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Moriel Missions South Africa October 2007Written by Jacob Prasch
Its good to be back in South Africa after our break to the UK and to be able to send you this small update before our November Newsletter. Although my local work will be limited till the end of the year our college and international missions are our focus for the next few months and we are busy following up on emails and letters sent to us before our break.
Lyn and I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have loved and supported us over this period and also for those who have loved and supported Christopher in his new role as Moriel admin. Chris has been learning the ropes so to speak and is improving on the admin day by day. This has been held back though by no phone lines, intermittent electric supply and his other role as a care giver at Ebyown. However with us back and the hopeful coming to an end of our family crisis (we pray) this should improve even more.
As we have no land line we have a new fax number that directs fax’s to our computer 086 640 2879
It was sad though that when we returned to hear of our friend and Aletheia member Val passing away in her sleep. We rejoice in the fact that she was a lovely committed believer but sad as well that we will miss her very much. We wish to pass on our love to Morne and Doret Lombard and all their family who loved her very much and we know that this time is just a moment passing before we who are in Christ will be united once again to those who have gone home before us.
Along with our catalogue we now have ready a selection of teachings recorded on tour here in South Africa.
- THE NEHUSTAN (DVD/CD)
- THE ROAD TO EMMAUS 1 (DVD/CD)
- THE ROAD TO EMMAUS 2 (DVD/CD)
- BABYLON THE GREAT SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? (DVD/CD)
- THE WEDDING PARABLE (DVD/CD)
- THE PLASTIC BIBLE (DVD/CD)
- THE END OF THE ROAD (DVD/CD)
- INTERCESSORY PRAYER (DVD)
- LAMENTATIONS (DVD)
- THE LAST REVIVAL (DVD/CD)
DVD’s R50 & CD’s R20
Teachings From the USA and Australia
While in the USA and with Marg visiting from down under we have managed to get our hands on some conference material. The conferences contain material from Jacob and many other good bible teachers. The titles and prices are below and as usual orders can be made through Chris.
- MARANATHA! THE LORD IS COMING PROPHECY CONFERENCE 2007 (11 CD’S) R220
- THE HOPE THAT IS SET BEFORE US PROPHECY CONFERENCE (8 DVD/ 1 CD) R420
- THE BLESSED HOPE CONFERENCE (13 CD’S) R260
- NEW YEARS EVE PROPHECY CONFERENCE 2006 (11 CD’S) R220
Dr. Calvin Smith
We had a great time with Calvin and the teachings he brought were challenging causing some stimulating conversation. Topics include :
- PREACHING THE GOSPEL IN THE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS (DVD/CD)
- CHRISTS INAUGURATION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD (DVD/CD)
- IS TITHING BIBLICAL? (DVD/CD)
- BIBLICAL THEOLOGY AND THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL (DVD/CD)
- A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO HOMOSEXUALITY (CD)
- HOW PREVALENT IS DEMONIC ACTIVITY TODAY? (DVD/CD)
- THE GENEALOGY OF JESUS (DVD/CD)
These can be purchased through Chris at R50 DVD and R20 CD
Hello Brother, this is the ministry report as from January up to October 2007Ã‚ .
People reached :-32,297
- Orphans:- 2 of them got school fees of the secondary school only for this year. While others have been given food, clothes, exercise books, flour and other humanitarian aid.
- Training conducted:- 30 students have been attending vocational studies, while 130 at risk women attending the same courses. Leadership training have been conducted to 75 Pastors. All of these groups must attend basic bible courses.Ã‚ HIV/AIDS and life skills has conducted to leaders and women-200 reached
- Churches ministries:-Moriel Tanzania is working hand to hand with those churches who share the sameÃ‚ doctrine with us. We have reached 12,892 believers who are within the members.
- Gospel to disabled:-We have reached 1100 all over the country by sharing them with the good news as well as to give them 1100 wheelchairs at no cost.
- Women outreach:-In order to reach Maasai women we also given them 2 milling machines to let them get good flour. More than 250 of maasai women have reached.
- Mini-credit Union:-More than 130 people have reached with the gospel and we also provide them with mini-credit to let them live better life.
- Literature distribution ministry:-More than 10,893 reached. We have been distributing bibles,Ã‚ new testament , and tracts
- Radio Evangelism Ministries:-2 million have reached through Radio Ministry. Now we have to stop due to lack of funds to pay.
