5 Signs You Are In A Cult Being Called A Church

5 Signs You Are In A Cult Being Called A Church March 24, 2016

Here are five signs that you are in a cult and not the true church of Jesus Christ.

Deviant Behavior and Teachings

The definition of a cult and a true church of Jesus Christ are nearly opposites of one another. A cult can have deviant behavior and doctrinal practices that are radically different from the mainstream church. Their beliefs and practices are problematic when contrasted and compared with the first century church and many churches today. The word “cult” comes from the Latin word “cultus” which means “inhabited, cultivated,” or “worshiped” and stems from the word “culture” itself. A cult holds to unorthodox and esoteric beliefs and typically those in a cult have a devotion to a person or a set of new ideas that are much different from following the local church leadership or their teachings. They usually claim themselves as the one true church but they are often isolationists and very controlling of members. Some who have come out of cults have said that they were brainwashed, threatened, and even held against their will when trying to leave. Cults are all around us and here are five signs you might be in a cult or know someone who is in one in order that you might steer clear of them or warn those who are in one.

New Teachings

I can’t even count the number of people from cults who have stated that they received new revelation from God or that God has shown them a new doctrine, even though this is contrary to what the Bible teaches that we are “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) not for the faith that is still being delivered. One man told me that “God spoke to me and wanted me to tell you that you’re not a pastor but a prophet” to which I should have said “God spoke to me too…through His written Word to stay away from you.” If God wanted to speak to me, why would He use a 3rd party to do it? God does still speak to us today but it’s not through new revelations or new truths that people say that they have received from God but the truth that’s already been given through Jesus Christ and the Word of God. The Book of Jude is about apostasy and he wrote that “you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” that “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions” (Jude 1:17-18) and that day has come.


False Teachings

There are serious problems with cults today because they are polluting the faith once delivered and delivering their own manmade doctrines but these are really doctrines of the Devil and what they teach is not the way of salvation but the way of man. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth by telling them that “if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (2nd Cor 11:4) and to the Galatians, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:6-8).


As I wrote earlier, cults often control their members and keep them prisoners by use of threats, coercion, or by force (in some cases). Cults or the cult leader demands absolute, total control of everything and tells any members who disagree with them that they are destined to hell if they don’t follow what the leader says. This control extends to every single member of the cult and sometimes this domination comes through fear, threatening the loss of salvation if you leave the group, and even physical threats. There indoctrination is often a type of brainwashing, and often, every single aspect of the cult member’s lives are monitored and often called into question. There is a loss of privacy, free thought or expression of beliefs, and some would even describe it as living in a communal or compound. Few are let in and few escape. Make no mistake about it; Satan has his own churches.


Many of the cults that I have studied have many things in common. One of those is that they seek to isolate the cult members from the rest of the world and particularly from other churches. They also want to make them dependent upon the cult or the cult’s leader for everything they need. They can use guilt, threats, intimidation, and use psychological, emotional, and intellectual to get across their despicable agenda. Some cult members are asked to do things that are contrary to the law and so one sign of being in a cult is that they are sometimes asked to do things that violate their own consciences and are contrary to biblical teachings that we must live in obedience to the laws of man (Rom 13:1-5).


If you know of anyone that’s in a cult, you must warn them to flee because there is no salvation in a false gospel that doesn’t fully depend upon the free gift of God for salvation (Eph 2:8). Some cults teach that we are to observe the holy days and to keep the Sabbath which the Old Testament always directs to “the children of Israel” or “To you O Israel.” These teachings can include observance of Old Testament laws like clean and unclean foods, circumcision, keeping certain holy days of the Jews or the seventh-day Sabbath but these are actually legalists much like the Pharisees who saw the Old Testament law keeping as the only way to be saved even though the Bible teaches just the opposite (Eph 2:9).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    LOL! You are all cults Simple Jack! Every single one of you makes mutually exclusive claims on the nature of reality. Every single one “claims” to possess the ultimate truth, worship the one and only “god” and they all hold that they alone have the keys to the mysteries of the universe! All of them! But of course yours is the only right one huh? PROVE IT!

