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.

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is the All-Seeing Eye?


There are many cultural, religious, philosophical, and cultic uses of the symbol of the “all-seeing eye,” which is also called the “Eye of Providence.” Some suggest that the all-seeing eye is based on the “Eye of Horus” from ancient Egypt, although similarity in symbolism does not necessarily connote similar meaning. The basic representation is that of a lidded eye with “glory,” or beams, emanating from it in all directions. The European Christian version also includes a triangular frame around the eye. Generally speaking, the all-seeing eye is a symbol of an omniscient entity—usually a deity—that can see all.

Most Americans are familiar with the all-seeing eye because it appears on the reverse of the dollar bill. There, as part of what is labeled “The Great Seal,” the Eye of Providence appears as the capstone of an unfinished pyramid. The base of the pyramid is inscribed with “1776” in Roman numerals. Beneath the pyramid is a banner reading “Novus Ordo Seclorum” (Latin for “New Order of the Ages”). Above the pyramid are the words “Annuit Cœptis” (Latin for “Favors Undertakings”). The idea on the Great Seal, then, is that the Eye of Providence has shown favor to America in its founding of a new era of history.

As a symbol, the all-seeing eye is found throughout the world from the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia, to hieroglyphic texts. It is used as a talisman or protective charm in many cultures, particularly those which subscribe to the existence of the “evil eye,” against which the “all-seeing eye” is believed to protect. In Mexico, the ojo de venado is a shamanic amulet used in this fashion. Although the symbol itself is not used in Buddhism, Buddha is referred to as the “eye of the world” in certain Buddhist texts.

In popular culture, J. R. R. Tolkien’s character Sauron in The Lord of the Rings is referred to as the Red Eye, the Lidless Eye, and the Great Eye. Peter Jackson’s depiction of Sauron in his Lord of the Rings film trilogy is that of a fiery eye that watches all of Middle Earth. Such a depiction is easily confused with a twisted use of the “all-seeing eye” mythology. The film industry has also given us National Treasure, in which the “all-seeing eye” was supposedly used as a symbol of Free Masonry by America’s Founding Fathers. However, the use of the eye in an unfinished pyramid was never a Masonic symbol, and the all-seeing eye was not used in Free Masonry until 1797, years after the design for the Great Seal was finalized.

While Christianity makes use of many symbols (the cross and the fish being the most common), they were never imbued with any special power. The symbols remain pictures that remind us of basic Christian truths, and that meaning makes them important but not inherently powerful. In European Christian contexts, particularly in the Medieval and Renaissance periods, the so-called Eye of Providence within a triangular frame was used as a symbol of the Trinity. The eye itself could be considered a symbol of God’s omniscience.

So, the all-seeing eye is an icon that can mean different things to different people, depending on the context. Some see the symbol as a representation of the Trinity; others take it as a representation of a more general Higher Power or Providence; still others see it as a Masonic icon, a conspiratorial sign of the Illuminati, or a good-luck charm.[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is the Unity Church / Unity School of Christianity?


Unity is an organization related to the New Thought movement. It was formerly called Unity Church (or Unity School) of Christianity. It is not to be confused with Unitarian Universalism or Christian Science, although they have many beliefs in common. Unity has its headquarters at Unity Village, near Kansas City, Missouri. From their own website: “The Unity movement was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1889 as a healing ministry based on the power of prayer and the power of our thoughts to create our own reality. The Fillmores regarded Jesus as the great example rather than the great exception; interpreted the Bible metaphysically; and taught that God is present within all of us.” There are approximately 110,000 members in over 300 Unity churches. It is one of the largest metaphysical groups in the United States, and its magazine, Daily Word, has millions of readers.

The Unity Church got its start through an illness. Myrtle had developed tuberculosis and was searching for anything that would heal her. After attending a lecture by Dr. Eugene Weeks, a disciple of Quimby’s New Thought teachings, she learned about metaphysical healing. Two years after this lecture, and after much research and personal application of metaphysics, she claims she was healed. Her husband, while skeptical at first, began to study metaphysics also, as well as other religions and philosophies. What emerged was the Unity School of Christianity, named after Charles heard a voice say to him, “Unity.” This name was appropriate, as the Fillmores’ religious philosophy was a mix of New Thought, Christian Science, Divine Science, Hinduism, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Spiritualism, etc. To quote Charles, they “borrowed the best from all religions.” Excited by Myrtle’s healing and by the knowledge they had recently acquired, they began holding meetings to teach others their new theology.

The Unity Church claims that, through adherence to its teachings, people can be happier and healthier and can achieve their divine potential. Although it calls itself Christian, there is much that separates the Unity movement from true, biblical Christianity. Their website states that “Unity is an open-minded, accepting spiritual community that honors all paths to God and helps people discover and live their spiritual potential and purpose.” They claim to follow the teachings of Jesus, but their self-definition contradicts this because Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Jesus did not honor any other path to God but Himself (John 3:16–18; 10:7–13). Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

The following is a brief explanation of some of the ways Unity beliefs are in conflict with true Christianity:

God: Unity considers God as an idea or a power, rather than a Person. Scripture paints the opposite picture. From Genesis to Revelation, God presents Himself as a Father (Matthew 5:16), Creator (Isaiah 43:15), Provider (Philippians 4:19), and Healer (Exodus 15:26; Deuteronomy 32:39). He exhibits the personality and traits of a Person. He speaks (Job 2:2; Acts 22:10), feels (Judges 2:20), loves (Psalm 37:28), sings (Zephaniah 3:17), fights (Exodus 14:14), and delights in those who love Him (Psalm 37:23).

