Christian Destiny Christian Destiny
The Marks of a Cult

by Dr. Dave Breese

10. Entangling Organizational Structure

The cult demands total commitment by its converts to an organizational involvement that enmeshes them in a complicated set of human strictures.

Whatever else the cultic leaders may be, they are superorganizers. It is impossible for a cult to succeed without tying down its gains and enrolling its followers with increasingly demanding obligations to the leader and the organization. The cult is usually represented to the vulnerable devotee as synonymous with the kingdom of God itself. One of the normal connotations of the word “cultic” is that of passionate devotion to a cause to the point of the irrational. The cult hopes to bring its hapless followers to the place where they think of little else except their involvement with the movement and its human leader. The usual cultist is far more a slave to his present religious involvement than he ever was to various forms of sin which characterized his former life.

This was precisely the accusation which Christ leveled at the Pharisees, saying, “Ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne” (Luke 11:46). “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Peter 2:19).

The present day Children of God demand that their youthful followers rob their parents before disappearing into the folds of this cultic “Jesus” religion. Organizational initiation is followed by peer group pressure until finally the pitiful devotee is terror stricken at the prospect of dropping out of his suspicious entanglements.

The Christian has been delivered from all such nonsense. He knows that the word “loyalty” is only applicable in the final sense when applied to Jesus Christ Himself. The devotion that Christians have for one another is the loving response to the indwelling Holy Spirit rather than the enslaving external organization. It is a truism that the less truth a movement represents, the more highly it must organize itself. Truth has its own magnetism producing loyalty. Its absence makes necessary the application of the bonds of fear. The cultic leader may present his wares by saying, “Come to Jesus,” but his real theme song is “You belong to me.” The Christian is well advised to heed the advice of the Apostle Paul, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).


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