not planted by God the Father into the soil of a sincere and honest heart.  Instead, their words are divisive, and their tongue delivers subversive, hate-filled messages.  They are lacking in mercy and love, and they routinely judge a person’s salvation by labeling those who reject the Trinity and/or the dual nature of Christ as being ‘heretics’ and ‘cults.’

 

The next step in the development of cult-awareness was a very negative and divisive trend, giving rise to orthodox-theology-oriented and self-acclaimed ‘Christian cult experts.’  These are usually sterile figures, who are mostly greedy, opportunistic people; some are even questionably ‘Christian.’  They usually are lacking in compassion and within their own ministry organizations, they project an image of despotic church authoritarianism. 

 

One popular radio talk show host promulgates church orthodoxy and frequently uses ancient Roman Catholic Church creeds as his basis for interpreting the meaning of Scripture verses that deal with theology (study of God) and Christology (study of Christ Jesus).  Though he may not say so directly, in effect his message makes church orthodoxy and traditional views of God and Jesus Christ equivalent to Scripture. 

 

The reason for this is because church creeds are oftentimes used as the true basis by which Scriptures are interpreted.  They use creeds as what is alleged “official church dogma’ and speak in superfluous terminology, citing ancient Catholic ‘church fathers’ as verification of their own doctrinal bias and corrupted theology.  Jesus rebuked the Jewish scribes and Pharisees, who demonstrated the same attitudes and behavior as these so-called ‘cult experts’:

 

·         Matthew 15:3, 7-9, “Tell me,” replied Jesus, “why do you break God’s commandment through your tradition?  7 You hypocrites!  Isaiah described you beautifully when he said: 8This people honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  9 But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of man They are blind guides, and when one blind man leads another blind man they will both fall into the ditch…Phillip’s New Testament

 

No one, not even Jesus himself can eternally condemn or judge another; this position is a right reserved only to God alone.  If Jesus did not judge men’s eternal souls, what inherent authority or ability do these so-called ‘Christian cult experts’ possess?  What makes them more capable than Jesus? 

 

Their attitudes are akin to that of their ancient counterparts, the scribes and Pharisees; like today’s cult expert, these religious Jewish leaders promulgated their own version of orthodoxy and tradition.  Of them, Jesus instructed his disciples saying, “Every plant which my Heavenly Father did not plant will be pulled up by the roots…Let them alone.  They are blind guides, and when one blind man leads another blind man they will both fall into the ditch!” (Matthew 15:13-14; Phillip’s New Testament).

 

 

You Shall Not Judge Others

 

 

When choosing a new church, what factor influences your decision the most?  This was a survey question for a recent Christian Publisher’s poll; below are the results from reader responses:

 

Doctrine/philosophy: 52%

Pastor/preaching: 16%

It just feels right: 11%

Worship style: 7%

Opportunities to serve: 4%

Friendliness: 4%

Ministries/programs for kids: 2%

Ministries/programs for adults: 1%

Location: 1%

Size: 0%

Time/number of services: 0%

 

Only 52% or one-half (½ ) of the Christians surveyed said that ‘doctrine’ was their primary motivation when selecting a new church. 

 

Cult experts use their own misguided, orthodox, manmade traditional church dogma as the official ‘criteria’ for making hurtful, mean-spirited determinations about who is or is not a cult.  “The essential doctrines are VITAL to one’s salvation” cult experts agree.  By “essential doctrines” I heard one of these so-called cult experts during a Christian television broadcast say that he has a ‘mathematical formula’ (e.g. add, subtract, divide, multiply) for believers to use when trying to verify who is or is not a cult.

 

A mathematical formula?  What happened to the “Spirit of God” leading us?  The SCRIPTURE says that our “spirit" bears witness with His to know who the children of God are, not some formula.

 

·         1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

·         1 John 3:18-19 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.  19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him New American Standard Bible - Updated Edition

 

Below are my best efforts (in paraphrase form) to recapitulate the illegitimate nature of the ‘ADD’ and the ‘SUBTRACT’ parts his ‘mathematical formula’ for branding others as a cult:

 

1.      ADD - Cults “ADD” to God’s word in Scripture with other divinely inspired writings.

 

2.      SUBTRACT - Cults ‘SUBTRACT’ from the “person of Jesus Christ” by “denying his Deity” as the “second person of God in the Trinity.”

