False Religion vs. Cult as compared to Biblical Born-Again Christianity

Berean Girl

Princess of King Jesus
Guys, in the hope of trying to provide clarification as to what constitutes religion and whether it is false or a cult, I am providing definitions of the terms below along with all those movements which are cultic in nature.

Currently, the "world" says that there are 3 main religions or monotheistic faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all of which have Abrahamic and Mosaic ancestry.

I would have to disagree with the world's placement of Islam in this category as they do not worship the God of the Bible nor do they recognize Jesus Christ as His Son and Messiah and Savior, neither do they acknowledge that Jesus is God and they also deny His Work He did on this earth and His Crucifixion and Resurrection. While they tend to use the Koran and it makes references to certain personages of the Old Testament, the histories have been misrepresented at best. They also have a skewered view of the 2nd Advent, and upon close examination, their coming "messiah" -- most Christians believe -- is actually or possibly the antichrist. As such, Islam is a false religion and I would even say it is a cult, as you will see from the definition below, as this "religion" stems from a pagan source of moon-god worship and was cleaned up to be more palatable to the followers of this faith. The tactics of fear and intimidation they use to keep people prisoners in that religion is at the point of death.

As for Judaism, I would venture to say at this time that it is a false religion -- as I would say Catholicism is false -- because they do not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ from a Bible-only authority and also have added many manmade traditions and extraneous beliefs to God's Word as delivered by the Holy Spirit and also subscribe to faith + works. This would also include protestantism if it doesn't preach the born-again Gospel. These religions preach "another gospel", "another jesus" and "another way to salvation" and "faith + works/hardly any grace".

While Christianity has its roots in Judaism, in the sense that our heritage stems from that faith, as you know from history, there was a schism in the early Christian church, with half of the converts going along with Peter and the Gentiles going along with Paul. Jesus said there there is neither Jew nor Gentile, only those who are born-again and have been adopted into God's family.

Messianic Jews today would be similar to the early followers under Peter's tutelage and born-again gentiles and anyone else would be similar to those who were under Paul's tutelage.

Judaism, as it stands today, has many different factions and each with their own beliefs and doctrines. While they all hold in regard the Torah, some are more orthodox in their beliefs and lifestyles while others are more liberal, and this mirrors what has happened in Christianity, with the religious "christians" vs. born-again Christians.

The Jews have also added onto the Word of God with the Talmud and rabbinic sayings and teachings and some have even consulted with the Kabbalistic teachings which are mysticism and verboten.

While I admire the Orthodox Jews for wanting to follow God and living their lives to serve Him, albeit works salvation in addition to the grace which they do not receive as they do not receive Jesus, and we are currently in the dispensation of Grace, in this sense they are believing in another path to salvation outside of Jesus the Messiah, and according to Scriptures, the only way to obtain eternal life is through the Messiah.

Jesus plainly said that if one were not born-again of the Holy Spirit, they cannot see the Kingdom of Heaven. This is a very black and white statement with no room for variation. We, as born-again believers, stand upon this doctrine essential to salvation and the Biblical Christian faith.

The following information is provided by www.watchman.org:

Index of Cults and Religions

The Watchman Expositor's annual Index now includes world religions. We included Christianity (with related doctrines) to provide what we hope our readers see as a positive contrast with the other religions listed. Readers should be able to look up brief descriptions of Christian beliefs along with non-Christian ones. We want to contrast the hundreds of alternative religions with what we believe is truth.

How To Use This Index

Begin your search by clicking on the highlighted letter on the left that is the first letter of the term for which you are searching (or, if your browser will do so, perform a word search for the term). If the term is listed, it will be followed by a brief definition. Most of these definitions contain highlighted words that are linked to the definitions for those words; clicking on the highlighted word will take you directly to that definition.

Jump to Index


Annually Watchman Fellowship publishes an index issue of the Watchman Expositor. The 1998-99 Index contains brief definitions, descriptions or cross references on over 1,200 religious organizations and beliefs. This year's index is expanded to include world religions (including Christianity) and related doctrines. Watchman Fellowship is a Christian apologetics and discernment ministry. Thus, many references ("Jesus," "Gospel," "Christianity," etc.) contain definitions that reflect the beliefs of Watchman's staff. While Watchman Fellowship does not hold to the beliefs of non-Christian religions and doctrines, we also attempt to describe these beliefs factually, fairly and accurately.

