#32 Eau De Cult Pt. 3

Table of Contents

Disclaimer: Statements in this book concerning Sound Doctrine Church and Mr. William’s wife are not relevant. Sound Doctrine Church is no longer in existence and the wife of Timothy Williams passed away over a decade ago.

Intro: The following is a special edition of the Consider Podcast. The New Testament Church, the model church was slanderously called “a sect”, or in modern terms, “a cult”. People everywhere talked against the leaders, churches and disciples of Jesus labeling them a cult. The same is true today. Any church that is loving God and others by the power of the Holy Spirit will be defamed in the same manner. Let us consider a portion of the events recorded in Acts. When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself with a soldier to guard him. 3 days later, he called together the leaders of the Jews. When they had assembled, Paul said to them, “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the cusPauls of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans.”

They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. But when the Jews I was compelled to appeal to Caesar. Not that I had any charge to bring against my own people. For this reason, I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain. They replied, “We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you and none of the brothers who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. But we want to hear what your views are. For we know that people everywhere are talking against this cult.”

They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. From morning till evening, he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the law of Moses and from the prophets. Some were convinced by what he said but others would not believe. (Acts 28:16-24).

The audio book is entitled “Eu De Cult”, and delves into the matter of what causes true Christianity to be labelled a cult. Eu De Cult is the French word for “perfume”. As Paul declared, “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing, to the one we are the smell of death, to the other the fragrance of life.” (Second Corinthians chapter 2 verses 15-16). Every true Christian church will be labeled a cult but every church that is called a cult is not necessarily of Jesus.

So, a word of caution: Do not attempt to live this in your church unless the full complete gospel message has been laid down as a solid foundation. Take serious note of what Paul wrote in first Corinthians 3 ten. By the grace God has given me. I laid a foundation as an expert builder and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. The Consider Podcast Examining today’s wisdom, folly and madness. www.consider.info.

Speaker: Eu de Cult, Love in the First Church by Timothy Williams. For more information, stop by the Consider Podcast at www.consider.info. Ecclesiastes 1:17, “Examining today’s wisdom, folly, and madness.” Unless otherwise noted, all scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society.

Dedicated To all who seek more of the love of Christ in the church. I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, and I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:16-18).

Chapter 5, “Walking in the light”:

“But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7). Perfume is only appreciated when worn. Likewise, you can only understand the light of God if you walk in it. While I can describe to you a small portion of the meaning of walking in the light, you will never understand it unless you take a leap of faith and actually start walking in it yourself. Fear holds many people back and they end up continually watching us to make sure there are no hidden dangers. Others just like to scare people. Not because they have honest concerns, but because they hide their own sins. But the crucified life never feels comfortable and there are lots of dangers. A person must trust God in faith, and step out like Abraham to travel where they have never been before. If they want to the wonder and power of God.

First of all, it has to be God’s light. So often we wind up walking in our own light, living a lie, a lie that cannot save us. Churches and ministries often light their own torches and foolishly think they walk in the light. If we, however, fail to find the light of God, we will lie down in torment, and not be received into heaven. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches go. Walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. “This is what you shall receive from my hand, you will lie down in torment. (Isaiah 50:11).

How does a person know if he or she walks in the light? If you can tolerate the light you walk in, then it is not the light that comes from Jesus. The light of Jesus penetrates, works, maneuvers, reveals and brings hidden things to the surface for all to see. It has a mind of its own and is never influenced in the least by the will of man. For the light of Christ moves through the Holy Spirit in the church to expose, purify and heal. Before it works the resurrected life, it puts us on the cross. A cross that will expose all of our sins, weakness and flesh. It will lead us to a crucifixion that will put to death our excuses, justifications and whitewash. Often those who do not walk in the light declare, only God knows my heart. You can’t judge me. There is a great error when it comes to this issue.

Truly only God knows our hearts. But we assume that he keeps such knowledge to himself. Nothing could be further from the truth. God can communicate what hides in someone’s heart to those dead to their own judgments. Indeed, when we preach the word of God correctly. The secret things our hearts are brought out into the light. Take for example two members of the first church. They came before Peter with an offering, but Peter saw by the power of the Holy Spirit that Satan filled their hearts. Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan so filled your heart.” (Acts 5:3).

The nature of Jesus reveals what lies in our hearts and if the nature of Jesus fills a man or church dead enough to self, the Holy Spirit reveals the heart to everyone from time to time. Besides, it doesn’t take a spiritual giant to understand a man’s heart. Our conversations reveal that easily enough. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45).

