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Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin's Editor Defines a Cult.

 

Does His Definition Apply to Paulinist Dispensational Churches?

 

At 4:37-45 of this YT video, the successor editor of the deceased Walter Martin's work Kingdom of the Cults -- Dr. Ravi Zacharias -- defines a cult:

 

"Cult is anything that deviates from the historic person and work of Jesus Christ, or adds to his teaching, and is generally at the instruction of one individual who dictates that belief. It is most certainly cultic at that time."

Paul is the quintessential one who adds to the teaching of Jesus without attributing a single quote from Jesus as any support.

 

Then Paul's followers who are dispensational generally adhere to only what Paul teaches. Dispensational pastors and churches dismiss the relevance of Jesus to only the Jews of the time Jesus taught. Jesus' gospel then supposedly expired when the Jews allegedly rejected  Jesus' gospel. That's when Jesus supposedly came with Paul's gospel of grace, they claim. This step meant supposedly that we too now must reject the teachings of Jesus in the flesh -- an obedience and works centered gospel -- in favor of a new version -- anti-law, anti-works and faith alone for salvation.

 

Someone must truly wonder whether any dispensationalist ever read about the 3,000 saved Jews in Acts 1, then the additional 5,000 in Acts 3, and of course the "many myriads" = "many times the number 10,000" -- of Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah mentioned in Acts 21.

 

Regardless, if you are unfamiliar with this dispensational doctrine, see these webpages that catalog the following Paulinist pastors and major theologians who are dispensationalists:

 

Bultmann on Paul 

 

Modern Gospel Teaches Sermon on the Mount Is Irrelevant (Paulson, Larkin) 

 

Examples of Dispensationalism Defended  - Richard Jordan, Pettinghill & Torrey, E.P. Sanders, Carl Stange, Dr. Dubose, Von Bunsen, etc.

 

Willard Dismisses Sermon on the Mount as Impossible and Wrong to Follow  

 

Hence, by virtue of the successor to Walter Martin's definition of a cult, we now ask whether Pauline dispensationalist churches fit his criteria.  

 

Thus, we shall begin with the first identifier that Ravi Zacharias said in the YouTube about what identifies a cult.  It is as follows:

 

"A cult is anything that [either]

 

SITUATION #1

 

"deviates from the historic person and work of Jesus Christ"

 

Dispensational Churches openly and avowedly dispense with anything that has to do with the person and work of Jesus with one exception.

 

The only thing they accept about Jesus is that they must  believe in the atoning death of Jesus as well as his burial and resurrection. They do so on the authority of Paul for this view. For Paul claims holding belief steadfastly in those three facts about Jesus' life saves you. See 1 Cor. 15:1-4 

 

However, while such dispensational pastors claim the benefit of Christ's atonement, they openly renounce Jesus' condition that you must leave the DONOR (atonement gift) at the altar until you did the work necessary to gain forgiveness from someone who thinks you did them wrong -- God or man does not matter.  Matthew 5:23-24. This is a passage in the Sermon on the Mount. Pauline Dispensationalists clearly affirm that sermon is entirely dead and gone, belonging to a by-gone age. For more on that passage, see Leave your atonement gift - donor - at the altar. For on how dispensationalists insist the Sermon on the Mount is no longer church truth today or no longer has principles of salvation for today, see Dispensationalists Dismiss the Sermon on the Mount.

 

Next, we shall turn to the second separate means of identifying a cult that Ravi Zacharias explained in the above YouTube.  It is as follows:

 

"Or a Cult is anything that 

 

SITUATION #2    

adds to his teaching, and is generally at the instruction of one individual who dictates that belief. It is most certainly cultic at that time."

 

 

Clearly, in dispensational churches, Paul not only adds to Jesus' teaching, but wholly replaces it. This dispensational movement also is led by one individual who dictates that belief, namely Paul. The fact the leader of this cult is dead does not make Paul any less a leader of this cult.

 

Thus, by Dr. Ravi Zacharias' own words, the Pauline Dispensationalism Movement, and all its churches, should be identified as a powerful cult in the midst of the church. They meet both alternative criteria. 

 

Could Ravi Zacharias have spoken unintentionally a second time the same thing about the error of dispensationalism? Zacharias in a 2017 YouTube at 11:33-39 said this:

 

The more I walk with him [i.e., Jesus] the more passionately I am convinced that outside of him [i.e., Jesus] there are no answers."

 

Thus, because dispensationalists blatantly seek answers outside of Jesus, Ravi Zacharias should concede such teachers have no true answers for those seeking salvation. However, the dispensationalists reject Jesus' teachings of works worthy of repentance such as he taught through  Zacchaeus. When Zacchaes agreed to pay 4x what he stole from the poor, Jesus said "This day salvation has come to this house." Luke 19:18-19.

 

But what is the reaction of dispensationalists? They look outside of Jesus for the answer. They impliedly insist because Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved "by faith, not works, lest any man should boast," that such a teaching by Jesus is dangerous and destructive of salvation. They scream, in effect, that Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9 says such a lesson by Jesus to Zacchaeus actually endangers Zacchaeus' salvation. For Paul teaches such a doctrine of works for salvation is flawed, because it will end up in Zacchaeus boasting unto his damnation.

 

But Ravi Zacharias's message correctly says there is "no answer" that is "outside of Jesus" on such matters of salvation. This necessarily includes dispensationalists who embrace faith alone to the exclusion of Jesus' gospel to Zacchaeus. Paul's gospel is an example of a gospel that gives the never-works-are-necessary answer to salvation -- a doctrine well outside the teachings belonging to Jesus. 

 

Did Ravi Zacharias' realize the full meaning of what he was saying this second time?

 

I don't think he in either quote was looking at dispensationalism. But these two quotes by him shows how an objective view of Jesus applies to dispensationalism. Both quotes unwittingly destroy dispensationalism. 

 

 

How To Know If Your Pastor Serves This Cult.

 

The pastors learn dispensationalism at seminary. You can easily know whether your church pastor is actually unwittingly a part of this cult's useful uncritically accepting followers. 

 

Simply take a pad and paper this Sunday to church. Date the pad at the top left. Then draw a line down the middle of the entire page. Put Jesus' name above  the top left column. Put Paul's name above the top right column. Now as you listen to the sermon, put a tally mark every time Jesus is quoted under the left column.  Do the same every time Paul is quoted but under the right column. Then at the end, total the number of tallies on each side. Keep using the next page on the same pad every week.

 

I call this charting.

 

My experience for over five years of charting was it is 13 x Paul is quoted for every time Jesus is quoted. These were mostly independent evangelical churches but also some mainstream denominations too. Sadly, I never have found a church centered on the work and teachings of Jesus in all my many years of trying.

For examples of my monitoring over many years with charting what turned out each time to be Pauline church services, and summarizing / quoting the sermons I heard, see Pauline Slanted Preaching Monitored

 

Do not do this charting just one week, or two weeks. Do this ten weeks to be sure. If you find the score is consistent, you are under a pastor co-opted by a cult belief. 

 

Also, realize your pastor has no conscious awareness that he or she is part of a cult. This is why the seminary means of promulgating this doctrine is so effective. The allure of a paying career as a pastor frequently requires the imbibing of this teaching. The seminary student is all too eager to learn a gospel that is easy and cheap, and will grow his or her congregation.

 

Yet, sadly the seminary student is unaware that he or she has left the true person and work of Jesus behind. They have added to his words, and followed an individual who guides them to follow and imitate himself (Paul - 1 Cor. 11:1), not to follow directly Jesus' example.

 

They exactly fit the definition of a cult follower provided by the current editor of Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults.

 

Charting Reports Welcome.

 

We invite written charting reports from those who offer such reports on churches where they personally witness proof of dispensationalism. We will keep the church anonymous in any summary report we publish hopefully each year on the saturation status of dispensationalism.

 

That said, we look forward to receive charting reports on various churches. We will print your synopsis of sermons, and the ratio that Jesus is quoted to the times Paul is quoted. Unless it is good news, we won't identify the church or "pastor" by name.

 

On how to do charting reports, see discussion above.

 

If you provide such a report, we require your name and a disclosure of the individual church. 

 

We also want a link to the sermons online that cover your charting periods. This way we can independently verify your reports.

 

Likewise, if your church is not dispensational, and has solid teaching primarily focused upon Jesus' teachings, then please report that in the same manner.

 

We would love to recommend such good Jesus' centric churches to others. This is the most frequently asked question by those who email us here: what church can I attend that is Jesus' centric.

 

Comments Are Welcome.

 

If you wish to comment on this post, please send your comment to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for consideration. I will post fair and honest disagreements that are not rude or have a hateful tone

 

POST-NOTE.

 

Could JWO Ever Be A Cult Belief? 

We unabashedly promote that New Covenant inspired canon is Jesus' Words Only. Other works in the NT are edifying or history (Acts) or a test from God He expects you to reject like God's Testing the Rechabites through a command of Jeremiah.

 

Using the definition of a cult above, JWO never can be a cult belief. For by the editor's objective definition, we focus on the person and work of Jesus. We do not add to Jesus' words. Finally, we have no single leader but Jesus. We emphasize in fact Jesus said he was the sole teacher and sole pastor.

 

As a result, JWO never can be a heresy, or at least not a harmful one, because it was the status of the church immediately after Jesus ascended.

Is the fact few believe in JWO the proof of its invalidity? The opposite is true. For Jesus said that broad is the way that leads to destruction,  but narrow is the way that leads to life, and "few" find it. See Matt 7:14.

Hence, a mark of the wrong way -- a heretical way away from Christ -- is indeed its popular appeal, especially because it is easy and cheap when Jesus' way requires an "agonizing" effort to enter the kingdom. See Luke 13:24 explained here.