Jesus: The Unity website says this about Jesus: “We believe that Jesus expressed his divine potential and sought to show humankind how to express ours as well. We see Jesus as a master teacher of universal truths and as our Way Shower. In Unity, we use the term Christ to mean the divinity in humankind.” The Bible teaches that Jesus was “the only begotten Son of the Father” (1 John 4:9). He did not “possess a divine Spark”; He was the Word become flesh (John 1:1; Philippians 2:5–11). He accepted worship, which only God can righteously do (Matthew 2:11; John 9:38, 20:28; Hebrews 1:6). His purpose was not “to express his divine potential and seek to show humankind how to express ours.” He said the night before His crucifixion that “it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27). If Jesus came to show us how to “live our divinity,” why did He state that His death on the cross was the reason He came?

Humanity: Unity teaches that “our essential nature is divine and therefore inherently good. Our purpose is to express our divine potential as realized and demonstrated by Jesus and other master teachers.” This is directly contrary to biblical teaching. Romans 3:10 says, “There is none righteous, no not one.” Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Romans 5:12 states clearly that we are not born good: “Death spread to all men because all sinned.” Verses 9 and 10 say that we were under the “wrath of God” and that “we were enemies” of God. The Bible is clear that man is inherently sinful and cannot attain righteousness by his own efforts. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection paid for our sin and purchased a way for us to be reconciled to God. C. S. Lewis summarized the truth about Jesus when he wrote, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Heaven and hell: The Unity site declares that “heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words, and deeds.” However, Jesus said, “This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:49–50). The apostle Paul spoke of being “absent from the body and present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8–10). Hebrews 9:27 is clear that “it is appointed unto man once to die and after that, the judgment.” Jesus showed us exactly what happens after death in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31). It is impossible to read the Bible honestly and not see the themes of eternal life and judgment.

The Bible: The Unity site claims that “the Bible is Unity’s basic textbook.” But this statement is deceptive. Judging by their many erroneous doctrines, Unity does not view the Bible as infallible or literal. The founders of Unity saw the Bible “as history and allegory and interpreted it as a metaphysical representation of humankind’s evolutionary journey toward spiritual awakening.” They claim to consider it inspired, but they clearly believe that inspiration did not come from a perfect, unchangeable God (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17). The term inspired appears to refer to human inspiration rather than “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Unity movement cannot be accurately described as a “church.” The term in Scripture always refers to a body of believers, saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:16–18). Since “faith in Christ” means something entirely different in the Unity organization, their doctrine does not lead to salvation, heaven, or a relationship with the true and living God. Such pseudo-Christian religions are far from harmless. Any group that denies the triune nature of God (Matthew 28:19), the depravity of man (Romans 3:23), the infallibility of Scripture (John 17:17), and the deity and lordship of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:11) is not of God. The Bible has strong words for those who pervert its teaching. Galatians 1:7–8 says, “There are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Proverbs 14:12 also applies to groups like Unity: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”[1]



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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is an Avatar in Hinduism? Was Jesus an Avatar?


In Hinduism, an avatar is the bodily incarnation of a deity on earth. The god can become incarnate in one place at a time as a full avatar or in many places simultaneously through partial avatars called amshas, such that the main form of the god can still communicate with the partial materializations. One could view avatars as embodying the concepts of pantheism (god is all) and polytheism (many gods).

The belief in Hindu avatars is similar to the Christian heresy of Docetism, which is the belief that Jesus Christ only appeared to be human. Docetism teaches that Jesus’ body was spiritual, rather than physical; thus, He was unable to suffer physical pain. In Hinduism, the avatar appears to the devotee in whatever form the worshipper envisions, which, according to Hindu belief could be Mohammed, Krishna, Jesus, Buddha or any other personal god. An “unqualified” person would take the avatar to be an ordinary human.

The purpose of the avatar’s manifestation is to restore dharma, or righteousness, to the cosmic and social order. Dharma encompasses behaviors such as duty, ritual, law, morality, ethics, good deeds, etc.—anything considered critical to maintaining natural order. That which is unnatural or immoral is called adharma.

Avatars are most often associated with the god Vishnu, one of the members of the Hindu “Great Trinity” or Trimurti (although any Hindu god may manifest as an avatar). Vishnu is considered the maintainer or preserver, as opposed to the other members, Brahma the creator and Shiva the destroyer. According to the Bhagavata Purana, a book of Vedic Sanskrit traditions, Vishnu has incarnated as innumerable avatars in unlimited universes, though there are ten major incarnations, known collectively as Dashavatara.

Some Hindus consider Jesus as an avatar and, more specifically, as the reincarnation of Krishna. However, Jesus was not reincarnated; He was resurrected. Jesus was not an avatar; He is fully human and fully God. Please read our article on the Trinity to better understand the relationship between the members of the Christian Godhead. After His crucifixion, Jesus was resurrected bodily.

In some ways Jesus may seem to fit into Hindu avatar theism; for example, by bringing the restoration of righteousness, Jesus is, in fact, the only path to eternal salvation. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This coming to the Father is accomplished via belief (John 3:18) and repentance (Luke 13:3). The consequences of unbelief are harsh and eternal (Revelation 21:8). First Thessalonians 1:9–10 tells us to turn “from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”

To find out how you can escape God’s wrath and live eternally, please read our article “How can I be saved?” For an interesting discussion regarding the specific differences between Christianity and Hinduism, please click here.[1]



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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Does the Bible Say about Black Magic?


God despises witchcraft and black magic. Many commands, beginning in the Old Testament, forbid any association with witchcraft or sorcery. Deuteronomy 18:10 says, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft.” Exodus 22:18 says, “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.” When God removed Saul from his position as king of Israel, He compared Saul’s behavior to the evil of sorcery. Through the prophet Samuel, the Lord said, “Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols” (1 Samuel 15:23). Many other Old Testament passages condemn witchcraft in its many forms (Micah 3:7; 5:12; 2 Kings 21:6; Leviticus 19:26, 31; Deuteronomy 18:14).

