Tag Archives: cult

Characteristics of a Cult

Someone recently objected to the statement that Harold Camping is a cult leader.  Yet, when he and his teachings are compared to the standard definition(s) of a cult, he fits the bill.  What are some of those main characteristics?  See the short list below.  I am indebted to Mr. Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry for outlining the basic traits of a modern cult.

1. Unorthodox, esoteric, with a devotion to a person, object, or set of new ideas.


2. Often isolationist.


3. Many cults have non-verifiable belief systems. In other words, they tend to have special beliefs no one else can know or verify, or special revelation no one else outside of the cult’s inner circle has.


4. The leader, who is often charismatic,  is supposedly very special because he or she:

a. Has received special revelation from God, or special knowledge about God and God’s will that no one else has.
b. Claims to be appointed by God for a mission.
c. Claims to have special abilities (wisdom, power, talent, gifts, insight, etc.) no one else has.
c. Is considered above reproach and is not to be denied, contradicted or rebuked.

5. The ethics of a cult:

a.  They typically seek to do good works.
b.  Usually moral and possess a good standard of morality.
c. The Bible is often used or additional  “scriptures” are penned. When the Bible  is used, it is distorted with the leader’s private  interpretations.
d. Many cults recruit Jesus as one of their own and redefine him accordingly.

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