Individuals often become defensive when they feel I am judging them and complain that I do not know their hearts. It doesn’t take a great deal of spiritual insight. To see that out of the overflow of the heart, a man reveals his secret motives. Indeed, we often lie to ourselves thinking our hearts are better than what our actions declare. God reveals the lies and hidden agendas in our hearts through the church that fellowships in the light. If you want a church where heart is not exposed, then you must seek out a false Jesus. The Romans crucified people naked. In humiliation every fault and weakness became apparent to all. Likewise, God’s light exposes all. Even the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. If we teach by the power of the Holy Spirit. Man’s light allows you to keep your religious clothes on. Walk in the light of your own lamp and fool everyone around you. Most churches offer this type of light to their congregation.

The revealing light of God, however, exposes our hearts more than most of us can take and therefore, we run. Cockroaches in a dark room crawling on the walls and floor, scurry for darkness when you flip on a light. The same is true for people who hang around in dark churches. When God seeks to draw them into the light, they run for cover. Like the cripple that Jesus healed, yet later had to call to repentance. They refuse to repent and set out to persecute the light. But if they persevered, they would have discovered that beyond the cross lies the resurrected life. Where one not only walks in the light, but also allows God’s light to flow through them. They would become a people not just walking in the light, but living as children of the light. “For you were once darkness; but now you are light in the Lord, live as children of the light.” (Ephesians 5:8).

Many people not even attend our church because they know it would require them to walk in the light. Like the first church, many feel afraid to join because they know God is holy among us. They cannot see past the offence of the cross to the resurrected life. And of those who do, few are willing to become honestly crucified with Christ enough to get it. Self-righteousness and pride usually stop those who start to agree with this message. Many justify themselves because the fragrance has an edge to it, an eau de cult type of smell. This light filled with power causes a person to sense that self will be exposed and crucified. Since self has been in charge of one’s life for years, it feels threatened and knows deep inside that a death sentence hangs over it.

It naturally recoils at the thought of what God might do. Those willing to let the offense of the cross do its work will discover joys they never knew even existed. This light causes many people to leave the church embittered. They regret their sacrifices and surrenders, wishing to take back what they had freely given at one time. They come to the church because light at first looks better than darkness. But when that light seeks to work life in them, they run back to the darkness. As that light begins to penetrate their lives, hearts and minds, they know they will have to really change. They start to understand and know that self must be crucified. But unfortunately, they did not really want to give up their lives. They only want Jesus to clean their lives up for them so they leave the church, and in order to justify themselves spew forth all manner of twisted truths and slanders.

In the small town where our current church resides, it didn’t take long for this to happen. An individual came and started changing but since she remained unwilling to change all the way, she listened to those threatened by the light. In fact, a family member begged her to go to any other church but ours. This family member said, ‘He would go with her to any church if she just wouldn’t go to our church.’ When push came to shove, doctrine didn’t matter. Just avoiding the light remain the only concern. Such actions are just a foreshadowing of a time when men will hide in caves to avoid the light of God.

Once a rejection of the light set in, the whole town became swamped with all kinds of slander. It finally came to a head when some of the pastors in town sent me one of the most judgmental and unloving letters I have ever received. Enemies of the cross relish the chance to interview and use individuals who leave him bittered. Many people leave and say all manner of things. God after all deals with the most personal of sins, idols, and every person’s high place. God will use the church to deal with their sinful nature. Not just some aspect of sin in their life. The church is not a clinic like those in the world where individuals clean up their lives so they can go back out and mess them up again. The church should be a place where members put on the new nature of Christ.

God seeks to create a new life in each person, by way of the offensive cross and many, if not most, will simply not permit God to do this. The vast majority of people just want Jesus to fix up their lives, not take their lives. Therefore, when they leave the church, failing to overcome their sins, they will not blame themselves, but you. And as they lie about it, they will know inside their hearts that they slander not you but God.

I share this with you so that you will not let such things discourage you from celebrating the love God will desire to work in you. You will see many people leave and the temptation to become cynical and bitter will become very real. You will be burned many times but you will not burn in hell. Paul was always in danger from false brothers. And was deserted several times. God calls crowds, but only chooses a few. For example, God sent us on a trip to Scotland and out of the many individuals encountered, very few moved forward into grace. Several at first seemed excited about the message. They’d already listened to sermons and read our books. But quickly left as God moved to make these things a reality in their own lives. They thought all of this cross talk was just mere words. Others came to test things out, but soon gave up when they realized God required them to give up everything for him.

