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This page speaks of a negative side of church truth, and also of evil doctrines, and subjects we would rather avoid; however, many dear
souls are being deceived and led astray by false teachings, so a sense of urgency is felt to expose these things to help serious seekers
and honor the Lord. Various papers will be posted here as seems important. Readers may contact the Site Manager for papers on other
sects and organizations not listed here. See some modern sects listed at bottom of page.
SECTS AND CULTS DIMINISH GOD'S TESTIMONY
Like a dark cloud covering the sun, sects and cults are introduced by the enemy of our souls to pollute and corrupt the testimony of God to man. The saints of God need to see this and guard against these "wiles" of Satan.
There is some difference between religious sects and cults. The latter are imitations of Christianity for gain, and to destroy the truth and persuade men to follow religious ideas not of God. They most often deny the deity and Lordship of Christ and eternal judgment. It is called apostasy and is of Satan (e.g. Acts 8:18-23; II Tim.3:1-8; Titus 1:10-16; II Pet.2; III John 9-11; Jude 1-19).
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RESPONSE TO A CHRISTIAN QUESTION ABOUT THE MASONS
By R. DeWitt, 5/10
Since the Free Masons are a secret fraternal society, not everything is known to outsiders. The purpose in addressing this matter is for those who think it is a Christian group.
Free Masonry does not claim to be Christian in their approved public statements. It is a quasi-religious order which uses some Bible verses to support their society purposes. It admits to being a fraternal organization for men (with some social functions for wives and young people), and feels an obligation to help relieve some of the suffering of mankind through hospitals and charitable work.
The Masons state their position as believing in the brotherhood of man, and God as the Father of all. They value morality, justice, and patriotism. As a secret society, it will not talk about some of their beliefs and practices. Some historical reports say it is very nationalistic and has been a strong political influence throughout its history with extreme measures against members who go astray. Worship of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is not part of their doctrine, and the Bible is not studied as God's infallible and complete Word to man. They reportedly have their own ideas about deity.
True Christians are joined to Christ, so it seems one should not otherwise be "unequally yoked" with any society or organization which is not of Christ.
ERRORS AND FALSE PRACTICES
BRIEF VIEW OF CALVINISM AND ARMINIUSISM
The ministry of John Calvin (b. 1509 & d. 1564), shows a devoted man,
described as strict, zealous, and regarded by some as quite unyielding, and with much energy to serve the Lord. His doctrine of reprobation --- speaking of some without hope; and predestination---the absolute election of only some for blessing, was severe, and followers have continued what seems today as extreme and legalism. He was a contemporary of Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli.
Calvin, a French reformer, was a Roman Catholic priest, who rejected it and turned to the study of law. Later he returned to the study of theology, was saved, and became a leader in Protestant churches in Geneva. He reportedly pressed his writing of A Formulary Of Christian Doctrine And Discipline, which was rejected by the established clergy, and he was forced to leave Geneva for Strasburg. He gained much acceptance there and fame among French people, and was later implored to return to Geneva to lead the predominant churches there after much upheaval in religious affairs. He died at age 54 in Geneva, after writing volumes on his understandings of the Holy Scriptures.
Jacobus Arminius (b. 1560 & d. 1609) was a divinity professor and studied Calvin doctrine. He later advanced the thought that one cannot know eternal security, and thus needs revival often. He believed nothing should restrict man's free will and personal conscience, which alone determines his salvation in Christ. His teachings opened up much contro-versy between two schools of thought.
In church ministry we find two significant doctrinal extremes, which are often referred to as Calvinism and Arminiusism (which are really just two errors of the truth of the Word):
Calvinism (predetermination by God for all things, and strict adherence to beliefs that some are predestined to salvation and others are predestined to hell; thus gospel preaching is often esteemed of little value); and
Arminiusism (individual choice and free will for all seekers, no certainty of salvation, and thus all must hold fast to truth or lose all). Out of the first came an exaggeration and exceeding the Word, and from the second came a depreciation and minimizing of the Word. This represents the two great extremes of human nature: the ultra-conservative and the ultra-liberal----both of which are partly right, but mostly miss the truth. - RLD, '04; rev. 1/07
The sects are the systems designed by Christians who seek a following
after prominent men, traditions, creeds, ideas, etc., and are polluting the
truth of the Word by their organizations and disobedience. It is the flesh
acting (e.g. Matt.15:8-9; Rom. 16: 17-18; I Tim. 1:3-7; I Tim. 6:3-5).
