Cults, Sects, and Dogmatism
“But we think it right to hear from you what you think. For truly as concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.”
When men cannot refute our doctrine, or choose not to pay the price of being decidedly committed to the message of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, their only weapon is slander.
One of the surest ways to raise suspicions about a preacher, an assembly, or a religious group is to refer to it as a “sect,” or a “cult.” That immediately congers up images of horror.
This has been one of Satan’s ploys since the beginning. When the Jews came to visit Paul in prison, they said, “Concerning this sect, we know that it is every where spoken against.”
Do not allow such slanders to scare you or make you feel uneasy in standing firm against the tide of human opinion. Let men call me sectarian, cultic, and dogmatic, or scandalize my name if they must. I rejoice to walk in the company of a great multitude, though scandalized and always in the minority in their day. Yet, I am not, in the least, daunted by the fear of standing alone against all the opinions of men.
Here are three things I affirm with every fiber of my being. They are not rash, youthful, novice opinions, but the deliberate statements of thoughtful judgment and consideration.
First, THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST IS THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION PURPOSED BY GOD THE FATHER, PURCHASED BY GOD THE SON, AND PERFORMED IN CHOSEN, REDEEMED SINNERS BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT (Ephesians 1:3-14).
I do not care for the nickname, but that which men call “Calvinism” is neither more nor less than the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The biblical doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints are not merely logical points of theology, but vital gospel doctrines, clearly revealed in Holy Scripture (Romans 3:9-19; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 1:4-6; Hebrews 9:12; Psalm 65:4; John 10:28). To deny these blessed, gospel doctrines is to deny the faith of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, ARMINIAN, FREEWILL, WORKS RELIGION IS NOT CHRISTIAN, BUT ANTICHRIST RELIGION.
This is not my opinion, but that which the Holy Spirit has clearly revealed in Holy Scripture (Galatians 1:6-9; Galatians 5:2-4; Colossians 2:23). Those who deny the accomplishment of redemption and the certain salvation of the redeemed deny that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. “This is a deceiver and/or an antichrist” (II John 1:7). If Arminianism is embraced as Christianity, then Mormonism, Campbellism, Russellism, and Romanism must also be embraced. In that case, the reformation was a horrendous mistake, our forefathers died for nothing, and the sooner we all unite with Rome the better!
Third, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL WHO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL TO DO WHAT WE CAN IN THESE DARK DAYS TO MAKE IT KNOWN TO ALL MEN.
Confess the faith of Christ before men. Let those who preach, preach it with boldness, clarity, and distinctiveness. The souls of men, the glory of God, and the truth of God are at stake. Let us be found faithful! God requires no more and we can give no less than faithfulness.
By Donald Bell