NLQ Question of the Week: Are Many Fundamentalist Churches Cults?

NLQ Question of the Week: Are Many Fundamentalist Churches Cults? July 7, 2016

QuestionoftheweekThis is a new series we have started running on Thursdays. Examining some of the questions involving long held Quiverfull theology and life.

We have to talk about the ‘C’ word today: Cults. Is it possible for a Christian church to morph into a cult?

Reading through Faithful Word Baptist pastor Steven Anderson’s blog posting about Reverend Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple who lead his flock into mass suicide leads me to ask how does Jones Peoples Temple stack up as a cult against many fundamentalist Christian churches? Anderson had this to say:

People often accuse fundamental Baptists of being a “cult” or “like Jim Jones.” Jim Jones was actually a communist liberal, not a fundamentalist Christian.

…and this…

Don’t assume a church is a cult just because people tend to rub off on those around them. This is human nature. It’s just like at your job when a lot of the men start growing beards at once or when your wife suddenly wanted to buy a maxi skirt with a chevron print. People are influenced by trends and get ideas from whoever they hang around. If you attend a good soul-winning church, then chances are your pastor has some practical wisdom about life, and some of the members just might decide to adopt some of his preferences. If that’s you, don’t make your church seem like a cult by “majoring on the minors.” If another family chooses to do some things differently, that’s perfectly fine, and nobody should confront them about those differences.

Anderson may have the Bible memorized to the nth degree, but he lacks the ability to construct an effective persuasive factual appeal. What does Websters say about the definition of a cult?

Simple Definition of cult

  • : a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous

  • : a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much

  • : a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

Seems by the very definition of a ‘cult’ that many small churches loosely affiliated or independent of greater organizational oversight can be termed ‘cults’. What do you think?

If you find yourself wondering if your church is a cult then it probably is. Just don’t drink the koolaid or move to an isolated compound.

moreRead more about Christian cults:

The Language of Cults, Duggars and Quiverfull


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