Faithful saints of God will avoid both sects and cults and hold to the
The spirit of sectarianism can exist within any gathering of Christians,
by an attitude approving the liberty of believers to set up their own
assembly (whether or not they do it) and, by following men, or setting
up rules and doctrines not in accord with the Word of God ---which
expects other faithful saints to accept those ways or limitations to be
received. This all, of course, denies the "one body of Christ" (Rom.
12:5). When saints leave the scriptural path and start their own
fellowship, or join one, they then became a sect. New sects are being
formed nearly every year, and many have continued from Medieval
times. It is clear in the Word that all these man-made systems are
a sectarian spirit, while God's testimony is a nameless fellowship of
true believers who bow to the Word of God, expressing the "one body"
which ought to be our desire.
Serious seekers need to see that a true scriptural gathering is not
sectarian, though the adherence to the Word of God may be viewed by
some outsiders (who do not want to bow to the Word) as a barrier to
them; so they call it a sect. - R.L.DeWitt, 6/02; rev. 2/09
LISTINGS OF SOME WELL-KNOWN CULTS
A SPIRIT OF EVIL
Compiled by R. L. DeWitt, 9/03; rev. 5/06
[This is not a listing of world religions, but some prominent instruments of Satan imitating Christianity. Much could be said about these cults, but other literature is available from sound Bible publishers to show their ungodly beliefs more fully]
Mormons (also called Latter Day Saints) faithfully follow their own Book of Mormon, and accept part of the Bible as true, pretending to be Christians. They believe all those faithful to their religion are working to become Gods; and teach that the only difference be-tween God and man is that He has gone before and has more knowledge and experience. Jesus Christ is said to be a brother of Satan, and became a God after His time on the earth. Hell is not viewed as eternal, but an indeterminate time of God's punishment according to the sin. Salvation according to them is by baptism, following some of the teachings of Christ, the Book of Mormon, and the laying on of Mormon hands for the gift of the Spirit. Is is all about religious works, and they know nothing about the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Their young men who often come to our doors, deny this, but the documents and literature of that religion confirm it. This apostasy began with Joseph Smith and is all very far from the truth of the Word of God.
Jehovah Witnesses have printed their own Bible to change the scriptures to conform to their teachings, and teach many heresies. They deny the deity of Jesus Christ and the trinity, and hold that He was only a teacher sent from God. They reject the thought of hell and teach that those not Godly are destroyed. They teach that 144,000 faithful J.W.'s will go to heaven, and the other faithful J.W.'s will live forever on the earth. This cult was founded by Charles Russell in about 1876, and Joseph Ruthford succeeded him to 1942. It is another ungodly cult that draws in great numbers of people. Serious seekers should read the book: Thirty Years A Watchtower Slave – by Wm. Schnell for a true account of the deception by one who was a teacher among them.
Christian Scientists hold that Jesus Christ taught truth, but He was not truth nor deity. They say Jesus died, but the truth, which is the real Christ, lives. The death of Jesus could not take away sin, they say---only our ceasing to sin and denying sin can take it away. Hell is only here on earth by our sins, they say, and one can continue after death in truth, or else they will experience self-annihilation. It is not as large as other cults, but just as false and deadly.
Seventh Day Adventists are a very deceptive religion, which says one thing publicly, but states in their writings and doctrines their anti-Christian position. It usually avoids identifying itself in public, and initially agrees with most mainstream Christians. Some people think it is Christian until they get close to it. While there may be true Christians in it, they are deceived by the beliefs and practices. They teach that Christ had the same fallen nature as all men and deny His deity, which is blasphemy. Ellen White was their leader (which is clearly unscriptural), and is exalted as an infallible prophetess in her interpretations and teachings, which oppose the Word. They keep the Sabbath day, refusing the first day of the week to honor the Lord, as shown in the Word. They deny hell as stated in the Bible, believe in "soul sleep" and the total annihilation of non-believers. In their doctrines they teach that salvation is in water baptism, keeping the ten commandments, and being a member of the SDA religion, rather than the new birth, but deny they hold that when questioned. Their deceptive ways makes them an especially useful tool of Satan.
Other so-called Christian groups that otherwise follow some of the Scripture, but deny salvation is by faith alone in the finished work of Christ, might well be called a cult. Such as the Roman Catholic Religion, the so-called Church Of Christ, Unity Church, Unification Church, Armstrongism, and Spiritual-ism, etc., are apostasy. When any group teaches works (such as baptism, keeping the commandments, and rituals) for salvation, and do not thus glorify Christ, they are denying justification by faith in Christ alone and the new birth by the Holy Spirit. It is not Christian truth.