Only few remained including the woman one of my sons would marry, but that is another miracle altogether. Indeed, many a pastor has stopped preaching because very few actually want to love God and others. Every pastor must heal the wounded with the untasteful medicine of nails to crucify the sin of nature. A pastor should teach the flock that God comes into our lives to bless us by turning us from sin daily. Those who pray to God for blessings, should understand that they’re asking God to show them more sin and wickedness in their hearts and lives. To be blessed by turning each of you from your wicked ways. “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts 3:26).

Pastors burn out because they do not go back to God for refreshment. Those who stay in the pulpit have to water down their preaching. It takes hard work to get the cross to produce life in others. No one dies willing or easily to self. I can remember sometime back an individual who suffered from mental problems. Making vast amounts of improvements as God began to move in his life. Others in his life however would rather have him suffer mentally than attend church with us. Various attacks came against him and us with the help of many behind the scenes. Eventually the individual could not take the abuse by them anymore and left. Naturally was seen as our fault.

Once people got the sense, we were a cult, they simply assumed we did all kinds of bad things. No one ever blames himself for his sins, and our flesh desires a quick and easy way out. Again, this is one of hundreds of stories that demonstrate how when you show love to others. They spit it back in your face. We must, as Paul did, endure all things for those few elect that will come to love God. Indeed, it is it to see if you embrace the full message of life. Better to have a small church where love moves everyone to unity than to have a large church where sheep and goats mingle without the slightest care. BotPaul line, if you desire to be Godly, to wear the fragrance of Christ, you will be persecuted. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a Godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Let me encourage you to remember the words Jesus spoke about the last days. Jesus declared that the love of most would grow cold. This is why you smell so little of this fragrance today. Men desire ministry, work, doctrines, pleasures and their own lives, above a heavenly love. And although they talk, preach and write hard about love, the truth is revealed when God comes along with the cross that produces this love. In reality, they love their lives too much to give them up to God let alone their fellow man. The message of the cross has merely become a higher moral level, not a means of death to self. Therefore, churches tolerate all manner of false Christians. The gospel has been politicized into a conservative agenda, not a means to crucify a person. So, far has the gospel slipped, that one conservative Christians well known ministry stated to my assistant that they saw nowhere in scripture that we have to hate for Jesus. It is true that everyone will know pretty much everything about your life, but this is not as dreadful as it sounds.

Take for example your sin. Once you resolve to walk in the light with a particular sin, no man can control you with that sin. You have no fear of exposure because you have already confessed and walked in the light with that sin. Confession of sin enables the church to pray for others that they might be healed. Those who walk in the light find great freedom. So much freedom that each person in the church has a heaven-sent power to love others. In fact, any church that practices confession is a very safe place to worship. Of course, we are not talking about a confession safely done in a small booth. But out in the light. One person who visited but was never willing to surrender to God exclaimed. No wonder your church grows spiritually. You really do confess your sins. It is not uncommon at all to hear confession of sin before individuals communion at Sound Doctrine or to hear confession of sin during the week.

Jesus told us that we must surpass the law to enter heaven. So, consider Old Testament worship. No one had a small altar at home where they could privately worship God. If a man wanted to make a sin offering, he had to go to the temple and bring a particular sacrifice that would reveal to everyone his sins. The nature of sin is deceitful. It is not easy for any of us to see our personal sins. We easily see sins in others but not ourselves. Only in a church with the light of God powerfully moves. Can this deceitfulness be dealt a death blow? Confessing sins out in the open Rob’s deceitfulness of its power. Now it takes great wisdom and care when confessing sins and unfortunately, we do not have time here to explore that issue. It is enough for us to see that it must be done. In the Old Testament the priest knew how the offering should be made. Likewise, pastors today should be experts on directing the body and how the Holy Spirit leads confession of sin. Sadly, such knowledge is almost totally lost.

In the Old Testament, church wasn’t just a place where you went for an hour and sang a few songs, listened to a sermon and returned home to live your religious life. Church completely filled the life of the worshiper. Everything centered around it and all aspects of a person’s life remained out in the open for all to see. If a person sinned, the whole church suffered and only the priest could declare them clean. If God blessed someone, everyone watched as the person brought their thank offering to the Lord. Such Old Testament examples of how everything is in the light, and how it affects everyone in the body, no doubt filled Paul’s mind when he wrote the following verse. “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Corinth 12:26).

