• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.
  3. Please note there is a new rule regarding the posting of videos. It reads, "Post a summary of the videos you post . An exception can be made for music videos.". Unless you are simply sharing music, please post a summary, or the gist, of the video you wish to share.
  4. There have been some changes in the Life Stages section involving the following forums: Roaring 20s, Terrific Thirties, Fabulous Forties, and Golden Eagles. They are changed to Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Golden Eagles will have a slight change.
  5. CF Staff, Angels and Ambassadors; ask that you join us in praying for the world in this difficult time, asking our Holy Father to stop the spread of the virus, and for healing of all affected.
  6. We are no longer allowing posts or threads that deny the existence of Covid-19. Members have lost loved ones to this virus and are grieving. As a Christian site, we do not need to add to the pain of the loss by allowing posts that deny the existence of the virus that killed their loved one. Future post denying the Covid-19 existence, calling it a hoax, will be addressed via the warning system.

Christian Cults

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Tellyontellyon, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. Tellyontellyon

    Tellyontellyon Active Member

    301
    +105
    United Kingdom
    Buddhist
    Married
    Do you know of any apparently Christian groups or churches that should be avoided?
    What has your experience been?

    It's very difficult to approach Christianity from the outside when there are so many beliefs, churches and groups in the first place, let alone dangerous groups...

    How can a person keep themselves safe?
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. Hazelelponi

    Hazelelponi Well-Known Member Supporter

    +6,240
    United States
    Baptist
    Married
    Initially? By sticking with mainline churches... this means Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Anglican or of course Catholic if thats acceptable to you.

    These are all extremely "safe" churches...

    Your less safe with independent churches, these are churches without any oversight except for the church members. Before attending these you really need to know Scripture before walking in, in order to determine if they are teaching in accordance with sound doctrine or if they are going off the rails somewhere.

    Absolute no's, according to my husband is any church with key words like "holiness" etc in the name (Things like "the Glorious church of Jesus", or "the First Pentecostal Holiness church" etc, just avoid)

    Baptist churches can be hit or miss, (though I like the Baptist church atmosphere) you can run into some just plain awesome ones, or some not so great ones... just depends.

    When I was saved I had my husband to guide me through, (which made it easier) but even so I visited several churches and asked questions before settling on one I really liked.

    Just visit several churches... you can attend services several times at each one, listen to the Pastor and his sermons, listen to their Bible studies etc. see what kind of atmosphere the church has, you'll find yourself leaning to the one you feel most comfortable in, that's the one you want to stick with until your more knowledgeable on scriptural matters.

    As a beside. Some churches pass around an offering plate and others don't. In the ones who do visitors are not expected to give anything, so don't worry about it, often they will pass the plate around you so as not to put you on the spot as a visitor.. so if this occurs again don't worry about it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  3. Tone

    Tone "Whenever Thou humblest me, Thou makest me great." Supporter

    +6,278
    United States
    Messianic
    Private
    Any that adhere to something like this:

    7 Elements Of Great Workplace Culture (workstride.com)

    should be okay for you.


    Because, that's basically what you're walking into as these 501(c)(3)'s are set up.


    "Cult" is just short for culture.


    May I ask what you mean when you use words like "safe" and "dangerous", when you speak about Christian churches?


    My experience in moving through pretty much the whole spectrum of churchianity has been a pretty positive one, i would say.
     
  4. Par5

    Par5 Well-Known Member

    964
    +587
    United Kingdom
    Atheist
    Married
    I would advise posters to be careful when replying to this thread. I also don't know how you can actually respond to it as I was once banned for simply calling a certain church a cult.
     
  5. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,073
    United States
    Christian
    In Relationship
    Explore inwardly first. Become part of the Body of Christ through regeneration. Once you are in Him discernment, through the power of His Holy Spirit, will guild you into all truth. Be blessed.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  6. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Member Supporter

    +41,872
    United States
    Calvinist
    Married
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • List
  7. steve78

    steve78 Newbie

    393
    +121
    Salvation Army
    Married
    Just avoid those that advocate control over you, such as how you spend your money, who you date, how you dress etc.