PENTECOSTALISM IN BRIEF
[This overview is not intended to speak against any saints of God, but describes a worldwide religious system which is sectarian and appears quite contrary to the Word of God]
A review of church history shows that after the apostolic time, the saints of God were scattered (Acts 20: 29-30), and the universal testimony by 100 A.D. had "left thy first love" (Rev.2:4).
After the protest and reformation movement against the tyranny of Roman Catholicism in about 1500 A.D., the reformers began to preach the Gospel message anew; however, with limited copies of the Word of God avail-able there was not a clear understanding of Church Truth. Many religious systems and denominational sects arose in a Protestant Movement seeking liberty of conscience. Copies of the Word began to circulate later as printing was developed. After the revival of the Gospel, and the spread-ing of God's Word, God then began a work to revive Church Truth and
- Bible Counsel - Feature Page 11
Some Modern Sects Appearing In Christendom: Emergent Church; Conversation Ministry; Purpose Driven Theology, and most Mega Churches. All these sects and cults are re-interpreting the Bible to deny God's Word, ways, and standards for man; and to draw away religious people to humanism (trusting in self to achieve and be happy).
2. The attraction for many people seems to be in the excitement that is generated ---the showmanship and emotional appeal, which rises to a fervor. People in these meetings can become so excited that they lose control and even faint (see I Cor.14:32-33). Singing praise to God for who He is, all His works, and His blessings and promises, should be the desire of our heart; but the system of Pentecostalism goes beyond a thankful heart and imagines things and distorts the Word of God.
3. Members of the various Pentecostal sects generally want no part of a careful Bible study to see the error. The enemy keeps them occupied with entertainment to the flesh, so they won't study the Word of God and pray (Matt.6:5-7). They do not see the eternal security of the believer and the surety we have in Christ forever. They live in fear of losing their salvation. This comes from not understanding the new birth by the Holy Spirit as a child of God, and it denies the lordship of Christ and robs Him of His "preeminence".
4. In Acts 2 we see where they base their beginning. They attach the miraculous works of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost to the church today. It doesn't fit. True to the Lord's promise He sent forth the Holy Spirit after His departure (John 14:16-26; John 16:7-14). At first it was an outpouring of the Spirit to claim, gather together and indwell the believers there by a great display of power, which confounded many (baptism of the Holy Spirit). Peter spoke of this new thing (Acts 2:14-21), adding also the prophecy even to the end of time.
5. The book of Acts has often been referred to by Bible scholars as a transitional book between the old order and the New Testament. It sets forth a new work of God, where the Holy Spirit came down to indwell man. That did not happen in the Old Testament times. The Spirit only came upon men on occasion. Today, the Spirit makes His "abode" in believers who have a new birth and are sealed as the children of God forever (John 14:23). The Pentecostal people have not understood this. In Acts God attested to this new work by miracles, healing, signs and wonders (and we can see it was for non-believers, not the saints). Afterward, the sign gifts passed away, and "..the just shall live by faith" (Heb.10:38).
6. The tongues of fire sitting upon them (Acts 2:3) never happened again. The church was established, and thereafter those that believed were "added" individually unto the church by the Spirit (Acts 2:41), as is done today. There is no further baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many "wonders and signs" were done by the Apostles, but after the apostolic period the church went on by simple faith and obedience. The subject of tongues has become a matter of much discussion, but aside from the physical reference to man's tongue, it always means languages (Acts 2:1-11). Any thought of "angel tongues" or other mystical language is a perversion of scripture (note I Cor.13:1 refers to the eloquence of angels, not a special unknown language), and surely these things are a work of Satan to confuse the saints, divide, and scatter God's testimony. Believers need to see that speaking in many tongues (languages) in the church was one of the sign gifts during the transition from Judaism that ended --was not generally needed. Occasionally we see assemblies today in the world where several languages are spoken, and that is the thought in I Corinthians14.
7. The special acts of healing also ended, though God will always heal as He pleases; and we ought to pray for it (James 5:14), and always as the Lord prayed (Matt.26:39). The Apostles did not always heal, and people still died. It is not our business to be occupied with miracles and signs, though God is not limited. Acts 2:42 is the calling for the church.
8. Gifts are given to the church, but we don't see personal revelations like the apostles had, for we are given the full Word of God for our revelation of truth and the mind of God. One must not add to or take from Scripture. It is important to note that in I Corinthians 13:8-10 we are told tongues and other special gifts given for the establishment of the church "shall be done away" after the Word of God is fully come ---that speaks of today.