This is by no means a complete list of cults and religions. Watchman Fellowship maintains over 10,000 files and a research library of over 25,000 books and periodicals on religions, cults, new religious movements and related teachings. The scope of material is admittedly and unavoidably arbitrary. To some degree, information is included based on the amount of questions received on a subject. Some of the doctrine and practices included are somewhat controversial within Christianity. In most cases these subjects were included because we have received a great number of questions or requests for information on the topic. It should not be assumed that the inclusion of a group or doctrine means that Watchman Fellowship necessarily disagrees with, or is critical of it. Likewise, the absence of a doctrine or group should not be considered as an endorsement.

Finally, readers should know that a work of this scope is, by nature, incomplete and prone to errors. Readers can help by suggesting corrections (typographical or factual). Also appreciated are suggestions for additional groups (with supporting documentation for our files). And, of course, donations to help make this ministry possible are always appreciated. We rely heavily on the prayers and voluntary investments made by readers like you who believe Watchman Fellowship provides needed resources, information and outreach.

Some Definitions

By using the terms "cult," "occult," and "New Age," Watchman Fellowship is in no way implying that the followers or leaders are necessarily evil or immoral people. It simply means that such groups seem to promote doctrine or practices which may be considered outside the realm of historic Christianity.


By its primary dictionary definition, the term cult just means a system of religious beliefs or rituals. It is based on a farming term in Latin meaning cultivation. Sociologists and anthropologists sometimes use the term cult to describe religious structure or belief patterns with meanings (usually non-pejorative) unique to their disciplines. In modern usage, the term cult is often used by the general public to describe any religious group they view as strange or dangerous. Thus, cult can describe religious leaders or organizations that employ abusive, manipulative, or illegal control over their followers' lives. In addition to these usages, Christians generally have a doctrinal component to their use of the word. Cult in this sense, is a counterfeit or serious deviation from the doctrines of classical Christianity. Watchman Fellowship usually uses the term cult with a Christian or doctrinal definition in mind. In most cases the group claims to be Christian, but because of their aberrant beliefs on central doctrines of the faith (God, Jesus, and salvation), the organization is not considered by Watchman Fellowship to be part of orthodox, biblical Christianity. A Profile is available.


The term, "occult" comes from the Latin occultus or "hidden." Generally the word is used of secret or mysterious supernatural powers or magical, religious rituals. The word "occult" in this publication is used to describe any attempt to gain supernatural power or knowledge apart from the God of the Bible. Generally it refers to witchcraft, satanism, neo-paganism, or various forms of Psychic discernment (astrology, seances, palm reading, etc.).

New Age

New Age is a recent and developing belief system in North America encompassing thousands of autonomous (and sometime contradictory) beliefs, organizations, and events. Generally the New Age borrows its theology from pantheistic Eastern religions and its practices from 19th century Western occultism. The term "New Age" is used herein as an umbrella term to describe organizations which seem to exhibit one or more of the following beliefs: (1) All is one, all reality is part of the whole; (2) Everything is God and God is everything; (3) Man is God or a part of God; (4) Man never dies, but continues to live through reincarnation; (5) Man can create his own reality and/or values through transformed consciousness or altered states of consciousness. A Profile is available.

Here is what they state about Judaism:

Judaism: World religion that traces its origins to God's call to Abram (Abraham) to be the father of a great people who would inherit the land of Canaan and be the means of blessing to all mankind (Genesis 12). That people is identified as the children of Abraham's grandson Jacob, who was renamed Israel. The foundation of Judaism is the Torah (Genesis through Deuteronomy), which tells of the Israelites' bondage in Egypt, their miraculous deliverance in the Exodus, and the giving of the Law through Moses. The Israelites returned to the promised land of Canaan and became a small but powerful nation there under the rule of King David and his son Solomon. After Solomon's death the kingdom split into a northern kingdom called Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah (the name of David's tribe). The northern kingdom was conquered and decimated by the Assyrians in 722 BC, after which the term Judeans, or Jews, gradually came into use to refer to all Israelites. The Jews suffered conquests by a succession of foreign powers -- the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and finally the Romans in the first century BC. Throughout this period the Jews developed a strong sense of national identity, identification with the Promised Land, and anticipation of a coming Messiah or Christ http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=archives.index&#Christ ("Anointed One"). These themes dominate the rest of the Jewish Bible, which is identical with the Protestant canon of the Old Testament. In the first century AD, Christianity http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=archives.index&#Christianity originated with the belief that Jesus http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=archives.index&#Jesus was that promised Messiah. The Jewish establishment at that time, however, rejected Jesus' claim to be the Messiah, and in fulfillment of his prophecy (Mark 13) the Jerusalem temple was destroyed and the Jewish nation scattered (AD 70). What is now known as the religion of Judaism originated after AD 70 as the rabbis, or teachers of the Torah, developed a system of laws and interpretations of the Torah that were eventually codified in the Talmud. Today Judaism can be identified as a cultural, ethnic, or religious concept. There are three main branches of modern Judaism: Orthodox (traditional, literal adherence to the Torah as interpreted by the Talmud), Conservative (a middle position advocating traditional beliefs and practices up to a point), and Reform (liberal, non-literal stance on the Torah and Talmud; often non-religious or secular with emphasis on Jewish culture).

