What defines a cult?
Wikipedia simply puts it as, "a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre by the larger society." If that is all that a cult means, then maybe I am in one. Or a few. The homeschooling cult, home birthing cult, refuse to use margarine over butter cult. I mean lets face it, we ALL do things that are considered abnormal by the masses. And now with social media networking if you are involved in some "bizarre" activity you can easily find a group of like minded friends online. But let's dig a little deeper into the religious definition of cult. When we usually hear the word cult, there are certain religious beliefs or events that come to mind. We think of certain locations such as Waco Texas or Hill Cumorah. But maybe the cultic concepts reaches deeper than that. Maybe there are just certain people that are drawn to a cultic lifestyle without even realizing it. Maybe it is even possible that there are those who just have a tendency to desire to be led and not to lead. I would even go as far to say that there may be those, sitting in our churches who are unintentionally idolizing the leadership, rather than the One who is leading the leader.
If you really think about how a cult gets started, I would argue that it is not so much the charismatic leader (not at first anyways) but rather the ones who are following him. I'll speak about America for now because that is where I live and have been raised. Our nation, even though it is considered wealthy has many needy people. Many hurt, offended, broken, incomplete people. Whether from sexual abuse, broken homes or relationships we have masses of people who have deep unmet needs. These needs can only be met through the restoring power of the God who created them. Yet the problem is, with so much religious tolerance in our country, most people are confused as to how to truly remove this pain. Medicine? A therapist? A television evangelist? The ones suffering from this pain know they have a need, and some may even know that Jesus can heal them of this pain, the problem is, they don't know HOW. Jesus said that HE is the way, the truth and the life and that no one could go to the Father except through Him. The only answer for this confused nation is a personal relationship with Jesus. Wonder if you are in a cult? Ask yourself this. Who is your God. Is it your pastor, your leaders, a TV preacher? Do you find your self saying, "well, it's okay for me to do this because Pastor so-and-so does it. WRONG! We each need our own personal conviction of the Holy Ghost in every area of our lives If we are living in right relationship with the Lord then we WILL be submitted to the leaders over us, but they are never to be our gods. They are placed over us to "watch for our souls," and should lead and guide us to hear from God ourselves.