In the New Testament, the word sorcery comes from the Greek word pharmakeia, from which we derive our English word pharmacy. Pharmakeia (or the masculine form pharmakos) is defined as “the use of medicine, drugs, or spells.” The words are translated either “sorcery” or “witchcraft” in our English Bibles, because witchcraft and drug use were closely intertwined. Magicians created mind-altering combinations of herbs and other concoctions to use with their incantations. Subjects under the influence of such drugs could be easily controlled by the sorcerer and would behave in ungodly ways. In this way, the magician could make money from the sin of someone else.

God clearly condemns such an evil practice. Galatians 5:19–21 says, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.… Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” When people in Ephesus came to know Christ, they brought their magic books and potions and publicly burned them as a sign that they were trading the dark power of sorcery for the holy power of the Spirit (Acts 19:19).

The connection between sorcery and present-day drug abuse is clear. One reason God so hates sorcery, black magic, drunkenness, and drug abuse is that it gives control of our spirits to a power besides Him. When we relinquish control of ourselves to a power that is not the Holy Spirit, we are corrupting our minds and bodies and welcoming demonic influence. We who are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) willingly become vessels of evil. We were designed to be the Holy Spirit’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), but we cannot be filled with the Spirit and with mind-altering substances at the same time (Ephesians 5:18). To choose sorcery or drugs is to reject the control of God and invite judgment (John 12:48).

In Revelation 18:23, Jesus warns that He will destroy Babylon, in part because “all nations were deceived by your sorcery.” God certainly condemns sorcery, black magic, witchcraft, and anything associated with it, and He will severely punish those who persist in it.[1]



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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is Odinism?


Odinism is a pre-Christian, pagan, polytheistic religion involving the worship of Norse and Germanic gods, especially Odin, the chief god. Odinism was the religion of the Vikings, who primarily lived in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland, and whose influence was felt in other parts of Europe, including Scotland, Ireland and England. The Vikings are also said to have sailed to North America.

The oral traditions of the Odinists are recorded in a set of books called the Eddas. Followers of this religion regard nature as the true manifestation of the divine and believe that man is inherently good. Since 1973, Odinism has experienced a revival of sorts, with the governments of Iceland, Denmark and Norway having officially recognized Odinism. Groups of Odinists are also found throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North and South America.

Those who embrace this religion are generally referred to as followers of Ásatrú (Nordic neo-paganism), though there are several branches (some of them extremist), including Wotanism, Wodenism, the Odin Brotherhood, the Odinic Rite and the Odinist Fellowship. The chief deity is Odin/Woten/Woden, the god of war, wisdom and death (who, interestingly, does not eat, but only drinks wine). Odin is also called Alfadir (“All-father”) because he is the father of all gods. The pantheon of gods and goddesses in Odinism also includes Frigg, Odin’s wife and a goddess of marriage and fertility; Thor, the god of thunder; Loki, the unpredictable “trickster” god; Baldur, the god of light and purity; Tyr, the original god of war (later regarded as Odin’s son); and many others.

The abode of these gods is Asgard, one of the “nine homeworlds” in the cosmology of Nordic mythology. One “hall” in Asgard is known as Valhalla, a home to some of the warriors who died in combat in the human “homeworld,” called Midgard. The symbol of Odinism is the “World Ash” tree, called Yggdresil, which is thought to connect and unite all “nine worlds.” It is taught that Odin hung on this tree for nine days, pierced with a spear. We see a vestiges of Odinism every week—“Tuesday” is named for Tiu/Tyr; “Wednesday” was originally Wodnesdæg, or “Woden’s day”; “Thursday” is literally “Thor’s day”; and “Friday” is named after the fertility goddess Frigg.

Odinism is a false religion. The Bible tells us unequivocally that there is only one, true, living God. Jeremiah 10:10 says, “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King” (NKJV). John 17:3 states, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Yahweh/Jehovah is the only God capable of proving that He is who He says He is; and He has, in fact, done so via hundreds of fulfilled prophecies. In contradistinction, there is no proof for the existence of the Odinist pantheon; they are mythological. It is futile to worship a god that does not exist. It is also fatal, inasmuch as the Bible tells us that the fate of idolaters is the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Why not worship an actual, living God and thereby choose eternal life? Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25–26).[1]



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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is Job’s Daughters?


The International Order of Job’s Daughters was founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1920 by Mrs. Ethel T. Wead Mick. Mrs. Mick along with the assistance of her husband, Dr. William H. Mick, and other workers founded the Order in honor and memory of her mother. After gaining consent from J. B. Fradenburg, Freemasonry’s “Most Worshipful Grand Master” of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska and Mrs. Anna J. Davis, the Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star of Nebraska, and with the motto “Virtue is a quality which highly adorns woman,” Job’s daughters was officially under way. It has grown to an international organization of young women with members in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines and Brazil.

Job’s Daughters is open to girls ages 10 to 20 who have a Masonic “heritage” and is the only international organization for girls that requires all of its members to be related to a Master Mason, and while they claim to have no affiliation to the Freemasons, this pre-requisite ties it closely to the Masonic Order. Because every Job’s Daughter is related to a Master Mason, a strong tie exists between Freemasonry and Job’s Daughters. This tie is made evident by the fact that all Job’s Daughters promise that they will be guided by the same principles of “The Golden Rule” that all Freemasons believe in.

Job’s daughters was founded to bring together young girls with Masonic ties for the purpose of character building through moral and spiritual development, and to teach loyalty to the flag and the country for which it stands, as well as respect for parents and Guardians, a term they use for their leaders.