    Any group that reveres HUMAN SACRIFICE is a cult. Any group that performs nonsensical voodoo ritual is a cult. Any group that claims relationships with invisible beings is a cult. Any group that forsakes KNOWLEDGE, REASON and EVIDENCE in favor of absurd “belief” is a cult. Any group that indoctrinates children into their ideology is a cult. Any group that blindly follows an ancient book is a cult. Any group that preaches hell fire and eternal torture for non conformity is a cult. You are a cult Simple Jack. PROVE that you are not.

    “Many of the cults that I have studied have many things in common. One of those is that they seek to isolate the cult members from the rest of the world and particularly from other churches. They also want to make them dependent upon the cult or the cult’s leader for everything they need. They can use guilt, threats, intimidation, and use psychological, emotional, and intellectual to get across their despicable agenda. ”

    You are guilty of EVERYTHING in your own list! There isn’t a single essay you write that doesn’t contain an explicit THREAT. Join the cult today! Tomorrow will be too late! Repent! Accept jesus! Give money! Are you insane?

    • John C. Thomas Sr.

      We true believers never said anything about giving money. However when one goes to work for someone, do they not expect to get paid? Jesus in His word said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Jesus said, in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except by me.” In Romans it says two things. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through JESUS CHRIST our LORD!” Yes we are to support our pastor, But that is not the issue here, The issue is salvation! So REPENT and BELIEVE on JESUS CHRIST as your PERSONAL LORD and SAVIOR! PRAISE THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS!!!!!!

  • MystiqueLady

    Isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black?

  • Richard Mohr

    Well, there’s a problem here.

    If your particular interpretation of what the New Testament teaches is your starting point, everyone that differs with you is wrong by definition. Yet, we have people that are teaching things that the ancient Church did not believe and they regard themselves as correct. The ancient Church ought to be the starting point, not some recent re-thinking of things. There are plenty of writings dated not so long after the New Testament that give us a good idea of ancient faith and practice.

    For example, the doctrine of eternal security, a relatively new idea, was logically derived from the concept that salvation is by faith alone, as defined by the Reformers, people that broke with Rome. Rome had come up with some novel doctrines, some due to Augustine (someone that influenced Martin Luther), that the Eastern Orthodox did not believe then and do not now.

    Eternal security is something of a deviation, isn’t it? In fact, it’s a deviation with roots in a deviation.

    It seems one thing that is going on with defining “cult” is no one includes themselves as a member or a leader of a cult. Would you say that Pastor Steven Anderson is a cult leader if he teachers the above concept? He and his flock would deny this but if we compare what he teaches with what we know the ancient Church taught, it doesn’t match. That’s a problem, isn’t it?

    • John C. Thomas Sr.

      Eternal security or OSAS is true. Let me ask you this, Do you really believe in someone who cannot or will not keep you saved! I am a born again believer in Jesus Christ, Washed in the blood of the Lamb. If this in your eyes makes me a part of a cult, than so be it! to reject OSAS is to say that God is not able to save us! But that is not true. Forget tradition, JESUS always, JESUS only. PRAISE THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS!!!!!!!

      • Susan Jane Elohim

        Here’s gotquestion.org on it:

        Is once saved, always saved biblical?

        Answer: Once a person is saved are they always saved? Yes, when people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation as eternally secure. To be clear, salvation is more than saying a prayer or “making a decision” for Christ; salvation is a sovereign act of God whereby an unregenerate sinner is washed, renewed, and born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). When salvation occurs, God gives the forgiven sinner a new heart and puts a new spirit within him (Ezekiel 36:26). The Spirit will cause the saved person to walk in obedience to God’s Word (Ezekiel 36:26–27; James 2:26). Numerous passages of Scripture declare the fact that, as an act of God, salvation is secure:

        a) Romans 8:30 declares, “And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” This verse tells us that from the moment God chooses us, it is as if we are glorified in His presence in heaven. There is nothing that can prevent a believer from one day being glorified because God has already purposed it in heaven. Once a person is justified, his salvation is guaranteed—he is as secure as if he is already glorified in heaven.

