Graham Axes Mormonism From His List of Cults
Just in time for a 'WSJ' ad backing conservative candidates
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2012 12:02 AM CDT
Mitt Romney meets with Rev. Billy Graham, at his home last week in North Carolina.   (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Billy Graham moved this week to obviously embrace Mitt Romney for president. But there was something he had to do first: remove Mormonism from his website's list of "cults." Until this week Mormonism was on a list with Scientology on the reverend's Evangelistic Association site. The "M" word was jettisoned shortly after Romney visited Graham at his North Carolina home last week, reports ABC. “We removed the information because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign," explains a spokesman for Graham.

Graham’s organization also took out an ad in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, in which Graham asks people to vote for socially conservative candidates who follow "biblical" principles—without mentioning Romney's name. "As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election may be my last,” Graham says in the ad. “I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life, and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”

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Showing 3 of 68 comments
char
Nov 5, 2012 11:32 AM CST
Here's a discussion of the definitions and signs of a group which is a cult. It's pretty extensive and takes in the fact that a cult departs from mainstream Christianity or other religion by major doctrinal differences, which is true of Mormonism. For one, Mormonism states that God was once as man is. Most religions recognize that God was, is, and always will be, which is not true of man. Most Judeo-Christian religions also recognize God as the creator of the universe. If He was once as we are, that could not have been the case. Below are excerpts for your consideration: "The Bible does not use the word "cult." However the Bible does address religious errors in teaching and practice. It does not take these teachers lightly and it does not excuse those who teach them. The Bible applies to them words such as "heresy," "heretic," "false teachers," "false prophets," "false apostles, and "false Christ's". Those who teach contrary to the core teachings may say of themselves "we are not a "cult" but this does not change the fact that they are in this category. The Bible reprimands heresy, false teachings, false doctrines, and false prophecy and tells us to refute, reproof, correct, and expose it by defending the truth (Jude 3). This can often take place publicly as they teach their falsehood publicly. Those who claim to be Christian that are found to teach heresy will often be the strongest opponents against those who point out their false teachings. They want to censure them so they can continue to teach unchallenged. It is for this reason cults do not like be too noticed and will not debate or discuss the issues brought up publicly. For the most part, they will avoid public exposure or scrutiny because they will lose their membership. Both cult's and a sect adhere to a distinctive doctrine that oftentimes is majoring on the minors. Sect's on the other hand refer to a religious denomination or a group of people that broke from another body they were involved with to form their own. For example there are sects in Islam and Mormonism (like the RLDS). The term sect can at time have similarities to a cult but its identification does not help someone identify how severe a deviation from the original they are. This is especially true with those who claim their Christianity is exclusive only to themselves being the only way as the one true Church. Definition of a cult THE ORIGINAL USE OF THE WORD "CULT" AS WELL AS IT'S USE TODAY DERIVES FROM THE LATIN WORD "CULTUS" WHICH MEANS "WORSHIP".DICTIONARY DEFINITION- A GROUP BOUND TOGETHER IN A INTENSE DEVOTION TO A PERSON, IDEAL OR THING; A SYSTEM OF BELIEFS AND RITUALS THAT ARE BOGUS. In other words they are practicing a false system of spirituality while claiming to be authentic. In 1912 Ernst Troeltsch in the book social teaching of the Christian church, classified religious groups in three groups: "Church", "sect", and "cult". A cult represented a mystical or spiritual religion to intellectuals and educated classes. With a more Biblical perspective, in 1938 Jan Van Baalens' "The Chaos of Cults" critiqued Theosophy, Mormonism, Christian Science, and Jehovah's Witnesses as 'Cults.' Because they were aberrant in their teachings while claiming to be Christian. Christian apologist Robert Bowman defines a cult as A religious group originating as a heretical sect and maintaining fervent commitment to heresy. Adj.: "cultic" (may be used with reference to tendencies as well as full cult status.( Robert Bowman, A Biblical guide to Orthodoxy and heresy.)Cult's will say they are the way to Christ and Christ Himself is not the way. So they put themselves as a group or their teaching in between man and God. They become mediators between God and man. They do not have the Christian distinctive, but will claim to be Christian in their beliefs and practices. It was Christ himself who Said "I Am the way, the truth the life." A THEOLOGICAL DEFINITION A THEOLOGICAL DEFINITION OF "CULT" MUST BE BASED ON A STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY. USING THE BIBLE'S TEACHING AS A FOCAL POINT. A CULT IS ANY RELIGIOUS GROUP THAT CLAIMS TO BE CHRISTIAN (OR MAY NOT BE) IS DISTINCT AND HAS DOCTRINES AND PRACTICES THAT CONTRADICT THOSE OF THE SCRIPTURES AS INTERPRETED BY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY. THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN UPHELD IN HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY .ORTHODOXY IS REPRESENTED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH, AND IS EXPRESSED