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A Cult?

Posted by Matt Postiff November 18, 2007 on Matt Postiff's Blog under FBC 

Lately I was reminded that some folks that have left Fellowship Bible Church have spread the word that we are a "cult." I wondered what that meant. When I inquired of the best source I could find for information on what these folks are saying, I found that the we are a cult because:

1. We believe the Bible teaches that divorce is displeasing to God and should not happen.
2. We believe the Bible prohibits women from teaching men or being pastors.
3. We have not decorated our auditorium or outside of our building with a cross.

I would hope it is obvious that among any community of believers, including ours, there is not complete agreement on all details of theology. For instance, my position on divorce is "No divorce, but if there is divorce, no remarriage (Mark 10:1-12, 1 Cor. 7:10-11)." But there are divorced folks in our church; there are divorced-and-remarried people in our church; there are folks who disagree with me who have stated their disagreement; and there are probably folks who disagree who have remained silent. And I'm glad they are in our church. But everyone in the church knows that I am going to do the best job I can to show them from the Scriptures why they should not be divorced, and not get themselves into a situation where it becomes an issue. Same goes for the issue of women preachers. I believe 1 Tim. 2:12 is unequivocal on this issue. Others may disagree, but they know I'm not going to invite a woman to preach! I'll leave the issue of the cross decoration for another blog entry, since I don't have any Bible verses to appeal to on that one.

Well, that list still did not satisfy me that I understood why we are a cult. So, I looked up a definition of the term "cult" that is consistent with our fundamental Christian position. From the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, I found this helpful definition:

"A religious group that follows a particular theological system. In the context of is a group that uses the Bible but distorts the doctrines that affect salvation sufficiently to cause salvation to be unattainable. A few examples of cults are Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Christadelphians, Unity, Religious Science, The Way International, and the Moonies."

That did not help me either, because we are very plainly teaching the gospel of God's grace alone, through the Lord Jesus Christ alone, received by faith alone--the Biblical way of salvation and the only way that it can be attained. I suspect the term "legalism" may have some bearing on the issue (i.e. we are a cult because we are legalistic, that is, hold to some standards of Christian behavior), but I'm not sure. Maybe those folks who are spreading the word that we are a cult could communicate with me directly via email and share some more reasons why they think we are a cult. I will report in this venue if I learn anything more.

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