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Quick Cut to Cultism

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  • Quick Cut to Cultism

    How does a religious view make the cut of being labeled cultist?
    First, one must know who is doing the labeling.
    In this article it would be mainline Protestant Institutions.
    Second, would be what it is that constitutes a cult.
    Examining the Seventh Day Adventist from cult to not a cult status is informative.

    What were not the peculiarities of Seventh Day Adventist that labeled them a cult?

    First, is the main influence in the motivation of their formation. This was the Millerites who were the followers of the teachings of William Miller. In 1833 first shared publicly his belief that the Second Advent of Jesus Christ would occur in roughly the year 1843 latter revised to 1844. The Seventh Day Adventist arose from the failure of this prediction known as the Great Disappointment where one of every seventeen Americans put on white robes and stood on hill tops waiting for the Second Advent. The Adventist reinterpreted the event as the beginning of the time when Jesus would be judging from heaven all the people.

    But this is not the Adventist peculiarity which got them labeled a cult. The perdition by William Miller was so widely supported because he was expressing the historicist view of eschatology which was virtually held by all Protestants and was the view of all the renowned fathers of Protestantism. Adventists remain historicist, re-conceived. Since most Protestants were historicist through the 19th century this cannot be the reason for labeling them a cult.

    Second, is the requirement of the Seventh Day Adventist to keep the Sabbath. They even claim that worshipping on Sunday is the sign of the antichrist. This sounds an extreme isolationist idea from Protestants until one realizes the Church of Christ has done a similar thing and not been labeled a cult. Based upon their understanding of the words of Jesus the Church of Christ believe the only true Church is the one known by His name and only those belonging to the Church of Christ are going to heaven. Accordingly, it is not the Sabbath perspective that got Adventist labeled a cult.

    Thirdly, it is Ellen G. White, the major influence in the origination of the Seventh Day Adventist, who is the source of being labeled a cult by Protestants. Her claim and acceptance by followers as a modern prophet who received divine revelation made Adventist a cult in the view of Protestants. How so?

    Protestants had protested against the Roman Catholic Church for this very cause. The corruption of the Roman Catholic Church along with the papal use of ecclesiastical power to establish anti-christian practices and beliefs motivated the Protestant protest.

    Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in doctrinal unity with the pope, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true. Catholics believe this authority came from Jesus himself, who promised the apostles and their successors the bishops, the magisterium of the Church: "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16), and "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matt. 18:18).

    When the Pope (1) intends to teach (2) by virtue of his supreme authority (3) on a matter of faith and morals (4) to the whole Church, he is preserved by the Holy Spirit from error. His teaching act is therefore called "infallible" and the teaching which he articulates is termed "irreformable".

    It is against these things the Protestants established an alternative authority to Catholicism’s authority based upon scripture, ecclesiastical Church Councils, tradition, and Papal authority. Protestants replacement was the Bible alone labeled in Latin as the doctrine of sola scriptura. This doctrine holds to the position that divine revelation is only found in the Bible and not in any current prophecies or teachings. Any claim to receive divine revelation labels a person or movement as a cult. For Protestants, to allow such a claim, regardless of the content, opens the possibility for additional claims for which the content could be unorthodox.

    When the claims of Ellen G. White crossed over the line from teaching to the claim of revelation the Adventist movement became a cult. After the death of White in 1915 and no other modern Adventist prophets appeared to claim divine revelation, Protestants have become less hostile to their claims since there was nothing essentially unorthodox in her teachings. Adventists are generally accepted as teaching orthodox doctrines on the essentials.

    For Protestants, the quick cut to cultism is to claim divine revelation. Therefore, this is why it is important to understand the Protestant theological distinction between inspiration, revelation, and illumination so as not to stumble blindly into the cultist tattoo parlor and exit with 666 on the forehead. On the other hand, there are those who have intentionally entered the cultist parlor to exert power over the deceived.

    PS
    This not to ignore that other unorthodox doctrines on the essentials will not get stamped cultist.
    Last edited by glen smith; March 7th, 2018, 08:22 AM.