9. Much of the error of Pentecostalism is due to closing the Book and a denial of the finished work of Christ. Their confidence is really in self, and seeking some spiritual experience. Satan can give that. These dear ones feel they must keep the hyper-activity going to feel saved, for they have not the knowledge and assurance of salvation. Many don't see themselves as "born of the Spirit" or "born again" (though they sometimes use that expression), and don't understand "adoption" and what it means to forever be a child in the family of God (John 1:12-13; John 10:28-29; Gal.4:4-7; Gal.3:26; Eph. 1:5; I John 3:2). By not trusting God they must work at feeling spiritual, and striving for a "second blessing", as they say. The poor souls cannot rest on the finished work of Christ, which is the deceit of Satan to rob them of the joy of salvation and glory to the Lord.
10. Further evidence of their not trusting God, is the theatrics and vainglory of their "stage shows" in the name of worship. All that hilarity, vanity, and foolish behavior is flesh and no doubt repugnant to God (Eph.5:4; I Thess.5:6; I Pet.4:7). One cannot give thanks and worship quietly in the heart if that one is not sure God hears them or receives them. They feel the emotional "hype" is needed to try to hang on to salvation and keep showing they are sincere. It reminds one of a child that feels a need to act out to get attention. We need to believe God's love and be thankful. They allow Satan to steal away the joy and understanding of eternal security. We have a most blessed surety in Christ, but these "Pentecostals" do not know it. *
* Underlying some of this confusion is the failure to see the difference between our standing and our state. True believers have a perfect and eternal standing in Christ for all eternity, as the redeemed children of God. Our state, on the other hand may be carnal and unfaithful. Just as a child in any family may misbehave and offend the parents, so Christians do when acting in the flesh, but we are not put out of the family. Pentecostals have not understood that. We may suffer loss of rewards (not salvation) at the judgment seat of Christ if we fail to confess our sins and be restored to communion (I John 1:8-9), but a true "born again" believer is forever a child of God. One might like to see the history of how this sect began from the Arminius teaching. - RLD
ADDENDUM 01/11: Those who like to have an emotional experience and use what they call "tongues", is a way to not speak directly to God from the heart, but let their emotions just "babble" some verbiage that they say God will understand as He looks on their heart. It only gives the appearance of holiness. Yes, God does look on the heart and what does He see? Is it one who does not speak forthright to God, thank and praise Him, and obey His Word as given? Let us not imagine things about God and interpret spiritual things to please our own preferences about God, but speak honestly to Him, praise and give thanks in the language He has provided all.
I also believe that this “babbling” is a device of Satan to cause believers to offend God without realizing it. I remember many years ago reading of one who sat in a Pentecostal meeting and understood in another language which he also spoke, that the one who was "babbling" expressed some words and phrases that were blasphemous and affront to God. He said he was sure the one speaking did not know anything about it. - RLD
One will hear teaching and diverse ministry along our pathway from many sources . One should always test it by the Word of God (see John 5:39; Acts 17:11; II Tim.2:15; II Tim.3:16; Titus 1:9). Whether it is profitable often depends, too, on our state of soul. This paper is prepared with much care and prayer to be a help and honor the Lord. Comments and questions are welcome.
dependence on the Holy Spirit in the early 1800's. Some were exercised to gather on that ground, but the enemy was also active at this time to pervert this stirring after the truth of God.
While the revival of church truth was beginning, the denominated sects continued with the new gospel endeavor, and in later years Fundamentalism came out of that. Then out of this the so-called Pentecostal movement came forth later searching for a new spiritual experience. Some Christians take the name: "Pentecostal", but some sects practice Pentecostalism under various denominational names. - R.L. DeWitt 12/94; rev. 12/03
The so-called Pentecostal (or holiness) movement arose in Christendom in the early 1900's, and has become a very popular and appealing system all over the world. The appeal is charisma, whereby the leaders seem to strive to enthrall the masses and hold them spellbound with emotional experiences. Emphasis is given more to an experience than what the Word of God says. The essential and erroneous features are a denial of the eternal security of believers in Christ, denial of the sealing of the Holy Spirit, pre-occupation with miracles, acts of healing, speaking in "angel tongues", and signs and personal revelations.
1. Like all the denominated sects, the various Pentecostal gatherings (under many names) deny the "one body" of Christ in a practical way, by the sectarian spirit of man-made gathering centers; and it promotes rituals, ceremonies, programs, innovations, and entertainment of the flesh, which surely grieves the Holy Spirit.