Using Job 42:15 as the foundation of their craft, Job’s Daughters claim the Book of Job teaches a “Masonic optimistic lesson”—“Not to fall in despair; it shows that Masonic ideas are imperishable.” The book of Job is divided into three parts and paraphrased to be used as lectures in their rituals. All rituals and ceremonies are preformed in a “Bethel,” a gathering of members for the purpose of performing rituals. In most cases, this occurs in a Masonic Lodge, At first glance there appears to nothing misleading about the teachings of Job’s Daughters. However, as Christians, we must rely on the teachings of the entire Bible as a guide for life, not just one book of the Bible. Many false prophets have used a single passage or section of the Bible as the foundation for their religious group, claiming that they know the “true” meaning of life, eternal life, and other spiritual matters. This belief in the singular nature of their particular teachings is one distinguishing characteristic of most cults and false religions.

The second stumbling block of Job’s Daughters is their close association with Freemasonry, even though most of its members will argue this point. Freemasonry teaches that ALL religions are praying to the same god, but are simply approaching by a different path. They also teach that ONLY Freemasonry knows the true name of god and has the best teaching for gaining eternal life. The “Associate Bethel Guardian” is an adult that is involved with all of the rituals and meetings; he is a Freemason. All of the rituals and meetings are set up very similar to the meetings and rituals of Freemasonry.

We only need to look at the International Order of Job’s Daughters opening ceremony to see that there are things being taught that are not in line with the Word of God. When looking at the duties of a few of the officers as quoted by each, we get a glimpse into the unbiblical nature of Job’s Daughters’ teachings.

The Fourth Messenger when speaking of her duties says “It signifies that righteous service will lead to life eternal.” Jesus Christ said that He is the only way to gain eternal life (John 14:6). And as Isaiah 64:6 teaches, our righteous acts do not lead to life eternal. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

The Recorder says that while performing her duties “It signifies that my every act should be as the Recording Angel would have it in her Book of Life.” There is only one book of life, and it does not belong to a “Recording Angel.” It is the Lamb’s Book of Life, the Lamb being Jesus Christ. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). One’s name is written in the Book of Life by the grace of God through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).

The Chaplain presiding at their altar during the ritual tells us that “It signifies that piety, religion and reverence for sacred things are the beacon lights of life.” There is only one beacon of Light and that is Jesus: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ ” (John 8:12). If we have not this Light, we are in spiritual darkness.

Job’s Daughters also say this about their rituals; “The ritual work of the Order is based on the Triangle—the Three Daughters of Job, the Open Book, Education—and combines the emblematic representation of Latin and ancient Greek ages.” Intermingling geometry, Scripture, and science with symbols of ancient religions and philosophy is a teaching that compromises everything a follower of Christ believes. The Bible is very clear about not doing such things. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:14–15, 17).

The third stumbling block of Job’s Daughters is that it is clothed in secrecy and done under the guise of the intriguing nature of the mysterious. However, everything Jesus did was done in the open for all to see and we are told that all things done in secret will be exposed and we should avoid such things (Ephesians 5:8–11).

Anyone involved in Job’s Daughters (or any other Masonic craft) should consider carefully the consequences and pray for wisdom (James 1:5), asking God to reveal the truth about the false teaching of Freemasonry and Job’s Daughters.[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?


The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is an organization directed by the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Watchtower Society was founded in 1886 and is currently located in Brooklyn, New York. The Watchtower possesses tremendous control over its members and has gone so far as to produce its own translation of the Bible called the New World Translation. The Society has gone through several presidents since its founding and has positioned itself as a major competitor to evangelical Christianity. While claiming to be the only legitimate followers of Jehovah God, the Watchtower denies and even opposes several of the fundamental doctrines of the historic Christian faith.

To begin with, the Watchtower gets wrong one of the most important of all religious questions: Who is Jesus Christ? The Watchtower Society teaches that Jesus Christ is actually the first creation of Jehovah God, not God incarnate as the Bible clearly teaches (Titus 2:13; Colossians 2:9). In doing so, they have placed Christ in the category of creature rather than acknowledging His rightful place of Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16–17; John 1:1–3). They have repeated the deadly error of Arianism, which was condemned as heresy by the Christian Church at the Council of Nicea and is easily refuted by a fair reading of Scripture.

Since its inception, the Watchtower has denied the biblical teaching of the triune God (one Being who exists as three co-equal, co-eternal Persons) and gone so far as to say that the God of Christianity is a satanic counterfeit. Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and a former President of the Society, even referred to the Christian concept of God as, “the devil himself.” The God of the Watchtower is not the biblical God and is therefore not capable of saving people from their sins.

In an attempt to justify their doctrines through biblical exegesis, the Society produced their own translation of the Scriptures in 1961. This translation, known as the New World Translation, is regarded by the Jehovah’s Witnesses as the only faithful rendering of the biblical text. The NWT is unique in that it is the first intentional systematic effort at producing a complete version of the Bible that is edited and revised for the specific purpose of agreeing with a group’s doctrine. Greek scholars from across the theological spectrum have repeatedly criticized the NWT as an inaccurate rendering of key biblical passages.

The late Dr. Bruce Metzger, formerly Professor of New Testament Language at Princeton Theological Seminary and author of several highly acclaimed books on textual criticism stated, “The Jehovah’s Witnesses have incorporated in their translations of the New Testament several quite erroneous renderings of the Greek.” Dr. Robert Countess, who completed his PhD dissertation in Greek on the New World Translation, is on record as saying that the Watchtower’s translation “has been sharply unsuccessful in keeping doctrinal considerations from influencing the actual translation. It must be viewed as a radically biased piece of work. At some points it is actually dishonest.”

A further reason to reject the claims of the Watchtower is their long history of engaging in false prophecy. The Watchtower Society has on numerous occasions predicted in print the end of the world, the most recent dates being in 1946, 1950, and 1975. What makes their false prophecy all the more damning is when their false predictions are seen in the light of their claim to be “the true prophetic mouthpiece for God on earth at this time.” The Society’s history of false prophecy stands in stark contrast to the standard for a true prophet laid out in Scripture: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22).