    The only church i personally feel comfortable with myself is the Salvation Army causes its aims and beliefs are on par with my own.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  8. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +2,178
    Canada
    Anglican
    Married
    The answer depends on your previous experience with Christian groups and the intention behind the question.

    For example, have you been to churches before? Why did you stop going? Do you believe in God? What kind of God do you believe or not believe in? Do you intend to visit a church? Do you intend to listen to service / sermon online? What kind of Buddhism do you follow? What attracted you to Buddhism? How do you practice your beliefs?

    There is no one answer fits all. If you want to take the safest route, go to an Anglican church..
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  9. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +15,142
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    Another possible thing to do (and I've had people do this in real life, so don't think it's weird or the minister will be offended) is to ask about the governance and accountability structures and complaints processes in the church. For example, who is the minister's "boss"? If the minister, or another leader in the church, does something wrong, how is that handled? How transparent is decision-making in the church, and how is it shared?

    If they can't answer those questions or don't have robust accountability and complaints processes, that's a sign of an unhealthy environment, and I would avoid those.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  10. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 Pax et bonum! CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +8,574
    United Kingdom
    Anglican
    Single
    1. Stick with churches that adhere to the traditional tenets of Christianity, such as those expressed in the Nicene, Apostles and Athanasian Creeds.

    2. Avoid churches that try to exert too much control over people's lives. Examples include those who take an unsolicited interest in your private life, those who try to control how you spend your money, your time, as well as your friendships inside and outside the church.

    3. Avoid any church that pressurises you to conform to becoming like them. You should not be welcomed because you are like other people in the church, you should be welcomed because you are you.

    4. Avoid any church whose minister or pastor does not have the humility or grace to be corrected. Ministers are human beings - they are not perfect, and just because they might know more than we do, it doesn't mean that they are always right and have nothing to learn.

    5. Avoid churches that are obsessed with disciplining its members, rather than providing them with care and support.

    6. Stick with churches that have good ecumenical relations with other churches and the wider community.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  11. mlepfitjw

    mlepfitjw May you be blessed!

    +1,075
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Hello tellyanone:

    I come from a broken family. Some people come from families that have a mom and dad and they learn from them. I just had mom who worked 2 jobs all the time after having my brother and sister I was the baby left to tend to himself (for the most part)

    All I know is that at the age of 6 years old. It was known to me that God and a Darkness existed. For years, dwelt in darkness, but still went to church just to go visit people. Church never really taught me anything at all. Except one church that has 7 people in it. They were so nice, kind, and loving. Very open about talking about scriptures. They sold that church though, and it would seem that I would pop by from time to time when felt the urge to see them again.

    Church never taught me very much of anything at all. All I heard was Jesus Christ died for my sins, and you need to believe on him... they also would add or you go to hell forever.

    My real Christian walk started at the age of 24 or 26. Use to do a lot of drugs during this time period, and struggled with it up till this year.

    Read the bible, read the 4 gospels and learned bout Jesus Christ, because all that was heard all my life was to accept him, but I never really knew him, or what he done.

    So reading those gospels helped, then all the other letters in the new testament.

    Though when first starting out like I said I still used drugs a lot in my life, up til this very year.

    My walk at first was a prideful Christian attitude... look at me and what I am doing, look at all these filthy sinners they are not like me, they dont pray, or believe like I do, they aren't reading the bible like me.

    This was at first now after reading the gospels alone with no guidance. Then found a nice teacher who taught the bible, named Shawn McCraney (Heart of the Matter on youtube), he helped me progress into what a mature Christian is suppose to do.

    Which is have faith in God know that he loved you enough to send his son who was the Son of God, who lived a life on this earth. God through his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus made the choice to die for us all in which he could have said no. Died for us and God raised him up again on the third day.

