Category: Cults, Sects & Movements

Is the Unification Church / the Moonies a Cult?

The Unification Church is a religious group that was founded in 1954 by Rev. Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012). Another name that the group is known by is the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
It was started in Seoul, Korea and it is believed to have a worldwide membership of more than one million followers. Currently the group is led by Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Moon.
Members who join The Unification Church are also sometimes known by the nickname the “Moonies”.

The Unification Church has been categorized as a cult by many Christians and ex-members primarily because their theological beliefs and practices veer off from Biblical orthodox Christian beliefs even though they claim to believe in the God of the Bible.
The Unification Church is also known for practicing cultic mind control and brainwashing techniques upon their members in order to intimately control and manipulate the lives of their members. In addition they have been known to use deceptive recruitment techniques in order to get people to join them.

Some of the beliefs and practices of the Unification Church are as follows:

  • They do not believe that the Bible is God’s infallible word. They do not believe that the Bible is God’s final authority. Sun Myung Moon instead wrote a book called The Divine Principle which is promoted by the Unification Church as having more weight and authority than the Bible.
  • The Moonies are also famous for organizing mass wedding ceremonies for couples or their members. A single mass wedding can consist of more than 30000 couples or participants.
    Moon teaches that “God-centered families are the building blocks of a world of peace, stability, and love,” and that only those who are married through their group will be saved, or qualified, for the kingdom.
  • The Moonies also believe that the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was because of sexual sin where they believe that Eve had sexual relations with Satan / Lucifer.
  • They do not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. Instead they believe that Jesus was just a man and not God.
  • Only Unification Church members are considered the “True Family” and Moon and his wife are the world’s “True Parents”. Members celebrate as “birthdays” the day they joined the Unification Church.
  • The theology of the Unification Church is believed to be a mix of Christianity, Shamanism and Confucianism.
  • The Unification Church does not believe that salvation is totally by grace through faith in Jesus but instead they teach that members should earn their salvation by their devotion to the religious activities of the group and also by marrying and producing sinless children (Divine Principle, p. 148).

There have also been many allegations by Moonie ex-members who have testified of being subjected to brainwashing and mind control techniques by leadership. There have also been allegations of authoritative teachings in order to subdue followers and prevent followers from exercising their free will and critical thinking.
It is believed that the Unification Church organizes arranged marriages and many couples who participate in their mass weddings have had no previous mutual or genuine relationship prior to their wedding.
The above beliefs and practices are just a few issues which reflect that even though the Unification Church may claim to be Christian, there is consistent and verifiable evidence that this group does not follow nor believe in orthodox Christianity.


What Does The Bible Say About the Beliefs of The Unification Church?

  • The Bible is clear that we should be careful to avoid false teachers and we are warned about false prophets who preach a different gospel and a different Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6-9)
  • The word of God is clear that the Scriptures were inspired by God and that the Bible is our final authority for what Christians should believe and how Christians should live (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
    Therefore there is no other book that is written about mankind or spiritual matters that should be elevated or obeyed above God’s word.
  • When any group claiming to be Christian denies the deity and Lordship of Jesus Christ then such a group is not a true church. It is a cult or a false church. The deity and the finished work of Jesus Christ are essential to the beliefs of the Christian faith and the Bible tells us that Jesus was not only a man – but He was also God (John 1:1-3,14).
  • The sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden had nothing to do with sex or adultery. Instead Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 3:1-24).
  • The Church is the body of Christ. All true Christian believers around the world are members of the universal Church or body of Christ. Therefore we must be careful of any single group or “church” that promotes itself as being the “only true church” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
  • Our salvation is not through our own effort or personal works. Instead, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus Christ alone is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Christ (John 14:6).

 

Conclusion
The Bible clearly teaches us that false teachers and false prophets are on the rise (Matthew 24:11).
Therefore we must be careful to avoid the growing cultic deception that is attempting to distort and destroy orthodox Christianity.
Due to the rise of false teachers and false doctrines, the Bible warns us to not believe every spirit but instead we should test every spirit to see whether it is of God (1 John 4:1-2).
It is important for every Christian believer to be vigilant and to be like the Bereans who studied the scriptures and fact-checked whatever they were taught (Acts 17:10-11).
We are not to esteem any person or religious leader above Jesus Christ. We must realize that we are all equal before God’s eyes and Jesus Christ alone is supreme above any man or founder of any ministry or religious group.
God’s word and God’s teachings must be valued above the teachings of man. We must therefore beware of being deceived by the doctrines of demons and the philosophies of men.

