A Question I Was Asked:

Why Do People Fall For These Cults?

The Question:

Why do people fall for these cults? My brother and sister-in-law are the latest victims. They meet with an extreme prophetic group which meet in a hotel which, somehow, always seems to be a bad sign. Suddenly Jesus didn't seem to be enough for them.

UK Apologetics Reply:

I really do wish there were a simple answer to this. Unfortunately there is not. I have noticed that some people get attracted to religious extremes; they don't want conventional Christianity, it seems to be too tame for them. I spent much time a few years ago helping an old friend pull out of an armstrongist group. I thought I was successful, however, two years later this man joined another cult! What can you say?

Conspiracy theories also appeal to a certain type of person and many of the cults and sects are built on extreme religious conspiracy theories. Again, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a message which may be understood by people of all backgrounds, is not enough for some of these people. Now, if you dress that up with all kinds of additional baggage, plus one or two intriguing religious conspiracy theories, they go for it. But Paul the Apostle had exactly the same trouble. He had delivered the Gospel to the Galatians but then he turned his back for a while and - meanwhile - a religious heresy sprang up among them! Now suddenly Jesus wasn't enough; a whole string of extra teachings were brought in by deceiving teachers. Actually, this particular heresy seems to have been very similar to armstrongism; Jesus was accepted, but a whole string of old covenant laws were being taught as necessary for salvation. This caused Paul to write,

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel - which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God's curse! (Galatians 1:6-9).

Paul goes on to say,

"We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. "But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn't that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker. "For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Galatians 2:15-21).

Now that, I have to say, should be clear to all! Christ, and His grace, is sufficient. The root cause of why people join a sub-Christian (that is, Christian-related) cult or sect is because of the belief that Christ is not sufficient, that more is needed. In these Scriptures - and elsewhere in his writings - Paul screams out that Christ IS sufficient!! To believe otherwise is to go down the road of justification by works, or to believe that some 'secret knowledge' is necessary for salvation (Gnosticism).

I would simply point out the following Scriptures to those kind of Christians who always seem to be seeking something new, or a new sign, or something sensational:

"A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away. (Matthew 16:4).

In short, the testimony of Scripture regarding Jesus is sufficient; don't go around looking for new signs and for new self-proclaimed 'super evangelists'! Many such people have ended up in the cults and sects, having been led astray. The well-evidenced (yes, it is well-evidenced) fact that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead three days later is the only sign that Jesus is delivering to this generation. The second Scripture I would add here is the following:

'But there were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.' (2 Peter 2:1-3, NKJV).

Now one final one:

'For godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.' (1 Timothy 6:6-11)

Robin A. Brace. October 1st, 2013.