For a list of cults, go here: http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=archives.index&#top

Berean Girl

Princess of King Jesus
Early Church accused of being a "sect" or "cult"

The following is from http://www.moriel.info/default.asp?id=5670

Do you want the same love that the first church had? Do you want the love that Jesus said we should all look for in true disciples? Then this is the book for you.

"If a church is not falsely accused of being a cult, it doesn't live enough Christianity to be of Christ."

There is no question that the New Testament church actually lived the gospel. They were one in heart and mind, shared everything they had (Acts 4:32), proclaimed the offensive message of the cross without fear (Acts 4:29), performed signs and wonders (Acts 4:30), were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31), and - most importantly - were united in the love of Christ (John 13:35, 1 Corinthians 13:13). And, because of this, because in all these things the offensive message of the cross was allowed to do its work by the power of the Holy Spirit, they were accused of being a "sect" (the equivalent of a cult). In Acts 24:5, we see the apostle Paul himself was accused of being a "troublemaker" and a "ringleader" of this "sect" (the equivalent of being called a cult leader).

If the first church in Scripture is the example for us follow, should we not also expect to be falsely labeled a cult by those who reject the gospel and the love of Jesus? Isn't the church supposed to expect persecution, isn't it supposed to be separate from the world? Yet what we see today is churches striving to be more and more "mainstream," trying to be accepted by the world, trying to avoid showing too much of the love of God in case they are falsely called a cult. What a sad and sinful state of affairs!

Make no mistake. When the true gospel - a message that strikes at the very heart of self - is preached, then men will be as offended as they were at John the Baptist or Jesus or Paul, and the same kind of accusations will fly.

The book eau de Cult was written to return our attention to the incomparable love that God is able to work in a fellowship of believers who simply surrender themselves to Him. It will give some of the background behind Sound Doctrine Church, and how God has worked this "fragrance" there. For this kind of love was not just for the first church, but for all churches. It is not an option, but an absolute requirement of Scripture.

Many people today complain of the lukewarmness of the church, the compromise with the world, and the lack of the true love of Jesus to be found. eau de Cult doesn't just complain and point the finger, it shows how we can recapture that first love and truly "get back" to the kind of love and fellowship that the New Testament calls us to.

Berean Girl

Princess of King Jesus
Definition of "Religion" and "Cult"

The following is from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/terms.html

Defining Terms
Words Have Meanings!
by Sandy Simpson

The Deception In The Church web site uses the following definitions in order to identify Christians, other religions, cults of Christianity or aberrant Christian teachings.

Definition of "Religion"

A "religion" is any system of belief that adheres to its own specific set of doctrines and practices and claims to be unique, unlike any other religion. A "religion" typically does not want to be associated by name with other religions, ie. Islam does not want people calling them Christian.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word "religion" as follows:

Main Entry: re.li.gion
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English religioun, from Latin religion-, religio supernatural constraint, sanction, religious practice, perhaps from religare to restrain, tie back -- more at RELY
Date: 13th century
1 a : the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith - re.li.gion.less adjective

The aspect of the word "religion" that we are dealing with here is, in particular, "a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices". If the religious systems differ from one another and there is no desire or attempt to combine differing systems together, then those systems can rightly be called different "religions" in the English language.

