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A Study of the Cults--a Christian Perspective #6

Updated on July 7, 2012

This will wrap up this series on the cults although there are many more we could look at. If there is one in particular you would like me to briefly discuss, just let me know.

After examining some of the pseudo-Christian cults, let us move on to look at a few personality cults. These cults base their teaching around an individual and in most cases the individual is viewed as an incarnation of God.


Branhamism

Branhamism is the teaching of William Branham. Long after Mr. Branham was killed by a drunk driver (1965), his teachings live on. Branhamism represents a personality cult.

William Branham was born in 1909 in the back hills of Kentucky, and at the age of seven began to experience visions. On May, 7, 1946 he spent a night in a cave and an angel ministered to him showing him his past and future. The angel also revealed how he was to use the gift of healing to heal the world of sickness.

He taught that Jesus was not the Son of God, but rather a created being. He also taught that Cain was the result of the serpent impregnating Eve and that hell would eventually be destroyed.

He believed that God spoke to him out of a pillar of fire and revealed the mysteries of Revelation 5-8. Part of that mystery was that the USA would be destroyed by an explosion in 1977 ushering in the Millennium. Of course, this never happened.


Sathya Sai Baba

Sathya Sai Baba is based in Hindu teachings. According to Hindu beliefs, God (which one? Since there are so many) can appear in the flesh in one person at a time. In the 1880’s that incarnation was known as Sai Baba of Shirdi. Before his death in 1918 many of the people of India believed that he was god in the flesh because he performed "miracles".

After he died the spirit of god took up residence in the reincarnated body of Satyanarayana Raju. Much of the account of his life is either extreme exaggeration or demonic. He would produce candy out of an empty bag for his friends. He produces holy ash (vibhuti) with the wave of his hand. This was to represent the regenerative power of the Hindu god Shiva.

Baba’s teachings say that man is essentially atma (soul and spirit). It manifests itself in five sheaths of man recognizing that man is divine, but has forgotten his god-nature. Says Baba, “Man is not born in sin. Eternal bliss is only possible by conquering earthly desires to reveal the spark of divinity. If you realize the atma-principle, you become god himself."

There are three ways to reach godhood. 1.) Karma (action) 2.) jnana (knowledge) or 3.) bhakti (devotion to a guru). Baba prefers the last as the sadguru (god realized guru) is worshipped as god by the devotee.

The title “Sathya Sai Baba” means the “Divine Mother/Father”.


Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Rev. Sun Myung Moon began growing his religion in the mid 1900’s. By 1973 He and his "Moonies" were becoming a household name in America. The church is officially known as the Unification Church.

Rev. Moon teaches that Eve had sexual relations with the serpent (the arch-angel Lucifer) in the garden and produced Cain. Cain was the father of Communism. Adam’s child Seth became the line of spiritual redemption. Jesus was to be the redeemer by marrying, having a family and producing the perfect family to replace Adam and Eve who were to be the perfect family.

Moon states that “The cross is the symbol of the defeat of Christianity”. By that he means that Jesus was never able to complete His task of raising the perfect family since He was executed prematurely by the Romans.

For 2,000 years the world has searched for the One to complete the purpose of Adam and Eve. This Moon has done. He claims to be God incarnate and draws the worship of over 2 million people—30,000 in the USA. He and his wife are prayed to and have complete control of the cult through brainwashing techniques.

We have only looked at a handful of false teaching, but it makes me wonder why do so many complicate the Truth? Jesus plainly said, " I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Enough said.

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    • GodTalk profile image

      Jeff Shirley 5 years ago from Kentwood, Michigan

      Truthfully, volumes can be written on the cults, and have been written. But it is good that you were able to summarize some of them for us. I enjoyed reading these articles. Thanks.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I could have gone on for several more weeks, but I decided enough was enough. There are so many other topics I want to address. As always, thanks for stopping by.

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 5 years ago from USA- Florida

      The things I never knew. Good series William. I once heard about a guru who was supposed to something like 200 years old. He didn't look a day over 150 LOL.

      Peace

      ABR

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      ABR,

      Yes, I've heard those stories. The "lol" part is that people actually believe them. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      Erlend F. 5 years ago

      Dear Brother,

      We who follow William Branham's teachings do not represent a cult. We are Bible-believing Christians. Just a couple of corrections:

      Yes, William Branham DID in fact teach that Jesus was the Son of God, but what you are referring to is probably the question of "Eternal Sonship", of which Rev. Branham said the following:

      "There's no such a thing, 'Eternal Son of God.' Cause, if He--if He never had a beginning, then He cannot be nothing but Eternal. But, if He was a Son, He had a beginning, so He cannot be an Eternal Son. It was the Eternal God manifested in a Son."

      Concerning the destruction of hell, this is a crystal clear Biblical teaching:

      And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Rev. 20:14)

      The last thing I would like to comment on is your claim that Rev. Branham preached that the USA would be destroyed by an explosion in 1977. He never said such a thing.