The notion that somehow sin or blessings remains a private affair in the Lord is totally wrong and totally sinful. It smacks a vile self-centeredness. God uses others to expose your weak areas. You know that if you start to wander away or grow cold, others will see and encourage you. Members of the Sound Doctrine Church feel very secure, knowing they remain safe with the leadership and safe from themselves. Like the church, members can trust the leadership so much that they can lay even things of the world at their feet, and they know they will not be used to please the flesh. The flock knows the power of the light. And if anyone in leadership begins to stray into sin, God will deal powerfully with them. They know it because they have felt and seen this power in their own lives.

As a body, they know that the light of God reveals the secrets in a man’s heart. They know it because their own secrets have been revealed and the true motives of their hearts drawn out. They have seen God draw out these secrets not only in others but in the church and themselves. This happens especially at first when a vast gulf lies between why we think we do something and the real reason for our actions. God uses the body to perfect his church in this way. As you read the scripture below, you will notice why the first church was thought of as a cult. If a person judged by all and they do not want to repent, they will certainly leave and slander that church. Let me ask you, is your church known for revealing the secret things of a man’s life into light? If not, then you really cannot speak of the presence of the Lord filling your church.

“For it is in this context that individuals fall down and worship God exclaiming God is really among you. But if an unbelief or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying; he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare, so he will fall down and worship God exclaiming God is really among you.” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).

The light of God holds more power than any accountability partner people always want to know who watches over me and the Lord. Who am I accountable to? When I answer that the light of God rules over all, they don’t consider that a good enough answer. They think I’m avoiding the question and hiding something. They’re used to man’s worthless schemes to keep others accountable. They don’t understand the power of God. They think many ministries and pastors have fallen into secret sins even with accountability partners. A man remains powerless to hold another man accountable unless the light of God does the work after all how can darkness reveal darkness or darkness hold darkness accountable. All the schemes of men to hold each other accountable are worthless attempts to walk in the light. Rather such attempts are classic Pharisee moves, that seek to look noble to others but allow self to remain on the throne. And every once in a while, that ugly head pokes itself out and someone gets caught.

As to my accountability, the answer is simple. Everyone in the church, every member keeps me accountable in the Lord. I am accountable to every single one of them. And God can and does use everyone to keep me in line. If I begin to slip into sin or start to take advantage of others, God would powerfully deal a death blow. Everyone has divine power to judge me. And those dying to self can see the truth very quickly. This light does require, however, that individuals be iron in the Lord. Many believers, however, remain too touchy and moody to attend a strong church. Therefore, God leaves them in weak churches, until they become ready to repent.

Many at Sound Doctrine Church testify that God waited a long time to create a church like this, because they were not ready for it. Their flesh was still attracted to many foolish things found in weaker churches. Scripture declares, “As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.” Some people are so filled with pride that they become as brittle as glass. Therefore, when someone who is iron in the Lord tries to sharpen them. They simply break and become dangerous to others. Other individuals are like pillows. So loving and nice, that they agree to anything and everything. When iron strikes, they absorb it. But never allow it to sharpen them. Still others are like hard clay, all self-righteous and richly decorated but easily shattered when iron seeks to fellowship with them.

Such people have passed through the fire several times and may look good and strong but they are still just clay. They often agree with the message of the cross but only from a self-important standpoint. Their self-righteousness makes them fragile. And when they meet someone of iron in the Lord they become easily offended and shattered. Still other are actually iron but refuse to be struck against. They are cold iron. Because they are iron, they pride themselves on being strong. When they look at themselves, they see someone solid in the Lord. They just don’t know the reality of their coldness. They will avoid those hot in the Lord at all costs. Because the heat would reveal that they are cold iron. These types of individuals will usually pride themselves on staying in a dead church. In spite of what God’s word commands because they think they have something to offer. They forget that cold iron may be strong but it is also cold, frozen in self-righteousness.

Such people start out following Jesus, rejoicing in this message, but do not like the heat that produces a sharp edge. If we expect the rough edges of our sin to be made smooth, iron must rub against iron. Heat will up and sparks will fly. Those who can rejoice in it, will become red hot in love with Jesus and sharp as a double-edged sword. This kind of fellowship requires some real resolve, real love and being at peace with each other no matter what comes. Grumblers and fault finders will not endure it and will quickly leave. When the light reveals a dullness or rough spot in the iron, another piece of iron strikes it to smooth out the edges. Not only are both pieces of iron are sharpened, but in the deepest of love, a bond forms between the two.