 

What is the Word of Faith Movement?

The Word of Faith or Word-Faith Movement is neither an organization nor a denomination. This movement traces its roots from the “positive confessions” and New Thought teachings of E.W Kenyon who is said to be the originator of the movement. However Kenneth Hagin is said to be the “father” of the Word-Faith Movement because he was responsible for popularizing Kenyon’s theology and teachings since the late 20th century.

To this day, the Word of Faith Movement consists of a wave of popular but heretical teachings that have been popularized by other preachers such as Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Murdoch, Benny Hinn, TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Hagin and many others.

This movement is known as Word of Faith / Word-Faith mainly because of their false teachings and distorted perceptions regarding faith. Many Word-faith preachers such as Kenneth Copeland for example are on record as teaching that faith is a “force” which can be used to get or achieve whatever you desire.

Since this movement consists of some of the most popular preachers and televangelists, it is no surprise that the Word-Faith Movement and some of its heretical teachings have been very popular all over the world.
The heart of what word-faith preachers teach is that God promises health and wealth to anyone who practices their faith related formulas and theologies.

Some of the theology and false teachings of the Word of Faith Movement are as follows:

1. Faith is a “Force” Controlled By The Words You Speak
One of the foundational theologies of the Word-Faith movement is the belief that faith is a “force” through which a person is able to acquire whatever he wants if he conjures up enough faith.
They believe that the words you speak or the words you confess will control or manipulate the faith force in order to get the outcome that one desires.
Therefore your success and experience of material prosperity is dependent on how successful you are able to manipulate the faith force through your positive confession so that you get your desired outcome.
The Word-Faith movement subtly or indirectly promotes faith in faith instead of faith in God. Their theology clearly attempts to remove or ignore the sovereign will of God as it puts man as being the one who has the control and power to create whatever he so desires by simply using his words to control the faith force.

2. Prosperity Gospel / Health & Wealth
The prosperity gospel is the teaching that every born again believer is meant to obtain material wealth and riches. These riches are available by using faith and positive confessions whilst making deliberate and practical effort to seek the riches that one desires.
The Word-Faith movement also believes that the death of Jesus Christ extends to Christ giving every born again believer the ability to obtain the material riches and possessions that one desires.
Word of Faith preachers therefore teach their followers that one of the primary objectives in a person’s life must be the pursuit of material wealth. In the theology of this movement, the possession of material wealth is a visible sign that a person has the “favour” and “blessings” of God upon his life.
Therefore, a bankrupt bank account can be translated as one having a bankrupt faith. Or if you do not get healed from a sickness, then it is because you lacked enough faith to receive your healing.
Therefore the Word of Faith Movement teaches that if you desire to have whatever you wish, then you must use enough of the faith force to bring your desires or material wealth into existence. (see article: What Does The Prosperity Gospel Teach?)

3. Men Are Little Gods
The Word of Faith movement also teaches that men are like “little gods”. They have the belief that people are just like God in that they can control their reality and destiny by the use of their words.
The Word-Faith movement believes that since man is made in the image of God and if God created the universe by the power of His words, then it means that man also has creative power by the use of his/her words.
The Word-Faith movement therefore believes that just like God, man can control the weather; or just like God, man can change any reality or destiny.
The Word-Faith movement also heretically teaches its followers that God cannot do anything without the permission of man.
Therefore the subtle deception of this movement is that not only is man a “little god”, but that man can also control the Creator of the universe.

4. Seed-Faith Teachings
The Word-Faith movement also promotes the false doctrine of seed-faith offerings. Oral Roberts is known as one of the initial originators of this false teaching.
It involves followers being coerced into “seeding” or giving their money in “faith” with the belief that God will give them back a multiplied harvest or return of their initial offering.
For example, the belief is that if a person gives or “sows” $10 in “faith” to a prosperity preacher or his ministry, then God will be obligated give that person a monetary or material reward of $20 or more in return. (see article: Can A Man Bribe God? What Is The Seed-Faith Teaching?)

