- Members swear total allegiance to an all-powerful leader who they believe to be the Messiah.
- Rational thought is discouraged or forbidden.
- The cult’s recruitment techniques are often deceptive.
- The cult weakens the follower psychologically by making him or her depend upon the group to solve his or her problems.
- The cults manipulate guilt to their advantage.
- The cult leader makes all the career and life decision of the members.
- Cults exist only for their own material survival and make false promises to work to improve society.
- Cult members often work fulltime for the group for little or no pay.
- Cult members are isolated from the outside world and any reality testing it could provide.
- Cults are antiwoman, antichild, and antifamily.
- Cults are apocalyptic and believe themselves to be the remnant who will survive the soon-approaching end of the world.
- Many cults follow an “ends justify the means” philosophy.
- Cults, particularly in regard to their finances, are shrouded in secrecy.
- There is frequently an aura of or potential for violence around cults.
They Deify Man
Teaching that man may become god, or is a part of god. Man needs to be a part of a certain group or church to learn new revelation or knowledge to progress to godhood. Someone, usually the leader will say they are god or have the Christ spirit in a greater way. That they are commissioned or appointed to be the leader by god.
The Humanize God
some groups deny that god is eternal. some believe in many gods, or that all is god (pantheism). other groups such as jehovah’s witnesses teach that god’s nature or state of being must be understood and reasonable to be true. in other words, if finite man cannot understand something about god then it is not true. this technique subtly elevates man’s mental ability to that of god.
They Minimize or Eliminate Sin
the biblical concept of sin is not taught, or is completely eliminated by some groups. this is seen in Christian science, mind science, religious science, and new age groups. meanings that are biblical are changed to their own personal interpretations that are not related to the context or original intent of the author..
The Minimize the Importance of the Bible
Most organized heresies (cults) use “anointed” information, books, magazines or scriptures. these are believed to be just as or more important than the bible. they are indispensable in understanding the bible. Some groups strongly discourage their members from reading the bible alone, and some do not believe the bible is the word of god alone. Others use the bible with their own unique interpretation unknown ever in the church history or align themselves with what was considered heresy.
They Have a Different Way of Salvation
Many organized heresies teach a “grace plus works” salvation. Many teach that ma
They Have a Different Jesus
Virtually all organized heresies deny the deity of Jesus Christ, they teach that Jesus is not the true god manifest in human form but something less, such as a created being, an angel, a prophet, an ascended master or just “a god” (secondary). Some teach we too can be the very same as Jesus. In this way they change the clear teaching of the bible of him being the unique (only begotten) son of god.
They Have a Different Spirit
Most organized heresies teach that the Holy Spirit is not God but an impersonal force or energy that emanates from god to perform certain functions, much like the energy flowing from a battery to start a car. Some teach that it permeates everything and we can breathe it in. Practices of spiritism including visits by spirit beings are common in the new age and they have counterfeit miracles to validate themselves.
They Believe They Are the Only True Church
The one mark of an organized heresy that is the most common is their claim to be the only group or church ordained by god. They alone speak for god on earth today. God directs only their organization, or church. This is done either through a leader who has all the say or a group. If anyone comes to you claiming they represent the only true church of Christ or god, and deny that anyone else outside themselves can be part, you can be sure that they are not from god. All Christian churches will recognize others that hold the same core teachings that they do, that were always part of the historic Christian faith.