I recently heard that a well known cult leader who began his career as the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul and later said, "Okay... I'm actually Jesus..." has NOW declared himself the anti-Christ.
I know very little about the subject, so I'm keeping information on this to a minimum. This guy gets enough press; he doesn't need the help of bloggers.
But the whole thing got me thinking; thinking about the thousands of people who follow this guy. What kind of person gets sucked into this ideal based on such a shaky foundation? What makes say, an East-Berliner give all of his worldly possessions to a Puerto Rican, based solely on a nice Italian suit and a smile? There's obviously more to it than that. But I'm just trying to figure out -- what kind of thinking is that? What's going on in your head?
It's the attraction of the cult mentality, which to me is similar to the mentality of a lot of Christians.
Cults offer different things; sense of belonging, sense of purpose, a charismatic leader, etc... Many people go to church for the same reasons. There they find community. They find love and acceptance. They also find a reason to live; a reason for existence. They also find a Savior; Christ. They are told, "believe in Jesus as your Savior, His promise that He fullfilled the debt you owed on the cross, and your sins are forgiven. You have eternal life."
And they say, "Yes. I believe.... now what?"
Here's where some churches go wrong. But the blame can't fall squarely on the church. Our nature tells us, "there's gotta be a catch. I mean, it can't just be 'believe' and that's it. I gotta be a good person, right? I have to be Baptized, don't I?" or "I have to change the way I live, don't I ?" or "I have to quit smoking, don't I?" or "I have to be Baptized by the Holy Spirit, don't I" or "I have to stop sinning, right?"
The answer to all of those questions is, no.
Unfortunately, many church "leaders" who should not be leading, proceed to add lists of rules and regulations; follow-up for the Biblically challenged.
Salvation is by faith alone. There is nothing to add to that. It is all about God's grace.
But our nature can't handle a free gift. We have to add stuff to it.
I just heard a song by Derek Webb called, A New Law.
don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
i prefer a shot of grape juice
don’t teach me about loving my enemies
don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
just give me a new law
Great song. Makes sense. There is nothing to add to God's promises. It's all about His promise and our response in faith. There is nothing we can do or not do that will change that. We believe, and that's it.
But someone cries out, "Yes, but...." and it all goes to hell.
It's the same mentality of the cultist. "Sacrifice is required. We must work hard. There is much to do. We must live rightly. We are the only ones who are right. Everyone else is wrong."
"We ARE the new law."
If Christ came to liberate us from bondage, why are we so bent on staying imprisoned?