WBC Statement on Cults and Modern Day Heresies
In and around the fringes of Christendom today, there is a bewildering array of heretical cults attempting to seduce people away from the true Christian faith.
Most vulnerable of all to these allures are young people. Why is that? Because, for good or ill, the older we get, the more set we become in our ways and in our thoughts. The target group, then, both for the Church and for the cults, is youth; the issue, at once both simple and complex, is worship of the true God.
The growing numbers of religious cults which surround us utilize a variety of means to draw people into their devious systems, their "doctrines of demons." Fr. Papademetriou has shown that their methods of attraction center upon certain areas of human weakness. They dwell among peoples' emotions and insecurities, particularly upon the spiritually sensitive person's gnawing doubt that he is truly serving God with his whole heart. Then, dwelling upon religious emphasis, they utilize highly-touted accounts of deep religious experience to draw in the net.
"A cult is a religious perversion. It is a belief and practice in the world of religion which calls for devotion to a religious view or leader centered in false doctrine. It is an organized heresy."
There are a great number of cults today; in fact, some say there are about five thousand cults and three thousand 'messiahs' in America today. The World Bishops Council strongly warns against false teachings.
EXAMPLES OF TEACHINGS NOT IN LINE WITH THEOLOGY OF EARLY CHURCH FATHERS
It has been claimed that the Unification Church theology is not Christian. It is an "alloy of Christianity, Taoism, and Buddhism." The teachings of the Unification Church are set forth in the Divine Principle by Sun Myung Moon.
Moon describes God in explicit anthropomorphic terms:
"God suffers, weeps, feels frustration, knows joy and happiness, even laughs. His will can be thwarted."
Concerning the creation of man, Moon teaches that God's original intention was for Adam and Eve to unite and give birth to sinless children and that the human race would be perpetuated and live in perfect harmony.
God's will, however, was prevented from being fulfilled because of the 'fall.' It is reported that the Unification theology claims that Eve entered into sexual relations with Lucifer. The subsequent conjugal union of Adam and Eve was without God's blessing, and hence all their descendants are not children of God but children of Satan. God made several attempts to restore humanity to perfection by sending several messiahs, but he failed.
According to Moon, there were three stages for the resurrection or reconciliation of humanity to God. First, the family of Abraham, the Jews, were justified before God because of the observance of the Mosaic Law. God never spoke to them directly because of their low spirituality, communicating his message only through angels. The Jews never became sons of God but only servants of God. The second stage is when God sent Jesus Christ, the Second Adam who also failed in his mission of restoring humanity to sinlessness:
"Through him [Jesus of Nazareth], God sought to restore the creation to himself, to begin the perfect family whose sinless offspring would reunite spiritual and material reality to himself. But the mission of Jesus was a failure ... the crucifixion is a sign of failure." Furthermore, " ... according to Divine Principle, because he was crucified, Christ was not able to marry and begin a perfect family of man and therefore failed in his mission."
Of course, this is considered by Church Fathers not only a heresy but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
The claim is that the third stage will complete the cycle of perfection. It is reported that "God again sent an advocate (Moon) to earth, the Lord (Moon) of the Second Advent." It is prophesied in the Divine Principle, that the Lord of the Second Advent will be born in Korea, he will marry and have sinless children and that "he and his followers will create a perfect family, a perfect nation, a perfect world." Political ideology and vague moralism are used here to accomplish the purpose of the cult which is to bring all people under the slavery of the Unification Church. In order to attract convert idealism is used: "the two obstacles to the rule of God are "Godless communism and illicit sex." The price one pays to be in the cult is to become a slave to Moon, who manipulates the person for his own personal gain and power. The ultimate goal of this cult is the 'unification' of all humanity under the control of Moon. To attain this purpose many means are used, including deceptive methods.
It is reported that the Divine Principle considers male and female as manifestations of God's nature and the sexual union of man and woman as completion of God's nature. It appears, also, that the Divine Principle polarizes two gods as good and evil satanic and godly forces.
The Unification Church teaches that sex by nature is evil. Only Moon selects the mates and blesses the marriages in order to restore 'sinless children' to God. According to Korean religious scholars the practice of a monthly sexual rite called pikarume or blood clean sing, to purify souls of Eve's misdeed is advocated by several religious sects in Korea, including that of members of the Moon church. This rite consists of removing Eve's sin by copulating with a sect leader to be 'purified.'
The Unification church denies the basic doctrine of the Creed:
"I believe in one God the Father Almighty ... And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God ... very God of very God, begotten, not made, consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father ... And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life."
It is reported that the most radical of the contemporary cults is that known as the Children of God or the Family of Love. Once they have emerged as a new religion "with their own 'scriptures,' 'prophet,' and practices." The founder of this new religion is David Brandt Berg, known as Moses David. The claim is made that "a child of God believes that his leader receives regular divine revelation from God." Berg puts these regulations and practices into writing for his disciples. They are called 'Mo Letters.' To a member of the Children of God, a 'Mo Letter' is as important as the Bible, possibly more important. He claims, "You could even rebuke the devil in the name of David and he will flee. No power in the world can stand against the power of David." The saddest thing about the Children of God is that they believe that they are given divine license to disregard both moral and legislated law. The world is rotten and is compared to Pharaoh's Egypt. They consider themselves "at war with the rest of the world; they are exempt from its rules." The 'Mo Letters' are reported as using "foul or pornographic language," and the leader advocates "shocking sexual behavior." This cult condones polygamy and disregards all sexual mores and the moral conduct of the Christian religion and the American social order.
These teachings by Berg are those which an Orthodox theologian describes as sin. Regarding original sin, Kokkinakis states:
"Man's functionings lost their primordial beauty and meaning ... Brutal feelings sprang out of the depths of his being. Bestiality replaced morality. Virtue gave place to vice."
It is in Christ and through Christ that we find redemption and no other prophet or god. The Church recognizes the Scriptures that were delivered unto us by our Holy Fathers and no others.
The World Bishops Council stands firm in our creedal beliefs of the early church fathers. While the WBC is an ecumenical organization, we firmly believe that is is part of our responsibilty to offer clarity in doctrinal matters.
We further hold fast to the truths handed down to us by the Apostles and early Church fathers in opposing all modern day heresies.