“But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.” Act 28:22.
The early morning church was no stranger to persecutions and slanders. It has been the common lot of the followers of Jesus Christ to be spoken against. “There is nothing new under the sun.” If you are indeed a child of God, you need expect no less in this generation. Jesus faithfully forewarned us: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
1 John 3:13. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18.
Not being above our Master, God’s true church in this day should not marvel when it is spoken against as some heretical sect, or, to use the verbiage of our day, cult.
We have self-acclaimed “cult experts” who, having no concept of the New Testament church, run about measuring by the mishmash of mainstream religion (thinking it the standard of Christian orthodoxy), rather than the Word of God, and come running with a ready shout of “Cult! Cult!” for that which deviates from the ecumenical flow. Hence, they only prove their unfamiliarity with the scriptures and confirm their spiritual blindness.
Oh, the irony of it all–while these “cult masters” think themselves defenders of the faith and protectors of orthodoxy, the very arguments they use incriminate the early morning church as being a cult! What, the New Testament church, a cult? Well, according to some of the common “marks of a cult” by professed experts, it is amazing how it fits the criterion. Let us consider a few.
Cults are little groups that have split off.
Jesus was presumed a rebel that split off of the established religion of His day. Paul split off from the Pharisees. Luther split off from the unbiblical Catholic sect. Are we to believe these were cultic actions? We all know better than that.
If someone were to leave a denomination after learning that their practices were unbiblical and then join with a body of believers whose practices were biblical, does this “split off” make them now a cult member? If so, the apostles never should have left traditional Judaism.
Furthermore, why does the Bible instruct those who find themselves where there is a mixture of light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness (this description fits denominationalism), to “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Cor. 6:17. “Little groups” through the course of church history have obeyed these biblical injunctions to “split off.” Rev. 18:4 also declares that God’s true people must come out (split off) of such places or be in spiritual danger of His judgments if they stay.
To say that cults are little groups that have split off is a sweeping statement which could label many groups or individuals.
And let us remember that Jesus Himself said that many would go in the broad way to destruction, while there would be few that find the narrow way which leads to life. In Luke 12:32, He refers to His people as a little flock.
Cults deviate from orthodox Christianity (Mainstream Christianity).
There is a problem here. I realize that “mainstream Christianity” is popular, but orthodox? Compare it to the New Testament church of the scriptures. It bears no resemblance. The divisions in the body that the Bible condemns, they promote, thus scattering the flock of the Lord who He prayed would be one. And not only one in their physical gatherings, but one in doctrine, faith, all speaking the same thing and of the same mind (1 Cor. 1:10).
People today have no vision of the biblical church. It is foreign to them. Hence, how can they judge what is orthodoxy? Just because the majority are blinded by sectism does not make them right or the measure to go by. An honest and careful reading of the scriptures will prove that it is actually “mainstream Christianity” that has deviated from orthodox Christianity!
Consider also that Jesus and His disciples were deemed a deviation from the accepted religious norm of their time.
Cults control and manipulate their people.
That the experience of a Christian is inward and heartfelt, we do not at all contest. It is indeed an inward experience that grants the soul new life and power over sin, but these truths will in no wise negate our argument.
The rock and rap musicians of our age are consistent with their profession. Not only do they profess to be something, but they look like what they are. Take the young man with the sleeveless shirt and baggy shorts who loves the game of basketball. Not only does he love it in his heart, but he is consistent with that affection and appears the part of a basketball player. Then we have the country music singer who appears to be exactly what he is.
All of these that we have mentioned have strong merit to the claims of what they are. Now we come to the professed Christian world, and what contradiction greets our eyes. The so-called “Jesus people” look like the “rap people.” The “Jesus lovers” look like the “rock lovers.” We do not seek to offend any child of God whatsoever, but may this simply awaken your better judgment. Let me put it this way. If I were a soldier in the US Army and constantly affirmed my love for my country, would I not be suspect if I wore the uniform of another country? Who would trust me? My contradiction of dress would discredit my claims.
May every true Christian see this clearly. The professed Christian world, generally, cannot win the world today because they are the world. They are involved in all that the world is involved in, and not only so, but they look like the world also. We do not say that the way we dress makes us Christians, but by virtue of being Christians, we will look like Christians.
We cannot win the world by conforming to it. We know that Paul said he became all things to all men, but this same Paul told us not to be conformed to this world. Paul would have lawfully and scripturally gone as far as he could to help people. If we do more than this, we are operating in our own minds and this brings tragedy, not salvation. The professed Christian world has conformed so well to the secular world that there is nothing to win people to. This is a fact. If our Jesus parties, raps, rocks, square dances, dresses in Tommy Hilfiger clothing, and leaves people with no definite soul transformation that gives them power over sin, what do we really have to offer? May every true Christian rally to these clear truths.
Does Jesus really care that much about our outward appearance? Yes, insomuch that the scriptures teach us how to dress and how not to dress (I Pet. 3:3-5, I Tim.2:9-10). If you had disciples whom you commanded to represent yourself to the world, how would you want them to represent you? Would you not want them to represent you according to who you really were? If you were a cowboy, would you want your disciples to look like rappers? Would the president of the United States send people with pink hair and shorts on across the seas for peace talks?
How much more would the holy and perfectly pure God of heaven not send His people forth in this way. God is not a compromiser. He’s not in the business of bending and bowing to the world. He rightfully demands our obedience to His rules for our own good. In ourselves we do not know how to win the world, but Christ does. Worldly men will get tired of the world and all it has to offer. God forbid that professing Christians offer these weary souls the exact thing that they are weary of. May God help us.
Of course there will always be those religious people who hate the truths that we here present. Such may discard all this as “nonsense,” but the true child of God will be concerned about the desires of Christ. Outward appearance is very important. To dress like a Christian doesn’t make one a Christian, but this is hardly an excuse not to dress like one.
Do you look like a Christian?