5. Name It & Claim It
The Word of Faith Movement teaches that by using the power of your words, combined with the faith force, you will be able to use the technique of naming whatever you want into existence. Therefore a car, a house, a job and many other things can be acquired simply by naming it, claiming it and declaring it into existence.
So it is believed that positive confessions and declarations for the items you need will result in obtaining the possessions or circumstances you want in life. However, they also believe that negative “confessions” will create a negative reality or destiny since they believe that man is a “little god” who has the power to create his own reality by the words that he/she speaks.

6. Other False Doctrines & Beliefs

  • They believe that Jesus died spiritually and that He had to be born again in hell before He rose from the dead.
  • They believe that the office of apostles and prophets still exists today. While most Word-Faith teachers do not outright claim to have an authority that matches or supersedes that of Scripture, they do allege that God gives them direct or special revelation in the form of words of knowledge, prophecies, and visions. Therefore the teachings of word-faith “apostles” or “prophets” cannot be questioned or challenged by their followers as they claim to hold the spiritual offices of prophet and apostle.
  • They believe that Jesus and His disciples were rich and that to be poor is a sin or to be sick is a sin.

 

What Does The Bible Teach About Word-Faith Movement Beliefs?
The Bible teaches us that God alone is Sovereign and He alone is able to create something from nothing (Genesis 1:3). Therefore God cannot be commanded and neither do we have the ability to manipulate Him based on our faith.
We are not supposed to have faith in our faith nor faith in our own words. Therefore God alone should be the object of our faith (Mark 11:22). We must have faith in God and God decides when and in what manner He will respond to prayer or our requests
We are not “little gods”. We are not deity. Instead we are God’s creation. Therefore we do not have the power to change the weather or create nothing from something by the power of the faith force or “positive confession”.
Therefore there is only one God who exists in 3 Persons (The Father, The Son & The Holy Spirit).

The prosperity gospel is a false doctrine according to scripture (1 Timothy 6:3-10). We cannot bribe or manipulate God with our monetary offerings. The seed-faith teaching encourages manipulation and coercion. The teaching is an insult to the divine nature of God and it promotes money as having some kind of power to influence the hand of God.

The Word of Faith movement is deceiving countless people around the world. It is a deceptive movement that uses both subtle and blatant methods to promote the self and individual interests rather than the genuine pursuit of Christ.
Most Word of Faith teachers have become enormously rich and wealthy because of the Word-Faith doctrine. Their prosperity gospel has made these preachers rich whilst their followers either become poorer, covetous or seek an unbiblical lifestyle in the pursuit of monetary riches.
Word-Faith preachers have managed to commercialize Christianity and make merchandise of their followers (2 Peter 2:1-3).
We must therefore be vigilant and careful to avoid being deceived by any preacher or religious groups that teach Word-Faith theology as such teachings have distorted genuine Biblical Christianity.

 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff

 

 

 

Who Is Your Spiritual Covering? Is It Biblical?

The term spiritual covering is an authoritarian false teaching that is usually used by the Charismatic movement and various religious cults in relation to authority and submission.
The spiritual covering doctrine basically teaches that your leader, your pastor, your prophet or your apostle is a human “spiritual covering” over your life or the personal affairs of your life. Therefore if you are not under the spiritual covering of your leader then you are not “covered” or “fathered” or protected from spiritual curses or from problems in life.
Believers of this false teaching therefore teach that every Christian believer needs a human spiritual covering to protect the believer from deception, curses, problems and even the devil himself.
The spiritual covering doctrine also teaches that without your human spiritual covering, whatever you do will not be blessed by God unless it has the endorsement of your particular human spiritual covering.

The spiritual covering doctrine has its roots in The Shepherding Movement of the 1970s which came out of the Charismatic movement. The Shepherding Movement created cult-like manipulation techniques and intimidation tactics over its followers through its emphasis on the non-biblical concept that every follower needs a human “spiritual covering” in his life.
Today the spiritual covering doctrine is either openly taught or subtly imposed by certain religious sects and charismatic leaders upon their followers as a method of control and manipulation over people’s lives. The acquiring of money and the control over people’s lives is at the heart of this doctrine.

