Category Archives: Cults/Religions Questions

CultureWatch: Dealing with Cults

Source: Dealing with Cults

Just this morning a Christian friend in another country contacted me, greatly worried about family members who had obviously gotten themselves involved in a deceptive and nutty cult. She was terribly concerned – and rightly so – about all this and asked for some advice, which I sought to give.

But this scenario is sadly far too common. The cults are certainly out and about, seeking to devour their prey, leading many astray. Thus it is vital for all believers to know a bit about the cults, what they believe, why they are so influential, and how we can protect ourselves and loved ones against them.

cultHaving spent my earliest year as a believer involved in several cults, I certainly have an interest in them. But we all should be interested, since they involve deceptive groups who are leading many people into deception and error – both Christians and non-Christians alike. Jesus and the disciples warned about such groups and individuals, so we had better be concerned.

So, what exactly is a cult? Well, there are various definitions, and sometimes folk distinguish full-fledged cults from aberrational Christian groups. And we can speak of counterfeit religions or heretical groups as well. But let me offer a few definitions from some experts in the field.

A “cult” is a religious group that has a “prophet”-founder called of God to give a special message not found in the Bible itself, often apocalyptic in nature and often set forth in “inspired” writings. (Ruth Tucker, Another Gospel)

A cult may be briefly defined as a separate religious group claiming compatibility with Christianity but whose doctrines contradict those of historic Christianity and whose practices and ethical standards violate those of biblical Christianity. (John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions)

Cultism, in short, is any major deviation from orthodox Christianity relative to the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. (Walter Martin, Rise of the Cults)

A cult, then, is any religious movement which claims the backing of Christ or the Bible, but distorts the central message of Christianity by (1) an additional revelation, and (2) by displacing a fundamental tenet of faith with a secondary matter. (Gordon Lewis, Confronting the Cults)

It may be helpful to pad these definitions out by examining the various marks of a cult. At least two broad areas can be covered here: theological and sociological. As to theological or doctrinal marks, a cult will tend to deny or distort the key teachings of Scripture. The doctrines most often twisted include:
-The deity of Christ
-God and the Trinity
-The final revelation of Scripture
-The nature of salvation

There are of course many warnings in scripture about false teachers, false prophets, and false doctrine. Here are just a few of them:

-Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing.
-Matthew 24:4-5 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many’.”
-Mark 13:22 False prophets and false Christs shall arise with signs and wonders to seduce even the elect.
-Acts 13:9-10 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?
-Acts 20:28-31 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
-2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
-Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
-2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The New Testament everywhere offers us such strong warnings against false teaching and false teachers, against deception and wrong doctrine. We would expect an unbeliever who may know nothing about the Bible and basic Christian doctrine to be susceptible to the deception of the cultists, but sadly many Christians can and do fall into their traps as well.

This is because they have not been given basic training of biblical truths and core Christian teachings in their churches, and/or have never studied Scripture and theology much at all. They may just run their Christian life on feelings, emotions, and entertainment, which is never enough to counter satanic deception and demonic doctrines.

There would also be various sociological reasons why people fall for the cults. These would include:

1. Often the cult has a strong, centralized authority structure, many times with a charismatic, domineering leader. Many folks are looking for some sort of security and authority, and these cults and cult leaders seem to provide that.
2. Often the cults have a very strong ‘us versus them’ mentality. And they are often quite isolationist. Thus they may keep people from interacting with others or getting out into the wider society. And often they will even ban all other books and materials, cutting off all contact with the outside world.
3. Often the cults are very committed to proselytizing others. Many for example will have mandatory periods of witnessing and proselytizing. Thus they can be much more evangelistic for their beliefs than most Christians are.
4. Often the cults are very legalistic, both in terms of trying to earn your salvation and keep your salvation. Often certain foods, drinks, activities and so on are strictly forbidden, and to partake of such things is seen as a damning apostasy, and an indication of not being a true follower of the group.