- Students outreach:-1800 reached.
- Crusades:-Between 800-1500 people reached, some accepted Jesus as their personal saviour. Ã‚ One of them is Aisha Hamza who is currently working with the Moriel Tanzania.
- Video:-Through this ministry only 1000 reached.
- Church planting:-5 worship Centers planted in Arusha andÃ‚ Tabora.133 attending Sunday worship in Tabora Ã‚ while 47 people attending Sunday worship in Arusha rural.
- Choirs:- 3 choirs formulated
Ps Norbert Mbwiliza.
Greetings from all the saints in western Kenya. Everybody is excited of the developments in the ministry and particularly what the Lord is doing.
There are so many things that have taken place such that we are wondering if we are to give a year report or a monthly but in summary every month has the following activities.
- Board's meetings----- in these, Ã‚ regional leaders from 9 regions attends with 2 other representatives. These means a full board membership from the regions has 27 attendees. 10 saints [including myself the Chair man]Ã‚ come from the headquarter. Their work is mainly administrative. These is a time of giving monthly reports face the regions. We put our efforts together in sorting out the challenges. Saints air out freely their opinions then we fellowship and pray together.
- Pastors meeting. All the pastor in the regions are supposed to attend without fail. We mainly dwell on Spiritual affairs of both the regions and the unity churches. A total of 40 Pastors attend together with the 10 administrators based at the headquarters. We fellowship and pray together as a family. During such meetings the Pastors freely air out their opinions and challenges facing them in their place of their calling. Seminars/ conferences are deliberated on both the and pastors meetings.
- Orphans and Widows Day. There were initially centralized but we have since decentralized them such that they are regional organized. The regional leaders does the co-ordination activities then involves the 10 administrators at the head quarters who always attend. This is a time of close fellowship with these dear ones addressing their emotional, Psychological and Spiritual needs in close range. We use the opportunity to fix their material needs e.g. food staffs, clothes, shoes etc. Due to economize expenditure involved, we freely involve well wishers who react freely though the challenges are still a tall order to the ministry. A dayÃ‚ is never enough in these but the grace of God has been sufficient all times. We have 400 orphans and 200 widows in all regions.
- Regional assemblies. These are meetings of all the saints in a particular region.10 saints administrators always attend in the entire region. It takes a day always.
- Leaders Training. Leaders training are always held at the headquarters organized by 10 administrators. It gathers all the leaders in the churches e.g. All Pastors, youths, secretaries, treasures, Sunday school teachers and cell group leaders. Its entails capacity building program and proper sensitizing of the leadings of their responsibility particularly sense of responsibility and ethics in stewardships. It can take 2 to 3 days training depending on resources at disposal. These are open to other ministries to attend. This year beginning from February 22-27, we had a conference over 600 leaders attending leaders training. Through the conference, we equip the saints and encouraged them to bear fruits. It was unbelievable that when we met in April, 14th, 2oth 2007 everybody was able to testify that saints Ã‚ their churches has increased in number and spiritually edified. Just like Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:2, that the things you heard me saying in the presence of many witness, this entrust to faithful men who will qualify to teach others also, this what is being done. Thanks to Almighty God.
In August, we had a historic conference, over 1800 attended. As per our record now, 11,000 people have surrendered their lives to Christ. From Feb to date. These are new souls in the body of Christ.
In most cases we are forced to hire a school for such functions. These means we are normally limited before the schools closed. If we had a tent fully equipped with plastic chairs/ benches a generator, PAS and suitable transport, we would do all these in a more smoothly manner with incredible success.
Thank you for your tireless prayers and financial support you always send to western Kenya.
God bless you we look forward to see you again.
In Jesus love,
Pastor Moses Nyongesa
At the moment we have three people from Sweden. Two for a month (Marianne and Hanna)Ã‚ and one for three months (Jonathan). They have really settled in well and are helping in various practical areas such as putting together shoe boxes for a Christmas out reach, cooking and painting as well as assisting Lyn with the schooling. We hope to have some more visitors next year and we need the following skills.
- A catering cook
- School assistant
Its sad for us to announce that Aaron and Erin have decided to go home early and they will be leaving on the 13th of December to find work in the UK and to move forward their wedding plans. We will miss them to bits.