Religious groups that teach the spiritual covering or Shepherding Movement doctrine can be identified by the following teachings and practices:

  • Followers cannot make any major life or personal decisions without the input, knowledge or endorsement of one’s spiritual covering
  • Approval from your human spiritual covering is more important than approval from God or from God’s word.
  • Approval from your human spiritual covering is also believed to be equivalent to being approved by God. Therefore if your spiritual covering does not approve, it is presumed that God does not also approve. Or if your spiritual covering approves – then it means that God also approves.
  • Followers must have unquestioned loyalty and obedience to one’s spiritual covering. The doctrines or teachings by the spiritual covering cannot be questioned or challenged even by those considered to be the “lowest” members or followers within the hierarchy.
  • Followers have an obligation to confess sins and problems to their spiritual coverings, accountability partners or “shepherds”
  • The group has a hierarchical system of accountability; the hierarchical system looks more like a pyramid than the Biblical church body.
  • Followers must conform to the group’s traditions and beliefs even if these traditions oppose the scriptures.
  • Biblical and spiritual knowledge and revelation only flows downwards from the spiritual covering to the followers. The spiritual covering is seen as the source through which all spiritual revelation flows. Therefore without the revelation and protection of your human spiritual covering – you are deemed to be “lost” or in “rebellion”.
  • There is legalism, manipulation, intimidation, fear and coercive control by leadership over members. The followers are taught to be spiritually, psychologically and practically dependent on their human spiritual covering.
  • There is total dependence by the followers for their spiritual covering’s approval and endorsement.
  • There is information control. Followers are prohibited from information or literature that is likely to free them from deception or from discovering the truth.
  • Anyone who disagrees with their spiritual covering can be subjected to humiliation or expulsion for questioning the leadership or its teachings.
  • Anyone who questions or does not conform to the standards of his/her human spiritual covering is categorized as being “rebellious” or unsubmissive.

 

JESUS CHRIST IS THE TRUE AND ONLY SPIRITUAL COVERING

Jesus Christ is the only true spiritual covering that any Christian believer needs. Ultimately if we do not have Jesus Christ in our lives, then we do not have any genuine spiritual covering.
We must beware of any religious group that practices “shepherding,” “submission” and “spiritual covering” concepts. Though these groups may speak about Christ, they do not ultimately point people to Christ but instead they subtly point people to controlling and manipulative men for spiritual direction instead of God. These groups can create a counterfeit Christianity or hinder a genuine relationship with God because it promotes a mere man as being a type of mediator between you and God. It promotes the concept that you should always seek the approval and endorsement of man instead of seeking the approval of God. It also promotes the concept that the human spiritual covering is “perfect” or “infallible” in his advice or teachings when in fact every man is a sinner who is subject to error and deception. Unfortunately many people have fallen for this spiritual covering manipulation, especially in many coercive religious groups where the followers are taught to seek the approval of their “spiritual covering” rather than the approval of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:4
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

Galatians 1:10
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

When leaders view themselves as a “spiritual covering” over others, they also directly make themselves to become spiritual mediators between God and their followers.
1 Timothy 2:5 says: For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Christ died for our sins and His blood provided the ultimate covering from curses and from all kinds of sin so that because of His blood there is freedom in Christ and forgiveness of sins. We have been bought by the precious blood of Christ Jesus and “brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Jesus Christ is our true protection and our only covering from all curses, bondage and sin because of His finished work on the Cross.
There is no human being who can copy or imitate the effects or results of what Christ did on the Cross and the functions that Christ plays in the life of an individual. Without Christ we are nothing.

Jesus Christ is Lord over your life – not man. Colossians 3:23-24 says that we are to do everything “as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ”.
Therefore Jesus Christ is your true and only spiritual covering because He is with you wherever you go; He resides in you and He knows you more than you know yourself.
Therefore when various leaders, false teachers and cult leaders elevate themselves to the unbiblical status of a “spiritual covering”, they’re in fact making themselves a “false christ” over the people they lead because they claim to mediate between God and man. The “spiritual covering” leaders claim that their approval or disapproval of what you do is equivalent to God’s approval or disapproval.

