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How to Identify a Cult

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
November 12, 2020 1:00 am

How to Identify a Cult

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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November 12, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 574 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

1. A friend of mine recently suggested that my wife and I stop seeing a family therapist that we have been meeting with and instead only receive biblical counseling since it is based on scripture instead of other things. We have found meeting with this therapist really helpful, but are willing to meeting counselors in the church as well, but I am unsure if we had to choose between one or the other.

2. How could Elijah and Enoch ascend into heaven when atonement had not been made yet?

3. What is the difference between begotten and “not made” when referring to Jesus?

4.  What is it that makes a Christian cult a cult?


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There are thousands of different religious groups all over the world. What is it that makes certain religious groups, Colts that's just one of the questions will be answering on today's edition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer, along with my good friend Pastor Adm. Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day.

You can call this right now with your question. At 833, the court, that's 1-833-843-2673. You can also email us with your question at first up today Israel.

You shared an Instagram message that came into our program and I wanted to share with our listeners allege that it was so encouraging.

He says hey a drill I just wanted to thank you for the ministry you've done through the core Christianity podcast. I've been listening regularly for a few months now because of your show. I've noticed much more peace and rest in my life and much less restlessness and anxiety. Instead of focusing so much on how well I am obeying God you help me to focus more on the gospel and the gracious God planned accomplished and is accomplishing and will accomplish that redemption. So thank you again for helping me better understand the gospel and how to live in the light of it, and that beautiful at it is, and in those messages that we receive are so encouraging is 18 encourage you been blessed by the program reach out to us want to hear from you and in here about the things that God is doing in your life and it also gives us an opportunity just me an opportunity to pray for you to keep reaching out to us. We love to hear the stories about how God is helping you to direct your eyes to Jesus and to grow in his grace the knowledge of Christ and being able to rest and what Christ is done for you. That really is what it's all about so thank you and Bill. I'm glad you shared that message.

We have a Facebook account, Instagram and Twitter so you could post on any one of those so got it all. Look for is the core Christianity bliss get to your first question of the day. This one was posted on her Facebook page. A friend of mine recently suggested that my wife and I stopped seeing a family therapist that we've been meeting with he said we should only receive biblical counseling since it's based on Scripture instead of other things.

We found meeting with this therapist very helpful and are willing to meet with counselors in the church as well, but I'm unsure what we would do if we had to choose between one or the other.

I don't think that you you need to choose between one or the other, and Bill. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this one. Two. As a trained counselor. Let me give you my thoughts as a minister the gospel who is had some experience with both marriage and family therapy and biblical counseling.

I've seen marriages transformed for the better by a good family therapist, and as someone who's been trained and educated and is able to spot things patterns even that others may not be able to see right away and and provide some insight some really helpful insight for strengthening the marriage and I've also seen marriages transformed by solid biblical counseling. Helping people to see their problem in light of Scripture meditating on God's word and what it has to say about things like communication, finances, intimacy into some of the things that oftentimes posed problems in marriage, but I think this is really important because a lot of people don't have the biblical foundation when they enter into a marriage and so biblical counseling can be really impactful. I don't think that you need to pick between one or the other. Though you know it in life and in marriage. We need all the help we can get the teaching of the church.

The encouragement of friends and family yeah times in marriage and family therapist or a biblical counselor and let me just add one thing. Don't be ashamed of the fact that you're sitting down with a therapist or a biblical counselor. The fact is, there is no perfect marriage and we all bring history and baggage into the relationship and as sinners were getting married to another center so it takes a lot to help. It takes a lot of grace, wisdom, forgiveness, and the love that comes from God and the gift of the Holy Spirit. So if you're going to have a healthy marriage and it takes work and that's okay. And so I think if you're benefiting from sitting down with with this particular family therapist keep doing it and if you want to check out biblical counseling as well will do that to. If it's an opportunity to grow in God's word, the one time that we do want to be cautious is it for hearing something from a therapist that flat-out contradicts what God is sadness word will we know the God's word, ultimately, is the final authority. And so this is another reason why it's really important for you to know the word of God so that you can be able to sift through you know is what I'm hearing right now in line with what God is sadness word, but the fact of the matter is there's just a lot of practical wisdom and and helpful guidance that you can get from a therapist as someone who's trained in marriage and family therapy, and so I like to encourage both in and I've seen both have a really positive impact on couples. The only thing I would add is make sure that your therapist is willing to affirm your faith, or at least is not opposed to your faith because the research shows that, unfortunately, a large percentage of psychologist and psychiatrist social workers tend to identify as agnostic or atheist, and as long as they're not, you know, attacking your faith or they're not trying to undermine it.