- We praise God for the gifts people have sent in to help us accomplish His mission
- For a new vehicle. Our fleet is getting more decrepid by the year
- For our health as leaders
- For the health of the children
- For our new visitors
- For Aaron and Erin as they plan for the future
- For Sal and Dianne as they marry on the 24th
- For a cook and a school assistant
I think I am correct in saying that most of us either know someone involved in a cult or have even come out of a cult ourselves. I also put into these categories "Christian Cults" and those involved with belief systems that are destructive or abusive. The problem is that often people get saved leave the group but yet carry over in their walk cultish thoughts and attitudes that take a long time to straighten out. This is no truer than Christians who have been in heavy shepherding groups. It’s difficult to remove the mind set that all decisions have to made for them such as what job to apply for, who to date, should they change house or children change school. The problem is many carry this with them for years not realizing the freedom they have in Christ to make decisions for them outside the realm of church leadership.
I was involved with a ministry to cults and the occult in the UK for many years. Not only do they provide good apologetics but also good council and insight into the cult mind that I feel may be beneficial to those involved in cult counseling or who are having difficulties shaking off the cult mind set. I have decided to print below an item called "Attitude and Communication" ; if you find this useful please let me know and I can also send you other material for your edification.
Attitude and Communication (copyright Reachout Trust UK)
A1. REALISE WHAT WE ARE DEALING WITH
Although in many of the groups Satan will come disguised as an " ˜angel of light;’ we must realise that we are still dealing with evil realms. Often it might seem that the battle is against the mind but it is still the " ˜god of this world’ that is blinding the mind. We must be spiritually prepared for these encounters and not just look at reaching these people as a " ˜fun’ thing to do.
In these circumstances, prayer is vital. Jesus instructed His disciples in Mark 9:29 to fast and pray if they wanted to see those affected by Satan released. The fasting and praying was not to get rid of the demons - Jesus took authority over them - but it was to get to know the Lord and His character so that next time the disciples would be able take authority in the Lord’s name. The same is true for us.
- Knowing Jesus is always the keystone.
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read the ScripÃ‚ tures. ' The stone which the builders rejected this became the chief corner stone...’ And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomÃ‚ ever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." - Matthew 21:42,44
A2. REALISE WHOM WE ARE DEALING WITH
We are not fighting against or struggling with the people who are in the cults. Our fight is not against flesh and blood but against Satan and his evil hordes behind the people. We therefore need to take time to learn from Scripture the following:
- About Satan’s works - 2 Corinthians 2:11
- About our armour - Ephesians 6:10-16
- About Satan’s end - Hebrews 2:14,15 & 1 John 3:8
The Bible tells us that we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices and to be aware of our place of safety in Christ. More detailed information on this is to be found in the companion volume Occult Overviews and New Age Agendas.
A3. REALISE HOW TO DEAL WITH THE PEOPLE
The key word that sums up how we are to deal with these people is love. If love motivates us then we will be winning people and will be prepared for the struggle that might ensue. We will be prepared for the fact that sometimes they will let us down or hurt us. We are never to get involved with anyone just to get another " ˜notch’ on our tally of people saved.
We do need to give a word of warning though - love is not sloppy and sentimental. There are times, as Jesus showed in His ministry, when we have to be firm. We must show that a person cannot mess about with one foot in the world and one foot in Christ. However even here while saying some quite strong things our motive will still be from a loving desire for their deliverance.
There are at least three essential areas that we need to be prepared in. They are dealt with in detail in the Reachout Trust publication, Open the Door but here we simply mention them and give a brief quote from the book.
Prayer is not directed towards other people it is for God" ¦ we should be using the most practical language possible. Prayer is bringing our requests and petitions to God, with genuine heartfelt words and an expectation of His hearing and answering" ¦Probably the most helpful picture of prayer is a circle. The Lord sits at the top of the circle and begins to express his will" ¦We sit at the bottom of the circle and if we are listening for the voice of the Lord and respond we will pray out from God’s heart. The circle is then completed and returns fulfilled to God - Open The Door, Doug Harris, Kingsway, 1996, pp.80/81.