    The Lord Jesus Christ on his death day, forgave us all, and paid for our sins.

    That love changed my whole perspective from that prideful christian I use to be.

    Into understanding it is about love, looking at yourself and who you really are: a broken human being who needs the creator in their lives - so you can forgive yourself of your mistakes you made in the past, keep growing and love God, and love others.

    God is love, and a forgiving God, merciful in all ways! God is always a good Father to have in your life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    • Like Like x 2
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  12. Tellyontellyon

    Tellyontellyon Active Member

    301
    +105
    United Kingdom
    Buddhist
    Married
    I like what you say about love. I was always dead set against any religion. But in my mid twenties I went to prison. I had hit a guy and he was brain damaged. I was in jail and very frightened and worried and sad. I was worried about what I had done and he couldn't work anymore and his girlfriend left him. I was also really frightened that somebody would hurt me, and I just really paranoid.
    I found a book on Buddhism and I wanted to learn meditation as a way to relax as I couldn't really cope. Also Buddhism is quite fascinating and challenging to get your head around, so it offered something like freedom from all suffering, for everybody, not just me. There is a practice called Tonglen... You imaging the sickness of other people coming into you and your wellness going into them. It is especially helpful if you are already sick, then you can try to receive the sickness from everybody so you suffer for them.
    Anyway, when I was in prison, even though I didn't believe, I found it strangely comforting to read a Good News Bible that was in the cell... It had this section for getting advice if you were lonely or frightened or guilty and that sort of thing.
    Also, in one prison they had a nun you could talk too, and she was very nice and kind. I think my mental health was very fragile at the time.
    When I got out of prison I had therapy and meditation and Buddhism seemed to work well with that... However, Buddhism isn't all philosophy, it also talks about other realms, and different sorts of spiritual beings, demons, Maras, dakinis, ghosts etc. so it is not at all as atheistic as I had first thought.. gradually over time I have got more open minded about that. After a long time in therapy, I trained as a psychotherapist myself at an organisation that incorporated spiritual ideas into the training. Although you are free to have any belief or none, we also learned some ideas from Universal Sufism... So I find many of those ideas useful.
    Christianity is a hard one for me... I am more open to believing in the possibility of a God these days, but find Christian attitudes to homosexuality out of place and disturbing in a religion that is otherwise so forgiving...
    I go to online services with a Unitarian chapel and I'm curious about the unprogrammed Quakers. I pray the Catholic rosary.
    I practice Vajrayana Buddhism.

    I like the loving, forgiving, welcoming teachings of Jesus.
    Love is really the most important thing for me. Love and connection and not forgetting anybody.
    We all deserve love and help.

    But, I feel a little bit lost at the moment... Might Christianity be the truth?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  13. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

    +15,142
    Australia
    Anglican
    Married
    Many of us are here because in Christianity we've found truth that gives us meaningful identity and purpose.

    That doesn't mean that Christian communities are perfect or that every piece of ideology put forward as Christian ought to be embraced uncritically, though!

    But for someone asking, "Might this be the truth?" I would encourage finding a local community of faith. Join them in prayer. Learn from them about their understanding and praxis. And see whether you find that enlivening, hopeful, joyful.

    For myself, coming into the church as a young adult was not easy; it was often challenging and even sometimes painful. But what I found here has definitely more than repaid my persistence.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  14. mlepfitjw

    mlepfitjw May you be blessed!

    +1,075
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    Hello again Tellyontellyon, reading your story. It reminds me of my own mistakes of hating my own mother, lying and manipulating of my own girlfriends that were had in life. Stealing money from my mother, and abusing drugs, and pornography in my own life. Hated my family and hated other people too.

    A lot of that came from being lonely, insecure, fragile, hateful, uncaring, and unloving all around. Everyone is like this in life at one point or another.

