A mate recently mentioned that he had a conversation with someone about our gathering of belivers we loosly call the Joondalup Thing. This person seriously suggested that what we had going was a cult. Now we have joked about this comment in the past, but the feeling was that this comment was no joke. We suggested taking like water off a ducks back and letting it slide, but I can’t get it our of my head. I think it is a pretty serious suggestion. But then again I understand that the early Church was also seen as a cult, so maybe we are doing something right!!
What is a cult? A real cult, one that we should be wary of. As believers we should be aware of these things and the people meeting together here in Joondalup should know if we are heading down some odd paths too. So I looked up our favorite ‘demon buster’ Adrian Van Leen’s book “The Problem of Extreem Christian Fringe Groups”. A book about groups one step away from being a true cult and here is the list of what makes up one of these “fringe groups”.
- The Preaching of Fundamentalist Revival
- The Leader’s/Pastor’s Domination
- Arrogant Authoritanism
- Regular Calls to Submission and Obedience
- Strong Emphasis on Tithing
- Narrow Outlook and Perspective
- Poor Theological Training
- Distorted Theological Emphasis
- Insensitive Simplistic Solutions
- Agressive Recruiting/Proselytising
- Intense Confession
- Promotion of Guilt
Hmmm, based on that list there are one or two churches within walking distance of my house that could tick a few of those on that list!! :0 But sadly for the gossip mongers, our little gathering of Christians in Joondalup rarely gets a look in on that list. But I am open to anyone making a comment if they ‘have heard anything’ about what I am involved in here that looks like the above list at any point. As far as I can see we are a small group of believers living out Christ’s mission as best we can in our streets and work places, meeting together at least weekly often more for communion, prayer, word, discipleship and so on. Seems like a cult to you?
Ref – The Problem of Extreem Christian Fringe Groups, Rev. W.A. (Adrian) Van Leen 1989 CCGM Aust.