B2. THE WORD OF GOD
There is no substitute for the word of God" ¦There is no substitute for theology whatever we are doing in the Christian life and more so when dealing with the cults" ¦When the Lord called me into the cult work I found I was forced back into the word of God. - Ibid., p.65.
b3. THE HOLY SPIRIT
We need the ministry of the Holy Spirit if we are to talk to the cults. He is the one who provides the power for the steam train to run on the track of God’s word. - Ibid., p.73.
C. WHY BOTHER ANYWAY?
First, we will answer this question with another question; "did you see the last day’s of Waco?" Anyone who witnessed those horrific scenes could not but be moved. Did those people really want to burn to death? Is that why they joined David Koresh? For most, the motivation for joining was to know God better. Completely misled they thought that by dying they were going to meet God sooner and that they would take part in a glorious resurrection. For such tragically misguided people we need to bother so that they will have a chance of true salvation before it is too late. The question will still be asked by many though, "should we really talk to groups who preach a different Jesus with a different spirit?"
The Scriptural answer is, yes! Nevertheless, some will counter with the argument that 2 John 10 & 11 prohibits us from speaking to these sects. If this were true, it would contradict much of the New Testament. We must be led by our conscience but if we first put these verses into the context of John's letters, what do we find? That these were people who had been in the church but had left - 2 John 7 & 1 John 2:19. The early church met in a house and there no one who was known to bring a different gospel was to be given freeÃ‚ dom to speak because of any young or weak members. In this aspect, it is the same today; it is unwise to talk to cult members in front of young Christians.
Putting these verses into the context of the New Testament and remembering the longing of God’s heart to win these ones, we realise that they cannot mean that we must not give a greeting at all. We are to reach out in love with the gospel message of Jesus Christ as He commanded us to do to all men and women - includÃ‚ ing the cults.
C1. SEE GOD'S HEART
Jesus expressed God’s heart to the outcasts and problem cases. See for example Matthew 8:2-4; 15:22-28; Luke 19:1-10 and 23:39-43.
Take careful note of the whosoever in John 3:16, the all in 1 Timothy 2:3,4 and the not any of 2 Peter 3:8,9. God has made it plain that He wants to save all those who at present are mislead by various cults.
C2. THIS HEART IS REFLECTED IN . . .
- Paul: See Romans 9:1-3 and 10:1-3.
- Peter: See Acts 10:20, 28, 34 and 45.
- Us? See Acts 1:8.
Acts 1:8 tells us to go to the " ˜Samaritans.’ When the Jews heard this they would have been astounded because Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. These verses teach us to go to those whom we would not normally associate with! 1 Peter 3:15 also shows that we should always be ready to give a reasoned defence for the hope that is in us to anyone that asks. Every time a cult member comes to our door, he or she is asking that very question by their attitude. Please note also though the way we are to talk to them - with reverence and gentleness.
C3. IS IT EASY?
It certainly is not easy. We need to experience the reality of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Galatians 5:22 tells us that this includes among other attributes love, patience, gentleness, and self-control. All are vital if we are to effectively witness to cult members.
Fear is often a weapon that Satan will use to stop us talking to cult members but remember he is not all-powerful. His works have been destroyed - 1 John 3:8. He wants to keep the " ˜Christ in you’ out of his way - 1 John 4:4. Do also remember that our inheritance is not fear - 1 Timothy 1:7 and 1 John 4:18.
Just as David prepared himself for battle with Goliath in the years he looked after sheep, we to need to prepare ourÃ‚ selves before God. When David went out to fight Goliath he had already defeated the lion and the bear. Through dedication and practice, he was now ready for the giant who was defying the Lord’s people. The heat of battle is no place for experimentation.
Learn to pray with authority. See 2 Corinthians 4:1-4; Mark 3:27; Matthew 16:19 and 18:18-20.
Learn to rely on the Holy Spirit not just good presentations. See Isaiah 55:8 and 1 Corinthians 11:7-11.
Learn to be Patient. Ecclesiastes 11:1-5; Isaiah 55:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:58 and Galatians 6:8-10.
Although we will describe " ˜methods’ to present the gospel, do not rely solely on them, because they are only helps. The only " ˜method’ is Jesus Christ, preach Him. We need to understand the use of apologetics [see D2] to establish the groundwork for a fair hearing and a relevant framework through which the Holy Spirit can move. Share, in love, historical facts about their organisation that they may not know. Show false prophecies. Show contradictions between their teachings and the Bible. All this however is only to get a hearing because only Christ can save them. Christ is the Gospel. See 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
- THE CROSS - finality, nothing to add.