    God forgives us friend, Jesus Christ said he was the way, the truth, and the life. He is the truth Christ is our Truth and always will be our truth. He loved us so much He made the decision to die for us because of his love that we would have forgiveness of all the past things we did in our lives my friend.

    Here is some scripture to prove it to you.

    Psalm 86:5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

    Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (This chapter is talking to people who judge other people)

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world (everyone), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

    1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

    Proverbs 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”

    John 14:6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.
     
  15. mlepfitjw

    mlepfitjw May you be blessed!

    +1,075
    United States
    Christian
    Private
    One more scripture for you :

    Psalm 103:
    Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

    2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

    3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

    4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
     
  16. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

    +2,178
    Canada
    Anglican
    Married
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Buddhist teaching is a good baseline to start from. Other participants have recommended excellent approaches to Christianity. On a practical note, I suggested going to an Anglican church. But most churches are now closed bec of Covid. So, perhaps listening to spiritual videos is a good start for you, along with reading the Good News Bible. The following website includes good messages. I strongly recommend Francis Chen:

    The Greatest Sermons Ever Preached by The Top Preachers of All-Time
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  17. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

    +7,127
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Yes. :) I tried a lot of other paths.

    (this may help about one thing you raised:
    any church that discriminates against any grouping of people such as gay people or by skin color or whether they drink alcohol and so on -- all forms of judging and rejecting people -- those that reject some people in various ways like that are not being a truly Christian church.
    In a genuinely Christian church, all types of people from a-z are welcome, and not any type at all are rejected for simply how they are or how they look or for their clothes, politics, identity ideas, whatever -- all are welcome, to hear the saving Good News)
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  18. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

    +7,127
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    Also, to add to the answer just above, the answers in posts #2 and #6 above are helpful, at the start. The answer in post #5 above is rather advanced in a way, but is definitely also a possible path for someone seeking God: you can find Christ and salvation by reading for yourself His Words He spoke for all to hear, in the 4 gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    If you visit a church (which most people cannot yet do because of the pandemic, and it may be summer before we can) --
    When you can visit a church, they should be friendly and welcoming. If they are not, I'd recommend let that one go and try another. But answers #2 and #6 can help. Even if you want to go to a church to learn of the gospels, it still does help to begin reading what Christ said. :) I think the gospel of Matthew is fine to start in, though it begins with a genealogy that is mostly meant to help to Israelites see how Christ fulfilled certain prophecy about Him made hundreds of years earlier. You could begin at verse 18:Matthew 1 NIV
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2021
  19. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    +20,082
    United States
    Lutheran
    In Relationship
    US-Others
    A good rule of thumb includes paying attention to some of the following:

    1. What kind of accountability structures are in place in regard to persons who have been granted positions of leadership and ministry? If a pastor/member of the clergy behaves badly, can that pastor be disciplined or, if necessary, removed?

    2. Who handles the church's finances? How are they handled? And is the church fully transparent about where charitable donations, collections, and contributions are going--how is money, time, and other resources being spent? Is it lining the pockets of those at the top, or is it being used faithfully for the community of faith and in social outreach programs for the poor, hungry, naked, etc?

    3. Are members allowed the autonomy of living and freedom of association? That is, does the church try to micromanage the lives of its members by scrutinizing everything each member does, who they choose to be friends with, who their family is, what they wear, what they watch on television, what music they listen to, etc?

    A lack of accountability structures, a lack of transparency on church money and resources, and micromanaging the lives of church members are all very potent signs that one is dealing with a cult, or at the very least a church that is very cultish. These are toxic religious communities, and should be avoided.

    -CryptoLutheran
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • List
  20. Hawkins

    Hawkins Member Supporter

    +294
    Canada
    Christian
    Married
    Try to avoid those controversial denominations. It is somehow similar to investments. If a rumor saying that a project may have a financial issue, then you should stop your investment as the risk may go beyond what you have planned.
     
Loading...