Matthew 23:8-12
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

A “spiritual covering” leader is the exact opposite of what Christ expects from a Biblical leader. A “spiritual covering” leader lacks humility but instead seeks to be served by his followers rather than to serve them. The spiritual covering leader sees himself as a “spiritual father”.
In the body of Christ there are no “spiritual coverings” or “spiritual fathers” – but instead according to Matthew 23:8 we “are all brothers”.
In the body of Christ we have different gifts and different functions (Romans 12:5-8) but we are all brothers and sisters in the eyes of God. Nobody is more important than the other in the body of Christ. The functions and gifts may be different but we are all equal and play a pivotal role in the body of Christ.
According to Romans 12:5 we are “members of one another” and NOT members over one another.

However, the spiritual covering or Shepherding Movement doctrines are used by cult leaders and false teachers who seek to have unbiblical control, power and influence over people’s lives for their own self-ambition and personal gain. The spiritual covering doctrine creates a culture of manipulation, control, fear and intimidation of which the followers become the victims and false teachers become the benefactors. It also opposes Christ’s leadership model of servant leadership.

Matthew 20:25-28
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Many religious cults and high control groups control the lives of their followers because of the spiritual covering doctrine. Many people are controlled and manipulated both for selfish and monetary gain by their leaders because of unbiblical methods of leadership that are being used. We must therefore beware of leaders who demand or coerce people into blind loyalty and submission. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and 1 John 4:1 says that we must “test everything” or “test the spirits” because “many false prophets have gone out into the world”. God’s word therefore encourages us to test, question and verify whatever we are are taught in order to avoid being deceived or being led astray by false teachings.

The spiritual covering doctrine shifts the focus of our spiritual relationship away from Jesus Christ and His Lordship. Instead the false doctrine shifts people’s focus into following man or the “spiritual covering’s” personal desires instead of following God. Such an unbiblical relationship indirectly blinds people from individually exercising discernment regarding their spiritual life.

The Bible indeed teaches us to obey those who are in authority – but only as far as what they teach and say is in agreement with God’s word. It’s therefore important for every Christian believer to study the word of God as a Berean and Biblically research and verify the things we are taught (Acts 17:10-15).
Christian believers should not rely on a human “spiritual covering” for truth and revelation but instead Christians must learn to check what they are taught against the word of God to see if what they are taught is actually true.
Christians also need to get into the habit of personal study of the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).
Christians need to be led by the Holy Spirit who is the revealer of all truth (John 16:13) and not only look to man as a revealer of truth.

The reason why so many people are led astray is because they look towards man or “spiritual coverings” to lead them instead of looking towards Jesus Christ who is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

 

 

12 Characteristics of a Cult Leader

According to many studies, cult leaders are people who tend to be narcissists and they generally exhibit sociopathic and abusive characteristics. Within Christianity they are hardly shepherds, but instead they are actually wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).
The Bible speaks of false teachers existing in the world and the cult leader is a type of false teacher who exists within the religious realm.
Many cult leaders will claim to be Christians, but in fact, they are deceived instruments of satan who seek to deceive their followers for personal gain and for demonic motives.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says the following:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Throughout the world, many cult leaders will exhibit the same character traits and employ the same manipulative and coercive techniques. By nature, a leopard cannot change its spots. A bad tree will always bear bad fruit (Matthew 7:15-19).

Below are at least 12 Traits or Characteristics of a Cult Leader:

A Spiritual Abuser
The cult leader is a false teacher who not only teaches false doctrines, but he also seeks to intimately control and abuse the lives of his followers. For example, he can control who you should and should not marry; he separates members from their families; he destroys marriages; No major personal decisions are made by various cult members without consulting the cult leader or without his knowledge; He brainwashes his members to perform unethical activities on his behalf or on behalf of the cult.
The cult leader is obsessed with manipulating and controlling his followers through authoritative leadership style and coercive techniques. This ultimately leads many members of the group into a state of spiritual bondage.

They Twist The Scriptures For Personal Gain
Cult leaders will constantly twist and misinterpret the Bible in order to justify their scandals or justify their sinful lifestyle. For example, many cult leaders are known to twist the Scriptures to their followers in order to justify their sexual immorality or polygamous relationships. Some will also twist the scriptures for monetary gain or for demonic mind control purposes.
2 Peter 2:3 says “And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

Narcissistic Sense of Self
Cult leaders basically believe they were born to be better than others. In fact, they are tempted to believe that nobody can be better than them. They are basically arrogant and are driven and motivated by a spirit of pride.
Eventually cult leaders tend to claim or insinuate to have power, position and authority that is exclusively godlike. They not only claim to speak for God, but they believe and teach their followers that disobeying the leader is equivalent to disobeying God. Matthew 24:24 speaks of the rise in false christs or false messiahs. This scripture does not only refer to people who claim to be Jesus Christ, but it also refers to narcissistic people who will claim to have equal authority to Christ.