Moreover, the Watchtower continues to engage in cultic manipulation of its people through the prohibition of military service, the celebration of holidays, and the saluting of the nation’s flag. The impetus for these restrictions is rooted in their false claim to be the exclusive organized collection of Jehovah’s people. The Watchtower views these practices as devices of Satan to lead people away from Jehovah. The Watchtower sees the entire “world system” (any activity not connected with the Watchtower) as connected to Satan and is thus prohibited. This would include the practice of blood transfusions, which the Watchtower wrongly believes to be prohibited by Scripture. The Watchtower has stated that a blood transfusion “may result in the immediate and very temporary prolongation of life, but at the cost of eternal life for a dedicated Christian.” The Society wrongly assumes that the biblical prohibition of eating blood (Genesis 9:4; Acts 15:28–29) extends all the way to the modern practice of blood transfusions, a restriction that, in practice, has cost the very lives of many Jehovah’s Witnesses and even their children.

Despite a track record of repeated false prophecies, a cultic isolation of their own people, and a flagrant mistranslation of the Bible to justify their own theology, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society continues to gain unsuspecting converts every year. It is the job of biblically faithful Christians to be prepared to refute these errors with sound doctrine (Titus 1:9). As Jude tells us, we must “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is Zoroastrianism?


Zoroastrianism is based on the teachings of Zoroaster, a 6th century Iranian prophet and philosopher. Zoroastrianism is almost identical with Mazdaism (the worship of Ahura Mazda, the supreme deity exalted by Zoroaster). Zoroastrianism survives today in isolated areas of the Middle East, primarily Iran, but more prosperously in India, where the descendants of Zoroastrian Persian immigrants are known as Parsis, or Parsees. In India the religion is called Parsiism. As with all false religions, Zoroastrianism is incompatible with Christianity.

For one thing, the claim that Zoroastrianism is perhaps the oldest monotheistic religion and that it had an influence on Judaism, Christianity, or Islam is simply not true. While Zoroastrianism is credited to having its origins in the 6th century BC, it only enters recorded history in the 5th century BC. This is in contrast to the Bible, where most historians and scholars put the writing of the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy written by Moses) between 1446–1406 BC during Israel’s wanderings in the desert. This means the Old Testament pre-dates the Avesta (official religious text of Zoroastrianism) by close to 900 years.

While it is not surprising to see antagonists of Christianity on the internet and in books try to discredit Christianity by claiming the Zoroastrian influence on it, it is clear that the concept of one God and the need for a Savior was established much earlier by the Hebrew people. Even the prophet Isaiah spoke of the virgin birth of Christ and recorded it around 701 BC, which still precedes Zoroastrianism by 100 years.

Secondly, Zoroastrianism states that active participation in life through good thoughts, good words, and good deeds is necessary to ensure happiness and to keep chaos at bay. There are various religious rituals that must be observed and a variety of acts and deeds to be performed to ensure salvation. This is in stark contrast to Christianity which teaches that Christ is the only way to salvation (John 14:6) and that our salvation cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8–9). This is the unique difference between Christianity and all false religions. In Christ, salvation is a free gift from God apart from works which save no one (Romans 3:20, 28). All other religions require works of some kind to appease God. Thankfully, our Bible is crystal clear on salvation, how to receive it, what is true, and what is not.

The prophet Zoroaster supposedly received what he recorded in the Avesta from a vision of Vohu Manah (moral enlightenment, possibly an angel of sorts) while drawing water from the Daiti river. Zoroaster is the sole author. This method of “enlightenment” is similar to the prophet Mohammed of Islam receiving a vision from the angel Gabriel, and passing it down for about three centuries by word of mouth before being recorded by scribes in the Qu’ran. Still, the source is only one man, and a person should question the accuracy of the recitations over a long period such as that.

Compare these “revelations” with Bible: 40 authors of 66 books over a span of 1600 years (55 generations), most of whom were not acquainted with one another, and who came from different backgrounds (judge, prophet, king, priest, shepherd, scribe, soldier, fisherman, physician), different locations (tents, palaces, dungeons, cities, deserts) and written under different circumstances in three different languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic) who ALL convey the same common theme about God, and whose writings are accepted as the inerrant, true, and inspired word of God recorded through men (2 Timothy 3:16). The accuracy of the original texts has been verified over and over each time an ancient biblical manuscript has been discovered, the Dead Sea Scrolls being among the most recent.

It is abundantly clear that Zoroastrianism is yet another religion where salvation is works-based. There is no evidence of any divine influence in the religious writings, and it is clearly not impacting the world and changing lives today the way our relevant, living, all-powerful God is doing. The Bible, which could not possibly exist and claim the things it does unless it truly IS the inspired Word of God, has the power to change lives on a massive scale. From a Christian perspective, we hope and pray that the few who still do follow the teachings of Zoroaster would be exposed to the truth of Christ and realize that the salvation they seek to achieve by their good deeds is actually a free gift through Him.[1]

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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Does the Bible Say about White Magic?


White magic is described as “good” magic, as opposed to black magic which draws upon the powers of evil beings. Opinions vary as to the differences between black and white magic, ranging from the idea that they are two names for exactly the same thing, to the belief that they are completely different, especially in goals and intent. The Bible does not differentiate between “good” and “bad” magic. Magic is magic as far as the Bible is concerned. Scripture doesn’t distinguish whether the magic is supposed to be used for good or for bad; it’s all forbidden because it appeals to a source of power other than God.

