CLASSIFYING CULT GROUPS

(adapted from “What the Cults Believe” by Irvine Robertson, Moody Press, 1983)

1. Pseudo-Christian Cults
These are groups which have doctrines which contradict Christian orthodoxy yet claim to have originated from the historic Church in some way or are in essential harmony with it. Such groups commonly use the Holy Bible as sacred literature but require a special interpretive matrix that is of their own unique design. It is often the claim of the Pseudo-Christian cult that they are the reclamation of historic Christianity or that they have received new revelation from God that makes them superior to all other Churches and denominations. Well known examples of these type of cults would include the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormon Church.

2. Eastern Cults
These are religions which may or may not give any consideration to the Holy Bible but are primarily based on the eastern mystic religions such as Hinduism or Buddhism. Identifying marks of these groups would include such doctrines as reincarnation, ultimate absorption into the Deity, truth as an inward journey, and monism or everything is god.

3. Christian Eastern Cults
Groups fitting into this classification would include Theosophy, Unity, or Christian Science. Doctrinally these groups mix Christianity with eastern philosophy and mysticism but in praxis they are firmly eastern and minimally Christian.

4. Personality Cults
Groups such as Heaven’s Gate, David Koresh, and the Moonies are examples of a personality cult. Such groups may have biblical doctrine as part of their belief system, but they primarily depend on their special leader for revelation and interpretation of divine truth. These groups usually fade away upon the death of their leader.