PODCAST: On Apologetics and Cults (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #9 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions podcast. This is episode #9

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Today’s passage of Scripture is Isaiah 46:9-10 which reads: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Today’s quote is from Blaise Pascal. He said: “Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ; We do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ.”

Our topic for today is titled “On Apologetics and Cults” from “The Encyclopedia of Apologetics”

3. Be cognizant of the key doctrinal characteristics of cults. There are a number of key doctrinal characteristics that regularly surface in the kingdom of the cults. While not every cult manifests every characteristic below (nor do those that possess them do so to the same degree), these characteristics are among the more common:

– The claim to receive new revelations.
– The denial of the sole authority of the Bible.
– The espousal of a distorted view of God, such as pantheism (all is God).
– The espousal of a distorted view of Jesus Christ, almost always denying His full deity and His accomplished work of redemption on the cross.
– The espousal of a distorted view of the Holy Spirit.
– The espousal of a distorted view of humankind, such as exalting human beings to the level of godhood.
– The denial of salvation by grace, thus distorting the purity of the gospel by adding works into the picture.

4. Be cognizant of the key sociological characteristics of cults. Key sociological characteristics that might surface in some cults include:

– Authoritarianism, which involves an authority figure–often an alleged “prophet”–whose word is considered ultimate and final.
– Exclusivism in the sense of believing that group alone possesses the truth of God.
– Isolationism, which often requires members to renounce and break off past associations with parents and siblings.

5. Always prepare for witnessing encounters by prayer. Only God, in His mighty power, can lift the veil of cultic blindness from the human heart. It therefore makes sense to pray fervently for the cultists you witness to.

6. Don’t assume every cult member believes the same thing every other member of that cult believes. For this reason, it is best not to tell a cultist what he or she believes. It is better to ask if he or she subscribes to a particular belief. Once you know what the person believes, then you can deal with those beliefs from a biblical perspective.

In our next podcast we will continue looking at the topic “On Apologetics and Cults”

Today, dear friend, we will continue reading the Preface of “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis:

So much for my omissions on doctrine. In Book III, which deals with morals, I have also passed over some things in silence, but for a different reason. Ever since I served as an infantryman in the first World War I have had a great dislike of people who, themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line. As a result I have a reluctance to say much about temptations to which I myself am not exposed. No man, I suppose, is tempted to every sin. It so happens that the impulse which makes men gamble has been left out of my make-up; and, no doubt, I pay for this by lacking some good impulse of which it is the excess or perversion. I therefore did not feel myself qualified to give advice about permissible and impermissible gambling: if there is any permissible, for I do not claim to know even that. I have also said nothing about birth-control. I am not a woman nor even a married man, nor am I a priest. I did not think it my place to take a firm line about pains, dangers and expenses from which I am protected; having no pastoral office which obliged me to do so.

Far deeper objections may be felt—and have been expressed— against my use of the word Christian to mean one who accepts the common doctrines of Christianity. People ask: “Who are you, to lay down who is, and who is not a Christian?” or “May not many a man who cannot believe these doctrines be far more truly a Christian, far closer to the spirit of Christ, than some who do?” Now this objection is in one sense very right, very charitable, very spiritual, very sensitive. It has every amiable quality except that of being useful. We simply cannot, without disaster, use language as these objectors want us to use it. I will try to make this clear by the history of another, and very much less important, word.

The word gentleman originally meant something recognisable; one who had a coat of arms and some landed property. When you called someone “a gentleman” you were not paying him a compliment, but merely stating a fact. If you said he was not “a gentleman” you were not insulting him, but giving information. There was no contradiction in saying that John was a liar and a gentleman; any more than there now is in saying that James is a fool and an M.A. But then there came people who said—so rightly, charitably, spiritually, sensitively, so anything but usefully—”Ah, but surely the important thing about a gentleman is not the coat of arms and the land, but the behaviour? Surely he is the true gentleman who behaves as a gentleman should? Surely in that sense Edward is far more truly a gentleman than John?”

They meant well. To be honourable and courteous and brave is of course a far better thing than to have a coat of arms. But it is not the same thing. Worse still, it is not a thing everyone will agree about. To call a man “a gentleman” in this new, refined sense, becomes, in fact, not a way of giving information about him, but a way of praising him: to deny that he is “a gentleman” becomes simply a way of insulting him. When a word ceases to be a term of description and becomes merely a term of praise, it no longer tells you facts about the object: it only tells you about the speaker’s attitude to that object. (A “nice” meal only means a meal the speaker likes.)

Dear friend, we will continue reading the “Preface” of “Mere Christianity” in our next podcast.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.