So why do people join cults? There would be various reasons for this. I already mentioned some theological reasons above: people just do not know their Bibles or basic Christin teaching, so they are so readily susceptible to false teachings which the cults specialize in. Here are some more reasons:

1. Sadly genuine churches are often not doing their jobs, whether in terms of real Christian love and concern, or offering genuine fellowship, a sense of community, and the meeting of basic needs. Cults seem to offer all these things in large doses.
2. A strong sense of community and purpose often seems to characterize a cult. They seem to offer love and acceptance. For someone involved in family, marriage or relationship breakdown, this can lead to a search for an alternative family structure, which the cults seem to offer.
3. As mentioned, cultists are quite keen on proselytizing, while so often most real Christians are not. Thus genuine seekers may encounter a cultist first before meeting a real Bible-believing Christian.
4. Satan of course seeks to deceive and turn people away from the truth. That is one of his specialties, and he is at it day and night.

So how can we best protect ourselves and others against the cults? Well, many of the points mentioned above just need to be turned around – eg., the Christian church needs to be providing real love and acceptance and genuine community. Alas, too often a superficial social club atmosphere seems to describe so many churches today.

Theologically speaking, a key area is to know the real thing. In this case, we must know our Bibles well, and we must know in some detail basic Christian doctrines. One popular illustration is worth sharing here: Bank tellers are not trained to become experts in counterfeit money. Instead, they are trained to become experts in the real thing, so that counterfeits are quite easy to spot.

So in one sense we too need to be experts in what we believe. We need to know our Bibles and know our basic Christian doctrines so well, that we can easily spot heresies and deviations from the truth whenever they appear. But sadly sound doctrine and good theology are ignored or minimized in far too many churches today.

That is a recipe for disaster, and that is why so many people are succumbing to the cults. While external deception and doctrines of demons will always be there, there is no excuse for internal weaknesses, such as a lack of solid teaching and real Christian love. Churches are often their own worst enemy in this regard, and we need to repent of this and seek to turn things around.

(NTEB) Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception

Source: Jehovah’s Witnesses: A History Of Failed Prophecies And Deception

Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843

“And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26 (KJV)

Unlike the bible which never changes, the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses has changed markedly over time as the things that they have predicted to come true…haven’t. In 1920, they published a book called “Millions Now Living Will Never Die“. Well, nearly all of those people are now dead. Do they admit their false prophecy? Of course not. Instead, they simply republish the book with the title of “Millions Now Dead Will Live Again“. (Watchtower, May 1, 1990). This is what is known in the used car business as a cover up. Or a lie. Take your pick.

“The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914”- Charles Taze Russell

How the Jehovah’s Witnesses got started

Jehovah’s Witnesses trace their origins to the nineteenth century Adventist movement in America. That movement began with William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher who, in the year 1816, began proclaiming that Christ would return in 1843. His predictions of the Second Coming or Second Advent captured the imagination of thousands in Baptist and other mainline churches. Perhaps as many as 50,000 followers put their trust in Miller’s chronological calculations and prepared to welcome the Lord, while, as the appointed time approached, others watched nervously from a distance. Recalculations moved the promised second advent from March, 1843 to March, 1844, and then to October of that year. Alas, that date too passed uneventfully.

What Jehovah’s Witnesses Actually Believe:

After the “Disappointment of 1844” Miller’s following fell apart, with most of those who had looked to him returning to their respective churches before his death in 1849. But other disappointed followers kept the movement alive, although in fragmented form. Their activities eventually led to the formation of several sects under the broad heading of “Adventism” including the Advent Christian Church, the Life and Advent Union, the Seventh-Day Adventists, and various Second Adventist groups. An interesting side-note: The Branch Davidians who died at Waco, Texas, under the leadership of David Koresh also trace their roots to the same Millerite source through a different line of descent. In 1935 the Seventh Day Adventist Church expelled a Bulgarian immigrant named Victor Houteff, who had begun teaching his own views on certain passages of the Revelation or Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible. Houteff set up shop on the property at Waco.

