Friday, December 6, 2013

So.....Is It A Cult, Part II

Today, Rob Davis posted a blog about his experience at an Acts 29 church. He boldly named Acts 29 a cult. You may read it HERE.

Why are we so afraid of the word cult? I agree with him. It's like we can't bring ourselves to say the words. But how many of these things need to be present before we can bring ourselves to name it? A group does not have to use every single tactic to qualify.

In his post, he outlines the problematic characteristics of Acts 29 taken from The Cult Test. I have copied that list here, and applied them to Mars Hill. The comments in parenthesis are mine:

I agree with all of those, but for Mars Hill, I would add the following:

  • Confession Sessions (community group prayer times, redemption groups, meetings with pastors)
  • Instant Intimacy (members share very vulnerable things in cg prayer time)
  • A System of Punishments and Rewards (discipline contracts and titles)
  • Personal testimonies of previous converts (MH has changed x,y & z's life, therefore it must be good)
  • Surrender to the Group (spend more and more time with CG and use group for accountability)
  • The group and its members are special (definite sense of elitism at MH)
  • The group is self absorbed (they really don't help the poor, it is pretty much a closed system)
  • You can't tell the truth (or we shun you, or post directions on the City of how to shun you, or lie about your character)
  • Ideology over experience, observation, logic (well, yeah)
  • Thought stopping language (was shut down any time I challenged the misuse of terminology to make a point)
  • The guru is extra-special (he sees things, he is the only person broadcast to 4 states and 14 churches)
  • Don't trust Your own mind (you are totally depraved)
  • Dont trust Your own feelings (the heart is deceitful)
  • You owe the group (you are accountable and must explain why you aren't there)
  • Progressive indoctrination and Progressive commitments
To me, saying that an organization or church has multiple characteristics of cults, but being unwilling to call it a CULT is akin to living with a man who abuses you but being unwilling to call him ABUSIVE.