Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Cathy » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:27 pm

When I think of cults I think of an inappropriate control being forced on the members by a leader or leaders. This is generally possible because of some level of fear and often a very unBaptist sense of the nature of their leader. Moon being the second coming of Christ.

I think many leaders in many denominations have on occasion attempted to control members of their faith. Some churches within an orthodox denomination may approach a cult like atmosphere. Far fewer groups have held that their leader was equal to Christ or could someday be equal to Christ.

So a cult to me would be..

A group holding fairly orthodox religious views (or not) if the conscience and decision making of the faithful is controlled or manipulated by the leader/leadership.

A group that believes that they or their leaders are or can attain the divine status of Jesus Christ.
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:04 pm

Cathy wrote:When I think of cults I think of an inappropriate control being forced on the members by a leader or leaders. This is generally possible because of some level of fear and often a very unBaptist sense of the nature of their leader. Moon being the second coming of Christ.

I think many leaders in many denominations have on occasion attempted to control members of their faith. Some churches within an orthodox denomination may approach a cult like atmosphere. Far fewer groups have held that their leader was equal to Christ or could someday be equal to Christ.

So a cult to me would be..

A group holding fairly orthodox religious views (or not) if the conscience and decision making of the faithful is controlled or manipulated by the leader/leadership.

A group that believes that they or their leaders are or can attain the divine status of Jesus Christ.


Jeffress spent much time in media interviews trying to make more acceptable his use of the term "cult" to describe Mormonism. He described Mormonism as a "theological cult" which he distinguished from a "sociological cult." But even his definition of "theological cult" was problematic as it includes any group that utilizes the OT and/or NT and is "unorthodox" in its interpretation of Scripture (according to how Jeffress defines orthodoxy). So pretty much anyone who isn't Jeffress' flavor of Protestant is a member of a cult including Catholics, Muslims, etc. That's just a little nutty.

I think some of these Southern Baptists like Jeffress are being dishonest by trying to distinguish between a "sociological cult" and "theological cult." My grandma and I used to argue over whether the Mormonism is a cult. She was convinced that Mormonism=cult. Why? Because - and I don't remember all the specifics - her Sunday School class or WMU group had watched a video purchased from Lifeway Bookstore that depicted the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS as a secretive organization that controlled and manipulated its parishoners (what Jeffress would call a "sociological cult").

So when Jeffress is labeling Mormonism as a cult, he's speaking to the many folks out there who have seen similar videos and read books that give a similar message...
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Sandy » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:38 pm

As you might expect, there is a plethora of books out there which distinguish the core doctrines of Mormonism from the core doctrines of mainstream Christianity, written by authors from both sides. There are almost as many Mormon authors who refer to the "Standard Works of the Church," the three extra-Biblical writings considered by the Mormon church as superior to Biblical revelation, and the revelations of the sitting Prophet, whose words are also considered superior to Biblical revelation, in refuting Christianity as there are Christian writers refuting Mormonism.

Jeffress wants to avoid calling Mormonism a "sociological cult" because they frequently wind up on the same side politically, and he obviously doesn't want to endanger that alliance. But the fact of the matter is that Mormons use any association that makes them look mainstream, knowing that even among conservative evangelicals, there are not that many people who know much about Mormonism except the moral, family image they carefully craft by spending millions of dollars on advertising. If Romney is elected President, the Mormon church will go into overdrive to capitalize on this endorsement of legitimacy to win converts, which they do largely by recruiting among Christian churches. Their first prophet Joseph Smith, declared, by revelation of God, that the "professors" of all of the various Christian denominations and churches were "corrupt," and that Smith was to avoid joining any of them. That prophecy still stands as core Mormon doctrine.

Jeffress shows his true colors by his statement that, if Romney wins the GOP nomination, he will support him over President Obama, because of the latter's support for homosexual marriage and abortion. That certainly undermines the veracity of his support for Perry, and exposes him as being politically motivated, rather than spiritually motivated, since Romney's record on those two issues is right in line with Obama's. So it can't be about those two issues, then, can it?
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The David Lane Effect

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:37 pm

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Pres. of Fuller says Mormons not a cult

Postby Chris » Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:12 pm

Richard J. Mouw doesn't think CJCLDS is a cult.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/0 ... =obnetwork
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:50 am

Mouw has an interesting perspective. It comes from an emphasis on the intellectual connection, and downplays the Biblical theology and spiritual perspective. You have Christians who lean on their intellect, and some Mormons from Brigham Young University, which Mouw considers to be a respected, intellectual institution. So you set aside the elements of discussion that are non-intellectual, and, bingo! Mormons become intellectual colleagues in a religious quest. It's a dialogue, in which a lot of time and energy is spent trying to find some point of agreement. For what purpose? And at what cost? If you're going to reach agreement in two systems that are almost opposite poles from each other at the starting points related to basic authority and source of belief, someone has to compromise something essential.

Dialogue is simply something that can be pointed to as justifying the expense of time and energy between religious groups when there's no substance or real action going on. "We're engaged in dialogue" means that the expected ends will not come about, but we give the appearance of something happening."
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:20 pm

Sandy wrote:Mouw has an interesting perspective. It comes from an emphasis on the intellectual connection, and downplays the Biblical theology and spiritual perspective. You have Christians who lean on their intellect, and some Mormons from Brigham Young University, which Mouw considers to be a respected, intellectual institution. So you set aside the elements of discussion that are non-intellectual, and, bingo! Mormons become intellectual colleagues in a religious quest. It's a dialogue, in which a lot of time and energy is spent trying to find some point of agreement. For what purpose? And at what cost? If you're going to reach agreement in two systems that are almost opposite poles from each other at the starting points related to basic authority and source of belief, someone has to compromise something essential.

