[sword-devel] Doctrinal Statement

alecg sword-devel@crosswire.org
Thu, 27 Jul 2000 20:24:04 -0700

>For the record, the Christadelphians are not a cult.  The more correct term would be "sect".   However, the Seventh-Day Adventists
>are a sect.  The Baptists are a sect.  There is a difference between a sect and a cult.  "Cult" has the connotation these days of a
>mentally disturbed or overly emotional group of people who blindly follow an authoritarian teacher...Jim Jones, David Koresh,
>Reverend Moon, etc.
>cult  n. 1.a. A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an
>unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
As I understand it, a Christian (as opposed to secular) definition of a cult is a group of people who do not beleive in the orthodox view
of God (triune, omnipotent, omniscient, creator, etc.) and the orthodox gospel (Jesus Christ was born of a virgin fully God and fully man, 
lived perfectly until he died on the cross to make atonement for the sin of His people, that Christians are made right before God's eyes
because of what Christ has done for them and not anything that they have done).
These were quick thoughts and should not be taken as comprehensive or precise definitions of my ideas.

>The Christadelphians are not guided by an authoritarian organization or by any charismatic leader(s).  They have no clergy, pastors
>or priests.  The Bible is their only authority.  They do not have secret rites, or manifest bizarre behaviors.  They do not shun
>discussion with those who oppose them, and in the late 1800's and early 1900's, were actively involved in public debates with other
>sects and dissenters.  Having had discussions with them personally, and debated them, I was impressed with their knowledge of the
>Scriptures, even if you don't agree with their theology.  They embrace the Apostolic Creed, but not the Nicean or Athanasian...but
>then again, the apostle Paul didn't embrace the Nicean or Athanasian Creed either.  And they proclaimed the news concerning the
>restoration of the Jews to the land of Palestine as early as 1847, decades before the Zionist movement emerged.
The nicene creed wasn't around for Paul to endorse. I assume that if this group rejects the Nicene and Athanasian creeds they have
a heretical view of the nature of Christ or God and *are* a cult.

>Having performed in-depth research on the group myself in the late 1980's and reviewed their writings as far back as the Civil War
>period, I know that these things are true.  Most "Christians" who throw around the word "cult" use it in a derogatory manner of
>others, and if the truth be told, most often of others who they know very little about.
>Just for the record...

Let me note that I know nothing of the particular group in question and do not intend to
judge them to be either a cult or not. I am merely attempting to reprove a definition of cult I believe incorrect.

Grace and peace,

Alexander Garden

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