Avoiding Cultish Leaders – Expecting Outrageous Consequences

Avoiding Cultish Leaders

Proverbs 14:16 16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

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When I see people raging, loudly and confidently — accusing and ranting over and over again, month after month, year after year, always claiming innocence, never admitting any fault and claiming persecuted status, I just have to ask myself — did Yeshua (Jesus) ever display such behavior? Or Paul? Or even Peter? How about Moses? Do you know how much real opposition they faced???

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To grumble, rage, complain and rant about things, to incite hatred without evidence, not in a moment of weakness but as a pattern of behavior — when do we look at that person and really start to wonder if everyone else is really the problem? When it’s a family member or a neighbor it is bad enough, but what happens when it is a minister? That is how cults get started.

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The pattern is generally the same every time.  Gather followers with something interesting, keep feeding them brain candy, claim persecution when anyone challenges (painting oneself in Messianic terms), present oneself as desperately needed, as someone extra set apart, make your supporters feel like a special remnant and damn your detractors to hell. People get slowly sucked in, even really smart people because it has nothing to do with intelligence but manipulation, and if the person is good enough at it, the followers feel persecuted when he is persecuted, and they actually feel guilty about even daring to question him. They want the special secret teachings (even if they have to pretend like they understand when they really don’t), they want to be the special remnant, they don’t want to be the ones in danger of hell fire. And if they are lucky, really lucky, they start to see that they are in a trap, that no one is allowed to question and no one is allowed to walk away unscathed.  There is fear over not being under the tutelage of the leader, as well as fear over what will happen if they leave, a paralyzing fear that can be mistaken for the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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No one gets to simply leave the cult without being demonized.

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It is vitally important that we know the character of God through His Messiah intimately, personally, apart from any leader. We need to know His word and what He did and did not do. We need to see how He acted and how He did not act, in context. We need to have a whole picture of Him. Because if we do not know His character, we will always be deceived by those who misrepresent it — as long as they are interesting or offer us something we desire — like approval.  And I can tell you that every single time I have been deceived by a ministry leader is was because I did not know His character well enough to recognize the behavior that was not godly.

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character

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Torah alone doesn’t protect people from getting sucked in to a cult, and neither does salvation — but knowing the character of God does. Someone who knows His character may get fooled for a while, but in the end they will see.

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Why did Thomas say that he wouldn’t believe Yeshua had risen until He touched Him? Because he had been warned by Yeshua not to just believe any Tom, Dick or Harry who said, “Look, He is here.” Thomas knew Yeshua intimately, and wasn’t going to risk following anyone but Yeshua. Thomas wasn’t a doubter, Thomas simply wanted to make sure it really was Yeshua he was following.

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We should do no less.  That isn’t a lack of faith, it is wisdom to know exactly who it is we are following, and what that says about our ideas concerning the character of our King.

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Expecting Outrageous Consequences

Don’t give the rebukes that Messiah gave unless you are willing to die the death that Yeshua died — for the very people He was rebuking. I mean, really. Don’t overturn tables unless you are willing to be scourged without complaint. Don’t preach unless you are willing to be rejected and take it gracefully.

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Don’t go doing the stuff that is easy in the flesh until you are able to lay down that flesh.

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It makes me mad to see people throwing around insults, overturning tables, and preaching hell fire and damnation when they aren’t willing to suffer with grace. You want to use Messiah as an excuse? Then you had better be imitating ALL of His behaviors, or else you are just doing what you want to do and using a few episodes of His life to justify it. You want to do the outrageous stuff? You need to be willing to suffer the outrageous consequences.

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