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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
William

What is the difference between a denomination and a cult?

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Quite simply a denomination is Christian because it adheres to the essentials of the Christian faith. All denominations despite any doctrinal differences agree on key central essentials of the faith. In other words, denomination are Christian because they're unified by the essential truths conveyed from Scripture.

 

So what are the essentials of the Christian faith and are there any objective criteria in discerning a denomination from a cult?

 

God bless,

William

 

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31 minutes ago, William said:

Quite simply a denomination is Christian because it adheres to the essentials of the Christian faith. All denominations despite any doctrinal differences agree on key central essentials of the faith. In other words, denomination are Christian because they're unified by the essential truths conveyed from Scripture.

So what are the essentials of the Christian faith and are there any objective criteria in discerning a denomination from a cult?

God bless,

William

My answer is based on my worldview which is based on my belief in God and the Bible. Denominations are formed when a group of like-minded individuals unite under a name with which to associate their beliefs. Cults are formed when elements of control are applied to sustain adherence to beliefs. These elements distinguish themselves as domination, intimidation, manipulation, and seduction. These elements of control are addressed in Scripture.    

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1. Do they affirm the Trinity?

2. How do they say a person can be justified in the sight of God? 

3. Do they have any writings that they put above or in equality to the 66 books of the Bible? -> This would include the verbal proclamations of so-called prophets.

 

 For me personally these are the three questions I ask about. I know there are other aspects involved with identifying a cult, but these three are what I start with.

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Personally, I find the Nicene Creed a pretty good place to start.  If they disagree with something as basic as the Nicene Creed, then there is probably something seriously wrong ...

 

We believe in one God,
      the Father almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,
      of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
      the only Son of God,
      begotten from the Father before all ages,
           God from God,
           Light from Light,
           true God from true God,
      begotten, not made;
      of the same essence as the Father.
      Through him all things were made.
      For us and for our salvation
           he came down from heaven;
           he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
           and was made human.
           He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
           he suffered and was buried.
           The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
           He ascended to heaven
           and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
           He will come again with glory
           to judge the living and the dead.
           His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the Lord, the giver of life.
      He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
      and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
      He spoke through the prophets.
      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
      We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
      We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
      and to life in the world to come. Amen.

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Staff
5 hours ago, atpollard said:

Personally, I find the Nicene Creed a pretty good place to start.  If they disagree with something as basic as the Nicene Creed, then there is probably something seriously wrong ...

When any individual or body rejects the Nicene Creed that in itself is a red flag. Notice what @Faber suggested:

 

6 hours ago, Faber said:

1Do they affirm the Trinity?

2. How do they say a person can be justified in the sight of God? 

3. Do they have any writings that they put above or in equality to the 66 books of the Bible?

 

 For me personally these are the three questions I ask about. I know there are other aspects involved with identifying a cult, but these three are what I start with. 

There are individuals and bodies that reject the Nicene Creed "only because of its wording" (they claim), yet they go on to suggest that they agree with the essential truths from Scripture of the Nicene Creed. This is usually quite telling especially when we ask what exactly is wrong with the wording?

 

The Nicene Creed is a great litmus test to expose various flaws whether they're doctrinal or even an uncharitable nature. The Nicene Creed is a great place to begin, but I'd include the early Ecumenical Creeds which followed the principal of Sola Scriptura: Nicene, Apostles, Athanasian, and Chalcedonian.

 

God bless,

William

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I edited #3 in my first post to include the following:

-> This would include the verbal proclamations of so-called prophets.

 

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10 hours ago, atpollard said:

Personally, I find the Nicene Creed a pretty good place to start.  If they disagree with something as basic as the Nicene Creed, then there is probably something seriously wrong ...

 

We believe in one God,
      the Father almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,
      of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
      the only Son of God,
      begotten from the Father before all ages,
           God from God,
           Light from Light,
           true God from true God,
      begotten, not made;
      of the same essence as the Father.
      Through him all things were made.
      For us and for our salvation
           he came down from heaven;
           he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
           and was made human.
           He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
           he suffered and was buried.
           The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
           He ascended to heaven
           and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
           He will come again with glory
           to judge the living and the dead.
           His kingdom will never end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the Lord, the giver of life.
      He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
      and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
      He spoke through the prophets.
      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
      We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
      We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
      and to life in the world to come. Amen.

I am going with this.  I think the Nicene Creed sums things up very well.  This is a great foundation of the basics of the Christian church.

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5 hours ago, William said:

When any individual or body rejects the Nicene Creed that in itself is a red flag. Notice what @Faber suggested:

 

There are individuals and bodies that reject the Nicene Creed "only because of its wording" (they claim), yet they go on to suggest that they agree with the essential truths from Scripture of the Nicene Creed. This is usually quite telling especially when we ask what exactly is wrong with the wording?

 

The Nicene Creed is a great litmus test to expose various flaws whether they're doctrinal or even an uncharitable nature. The Nicene Creed is a great place to begin, but I'd include the early Ecumenical Creeds which followed the principal of Sola Scriptura: Nicene, Apostles, Athanasian, and Chalcedonian.

 

God bless,

William

Agreed.

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12 hours ago, Faber said:

1. Do they affirm the Trinity?

2. How do they say a person can be justified in the sight of God? 

3. Do they have any writings that they put above or in equality to the 66 books of the Bible? -> This would include the verbal proclamations of so-called prophets.

 

 For me personally these are the three questions I ask about. I know there are other aspects involved with identifying a cult, but these three are what I start with.

SDA comes first to mind with the so-called prophets.  

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2 minutes ago, Faber said:

When I first became aware of what she asserted found here it made me cringe:

https://www.christforums.org/forum/christian-community/god/50358-the-man-christ-jesus-was-not-the-lord-god-almighty-ellen-g-white

 

When I think of people who insist that there are living prophets today the Mormons come first to my mnd.

Oh yeah, the Mormons too come to mind.  Both of them are cults in my opinion.

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Staff
Just now, Faber said:

When I first became aware of what she asserted found here it made me cringe:

https://www.christforums.org/forum/christian-community/god/50358-the-man-christ-jesus-was-not-the-lord-god-almighty-ellen-g-white

 

When I think of so-called prophets today the Mormons come first to my mind.

It's going to become more complicated in the future unless people ask questions or boldly bring to attention the false beliefs of the Mormons. A recent article reported that the Mormon church elders are instructing Mormons to not inform "potentials" that they are Mormon but rather Christian. This line of reasoning to someone ignorant of Christianity could even pass another religion off and their false god as the God of Christianity. For example, the false notion that Allah is God and both Christians and Muslims believe in the same God.

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Bernard P. Brockbank (1909-2000): It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("The Living Christ", Ensign, May 1977, page 26).

 

 President Spencer W. Kimball: To this end God created man to live in mortality and endowed him with the potential to perpetuate the race, to subdue the earth, to perfect himself and to become as God, omniscient and omnipotent (The Miracle of Forgiveness, page 2).

 

 

Awful...

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If you want to see an example of false prophets, then check out JW Broadcast,  which it the Jehovah's Witnesses independent tv station.  If you have a roku you can find it there.  Notice how when they speak, they put their word above the scriptures.

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Staff

Most cults end up with some kind of sexual trash.  A couple examples:   Jim Jones  LDS  Branch Dividians .Paul Crouch 

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