- BURIAL - old dealt with, no works.
- RESURRECTION - new life.
- APPEARING - to each of us.
We want to sound a note of caution when sharing your personal testimony. If you tell it without Scriptural backing, some cults will ignore it as just an emotional experience. You can however overcome this by not just saying for instance, "I know that I am saved" but by expressing it as "now I understand what the Bible means that we can know we are saved." At the same time do not use spiritual jargon, for example " ˜great peace,’ because many eastern religions know that; or " ˜great joy,’ many humanistic folÃ‚ lowers find that; or " ˜shiver up and down my spine,’ many practising the occult have experienced that.
C5. ONGOING READINESS
The cultist is prepared, indoctrinated and is often under some form of mind manipulation. They are usually highly motivated through for instance fear, reward or position. The Christian is born again, on the road to heaven and simply content! We may never feel comÃ‚ pletely ready but our lives should have an ongoing experience of:
- KNOWING THE LORD - See John 17:3; 5:38; Matthew 16:13-16 and Ephesians 6:10
Ã¯ ‚ · KNOWING HIS WORD - See Luke 24:44,45; 1 Timothy 4:11-16 and Colossians 3:16
Be familiar with the basic doctrines such as salvation, justification and sanctification.
Ã¯ ‚ · KNOWING THE CULT - See 2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15 and Ephesians 6:11
Some Christians will be called fully to this ministry and therefore able to go deeper into the subject than others. However, it is good for all of us to know the basics of the main cults we are likely to meet in the area we live. Do a little homework by reading your local newspapers or visiting the library's bulletin board to find out those in your area and be prepared for them.
James 1:19-2:9 gives some very practical advice in the art of communication. Interestingly the first piece has nothing to do with speaking at all but is all to do with listening carefully. It has been noted that we have two ears and one mouth and that we should use them in those proportions. We are always to be careful how we hear and ensure that we understand before we start to do or say anything.
Most people in a cult believe they are in God’s organisation. Many will be happy where they are at that moment because they have not known anything better. They may even have had some experience of " ˜God’ and learnt more of the Scriptures than they ever knew before. In these circumstances, there is no point in just saying "you are wrong." We must recognise the group they are in as they do and begin from there.
D1.1. BUILD A BRIDGE OF LOVE NOT JUDGEMENT
Many are in the group for what they feel are genuine reasons. We have no right to judge these people in the sense of condemnation [see Luke 6:37 and John 3:17] but we are instructed to test everything and make a decision as to what is good [1 Thessalonians 5:21]. The Bible also instructs us to love our neighbour, but just who is our neighbour? The answer is given in Luke 10:30-37, anyone we are found next to. We cannot spiritualise this or seek to excuse ourselves as they did in Jesus’ day. If we really love God, we will love these ones and not give harsh words.
John 4 shows us the perfect illustration of how we are to act and react to these people.
vv.6&7 - a true servant is always ready. Jesus made no excuses to ignore the woman although He had the perfect one, that Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. The woman knowing this was puzzled. Jesus makes Himself vulnerable to the woman by asking her for a drink of water. He relates lovingly to her as a human being not accusing her as an adulteress.
vv.10 - 14 - Jesus does not even begin by talking about the woman but he talks about Himself. He shows her that what He has is far better than what she has.
v.15 - This leads the woman to want what Jesus has rather than being forced away
vv.16-18 - Jesus still has to deal with what is wrong in the woman’s life but He does it in such a loving way. He begins with a question not an accusation. We can learn much from this - it is far better to ask a question of the cult member that will cause them to open up and think rather than accuse them which will cause them to clam up.
v.19 - Jesus is prepared to talk at her level.
v.29 - She knows that something is different. She is not absolutely sure what it is but now there is a big " ˜?’ in her life.
- Build bridges not brick walls
- Show them you have something better than they do but not with a " ˜holier than thou’ attitude
- Ask questions not make accusations
- Sow doubt and share the real Jesus
D1.2. UNDERSTAND AND SYMPATHISE
We are not to condone the wrong attitudes and beliefs of cult members. At the same time, we are not to put standards on them that God would not put on us. See Hebrews 4:14-5:8. Notice how the High Priest acts towards us and this is the way we are to act towards others. Understand the problems someone leaving the cult may have, for example, having to leave home or family; entering a church for the first time; or fear of reprisals.
