Correcting a cultist with truth and grace
Published: 9 January 2018 (GMT+10)
Many people are intimidated when they are confronted with an opportunity to speak with someone in a false religion. It can seem unloving to tell them that they are wrong and that, in fact, they will face judgment if they do not trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. In today’s world where such a message is considered ‘judgmental’, many Christians don’t know how to respond. But when we listen to what they are saying, it is surprisingly easy to use their own words as a jumping off point for a Gospel presentation. This does not mean that we accept the truth of what they are saying; in fact, in the example below, I specifically reject this individual’s perspective, but still use it as a catalyst for a Gospel presentation.
Another important element is presenting the ‘bad news’ along with the ‘good news’. People need to know that our sins separate us from our good Creator, and that those who never have their sins paid for will spend an eternity separated from Him in Hell. Again, this can seem unloving and judgmental, but the most loving thing we can do is warn them about the reality of what awaits them unless they repent.
Once we’ve set the situation up with the ‘bad news’, the stage is set for the Good News to be presented as the wonderful gift of God that it is. And a particularly easy way to present the ‘bad news’ and the Good News together is through Creation evangelism. Notice that my presentation of creation evangelism below covered the Trinity and the deity of Christ, as I knew these were issues in the cult influencing the questioner below.
I am publishing this response to a cultist in hopes that it will encourage readers to share the Gospel with unbelievers in their own lives.
Dear Mr. A.,
Thank you for writing in. It seems like your experiences have opened you up to considering the existence of more than the physical, material realm. However, it is so important that we interpret our experiences through the lens of Scripture. God has given us in the Bible everything He wants us to know to be able to have a relationship with Him and to live a life that’s pleasing to Him. So our authoritative, final revelation from God is His Word.
I am concerned about several details of your testimony. Your spiritual life seems to be controlled by dreams and occult practices such as muscle testing by which you believe you receive messages from God. However, God has given us His clear revelation in Scripture, so our experience must be tested by Scripture. You do not mention what role, if any, the Bible plays in your faith.
Scripture tells us that God is a Trinity of three co-equal and co-eternal Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see the linked article for many Scripture citations and a fuller explanation of the doctrine). He does not have biological gender (because He is Spirit), but is relationally male and Scripture consistently uses male pronouns, and even predominately male metaphors, to refer to Him.
God created the universe and everything in it (Genesis 1:1, John 1). He created human beings, both men and women, in His image, and with the unique capacity to have a relationship with Him (Genesis 1:26–27). However, Adam, the first man, rebelled, and so sin and death were introduced to the creation (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12).
It is important to recognize that we are all sinners—each one of us has rebelled against God’s perfect, good standard, and has done things that we know are wrong (Romans 3:23). We don’t even live up to our own inner moral code, let alone God’s perfect code. The ‘bad news’ is that God must judge sin, and we all deserve this judgment. We all deserve to spend eternity in the Hell that God created for Satan and the angels that followed him in his rebellion.
However, at the time of Adam, God promised that there would be a Redeemer, a Saviour who would overturn this curse and save those who believe in Him (Genesis 3:15). In Scripture, we can see how God’s plan of salvation progressed over thousands of years, as God created the people of Israel and revealed that this Saviour would come from the house of David.
The New Testament tells us about the coming of the promised Saviour. In first-century Israel, God the Son took on human nature and was born of a virgin, Mary, as Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life, taught for three years, and gave up His life as a sacrifice for sin. Because Jesus had no sin of His own to pay for, He could pay for our sins. And because He is God, His sacrifice is enough to completely cover all who would trust in Him, and Him alone, for salvation. He was raised to life again on the third day as a sign that God accepted His sacrifice, and also to foreshadow the resurrection those who believe in Him can look forward to.
The last book of Scripture, Revelation, is a prophetic book that tells us what we can expect at the time when Jesus returns, as He has promised to do. At that time, all the dead will be raised, and those who have trusted in Jesus will spend eternity in His presence, experiencing complete joy and an ever-deepening relationship with God. But those who haven’t trusted in Jesus alone for salvation will be judged by Jesus at that time, and will spend eternity in Hell.
This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that those who trust in Him alone for salvation do not have to fear that day, but we can look forward to it with anticipation, because we have confidence that no judgment remains because of the sufficiency of His work (Romans 10:9–10). And He is the only Way of salvation, because only Christ’s sacrifice can cover the guilt of our sins.
But we don’t have to wait for that day to begin to experience the benefits of our relationship with Him. God gives the Holy Spirit as a ‘down-payment’ guaranteeing our future resurrection and the completion of His work in us (Ephesians 1:13–14). The Holy Spirit helps us to understand His Word and to grow in holiness and sanctification as we walk with Him. God has also given us the Church. In the broadest sense, the Church is everyone who has ever believed in Christ, but on the local level it refers to the gathering of believers for fellowship and worship and mutual encouragement in the faith. And His Word gives us instruction about how we are to conduct ourselves until Christ comes again.
I hope you can see how this differs from what you have described. I would urge you and your wife to study the Scriptures, to go to a local, Bible-believing church, and to renounce the false religion of Eckism. It cannot save you or give you confidence in the light of eternity.