Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to the year 2011. We made it! I know, I know, 2012 is the year we’re supposed to be worried about isn’t it? Well no need to worry so long as we still have all those stock piled provisions that we prepared for the Y2K crisis we had eleven years ago. Oh sorry, I forgot, that didn’t happen did it? All kidding aside, that day of reckoning is coming someday even if we don’t know when it will be. For this reason we should always be prepared in season and out of season to share with others the hope that lies within us. But just how prepared are we? How many of us know just exactly what the Mormon gospel is and how we should respond to it? How many of us know just exactly what Oneness Pentacostals believe and how to respond to that?
We are Bible believing, Christ centred and born again evangelical Christians. We have learned that if we read our Bible and teach the truth revealed in it that we will not be led astray by false teaching. If we just focus our attention on teaching the truth of Scripture to our young people, we have nothing to fear from the cults. We have even been taught that teaching about the dangers of cults is a waste of time. In fact, if we teach about heresies and false teaching then we may unintentionally teach our young people and older church members intolerance and bigotry. I mean, shouldn’t we just be sharing the truth of the Bible and the gospel message? What’s wrong with that? That should be enough, shouldn’t it? That makes sense doesn’t it?
I wish that were true. Maybe in a perfect world but ours is not perfect is it? Most people who argue against teaching about cults and false teaching have never been affected by them. They have never had any experience with loved ones being led astray by smooth talking and well versed cultists who are prepared to plant seeds of doubt and twist Scripture to say what what they want. They have never wondered why non-church attending people reject the truth of the Trinity or the existence of hell. Could it be that these folks have already met with cultists who have convinced them that churches are corrupt and not to be trusted? Could it be that we are so afraid of appearing judgemental ourselves that we are afraid of actually teaching the truth of these cults to non-Christians? Have we given in to political correctness so much that teaching about cults has become a hate crime?
One Canadian Christian Christian organization was stripped of it’s charitable organization status after 25 years of holding it due to the fact that they exposed the false teachings of cults publicly in their publications. This was considered “non-charitable behaviour” by the government of their Province. they were told in order to continue and renew their charitable status, they must only promote Christianity without ever speaking negatively of any other religious group that they considered to be a cult. Such is the politically correct climate we have found ourselves in. It seems that free speech has been trumped by political correctness, at least in some cases it appears.
So where does that leave us then? How do we promote our faith and protect people from dangerous religious groups without being charged with hate crimes and being “uncharitable”? Teaching the truth of scripture is one way but is it enough? What about the truth about false teachers? Don’t we teach our children not to talk to strangers? Isn’t “street proofing” mandatory now in schools to protect our children against those who would seek to abuse them? Why then do we abandon “spirit proofing” in the name of political correctness?
Have you ever met someone that you were trying to witness to tell you, “I met with Jehovah’s Witnesses for a while. I couldn’t join them because they seemed too cultish but I do agree with them that the Trinity is a hoax and not to be trusted.”? Have you ever gone to a missions conference and watched delegates being told that their baptism was not valid unless it happened under certain conditions, and they believed it? Have you ever shared some Christian witnessing literature with someone only to find out later that in doing so you encouraged a cultist working with that person to also share their literature and lead that person astray? Have you ever given someone a Bible only to discover later on that a cultist used that Bible with them to lead them astray? Have you ever even just shared with someone “what” you believe but not “why” you believe it?
These are all situations that happen all the time but really shouldn’t. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it. In teaching the “why” of our beliefs we should also be teaching the “why not” of other beliefs so that we can prevent the above situations from happening in the first place or at least be able to respond to them effectively if they do happen. Just in case you as a reader think that the above situations are “hypotheticals,” they are not. They have happened and really do continue to happen.
Our publicly funded education system has adopted the politically correct inclusive stance that Canada is not a Christian country but one that embraces and upholds all religious and non-religious belief systems. When we realize that the majority of our population attends publicly funded schools as opposed to private schools, we have to come to terms with the fact, whether we like it or not, that our faith is put into a position that is not only in competition with various other faiths but also undermined and marginalized simply because our politically correct climate has taught us to not to “offend” those of alternative belief systems by sharing ours.
So to return to the question “Why study the cults?” we have to accept the fact that if our public schools are going to teach inclusiveness and deny the historic orthodox Christian faith, then we have a moral and ethical responsibility to respond to that in our churches and Sunday Schools, which are not as yet, thank God, government regulated. If we adopt the public school system of political correctness in our churches then we are guilty of negligence in the teaching of our youth and members and should not be surprised at the decline of our memberships.
So is teaching about cults all adversarial? Is it all just a contest between sales pitches? Are we just battling to survive as a faith among many? Or do we have a more loving reason? Do we care enough to tell the truth? An atheist magician and television personality once said in a video posted on the internet something to the effect of, “If you believe that you have a truth that can save someone from an eternity in hell and you don’t share it with them, how much do have to hate that person to keep that information from them?” It’s true isn’t it? Aren’t we showing a disregard for our fellow human being by not sharing the truth with them, even if that truth exposes the falsehood of another belief system?
If we are Bible believing, Christ centred and born again evangelicals then we should be seeking to be more like our Lord, should we not? What does our Lord think of this? The Lord is “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). Not to mention that Christ Himself calls us to contend for the faith (Jude 3). How can we contend for the faith if we don’t know anything about cults or how they distort and misuse scripture? Knowing about them and how they think is essential to reaching them for Christ. If we don’t do it, then we are guilty of watching them drown without even trying to save them, not to mention the fact that they are bringing down many others with them.
Let’s make a new year’s resolution for 2011 to be ready with those life preservers of hope and truth and love and willingly share them with the drowning. Who knows? This year may be our last, but let’s hope not .
Should I not be concerned? — Jonah 4:11