D1.3. SPEND TIME AND BE PATIENT
We need to show lots of love and care. The victims need compassion and restoration. See Jesus’ treatment of Peter in John 21. Always be ready to restore after a fall.
D2. USE OF APOLOGETICS
Many groups have their own spiritual language and this often leads to talking at cross purposes. Using apologetics is a vital part of our communication with cultists. The word apologetics is derived from the Greek word apologia and means " ˜a reasoned argument’ not " ˜to apologise.’ The word is used eight times in the New Testament; Acts 22:1; 25:16; 1 Corinthians 9:3; 2 Corinthians 7:11; Phillippians 1:7, 16; 2 Timothy 4:16; and 1 Peter 3:15. It is shown in these Scriptures to mean " ˜a verbal defence, a speech in defence of what one has done or the truth, which one believes.’
Although translated defence, it is not negaÃ‚ tive, but a very positive vindication as these Scriptures show. It is just like the case put by the defence lawyer to the jury. Having studied his client and the case details he is able to present clearly and precisely why his client is innocent. We need to be able to present such a clear case to show why we are Christians and not anything else with a spiritual belief system.
Various examples of the use of apologetics to reach those in the cults will be found in the relevant sections.
D3. THE ORIGINAL AND THE COPY
This is a helpful way of showing the difference between a cult and true Christianity and at the same time taking away the accusing finger. Talk about the painting masterpiece worth thousands of pounds and then about a very good copy that looks excellent but is only worth hundreds. Offer both to them and ask them to choose which one they want. From this point, you can show the differences between the group they are involved with and the Bible. Ask them which one they would prefer the very valuable original or the good but lesser copy.
We can also see from this illustration that until there is an original to compare with you do not know if you have a copy or not. A good copy will always be best until it is put against the original. Yes we do need to point out the errors of the group the people are in but unless we show them something better there is no reason for them to change. By using the illustration of the original and the copy, you do not spend all the time condemning the group they are in but showing them that there is something better.
E. RESPONSE TO CRITICISM
We have often been criticised for what we do especially concerning the " ˜Christian cults’. Phrases such as "touch not the Lord’s anointed" are thrown at us. What does this phrase found in 1 Samuel 26:11 and other verses mean? David had separated himself from the Lord’s anointed king, Saul. He had clearly proclaimed that Saul was wrong and he welcomed all those that left Saul and wanted to join him. The one thing he would not do was forcibly remove Saul from the position that God had given him, that was up to God Himself. We believe therefore that this phrase actually shows us that we can proclaim something or someone as scripturally wrong, providing it is accomplished in the right attitude.
This right attitude is summed up in 2 Thessalonians 3:14,15. Even those who would wilfully disobey Paul and what was the Word of God to the Thessalonians they were not to treat as enemies but as brothers. We seek that the information that is contained in this and indeed all the publications of Reachout Trust is in such a spirit. We do not hold ourselves up as judge of all but want to encourage all Christians to be those who test all things and hold fast to that which is good from God.
The Scriptural basis for discernment is described in 1 John 4:1 and 1 Thessalonians 5:21. I believe there are five pointers that help us know what to look for in any group or person we may encounter.
- Does the Word of God forbid the experience or teaching?
- Does the Word of God forbid the principle behind the experience or teaching?
- Is the outcome glory to and recognition of God rather than man?
- Is the fruit to make the individual more Christ-like?
- Is the person more outgoing to others rather than inward looking?
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CULTS
We can find several man-made definitions of what a cult is but the Bible also gives us a clear definition. See Galatians 1:8,9 and 2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15. Using these we need to ask, " ˜is the gospel of the group the one that Paul preached?' " ˜Do they have a different Jesus?’ And, " ˜do they have a different Spirit?’
The man made definition we would use in these notes is in two parts. The first is especially for counterfeit Christian cults and the second for other groups.
A group whose message includes either the need of a spiritual change now, or gives a hope of eternal salvation, or encourages a relationship with God, without the reality of repentance from sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ as God the Son and Saviour. - Open The Door, Doug Harris, Kingsway, 1996, p.14.
