Marks of a Cult

Why are Baptists properly considered Christians, but Mormons are not? Why is the Jehovah’s Witness religion classified as an anti-Christian cult while Presbyterians, Wesleyans and Pentecostals are simply seen as denominations within the Christian faith? How does one differentiate between true Biblical Christianity and an aberrant religious movement? And just what are the marks of a cult? Watchman Fellowship, a great anti-cult ministry, states that there is an easy way to differentiate a cult from a church. The marks are as simple as add, subtract, multiply and divide. Add: Cults add to Scripture. The revelation of God provided in the Bible is never sufficient for a cult. Thus they must add to the written revelation of Scripture, usually with additional scriptures or with their own translation of the Bible. In this way we have books such as The Pearl of Great Price of the Mormons and the New World Translation of the Bible produced by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Since the Bible claims exclusivity as the written revelation of God, we must see that other books, even if the followers of cults claim that they are equal to the Bible, must actually be over and above the Word of God. Subtract: Cults subtract from the person of Christ. Cults cannot tolerate the divinity and exclusivity of Jesus and thus usually reduce Him to being a created being. In some cases they make Jesus only a manifestation or mode of God. In either case, the role of Jesus as revealed in Scripture is diminished. Multiply: Cults multiply the requirements of salvation. Salvation, as it is presented in the Scriptures, is by God’s grace through faith alone. Cults continually add to the requirements of salvation, always adding human works as a necessary prerequisite to salvation. No cult teaches or endorses justification by faith alone. Thus all cults reject the very heart of the gospel. Divide: Cults divide the loyalty of believers. Each cult believes that it has exclusive revelation and understanding of God that ensures its followers are either exclusively God’s people or are somehow more blessed than others. Cults always seek to divide believers against each other based on the previous three marks. Thus cults are, by their very nature, divisive. Each one is proven to be true within the belief systems of several different cults including the Seventh Day Adventists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, The Moonies, and Oneness Pentecostals (or the Jesus-Only Movement).

Opening The Conversation

General Questions

If you had the opportunity to have a personal relationship with your Creator, would you want one?

What would you say is a person’s greatest spiritual need?

Do you ever give much thought to God and spiritual things?

Has there ever been a time in your life when you seriously considered your need for eternal life?

In your opinion, what would you say a person must do to inherit eternal life and go to heaven?

Did you know that if you are born once, you will die twice, but if you are born twice, you will die only once (John 3:3 and Revelation 20:6, 14)?

If I could show you in the Bible how you can be 100% certain that you will go to heaven when you die, would you be interested in hearing about it?

May I take a moment to share with you what I know to be true about knowing God in a personal way?

Tell me about your most memorable spiritual experience.

Tell me about your church background. Did you go to church as a child?

How do you feel about your upbringing and your awareness of spiritual things?

How would you describe your life with God now?

How do you think a person begins a personal relationship with God?

When did you feel closest to God? What factors or influences brought you nearer to God? Would you like to sense a closeness to God that you have never known before?

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being closest to God), where do you see yourself in relationship to Him? Where do you want to be? How do you see yourself moving closer to God? How can I encourage you to get to where you would like to be?

What gives the most meaning to your life?

What or who is your source of strength in your day-to-day living?

When you have problems or crises, how do you manage to get through them?

Is religion or God important to you? In what ways? If not, is there any particular reason why they aren’t?

Could we look at a few verses of scripture to see what God says about this matter? Would you be kind enough to tell me what you think this verse means?


Relationship Questions

Does God (or a higher power) seem personal to you?

Do you feel close to God?

What is your picture of God?

What has God done for you?

How is God working in your life right now?

Do you feel you are living up to what you feel God expects of you?

Are you comfortable with God’s guidelines and laws for living?

Do you feel there are any barriers between you and God?

Have you ever felt anything against God?

Have you ever done anything for which you feel God could not forgive you?

Do you understand the way to forgiveness and what it means?

Do you feel God has a plan for your life?


Devotional Life and Practice

Do you read the Bible?

Do you understand what you read?

Does Bible reading help in living? How?

Is prayer a meaningful part of your devotional life?

Do you feel you are growing spiritually?


The Church

Are you involved in a church? Do you attend the worship services of your church?


Religion and Illness; Dying and Death

Has being ill made any difference in your thinking or feeling about God or heaven?

When you are ill, do you have feelings that God is punishing you or that it is His will for you to be sick?

Do you trust God with your future?


These questions are great when you’re moving the conversation from the natural realm to the spiritual realm and trying to diagnose where the person is spiritually. Let’s be “soul-conscious” this month; having our spiritual antennas up, and looking for every opportunity to share the Gospel whoever the LORD leads across our path.


