The term “cult” has been misunderstood because of the association of tragic or violent “cultic” events that have transpired over time. It has been perpetuated as a group of deranged people who are misled by a religious belief. If we believe something without investigating the truth, we put ourselves in danger of believing a lie or missing out on the greatest move of God.
In order to better understand the context of the word “cult,” we must first look at its definition. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines a cult as a group with unorthodox beliefs; a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work; a group/sect bound together by veneration of the same thing/person/ideal.
Cult: a group of people with unorthodox beliefs; a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work; a group/sect bound together by veneration of the same thing/person/ideal.
Based on the definition, we can arrive at the conclusion that a cult is nothing more than a group of people that have the same religious belief or conviction. It does not have a negative connotation that a majority have come to believe. However, what transpires in a cult will determine whether it is part of the kingdom of Heaven or not.
That being said, we can safely conclude that Jesus was a cult leader—for the kingdom of Heaven! He had a small group of disciples that followed in His footsteps and were bound together by His teachings. Jesus had unorthodox beliefs! He proclaimed to be the Son of God that would sit on the right hand of God (Matthew 26:64). His teachings were not of man, but of God. Jesus preached a hard truth. He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Further, in Luke 14:26, He said “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” If we don’t put Him first above our family and even our own life, we cannot be His disciple.
Today we have well over 33,000 different denominations of Christianity, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia. One may wonder who is really teaching the truth that the early church taught and fought for? These are teachings of the Ante-Nicene period, the period following the apostolic age of the 1st century and prior to 325 AD, after which paganism began creeping into churches to dilute the Gospel. Many in the church today are preaching a message that is contrary to the teachings of the early church. These messages do not have the power to transform our souls or bring us back to the image of the Father that we were created in (Genesis 1:26-27). Many of the teachings of Christ were handed down from the Apostles to their disciples who carried forth these apostolic teachings. Most of them were martyred for their faith. Praise God that these teachings are available to us today. It is the teaching of truth that will set us free (John 8:32) from bondage to sin (ignorance of the truth or God’s divine nature).
Jesus warns His disciples in Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.”
Without the knowledge of truth, one will not be able to discern between a true or false prophet. Jesus says you will know them by their fruits. Scripture tells us there are twelve fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, righteousness, truth, and praise (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; Hebrews 13:15). One must not be fooled by miracles, signs, and wonders, but look at the doctrine that is being taught. Does it line up with the early church fathers and/or the spirit of prophecy?
One must not be fooled by miracles, signs, and wonders, but look at the doctrine that is being taught. Does it line up with the early church fathers and/or the spirit of prophecy?
Jesus says not everyone who calls Him “Lord, Lord,” and who prophesies, drive out demons, and perform many miracles in His name shall enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-23). If the doctrine that is being taught does not bring an inner transformation of our soul, then we may have to question whether or not we are sitting under a revelatory ministry. It is the revelation or apocalypse of Christ that will bring complete healing and deliverance to our fallen nature (soul), if we choose to believe and walk out our faith. Our mind must first be renewed (Romans 12:2) by these revelations of divine truth that God reveals or communicates to us. Once we receive these revelations and walk them out in our daily lives, we will begin to see an inner transformation of our soul bringing forth the fruits of His nature. We must daily entreat the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, to give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of our understanding be enlightened and that we may know what is the hope of His calling (Ephesians 1:17-18).