Dialogue is simply something that can be pointed to as justifying the expense of time and energy between religious groups when there's no substance or real action going on. "We're engaged in dialogue" means that the expected ends will not come about, but we give the appearance of something happening."


Ed; Sandy, what elements of the discussion do you conciser to be non intellectual ? Methinks your definition of dialogue is quite jaded. :)
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:28 pm

What's the point, or the desired outcome, of a dialogue between orthodox Christians who hold a historic view of their faith, and practicing Mormons, who hold the accepted view of theirs? To come to a point where Christians don't call Mormons a "cult" anymore, or to the point where Mormons don't believe Christians are the "corrupt professors" that Joseph Smith said he was told they were by an angel?

I do not think you will find very many Mormons, especially those in positions of authority in the church, who will come to an agreement with Christians on John 14:6. Nor can Christians come to the conclusion that Joseph Smith was a restored prophet in the succession of Old Testament prophets, and that he and his successors speak on God's behalf. What Mormons believe about who Jesus was, and his role in human redemption is inseparable from their prophets and the "standard works" of the church, as much as what Christians believe about who Jesus was and his role in human redemption is inseparable from the scriptures. It would require denial of the core source of authority of both groups to come to some kind of intellectual "compromise" agreement through dialogue. I don't see that happening.
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:47 pm

Dialogue also has value when you are seeking to understand each other. It doesn't mean that it has to be about changing each other's minds.

BTW, Sandy I fully agree that Mormon theology isn't orthodox. But then, if you want to get real picky, neither is Baptist theology. :lol:
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Chris » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:29 pm

Where did this idea originate --- "If you want to call your self Christian, then you have to believe in Christ within the same boundaries as I believe in Him." ? ?
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:58 pm

Chris wrote:Where did this idea originate --- "If you want to call your self Christian, then you have to believe in Christ within the same boundaries as I believe in Him." ? ?


My boundaries really don't define Christ. But the scripture certainly does, in his own words.
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Re: Pres. of Fuller says Mormons not a cult

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:30 am

Chris wrote:Richard J. Mouw doesn't think CJCLDS is a cult.

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/0 ... =obnetwork


Ed: And If you read the whole article you will see that Mouw still questions the "Christ" of Official Mormonism.

Rather than identifying Mormonism as a cult Kenneth Boa in his 1977 book Cults, World Religions , And you, placed Mormonism in a category of "Major Pseudo-Christian Religions of the west. Also in that group Boa list: Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Seventh-day Adventism, Unity School of Christianity & Theosophy . He combines New Religions and Cults in this list: Transcendental Meditation, The Unification Church, The Hare Krisna Movement, The Divine light Mission and The Way International . What many often think of a cults he calls, Occult Religions and Systems: such as, Witchcraft and Satanism, Astrology, Spiritualism, The Kabbalah, The I Ching & The Tarot. His other grouping is Major non-Christian Religions of the East: Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Shinto, Islam & Judaism

Dr. Kenneth "Ken" Boa is engaged in a life-ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Case Institute of Technology , a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary , a Doctorate from New York University , and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in England.
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Re: Billy Graham on Jeffress and Cults

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:21 pm

Ed, I looked around for that book and can't find it in print. Has he written anything more recent?
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David Jeremiah has a book about all this

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:31 pm

Something like when did it happen that such and such isn't true anymore.

As for cults, Marshall Frady had an interesting look at Billy Graham in 1979, Parable of American Righteousness.
And I think Harold Bloom may have a better plumbline in the American Religion that Rev. Jeffress.
I think Jeffress time would be better served exploring the life and witness of George Truett and WA Criswell and letting us know who he thinks was the Better Baptist and why
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Jeffress in Washington Post

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:09 pm

RD.org continues to chew some good cud on the Jeffress/Cult affair.

I hope many of you will check the page daily. There is an hourlong video chat at the site as well as several other articles.
Some I have posted.

Looks like they will be chewing on this for some time as we are here.
I do think Aaron Weaver should use whatever influence he has at Baylor to have Jeffress there on discussion panel with Harold Bloom and the likes of Balmer or Mark Noll.

Would be most fascinating evening.

Criswell lives on in the strangest apparitions

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archi ... olitics__/
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Parham plays the Carter card

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:52 am

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Randy Hyde gets it about right

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Oct 21, 2011 4:00 pm

http://www.ethicsdaily.com/some-baptist ... -cms-18714

Understands the Truett tradtioin; Jeffress is cemented to Criswell
"I'm the only sane {person} in here." Doyle Hargraves, Slingblade
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Christian Century on Normal Mormons

Postby Stephen Fox » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:37 pm

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If this then that: Notre Dame exegesis

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:22 am

This Notre Dame PHD candidate has some interesting interpolations of this Rick Perry Ad.
I think she is right, it is not so much the literal words, as it is the code language world it evokes in the target audience

http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispa ... is_satan_/
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