There have been a few times that I’ve found myself in a pew on an ordinary Sunday, visiting a church for the first time, listening to a teacher’s new revelation or interpretation of a Scripture I’ve heard a thousand times before. That’s interesting, I’ve never thought about it that way… wait a second…
Most of us are pretty considerate; we hear out the opinions of others, but when it comes to Scripture, it’s time to get vigilant. When wonky theology creeps in, the red flags go up, Bibles open, and we compare what we’ve just heard to the Truth. But how can a Bible-believing church go wrong?
Did you know there are “Christian cults” out there? They may use the same or slightly altered Bible as orthodox Christianity, but they get away with it! Have they lost their marbles? Do we blame demonic influence? Is it just plain misinformation?
James Sire writes about how Scripture is twisted in his book 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible. Let’s look at some of the ways this happens so you can look out for it too!
- Inaccurate Quotation: verses taken out of context, not quoted from a standard translation, or wrongly attributed
- Twisted Translation: translated with poor research or unsound scholarship to fit a man-made idea
- Biblical Hook: Scripture quoted and then followed by unbiblical teaching. The truth of the teaching is overlooked because of the value of the Scripture quoted.
- Collapsing Contexts: two or more seemingly related verses that have nothing to do with each other in their proper contexts.
- Overspecification: when extra-biblical information is used to draw conclusions from Scripture
What Makes a Cult?
This “What is a Cult?” eChart was written by cults expert and former co-host of “Bible Answer Man” radio program, Dr. Ron Rhodes. This fact sheet gives quick answers for Christians to these questions:
- What is a cult? How is it different from a religion?
- What are the central beliefs of Christianity?
- What are some of the most common cults of Christianity.
- 3 Christian beliefs that most cult groups reject.
- Scripture verses about the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and salvation.
Dr. Ron Rhodes is the president and founder of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. This free Bible chart is from his pamphlet Ten Keys to Witnessing to the Cults.
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