Would you recognize the signs if your church evolved into a cult? Here are some warning sings that should raise a red flag, that may indicate that your Christian church is a cult.
1. Man pointing you to himself and not God?
Jim Jones is considered one of the biggest cult leaders of all time. He led over 900 follwers to mass suicide on November 18th, 1978. A former pastor of mine said that he heard Dr. Frederick K.C. Price acknowledge that he was a member of Jim Jones California congregation. Allegedly, Fred Price left the church when Jim Jones threw down the bible, and said from that day forward his own word would be the gospel.
Are you hearing each week how wonderful your pastor is? Are you asked to get people to come to your church, hear your pastor or become a part of your denomination, rather than telling them to come to Jesus?
Are you being told to leave your family and friends behind, not to serve Christ, but to prove you honor your pastor? Are you being told how anointed your man of God is and how special he is? Are you being told that only a select few can get close to him? And how privileged you are to be in his ministry?
Are you being told that in addition to giving offerings for your pastors salary, you need to give him extra money because he deserves to be a millionaire? Are member encouraged to clean the pastors home, do his shopping, get his dry cleaning, or cut his grass?
2. Is your voice being silenced?
Are you chastised, and rebuked for asking questions. Are you being told the pastor hears God and you should not question him. Do you see around you, those who dare to question being sat down from leadership or ostracized? Are you called to meetings with Elders where they tell you that your heart is not right and your attitude is bad?
3. When you ask about people who leave, are you told to stay in your lane and it is none of your business?
You may hear that only strong Christians can handle this special church that was hand picked by God Himself. You may be told that those who leave are weak believers. And commanded not to fellowship with them anymore.
4. Are other churches being put down?
My family was in a church where the pastor bad mouthed his previous church. He called baptist seminaries, cemeteries. He referred to the Deacon board as the demon board. We were told that anyone who went back to the former church were like the Israelites going back to Egypt.
5. Is the church monopolizing all your time ?
One church my family attended, had Two Sunday services, noon day prayer on Wednesday and Wednesday night service. If you were a leader you must attend them all, or call and give an excuse as you do on a job. In addition there were monthly men, women, and teen fellowships. There was prayer 7 days a week. There were leadership meetings and meetings of individual church organizations. Often we were in church 5-7 days a week.
6. Do you see the first family not living by example what is expected of the members?
One Saturday my teenage daughter went to a parade. We did not force her to attend the 9:00 prayer meeting. When I saw all the other church leaders with their children, I asked the Lord if I were wrong to allow my daughter to attend the parade? I got my answer when I picked my daughter up, and she told me that the first lady and her 3 children were at the parade, instead of at church.
One night when it was snow and ice, and most all other churches were canceling service, I was told to call all church leaders and let them know that the pastor required them in church that night. When we arrived we noticed that the first lady and her children were safe at home.
7. Are you threatened that if you leave this church, and you r pastor’s covering you will have bad luck or die?
A guest minister told the congregation of a church I once attended that if we left that church we would die. I told my family that we knew Jesus before joining this ministry and we would have Jesus when we left. Later the pastor said that the reason a young woman died was because she moved out of town and left his covering.
He even went so far as to say the storms in Haiti one year were because one of his ministers who resided in Haiti and left his covering.Never mind that this woman was in America during the bad weather, and her church was not even affected.
Are unreasonable demands being put upon you?
Are you hearing each week that in this particular church, you must dress a certain way. Are you told to smile and look good no mate what you are going through? Do you hear sermons that tell you what movies or television shows you should not watch, or what type of clothing is acceptable.
The bottom Line.
In my opinion, all of this for a Christian, can be summed up with John 3:16.
For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Christianity is about Christ, not your pastor, church, fellowship or denomination.
God so loved us He gave His son, not the local church building and not the pastor. God offers a choice, that whosoever chooses to believe may have eternal life. If God does not force you to choose salvation, then why are you allowing mere man to force you to give up your time, talent and money for his glory?
Any absolutes that are mandated, and forced upon you should raise a red flag. If you are always being told how bad you are and how you should do more,and reprimanded from the pulpit when you do not, please open your eyes. Remember Jesus Himself offers free will choice, and does not force Himself on anyone.