Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
The Marks of a Cult

by Dr. Dave Breese

5. Doctrinal ambiguity

The cults are characterized by a non-definitive system of doctrine which often changes with every new wind that blows.

Clarity of belief is one of the characteristics of true Christianity. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Christian who studies the Word of God becomes spiritually mature, a defender of the faith, and is thereby enabled even to teach others. The clear doctrines of Holy Scripture can be understood to the point of certainty by faithful people so that they can impart them to the next circle of intelligent listeners. “The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

But, the Word of God clearly warns that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,4).

Fables, predicted in Scripture, are one of the marks of a cult. One can listen endlessly to cultic representatives on radio and television and never be sure what they are talking about. They pose questions which they do not answer. One of the most mentally frustrating experiences in life is to attempt to decide exactly what a religious promoter meant by what he said. The answer cannot even be found by reading hundreds of pages of their literature. Literature, of course, is offered because the purpose of the game is to build the mailing list.

This is the way they plan it; they intend to confuse, not to clarify. Being confused themselves, they only are able to throw dust in the air so that it gets in the eyes of others. It is almost impossible to understand what a Jehovah’s Witness believes about God, biblical inspiration, eternity and many other subjects.

By contrast, the Christian leader is one who preaches the Word, knowing that, “if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle” (1 Corinthians 14:8).


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