 

To demonstrate how his formula is incorrect, this particular cult expert has ‘ADDED’ to the Scripture by inserting HIS OWN WORDS such as “the person of Jesus Christ” and “the Deity of Christ” and “the “second person of God in the Trinity.”  None of these terms or phrases appear anywhere in the scripture.  Next, he “SUBTRACTS” from the truth of who Jesus Christ REALLY should be identified as by failing to portray him as Scripture does; scripture teaches us that Jesus is:

 

1.      Jesus is the only begotten son of God

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

1.      Jesus is the son of man

Matthew 26:2  "You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified."

 

3.  Jesus is a man, not a “Deity, God, or person of God.”

1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony born at the proper time. New American Standard Bible

 

The Pharisees alleged that it was “essential” for Jesus’ disciples to first wash their hands before eating, or else they would become spiritually defiled, (instead of ‘defiled’ the cult experts today would say they lose their salvation, or they simply brand others as ‘cult’).

 

Matthew 15:18-20 “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.  19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20 These are the things which defile the man…”  New American Standard Bible

 

You will notice that Jesus did not mention anything about ‘wrong theology’ or ‘rejecting the Trinity’ or ‘denying the Deity of Christ’ as being the cause of spiritual defilement.  Instead, what he DOES place emphasis upon is the inspiration or source of our words, which is our heart.  Whatever words that come out of a person’s mouth stem from what is in his or her heart and mind; THESE are what really makes a person unclean. 

 

In Matthew 15:18, the original Greek word that is translated as ‘But the things that proceed out of the mouth’ is more accurately rendered to read, “But the origin of things that order one’s life come out of the mouth from the heart.”  In other words, Jesus is not describing the occasional slip of the tongue, or whatever rash words might be uttered in the heat of anger.  He is describing speech aimed at destroying the good name of others.  This is speech that slanders and bears false witness against others, which is an extension of whatever type of corrupted lifestyle that person’s heart is hell-bent on living.

 

 In the parable of the unfaithful steward, in Luke 19:22, Jesus said of the steward’s master, “By the words of your mouth you will be judged…”  This should be sufficient evidence that God does not need help from anyone, including so-called ‘cult experts’ to pass judgment on others, and decide who is and is not one of His children.  This is the servant who thought of his Master as a “hard man” so he treated others harshly.

 

Keep in mind that whatever words a person uses to judge others, will be the very same words that God the Father will bring to the forefront, when one day all mankind will stand before Him at the last great judgment.  It is not wrong to point out the error of false prophets, false teachers, and those who misuse the church; in fact, this is mandatory for the spiritual health of God’s flock.  However, if your correction turns into the bitter waters of criticism, you are no longer walking in love.

 

·         Proverbs 14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins against God, his fellowman, and himself, but happy blessed and fortunate is he who is kind and merciful to the poor. Amplified Bible

 

·         Proverbs 14:25 A truthful witness saves lives, but a deceitful witness speaks lies and endangers lives.  Amplified Bible

 

·         Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus said, “Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning.  Words are powerful; take them seriously.  37 Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation."  The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson 2002

 

The foremost of all God’s commandments (Mark 12:29-32) is violated whenever cult experts haphazardly condemn the name of Christ that He bestows upon His beloved church and slander His flock as cult’ and as ‘heretical’.  God the Father strongly forbids cult experts or anyone else from vilifying fellow sisters and brothers in Jesus with disparaging defamation.

 

Just because someone’s theology and Christology differs from your own does NOT give you the right to slander and bear false testimony against them.  Even IF these so called ‘Christian cult experts’ were theologically and christologically correct, which they aren’t, whatever correction given MUST be done in LOVE.  Their redundant use of orthodoxy and traditional church doctrines to expose the err of others illustrates the sinister motive behind whatever they say.

 

The true Christians are FORBIDDEN from name calling whatsoever, even if they have doctrinal disagreements with those whom they perceive as being their enemies.  Jesus commands us to LOVE even our enemies and to BLESS those who persecute and hurl abusive words at us. 

