A Biblical Strategy for Confronting the Cults -- By: A. Duane Litfin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 135:539 (Jul 1978)
Article: A Biblical Strategy for Confronting the Cults
Author: A. Duane Litfin

A Biblical Strategy for Confronting the Cults

A. Duane Litfin

[A. Duane Litfin, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

In 1820 a young man named Joseph Smith wandered out into a field where he was allegedly visited by God the Father and God the Son. Over the next decade Smith continued to receive revelations until by 1830 he had written The Book of Mormon. Today his followers, known as the Latter-Day Saints or Mormons, number in the millions around the world.

In 1886 Mary Baker Eddy allegedly recovered from a severe injury by reading the Matthew 9 account of Christ’s healing of a paralytic. Mrs. Eddy decided that she had discovered new realms of metaphysical truth and so began writing her major work, Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures. Her followers today, known as Christian Scientists, number in the millions worldwide.

In 1879 a man named Charles Taze Russell wrote a book entitled Zions Watchtower and Herald of Christs Presence. Russell had left an orthodox Presbyterian background to flirt with Seventh-day Adventism and then Christadelphianism. Finally he founded his own sect, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who number today in the millions around the world.

These are just three of the more virulent strains of heresy currently plaguing the world. There are many others to match them. For example, a rampant liberalism continues its century-long crusade to erode Christendom’s base of sound doctrine. Of more recent origin is the popular but equally deadly heresy of Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church. Also prominent is a trend toward the many forms of eastern mysticism through groups such as

Hare Krishna or gurus such as the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Nor should the quasi-religious sects such as the Church of Scientology be overlooked.

Never before has the church faced such a cacophony of false teachers, each trying to drown out the pure, by-grace-through-faith good news of Jesus Christ. The spiritual battlelines are drawn, with God’s people arrayed on one side and the false teachers on the other. Christians dare not ignore the battle, nor can they retreat. God has not called His church to a spirit of timidity or fear. The time has come for all who follow the banner of Jesus Christ to stand up and be counted for the Savior, in this, the most significant of all engagements.

But how? By what means can Christians today effectively combat the false teachers who are so prevalent? Marching orders from above are required, an offensive and defensive strategy for confronti...

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