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The Persecuted Church

 

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The mindset of a cult leader

Cult leaders are not instantly made; they often have a gradual ascension to their position of control. Many times they come from among the church as the apostle Paul warned.

Cults have not vanished from America's landscape (or other countries), in fact they are on the increase. Not all cults are religious in nature. There are religious cults, secular cults, personality cults and Political cults. Cults are all about control, dictators can be cult leaders. Today, there is a wide variety and cults and religions that come in various flavors. They teach either their way through their church or group is the only way to God or that all religions have their own way to God and are acceptable. Neither extreme is true. Jesus said he was the way and told us that we are saved by grace through faith in HIM.

To identify a cultic church we need to know what a Church that is free in Christ looks like. A church can only operate correctly under Christ by knowing its limits of control and maintain an attitude of servanthood. True shepherds abide by the Christian constitution. This is not man made doctrines or creeds but the Bible. Peter writes to the elders to “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers” (1 Peter 5:2). The word for overseers means to beware and watch carefully. You can tell a true shepherd (pastor) by how he guards the sheep against what would harm them. They will address falsehood from their pulpits when necessary for the protection of the sheep; they will give their lives for the sheep (Jn.10). They will not compromise their convictions because of friendship or hardship of money.

They neither subtract nor add to the word, they do not overlook church discipline nor do they abuse the discipline they can implement by their authority, or position. They are men filled with grace looking to lift people out of bondage they are trapped in.

They leave the choices to the people, allowing genuine faith to be present to accomplish the needs. Allowing the Holy Spirit to move the person to do the right thing. So they pray for the people to be led of Jesus and glorify God. That they will hunger for the word and read and study on there own, and not be negligent in their relationship with God and their fellowship with man. True spiritual growth is accomplished in an atmosphere of freedom, liberty that Christ gives and God’s appointed leaders will exert their influence to have the church live in this manner. When the church lives this way, it flourishes and everyone benefits because love is present.

The real God-appointed pastor remains responsible, vigilant, as he watches over his flock as a protective mother hen, making sure they become mature in the faith and can stand on their own. “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

Understanding what our freedom in Christ is helps us identify what can be taking away our freedom. A cult leader justifies nearly everything they do as right and will never admit doing something wrong, (especially to you personally). Paul said, “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30). They do this by speaking contrary to sound doctrine and lifting themselves to an authoritarian position by abusing Scripture. They use portions of the truth as a platform for their own unique doctrine. If they have no respect for God’s word, they will certainly have no respect for his children, they too will be abused. Paul said, “I did not abuse my authority in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:18).

I Jn. 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (Acts 15:24). Many who run cults or are cultic shepherds came out of Christian churches and know what they believe but disregard it to have people follow them.

Cult deprogrammer Rick Ross lists those who are victimized come from all walks of life, but the most vulnerable to mind control are those going through a difficult time in life or a transition:

1. Recently divorced 2. Illness 3. Personal tragedy 4. Career failure 5. Away from home for the first time.

When you ask questions about their history or teachings and they avoid answers, it is a warning sign. This is why it is so important to look into a church before you join to know how they began and their history. Too many waste years in churches because they neglected to do research on which would have only taken a few hours.

Sometimes a church that began right can adopt a new program or has a new pastor come in that changes their whole way of ministry. Often times it promoted about expanding but it can also be about a Christian teaching that they themselves are deceived in. Again, research on the subject is pertinent to ones spiritual health. When one finds out something is drastically wrong, they should not hesitate but leave as soon as possible. The longer they delay the harder it is to leave.

They are persuasive in a manner that one is not prepared to counter. One goes through a process of what is called behavior modification by the control used by the leader. In cult churches there comes to a point where one cannot question them because of the unique position. That they are right no matter what is found to be wrong, even if it is plainly stated in Scripture. They will not entertain and challenges by questions though they may acknowledge a concern of what you are seeing. They feign compassion and response to individual needs when they are really more concerned of the whole congregation. The amount of people corralled around their magnetic personality, or purpose of God. It becomes apparent that they are not there to serve you, but you them. “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave–just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28). True authority comes from God as one serves the people. “Jesus style” is one of servanthood not as the world rules over people taking control of their lives .

