Several research studies estimate that five to ten million Americans have been at least transiently involved with cultic groups. A study which randomly surveyed 1,000 San Francisco Bay Area high school students found that 3% of students reported that they were members of a cult group, while 54% reported at least one contact with a cult recruiter. Another study, which analyzed survey data from San Francisco, found that approximately 20% of the adult population had participated in "new religious and para-religious movements”. Other data in this study suggest that approximately two to five percent of the subjects had participated in "new religious and para-religious" groups that are commonly considered cults.
With so many religions organized under the words “Christian” or “Jesus”, and varying so differently in what they believe and preach, how are we to be discerning? Which are subversively counterfeits or outright cults? Which are authentic churches, in spite of peripheral doctrine differences? Figuring this all out can be daunting and discouraging without some basic principles to help guide us.
“Lost In Translation” seeks to be that helpful guide. In this series, we will explore some of the western systems, groups and beliefs to help us better discern cults and counterfeits from the Church that Jesus sanctions and celebrates.