  • #2
    The reason Glen gives are certainly not the reasons I label the 7th day church a cult. Jesus claimed divine revelation and so did Peter, Paul, John and many others too numerous to list.

    Many Christians down through the ages have claimed divine revelation. In fact divine revelation is promised to us if we seek His face.

    The reason I consider the 7th day people in a cult is this: They look upon anyone who worships The Lord on any day except for Saturday as disobedient and inferior to themselves. They are not the judge of the earth.

    Galatians 5

    Life by the Spirit



    13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

    16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.

    Notice that it does not say to walk by the law, or by the scriptures, but by the spirit.

    The TLB states this very clearly:

    16 I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. 17 For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures. 18When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you need no longer force yourself to obey Jewish laws.

    19 But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

    22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws.

    24 Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there.

    25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Then we won’t need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings.

    The scripture clearly tells us that feeling that your group is the only way is a way that does NOT lead to eternal life.

    These passages also tell us that no one can follow the law ( the scriptures) but we are to follow the spirit.

    There is not one place in the Bible where we are told that divine revelation from God no longer takes place. In fact the above passages tell us that we are to be led by divine leading, or to follow the spirit.

    If divine revelation is to sign of a cult, then our Bible would be the book of cults. For God did not come down from heaven and write these scriptures, but He revealed them to mere men and they wrote down the divine revelation. Further if divine revelation is evil, then the very source of the Bible would be evil.

    The Holy Scriptures are divine revelation from God to man. If that is evil then The Bible would be evil. If anyone would tell us that God no longer operates that way, then they are saying that God has changed, and God never changes.

    This teaching ( that divine revelation no longer exists) is in the same vane as those that say healing no longer takes place, or any other of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    1 Cor 12

    Concerning Spiritual Gifts



    12 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

    4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

    7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

    How can any man know who God wants to heal, without divine revelation. How can anyone give a word of wisdom without divine revelation. But certainly prophecy is being given divine revelation.

    The Lord Jesus does not want you to have a relationship with His Book, but He wants you to walk and talk with Him. The Lord wants us to read the Book to recognize Him and meet with Him.

    Comment


    • #3
      My compliments on a well reasoned argument, relevant scriptures, and lessons to be learned.

      From my perspective you continue to confuse the theological meaning of revelation with the idea of something revealed. Speaking as a layman, at a point in time, God revealed to me that I was a sinner in need of redemption. This kind of revealing is not the theological meaning of divine revelation. To claim something personal is revealed by God is to place that revelation as equivalent in authority to inspired scripture. Theologians make the distinction to prevent any claim of revelation being equivalent to the canon of scripture (Bible). Every cult makes the claim of additional divine revelation.

      If the Seventh Day Adventist are a cult because they consider Sunday observers “as disobedient and inferior to themselves” then all denominations would qualify as a cult. The particulars upon which each denomination was founded were considered important enough for the adherents to separate themselves from others. The issue for Seventh Day Adventist being a cult is the claim of additional divine revelation by Ellen G. White.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by glen smith View Post
        My compliments on a well reasoned argument, relevant scriptures, and lessons to be learned.

        From my perspective you continue to confuse the theological meaning of revelation with the idea of something revealed. Speaking as a layman, at a point in time, God revealed to me that I was a sinner in need of redemption. This kind of revealing is not the theological meaning of divine revelation. To claim something personal is revealed by God is to place that revelation as equivalent in authority to inspired scripture. Theologians make the distinction to prevent any claim of revelation being equivalent to the canon of scripture (Bible). Every cult makes the claim of additional divine revelation.

        If the Seventh Day Adventist are a cult because they consider Sunday observers “as disobedient and inferior to themselves” then all denominations would qualify as a cult. The particulars upon which each denomination was founded were considered important enough for the adherents to separate themselves from others. The issue for Seventh Day Adventist being a cult is the claim of additional divine revelation by Ellen G. White.
        Certainly just as important are the prophecies White claimed to receive that did not come true.

        This would also apply to the JW, Mormons and many others.

        BTW, I would say the RCC is a cult, but would not say that everyone who belongs is unsaved.

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