Your Congregation: Is it a CULT or a CHURCH?

As my wife and I left church Saturday evening, I recalled how mainstream religious leaders in Jerusalem accused the Apostle Paul of being a member of a cult called The Way.

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Without a doubt, followers of The Way caused quite the stir throughout the Middle East and Asia. It was said of the followers of The Way they “turned the world upside down”.

Our Dallas Campus of Gateway Church is but one of five substantial satellite congregations linked by video to the ‘mother ship’ in Southlake, TX.

This is not our first experience with a mega church. We were members of Church On The Rock (COTR), the original ‘mother ship’ of a movement out of which amazing ministries were spawned. Headquarters for two of those ministries, Global Advance and Christ for India, are here in Rockwall, Texas.

Traditional church leaders and skeptics labeled us a cult. Were the accusations a product of ignorance or jealousy? Regardless, it was an accusation that warranted a response.

Lake Pointe Church is a mega church with satellite campuses and a global outreach. Is Lake Pointe a cult?

How about Prestonwood Baptist Church or the First Baptist Church of Dallas? These all substantially impact populations around the globe.

Pastor Larry Lea was exasperated. In round numbers, 11,000 souls were coming to our little church building in Rockwall every Sunday. There were five Sunday services to accommodate everyone. We had over 700 home group leaders to assure individuals were never without a personal connection, yet thousands came in one way as thousands went out another.

Local gossip wags and some news people accused us of being a cult.

This moved him to ask us the question: “How can you tell the difference between a cult and the church?”

The answer: “A cult is very easy to get into and very hard to get out of. The church is hard to get into and easy to get out of.”

Sadly, end times prophecies unfold before our eyes as atheism and hedonism attempt to suffocate all things Christian including constitutionally-protected freedoms of thought, worship, and public expression. This is the bad news.

Here’s the Good News: Jesus is Lord and God is still on his throne. Actually, all the evil happening is good news because it signals the second coming of Messiah. All the stuff happening now was foretold long, long ago. How in the world is this good news? It’s good news because you can confidently trust your Bible as the Word of God.

To be an effective member of a good church you must be willing to put forth the effort. If you are seeker-sensitive, looking for someone to hold your hand as you rehearse your somebody-done-me-wrong song, good luck with that.

John White
Rockwall, Texas

 

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