Those who practice white magic, also often called Wicca, worship the creation rather than the Creator, and while they may not call on the devil or evil spirits, they often appeal to “mother earth,” angels, and/or the elements. The central Wiccan theme is, “if it does no harm, do your own will.” Many who dabble in white magic call themselves Wiccans, whether they actually are or not. Although Wicca is fairly open-ended and there are various “denominations” and theological positions within the belief, there are certain beliefs, practices, and traditions which connect adherents of white magic to Wicca.

Whether the intent is to venerate “mother” earth, the elements, or the angels and one intends to do only good, the reality is that ultimately there is no distinction between white and black magic because they both worship something other than God. It’s frightening to think that the adherents of white magic are unknowingly praying to and beseeching the same god that adherents of black magic are—Satan.

Throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, all forms of witchcraft are in violation of God’s law and are condemned. (Deuteronomy 18:10–16; Leviticus 19:26, 31, 20:27; Acts 13:8–10). Pharaoh’s magicians tried to duplicate the miracles done by Moses and Aaron by using their “secret arts,” which refers to “the ceremonies or rituals sorcerers and magicians use to accomplish their ends: incantations, spells, magic words, wearing of charms, amulets” and so on (Exodus 7:11, 8:7). The apostle Paul condemned Elyas, the sorcerer, proclaiming him a “child of the devil” who was full of “all kinds of deceit and trickery” and was “perverting the right ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:10). Nowhere in the Bible is any sorcerer or magician portrayed in a positive light. All are condemned by God.

Scripture says that God hates all magic, whether it is the right-hand path, or the left-hand path. Why? Because it doesn’t come from God. Satan deceives people by making them think white magic is beneficial. He can do this because he pretends to be an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), but his desire is to ensnare the souls of as many as he can. The Bible warns against him and his evil tricks. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Real spiritual power only comes from God, from a right relationship with Him through faith in Jesus Christ, and from the Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of believers.[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Who Was Joseph Smith?


Joseph Smith is widely known as the founder of the Mormon Church also known as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Joseph Smith from an early age was thought to have certain occult powers. He was known at a young age as a seer and reportedly used a seer stone to tell him where he could find such precious metals as silver. Both he and his father were known “treasure seekers” and used divination and magic to carry out treasure seeking excursions. This of course brought him a name and a reputation. To this day, he is considered by some a saint and by others a complete charlatan.

Joseph Smith grew up during a time of spiritual revival in America known as restorationism. It was at this time, 1820, that Joseph Smith claimed to have received a marvelous vision in which God the Father and God the Son materialized and spoke to him as he was praying in the woods. He reportedly said that the two “personages” took a rather dim view of the Christian church and for that matter the world at large, and announced that a restoration of Christianity was needed, and that Smith had been chosen to launch the new dispensation. Since its beginnings until the present day, the Mormon Church holds the position that they alone represent true Christianity.

Mormon leaders have consistently taught that after the death of the Apostles, true Christianity had fallen into complete apostasy, making it necessary for a “restoration”. But even after the supposed heavenly visitation, Joseph Smith and friends continued to dig for treasure using occult methods. These methods were illegal in that day, and Smith was convicted of “glasslooking” in 1826. But before that conviction in Chenango County New York, the new “prophet of the Lord” continued to stir up controversy with yet another amazing close encounter with heaven. In 1823, Smith claimed to have been contacted by an angel named Moroni who revealed that there were golden plates at a certain location near Palmyra, New York. On the golden plates was a history of an ancient man named Mormon and his fabled ancient Hebrew tribe, who were said to be a new revelation, “another witness” to the truth of the Christian gospel. It was recorded in Mormon historical documents that the angel had provided special spectacles needed to help Smith translate the writings from the golden plates. It was also reported that during the translation, the man who was helping him had the privilege of having John the Baptist, accompanied by Peter, James and John, come to Pennsylvania on that day May 15, 1829 to confer upon the men the “Aaronic Priesthood”. These and other amazing stories are recorded in Smith’s book, Pearl of Great Price.

Joseph Smith claimed to have special visions and an incredible opening up of heaven to him. But a statement signed by sixty-two residents of Palmyra, New York, who wanted others to know that they had known him, his family, his beliefs, and his occultic excursions to find treasure declared him to be “entirely destitute of moral character and addicted to vicious habits.” Yet, he claimed to be God’s mouthpiece, and when he spoke, he claimed that God was speaking. This powerful position was taken seriously by many followers, and when Smith had a vision it was to be taken seriously, no matter if it flew in the face of “Christian” moral standards. His new “revelation from God” on polygamy is but one example.

Popular or not, his pronouncements “from God” took him quite a ways for quite a few years. His highly imaginative stories always read like science fiction, mixing and twisting Biblical truth with imagination. He was always careful to imitate Biblical truth, and many times he rewrites the Bible. To many, his theology is a twisted mirror image of real theology. It tempts by using a smattering of the real thing, the things that people know as Bible truth.

Joseph Smith met his end at the hands of an angry mob. Having attempted to quiet the polygamy issue after the church had settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, Smith and his followers destroyed an anti-Mormon newspaper building and consequently were arrested and in a jail awaiting trial. The jail was stormed by an angry mob of two hundred people and Joseph Smith and his brother were murdered. After his untimely death, there was a split in the “church”. The church he established remains centralized today both in Missouri, (the Community of Christ-RLDS) and in Utah, where many Mormons had followed their new leader, Brigham Young.[1]

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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Why Do Mormons Refer to Themselves as Latter Day Saints?


When the hunger for religious experience peaked in the 1800’s, the lack of unity among the differing branches of Christian faith became a stumbling block. A man named Joseph Smith emerged to propose his own reported religious experiences as the solution. He declared himself to be a prophet of God. Adherents claimed that to Joseph Smith was restored the “holy priesthood [of] the apostles and disciples of old.…” He also declared that in these “latter days” of the world, all other churches were participating in apostasy and only his private revelation (or that of those associated with him) could be trusted for salvation and instruction.