Definition of "Cult"

Any system of belief that desires to call itself by the name of a religion, but by its own beliefs taught and promoted either explicitly or implicitly goes against the core beliefs of that religion whose name they desire to associate with, is rightly termed a "cult" of that religion. For instance, a cult of Christianity would be:

A group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which system denies either explicitly or implicitly one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible." (Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults, Zondervan, 1995)

A cult of Islam could be defined in much the same way, replacing the Bible with the Koran in the above definition and adding any additional authoritative sources upon which Muslims base their belief system. A cult of Islam would then be defined as any group that wants to be called Islamic but does not adhere to one or more of the core doctrines of Islam.

The word "cult" is not a derrogatory term but a defining attributive term. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word "cult" as follows:

Main Entry: cult
Function: noun
Etymology: French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate -- more at WHEEL
Date: 1617
Usage: often attributive
1 : formal religious veneration : WORSHIP
2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

Those who would characterize the use of the word "cult" as a "hate crime" obviously are not overly familiar with the English language. The usage of the word is "often attributive" meaning it is used to assign an attribute to a group or individual. The part of the dictionary definition that most applies to our usage of the term is "a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious". As defined above, any group that would call itself by the name of second group must be in line with that second group's teachings, or else they are not truly a part of that group, thus they are to be considered a cult of that group. A cult in this case is defined by unorthodoxy with regards to either group, when those groups are attempting to use the same defining terms such as "Christian".

Definition of "Aberrant"

Within a particular system of belief there are core doctrines and there are secondary doctrines upon which those in the belief system may disagree but still be considered part of that religion and not a cult of that religion. For instance, in Christianity, the core doctrines are defined as follows:

The Trinity: God is one "What" and three "Whos" with each "Who" possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.

The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.

The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.

Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life. ("The Fundamentals" edited by R.A. Torrey with contributors such as H.A. Ironside and C.I. Scofield, 1909 - see "The Five Basic Doctrines")

Those who disagree with the core doctrines of Christianity in their teaching and/or actions are, by definition, a cult of historic biblical Christianity. The word "cult", again, is not a way to slander other people, but a definition of their belief system based on what other belief system they wish to associate with by name.

An aberrant doctrine is a teaching that is different than anything other than the core doctrines of Christianity, and which is based on a non orthodox interpretation of Scripture. Care must be taken in the case of aberrant teachings or actions to (1) deliniate between legitimate interpretations of Scripture and those that are not and (2) assess if and when the aberrant teaching becomes an affront to a core doctrine of Christianity. This is what apologetics is all about, which is a good and healthy exercise in any religious system.

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines the word "aberrant" as follows:

Main Entry: ab.er.rant
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin aberrant-, aberrans, present participle of aberrare to go astray, from ab- + errare to wander, err
Date: circa 1780
1 : straying from the right or normal way
2 : deviating from the usual or natural type : ATYPICAL
3 : an aberrant group, individual, or structure
4 : a person whose behavior departs substantially from the standard

The part of the above definition that applies to the term "aberrant doctrine" would, in particular, be "deviating from the usual or natural type". As defined above, an aberrant doctrine is a doctrine that differs from the historical orthodox biblical Christian doctrinal stance. Again, the word "aberrant" is not a put down, but a word to define any doctrines that are unorthodox in nature.

Definition of "Heresy"

The word "heresy" from which we get the word "heretic" is not a put down but a biblical attributive term. First let's look at the dictionary deffinition.

Main Entry: her·e·sy
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English heresie, from Old French, from Late Latin haeresis, from Late Greek hairesis, from Greek, action of taking, choice, sect, from hairein to take
1 a : adherence to a religious opinion contrary to church dogma b : denial of a revealed truth by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church c : an opinion or doctrine contrary to church dogma
2 a : dissent or deviation from a dominant theory, opinion, or practice b : an opinion, doctrine, or practice contrary to the truth or to generally accepted beliefs or standards

The Biblical definition of heresy is much more specific. It states that heresy is laying error alongside truth. Jacob Prasch defines heresy from a biblical perspective this way. The word "privily" or "pareisago" in Greek means to lay error alongside truth or to introduce secretly or craftily.

2 Pet. 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

The word "heresy" or "hairesis" in Greek means 1) act of taking, capture: e.g. storming a city 2) choosing, choice 3) that which is chosen 4) a body of men following their own tenets (sect or party) 5) dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims. So we can see that heresy has the action of overtaking truth and involves a willful choice. It arrises from disagreements and diverse opinions instead of over the plain truth of the Word of God.

Heretics, those who lay error alongside truth and thereby try to capture the will of people to their own unbiblical ideas, are to be rebuked and, if unrepentant, rejected by the Church.

Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

The rejection of heretics is not based on minor doctrinal divisions or arguments but based on a denial, by teaching and/or actions, of the core doctrines of the Faith as taught by Jesus Christ and the foundational Apostles and Prophets in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

The Goal of Definitions

The goal of definitions is to keep any religious system doctrinally pure and without any potentially destructive influences from other belief systems being taught that would tend to degrade or nullify the core beliefs of that religion. Some religions are open to change from without and that is their right and choice. Other religions, such as biblical Christianity, Judaism and Islam have been historically not open to doctrinal change and that is also their right and choice.

Biblical Christianity has a doctrinal system that is based on the sixty-six books of the Bible, and this is a Christian's highest authority in all matters of faith and practice. Those who would call themselves Christians will also subscribe to the core doctrines of Christianity which, by definition, define who can call themselves a "Christian".

People are free to call themselves anything they want, but religions such as Christianity have core doctrines they hold to. Those who do not want to be Christians are defined as another "religion". Those who want to call themselves Christians but do not hold to one or more of the core doctrines of Christianity are defined as a "cult" of Christianity. Those who want to call themselves Christians but teach doctrines, other than the core doctrines, which differ from a orthodox interpretation of Scripture; those teachings can be properly defined as "aberrant". It is also possible for a person or group to be a cult and also have aberrant doctrines. If a person or group is aberrant and begins to teach against the core doctrines of Christianity, they need no longer be called aberrant because they have become a cult of Christianity.


The terms "religion", "cult" and "aberrant" are not derogatory names but are definitions of where any individual or group are at on the continuum of any religion they wish to or do not wish to associate with.

Berean Girl

Princess of King Jesus
"Cults" of Christianity

The following is from http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c45.html

The term 'cult of Christianity' is used of a group, church or organization whose central teachings and/or practices are claimed to be biblical, but which are in fact unbiblical.

The term can also be applied to groups, organizations or churches whose statement of faith may sound orthodox, but who add aberrant, heterodox, sub-orthodox and/or heretical teachings to such an extend that the essential doctrines of the Christian faith are negatively affected. (Examples: Seventh-day Adventist Church, International Church of Christ).


A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

Source: Alan Gomes, Cult: A Theological Definition, excerpt from "Unmasking The Cults"

"Central doctrines" of the Christian faith are those doctrines that make the Christian faith Christian and not something else.

The meaning of the expression "Christian faith" is not like a wax nose, which can be twisted to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean.

The Christian faith is a definite system of beliefs with definite content (Jude 3)

Certain Christian doctrines constitute the core of the faith. Central doctrines include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the bodily resurrection, the atoning work of Christ on the cross, and salvation by grace through faith. These doctrines so comprise the essence of the Christian faith that to remove any of them is to make the belief system non-Christian.

Scripture teaches that the beliefs mentioned above are of central importance (e.g., Matt. 28:19; John 8:24; 1 Cor. 15; Eph. 2:8-10).

Because these central doctrines define the character of Christianity, one cannot be saved and deny these.

Central doctrines should not be confused with peripheral issues, about which Christians may legitimately disagree.

Peripheral (i.e. non-essential) doctrines include such issues as the timing of the tribulation, the method of baptism, or the structure of church government. For example, one can be wrong about the identity of "the spirits in prison" (1 Peter 3:19) or about the timing of the rapture and still go to heaven, but one cannot deny salvation by grace or the deity of Christ (John 8:24) and be saved.

All Christian denominations -- whether Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or Protestant -- agree on the essential core. The relatively minor disagreements between genuinely Christian denominations, then, cannot be used to argue that there is no objectively recognized core of fundamental doctrine which constitutes the Christian faith.
Source: Alam Gomes, Cult: A Theological Definition, excerpt from "Unmasking The Cults"


A wider definition takes actions and practices into account as well. A movement that appears theologically sound with regard to the central doctrines of Christianity, but whose actions and practices are - sociologically - cultic in nature, can still be considered a cult of Christianity (e.g. International Churches of Christ).

