While i have no love for the struthers organisation I have always slightly disagreed with it being named as a "cult" before (probably because I got out very easily and maintained friendships - I seem to be in the minority there) but alarm bells are starting to ring. I almost feel like the mafia are going to come after me!
Welcome here E.Ray
The information you've submitted here is extremely appreciated and I'm so happy to read a clear vindication from yourself - a witness to what Covlass reported all the way back when this thread first kicked off.
I also tend to agree that one is better off using a label such as "destructive church" or "abusive church" to depict what is going on.
This is because I disagree with Mr Laud and agree with ThePetitor and others ( including RR ) regarding this word.
This label Cult has become adopted by those christians ultra-keen on enforcing a doctrinal orthodoxy - simply as a means to denigrate and label any group of believers who's DOCTRINES don't happen to agree with the "official position'.
As regulars here will know - the RR definition of Cult is to do with PEOPLE and how PEOPLE in leadership roles abuse their positions of authority and not necessarily not just in religious groups. ( Amway anyone ? ) .
I think it must have been around the 70s maybe 60s that it became common for evangelicals tp produce books outlining all the different sects, religions etc that were out there - and wherever a sect was clearly claiming t be Christian ( or even evangelical ) then any deviation from standard ( typically Reformed ) theology - would instantly get that group labelled a Cult.
there are in fact THREE usages of this word Cult.
!) Anthropologists and archaeologists use this term merely to depict a set of religious practices, typically including liturgies, objects and of course - teachings. There is NO value judgement as these scholars use the term.
2) Sociologists and psychologists started using this term in a way implying harm - when we saw the rise of moonies, scientology etc and all the sects where unquestioning yielding to leaders was expected.
3) Christians particularly evangelicals used ( and still do use ) the label - simply to point out sects who MAY be cults according to 2) but more importantly - teach a different theology to the "orthodox" position.
Personally I think Abusive Church does seem to describe what we see here. And even christian writers who specialise in this arena use this term.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2013 10:37PM by Clive.