Apologetics Index

Dr. Ronald Enroth

Dr. Ronald M. Enroth, was a Professor of Sociology at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California) until his retirement[1] in 2012.

Ronald M. Enroth, Ph.D
Ronald M. Enroth, Ph.D

Dr. Enroth — known to many as Ron Enroth — spent nearly 50 years researching and writing in the area of ‘cults’ and ‘new religious movements’, and is an acknowledged resource person on those subjects.

Dr. Enroth has conducted seminars and lectured on cults and new religious movements throughout North America and has appeared on numerous radio and TV programs in connection with his research.

He is also known for his insightful books on spiritual abuse and abusive churches.

In addition to many journal and magazine articles, he has authored or co-authored nine books, including: The Jesus People (Eerdmans, 1972), Youth, Brainwashing and the Extremist Cults (Zondervan, 1977), A Guide to Cults & New Religions (InterVarsity Press, 1983), The Lure of Cults and New Religions (InterVarsity Press, 1987), and Churches That Abuse (Zondervan, 1992), and Recovering From Churches That Abuse (Zondervan, 1994).

The latter two book can read, in full, at Apologetics Index — made available with the kind permission of Dr. Enroth:

Churches That Abuse

Recovering From Churches That Abuse

He was the 1982 recipient of the Leo J. Ryan Commemorative Award given annually to the individual judged to be most active in focusing public attention on the dangers of destructive cults. The award is given in memory of those who died in the Peoples Temple mass murder/suicide tragedy in Jonestone, Guyana, on November 18, 1978.

In a message posted at the Westmont College blog, Dr. Enroth says

Secular sociologists tend to extol a value-free approach to their discipline. It’s difficult if not impossible for Christian scholars to research, write and teach about cults and new religious movements without examining the truth claims of such groups and discerning their differences from historic, biblical Christianity. That kind of thinking alarms secular sociologists. However, I’m convinced we must resist the temptation to reduce the challenge of the cults and new religious movements to sociology or psychology alone. Years ago I made a decision to follow my heart, to engage in a real ministry: writing that is informed by scholarship and directed at helping people who’ve experienced great human need. In some sense, I’ve tried to be the voice of the voiceless. The dedication page of my book “Recovering from Churches that Abuse” reads: “To all those hurting Christians who thought nobody cared or understood. You are not alone.”

Christians who’ve been abused find few people believe them or take their stories seriously. A former member said, “One of the most painful feelings I’ve had in the recovery process is the damage to my self-esteem caused by having what I say and think ignored. It feels like being erased as unimportant, like I don’t matter or don’t count. But I do. I exist and I’m real. These things happened to me, a person with a name, a face, feelings, and a life. My hope is that you will lend me and other ex-members your voice.” What a calling! What an opportunity.

Fortunately, I have received many more positive letters, phone calls and e-mails than negative ones. These statements make my work worthwhile. For example, a woman who read “Recovering from Churches that Abuse” said, “I felt compelled to write you this letter to tell you how much I have been helped by your research into this matter. I have been a born-again Christian for a very long time, but have had difficulty fitting in among other Christians. I have found them to be pretentious, self-righteous, critical, judgmental–everything but loving. After reading your book, I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt less alone in the world. There were people out there who had been injured and feeling as hopeless as myself.”
– Source: Dr. Ronald Enroth, Reflections of a Cult Watcher, August 23, 2012

Dr. Enroth passed away on February 3, 2023, at the age of 84.


    • Fringe Churches Former members report the tragedy of churches that drift into the distorted behavior more expected of a cult. By Dr. Ronald Enroth

    See Also


      1. Pioneering Professors Retire, Westmont College, August 23, 20120

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      First published (or major update) on Friday, October 12, 2012.
      Last updated on July 02, 2023.

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