‘Chance’ Encounters During Mission Trips

Who Did God Put Beside You?

Experiences with people we interact with while travelling to and from mission trips. Languages, lost, and landing (landing in Africa) The flight was long; real long, fifteen hours long. Sitting next to me on my first trip to Africa was a very educated lady on her way back to her homeland. Knowing that the LORD more than likely had orchestrated our seating, I knew that He very possibly might have strategically put her next to me for a specific reason. As soon as we boarded the plane, she immediately put her headset on and quickly dozed off. After about 13 hours of flying; intermittent eating, and sleeping, she finally woke up. The Holy Spirit had clearly prompted me to speak to this lady, yet there never seemed to be an opportune time. I kept praying that the LORD would open up the opportunity and He did. “Finally” I thought, after she opened the window shade and the early morning light began to peak in the window. Speaking to her with small talk, I introduced myself and found out that her name was Anna. As I began to inquire about some of her interests, her work, and her life, I realized very quickly that sitting next to me was a very articulate and influential lady who spoke five languages fluently. I joked with her and told her how impressed I was; especially since I didn’t even have one language mastered. She laughed and began to loosen up. Just as Jesus gently turned the conversation from the natural realm to the spiritual realm when He spoke to the woman at the well at Sycar (John Chapter 4), I began to gently turn the conversation to the spiritual realm. In spite of her great intellect, she had many questions and questioned if there really was a God who existed at all. This precious lady began to tell me of the atrocities that she saw in her country and the tremendous pain that they had endured; especially in the lives of the millions of innocent children. “Anna”, I said, “please correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re probably wondering how could a loving God abandon so many helpless kids and leave them as orphans?” The Spirit of God hit the nail right on the head. She shook her head in affirmation and tears began to well-up in her eyes. I began to show her from the Scriptures that God’s nature is that of love and that he loved these kids and His Word says that He “is a Father to the fatherless and a protector of the widow” (Psalm 68:5). I could see her heart and disposition begin to change before my very eyes. She then quickly asked another question, and we turned to the Word of God and again found God’s answer. Question after question; answer after answer, the Holy Spirit was patiently peeling back her hardened heart like an onion, one layer at a time till He reached the inner core of her being. It was there, in the deepest recesses of her heart, He found the little girl He was looking for; the girl who was crying out in desperation for answers and longing to be loved. There He revealed Himself to her as the tender-loving Abba Father that He is, the One who was relentlessly pursuing her all along. As I began to share the Gospel with her, she became very inquisitive; the Holy Spirit was clearly working and drawing her to Himself. Just then, the captain spoke over the loud speaker, “Ladies and gentlemen, the airplane will be landing shortly; we are on our final decent.” I continued to share the Gospel and then gave Anna an opportunity to accept this God who loved her passionately. I will never forget it as long as I live; as this lady was praying; inviting Jesus Christ to into her heart and life, the sound of the engines roared loader and loader. Incredibly, at the precise moment that Anna said “amen” the tires simultaneously screeched, touching down on the continent of Africa! It’s as if the Holy Spirit was saying to me, “Dave, the harvest is so plentiful here in Africa, the moment you touched down, a person got saved. This is just the beginning of a tremendous harvest that needs to be reaped!” Anna was so excited! So was I! As we departed the plane, we walked down the tarmac, all the way to luggage carrousel, all the while telling her how to grow in her walk with Jesus. I then gave her a spiritual birth certificate that she could put in her Bible to always remind her of this special day! With jubilation, she hugged me, and we left each other with great joy knowing that we would see each other one day “on the other side.” “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:36-38)

It’s not Ability; It’s Availability!

Are You Available?