Superficial Charm & Charisma
Cult leaders are actors and pretenders. They understand that discovering your weaknesses, needs and desires are a gateway to putting you in bondage. Projecting superficial charm and charisma to members or potential followers is a method of disarming people from seeing the true deceptive and controlling nature of the leader.
In their mind, it’s essential that they draw followers to themselves and therefore they feel the need to stand-out and be noticed because inwardly cult leaders consistently crave attention and recognition from their members. Therefore the charm offensive is an important part of a cult leader’s act to gain trust and admiration from unsuspecting followers.

Lack of Guilt or Remorse
The cult leader is sociopathic by nature and is therefore incapable of showing genuine empathy, guilt or remorse for any sinful behavior. For example, a cult leader may feel no remorse for destroying marriages or for exploiting and abusing his members, because cult leaders are generally proud and arrogant at their core. Sociopaths are generally known to be incapable of showing genuine love or empathy. Instead they project superficial “love” and emotions which always has the deceptive motive of desiring something back in return for their own personal gain and agenda.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 makes reference to false teachers who are hypocritical liars and have a seared conscience. This alludes to the fact that false teachers are incapable of having a good conscience because they feel no sorrow or guilt for sinful behavior. They also see no need to repent as a result. Instead a cult leader usually projects his faults on others such as his own members. Therefore their conscience is so seared or so deceived that they cannot truthfully differentiate between right and wrong.

Pathological Liars
Cult leaders are very skillful speakers and they are never at a loss for words. However, they are also pathological liars. Lying and deceit is part of their inbuilt nature and culture. Hypocrisy is their second nature. Deception is integral to achieving their objective of power and control over others. Even Jesus said of the Pharisees (who were religious leaders) “You are of your father the devil who has been a liar from the beginning” (John 8:44).
In Matthew 23:1-38, Christ also addressed the culture of lying and the hypocrisy by the Pharisees. He not only exposed their deception but He warned them of the consequences of their wickedness.
Therefore a culture of lying, hypocrisy and deception is common among cult leaders.

Authoritarian Leadership Style
Cult leaders are always authoritarian in the manner in which they lead their members.
For example, some cult leaders demand obedience from their members at the expense of obeying the scriptures. Cult leaders will also equate obeying them as being equal to obeying God, therefore insinuating that God and the cult leader have equal authority. It creates fear within the cult members so that they live to please the cult leader instead of living to please God. Cult members are taught to obey the leader even if he is wrong. The cult leader therefore creates the false perception that he is infallible and that his teachings and wisdom cannot be challenged even when he is wrong.

They Take Sexual Advantage of their Members
The issue of money, power and sex are intertwined within a cult. When cult leaders have unquestioned power and authority, it is evident that a cult leader will begin to take sexual advantage of his members.
Cult leaders often have a history of extramarital affairs. Therefore adultery and many different forms of sexual immorality are very common among cult leaders due to their grandiose sense of self and the imbalance of power that exists within the group.
With various cults, sex or sexual immorality is used as a method of control. Therefore the cult leader will have sexual relationships with his own followers as a method of emotional and psychological control over his members. For many cults, sexual immorality is also used by cult leaders as a method of initiating new members into the cult or for purposes of supposedly “bonding” with cult members (see article: How Cult Leaders Use Sex To Control Followers)

Cult Leaders Lack Boundaries & Exploit Weaknesses
2 Timothy 3:5-6 speaks of men who have the “appearance of godliness” but yet they take advantage of “weak women”. Paul tells Timothy in verse 5 that such people should be avoided.
Cult leaders do not respect individual or relationship boundaries. They feel entitled to impose or worm their way without any respect for the personal or relationship boundaries of others.
They are always looking for weaknesses in an individual’s life so that they can manipulate for their own personal gain.
Cult leaders also tend to look for followers who are gullible, easily exploited and weak minded.

