May 262010

Mark Galli’s the end of Christianity “as we know it”.

Nate Spencer on Michael Spencer, whose book Mere Churchianity releases on Kindle June 1.

Scot McKnight interviews N.T. Wright’s After You Believe.

Chaplain Mike Mercer on ballyard religion.

Dan Edelen: “imagine what the next generation of Christians would be like if we set just the one expectation that they would be martyred for Christ because they love Jesus so much.” Also, Edelen comments on unemployed pastors and church layoffs.

This is a probably well-intentioned, but misguided representation of Jesus, who by my limited understanding is looking for more than “the top management position in your heart”.

Tim Challies reviews Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer.

Laura Leonard asks where the CCM female musicians are at.

Timothy Dalrymple of Patheos interviews Baylor theologian Rodney Stark.

Robert Benson’s top five books on prayer.

Pat Robertson’s heckler (as linked to by Todd Rhoades).

Get Religion’s Terry Mattingly interviews journalist and writer Julia Dunn.

Lisa Robinson’s five signs you might be in a cult-like ministry.

  No Responses to “Linkathon 5/26, part 2”

  1. Thank you for continuing to feature links to Cerulean Sanctum.

    As a way to correct a terrible oversight, I’ve added Phoenix Preacher to my links list.

  2. Thank you Dan for the kind gesture. Which reminds me…we need to restore our links list from the .com somehow.

  3. Lisa Robinson wrote about one of the signs of a cult leader “… this kind of leadership demands unquestioned obedience. You must believe what this person says as the dispenser of truth. Questioning their authority would be like questioning the very authority of God.”

    It sure sounds like some of the people we have been discussing lately…

  4. Lisa makes some very powerful points, that continue to remind me of certain “ministries”…

    “Cults make the claim that they have an exclusive claim on the truth. Cults will insist they everyone else has missed it. ”
    “The cult-like ministry may not be so direct as to proclaim it’s teaching as exclusively true, but it may elevate their teaching above others. There may even be comparison’s drawn to other churches or doctrines, with an emphasis on how good the ministry’s interpretation is and that no one understands “Christianity” better than this particular ministry.”

    “A big warning sign is when leaders insist that they be the only voice of reason and teaching and discourage instruction from other sources. In fact, I would say this is a huge red flag. Why? Because we learn in community and no one person has a corner on truth. “

  5. Interesting.

    Even Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries warns against “Christian Cults” and describes their behavior and characteristics.

    Jacob, why are you silent on the actions and cover-ups of rogue CC pastors? Why go after a guy like Len Sweet and ignore (and actually somewhat endorse) corrupt guys like Heitzig and his rogue buddies (or is it unfair to make that connection)?

  6. Confusion reigns when the word ‘cult’ is used without differentiating between theological cults, and psychological cults.

    From where I sit, Lisa is getting owned by the comment section to her post.

  7. From Lisa’s article: “The truth is, only God is truth and he has revealed his truth through scripture. His word is truth (John 17:17) but our capacity is fallible. I believe a pastor that seeks to dispense God’s truth should be on a continual learning path and utilize whatever tools are available to understand God’s word better. While there should be a confidence in scripture, there has to be the humility to recognize that interpretive errors can, and do, occur.”

    Good stuff. Logos vs. man’s logos 🙂

  8. AV, gotta agree with you, but she is very patient, we’ll see how it turns out.

  9. Defining cult is challenging, for sure. It gets hairy. You can have a psychological cult within our wtihout of Christian orthodoxy. Jonestown, for example, was started by Jim Jones, who was a mainline Protestant minister. I think it’s the group psychology aspect that most determines what makes up a cult. Having a ‘correct’ doctrinal statement on a piece of paper means nothing WRT a psychological cultish situation.

    Churches have their special unwritten rules. Instead of sterile argument about a psychological cult versus religious, I think spiritual abuse is the real issue. I like this definition from Dr. Ron Enroth, author of “Churches That Abuse.”

    –There is strong, control-oriented leadership.
    –The use of guilt, fear, and intimidation by the leadership to manipulate members and keep them in line.
    –Followers led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs, and that God has singled them out for a special purpose.
    –Other, more traditional churches are put down as being less “holy.”
    –Subjective experience, especially public or group testimonials (sometimes coached), are encouraged and emphasized.
    –Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny, and the church standards established are usually based upon the life-style adopted by the leader.
    –Rules and legalism abound.
    Members not following rules established by the leadership (or threatening exposure of the manipulation and abuse) are often labeled “reprobates” or “dupes of Satan,” and are dealt with harshly. Ostracism of former members and excommunication of dissenters are common.
    –For members choosing to leave a spiritually abusive church, returning to the realm of normalcy is difficult. ;
    I’d add one: abusive churches are performance based rather than grace based.

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