What Are Common Characteristics of Cults?

CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTS- Introduction
One of the most devastating experiences someone could face is to have a loved one involved in a cult. What are some ways we can know that a certain group is in fact a cult?

The devil always hides behind a mask; and he seldom carries an ID card. If this statement is true, it is of utmost importance for us to discern a cult when we see one.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTS- Scripture Twisting
The first mark of a cult is its manipulation of Scripture. The Bible is twisted to fit the leader or group’s interpretation. Private interpretations are forbidden because the leader of the cult is the only one, of course, who is able to understand God’s voice properly. Their teachings distort the historic, orthodox claims of Christianity.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTS- Mental Manipulation
Second, many times cults manipulate people’s minds. There is little concern for individual thought and development. Education is usually discouraged while the convert is bombarded with the cult’s doctrine and literature. Members are called to leave or neglect their old family and life-style for a brand new one.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTS- Time Manipulation
A third characteristic is the manipulation of time. Since salvation comes exclusively from the teachings of the group, in many cults members spend much of their time working for their organization. Family, school, leisure, sleep, and even food are most often neglected.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTS- Manipulating Reality
Finally, cults typically manipulate reality. They tend to have an exclusive “us”/“them” mentality in which society and old associates are all out to get them. Anyone outside of the group is suspect.

If a religious group exhibits one or more of the marks mentioned above, that group may well be considered a cult. Jesus Christ said that in the last days many false prophets would arise and deceive many (Matt. 24:11,24). To avoid the deception of the cults, we should be rooted in the teachings of the historic Christian faith, and receive Jesus Christ, God the Son, second Person of the Trinity, as Lord of our lives.

On the characteristics of cults, that’s the Bible Answer Man Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.

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