Let me remind you that only the Holy Spirit can arrange and manage the striking. When you find a church seeking in human effort to mock this, you will witness destruction. Only the Holy Spirit has a love, wisdom and grace to know when to strike and the strength required. Therefore, Jesus said, “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with each other.” Again, you have to be iron in the Lord to wear eau de cult. The fragrance however gives a joy so that the probing, examining and challenging produces life. Indeed, even the trials of fellowship cannot stop the inexpressible joy the Holy Spirit provides. When the sparks fly and the heat builds up it ends not in bitterness, but in becoming sharper in the Lord. God works by His Holy Spirit. Every earnest council among us that the stubborn in the Lord cannot tolerate. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.” (Proverbs 27:9).

People often wonder how we can take such sharpening. Indeed, we at sound doctrine consider a slap in the face sent by God to be the deepest act of kindness. We often smile to ourselves when someone whines that they wish we could show more kindness as we point out sin. We smile with sadness because they did not understand what full kindness in the Lord is about. “Let a righteous man strike me; it is a kindness. Let him rebuke me; it is oil at my head, my head will not refuse it.” (Psalms 141:5). They will often say, I couldn’t live like that. We can because we allow and have allowed God to crucify our pride, justifications and excuses. We long for a are eager for correction and encouragement. Because we hunger and thirst for righteousness by faith. Indeed, rather than considering a rebuke to be of the devil. We see it as a kindness from the Lord. The oil of the Holy Spirit smooths out all the sharpening and keeps our love ever increasing and overflowing.

Notice again that only in this light will we obtain a fellowship that allows the blood of Jesus his son to purify us all sin. “But if we walk in the light and he is the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his son purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7). Those who stay at home or remain in compromising churches and refuse to fellowship in the light with others are not delivered from their sins. They remain unclean and will soon discover that they are not dressed properly for the wedding with Jesus. They may be virgins, but not pure virgins ready for Jesus. Now is our time to get into the light to check for stains on our clothes. If planning to go to a special dinner party, would you not ask someone if everything looks correct? How much more should you do that as you prepare for the wedding banquet of the Lord?

Mid Point

Consider soberly the scripture below as it shows us many Christians go to hell. They make it all the way into the wedding banquet. Find a seat and yet are thrown out as God goes around the table. God even refers to them as friend. Think of it. Friends of God sent to hell. But not cast out in any normal sense of the word. They are first tied hand and foot and then thrown out. Powerless in hell to do anything as they face torment. It is proper judgement for their hand should have prayed for the light to fill the church and their feet should have walked in.

Reader, you might voice all kinds of excuses and fears as to why this cannot and should not be lived. But there will come a time when like this man, you find yourself speechless. Having no excuse for not demanding the light in your church. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who is not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “How did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendance, “Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”” (Matthew 22:11-13).

This light brings health healing and a full life in Jesus for certain this light also brings purity and with purity comes forgiveness of sins in the sight of God all those who love God will long for fellowship with believers who also desire this light. Others will run and even persecute it. It doesn’t matter if someone claims salvation or not. If they refuse this kind of light then they are not saved. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:20). To wear eau de cult means you will have to come into the light. After all, it is the only mourn at the wedding party. Are you willing?

Chapter 6, “Doctor Harry Heretic Hunter”.

“To some who are confident of their own righteousness and look down on everybody else, Jesus told them this parable.” (Luke18:9). Doctor Harry heretic hunter: A knowledgeable expert in the field of exposing cults, investigates, searches the Bible and listens to the stories of those who have escaped such groups. He carries a strong influence in the community, the expert everyone looks to for answers. He debates scripture and discerns the faults of others. The only problem is that Doctor Harry’s methods are dead wrong. He has made the fatal mistake all mankind makes discerning Jesus. He judges by outward appearance and ends up persecuting Jesus Christ. For no one can come to a correct conclusion about Jesus Christ and his disciples by judging mere appearances. “Stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgement. At that point, some of people of Jerusalem began to ask, ‘Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill.’” (John 3:24-25).

In order to make a right judgement we must look past what appears true or false this began in the Garden of Eden when we decided we would like to play God, deciding between right and wrong. The fruit looked pleasing to the eye and desirable, but it was total sin. In the same way those who look at a church filled with the same love as the first church and measure it by what pleases their eyes and mind, will make a mistake every single time. Indeed, they will fall on the side of working for Satan and his darkness. Satan likes to throw the word cult around, so he can keep the church lukewarm. They see themselves busy and on fire for the Lord yet not active enough to be called a cult. Lukewarmness then becomes the norm. Resulting in what we see in the church today.