Anyway, I think you're right.

I think the the expertise and the knowledge the wisdom and family dynamic, psychological testing, the things they bring to the therapy can be very very helpful again as long as they're not trying to do anything that would cause you to doubt your faith, or that would contradict God's word and that in the counseling sessions bill at some point I was talking to a therapist one time and they were asking me you know as a pastor you talk about all these rules and and regulations in your religion and I have seen, this is what this person was tell me I have seen you know people just come into me weighed down with guilt and shame. And so I just tell them you you need it for to set aside those rules if they're not helpful if they're causing you to be like this.

Then there's the real problem in and they were asking you how do you deal with that because it sounds like you're putting all these burdens on people and asked. He was kind of a neat opportunity to be able to clarify that distinction that we often talk about on this program between the law and the gospel is that you know what the law really does burden us many times and it can lead us to feel completely crushed, but the good news of the Christian faith is that we don't just have law, we have gospel that the God who gave us his law that we've broken also sent his son into the world to perfectly fulfill the law so that we might experience forgiveness of the denied we do fail that we do sin, and that we do fall because we have a God whose gracious and merciful and who forgives our sins as we can be honest about our sin and our failure and rest in the goodness of God our Savior, but your you're totally right below it really is important that whoever were hearing from isn't undermining what God is sadness word. You don't need that. I think that would actually lead to more problems in the marriage than anything else. And so, good advice.

We certainly pray that God will continue to heal their marriage and that they'll be able to use the advice they get both biblical counseling and from the family therapist will schedule another question that came in this one was a call we received at 833.

The core city was Enoch. Elijah God can understand that when Jesus came and shared, and he also no man has he that came down the coast away.

What made his shoulder again building the temple away into the presence of God. What made you because Jesus had died. It should ship could you expound on the grid what you got Bush hey God bless you tomorrow i.e. I really appreciate you following up with that previous question that we receive and believe it or not. Bill and I were in Nashville not too long ago and my favorite memory was testing out all the hot chicken, no princes, hot chicken and natty bees and all that is this. We had a blast so Bill would you say it was the best you can get really hot, which I did. Yeah I did. I'll admit I was paying for it later but yeah so anyways morning.

God bless you and and and enjoy the hot chicken out there. This is really I think your your question you. How can Old Testament believers be saved if Jesus hadn't died on the cross yet.

I mean really, you think about me talk about the ascension of Elijah and Enoch, but there are couple things I think there's a misconception I used to think when I was a newer believer, you know, in the Old Testament people were saved by law keeping all of these rules, the 10 Commandments that kind of thing but in the New Testament when Jesus came. Then they were saved by faith and forgiveness because of what he had accomplished because of the gospel is this really important for for us to understand this in the Old Testament people were saved in this same way that people are saved now saved by the gospel and by faith with one difference. They look forward to the gospel through what we call types and shadows know what I mean by types and shadows and make you think about what the sacrificial system in the temple you know that the atonement that the scapegoat Leviticus 16, the day of atonement. Those kinds of things that all of these pictures of the gospel that we have so clearly for us in the stories of the Old Testament, even the promises that that were given to the people of God.

In particular, you know, the promise was made in Genesis chapter 3 verse 15 about that the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. The promise that was made to Abraham that through his offspring.

All of the nations of the earth would be blessed. Those were Martin gospel promises. If you nobly we just listen to what the apostle Paul said in Galatians chapter 3 verses seven through nine listen to this know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham and the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel before hand to Abraham get that the gospel was preached to Abraham in the promise that God gave to him saying in you shall all the nations be blessed. So Paul goes on to say so, than those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith and so you you get this clear teaching in the Scriptures that there's only one way of salvation is through Jesus Christ by faith, by the grace of God and so just because Jesus hadn't come yet doesn't mean that these individuals Elijah, Enoch, etc. could be saved. Goodness and into the presence of the Lord, and I think that that other passage that you're referring to know when Jesus talks about no one having ascended to the father except the one who is come down at the is talking about something very specific there.

