What is the definition of a cult?

 definition  cult

Question: "What is the definition of a cult?"

Often in our minds we think of a cult as a group that worships Satan, sacrifices animals, and takes part in evil, bizarre, and pagan rituals. In reality, though, most cults appear much more innocent. The specific Christian definition of a cult is a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of Biblical truth. Or, in more simple terms, a cult is a group that teaches something that will cause a person to not be saved if they believe it. In distinction from a religion, a cult is a group that claims to be Christian, yet denies an essential truth of Biblical Christianity.

The two most common teachings of cults are that Jesus was not God and that salvation is not by faith alone. A denial of the deity of Christ results in Jesus’ death not being a sufficient payment for our sins. A denial of salvation by faith alone results in salvation being achieved by our own works – something the Bible vehemently and consistently denies. The two most well-known examples of cults are the God's Witnesses and Mormons. Both groups claim to be Christian, yet both deny the two key doctrines mentioned above. God's Witnesses and Mormons believe many things that are in agreement with and/or similar to what the Bible teaches. However, the fact that they deny the deity of Christ and salvation by faith alone qualifies them as a cult. Many God’s Witnesses, Mormons, and members of other cults are “good people” who are genuinely seeking God and genuinely believe they hold the truth. Our hope and prayer is that many people involved in the “Christian” cults will see through the lies and will be drawn to the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Recommended Resource: The Kingdom of the Cults, revised and updated edition.

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What is the definition of a cult?