Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
The Marks of a Cult

by Dr. Dave Breese

1. Extra-Biblical Revelation

Extra-biblical revelation is the view that God has spoken in recorded words, through whatever medium, since He gave us the New Testament Scriptures. It is the assertion that God speaks or has spoken outside, apart from the Bible.

The teaching of Holy Scripture forbids this view. It insists that God has spoken to us finally and completely in His Word, the Bible. The last definitive syllables which God has given to this world are the Scriptures of the New Testament. The last chapter of the New Testament absolutely and categorically closes the verbal revelation of God by saying, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18,19). In this sober passage of Scripture we see that the most dire judgment is already pronounced upon anyone who adds to the message of the Word of God.

Many Add to Scripture

Virtually every cult avers to a token respect for the Bible. It then quickly announces some kind of subsequent revelation that effectively cancels the teaching of Holy Scripture in favor of “something new” from God. The Mormon cult holds to the coming of an angel who announced a subsequent revelation of God which is contradictory to the teaching of the New Testament.

A Mormon text says, “Some foolishly assert that the statement in the last chapter of Revelation, verses 18, 19, forbidding any man to take from or add to that book, is an intimation that God had said his last word to the world. We say that the assertion is foolish, for while men were prohibited from tampering with the book of Revelation God did not, in that passage, surrender his prerogative of speaking to man, nor did he intimate that he would not, in the future, inspire other men to write scripture for him (The Fall of Babylon, p. 301">Haworth, Elder W.J., The Fall of Babylon, p. 301).

Contemporary cult leaders claim their authority by saying in one way or another, “God spoke to me last week or last year” or “A spirit or the Spirit told me to tell you...” The cult writings are replete with accounts of some revelation from God apart from the pages of Holy Scripture. The Apostle Paul, knowing this would happen, warns us that even if an angel from heaven brings to us another gospel, that being is to be accursed (Galatians 1:8,9). In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:2) and in no other way. The message of the old hymn is therefore most valid,

“How firm a foundation,
ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith
in His excellent Word!
What more can He say
than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge
to Jesus have fled?”

Beware of the person who announces that he has a special revelation from God, even if he does it in the name of Christianity. There is no special verbal revelation from God apart from the Bible. The words of Holy Scripture are the final words that God has said to this world or will say until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Extra-biblical revelation is the first and most notorious characteristic of a cult. It is most deadly because it becomes the basis of the claim for all sorts of soul-destructive ideas. God has spoken to us only through His Word which is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).

The last book of the New Testament brings us the final picture of history, presenting the future throughout time and into eternity. It ends the need for further revelation and concludes by forbidding anyone to add even a word to the completed revelation of God.


1. Extra-Biblical Revelation — False doctrine from outside the Bible

2. Salvation by works — Denial of salvation by faith alone

3. Uncertain Hope — Cultistis are never sure of heaven

4. Presumptuous Messianic Leadership — Arrogant religious rulers command others

5. Doctrinal ambiguity

6. Denunciation of Others — All others are infidels, reprobates

7. Claim of “Special Discoveries”

8. Defective Christology — Denial of the Deity or humanity of Christ

9. Segmented Biblical Attention — Ignoring the whole counsel of God

10. Entangling Organizational Structure — Membership equals salvation

11. Financial Exploitation — Money is the object


This 1981 booklet is an early version of what later became the full-length book, The Marks of a Cult: The Warning Signs of False Teachings, published by Harvest House.
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The Marks of a Cult