Primarily by the efforts of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, an organization formed and was named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The name was reported to have come by revelation from Jesus Christ. It was to indicate three specific certainties: 1. Jesus Christ ordained the church; 2. the church’s ministry was specific to the latter days of the world, and 3. the church would consist of only the true saints acknowledged by Jesus Christ. Such a name would have sounded very appealing in a time of widely fluctuating doctrine. The LDS church put forward that theirs was the task of establishing the kingdom of God and of instituting the practices of Christian religion as God intended. These things together were commonly called “the restoration of the gospel” and were part of the restoration movement of the early 19th century.

According to the Bible, it is God who shall establish His kingdom (Isaiah 9:7). The saints are not called upon to do this for Him. Also, whether one views the latter days as the very end of our earth’s age, or as including all the days that follow the completed ministry of Jesus Christ, there is no biblical support for a broken gospel in need of restoration. Jesus declared Simon Peter’s acknowledgment of Him as “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” to be the rock on which His church would be built, against which “the gates of Hades shall not prevail …” (Matthew 16:16, 18). God also declares that although some have strayed from the truth, “the solid foundation of God stands” (2 Timothy 2:18–19). These verses indicate the enduring nature of the church within the context of the gospel. Indeed, in the end times apostasy will abound (Matthew 24:11), but the gospel will remain intact with those who endure (Matthew 24:13–14).

The true work of today’s saints is to continue to declare the truth of the eternal gospel (John 3:16; Mark 16:15), and to “hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard … in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Are the Most Common World Religions?

There are countless religions in the world, with most religions having sub-sects within them. Generally speaking, all religions attempt to help people make sense of their purpose and existence in this world, explain what occurs in the afterlife, and declare whether or not there is a deity, and if so, how we relate to this deity. The seven world religions in the list below comprise over 95% of the world’s religious adherents. With each world religion is a link to a more detailed discussion of that religion’s beliefs and practices.

Roman Catholicism and Christianity
There are approximately 1.2 billion professed Roman Catholics worldwide. Though the Roman Catholic Church has always been identified with Christianity, there are clear and fundamental differences between the two. Roman Catholics generally identify themselves as Christians, but for the purposes of distinguishing the two divisions of the Christian faith, adherents of Roman Catholicism are referred to as Catholics, while non-Catholic adherents of the Christian faith are referred to as Christians. There are approximately 900 million people worldwide who profess to be non-Catholic Christians. The name is derived from the fact that the early followers of Jesus of Nazareth were called Christians (Acts 11:26), which means literally “little Christs.” “Christ” is the Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah, the “anointed one.” Although Christians frequently identify with particular denominations such as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Pentecostals, and Nazarenes, they also universally claim the name Christian for themselves. Christianity is oftentimes collectively called “the church.” This is an indistinct term in that it is also the word used for local congregations and buildings as well as for specific denominations.

The name “Islam” literally means “submission,” and, as such, a Muslim is “one who submits to God.” Islam is based primarily on the writings of Mohammad, as recorded in the Qur’an. There are about 1.3 billion Muslims in the world today. Islam is represented all over the world. Though mostly associated with the Middle East, the largest Muslim populations are in Asia. Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India have sizable Muslim populations.

Hinduism is a word created by the Western world to encompass the dominant religious and social system of India. Traditionally, those we call Hindus refer to their religion as the “dharma,” which means “the way” or “the religion.” There are approximately 900 million Hindus in the world. Obviously, the greatest number of Hindus are located in India. Since Indians have emigrated all over the world, however, there are many Hindu communities in other countries. The total number of Hindus in India is subject to some controversy because it includes up to 300 million “untouchables” (dalits), who are officially counted as a part of the Hindu social structure but who are prevented from fully participating in Hinduism.

Buddhism is based on the teachings of the person called the Buddha, which means “enlightened one.” This religion has many different branches, but Buddhism is the only appropriate all-encompassing term, and its adherents, no matter how divergent in their beliefs, are happy to be known as Buddhists. Buddhism has about 360 million followers, placing it fourth, behind Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Buddhism originated in India. It is dominant in its more traditional forms in Sri Lanka and much of Southeast Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia). Additionally, it has taken on various forms in many other Asian countries, most notably Tibet, Korea, China and Japan. Today Buddhism is frequently adapted and adopted by Westerners, though often at the expense of faithfulness to the traditional forms of this religion.

The name “Judaism” comes from the tribe of Judah, one of the twelve ancient tribes of Israel. So, literally, it is the religion of those who come from the tribe of Judah, who are (in English) called the Jews. However, being Jewish refers to an ethnic identity as well as a faith, and nowadays there are many Jews who do not practice the Jewish faith, even though they are happy to be known as Jews ethnically and culturally. It is estimated that there are about 15 million religious Jews in the world today, but many of them do not practice any religion.

The term Baha’i literally means a “follower of Baha,” referring to Baha’ullah, the founder of the religion. Baha’i has more than seven million members. Originating in Iran, Baha’i is represented in well over 200 countries in the world, behind only Christianity (in over 250 countries), but far ahead of Islam, which is in about 175 countries.[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Why Are Mormons/LDS so Interested in Genealogies?

Many do not know that one of the biggest influences in the recent genealogy craze is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormons. The LDS interest in genealogies is connected to their belief/practice of “baptism for the dead.”

The LDS church believes that several ordinances, including baptism, must be fulfilled for a person to be saved. The LDS church also teaches that members in good standing can fulfill these ordinances in the place of ancestors who have passed on without the opportunity to do so. The church says that once the ordinances are fulfilled and the person accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ (even if heard and accepted after death), they can move on to a higher kingdom. LDS members use genealogy to discover who their ancestors are and fulfill the covenants in their stead.