God’s not looking for ability; He’s looking for availability! His eyes “run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). He’s perpetually looking for a man, a woman, a child, a young person that He can show Himself strong through. His eyes are constantly searching for that individual who desires nothing more than to live their life for an Audience of One. The Apostle Paul understood this very well when he proclaimed, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10). Paul was a God-pleaser. He understood that God longs to use what the world despises and esteems as nothing when he said in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence. The annals of recorded history reveal numerous God-pleasing men and women: David Livingston, Dwight L. Moody; Charles and John Wesley; Martin Luther; John Calvin; Charles Haddon Spurgeon just to name a few. The hall of faith in Hebrews 11 reveal a plethora of such sold-out saints who refused to cave in to this world’s enticement, but chose rather to live for the eternal, knowing what they did in this life was going to echo throughout the eons of eternity. The great man of faith, George Mueller, who took care of over 10,000 orphans, saw God supernaturally provide for all these orphans once said: There was a day when I died, utterly died — died to George Mueller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of my brethren and friends — and since then I have only to show myself approved to God. The great theologian Matthew Henry once said, “If Christianity be worth anything, it is worth everything.” If Jesus is worth anything, HE is worth everything! Is HE worth everything to you? You see God’s not looking for your ability, He’s looking for your availability! How available are you to God? Years ago, a little boy could be seen walking down a hot Mediterranean beach. The tide had washed in tens of thousands of starfish and they were dying in the hot Mediterranean sun. A little boy could be seen picking up starfish and throwing them back into the ocean as fast as he could. The sweat was pouring off his face, he was exhausted, but he was relentless. His untiring compassion for the starfish kept driving him to throw in just one more. Well, an old man could be seen walking down the beach, and as that old man got closer and closer, he began to realize what the little boy was doing. Finally, when he got up to where the little boy was, he laughed and shook his head and said, “Little boy, little boy…Stop! Stop! What are you doing! The old man continued on…He said, “Look down the beach…What do you see?” The little boy said “Starfish.” The old man said, “Now, look down the other way…What do you see?” The little boy said, “Starfish.” The old man said, “Son, you can’t possibly make a difference in the lives of all these starfish, you might as well forget it! You’re wasting your time, just go home.” That wise little boy stooped down, picked up a starfish and looked up at the old man, and then through the starfish out into the ocean. “Kerr-plunk!” He then turned and looked up at the old man with a big smile on his face and said, “Made a difference in his life! Friends, you and I might not be able to reach all the multitudes, but everyone we do reach, we make a difference! This little boy was available and every starfish that hit the water was grateful! GOD is not looking for ability, HE’s looking for availability. If you make yourself available to GOD, you will see a side of GOD that you could never imagine! You will see HIM do what Ephesians 3:20 says; HE will do “exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or think”!

Witnessing Through The Book of Romans

Using Romans As A Witnessing Resource

The Book of Romans was written by the Apostle Paul most likely from Corinth around 55-56 AD. Paul spent around three months at Corinth at the end of his third missionary journey. The reason for Paul writing this book was manifold. He wanted to announce that he was planning on visiting Rome after he returned to Jerusalem. Furthermore, he wanted to present a complete and detailed statement of the Gospel which he so boldly proclaimed. He also wanted to address the tensions that had been built up between the Jewish and the Gentile believers in the Christian community at Rome. As Paul went about his missionary journeys, he was harassed by Judaizers who followed him from city to city to lead new believers in Jesus Christ away from the true liberty of the Gospel and back into the bondage of the Law (Galatians 5:1). Paul therefore emphasized the historical and chronological priority of the Jews, stressed the advantage of being a Jew, and pointed out that since HE is the only true God, HE therefore is the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Romans 3:29). Paul then stated that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin and both alike need to be saved by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through His redemptive and propitiatory sacrifice by His blood on the cross. Paul also pointed out that since Israel leaders rejected God’s Son as the Messiah; God has temporarily stopped His specific program for Israel and extended His grace to the entire human race (Romans 9-11). The theme of the Book of Romans is righteousness. This righteousness is God Himself and His righteousness possesses and manifests itself through all of God’s actions. It is also the righteousness that God offers to all humans only by grace through faith. Righteousness is imputed to all who trust in the finished work of Christ and wherefore they become justified in God’s sight. An outline of the Book of Romans can be seen as: Salutation and Theme (1:1-17) Justification (1:18-5:21) Sanctification (6:1-8:17) Glorification (8:18-39) Israel’s Divine Purpose (9:1-11:36) Application of Righteousness (12:1-15:13) Conclusion (15:14-16:27) Based on the premise of Salvation is needed; Salvation has been provided; Salvation must be accepted, let’s look at a few of the verses from this incredible Book and find some nuggets to lead others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ… Salvation is needed: 3:10-12: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [11] There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [12] They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Salvation has been provided: 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Salvation must be accepted: 10:9-13: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. [11] For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. [12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. [13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Witnessing Through The Book of Genesis

