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When Does Denominationalism Become A Cult?


When does denominationalism become a cult?

When the denomination becomes the focus, then denominationalism is a cult. Jesus is to be the focus. We worship Him, not an organization or denominational doctrine. We worship Jesus. I am NOT implying that any denomination is a cult, but it is a sure thing that the divisions in the Church are not what Jesus prayed for when he prayed that we would all be one.

Click here for the only sure way to avoid being deceived by a cult.

Dear Lord, we pray that you deliver those who have fallen into the worship of an organization. We pray that our hearts be right, that we love them-even those who hate us. We pray that Your Holy Spirit minister to any who become violent, angry, or argumentative. Cause them to turn from anger, Lord, and toward You. Let them come to You that they may be washed totally clean from all their sins. We pray that You minister to the hearts of all who are bound up by organizations, forms, rituals, man-made orders, and the precepts of men. Teach them of Your grace and mercy. Let them be humble enough to accept the fact that there is no saving power in any organization and that they must depend on You. Make real to them that You have paid the price and that they are able to receive You and be at peace with Your Father. Reveal to them the fact that there is no other way of salvation other than through Your holy blood, dear Jesus. Give them a soft heart and don't let them be so arrogant as to reject Your free gift of salvation.

What is a cult?

Many denominations have gone so far into Liberalism, which is a cult, or into some New Age cult that the denomination has become a cult. Determining such things is not the purpose of this site.

A denomination is a division in the church. Church divisions or denominations are of three types:

  • Division based on doctrine
  • Division based on a person
  • Division based on an organization

When the denomination is exalted instead of Christ, that is a cult. When a doctrine, a dead or living person, or an organization is exalted instead of Christ, that is a cult. For this reason, some members of a denomination may be involved in a cult experience while others are involved in a relationship with Christ.

We have become accustomed to living in a world filled with many denominations. Divisions, however, are not pleasing to God. When the denomination takes the place of God in a believer's mind, then that denomination is a cult to that believer. Many denominations enjoy attacking their brothers and sisters in Christ who belong to a different denomination, but this behavior is not good. It indicates a competitive and immature attitude. Doctrinal issues are difficult, since the human mind is so prone to error. Exclusive organizations that exist mostly for the sake of the organization are quite another thing. They are irrelevant to God. And doctrinally, God regards all of us as partly in error and needing to be taught by the Holy Spirit.

Denominations start with either a revelation (or a speculation), almost always based on the Bible. We will deal with those that start with a revelation. The revelation is actually a revelation of Jesus Christ, and it is a personal experience or relationship with the Savior. After a while, people gather around the person who received the revelation. Not all want to have the same relationship with the Savior, so they begin to exalt the doctrine rather than the giver of the doctrine. An organization begins to form, and finally the organization is what is exalted. Sometimes both the doctrine and the organization are exalted. Often the founder is exalted or a leader within the organization is exalted.

Many doctrines require supposition or assumption. Though Scripture is used to "prove" the doctrines, that Scripture is mixed with human rationalism. Extreme dogmatism is silly when the doctrines require supposition or assumption.

Jesus prayed that all Christians would be one. Ephesians 4 tells us that we will need apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the saints so that the saints can minister, and we will need them until we come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. That is unity. It is a unity that is brought about by the Holy Spirit, not by human politics. The Bible says it. It's settled. It will happen.

Denominationalism, in all of its varying degrees and forms, is confusing to the unsaved. Jesus prayed that we all would be one so that the world would believe. Denominationalism is very destructive to the work of Christ through the Church.

Last updated: Nov, 2011
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