A Word of Warning By
Gary Ray Branscome

"There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls."
(Ezekiel 22:25, 1 Peter 5:8)

    Ours is a time when false prophets abound. Some go door to door, while others use the school system to spread their beliefs, and still others betray Christ from the pulpit. For that reason, it is important that every Christian know how to recognize them and avoid them.


    While Satan has filled the world with false religion, only those false religions that claim to be Christian are usually classified as cults. In fact, if you have ever wondered why some religious organizations are called cults while others are not, that is the reason. Furthermore, cults are regarded as false religions, because their own doctrine makes it clear that they are not worshipping the God of the Bible.

    Of course, false prophets do not advertise the fact that they worship a false god. On the contrary, they usually use Christian terminology and quote Scripture in order to conceal that fact. For example, the “Jehovah's Witnesses” emphasize the name “Jehovah” in order to cover up the fact that their god is not the God who “was manifest in the flesh” and “dwelt among us” and that their Christ is not the “living God, who is the Savior of all men” (John 1:1&14, Isaiah 9:6, John 5:23, 1John 2:22, 1Timothy 4:10, Isaiah 54:5 1Timothy 3:16). Because they have a false Christ, they can talk about faith in Christ without ever receiving God’s gift of faith (2Corinthians 11:13-15).

    Another well known cult will tell prospective converts that they believe in the “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” However, what they fail to tell them is that they actually believe that thousands of gods exist, and that the gods that they call “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” are only three gods of many, not the one true God. They also usually conceal the fact that the god whom they call the “Father” was once a man (according to their mythology), grew up on another planet, and can only be in one place at one time. In fact, they believe that “the Father” was conceived and born just like you or I, and that is certainly not the God that we worship. On the contrary, the words “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man,” make it clear that their quasi-human god is an idol (Romans 1:23).

    Once you find out what they really believe, it becomes evident that their god has more in common with Jupiter (whom the Romans called, “the Father of the gods”) than with the God of the Bible. Just as Jupiter was said to have a father and a grandfather, Mormons teach that the god they call the “Father” has a father and a grandfather. Just as the Roman pagans claimed that Jupiter had a physical body and goddess wives, the Mormons claim that their god has a physical body and goddess wives. Just as Jupiter was supposed to have had sex out of wedlock, the Mormons claim that their god had a sexual encounter with Mary to produce Jesus, even though he was not married to her (that is not virginity in my book). For that reason, Mormonism is little more than warmed over paganism.


    Since error is not limited to organizations that reject the true God, there are a number of false doctrines circulating within Christian churches. Moreover, whenever any of those errors receives official status, the churches that give them that status become sects, because doctrines that are not in the Bible separate them from other Christians. Nevertheless, because those organizations worship the Triune God they are not classified as cults, even though they may vary greatly in how far they have departed from the Bible.

    Instead of simply accepting what the Bible says, sectarians look for hidden meanings and “principles,” pass off elaborate explanations as doctrine, and read their own ideas into the text while explaining away anything that does not agree with those ideas. At the same time, they are blind to how rebellious and irresponsible that behavior really is (Psalm 107:11, 1Samuel 15:23, Jeremiah 23:26 and 28:16, Isaiah 8:20, John 8:31, 1John 4:6). In contrast, a church that is faithful to God's Word will allow the actual words of Scripture to be its doctrine, and so teach nothing that is not in the Bible (John 8:31). Contradicting the Word of God is always a serious matter! No one is free to simply make up doctrines, or fabricate them out of elaborate explanations, and we are certainly not free to reject what the Bible explicitly says (1John 4:6, Revelation 22:18-19).


    While apostate churches are sects that have allowed the saving truth of the gospel to be obscured by error, they can vary greatly in their hostility to the gospel and in the bits and pieces of truth that remain. Furthermore, because churches do not become apostate overnight, there is usually a stage in which truth is being taught alongside of error. However, many churches that once carried the gospel around the world now destroy and scatter God's sheep, many professors who were hired to teach the truth do the opposite, and many souls who have placed their faith in men, are being led into hell (Jeremiah 23:1). Far from serving God, those churches and leaders are doing the devil's work and for their services will receive the devil's reward (Ezekiel 22:25, 1Peter 5:8, Galatians 1:8-9).


    In order to preserve the truth of the gospel, it is of utmost importance that we allow the actual words of Scripture to be our doctrine, without trying to supplement or expand on what is said (John 8:31). That means, essentially, that because the Bible says, “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” that is exactly what we should believe and teach. As Christians, we have no business reading our own ideas into the text, changing what it says, or explaining it away (2Peter 1:20, Isaiah 8:20).