Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cult Savvy Devotional

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16

Sheep among wolves? For real? What in the world could God be thinking? Us little old sheep out here with all these wolves? What is our defense? Shall we choke them with some wool from our coat? Now I'm just being silly. Jesus meant that He had to leave and that we were gonna get persecuted by bad people...the wolves. Everything that they did to Him will be done to us in one form or another. However, if we put God's armor on everyday by studying our Bible we will be okay no matter what happens. We may be ridiculed, mocked, or tortured or we may lose our life, but we will be OK. Truth.

You know God could have said we should be as wise as owls, but He didn't. Owls just aren't sneaky enough I guess. "Serpents" has a much more powerful meaning. Serpents are sneaky, quiet, camouflaged, and lethal. I call this my "don't be stupid" verse. Doesn't sound very nice, but once you read the verse over and over you'll get my meaning. We need to be as quiet, sneaky, camouflaged and lethal as a snake. Sound too harsh to you? Well, put it in the concept of a sheep surrounded by wolves and then read those descriptive words again. Not too harsh now is it? It's called survival.

Jesus says to be as innocent as we are lethal. When we were children we were the perfect combination of this. Trusting to a fault, but we could accidentally burn the house down. Now, I'm just being silly again. This concept is very similar to Christ's perfect balance of grace and truth. Walk in faith, but be smart about it! Be nice, but be smart about it! Love, but be smart about it! Look at life through a biblical lens because if you don't you are not being wise as a serpent!

For me part of having wisdom is knowing as much about the wolves as I can. Teaching our children about the wolves will safeguard them their entire lives. I've decided to do a study of the major cults looking at each one separately. There are however some psychological traits that all cults have in common. They are as follows:

Closed-mindedness

The structure of whatever organization the cultist is participating in takes precedence over rational thought. In other words, they focus more on the cult and its founders as the ultimate source of all information than they do on their own thought process. These beliefs are so ingrained into the cultist that it is almost impossible to penetrate their thinking. Cultists are completely committed to the authority of the cult.

Conditional Love

Cultists have a personal dislike of anyone with opposing beliefs. This is taught in cults. Sometimes it is a dislike of the Christian message and with non-christian related cults it could be in opposition to any belief system including political or environmental issues. Cultists don't just reject the beliefs, but reject the person who holds those beliefs.

Authoritative Dogmatism

Cult founders make supernatural claims about spiritual revelations made to them personally. These revelations are meant to condition and control the minds of followers. Followers conform to the cult in an extreme way that is completely intolerant toward opposing facts. Cult leaders use their spiritual authority to change the rules and control the followers. Jehovah's Witness founders and Christian Science founder both claim that their personal writings are on par with the Bible itself. They go so far as to say without their literature the cultist cannot truly study the Bible. Cults require absolute faith in the supernatural revelations of their founders.

Double Think

Cultists are able to compartmentalize opposing facts and never connect the dots. These are the people Paul talked about in II Corinthians 4:4. The prince of this world, Satan, has blinded their minds. The Watchtower predicted that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would appear before the end of the 1920's, but of course it didn't happen. In spite of that their followers still cling to the prophetic principles of these same founders. All cults adhere to the peaceful harmony between contradicting facts.

There is one conundrum that I am curious about. Concerning the christian cultist: Why identify with Christianity if you don't accept Christ's claims about Himself? Is there any point other than to oppose Jesus? Thanks for reading all the way to here. We'll start with Mormonism next week and see where it goes and how long it goes. Love to all!

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