IN STATEMENTS SUCH AS THE APOSTLES CREED WHICH ARE DENIED . THEY WILL DENY THE BIBLE AS THE COMPLETE BOOK OF REVELATION AND OUR GUIDE TO KNOWING GOD. THEY WILL DISTORT THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THE SCRIPTURES AS CHRIST BEING THE SAVIOR ALONE. THEY WILL DENY HIS DEITY AND DISTORT HIS NATURE. THEY FORM THEIR GROUP AROUND A SINGLE PERSONS INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE, OR CHRIST USUALLY BY A NEW REVELATION. THEY REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM THE LARGER BODY AND OPERATE AUTONOMOUSLY. A CULT IS ORGANIZED HERESY. THEY WILL DISTORT ONE OR MORE OF THE FUNDAMENTALS. A THEOLOGICAL DEFINITION OF "CULT" MUST BE BASED ON A STANDARD OF CHRISTIAN ORTHODOXY. USING THE BIBLE'S TEACHING AS A FOCAL POINT. A CULT IS ANY RELIGIOUS GROUP THAT CLAIMS TO BE CHRISTIAN (OR MAY NOT BE) IS DISTINCT AND HAS DOCTRINES AND PRACTICES THAT CONTRADICT THOSE OF THE SCRIPTURES AS INTERPRETED BY ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY. THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN UPHELD IN HISTORIC CHRISTIANITY .ORTHODOXY IS REPRESENTED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH, AND IS EXPRESSED IN STATEMENTS SUCH AS THE APOSTLES CREED WHICH ARE DENIED . THEY WILL DENY THE BIBLE AS THE COMPLETE BOOK OF REVELATION AND OUR GUIDE TO KNOWING GOD. THEY WILL DISTORT THE CENTRAL MESSAGE OF THE SCRIPTURES AS CHRIST BEING THE SAVIOR ALONE. THEY WILL DENY HIS DEITY AND DISTORT HIS NATURE. THEY FORM THEIR GROUP AROUND A SINGLE PERSONS INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE, OR CHRIST USUALLY BY A NEW REVELATION. THEY REMOVE THEMSELVES FROM THE LARGER BODY AND OPERATE AUTONOMOUSLY. A CULT IS ORGANIZED HERESY. THEY WILL DISTORT ONE OR MORE OF THE FUNDAMENTALS.Walter Martin described a cult like this: "as a group of people gathered about a specific persons interpretation of the bible... from a theological view point, the cults contain not only a few major deviations from historic Christianity. They paradoxically, they continue to insist that they are entitled to be classified as Christians." (Kingdom of the cults p.11) In his book The New Cults, Walter Martin defines a cult as “a group religious in nature which surrounds a leader, or a group which either denies or misinterprets essential biblical doctrines.”
char
Nov 5, 2012 11:12 AM CST
Really! I can't believe he just removed it from his list because of Romney's visit. He was probably strong-armed in some way or other...just as the federal Ninth Circuit Court judge and the delegates of other candidates were probably either threatened or bullied into giving in to the RNC when Romney and the RNC were taken to court during the primaries, just before the Republican National Convention...after which the delegates were bound despite the historic federal law stating that delegates are NOT bound in a gathering for the purpose of electing a President and a Vice President of the United States, but are free to vote their conscience.
psmithphd
Oct 22, 2012 11:38 AM CDT
Phillip C. Smith, Ph.D. 10.220.2012 CORRECT, SCIENTIFIC DEFINITIONS OF CULT AND SECT Many people, inconsistent with and contradicting valid science, use the terms “cult” and “sect” improperly with reference to religions. In its historical usage in Christendom the terms have a pejorative connotation and refer to movements said to espouse heretical beliefs that often deviate from orthodox practices. Valid, ethical science enlightens and thus avoids such pejorative applications of the terms cult and sect. The intent here is to provide scientific definitions of these terms in hopes of helping others avoid future application misuse. I will apply the use of these terms to the religions with which I am most familiar, namely the Church founded 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ, and his Church as restored by Joseph Smith, namely The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereinafter the Church). Cult: A small, recently-created, innovative religious group, headed often by a single charismatic leader, that exists in some state of tension with the predominant religion or with more established and conventional sects and denominations. The Christian religion, as it existed in 30 CE, might have been considered a cult early since it involved one leader and 12 or 70 devoted disciples as followers, but is now far too large and universal. The Church restored by Joseph Smith and a few followers also met this definition of cult early, but has outgrown this label to become an established religious denomination of over 14 million members. All major religions likely began as cults. As they became larger they shed their cult-like qualities and, as is the case with both early Christianity under Christ and restored Christianity (Church), they are today properly and accurately classified by thoughtful, knowledgeable people as religious denominations. Sect: A small religious or political group that has broken off from a larger group, for example from a large, well-established religious group like a denomination, usually due to a dispute about doctrinal matters. The Church Jesus founded some 2000 years ago was not a sect, since Jesus spoke as one having authority from God, not in effect breaking off from any other group. In addition, as the Bible implies, he himself was the author of the religion of the Jews, even though they did not recognize him as such. His restored Church is also not a sect, since the prophet-founder Joseph Smith belonged to no other religious group but claimed to receive his doctrinal knowledge in the main directly from deity. As defined by science, then, any religion breaking off from another, as many have, is a sect. Thus within Christianity the Protestant movements fell into this category. As each of the Protestant groups grew larger, of course, they are more properly, accurately and kindly referred to as religious denominations.