Apologetics Index Updates
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Followers of Christ Church — a deadly 'faith healing' cult — is still in the news
New book: Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship (Spindale, NC), One of America's Most Dangerous Cults.
Encouraging development: Some churches will no longer sing or play Bethel or Hillsong music
Faith healing refers to healing that occurs supernaturally, as the result of prayer rather than the use of medicines or the involvement of physicians or other conventional medical care.
But some churches and movements twist the Bible's teachings regarding faith healing -- often with deadly results.
Can Christians engage in martial arts instead of turning the other cheek? What about the Eastern religious philosophies and mysticism behind the practice?
In 1981 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh spent $5.75 million on a remote piece of property in Oregon and invested millions more to build Rajneeshpuram as a spiritual retreat for thousands of his red-frocked followers.
A few years later some of his followers were convicted of infecting salad bars with Salmonella, as well as other crimes: arson, wiretapping, immigration fraud, election fraud and attempted murder.
Deprogramming refers to a process that reverses alleged brainwashing.
"I used to be a deluded, ignorant, and hateful Christian like you until I learned to be better than you!" This is the essence of personal testimonies (variously called "deconversion stories," "ex-timonies," or "anti-testimonies") given by people who claim to have de-converted in some way from orthodox, Evangelical Christianity.
J. Gordon Melton is an American religious scholar who is known for his defense of various cults.
While there is no doubt that Melton is an expert at gathering and organizing research data, many cult experts believe he does a poor job at interpreting that data.
It seems anytime revelations of sexual harassment or other misconduct in a corporate, government, educational, sports, entertainment, or religious organization surface, we learn that people who had tried earlier to expose the misconduct were ignored, their evidence was swept under the rug, and the whistleblowers were often punished in some manner.
This dynamic develops because the case is usually not handled by a truly neutral party and the group politics involved do not favor the whistleblower.
Discernment is the act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.
The Bible teaches that Christians ought to grow in discernment, the ability to distinguish truth from error.
The Branch Davidians are a religious group that originated from a schism in the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, a sect of the the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In 1993 many Branch Davidians died in a controversial, ill-advised U.S. government operation -- which became known as the 'Waco Siege.'
Nearly 25 years later, 'Waco' is in the public eye again. In January 2018 Paramount Network premiers a six-part miniseries on the Waco Siege. And in December 2017 "48 Hours" reveals what it claims are "new details" about cult leader David Koresh and what led up to the deadly standoff with law enforcement.
Some religious movements require members to shun anyone who has left (apostates) or has been expelled ("excommunicated" or "disfellowshipped' from) the movement, church, or group. Various destructive cults, such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology, practice such extreme forms of ostracism that scholars use terms such as "psychologically devastating" to describe the impact.