Bad doctrine produces bad fruit behaviorally (e.g., Mark 7:7-13; Col. 2:20-23; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 2:14-15, 20, 24), which is as true for Christians as it is for cultists. As Van Baalen stated, 'If practice follows from theory, if life is based upon teaching, it follows that the wrong doctrine will issue in the wrong attitude toward God and Christ, and consequently in warped and twisted Christian life.'
Source: Alan Gomes, ''Unmasking The Cults'' Zondervan, 1995, p. 47

In "Life's Ultimate Questions: An Introduction to Philosophy," Ronald Nash recounts an anecdote about a California gangster named Mickey Cohen. Cohen went forward in a Billy Graham crusade, and made a profession of faith. But when, after a few months, people began to ask why his lifestyle did not change, he said that just as there are Christian politicians and Christian movie stars, he wanted to be a Christian gangster.

Sound theology ought to result in sound practice. Unsound practice is an indication of unsound theology.

Therefore, a movement that - while adhering to the essential doctrines of the Christian faith - adds unbiblical and extra-biblical teachings may, in doing so, place itself further and further outside orthodox Christianity.

Sociological vs. Theological Definitions

Our CultFAQ site includes a look at 'Sociological vs. Theological Definitions'

• Examples : Some cults of Christianity

» The Body (Attleboro cult)
» Christian Identity (the entire movement)
» Concerned Christians
» International Churches of Christ
» Jehovah's Witnesses
» Mormon Church
» Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
» Strong City (Michael Travesser)
» Unification Church
» United Pentecostal Church
» The Way International

• See Also

» Abusive Churches / Spiritual Abuse
» Cult - A Theological Definition. A detailed explanation, by Alan Gomes
» (Essential) Doctrines of the Christian faith
» Cults, Sects, Alternative Religions. Definitions.
» CultFAQ Frequently Asked Questions about cults.

What Do You Mean When You Say 'Cult'?

The ambiguity of the term 'cult' makes it necessary to determine in what sense the word is used.

For instance, a sociological definition will differ from a religious one, and a Christian definition will differ from, say, the Mormon or Islamic view. Therefore, if and when you use the word 'cult,' you should qualify it.

For rest, go here http://www.cultfaq.org/cultfaq-perspectives.html

Berean Girl

Princess of King Jesus
What is a "Sect"?

The following is from http://www.cultfaq.org/cultfaq-sect-definition.html#subject2

What is a Sect?

The term 'sect' is as ambiguous as the term 'cult.' (Note that many European countries use the term 'sect' instead of - or interchangably with - 'cult.' Some media outlets also make that substitution.).

The term comes from the Late Latin secta, which means an "organized church body." That in turn is rooted in the Latin sequi, which means "to follow," and is used of "way of life," or "class of persons."

'Sect' can refer to:

a religious denomination
a dissenting religious group, formed as the result of schism (division; separation). In this case, the term also borrows from the Latin sectus, which means "cut" or "divide."
a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or leader
The Merriam-Webster dictionary puts it like this:

a : a dissenting or schismatic religious body; especially : one regarded as extreme or heretical
b : a religious denomination
[Not Applicable]
a : a group adhering to a distinctive doctrine or to a leader
Source: Merriam-Webster Definition

Theologically, sect is used of a group which has divided from a larger body or movement - often over minor differences in doctrine and/or practice - but whose teachings and practices are generally not considered unorthodox, heretical or cultic (sociologically and/or theologically). (See: heterodox, suborthodox).

However, true to the ambiguous nature of this term, some sects do descend into heretical teachings and/or unorthodox practices. Often sects place unusual, dogmatic emphasis on one or two doctrines or practices. Such an unbalanced (and, often, unhealthy) approach usually leads to the division from the main body in the first place.

For rest, go here http://www.cultfaq.org/cultfaq-sect-definition.html#subject2


JUDE 1:3 Contender!
IMO.. Judaism is not a cult. It is a religion. It was practiced by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even Jesus' parents who raised Him in Judaism.

It is a religion blind to Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Praying more eyes opened to Yeshua, son of God. Is. 53 etc.


JUDE 1:3 Contender!
Oh.. and Jews (like others) did engage in cult tgype practices ie: Idolatry... numerous times--much to their demise.

Before the New Covenant some men were deemed "righteous" and "walked with God" and were Jews (Abraham-"friend of God".


Bird Mod
You can't really place Judaism in a nutshell for they are divided into many sects just like any group that says they are a New Testament church such as Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists.

All the groups above claim the Bible (O.T. for Jews plus other writings) but with different interpretations.

The word Religion is too vague
for even Buddhism is a religion

You also have destructive Cults, American Cults, Eastern cults etc...

I like the information Berean Girl is putting together because she is using very informative and sound resources.


