Sharon Harris is wife, mother, English teacher, amateur photographer, and gardener.

What is the difference between the teachings of the Christian church and a false religion, like a cult?

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Question: What is the difference between the teachings of the Christian church and a false religion, like a cult?

Answer:  Christianity’s principles are those that align with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and His followers, who shared His words during the first century.  The accounts of these other God-inspired men are well-documented in the Holy Bible.  

Let’s examine the errors that define groups as disseminators of false information, based on Biblical teachings:

Teachings clearly contradict Bible scriptures.

Other books written by their members tell of an alternate, “real” God, or many gods.

Jesus was considered to be only a man, not the only Son of God.

Jesus was a prophet with good teachings.

Jesus never existed.

Jesus was never resurrected from the dead.

Their group is the only “true” church on the earth.

The group is centered around an earthly leader.

People go to heaven only by pledging an oath to their leader, joining their church, giving money, and/or doing good deeds.

Cults are well-masked. They practice good works and may preach desirable, “family” values of love and community service. They might not even be focused on a god but on making themselves better people, both mentally and physically.  Their members may be wealthy, attractive, and even famous; some of today’s celebrities have been drawn into these deceptive groups. False, so-called “religious” groups, may encourage acts of violence against or alienation of others who don’t believe as they do.  Leaders are focused on gaining new followers and controlling them; they may exert mind control techniques on their members, manipulating and threatening them with expulsion from the group, assaults, and even death.

False teachers always move away from focusing on the Bible’s teaching and the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven and eternal life.  Remember that the Bible, our true revelation from God, assures us:

+ Jesus is the only divine Son of God who became a man.

+ Jesus died on a cross, and His blood was given for our sins.

+ Jesus physically rose from the dead and is alive today!

+ Jesus promised He has prepared a place for us to join Him after death and live forever!

“I (Jesus) am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through Me.” John 14:6

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (in heaven). And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” John 11:25-26

Unlike earthly leaders who demand devotion to themselves,God has given each person on the earth a choice to make.  People have the freedom to believe that all the Bible tells us about Jesus is true…or to not believe. God inspired the writers of the Bible that harder times are coming in the future when more deceivers will arise and lead people away from God to their physical and spiritual destruction. Unbelief in the false quasi-religious and political leaders will first be met with expulsion from society, and later, by death. (Revelation 11:18)

These false teachers have existed from the beginning of the human race.  God warns us about them, those who would incite rebellion against Him and draw people away from believing His promises to us. In scripture, a false prophet is “one who presumes to speak in My Name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods…” (Deuteronomy 18:20)

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in My Name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are spreading false visions, divinations, idolatries, and the delusions of their own minds.’”  Jeremiah 1:14

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4: 3-4

That time HAS come! Signs are apparent today. Thanks to the Internet, information from all sources is being spread far and wide. There is an opportunity to spread the truth, or “gospel of Jesus Christ”, to the ends of the earth; sadly, however, the opportunities for evil doers to spread lies is greater than ever before.

What will you believe? The words from God’s scriptures, which His Holy Spirit has preserved for all time, or the writings of those with earthly motives?

“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless…but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and forever! Amen.”  2 Peter 3:14-18

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. The is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and, even now, is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”  I John 4: 1-6

“We have this prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophesy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were led by the Holy Spirit.”  2 Peter 1:12-21

Your eternal destination is at stake. Will you turn to Jesus for your future? Will He use you as “a light shining in a dark place”? In Jesus, there is no darkness. Will you make Him the master of your life who saves you from the destruction caused by your sins?  Say this to Him:

Jesus, I confess that I have done so many wrong things in my life. Over and over, I have hurt others and myself. I realize now I cannot change the basic person that I am because I tried and failed.  But I heard the Bible tells me when I follow you, I can be transformed into a new person and forgiven of all of my past. I want this very much! I am ready right now to start over and become the person you have destined for me to be. Jesus, I acknowledge that you took the punishment for my sins and died on the cross so I will never be punished after I die. Thank you for paying the terrible price that was required to save me! Like you were resurrected after death, I want to live again, with you in Paradise forever and enjoy speaking with you face-to-face. I just cannot thank you enough for not giving up on me. You are saving me from exile to punishment in the darkness of hell. Jesus, I will be grateful to you, always. Amen.

“Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”  Revelation 22:16

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