 

Even though the son of God had face-to-face confrontations with the wicked Jewish scribes, the Pharisees, and Sadducees, he didn’t call them names behind their backs.  Today’s Christian cult experts hide behind their radio broadcasts and use electronic cut-off switches to unplug knowledgeable Christians who are able to defend their doctrinal position and prove from Scripture that Jesus is not “God.”

 

·         Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard that it used to be said ‘You shall love thy neighbor and hate your enemy,’ 44 but I tell you, ‘Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,’ 45  so that you may be sons of your Heavenly Father.  For he makes his sun rise upon evil men as well as good, and he sends his rain upon honest and dishonest men alike.  46 For if you love only those who love you, what credit is that to you?  Even tax–collectors do that!  47 And if you exchange greetings only with your own circle, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do that much.  48 No, you will be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

Making broad brush inferences have very specific implications and are direct accusations and slander that say, “If you don’t believe in the Trinity, you are going to hell, because the Trinity is one of the ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES for salvation.”  Chapter and verse please?  You’re in deep doo-doo brother, and the best route for you is to repent, and seek God’s forgiveness, and do your utmost to make known the error of your ways to those whom you have harmed.

 

 

The Deity of Christ is FALSE DOCTRINE and NOT ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION

 

 

in reality the Father’s TRUE worshippers hold to the truth in love; they refuse to accept Roman Catholic Church paganism and polytheism (belief in plural gods) thru the Trinity doctrine (John 4:23-25). Those who allege that the ‘Deity of Christ’ (a term found nowhere in the Scripture) is an “essential salvation doctrine” are sorely misguided and deceived.  And what, pray tell, do they use as their “scriptural verification” for such a ludicrous concept that reduces the Creator into a human, mortal existence? 

 

Their backbone scripture verse is John 8:24; here, Jesus speaks to the Jewish Pharisees, ancient counterparts to the modern accusers (also known as cult experts), saying, “I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins ; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.”  This verse, they claim, is Jesus speaking as “Deity” or as “God in human form.”  They allege that in John 8:24, that the “God” part of Jesus is speaking as the great “I AM.”  Apparently, using their logic, the “man” part of Jesus remains silent sometimes, as he does in verse 24.

 

This is weird, because orthodox trinitarianism claims that Jesus, as “God the son” and “second Person of the Trinity” left His throne in heaven and then he “laid aside His Divine privileges” and “became a man in human flesh” for 33 ½ years.  Oh really?  I guess the “man” part of Jesus forgot, since the “Deity” part of Jesus is flawless. 

 

Let’s see if they’re correct by looking at a few verses in the surrounding context of John 8:24; in the very next verse, apparently the Jews did not understand Jesus to be making a claim to Deity.  In John 8:25, in response to what Jesus says in verse 24 the Jews ask Jesus, “Who are you?”  Now, if we follow the cult expert’s logic, Jesus has intentionally misled the Jews, for they have no clue whatsoever that Jesus just made the claim that he was their “God.” 

 

The reason WHY the Jews asked this question in reply, can be seen earlier in the context.  For example, in John 8:16, Jesus told them, “… the One who sent me is the Father.”  If the cult experts are correct, then Jesus has already told them that he is NOT supreme in authority BECAUSE his “Father” (i.e. God) SENT him! 

 

Jesus affirms this in verse 18, saying to the Jews, “I am he who bears witness of myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness of me.”   But perhaps most embarrassing of all to our Christian cult expert is what verse 27 says (below):

 

·         John 8:27 They {the Jews} did not realize that Jesus had been speaking to them about the Father.

 

This contradicts every other claim that the cult experts make by alleging Jesus is ‘God.’  The apostle John, who is known as the ‘disciple whom Jesus loved’ understood what he was saying!  John knew Jesus was describing ‘the Father’ and not his own “Deity.”  In my closing argument, I complete this article with the most compelling of all the MANY verses in John 8:1-58 that PROVE Jesus is not ‘God’ but rather, a ‘man.’

 

This final proof is found in the text of John 8:39-40 below; here Jesus makes a strong statement to the Pharisees who claim in John 8:39a, that "Abraham is our father."  In John 8:39b-40 Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham.

 

John 8:39b-40 Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham's children, do the deeds of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.”

 

Jesus is a MAN who told the truth, which he heard from “God,” therefore, he cannot BE “God.”

 

SELAH… pause & think about it J

 

 


 

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