It's obvious that Jesus knew about Enoch and Elijah sees that contradicting himself. He's the son of God, and he knows all things. I think there he speaking very specifically about himself as the only begotten son of God who is come down to us for our redemption and who is going to ascend into the presence of God, for our sake as well as their something very unique about that, but I think a lot of this gets down to recognizing that forgiveness flows from Jesus and in the Old Testament people receive Jesus by faith, clinging to him and those types and shadows, the shadows of the sacrificial system in the promises of God and in the New Testament we have the reality we see that that the big picture.

Now we know the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Jesus Christ, and so I hope that clears things up a little bit for you.

Martin really appreciate you listening and please give us a call again your listing to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and some people claim that Jesus was a good man a wonderful teacher, even a prophet but deny that he's God we have a resource that will help clear up any confusion about who Jesus really is yummy.

Bill you say some people it just seems like so many people today are willing to affirm that Jesus was a prophet you he photo like Mohammed or Buddha. He's a great spiritual teacher a Guru. Admit you think that maybe you're willing to say Jesus was. It was a great teacher, a spiritual guide.

I don't know if he was God. Well, we need to look at what Jesus himself said what the Bible teaches God's revelation that we have this resource. Jesus is God, making it very clear for you there that you can download it for a donation of any amount in this is a great study to go through with the group of friends or by yourself if you've ever wondered why Christians believe in the deity of Jesus Christ that Jesus is God you can be helped by this study were to core to download. Jesus is God is really help you as well. If you into a conversation with someone who claims that Jesus is not God you can get that resource by calling us at 833-843-2673. Again, that's 833.

The core that Bill and I'm I am glad that you brought that up you getting in a conversation with someone who doesn't believe that she's got is not just a lot of people who affirm that you know Jesus was a good teacher, a prophet, but not God. You also have the the Colts that you know go knocking on your door in and they want to talk to you about the kingdom of Jehovah are that kind of a thing of the Mormons going around on their bicycles that teach something different about the identity of Jesus and they want to convince you of what it is that they think the Scriptures teach and that's why it's so important for you to be equipped to know what the Bible actually teaches that when you get these conversations one you can use the Scriptures to demonstrate know here's who Jesus really is and so the back of a part of this is just being equipped to have some of those conversations, it probably many of you have already had so get hold of the three force so critical was get back to another question that came in through our website from Elia and she says what's the difference between begotten, and not made when referring to Jesus, yes, well, you are Elia referring to what's called the Nicene Creed and it's this distinction in the Nicene Creed. Now if you don't know what the Nicene Creed is it's it's a statement defining the Christian faith. Essentially what it is that we believe is Christians. The core doctrines of the Christian faith.

We might even say core Christianity.

It was agreed that was written in 325 and ultimately completed in 381. It was slightly amended in 381 in Constantinople and it again.

It just highlights the core teachings about the father the son and the Holy Spirit. The church salvation. Ms. it's a brief statement that she something that we use in in my church and it was written in response to false teachings about Jesus we've been talking about it a lot on this program already. You know that the differences of opinion regarding who Jesus is. There were a lot of false teachings in the early days of John talks about in first John the spirit of the antichrist that denies that Jesus came in the flesh that denies that he's the Christ heresy false teaching about God tends to refine what the church says about the truth of Scripture tends to refine orthodoxy, or at least help us more clearly articulated as some people were saying way back in the day and people say it today to that Jesus was a creature created being just like you and me. There was a guy in particular. Elia named Arius that he is one of the first and most well-known false teachers in the ancient church and he said that there was a time when Jesus was not. That is, he had a beginning. He came into existence.

He was created by the father and the church responded with a resounding no.

That's false. While he is begotten of the father. He is not made or created. That's what the Creed says it in the Nicene Creed is as a believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, begotten of the father before all worlds God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the father, by whom all things were made that talks about the glory of the eternal son of God, the one by whom all things were made of the same substance of the father and then it says this is that this is just so beautiful who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary was made man was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.

