If wandering away from biblical orthodoxy is so dangerous, and if the judgement on false teachers is so severe, why then do people leave the mainstream Christian churches – and Christian families – to join religious cults?
Cults are “the unpaid bills of the church.” Where the traditional church has failed to maintain and teach biblical doctrine, or where it’s become ineffective, cults rush in to fill the vacuum. I want to suggest six reasons why people join religious cults. First, unfulfilled expectations of traditional churches: an impersonal atmosphere, a perception of irrelevance, inadequate teaching, or irresponsible leadership. Cults move in, offering what seems superior, and the confusion begins.
Second, a sense of love and affection. We all need to experience a sense of love and care from friends and loved ones. Cults excel in this crucial area, because they know that meeting felt needs pays great dividends.
Third, a sense of belonging. people – especially young adults – increasingly join cults in order to find a family that gives them a sense of belonging they lack in their biological family due to the prevalence of divorce, single parenthood, generational conflict and child abuse.
Fourth, a sense of acceptance and self-worth. People who feel for one reason or another that they don’t ‘belong’ in society (or in the church) are especially attracted to cult organisations – because they feel alienated, or isolated, or they lack a positive and healthy sense of personal identity. Cult members may believe the lie that they’re now on God’s side, or that they have “found the truth,” and they develop contempt and resistance toward orthodox churches. Cults also encourage a high degree of lay-involvement, elevating the importance of the individual member, which many adherents find attractive.
Fifth, idealism. Some people are attracted by the enthusiasm and personal sacrifice of cult members, or by their wholesome lifestyle in contrast to the relatively worldly...