I’m not a huge fan of using the word “cult” to describe religions one considers heretical, for reasons similar to those outlined by Roger E. Olson. I’m even less of a fan of people calling the New Church a cult. I’ve talked to a number of people in my congregation who have been deeply hurt by people accusing them of belonging to a cult, an accusation that seems to come along with the contempt and fear that’s usually associated with that word.
Doug Webber has a good blog post up today addressing the “cult” accusations found scattered around the internet, which often include half-truths and complete misrepresentations of Swedenborgian doctrine.
I particularly like the way he addresses the statement on one website that the New Church teaches that “all religions lead to God”:
Yes and no. First, it must be understood that Jesus Christ is the Divine Truth in human form. There are many other religions that contains aspects of this Divine Truth; followers just do not know God has appeared in human form. Another way said: there are many truths that lead to God, but among all religions there is one Love. Loving others is what makes all religions common. There is one religion, however, which leads people away from heaven, and that is Arianism, the modern form of which is the Jehovah’s Witnesses, for they deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Islam is different, because they have no knowledge of the Word. I may have to devote a separate blog for this item. It is from God’s Divine Providence that He will put bread crumbs here and there in this forest of darkness to lead us back to Him.
The whole post is worth reading.