Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
The Marks of a Cult

by Dr. Dave Breese

3. Uncertain Hope

By uncertain hope, we refer to the doctrine that we can never be sure that we have eternal life while we are in this world. The issue of our salvation is never settled but is constantly unstabilized by the vicissitudes of life.

The wonderful promise that is made in the New Testament again and again to the believing Christian is that he is the possessor of a certain salvation: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice” (1 Peter 1:3-6). The Christian is “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13). He is the possessor of hope, both sure and steadfast (Hebrews 6:19).

The cultists make no such promise. Because they are interested in producing continuing obligation as against spiritual freedom, they keep their followers in the hopeless bondage of a continually insecure relationship with God. For the member of the cult there is always more to do, more to pay, and their hope of blessing in eternal life is a will-o'-the-wisp that can never be certainly realized in this life. A hope that is uncertain is no hope at all. The believing Christian can express his faith in the very words of assurance used by the Apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

The essence of the Gospel is that it offers rest in Jesus Christ as against a hopeless relationship with an easily offended God with whom the issue of salvation is never quite settled.


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