A lukewarm church loves to point out the faults of a cold or liberal church alongside the sport labeling those on fire in the Lord as a cult is the past time of pointing a finger at cold dead Christians. But let us not forget that Jesus would rather have a church cold or hot, not lukewarm. Either reject what you are reading here as being of Satan or live it fully, but don’t play at all. Those who do shame Jesus far more than those who remain cold. Enemies of the cross like to use the word cult to make others look evil and themselves righteous. The word “cult” strikes fear in most Christians and the vast majority of pastors fear being called a cult leader. If you desire to follow Jesus in real love, you had better die to what others think of you. Indeed, you’d better learn to leap for joy when they come against you.

If you don’t want controversy, then we advise you not to become a Christian. It would be best not to try and rescue people from their sin for the vast majority do not want to be saved. Many who will try give up and become bitter. For to lay down your life as Jesus did will overwhelm you with opposition and controversy. Those who oppose the message of the cross will accuse a preacher who preaches this message, like Paul of being a troublemaker stirring up riots all over the world. Indeed, the crowds labeled Paul the ring leader of this “a sect” or “cult”. Further, they considered Paul someone who tried to tear down other churches or desecrate the temple. Ironic the more you hold to God’s word, the less people will think you are of God. For holding to the truth, you come into direct conflict with religious men whose ways oppose the living God.

Many times, when we have been attacked, the accusers assert that just by talking to me or others from the church, the truth about all their charges will be discovered. Certainly, a whole host of groups and individuals assert that these things are true. Such is the fate of anyone anointed with eau de cult. Jesus’ promise this would happen and Paul tells us that if we just desire to be holy in Jesus, we will be persecuted. “We have found this man to be a troublemaker stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world is the ring leader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple, so we seized him. By examining him yourself, you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him. The Jews joined in the accusation asserting that these things were true.” (Acts 24:5-9).

The church not slanderously labeled a cult, does not live enough of Christianity to be truly of Christ. Pretend for a moment that you are not a Christian. Stand outside of your Christianity, and read the Bible from a sinful man’s viewpoint. Would true Christianity not look like a cult. And of course, there are always groups of heretic hunters. Only too happy to the fingers at others and build up their own self-righteousness. Every generation has people who set themselves up as experts on the evil of others. And if the law of the land permitted them to, their evil suspicions would come to the surface. And they would burn you at the stake as they did in ages past.

Imagine being at a meeting called by one of these heretic hunters. It would probably resemble a news conference. Lights and cameras flashing, pointing at the expert, Doctor Harry Heretic Hunter. He stands up to testify about the cult called Christianity. A hefty rush of self-righteous pride fills his heart as he begins to speak against this evil cult. Everyone listens to him for, of course he is quite insane enough to first boast all of his credentials and all of his accomplishments. He has borrowed a local church building to give his talk where he packs the pews. The church leaders feel thrilled with the increased attendance. He begins to let slowly, confidently saying, I have spent years researching this group and I’m here to tell you what I have found.

“I have been,” he brags, “Persecuted and lost friends because of my stand for the truth.” He begins to lay out the evidence as he subtly associates this cult with the likes of Jim Jones or Waco or other off-the-wall groups. He falsely accuses the cult in question merely by naming it alongside the truly guilty. He lists the following evidence and it comes straight from the Bible. The lights are dimmed in the PowerPoint presentation moves from slide to slide, point to point. Imagine the slides that come into view as he pushes the button on the remote control.

Let me pause for a moment and explain to the reader what follows. I’ve written the following points from the viewpoint of an unbeliever or a self-righteous Christian who prides themselves on discerning cults. The scriptures each point prove that you cannot discover whether a church is really a cult or not just by outward examination. Besides, we need to ask a very serious question. Who watches the cult watchers? Just because a cult watcher group agrees with you against a church you do not like does not mean they or you are spiritual and in God’s will. A man may stand against a lot of things you do. But that doesn’t mean they or you have the truth.

So, let’s follow Doctor heretic Hunter’s presentation. Everybody you talk to says is a cult so it must be true. But we want to hear what your views are. “For we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect.” (Acts 28:22). Everywhere this cult sect goes, we hear that trouble follows. This group enjoys causing trouble. “We have found this man to be a troublemaker stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world.” (Acts 24:5). “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here.” (Acts 17:6).

One man seems to be the leader who stirs up all this trouble. The poor people just blindly follow him. They are brainwashed. “He is a ring leader of the Nazarene sect cult. And even tried to desecrate the temple so he seized him.” (Acts 24:5-6). “No, but this mob that knows nothing of the law, there is a curse on them.” (John 7:49). No Orthodox Church, discernment ministry or church has accepted this group. “The Pharisees retorted, ‘Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him.”’ (John 7:48).