Groups who employ methods of strict authoritarianism, or mind control, or insist that their group is the only true one, or who hold the threat of expulsion for any who do not accept leadership decisions without question. - Ibid.
Steven Hassan in his secular but excellent book Combating Cult Mind Control divides cults into four main groups.
In this volume, we will mainly deal with type one. The religious ones can be subdivided into two main sections - those who use or partly use the Bible, even if twisted and those who substitute their own writings. The psycho-therapy/educational cults are mainly new age and are dealt with in our companion volume Occult Overviews & New Age Agendas.
A simpler definition could put cults into four categories:
- Counterfeit Christian Cults - Groups that are a poor copy of the original. They claim to preach Jesus and the Bible but if we take a closer look, we can detect that they are a fake.
- Christian Cults - Groups in this category usually have some members who are true Christians. Unfortunately some of their teachings will have a cultic tendency and this will mean that not everyone knows the joy and freedom of salvation in Jesus Christ.
- Personality Cults - Groups who have a strong leader or leaders that will dominate and often hold people through a form of mind control or manipulation.
- Secular Cults - Groups that offer no religious input but still take people captive and change their personality into the ideology of the group.
These divisions are from man’s viewpoint and we need to balance this with God’s viewpoint that all are a deviation from His truth.
Cults will use a variety of techniques to alter the thinking of a person, control their mind and get them to accept their way. These techniques will differ from cult to cult and will also differ in effect from person to person. Some of the most common are:
- Bombarding the person with love.
- Isolating the person from family, friends, etc.
- Removing all privacy.
- Depriving the person of any sense of time.
- Lack of sleep and a healthy diet.
- Encourage confession of innermost secrets, fears, etc.
- Making a heavy financial commitment.
B2 MIND CONTROL
Many if not most cults practice some form of " ˜Mind Control’. This may be achieved by feeding the new member with limited or specially prepared information that puts their organisation in a favourable light. At the same time, they will probably be fed information that every other group is wrong. This conforms the new member into thinking the way of the group. When you add to this the lengths that some will go to cut them off from close family and any other friends and relatives who might affect their thinking you will see that the new member becomes an island in the midst of the sea of cult propaganda.
We need to take time to understand why the person we are talking to became involved with the group in the first place. Then we will be able to relate to them better. The way we may view the group is not the only way of looking at it. We may see a dogmatic group who is deceiving and brainwashing people to hell. However, the person you are talking to may see them as loving people who have given them answers to life.
We need to build bridges to gain trust. Just " ˜having a go’ therefore produces nothing positive and could prove harmful. Start where the person is and lead them to Christ do not start where we are and drive them into the hands of Satan. Beware of simply cornering them because they will fight like a wild animal. Sow doubt, apply a little pressure, back off and repeat the process for as long as necessary.
Other things we should understand are:
- We may think that the person we are talking to is rational and has chosen to join the group fully aware of the conÃ‚ sequences. This may not be the case. If the group approached them at a bad time emotionally, the rational mind may have played very little part.
- It is very hard to leave. Over a period, they come to equate the group with their salvation. They believe that if they leave the group, they have no hope of being saved. Even when they see the faults of the group, they excuse them feeling that this is still the only way.
- There is also the simple problem of friendship. The group may literally have been their salvation. They have loved, helped and befriended them. Why should they leave? Moreover, if they do where would they go? I was recently told of a long serving Jehovah's Witness, asking a young curate, " ˜if I leave the Witnesses could your church look after me?’ At the time the answer was no. The Witness went away very sad because he wanted to leave but had nowhere to go.
It is not always easy to detect who is a cult but there are certain main characteristics to look for. We have listed six of the main ones below. Some of these would be used just for counterfeit Christian cults and others just for secular cults. If, as we have indicated you also see some of these characÃ‚ teristics in apparently Christian groups, you cannot just ignore it. Maybe the group is not totally a cult but it will at least have some cultic tendencies. What the group says may appear, on the surface, to be true but beware of:
- Majoring on minor issues - for example the shape of the cross with Jehovah's Witnesses.
- Over-emphasis of the truth - for example the prosperity doctrine without the cross.
- Stating a truth and then drawing a wrong conclusion - for example because the trinity doctrine was not written down until the fourth century it must be pagan.