He suffered and was buried in the third day he rose again. According to the Scriptures made it really just encapsulates the whole story of redemption right there for us. The eternal son of God who was never made.

He's uncreated. He's the Lord of glory came down for us and for our salvation with the church said and look Elliott. This is the clear teaching of Scripture. If you have a Bible turn to John chapter 1, the gospel of John and this is where you're going to see that distinction very clearly the distinction between begotten, not made John chapter 1 beginning in verse one in the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God all things were made through him and without him was not anything made that was made in him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. Now you know very clearly what John says there especially in verse two and three. He was in the beginning with God in all things were made through him and without him there isn't one thing in all of creation that was made, which is to say Jesus is not in the category of the creature, but of the creator.

This is getting kind of technical here, but it really is so important because were talking about who Jesus is. This is core Christianity is about the relations within the holy Trinity, the sun, he's eternal you're listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and Adm. here's an email question we received from Joy. She says what is it that makes a Christian group occult are the Mormon church and Jehovah's Witnesses Colts man I just felt that his program, Bill a lot about the identity of Jesus a lot about you know having a right understanding of the gospel of the Trinity and that's one thing. Joy that comes to mind when when it comes to defining a cold peace Colts. They take the teaching of the Bible and they twisted to such a degree that they end up denying who Jesus is.

According to the Scriptures, and this is a real serious thing to me. Paul talked about this in second Corinthians is another. There might be some people that come and preach to you another Jesus for another gospel. This is something that the apostles were absolutely concerned about in the early church was this great apostasy people turning away from Jesus because they were led astray by deceptive spirits. The doctrines of demons well I think that's what you see in these Colts. They deny the Orthodox teaching the right teaching about who Jesus is. They have an incorrect understanding about God and an incorrect understanding about the gospel, salvation now one of the things that so tricky about this joy is frequently what Colts will do is they will use all of the same terminology that Christians use will talk about grace about Jesus about the gospel about salvation about the Holy Spirit, and yet they'll define each of those words differently than how the church has defined them or understood them for the last 2000 years. And so it's a subtle deception, but that's what makes it so destructive and that's why so many people fall for.

Is it all just sounds good. Sounds like you believe what everybody else believes will know if the key here. Joy is what does the Bible teach about Jesus, that the spirit of the antichrist is trying to confuse people about in the world today.

It wants us to deny Jesus by embracing an un-biblical view the correct view of who he was. Another thing that I see a lot of times in these Colts joy is this idea that they're restoring the gospel, at least when they start out you know some of these Colts that are more recent like Mormonism were like the Jehovah's Witnesses know they begin by saying everyone else is wrong. The gospel has been lost and we are restoring the gospel were bringing the truth back will. The reason you know that that's false. Right from the get-go's Jesus said when he was speaking to his disciples ought to build my church and the gates of hell will never prevail against her a lot musicals do as they say will actually have the gates of hell did prevail against the church for these many years, hundreds of years. Thousands of years and now we need to come and restore the gospel because it's been so lost that it just was basically nonexistent what that's precisely what the Mormon church said that precisely with the Jehovah's Witnesses, said and there's a problem with that is not true.

Another thing that you oftentimes see and Colts is spiritual abuse in leadership sometimes it can be very very evident.

Other times, the way it happens is still just say well if you begin to ask questions or have doubts while you're going to be ostracized. It really is tragic. I've I've had so many conversations with Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses who the moment they start really asking questions, studying the Scriptures and and they realize that they don't have good answers according to what their teacher say they're either told you to stop asking these questions or there there ostracized there there treated us as a pariah really is heartbreaking.

We have joy the true gospel in God's word about what a treasure we have and it centers around who Jesus is and that's what these Colts don't understand that's what all false teaching fails to understand is the identity of Jesus and that's what we need to go back to the Scriptures, searching the Scriptures every day to know Jesus study the Scriptures Jesus that you search the Scriptures, for in them you think that you have eternal life. But these are they which testify about me John chapter 5 as we know the word of God we get to know the word of God better eternal word of God. Jesus and as we know him were connected from all of these false teachings that are popping up everywhere around us. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33 core when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together

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