After first referring to his tiny new sect as The Shepherd’s Rod, Houteff and his people in 1942 incorporated and renamed themselves Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. Houteff died in 1955, and in 1961 his wife Florence officially disbanded the sect, but a few followers under the leadership of west Texas businessman Benjamin Roden took over the real estate. Roden died in 1978, leaving behind his wife Lois and his son George to lead the group. Then, in 1987, David Koresh took over the leadership position, and the tragedy that followed is public knowledge. Jehovah’s Witnesses, likewise, trace their roots back to the Adventists. But they do not often admit this to outsiders; nor do many Witnesses know the details themselves. JWs are accustomed to defending themselves against the charge that they are a new religious cult. They will often respond that theirs is the most ancient religious group, older than Catholic and Protestant churches. In fact, their book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose asserts that “Jehovah’s witnesses have a history almost 6,000 years long, beginning while the first man, Adam, was still alive,” that Adam’s son Abel was “the first of an unbroken line of Witnesses,” and that “Jesus’ disciples were all Jehovah’s witnesses [sic] too.” (pp. 8-9) An outsider listening to such claims quickly realizes, of course, that the sect has simply appropriated unto itself all the characters named in the Bible as faithful witnesses of God. By such extrapolation the denomination is able to stretch its history back to the beginnings of the human family-at least in the eyes of adherents who are willing to accept such arguments. But outside observers generally dismiss this sort of rhetoric and instead reckon the Witnesses as dating back only to Charles Taze Russell, who was born on February 16, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

5 Facts Jehovah’s Witnesses Don’t Want You to Know:

Originally raised a Presbyterian, Russell was 16 years old and a member of the Congregational church in the year 1868, when he found himself losing faith. He had begun to doubt not only church creeds and doctrines, but also God and the Bible itself. At this critical juncture a chance encounter restored his faith and placed him under the influence of Second Adventist preacher Jonas Wendell. For some years after that Russell continued to study Scripture with and under the influence of various Adventist laymen and clergy, notably Advent Christian Church minister George Stetson and the Bible Examiner’s publisher George Storrs. He met locally on a regular basis with a small circle of friends to discuss the Bible, and this informal study group came to regard him as their leader or pastor. In January, 1876, when he was 23 years old, Russell received a copy of The Herald of the Morning, an Adventist magazine published by Nelson H. Barbour of Rochester, New York. One of the distinguishing features of Barbour’s group at that time was their belief that Christ returned invisibly in 1874, and this concept presented in The Herald captured Russell’s attention.

It meant that this Adventist splinter group had not remained defeated, as others had, when Christ failed to appear in 1874 as Adventist leaders had predicted; somehow this small group had managed to hold onto the date by affirming that the Lord had indeed returned at the appointed time, only invisibly. Was this mere wishful thinking, coupled with a stubborn refusal to admit the error of failed chronological calculations? Perhaps, but Barbour had some arguments to offer in support of his assertions. In particular, he came up with a basis for reinterpreting the Second Coming as an invisible event: In Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott translation of the New Testament the word rendered coming in the King James Version at Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 is translated presence instead. This served as the basis for Barbour’s group to advocate, in addition to their time calculations, an invisible presence of Christ. Although the idea appealed to young Charles Taze Russell, the reading public apparently refused to ‘buy’ the story of an invisible Second Coming, with the result that N. H. Barbour’s publication The Herald of the Morning was failing financially.

In the summer of 1876 wealthy Russell paid Barbour’s way to Philadelphia and met with him to discuss both beliefs and finances. The upshot was that Russell became the magazine’s financial backer and was added to the masthead as an Assistant Editor. He contributed articles for publication as well as monetary gifts, and Russell’s small study group similarly became affiliated with Barbour’s. Russell and Barbour believed and taught that Christ’s invisible return in 1874 would be followed soon afterward, in the spring of 1878 to be exact, by the Rapture-the bodily snatching away of believers to heaven. When this expected Rapture failed to occur on time in 1878, The Herald’s editor, Mr. Barbour, came up with “new light” on this and other doctrines. Russell, however, rejected some of the new ideas and persuaded other members to oppose them. Finally, Russell quit the staff of the Adventist magazine and started his own. He called it Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence and published its first issue with the date July, 1879. In the beginning it had the same mailing list as The Herald of the Morning and considerable space was devoted to refuting the latter on points of disagreement, Russell having taken with him a copy of that magazine’s mailing list when he resigned as assistant editor. At this point Charles Russell no longer wanted to consider himself an Adventist, nor a Millerite. But, he continued to view Miller and Barbour as instruments chosen by God to lead His people in the past. The formation of a distinct denomination around Russell was a gradual development.

False teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

  • On the nature of God. They deny the triune nature of God and teaches that such a belief is inspired by Satan and teaches that Jehovah, the name of the one true God, corresponds only to God the Father. JWs also deny that Jesus is God (see next point). They deny the Holy Spirit is a person, and instead teach he is merely God’s active force, similar to electricity.
  • On the deity of Jesus Christ. The JW’s that Jesus is a created being who existed as Michael the archangel before being born as a perfect man. JWs believe that after Jesus was buried, God disposed of his physical body. He was raised a spiritual creature and “materialized” to make himself visible. Now in heaven he is once again known as Michael the archangel.
  • On salvation. The JW’s teach that only an elite group of Witnesses, known as “the 144,000,” or the “anointed ones” are presently credited with Christ’s righteousness. Only the 144,000 are born again and expect to reign with Christ in heaven. For the vast majority of remaining JWs, known as the “other sheep” or the “great crowd,” the atoning sacrifice of Christ only provides a chance at eternal life on earth. This is interesting because in the bible, the 144,000 are all males, all Jewish, and all from the nation of Israel. This is very much in contrast to the JW teaching on the 144,000.
  • On Hell and eternal punishment. Jehovah’s Witness denies eternal punishment and teaches that the soul cannot exist apart from the body. JWs believe that death ends all conscious existence. Hell refers to the grave and those who are ultimately judged by God will be annihilated and simply cease to exist.
  • On the Bible. Jehovah’s Witness teaches that the Bible can only be interpreted by the Watchtower Society and no individual can learn the truth apart from them.

Failed prophecies of the Jehovah’s Witnesses:

Jehovah’s Witness leaders for over 100 years have claimed to be God’s only living “prophet” on the face of the earth. However, if one looks at their record, the documented evidence proves they are what Jesus described as “false prophets!” Most Jehovah’s Witneses have no clue about the true history of their organization. The false prophecies that we will list here are barely 10% of the total of false prophecies they have made since 1877.

  • 1877 ‘The End Of This World; that is the end of the gospel and the beginning of the millennial age is nearer than most men suppose; indeed we have already entered the transition period, which is to be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation Dan. 12:3.” (N.H. Barbour and C.T. Russell, Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World, p. 17).
  • 1879 “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)
  • 1880 “We need not here repeat the evidences that the “seventh trump” began its sounding A.D., 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of “The times of the Gentiles,” A.D., 1914, and that it is the trouble of this “Great day,” which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. xii. 1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age. (Zion’s Watchtower November, 1880 p. 1)
  • 1886 “The outlook at the opening of the New Year has some very encouraging features. The outward evidences are that the marshaling of the hosts for the battle of the great day of God Almighty, is in progress while the skirmishing is commencing. … The time is come for Messiah to take the dominion of earth and to overthrow the oppressors and corrupters of the earth, (Rev. 19:15 and 11:17, 18) preparatory to the establishment of everlasting peace upon the only firm foundation of righteousness and truth.” (Zion’s Watchtower, January, 1886;Watchtower reprints I, p. 817)
  • 1889 “Remember that the forty years’ Jewish Harvest ended October A.D. 69, and was followed by the complete overthrow of that nation; and that likewise the forty years of the Gospel age harvest will end October, 1914, and that likewise the overthrow of ‘Christendom,’ so-called, must be expected to immediately follow.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 245)
  • 1908 “True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)
  • 1914 “While it’s possible that Armageddon may begin next Spring, yet this purely speculation to attempt to say just when. We see, however, that there are parallels between the close of the Jewish age and this Gospel age. These parallels seem to point to the year just before us part particularly the early months.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1914, p. 5527)
  • 1917 “And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy.” (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)
  • 1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)
  • 1925 “The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year.” (Watchtower, Jan. 1, 1925, p. 3

Can YOU trust an organization with a 100% FAILURE rate?