Using Genesis As A Witnessing Resource

The Bible is a book of redemption. Although it is a book; it is more than a book. Although it contains stories; they are more than stories. Although it contains words; they are more than words. The Bible is alive! God’s Word tells us that the prophecies “came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:31). God’s Word is a fire that can melt the coldest of hearts (Jeremiah 20:9). It is a hammer that can break the hardest of hearts into pieces (Jeremiah 23:29). Furthermore, God promises that His word will never return void (Isaiah 55:11) and“the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).” His Word can be trusted completely! I’m reminded of the story of a man traveling who came upon a frozen lake. With great trepidation and caution, he began to slowly put his weight on the ice, listening for crackles. His lack of trust in the integrity of the ice forced him to lay his body on the ice to distribute his weight even more. He then began to tap the ice with a long stick and after an hour of moving only a few feet, the exhausted and frustrated traveler quickly become weary. Suddenly, he heard singing and laughing coming towards him on the ice. To his dismay, he turned around and saw a huge coal sled being pulled by eight Clydesdale horses. That ice was solid through and through all the way to the bottom of the lake! The man felt so foolish, so embarrassed. So it is with the Word of God; it is solid through and through, can be trusted, and God wants us to trust Him and not be afraid to put His Word to the test. Is there anything higher than God and His holy Name? The Bible declares that there is. Psalm 138:2 declares “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy Name.” God’s actually has elevated His Word higher than His holy Name. How can that be? It’s very simple, if a person’s word can’t be trusted, he can’t be trusted. On the same token, if God’s Word can’t be trusted, God can’t be trusted. But God can be trusted (Titus 1:2) and His Word can be trusted and is inerrant (meaning it is completely without error). If the Bible contained just one error, it would cease to be a reliable and valid source and therefore couldn’t be trusted. But, it can be trusted! The Bible does not contain the word of God; it is the word of God! Skeptics though the ages have tried to destroy it; disprove it; detract from it, distort it; and even disdained it; yet, the Bible lives on. The anvil patiently takes the blows of the hammer, so the Word of God has patiently taken the blows from infidels throughout the ages. This best selling book of all ages lives on and will continue to live on. It is shallow enough that a child can wade in, and deep enough where you’ll never hit the bottom. The Old Testament prophets yearned with great anticipation for the coming Messiah. The New Testament declares His arrival. God allowed the Roman Empire to reign at the time of Christ which allowed roads to be built to the known world. He allowed Hellenism to sweep the Roman Empire which brought the extremely precise Greek language for the New Testament to be written. The stage of human history was now set and “when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son…” (Galatians 4:4). The late great preacher Adrian Rogers once said, “No matter where you cut the Bible, it bleeds the blood of Jesus.” There is a scarlet thread that runs through all 66 books of the Bible pointing to God’s unending redemptive plan of love to mankind through His Son Jesus Christ. No matter what book of the Bible you choose, there is a redemption song that sings out from the heart of God to all who will listen. Based on the premise of Salvation is needed; Salvation has been provided; Salvation must be accepted, let’s dive into the riches of God’s Word and find some of the treasures of His redemptive plan in each book of the Bible. It is possible to use any book of the Bible to lead another person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Although being far from exhaustive, we will attempt to glimpse at just a few of the verses from each book based on this reality.

Genesis

In Genesis, the Book of Beginnings, we see the fall of mankind and the entrance of sin into the world through Adam and Eve. Salvation is needed: Genesis 2:1;But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Adam and Eve deliberately and volitionally chose to disobey God. As soon as they did, sin and death entered into the world. Think about it, if just one sin entered into the world through Adam and Eve and separated them from God; if just one sin cast the highest angel in heaven out from the presence of God, guess how many sins it took for you and I to commit to be separated from a holy God? One! This shows how infinitely holy God is. God is not “the man upstairs!” The Bible declares God as thrice holy, infinitely holy, and that He cannot even look upon sin, much less let it into His holy Presence. 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Man has fallen and the disease of sin spreads quickly! One sin entered into the world, and it spread like wildfire. If God let one sin into heaven, can you imagine what heaven would be like? 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. The fall has occurred, sin has entered the world, sin has spread, man has become decadent and wicked in his thoughts and actions-Salvation is needed! Salvation has been provided: 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. This is the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible referring to the coming Messiah Jesus   22:8, And Abraham said, My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. Another beautiful picture of the Lamb of God which is coming to take away the sins of the world. 22:18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. Notice it says seed (singular), not seeds (plural). Seed referring to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;   Salvation must be accepted: 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

Soul-Winners Handbook

 

For Your Training Use (English, Español, Areyòl Ayisyen, Hindi)

The document available on this page is truly a time tested document as it has been revised several times over the years since it was first written. This book is really all you should need to use in regards to handouts for your evangelism training sessions. It is clear, concise and life changing. We are in the process of translating the workbook into various popular languages, if you would like to offer your translation or proofreading services in translating these over then please contact us about this. We are unable to offer compensation for these services but do challenge you to pray and see if God would allow you to extend this workbook to your countrymen. In order to view or print this document you will need some sort of PDF reader. There are many different ones available for different computer operating systems, iPads, and even cell phones. You can look here: http://www.adobe.com for a free PDF reader for whatever device it is that you will be downloading this document with.  

The ETI soul-winners handbook.

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My audio notes on the Cult of Atheism
My audio notes on the Cult of Jehovah’s Witness
My audio notes on the Cult of Mormonism