Bird Mod
IMO.. Judaism is not a cult. It is a religion. It was practiced by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and even Jesus' parents who raised Him in Judaism.

It is a religion blind to Jesus Christ the Messiah.

Praying more eyes opened to Yeshua, son of God. Is. 53 etc.

If you walked into a local synagogue today you would not find what Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus' parents practiced.

All religions are blind to the real Jesus for religions think they seek after God
True Christianity is God seeking individuals
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New Member

All "Religion", including CHRISTianity, is false!
YHVH does not have or recognize any "religion", HE recognizes only faith in HIM and then develops a relationship with that person. HE can and will work with most any belief that establishes HIM as YHVH alone!
Deut 6:4 "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra'el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one];
6:5 and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.
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Bird Mod

All "Religion", including CHRISTianity, is false!
YHVH does not have or recognize any "religion", HE recognizes only faith in HIM and then develops a relationship with that person. HE can and will work with most any belief that establishes HIM as YHVH alone!
Deut 6:4 "Sh'ma, Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra'el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one];
6:5 and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.
born again Christianity is not a religion, it is a personal relationship with Jesus


Well-Known Member
Semachiah quote
All "Religion", including CHRISTianity, is false!
YHVH does not have or recognize any "religion", HE recognizes only faith in HIM and then develops a relationship with that person. HE can and will work with most any belief that establishes HIM as YHVH alone!

Acts 4:8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is
" 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.[a]' 12Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

I'm a bit disturbed by you stressing the name YHWH..

If the name "YHWH" is so important like you are stressing, then why does Acts 4:12 say, "There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name vs.10 [Jesus Christ] under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved"? Would this not have been the logical place for God to have used the name "YHWH"?
The name said properly does not save anyone and is not essential to one's salvation.

Titus 3:4-5 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

by the way berean Girl I love your postings and I hope you don't mind that I've copied them?
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New Member
If you walked into a local synagogue today you would not find what Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus' parents practiced.

All religions are blind to the real Jesus for religions think they seek after God
True Christianity is God seeking individuals

In the truest definition of "religion," religion is man's concept of how they can reconcile themselves to God. And since it is always based in at least some part on worldly terms, and man's own reasoning instead of God's directives, then "religion,' in that sense, will always be wrong.

Islam is listed with Judaism and Christianity because it is monotheistic. The secular world can not understand the concept that Islam does not worship the same god of Judaism and Christianity.

Judaism worships the same God that Christians do. However, their worship is futile because without Christ, they have no way to reconcile themselves to God. They have the problem of sin which cannot be rectified in their system because they have no available sacrifice to cleanse the sin.


Well-Known Member
Maybe I'm wrong but Abraham did not practice Judaism, before Moses there was no Jewish Religion. Abraham practiced faith, the purest religion, and this is the religion accepted by Christ, imo. Practicing our religion is the same in one regard as faithful Abraham. We religiously study, pray, evangelize and seek fellowship. And most importantly, religiously seek Grace to be more like our Savior. And please drop the YWHA thing, Judaism was created for men, we have been given the most powerful name in the universe, JESUS, It's all we need!


Well-Known Member
When Jesus addresses the Seven Churches in Revelations, he makes it clear being in church does little for salvation. The common advise given is "he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give to eat the tree of life...." Each church is given this command "to hear the Spirit". It's such a prevalent command, it seems that is what the great majority of members are not doing "hearing the HolySpirit". And the command to repent is also directed by Christ to five of the churches, another majority among the seven churches. If you, as a born again christian are operating the gift of discernment, it's heartbreaking how few in church are not hearing concerning the things of the Lord and His Coming Kingdom. The relationship with Jesus (by hearing) versus the membership (by attendance) in churches is clearly revealed to us, the churches. It supports the parable of Wheat and the Tares! Religion versus Relationship! God will bring clarity to his creation as the end of this age closes. All religions and cultic ideologies will be brought down as the grace of God offers a final call to those who want to be under the reign of Christ. Truth versus Religion will be demonstrated and the Book of Revelation will be the pathway as given by His Spirit.


Blessed Hope-Prepare To Fly!
I guess this is a good opportune time to repeat myself.
Religion is mans way to reach God.
Jesus Christ is God's way to reach man.
It is relationship over man made religion. There are so many denominations, and quite a few are trying to earn their salvation. Salvation is a gift paid in full by :fish on the cross. :bibleJohn 1:12-13, Ephesians 2:8-10, and John 14:6.