These beliefs are faulty in several ways. First, there is only one way to salvation, and that is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Ordinances and sacraments are works, and therefore, not required (Ephesians 2:8–9). The second is that no person can earn the salvation of another. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). It does not come by another being baptized or completing ordinances in your name. There is nothing wrong with studying genealogies. Jesus’ ancestry is given in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. But once a person has passed on, their chance to come to a saving relationship with Christ is over.[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Witnessing to Hindus—What Is the Key?

The problem with witnessing to the Hindu is that he sees himself as a believer. While trying to witness to a Hindu, we must remember that we are involved in spiritual warfare which can only be won by sincere and focused prayers. So that is the place to begin. Pray regularly for the one to whom we are trying to present Christ. Because his beliefs about God and man are diametrically opposed to what we are trying to present from the Bible, our words often convey a totally different concept to his mind and therefore one has to be extra careful that we are communicating to him properly. To a Hindu the word “God” does NOT communicate much because to him everything, visible and invisible, is god or manifestations of god. To him god is an unknowable and unknown force and not a person. We might say that the Hindu calls nature god. So to begin by telling a Hindu that God loves him does not make much sense as he himself is a part of god!

Another thing to remember, as we try to reach Hindus with the Gospel, is that the word “Christian” is a grossly misunderstood word by our Hindu friends. To them “Christian” equals “beef eater” and that is an obnoxious thing to them. Cow is one of their favorite gods and to eat beef is one the most offensive things a Hindu can conceive of. So, in trying to reach a Hindu for Christ, never introduce yourself as a “Christian.” Rather you can introduce yourself and say, “I am a disciple of Christ and I wish to introduce my ‘Guru’ to you.” Then you will have a welcome hearing as Christ is accepted and venerated as a “Guru par excellence” by most Hindus.

Probably the best place to begin is to talk about Jesus of Nazareth. To a Hindu all avatars (incarnations of god) are mythical and non-historical. But the Bible presents Jesus as a historical person who lived and died in a specific time and place and historians confirm this. Much more than His life, the resurrection of Christ must be emphasized as there is nothing comparable in Hindu thinking at all. Thus we must present Christ as a unique person of history, indeed the creator God Himself, who came to settle the sin problem of humanity. His resurrection is the proof that He was indeed God in human form.

To a Hindu sin is a serious matter. He believes in transmigration of the soul so that the debt of sin can be paid back. In fact, the Puranas (Hindu religious books) say that a person has to be re-born millions of times to pay back the negative karmas (actions) of one life. And there is no guarantee that in the next birth there is no sin at all. So to a Hindu, moksha (salvation) is almost unattainable, even though one works very hard for it. The good news the Hindu needs to understand is that Christ paid the penalty for our sins, once for all time (Hebrews 7:27), and that salvation is a free gift based on the work of Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Moksha (salvation) to a Hindu is becoming lost in the “ultimate reality” thus losing identity forever by becoming one with it. But the Bible talks about being with a personal God all through eternity enjoying Him forever. This is something unique to biblical faith, and it must be presented as God’s own way for all men who will choose to live for Him here and now on earth. So each person has to decide where he/she will spend eternity. By coming to Christ, salvation can be received as a free gift by repentance and by faith based on His atoning work. May that be the portion of all Hindus most of whom earnestly work towards getting moksha. May the Lord help them to see the truth of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.[1]


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: Were the Salem Witch Trials Biblical?

A very dark period in the history of the United States, the Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex, Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693. Hundreds of people were arrested, imprisoned and tried for the crime of witchcraft and nineteen of them were hanged. One was crushed under heavy stones and at least five more died in prison. Numerous social, religious, psychological, and political reasons have been put forth as contributing factors to the bizarre events, but one thing is certain: the Salem Witch Trials were not biblical from a number of perspectives.

Some proponents of this kind of action have pointed to Old Testament commands like Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” or Leviticus 20:27, “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or is a wizard, shall surely be put to death” as justification for the trials. They would say that since God commanded death for anyone found guilty, then we are obligated to carry out those commands today. If that were the case, then we would have difficulty understanding what happened in Acts 19:19. As Paul ministered in Ephesus, many who had practiced witchcraft brought their books and burned them, confessing their sinful deeds. Instead of stoning these people, Paul welcomed them when they confessed and repented of their sins. Likewise, Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:9 was not stoned, but was rebuked by Peter.

Why didn’t Peter and Paul obey God’s commands from the Old Testament? First of all, the Law was given to the nation of Israel as the basis of a theocracy. Israel was the only nation in all of history to legally and politically come under the direct authority of God. He did not originally establish a king to rule over them, but declared Himself to be their only true king (1 Samuel 10:19). By the time of Jesus and the apostles, Israel was no longer a sovereign nation, and could no longer carry out all of the laws God had given them. When Jesus was presented for crucifixion before Pilate, the Jewish leaders had to get permission from the Roman governor to carry out their plans. Secondly, in this church age, we are no longer under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). This doesn’t give an excuse to sin, but does open the door of mercy to anyone who will confess and forsake their sin, no matter how grievous that sin is.

Another reason the witch trials were unbiblical was the manner in which they were carried out. The historical accounts of the trials make it pretty clear that most of the accused were really the victims of mass hysteria, petty jealousy, or gossip. Little evidence was produced to verify the charges leveled, and that which was produced was hearsay or circumstantial. In most cases it was one person’s word against another, and once the charge was made, the victim’s word was rejected. Those responsible for the trials were in most cases probably guiltier of sin than those who were accused. Lies, gossip, and slander were the rule of the day, and God was certainly not honored in anything that was done there. First Corinthians 13:4–7 stands as an indictment on those who carried out the witch trials, showing that they did not have the love of God within them.[1]


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