        (b) Paul asks two crucial questions in Romans 8:33-34 “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? No one will, because Christ is our advocate. Who will condemn us? No one will, because Christ, the One who died for us, is the one who condemns. We have both the advocate and judge as our Savior.

        (c) Believers are born again (regenerated) when they believe (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). For a Christian to lose his salvation, he would have to be un-regenerated. The Bible gives no evidence that the new birth can be taken away.

        (d) The Holy Spirit indwells all believers (John 14:17; Romans 8:9) and baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). For a believer to become unsaved, he would have to be “un-indwelt” and detached from the Body of Christ.

        (e) John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never “eternal” at all. Hence, if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

        (f) In a conclusive argument, Scripture says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39). Remember the same God who saved you is the same God who will keep you. Once we are saved, we are always saved. Our salvation is most definitely eternally secure! -end quote

        But the doctrine of eternal torment is unbiblical. The wages of sin is death not hell. There are some key word mistranslations in the bible passed down from the translator of the Vulgate version of the Bible causing the hell confusion. There is a Lake of Fire for purification for people who did not receive Jesus. Unfortunately this doctrinal error was enshrined and passed down and is hard to correct these days.

      • Jack Wellman

        Spot on Mr. Thomas. God has no aborted children. Security is embedded within salvation (John11:27-29). Cult or not (and it’s not), I’m all in. Eternity is a long, long time to be wrong.

      • Richard Mohr

        There are a number of internet sites that argue that “eternal security” is a false doctrine. It is a recently created “tradition” that some Protestant groups teach. However, it is false. The ancient Scriptures are used to support it and the so-called “Rapture” but that doesn’t make them true doctrines.

        You might take a look at the following site. I’ve quoted an excerpt.

        The Orthodox Teaching on Personal Salvation / Православие.Ru
        http://www.pravoslavie.ru/46463.html :

        The Scripture does say that it is possible for someone,
        after he has believed, to fall away from faith and lose
        his salvation: “For if after they have escaped the
        pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord
        and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled
        therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them
        than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to
        have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have
        known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto
        them” (2 Peter 2:20-21). This is the reason why the
        Church never glorifies any living person as a Saint.

        I also suggest that you go to the following site. It belongs to the church that I belong to, St. Barnabas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Costa Mesa, California. Almost all the adults at St. Barnabas are converts from the Protestant world.

        For Evangelicals – St. Barnabas Orthodox Church

        Tell me – do you regard communion as a memorial only? If so, you are contradicting our Lord when He said in John 6 that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood. All the ancient churches teach the Eucharist. If your group does not believe what Jesus taught – what then?

        Start attending an Eastern Orthodox church. See what we do and hear what we believe. Don’t believe what non-Orthodox people say about us.

      • Richard Mohr

        Here’s another useful site.
        Eternal Security – No Other Foundation – Ancient Faith Blogs


        • John C. Thomas Sr.

          You are a known trouble maker so I will not argue with you and your lies! We true believers are warned about people like you! There fore I will no longer respond to your lies or you! Some day soon unless you repent and believe, Truly believe, You along with your arguementative ways will end up in hell, then the lake fire for ever! So PLEASE REPENT and BELIEVE on JESUS CHRIST as your personal LORD and SAVIOR, before it is too late! I will no longer respond to your posts! PRAISE THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS!!!!!!!

          • Richard Mohr

            I wasn’t aware that I am “a known trouble maker” as you put it. Is there a group of people that regard me as that?

            Who were the goats that Jesus referred to? They are people that claim to be Christians, true?

            Eastern Orthodoxy teaches that salvation isn’t just not going to Hell. It’s an unending process of becoming like God. To reduce salvation to a contract of some kind is mistaken. We can walk away from our Lord, just like Judas did.

            Tell me – what do you think of people that “praise the holy name of Jesus” and believe on Him but do not believe what you teach in your Bible studies, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons or Oneness Pentecostals? What is their ultimate destination?

  • Susan Jane Elohim

    God’s LOVE never fails.

    See Psalms 118 and 136 on it.

    Walk in God’s love today, people. Today and every day.

    Not in other people’s controversies.

    God can empower you to do that if you trust in Him.