They Use Sycophants to Ensure Compliance from Members
Sycophants are informers and self-seeking cult members who usually praise the cult leader in order to gain advantage. The cult leader uses them to spy on other members and to ensure that members are complying with the cult’s values and traditions. Sycophants pass information upwards to the cult leader about who is complying and who is rebelling within the group. They also update the cult leader about what individual members are saying, feeling or behaving within the group.

Cult Leaders View Outsiders as Enemies or Inferior
Cults generally have an Us versus Them mentality where anybody who is outside of the cult is seen as inferior to the cult. This mentality also forms the basis of why cults generally tend to promote themselves under the deceptive guise of “evangelism” as they feel that anyone who is not part of the cult is not fully enlightened. Therefore cults believe that people require the cult’s specific indoctrinations or to be recruited into the group.
The cult leader therefore projects himself as the “best” among preachers and he presents his doctrines as the “best” among other religious groups and anyone who is not part of the cult is considered to be “lost” or unenlightened.
Any non-members who disagree with the cult leader’s theology are seen as potential enemies and likewise cult members are not allowed to associate with any outside religious groups or individuals who are likely to discover the cult’s true deceptive nature.
The leader therefore isolates his group from ex-members or from families or from religious groups that are likely to discern and expose the true nature of the group.

They View People as Assets & Objects
Sociopaths do not really view people as friends. Instead to a sociopath, people are assets; people are victims; people are accomplices; people are fools who can be conned for his own personal gain.
Just like a sociopath, cult leaders are interested in only achieving the objective that meets their personal and selfish gain. As a result, a cult leader views his cult members as inferior to himself and as people whom he is meant to control, manipulate and dominate.

 

Conclusion: You Shall Know Them By Their Fruits
Jesus said that false teachers are inwardly like “ravenous wolves” by nature. He also said that we shall know false teachers by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).
The character and nature of cult leaders clearly reflects that their fruits are demonic and ungodly. Ultimately the majority of cult members become deceived and fall into spiritual bondage as a result of following cult leaders.
It’s important to note that cult leaders are self-deceived individuals. They are also spiritually and psychologically dangerous. Based on the strange activities and tragedies that happen within many cults such as mass suicides, mind control techniques, cultic behaviour, family separations, scripture twisting, sexual scandals and a culture of lying and deception – it is clear that cult leaders are either demon possessed or demonically inspired in their actions.
Cult leaders do not represent Jesus Christ and they preach a false gospel that is filled with false interpretations of the scriptures. Even though they read or preach from the Bible, it is important to realize that these type of false teachers are used by the devil in an attempt to deceive, distort and destroy the Body of Christ.
Titus 1:16 says the following of false teachers: “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work”
It’s therefore very important that people be vigilant and aware of the false deceptions and the many deceivers who now exist in the world.

1 John 4:1 says: “Dear friends, 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.”

 

 

How Cult Leaders Use Sex to Control Followers

Is there a relationship between sexual immorality and the activities of demonic sects such as cults, the new age movement and even the occult? How do cult leaders use sex as a method of control over some of their members?

Jim Jones, a cult leader of the People’s Temple was one of the most well-known cult leaders in the world. He had so much control over his followers to the extent of causing the mass suicide of more than 900 of his own cult members as he manipulated them into drinking poisoned Kool-aid or Flavor-aid.
The other thing that Jim Jones was also known for was his immoral sexual behavior. According to Wikipedia, “while Jones (hypocritically) banned sex among Temple members outside of marriage, he voraciously engaged in sexual relations with both male and female Temple members. Jones, however, claimed that he detested engaging in homosexual activity and did so only for the male temple adherents’ own good, purportedly to connect them symbolically with him (Jones).”

So Jones’ cultic reason for being promiscuous was that having sex with his followers would “connect” his followers “symbolically” to himself.
Jones is also on record as telling his followers that he was “the only true heterosexual”.

In the religious world, there are thousands of cult leaders that exist. One of the major marks of all cult leaders pertains to their desire to manipulate, control and exploit their members for their own personal gain and also for the gain of the group.

Almost every cult leader is known to be abusive, spiritually corrupt and manipulative by nature (see article: 12 Characteristics Of A Cult Leader).
However, one of the key methods that cult leaders use to control their followers is through sex.
Just like Jim Jones and many false teachers throughout the world, it’s difficult to find a single cult leader who leads a group and yet has never had promiscuous affairs with members of his own group. It’s also difficult to find a cult leader who has not manifested any obvious signs of sexual perversion.