They even admit that they belong to a group others call a cult. However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the way which they call a sect. “I believe everything that agrees with the law and that is written in prophets.” (Acts 24:14). “The leader of this cult holds too much authority, and will be ready to punish every act of disobedience once your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:6). “What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip? Or in love with a gentle spirit.” (1 Corinthians 4:21). It is strange but they all think alike on biblical issues. Someone is brainwashing their minds. All believers were one in heart and mind.” (Acts 4:22). They really put the pressure on for everyone to think alike. There just doesn’t seem room for one person’s opinion. “I appeal to you brothers in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree with one another. So that there may be no divisions among you, and that you will be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (1 Corinthians 1:10). “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, If any comfort from his love if any fellowship from the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion; then make my joy complete by being likeminded having the same love being one in spirit and purpose.” (Philippians 2:1-2). If you do voice your opinion, they just quote you something out of proverbs. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2).

They think they’re so correct that it gives them the right to cram it down your throat. They think you have to agree with them today. Come on, it takes some people a little more time than others. Then Agripa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” Paul replied, “Short or long, I pray to God that not only you, but all who are listening to me today, may become what I am, except for these chains.” (Acts 26:28-29). They think that you have to accept only their message and if you don’t accept their message, they say, you’re going to hell that you are to be condemned. But even if we an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one, we preach to you. Let him be eternally condemned.” (Galatians 1:8). “One Lord one faith one baptism one God one father of all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6). “They challenge each other about sin. Let a righteous man strike me, it is a kindness. Let him rebuke me. It is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. (Psalm 141:5).

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17). “When Peter came to Antioch, “I opposed him to his face because he was clearly in the wrong.” When I saw they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel I said to Peter in front of them all.” Galatians 211:14. “So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing.” (3 John 10). “They expect you to be a church whenever they meet this enables leadership to control your life and mind every day, they continue to meet together in the temple courts they broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” (Acts 2:46). “Let us not give up meeting together. As some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another. All the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25).

With everyone meeting together like that, you will lose your private life. I’ve heard that they know everything about you. That if you trip up a little bit, everyone will know about it before you even get home. “If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. And the blood of Jesus his son purifies us from all sin.” (One John 1:6-7). “Why I’ve even heard that they’ve broken up some nice lovely families. Even their leader Jesus who is now dead said he came to tear up families. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, a man’s enemies, will be the members of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36).

“This man Jesus would not even let one of his followers go home to bury his good Jewish religious father who had religiously served God all his life. Another disciple said to him, Lord, let me first go bury my father, but Jesus told him, follow me. Let the dead bury their own dead.” (Matthew 8:21-22). “I’ve heard them say and do some pretty unloving things. If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse beyond him.” (1 Corinthians 16:22). “He rebuked Peter, get behind me Satan.” (Mark 8:33). “Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I’ve handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” (1 Tim 1:20). “They expect you when you join the church to make all your things community property. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own. But they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32). “And people who go to this cult even lay their money at the feet of the leadership. For from time to time those who owned lands and houses sold them. Brought the money from the sails and put it at the apostle’s feet. Joseph a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostle called Barnabas, which means son of encouragement, sold a field he owned, and brought the money and put it at the apostle’s feet.” (Acts 4:34-37).

“This cult just has no respect for a dollar. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24). “They’re hypocrites because I’ve heard them speak so much against money. Yet they spend a four on evangelistic work. Why that money could have gone to the poor, but one of his disciples Judas Iscariot who is later to betray him objected. Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor. It was worth a year’s wages.” (John 12:4-5). “The teaching is so hard and narrow. In fact, it is downright offensive. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching, who can accept it?” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” (John 660:66).

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door.” (Luke 3:24). “Brothers, if I’m still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case, the offense of the cross has been abolished.” (Galatians 5:11). “Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?”” (John 6:61). “Their message says that you have to beat your body or something similar. No, I beat my body and make it my slave.” (1 Corinthians 9:27). “If you don’t agree with their teaching, they will not have anything to do with you. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever continues in the teaching has both the father and son. If anyone comes you and does not bring this teaching. Do not take him into your house or welcome him.” (2, John 910). “Let him acknowledge that what I am writing you is the Lord’s command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.” (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).

“You have to live up to certain standards or they will not tolerate you in the group. Having a form of Godliness but denying its power, have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:5) “Therefore do not be partners with them.” (Ephesians 57). “Keep away from them.” (Romans 16:17). “After that have nothing to do with him.” (Titus 3:10). “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you brothers to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teachings you received from us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6). “In fact, they do awful lot of judging. And if there was one thing we know for sure, Jesus said, “You are not to judge.” With such a man do not even eat, what business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Corinthians 5:11-12).

“Why I have even heard that one of their leaders thinks he can judge without hearing both sides of the story. That he can judge everything. Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in it. And I have already passed judgement on the one who did this. Just as if I were present.” (1 Corinthians 5:3). “The spiritual man makes judgements about all things.” (1 Corinthians 2:15). “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died, at that moment she fell down at his feet and died.” (Acts 55:10). “Their leader Jesus was either a hypocrite or very mixed up. Either he came to or he didn’t. As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I do not come to judge the world but to save it.” (John 12:47).

Jesus said, “For judgement I have come into the world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (John 9:39). That sort of thing can’t be of God. I mean it makes people afraid to join the church. And we all know that Jesus came to love us, not to make us afraid. “No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.” (Acts 5:13). “Why if you don’t live up to the standards they set, then the leadership will not even let you help out in ministry work. You have no part or share in this ministry.” (Acts 8:21). The leadership even thinks they know what is in your heart. Only God knows what is in my heart. And he knows that I love him even though I can’t live up to their standards. “You have no part or share in this ministry because your heart is not right before God.” (Acts 8:21). Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart?” (Acts 5:3). “The man who says I know him but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4).

“They try to make people feel guilty yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood,” (Acts 5:28). “Then when these people get mad and lash out at them, they’re happy about it. They act as if they serve God by making people feel guilty. But there’s one thing I know for sure, it is God’s job to convict people of sin. Yet they seem to be really happy when they get people mad at them. The apostles left the Sanhedrin rejoicing, because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name.” (Acts 5:41). “Blessed are you when men hate you. When they exclude and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the son of man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy.” (Luke 6:22-23). “That is why for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

“If this were not a cult then more people would belong to their church. As it is they did not have many in number. God just can’t be in such a small church. After all, this is a religious town. We have a church on every corner. While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see the city was full of idols. I even found an altar with this inscription to an unknown God. At that, Paul left the council. A few men became followers of Paul and believed.” (Acts 17,16, 23, 33 & 34.) “Do not be a little flock.” (Luke 12:32). “Woe to you when all men speak well of you. For that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26). “One of their primary leaders hates women. Why he says that God does not allow a woman to teach a man. He even teaches that it is shameful for a woman to talk in church. I think maybe he has a weird mental problem. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I did not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man, she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:11-12).

“As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak but must be in submission as the law says. For it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:33-35). “It is bad enough that they teach women should be silent and submissive but they make them wear a top thing on their head as a sign that they are in submission to men for this reason and because of the angels the women ought to have a sign of authority over her head.” (1 Corinthians 11:10). “This cult sect also condemns a lot of other churches and groups they tell others to leave their particular church or religious teachings leave them they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14).

“I’ve talked to others who went to their church and they say it is a cult. In fact, a lot of people left that church. My first defense, no one came to my support, everyone deserted me.” (2 Timothy 4:16). “You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me.” (2 Timothy 1:15). “So, if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping, maliciously about us.” (3 John 10). “They produced false witnesses who testified.” (Acts 6:13). These cults always make you do something to get to heaven. His cult orders people to be baptized. Cults always make salvation a work program and so require their people to do something to prove themselves saved. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. So, he ordered that be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10:47).

“I preach that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:20). “What good is it my brothers if a man claims to have faith but no deeds. Can such a faith save him?” (James 2:14). “I’ve heard this cult condemns whole churches and groups of people. Even when their own prophets have said, Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. This testimony is true, therefore rebuke them sharply.” (Titus 1:12-13). “This group destroys its members good self-esteem in order to control them. No one around their things very well of themselves. But I will not boast about myself. Except about my weaknesses.” (2 Corinthians 12 5). “Why do you call good,” Jesus answered. No one is good, except God alone.” (Luke 8:19).

“This cult sect acts totally different from the rest of us. From holidays to everyday life, they act completely different from everyone else. You must not live according to the cusPauls of the nations I’m going to drive out before you.” (Leviticus 20:23). “They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them. But they mingled with the nations and adopted their cusPauls.” (Psalm 6:34-35). “Therefore, come out from them and be separate the Lord says.” (2 Corinthians 6:17). “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this. And to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world”. (James 127).

So concludes the presentation of Doctor Henry heretic hunter. But as the lights return to their normal brightness, the darkness has increased in the hearts of the listeners. ¨


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