D1. Use or misuse of scripture
The final authority in all matters is scripture. If portions are left out to give half-truths or meanings twisted to suit pet doctrines then the group is a cult.
Examples of this error include proving that Jesus was a created being called Michael the Archangel and that the Bible foretells the Book of Mormon as inspired writing.
Scriptures that help us see the truth are 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21 and Revelation 22:18,19.
D2. THE PERSON OF CHRIST
Jesus is not just a prophet or a good man. He is God and a right relationship with Him is vital for salvation. Cults nearly always downgrade Jesus.
Examples of this error include the Mormons claiming that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer and Spiritualists claiming that He is only equal with others such as White Eagle.
Scriptures that help in showing the truth are John 1:1; 5:18; 14:6; Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1.
Further errors can occur as a result of downgrading the person of Jesus. These include denying the doctrine of the Trinity and raising man to a position of godhood.
D3. IS SALVATION EARNED?
Salvation only comes through Jesus Christ and is a free gift; it cannot be earned. By it, we are delivered from the doÃ‚ main of Satan into the Kingdom of Christ. Nothing in man can achieve this.
Most cults are an example of this with the need to keep the laws and ordinances of the group beyond the acceptance of Jesus Christ.
Scriptures that help show the truth are John 1:12; Acts 4:10-12; Ephesians 2:8,9 and Colossians 1:13
A result of misrepresenting the doctrine of salvation is that the doctrines of hell [does not exist, just annihilation], and death [go to sleep, no eternal soul], are manipulated.
D4. TRACK RECORD ON PROPHECY
Not one science, for example archaeology, not one discovery and not one historical event has ever shown Bible prophecy false, in fact just the opposite. How do the prophecies of the group's leaders stand the test of time?
Do not be put off with stories of receiving " ˜new light’. If the group claims to be the mouthpiece of God, then what they say is from God. The logic of this is if they receive " ˜new light’ that contradicts " ˜old light’ - God made a mistake!
Scriptures concerning false prophets and God’s way include Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and Isaiah 55:11.
D5. UNIQUENESS/SPECIAL REVELATION
Many groups claim that they are unique concerning salvation or some other vital doctrine. Others say that God has shown them something, by special revelation, which no one else has. Both these attitudes are cultic. First there is not one group but one way of salvation and that cannot be held just by a few. Second, if anyone holds a unique revelation that cannot be matched to the Word of God then it is no revelation from God.
Scriptures that help show the truth are John 14:6 and 2 Peter 1:20-21.
Whenever one man takes charge of a group to control its every movement, you will more often than not have a cult. It is of course just possible that every decision a man takes is of God and so the group would follow in God's way. However most true Christian leaders do not want to be in the isolated situation that most cult leaders achieve.
Examples are many but the most tragic of recent times is David Koresh causing 85 of his followers to be burnt to death at Waco, Texas in 1993. Ten years earlier we also had Jim Jones leading 100's of people in a mass suicide. Two Scriptures, among many, that help us to see the truth are Ephesians 5:21 and Phillippians 2:3-8
When you have tested the group in question on the above points -
- How do they use Scripture?
- Who is their Jesus?
- How can I be saved?
- Have their prophecies come true?
- Do they claim a unique revelation?
- Do they have one dominant leader?
- you will normally have sufficient evidence to show whether the group is a cult or not.
- The Lombard family during these hard times
- The ongoing health of Lyn and I
- For our daily bread
- For Paulina and the upcoming operation
- For Norbert and Moses in Tanzania and Kenya
- For Chanti and Lilly in India
- For all our helpers as they serve the Lord
- The continuing registration process
How can you help?
Prayer is important, but also the helping hands and the finances that enable us to do what we do. So please consider the following.
Receive a regular News update either by email or hard copy. Just send your address to us and we will pop one in the post for you or email it to you. (although email to save mail size will be without pictures)
Secondly you can apply to be a short or long term missionary. If the Lord burdens you and you want to investigate more please contact us.
Finally you can give a one off gift or a regular monthly amount to cover the costs of mission. This is simple to do. Just contact the following people or you can contact any Moriel office and they will assist you.
Mr & Mrs B Royle
2 Cressington Close
Off Cedric Street
Tel: 0161 737 2996
PO Box 10807
Web Site: www.moriel.org & www.ebyown.org.za
Fax 086 640 2879
Cell: 082 373929
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