2 Timothy 3:5-6
Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions

2 Timothy 3:5-6 addresses the fact that there are religious men who are predatory in nature and they deceptively desire to “capture weak women”.
These men have the “appearance of godliness” but in fact, they are hypocrites.
They have the “appearance of godliness” but the truth is that they are demonic and ungodly in nature.
These men even enter into people’s homes but their intentions are never truthful or innocent. They seek to seduce, manipulate, control and exploit people.
The cult leader uses his position of leadership to take advantage of his members. He does this to satisfy his sexual lusts and to gain control over them.
Therefore under the guise of “counselling”, “ministering” and “assisting” women with their problems, the cult leader exploits a woman’s vulnerabilities in order to eventually manipulate her for sex.

All over the world many false teachers have been exposed for their promiscuous behaviour. This clearly points to the fact that there is a connection between the unbiblical power that cult leaders give themselves and their immoral sexual relationships.

So the question is this: Why are most cult leaders inevitably sexually immoral? Why do these leaders use sex to control their members?
The answer is found in the fact that the core inspiration behind using sex to control people is simply rooted in demonic doctrines and demonic foundations.

Sex and the Demonic
The demonic concept about sex is the complete opposite to God’s original intention for sex. According to God, sex is an expression of union between 2 married people and it is to be performed only within the confines of marriage for enjoyment and for procreation. Sex is not only physical but it is also spiritual.
However, satan has corrupted the meaning of sex. The demonic concept of sex encourages fornication, adultery, incest, homosexuality and even bestiality. Sexual immorality has a negative spiritual effect in that it causes a person to corrupt his soul and to sin against his own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).
The demonic expression of sex is not related to godly union between married couples but instead the demonic purpose for sex is to express self-gratification, domination, perversion, manipulation and initiation.

Jim Jones hypocritically preached against premarital sex and he banned his members from having sex outside of marriage. Yet ironically, Jones had both homosexual and heterosexual relationships with the very same cult members whom he banned from having sex. What Jim Jones did was an example of him using sex to control his followers.

A cult leader’s motive for having sex with multiple members within his group is also a method of initiating and solidifying the member’s emotional loyalty to himself and towards the group. Jim Jones claimed to use promiscuous sex to “connect” his followers “symbolically” to himself.
Just like Jim Jones, a cult leader does not care if he is behaving hypocritically; he does not care if he has sexual relations with a man or a woman; he does not care if he is committing adultery; he does not care if he’s causing his members to commit fornication or adultery; he does not care if he is disobeying the word of God.

What the cult leader cares about the most, is that he fulfills his demonic sexual appetite and perversions whilst achieving “connection” and control over his followers through the sexual relationships. Therefore sex is one of the tools that he will use in order to accomplish his goal to control.
It’s no wonder that doctrines of demons such as witchcraft, occultism, new age movement and many other sects also include sexual immorality as part of their rites, rituals and initiations.

Even in the Bible, the worship of Baal, a fertility god, had infiltrated the Jewish people according to Judges 3:7.
Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic sex and prostitution in the temples. Even Jezebel who was a woman associated with sexual immorality, control and witchcraft was a champion for the worship of Baal.
Jezebel married and controlled Ahab who happened to be the King of Israel (1 Kings 16:30-31). Her exploitation and control of Ahab caused the widespread worship of Baal and the demonic doctrines associated with Baal.

1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5; Leviticus 20:13 and Exodus 22:19 all speak against sexual immorality. However, whilst these verses might be preached by the cult leader just as Jim Jones may have done, the cult leader will behave as if such verses do not apply to himself.

Anything that is demonic will ultimately meet its destruction before the Lord. The cult leader and every other false teacher will ultimately meet their demise before God’s mighty hand.
Those who willfully practice sexual immorality and seek to manipulate and deceive others will face a predictable end.
1 John 4:1 tells us to test the spirits because of the existence of false prophets and teachers. The reason we should test the spirits is because false teachers are spiritually motivated by the demonic.
It is therefore imperative that those who fear the Lord should always hate what is evil and cling to what is good (Romans 12:9).