An online dictionary defined “cult” as a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing. Come to think of it, a lot of Christians haven’t even read a single book of the Bible, they simply rely on the teaching of a pastor, taking his every word as gospel truth. Worse, some even would chose to believe the pastor more than the Word of God.
The authority of the pastor to teach comes from the inerrant truths of the Scripture, not from claims of divine inspiration but was devoid of truths from the Word of God. No pastor could justify as God’s Word by simply picking a verse or two here and there, unless first exploring the context then explaining the message of the Bible. Without a doubt, the Bible’s message is timeless but we need to respect its immediate audience, background, and time statement. The last one is often abused by preachers and teachers of the Bible today.
For instance, Jesus declared before His disciples and said:
“Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).
It was obvious Jesus was telling His immediate audience – His immediate disciples “Peter, James, John and the rest,” not us – that His Return would be within their lifetime. Go tell pastors or any other Christians about this statement from Jesus Christ. I have seen a lot just shrugging it off, not realizing that if we doubted Jesus’ promise here, how then do we believe John 3:16, also a promise of Christ Jesus our Lord?
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Ironic, isn’t it? That a lot of Christians choose to believe what is comforting to them but not necessarily every Word of God? Isn’t that the behavior of a cult?
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians spoke of Christians deserting the grace of Christ and were turning to a different gospel (Galatians 1:6). To the Corinthians, Paul warned against people preaching another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4). It is therefore important that we are believing the Jesus Christ of the Bible and understand the Gospel as presented by the Scripture.
So Paul made it clear and said:
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the Gospel I preached is not of human origin. For I did not receive it or learn it from human source; instead I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12)
Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ; he authored almost half of the New Testament writings of the Bible. Every book or writing within the New Testament Scripture has authorship of an apostle of Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote the epistles of Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. I believe Hebrews also. Luke, on the other hand was a travelling companion of Paul, he wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts.
Peter was behind the epistles of 1 & 2 Peter. Mark, on the other hand, derived his authority to write a Gospel (Mark) from Peter.
John authored the Gospel of John, Revelation and lastly, the epistles of 1st, 2nd, and 3th John.
James, the brother of Jesus, who became an apostle and leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13-20), wrote the epistle of James.
Jude is the same person as Judas (Not Iscariot) mentioned in John 14:22. He was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, brother of James the son of Alphaeus, also known as Thaddaeus in Matthew 10:3. If you have doubts, do a comparison of Matthew 10:2-3 with that of Acts 1:13. But bear in mind that in the Greek, it’s “Judas of James, and James of Alphaeus.” The words “the son” was added by translators, meaning James and Judas were brothers. The same may be said of Luke 6:15-16. See Jude 1:1.
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ.
Finally, the apostle Matthew wrote one of the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew) of the Bible. So we have all 27 books of the New Testament Bible written under the authority of an apostle of Jesus Christ. And they all agreed and preached the same Gospel, so Paul made it clear that no one should preach a different gospel but the Gospel that was from the Lord Jesus Christ. See Galatians 1:6-12.
I am astonished that you [the Galatians] are so quick deserting Him [God] who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we [the apostles] or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
For I would have you know, brothers, that the Gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Every author of the New Testament Scripture lived within the first century of Christianity. No writings could have been done after the fall of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple in 70 AD for the simple reason that Jerusalem and the temple were at the center of the Jewish faith, yet none of the New Testament writers spoke anything on the aftermath of its destruction.
The truths about Jesus Christ and the Gospel may only be determined from within the Scripture, both New and Old Testament writings of the Bible – Scripture alone. The 66 books of the Bible were the only inspired writings of men who spoke from God (2 Peter 1:20-21), inerrant and the sole source of truth.
Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)
The apostles of Jesus Christ may no longer be with us, but by God’s divine providence, we have the authoritative writings of men who spoke from God written down, preserved, and available for us to know the truthful teaching of God’s Word.
If you treasure the Bible and your salvation, let us not be part of the flock of cult. Challenge yourselves to read the Bible. Join Bible studies that teach people how to properly read and study the Scripture, not simply seeking to hear comforting words from the preacher or pastor. The apostle Paul, in his last letter to Timothy, commanded him saying:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by HIs appearance and His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Those words were spoken to Timothy when the last few living apostles were still around, and yet the danger of straying away from the truth was already present. How much more today, we are living about two millennia away from the immediate disciples of Jesus Christ? Shouldn’t we be more careful of what to believe or not?
Listen to the exhortation of Peter for pastors/elders:
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker of the glory that is going to be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you, not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)
Lastly, the apostle Paul said:
Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:16)
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of My Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:12-14)
Those were the words of Jesus Christ to His disciples, and it continues to resonate today through the Scripture, the Word of God. It was, and still is, the desire of Jesus Christ our Lord that we all be under His flock. Listen then to the words of the Bible, not the pastor if it isn’t according to the inerrant Word of God.
If you want to follow our journey of unlearning tradition and relearning Scripture, you can stay updated by liking our Facebook page. You can also head to our Home page and subscribe directly to receive notifications in your inbox.