Claims by disgruntled church members labeling their former churches abusive and demanding, appear wilfully ignorant of the clearly stated mission of the church from the beginning.
The wildly inflated narratives seem more aimed at self congratulation and assurance, than any genuine “cult” experience.
It’s as if there is no idea what the church teaches and preaches from the beginning – as though its biblical moral standards, calls to separation, roles of men and women, and focus on evangelism, suddenly appear as a sinister agenda.
As if Jesus Himself would have escaped the labels “cult”, “high control/demand” and “exploitative techniques” (eg. “anyone who does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My disciple”)
However, a closer look at what the leading protagonists are saying, reveals an insidious common denominator of masquerading Calvinist (Reformed Theology) entities.
Some of the more vehement and vitriolic attacks against orthodox Christian churches – damning them as “heretical” and “cults”, emanate from crusading Calvinists. They are armed with the “authority” of these masquerading entities who produce much of the shady literature purporting to define cults.
For example, often cited as a valid authority on cults, is CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry)
However CARM is a “5 Point Calvinist entity. Their aim is to “promote and defend Calvinist doctrines, and persuade people to leave and avoid Christian, non-Calvinistic doctrinal points of view.”
CRI (Christian Research Institute) poses as an authority on cults but fails to declare a Calvinist upbringing of its leader.
The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) links to CRI and “provides no indication of how many of their characteristics are necessary for a group to be considered “cultic.”
“The checklist creators do not adequately define how much of certain practices or behaviors would constitute “excessive,” nor do they provide evidence that any of the practices listed are innately harmful. The ICSA list is “so broad that even mainstream organizations such as Evangelical Protestantism, the Roman Catholic Church, Buddhism and Hinduism fall within the criteria”
Equally Calvinist linked, is “Life After Potters House”, Cult Education Institute and the Australian Cult Information and Family Support (CIFS)
At Cult Education Institute, its Jewish activist director has a criminal history. No wonder his “cult expertise” has subsequently seen him convicted by a Court of “acting in a way so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency”
Another interconnected cult “authority”, masquerading as objective, is Cult Awareness Network,(CAN).CAN declared bankruptcy after a jury found that it conspired to violate the civil rights and religious liberties of Jason Scott, a Pentecostalist, who had been forcibly kidnapped by Rick Ross, a CAN-referred deprogrammer
The Calvinistic, Got Questions is critical of churches that deny Calvinistic doctrines
They justify the historical torture and killing of Christians who denied Calvinism
In 1556, Calvin introduced the most incredibly severe laws against sexual immorality – “Sur les paillardises, adulteres, blasphemes, juremens et despitemens de Dieu”
Some Calvinist crusading Baptist churches express similar tyrannically puritan doctrines
Many followers of Calvinism smear their former churches as cults, interpreting challenges as commands, and suggestions as ultimatums, and ironically promote Calvinist entities as authorities
No wonder then, there is an aggressive trend among some who have rejected the sound, orthodox Christian doctrines of their former churches, to embrace Calvinism and use social media as a backlash against the sound biblical methods they were trained with
Encouraged to gleefully label their former churches cults, the irony is ignored of subsequently belonging to a “religious movement where their theological and positional title is named, not after Christ Who forgave those while He was dying, but after a man who lived 1500 years after Christ, and encouraged the burning alive of men and women at the stake”
“The very traits they point to as identifying cults are encouraged in those who subscribe to its tenets”
Nevertheless, “all Christians believe in concepts of God’s sovereignty, providence, and predestination
These are not concepts unique to Calvinism. Calvinism is simply a false interpretation of them.”
In fact “there are similarities between the ancient heresy of Gnosticism and present day Calvinism
The intellectual pride of the Gnostics refined away the gospel into a philosophy making salvation exclusive and not universal”
It is equally revealing that Calvinist “cult authorities” promote hypocritical, post modern humanist/socialist values that are assumed to be superior to age old, time tested, religious values and doctrines