      I advise you therefore in brotherly love to investigate the source itself before you make conclusions.

      You will find that William Branham's teachings line up with the Bible and that his many, many prophecies came to pass AND are coming to pass as we speak.

      For more information, check out http://www.branham.org

      In Christian love,

      Bro. Erlend F.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Erlend F.

      Thank for taking the time to comment. We must be careful not to take certain Scriptures and isolate them from the context. The teaching of the historic Christian church agrees with the doctrine presented here.

      A Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness would not claim to be a cult , but according to the definition of a cult that we established in Part One of this series. They don't escape the radar either. Many points could probably be argued, but if Jesus Christ is not considered God come in the flesh, then it's not Christian--period.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Erlend F 5 years ago

      Dear Brother,

      Just happy to stop by. As you say, many points could be argued, and I am convinced that we both have things in our theology that are not a hundred percent correct, but that has to do with revelation and our individual limited understanding of the Word.

      However, I am surprised that you still haven't changed the incorrect statement in your blogspot, namely your claim that "he taught that Jesus was not the Son of God".

      This is false. William Branham was a Bible-believing Christian, and he preached that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and that He was God come in the flesh. And, he did not prophecy about 1977 either. I have studied his teachings thouroughly, and I know. But if you want to study the source yourself, which you should, you will find a searchable database of all 1100+ transcribed sermons at branham.org

      It is important that we do not take things out of context, like you say yourself, and criticize things we do not know enough about, which is clearly the case here. I hope you are serious and professional enough concerning the truth to edit your post and be truthful about these matters.

      Bro. Erlend F.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Erlend F,

      You said, "There's no such a thing, 'Eternal Son of God.' Cause, if He--if He never had a beginning, then He cannot be nothing but Eternal. But, if He was a Son, He had a beginning, so He cannot be an Eternal Son. It was the Eternal God manifested in a Son."

      This statement along with your above comment confuses me. Maybe the point I'm missing is that Christianity teaches that Jesus was and is and will always be coequal with God the Father

      Part of that equality is that Jesus always existed. If you are saying that Christ had a beginning (that is what I understand Branhamism to teach), then that is not what the Bible teaches. If you are saying that He always existed in the second person of the Trinity, then I stand corrected for Jesus never had a beginning nor will He come to an end.

      Quoting from the book, Larson's Book of Cults by Bob Larson (p. 195), published by Tyndale House Publishers, 1984, concerning his false prophecies, "...This led him [Branham] to predict future events, including Hitler's rise to power (correct), and the destruction of America in 1977 (incorrect). In fact, the book which contains this latter prophecy (The Seven Church Ages) also designated 1977 as the first year of the Millennium.

      If that isn't enough, you can read Beanham's own words concerning the end of the age at http://letusreason.org/Latrain4.htm--“That this age will, end around 1977. …, I base this prediction on seven major continuous visions that came to me one Sunday morning in June, 1933. The Lord Jesus spoke to me and said that the coming of the Lord was drawing nigh, but that before He came, seven major events would transpire. ( W. Branham, THE MESSAGE TO THE LAODICEAN AGE, p.29).

      I still maintain this prediction after thirty years because, Jesus DID NOT say no man could know the year, month, week or day in which His coming was to be completed. So I repeat, I sincerely believe and maintain as a private student of the Word, along with divine inspiration that 1977 ought to terminate the-World systems and usher in the millenium.” (Seven Church Ages Page 322).

      Thank you for challenging my beliefs and helping me to reaffirm the doctrines that I believe and teach.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 4 years ago

      I think the truth gets complicated in these false religions because they don't address the issue of sin and the need of a savior which amounts to not much more than human pride.

      Learned much from your series of cult religions some I haven't even heard of before.

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      TJ,

      Out of more than 2,000+ religions, only Christianity teaches that the Creator died for His creation. All other religions focus on what the person can do to work his way to his god, every single one. Only Christianity shows us what God did to reach down to man, not what man must do to reach God, making it unique, making it the truth. As always, it's good to hear from you and thanks for the visit.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      You said about Branham - "He taught that Jesus was not the Son of God, but rather a created being."

      This is incorrect. The first part is true, however, only partially. Branham taught what he called "the supreme deity of Christ" and was a Modalist. He believed Jesus was God the Father and that Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize in the name (singular) of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and that this singular name of these three was Jesus. In other words, God the Father was his own Son/ I have spoken with Branhamists and they hate any doctrine which tries to damage Jesus's deity.

      http://www.youtube.com/user/TheBrideage/feed?filte...

      http://www.youtube.com/user/prittydeb

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_M._Branham

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/William_Branham

    • lifegate profile image
      Author

      William Kovacic 4 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      newenglandsun,

      Thanks for your visit and comment.

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