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is the World Mission Society Church of God, and What Do They Believe?

 

The World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) was founded by a man named Ahn Sahng-Hong in South Korea in 1964. He was born in 1918 to Buddhist parents and spent many years with the Seventh-day Adventists. He claimed to have rebuilt the Church of God—the same Church that Jesus established and with the same truths of the Early Church. Ahn Sahng-Hong died in 1985.

The WMSCOG believes in God the Father and God the Mother, who came to earth in the flesh. Ahn Sahng-Hong’s spiritual wife, Zahng Gil-Jah, is known as “the Heavenly Mother.” According the WMSCOG, “God the Mother is the core of our faith and the figure that guides us.… God the Mother stands by and prays for us whenever we face hardships.” The Bible does not teach the existence of a “heavenly mother.” God is consistently referred to as our Father. Revelation 21:2 describes the New Jerusalem as a beautifully adorned bride. But verses 9–10 show that the “wife of the Lamb” and the “New Jerusalem” are synonymous terms. Obviously, the New Jerusalem is a city, not a person. In this case, the city is the church, the redeemed of the Lord living in God’s heavenly city. The Lamb’s “wife,” then, is figurative, not literal.

Another false teaching of the WMSCOG is that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are not different Persons but simply different manifestations of one God. This teaching is a heresy called modalism. The Bible presents God as one God, but then speaks of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The World Mission Society Church of God believes that Jehovah is the Father, Jesus is the Son, and Ahn Sahng-Hong is the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will. The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3–4. For any man to declare he is the Holy Spirit is blasphemy.

The WMSCOG teaches that salvation is in the names of Jehovah, Jesus, and Ahn Sahng-Hong, and that baptism is required for salvation. The Bible declares that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12; John 14:6). Salvation is in the name of Jesus Christ. To claim salvation in the name of Ahn Sahng-Hong is blasphemy. Requiring anything in addition to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a works-based salvation. To add anything to the gospel is to say that Jesus’ death on the cross was insufficient to purchase our salvation. The Bible says that Jesus’ death alone paid for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus’ righteousness is appropriated to our account by faith alone (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8–9). Therefore, baptism cannot be a requirement for salvation.

The WMSCOG claims that “Christ Ahn Sahng-Hong” came as the Savior in the age of the Holy Spirit and was truly the Second Coming of Christ. This teaching conflicts with what the Bible says about the second coming in Revelation 19:11–16: “He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.” To claim to be the very Word of God is blasphemy.

Ahn Sahng-Hong was a false prophet. He predicted Christ would return in 1967, then changed the date to 1988. The WMSCOG believed the world would end in 1967, then 1988, and then at the end of 2012. History has proved Ahn Sahng-Hong wrong. It is noteworthy that one of the signs of the end times is the increase in false prophets and false messiahs. Ahn Sahng-Hong clearly falls into the category of false prophet and false messiah.

The beliefs of the World Mission Society Church of God are not compatible with Christianity.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is the Eastern Star Organization, and Are They Related to the Free Masons?

 

Please note—by this article, we are not claiming that all who are involved in Freemasonry or Eastern Star are cultists. What we are saying is this: Freemasonry/Eastern Star at its core is not a Christian organization. There are many Christians who have left Freemasonry after discovering what it is truly all about. Please visit Ex-Masons for Jesus for more information. Each person should pray for wisdom and discernment from the Lord as to whether to be involved with Freemasonry/Eastern Star.

Question: “What is the Eastern Star organization, and are they related to the Free Masons?”

Answer: The Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is a secret society that is similar to that of the Masons. Both organizations work in concert, and many people belong to both groups. These organizations are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Many believe Matthew 2:2 to be the guiding verse of the Order: “We have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (KJV).

