Do you know the difference between a church and a cult?

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On Wednesday Night, August 20th, we will discuss Christian Cults. Recently, the History Channel aired a documentary about Christian Cults called 5 20th Century Cult Leaders:

*On March 20, 1995, members of Aum Shinrikyo (“Supreme Truth”), founded by Asahara in the 1980s, released  the poisonous nerve gas sarin on five crowded subway trains during morning rush hour in Tokyo, killing 13 people and sickening thousands more.

*On November 18, 1978, more than 900 members of an American cult called the Peoples Temple died in a mass suicide-murder directed by [Jim] Jones at their settlement, known as Jonestown, in the South American nation of Guyana.

*In October 1994, [Joseph] Di Mambro and [Luc] Jouret, along with 51 of their followers in the Order of the Solar Temple, an apocalyptic cult founded in Europe in 1984, committed suicide or were murdered in Switzerland and Quebec, Canada.

*On March 26, 1997, [Marshall] Applewhite and 38 other members of a cult called Heaven’s Gate were found dead in a mass suicide at a rented mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, California. The group members, who killed themselves by eating applesauce and pudding mixed with drugs, believed that a spaceship following the Hale-Bopp comet (which made its closest approach to Earth on March 22, 1997) would pick them up and take them to a higher plane of existence.

*On April 19, 1993, [David] Koresh and more than 70 of his followers, known as Branch Davidians, were found dead after a blaze at their Waco, Texas, compound following a 51-day standoff with federal law enforcement agents.

After these incidents made the news, everyone (both Christians and non-Christians) were saying that the leader was crazy and the people who followed him had to be crazy too. But most of these groups do not start with crazy. Most cults begin with Bible study, prayer, feeding the hungry, reconciling the races, lifting up the downtrodden, rescuing the perishing, and caring for the dying. So the question is:  When does a group of “believers” cease being a church and start being a cult? And when this transition happens, why does it seem that cult followers cannot wake up and see that their group is going the wrong way and leave?

So our Question for the evening is:

Do you know the difference between a church and a cult?

  • Yes (100%, 15 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 15

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