The less resistance they have in what they are doing the faster they work to extend their control. Once peoples liberty are refrained it is never regained, no matter how many “sincere” conversations you may have with the leader[s]. When they begin to disallow you the freedom to talk to others it becomes a warning sign that they will not discuss it anymore and they are about to exercise more control over you so that you are no longer resisting them.

They will eventually break your will and ability to seek truth and have you submit to them. They will take advantage of any insecurity and use and abuse you under the false authority of God. This trains the member for a dependency on man and at the same time a lack of faith in God. This produces “victims,” subject to even more control to the leader.

Like Luther who stood against the manmade teaching of purgatory in the Roman Catholic Church that he was a priest in. The church wanted people to believe they still had some control over their loved ones who died and could be purged by them paying money for their release. So many schemes are implemented for the people to work for the church or its leader to move up the ladder into leadership, or to be in good graces. They may stop being friendly to you, to move you into a greater commitment. Performance is always tested and used for acceptance as their control mechanism. They will make to feel you are not up to God’s standard for their group. After you have voiced questions they will have you go through more rigorous courses or do works for the church.

They require a great amount of commitment without allowing you a freedom of choice. Time, talent are all at the disposal of the church or leader. This is especially done with money. The people are told that the church has a mission, that they may be unique and they are obligated to give their money and time to it because it is following God. The leaders often live a lifestyle of opulence off their members and followers.

“…nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us” (2 Thessalonians 3:8-9). The apostles did not use their position to get their way, but showed the gentles ness and love of God through their ministry.

God does not manipulate people by promising a blessing or answer their prayer faster or better if they give money to a church or its mission. God tells us to trust those who have shown themselves to preach his word correctly and actually show care for us, we are to distance ourselves from those who do not, for our own safety.

The most dangerous of all is the religious that wrap themselves in God’s service as his spokesman. Galatians 5:1 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." They promise liberty but the people only get bondage. Under these leaders the people end up serving them, the more the people serve the less they have. The longer one is under a leader like this the more fear sets in when questions arise. There comes a time when the person will either leave or completely trust the leader no matter how they are manipulated or abused. Job 12:11; “Does not the ear test words and the mouth taste its food?

Signs to watch for. They will always use the point that God chose them as the leader for you betterment, they become the mediators. God spoke to them even if it contradicts the word. They ascribe new meanings to the Scripture contrary to what you may have once known. They will have you change to the leaders words, that are a unique interpretation of the Bible - without knowing why.

When you’re following their teachings it affects your time and relationship with your mate, family and friends. And they have you choose between them and God – which is interpreted as serving the church or them.

The cults recruit people who have wandered from the truth or have a background in the church and are searching. Even a Christian can be deceived into a cultic church that looks like it is more dedicated and more loving than any church they have gone to.

You need to know you can always exit out. Prov. 15:14: “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge.” Prov. 18:15: “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” It can only happen by being convinced that they do not have the truth which means you will have to examine the Scripture and decide what the real meaning is on key passages and doctrines.

Once you know that they are wrong it’s going to take sheer will power to stand to make a move. Prov. 24:5: “A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength.” When one finally makes up their mind to go to different church and let them know you are leaving threats or curses will be issued. Such things will be said like, you will be out of God’s will. This is where God wants you, if you leave his blessing or anointing of the Spirit will leave your life. They may even prophesy to bring guilt or scare you. When you see this occur then you can know for sure that you have made the right decision. Go and do not look back and doubt what you have learned from your time of deception. Many who leave also leave good friends inside. Do not allow them to draw you back in. Only when you become strong and have prayed should you go back to contact your friends to help them exit. Always be accompanied with a friend who is strong in the Lord and understands the situation to be a support for you.

 

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