Daemon Guy and Wanda Burnham, directors of the Saints Alive Total Anticult Network (not to be confused with the Sandra A. Tanner Anticult Network), a well-known anti-Mormon ministry located in Hell, Michigan, made a surprise announcement today regarding an anti-cult investigation of early Christians. According to Daemon Guy, “It turns out that the earliest so-called Christians, including most of the apostles and Christ himself, were cultists, not Christians.” The investigation was based on charges from Mormons that the working definitions of “cult” used to classify the Mormons as a cult would also condemn Christ and his followers. “It was a real revelation to us to see that these charges were actually true,” said Guy. “But not revelation in the sense of revelation from God, since that can’t happen anymore, but revelation in the sense of like, wow, it was something new that God was showing me.”
Though this may be surprising to many Christians, Burnham explains that a simple analysis of the standard evangelical definition of a cult readily shows that Christ and his followers were cultists. For example:
–Early Christians honored and respected a man, Jesus Christ. Extreme devotion was given to him and his sayings.
–Early Christians introduced new books of scripture. Though the analysis is not yet complete, most of the books of the New Testament that S.A.T.A.N. has examined so far appear to have been introduced as new scripture.
–Early Christians did not accept the standard doctrine of the Trinity, but believed that Christ had a body (see the end of Luke 24) or that God and Christ could were separate beings (e.g., Acts 7:55,56).
–Early Christians did not believe in salvation through faith alone. In fact, the only place in the New Testament that mentions “faith alone” or “faith only” is a verse that explicitly denies the accepted Protestant doctrine of salvation by faith alone (James 2:24).
–Christ and his followers taught that men must “keep the commandments” to be saved (e.g., Matthew 19:17).
–Followers of Christ were asked to make substantial financial sacrifices for the “cause.”
–Accepted religious leaders of the day condemned the movement as being a fringe group outside normative religion.
–Its leaders were convicted of serious crimes and often executed for these by the authorized legal powers of the day.
–Early Christians claimed to have apostles and prophets among them with special power from God.
And the list goes on. The leaders of S.A.T.A.N. point out that while most of the New Testament must now be rejected for its cult-like teachings and for being “new scripture,” Ephesians 2:8 remains in force, as do several other verses from Paul, but even Paul appears to have taught unsound cultist doctrines and to have been guilty of many doctrinal errors contrary to the accepted norms of historical Christianity (i.e., Christianity since the time of Martin Luther).
“Having to condemn Christ and his earliest followers as non-Christian cultists was certainly a surprise, but it was the only intellectual honest thing to do in our spirit-breathed battle against cults like the Mormons,” said the somewhat chagrined Daemon Guy.