The Order of the Eastern Star maintains that it is not a secret society. The group calls itself the largest worldwide fraternal organization. More than 500,000 men and women are members of the OES. The OES officially began in the mid-1800s in the United States. Dr. Rob Morris, the Poet Laureate of Masonry, organized the first Grand Chapter of the Order. Morris developed the rituals and creeds of the Order supposedly based on his belief in God and biblical stories. The OES began as a group for women who were related to the male Masons but now admits both genders as official members.

According to Eastern Star’s official website, the purposes of the organization are “Charitable, Educational, Fraternal and Scientific.” The Order supposedly promotes moral values and personal goodness, building “an Order which is truly dedicated to charity, truth and loving kindness.”

The purposes of the OES seem honorable at first glance, even biblically based. Why, then, is there so much secrecy? Jesus’ earthly ministry was very public. He did not shroud His purpose in mystery; He was open and honest with everyone regarding His teachings and lifestyle. He did not create a secret code word or handshake for a select few. He made Himself and His grace available for all, and still does (John 3:16).

The Order has several specific requirements that individuals must meet before they can be “adopted” into the OES family. Male candidates must be Masons, and women candidates must be related to a Mason in some way before they will be considered. Also, a candidate must have a belief in a “Supreme Being.” The official website says, “Members of all religions may belong to the Order of the Eastern Star. We only require a belief in a Supreme Being.” In contrast to this nebulous belief system, the Bible presents Jesus as the exclusive Savior and Lord. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

There is a common belief that the Order of the Eastern Star is a Christian-based organization that simply observes traditions and rituals that support fraternal and historic bonds. However, the OES teaches some things that are at odds with biblical Christianity. Besides denying the exclusive nature of Christ’s salvation, the OES teaches that man is essentially good and places a heavy emphasis on good works and community service as a means of earning a relationship with the Supreme Being. Also, the group is cloaked in mystery and mysticism. First John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” There is no confusion or darkness in God; therefore, as His followers, we should disengage from sources of worldly darkness, mysteries, confusion, and compromise.

Many people join groups such as the Eastern Star and the Masons innocently, for reasons such as family tradition or a desire to make friends or belong to a community group. Those who join for such reasons may not have given much thought to the works-based theology of Eastern Star. The Bible commands us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” A society that is “secret” and ambiguous in regard to its theology is not analogous with God’s Word, which is the embodiment of light and truth. A Christian should not be a member of any secret society or organization that has any connection with Freemasonry, and that includes Eastern Star.

Again, for more information, we strongly recommend Ex-Masons for Jesus.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Cults and Religions: Is the Rastafarian / Rasta God Jah the Same as the Christian God?

 

Rastafarianism, Rastafari, or Rasta is a religious movement originating in Jamaica in the 1930s. Rastafarianism takes elements of the Bible and combines them with the ideology of Marcus Garvey and the belief that Haile Selassie I, emperor of Ethiopia (1930–1975) was the second advent of the Messiah. Thus, Rastafarians believe that Emperor Selassie was God.

Rasta takes its term for “god,” “Jah,” from the King James Version’s translation of Psalm 68:4, which reads, in part, “Extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.” The name for God in this verse is a shortened version of the tetragrammaton YHWH. The tetragrammaton is usually transliterated as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” or translated “LORD” in Bibles. In Psalm 68:4, the KJV translators chose to transliterate the word as “JAH” instead. So, the name is certainly a biblical name for God. However, a group’s use of a biblical name for God does not guarantee that the group is biblical. Just because Rastas apply a biblical name to their god does not mean that they are worshipping the God of the Bible. Different individuals may be named “George,” but that doesn’t mean they are all the same person.

The god Rastas refer to as “Jah” is not triune, and he does not provide eternal salvation. Neither did the man they claim to have been the returned Messiah rule the whole earth or bring perfect peace to the world (cp. Isaiah 9:7). The religious practices of Rastafari, while drawn from Jewish and Christian origins, are not what God commands or desires for His people. The Jah of Rastafarianism is most certainly not the God of the Bible in whom Christians put their trust for salvation.[1]

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.