Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 NASB)We live in a day when cults are multiplying with amazing rapidity. Actually there are no new cults; they are just variations of heretical groups that sprang up in New Testament days. It is their variety that is new, not their basic tenets.When John says that we should test the spirits, he means that we should test all teachers by the Word of God so that we can detect those that are false. There are three fundamental areas where the cults expose themselves as being counterfeits. No cult can pass all three of these tests.Most of the cults are fatally defective in their teaching concerning the Bible. They do not accept it as the inerrant Word of God, the final revelation of God to man. They give equal authority to the writings of their own leaders. They claim new revelations from the Lord and boast of new truth. They publish their own translation of the Scripture which twists and perverts the truth. They accept the voice of tradition on a par with the Bible. They handle the Word of God deceitfully.Most of the cults are heretical in their teachings concerning our Lord. They deny that He is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. They might admit that He is the Son of God, but by this they mean something less than equality with God the Father. Often they deny that Jesus is the Christ, teaching that the Christ is a divine influence that came upon the man Jesus. Often they deny the true, sinless humanity of the Savior.A third area in which the cults stand condemned is in what they teach concerning the way of salvation. They deny that salvation is by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus alone. Every one of them teaches another gospel, namely, salvation by good works or good character.When propagators of these cults come to our door, what should be our response? John leaves us in no doubt: Dont have him inside your house; dont even greet him. For to greet such a man is to share in the evil that he is doing. (2 John 10, 11 Phillips).
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon