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The Andy Sharp files
& the Cult of Christianity

Their letters are in yellow, whilst mine are in black & white.

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Latest Updates

So tomorrow I leave to Chicago for a much needed Thanksgiving vacation with some Super Chics, other friends and my family. Yes! I still have family that's willing to spend their holiday vacation time with me! What other red devil can make that claim? Name one! So unfortunately this means that there won't be any updates for the week (I've made a Best Of list for those of you who need your time filled by me), but I DO plan on keeping a gay-ass blog on MySpace for anyone who's so obsessed with me that a self indulgent, gay-ass blog will suffice. So come be my friend on MySpace and find out for yourself. It'll be fun!

Also, I've been all about making more magnets. The Christmas version is selling fast, fast, fast! In fact, yesterday I had the owner of a gay disco in Costa Rica buy 6 of each set so that he could put them on the walls leading to the restrooms in his club! Give the people something to do while they wait! Genius. This is exactly the sort of shit I was hopin' for when I started selling the magnets. Thanks Jack!

I'm replenishing my batch of the regular version which'll be ready in a couple months. AND i'm also working on a new set which'll also be a couple months away. I've just been so happy with the response I've been getting from the new sets.

Oh! And did you see that the movie is up for sale on DVD now? You can reserve one (or more) before they're finished and have it sent to you before the new year. I promise, if you haven't seen this movie yet you won't regret buying it. It's the funniest thing ever, and if you're a fan of Normal Bob Smith (me) you'll love it even more. Watch the clips. See for yourself.

Oh, and by the way, when I return from this vacation I will be ready to be put to work! Do you like what you see on my site? Well take a look at some of the work I've done in the past because now's the time to let me know if you've got a project for me to work on. I'd love to see what you've got, and I'll be happy to quote costs and time frames to you.

Hmmm, what else? What else? Oh yeah! Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the Super Chics. I've almost completed it and am going to be posting them after my return. It's gonna rock!

Oh, and have you seen the new pamphlets?? Aren't they special? I hope you people realize how special they are and print them out at home. I just added a second version to the A MAN NAMED JESUS one that I'm sure you all will love. I've been getting a very strong reaction from people here that I've been handing it too. Go ahead and look. You'll see what I mean. Version 2.

So I'll see you back here in a week. Go to MySpace if you wanna keep up with my goings on.

Bob

Forgive him Father, for he knows not what he does..

Someday your eyes will be opened...  Someday you will realize what you have done.   ...and on that day when you turn from your ways, He will forgive you and hold you in His arms and begin to teach you. I hope that day soon comes for you. Forgive him Father, for he knows not what he does...
Jesus will save you... just ask Him into your heart.

Andy Sharp / Crossroads Realty
ajsharp@iserv.net

....and you don't see how much of a cult you're brainwashed by?

Bob

What is the definition of a cult?

Tell me Bob... What is the definition of a cult? 

Andy Sharp / Crossroads Realty
ajsharp@iserv.net

Terrific question! Let's both have a look now, shall we?

The 2nd definition of the word "cult" is a good one. It says: " A system or community of religious worship and ritual" That sounds like you. Right? You do those things. Correct?
And definition number 3 isn't too different than #2: "The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual."
#4 sounds like Jesus Christ! "A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease."
The one that I prefer though is the very first definition.
"A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader."
That's you, Jesus, and whoever taught you all the garbage you believe.

Now mind you these are in the dictionary. I'm just the messenger here.
I hope you learned something today. Any more questions?
Bob

Let's expand a bit on the information that you have provided me, shall we.

Thanks for writing back Bob. I appreciate it. Let's expand a bit on the information that you have provided me, shall we. Let me know what you think my friend...
Aj

[The following is the article that Andy forwarded to me with my interjections in red.]

Written by Patrick Zukeran Lemme guess, he's a member of the Christian cult, huh? This should be interesting.

Challenge of the Cults Are you Christians? No? Then you're a cult! And we're not!

This church is growing so rapidly, sociologist Rodney Stark predicts that by the year 2080, it will become the most important world religion to emerge since the rise of Islam.{1} What church is Dr. Stark describing? It is not a Christian church but the Mormon Church, an organization labeled as a cult. The rise of the Mormon Church represents the growing challenge facing the church, the kingdom of the cults.

What is a cult? The greatest authority on the cults, the late Dr. Walter Martin He is? Says who?, described a cult as "A group of people gathered around a specific person's misinterpretation of the Bible."{2} Cults are groups that claim to be in harmony with Christianity but deny foundational Christian doctrines such as the Trinity or the unique deity of Jesus Christ.

In Matthew 7:15-17, Jesus gives us a warning about the coming of the cults. He states, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." Oh this is so great. We finally get to hear an unbiased overview on cults. Classic. What Jesus was warning was that cultists will look, act, and sound like Christians. However, that is only in external appearance. One can parade as a true believer for a time, but eventually one's words, actions, and especially one's beliefs--their "fruit"--will give one away as a counterfeit. What's so great is that this is the same article Marshal Applewhite or Jim Jones would write, only replacing "Christianity" with their own religion. Picking a Christian to dissect cults is freakin' genius! Next you should get a Nazi to tell why Nazism is the only true way!

The growth of the cults can be attributed to several factors. First, it is a fulfillment of the warning given by Jesus and the apostles. In Matthew 24:23-26, Jesus warns us that as His return draws near, there will be an increase in false prophets who will ensnare many in their false teachings. In 2 Peter 2:1-3, Peter warns us that false teachers will arise from within the church.

The second factor in the growth of the cults is the breakdown of the family. Cults provide the family atmosphere many from broken homes long for; the cult leader often takes the place of a father figure. I'd be very curious to hear if the author of this article thinks that Hinduism is a cult, or Muslim, or Buddhists, or if they're also true religions?

Finally, we can attribute the growth of the cults to the failure of the church. As my mentor repeatedly stated, "The cults are the unpaid bills of the church." The cults thrive because Christians are lacking in biblical and theological understanding. Dr. Martin stated, "The rise of the cults is directly proportional to the fluctuating emphasis which the church has placed on the teachings of biblical doctrine to Christian laymen. To be sure, few pastors, teachers, and evangelists defend adequately their beliefs, but most of them -- and most of the average Christian laymen –- are hard put to confront and refute a well-trained cultist of almost any variety."{3} If the church engaged in solid and in-depth Bible teaching, the cults would not flourish as they do today. < We must brainwash our followers better to keep them from being brainwashed by other cults!

Doctrinal Character of the Cults

How do you know if a religious group is a cult? Jesus said that you will know false prophets by their fruits. In stating this he was not only speaking of their words and actions but of their doctrinal beliefs as well. Cults deviate from biblical Christianity in several key areas of doctrine.

Cults promote false teaching on the nature of God. The Bible teaches there is one God revealed in three distinct persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The central feature that distinguishes cults from biblical Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. All cults have a distorted view of this doctrine. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses condemn the doctrine of the Trinity, and Mormons teach tritheism, three gods who make up the godhead.

Second, cults teach a false view of Jesus. The Bible teaches that Christ is 100 percent man and 100 percent God. This has been called the hypostatic union. In 2 Corinthians 11:4, Paul warned about false teachers teaching another Jesus. A modern-day example of false teaching is Christian Science which teaches that Jesus was not God but a man who displayed the Christ idea. He neither died for sins, nor was He resurrected. Wait! That's wrong! CULT!!!

Third is a false teaching on salvation. All cults have a works-oriented Gospel. The death of Christ is believed to give followers the potential to be saved. So after believing in Christ, one must serve the organization to attain salvation. Salvation is found in the organization and one is never really sure if one has done enough to be worthy of salvation. < This doesn't apply to Christians too? In the International Church of Christ, for example, disciples are scrutinized by their discipler daily to determine if they performed as worthy disciples. Failure to meet the standards may result in discipline. Disciples can never be certain they have done enough for salvation.

Fourth, there is extra-biblical revelation and the denial of the sole authority of the Bible. Cults claim that extra revelation is given to the leader whose words are seen as inspired by God and equal to the Bible. If there is a conflict between the Bible and the leader's words, the latter takes precedence. < This doesn't apply to Christians too? Ask one of these guys about dinosaurs or whether or not stories in the bible are analogies or fact and I guarantee you his answer supersedes a crazy bible-story. So in reality, the leader's writings take precedence over the Bible. When interacting with cultists, I often hear them claim their teachings are consistent with the Bible. However, when I point out where their teachings deviate from the Bible, they eventually claim the Bible to be in error. In most cases, cultists claim the Bible has somehow been corrupted by the church.

Sociological Structure of the Cults

Not only do cults deviate doctrinally from biblical Christianity, they have distinctive sociological characteristics. The first is authoritarianism. The leader or organization exercises complete control over a follower's life. The words of the leadership are ultimate and often considered divinely inspired. Going against the leadership is equivalent to going against the commands of God.

The second characteristic is an elitist mentality. Most cults believe they are the true church < Gee, you're saying that no cults believe they are the false church? Fascinating! and the only ones who will be saved. < Sounds like Christians to me. This is because the group believes they have new revelation or understanding that gives them superior standing. < Christians.

Third is isolationism. Due to their elitist mentality < Christians, cultists believe those who do not agree with them are deceived or under the influence of Satan. < Christians Therefore, many feel their members must be protected from the outside world, and physical or psychological barriers are created. Members are prohibited from communicating with those outside the organization who do not agree with the teachings of the group.

Fourth, there is closed-mindedness and the discouragement of individual thinking. < Christians Because of its authoritarian nature, leaders are the only ones thought to be able to properly interpret the Bible. All members are to turn to the organization for biblical interpretation and advice on life decisions. Therefore, individual thinking and questioning is discouraged. < Christians There is an unwillingness to dialogue and consider other viewpoints. < Christians.

Fifth is a legalistic lifestyle. As mentioned earlier, salvation is not based on grace; cults teach a works-oriented gospel. This leads to a lifestyle of legalism. Followers must live up to the group's standards in order to attain or maintain their membership and hope for eternal life. Followers are required to faithfully serve, and attend meetings, studies, and services. As a result, there is tremendous pressure to live up to the requirements of the organization. < The Ten Commandments.

Finally there is a difficult exit process. Since salvation is found in the organization < Christianity, leaving the organization is considered by many to be leaving God.< Christianity All former members who leave cults are shunned by members which often includes members of their own family. Many are warned that if they leave, they will be condemned to hell, or seduced by Satan. Many ex-members are harassed by the organization even after they leave. Exiting members often end up distrusting any religious organization and end up feeling isolated and alone.

Life in the cults is marked by fear of judgment, pressure, and legalism. This is a far cry from what we are taught in the Bible. Jesus and the apostles taught that the new life in Christ is one of grace, love, and freedom from the law. In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, "Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." The peace and rest promised by Christ is seldom experienced by those in the cults.

Cultic Methodology

When you receive a knock on your door in the mornings, who do you assume it to be? A salesman? A Girl Scout selling cookies? For many of us, we assume it to be a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon missionary looking to tell us about his or her organization. One of the reasons cults have grown is their methodology. What? Christians don't witness to strangers??

The methods cults use to win converts are moral deception, aggressive proselytizing, and Scripture twisting. By moral deception I mean cults use Christian terminology to win converts. For example, New Agers use the term born again to support reincarnation. Mormons use terms like the Trinity and salvation by grace but these terms have different meanings than what the Bible teaches. Therefore, many untrained Christians are deceived into believing these groups are actually Christian.

Aggressive proselytizing is another method of the cults. But no, not Christians. Not them. They don't persist. Have you seen my hate mail section?? Although many Christian groups use aggressive evangelism, they do so out of a love for God and a desire to see others come to know Christ. Um, again, have you seen my hate mail section? They want me to burn in hell forever and suffer to the last breath! And you tell me Christianity isn't a cult? Many cultists proselytize for much the same reasons but added to this is the desire to win God's approval. But not Christians. They're not doing it for God's approval. No. They work for grace rather than from grace. The cults require their members to evangelize. Many groups hold their members accountable for the number of hours they spend witnessing for the organization. Many members feel guilty if a day or so goes by without them proselytizing. And I bet if you asked anybody in that cult they'd also say it was for grace and not from it. And they'd mean it.

Scripture twisting is another method of the cults. Cultist quote verses in the Bible that support their position, but skip over the verses that do not. Often, there is gross misinterpretation of Scripture so that contradictory verses will better fall in line with their views.

For example, Jehovah's Witness and Mormons try to use verses to show Jesus is a created being. However, their position is easily shown to be incorrect when you explain the context and correct meaning of the terms. Also, when you show additional verses that contradict their position, they are often surprised and realize they have never seen those verse before or that the organization's explanations of those verses are unable to be supported. So, are Christians ever surprised or confused when I point out that the dinosaurs don't fit in with Genesis, or when I ask about The Flood not appearing in any other culture's history books? Christians are just as dumbfounded as they are!

To successfully engage in conversation and effectively witness to those in the cults, Christians must be prepared in the following ways. First Peter 3:15 states that we must always be "prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." We must be prepared by knowing the word of God through diligent study of it. Second, we must be prepared to overcome our fears and lovingly reach out to cult members, exercising the fruits of patience and gentleness as we share the truth. < Funny. This is the same way to reach out to Christians with the truth about evolution, but they never listen.

Danger of the Cults

The rise of the cults pose a serious challenge to the church because they present several dangers to the church and families involved. First, there is a spiritual danger. First Timothy 4:1 states "...that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." < You see, my definition of a cult is anything that teaches people that demons and angels are real, and tells people to worship a guy who was human. Ultimately the spirit behind all lies and deception is the devil, so the ultimate force behind the cults is the evil one. Yeah. Satan. Perfect. And you're not a cult.

Galatians 1:8 states, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other that than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned." The false gospel of the cults cannot lead anyone to salvation. There are eternal consequences for false beliefs. For this reason Jesus and the apostles are very harsh on false teachers. < They were harsh on people who taught religions other than their own? Shocking! You'd think they'd be okay with that.

There is also a psychological danger. The mind controlling techniques used by the organizations can cause immense damage mentally and emotionally. < Christianity. Living under the pressure, guilt, and dependence on the organization has proven to have tremendous negative effects on individuals. < And the pressures of eternal hell doesn't?!?!?!

Third, there is domestic danger. Individuals are taught that loyalty to the organization is equivalent to allegiance with God. Therefore, loyalty to the organization supercedes loyalty to family. Thus, if a family member begins conducting himself in a way the organization does not approve of, the cult will often separate the family from the individual member. Isolation can be emotional or physical. Numerous families have been separated as a result.

In some cases there is a physical danger. The teachings of David Koresh cost the Branch Davidians their lives. Hobart Freeman taught that believers did not need medicine for illnesses, and told his followers to throw all theirs away. As a result, he and fifty-two of his members died from curable conditions.

In light of this threat, what are Christians called to do? First, we are called to study and know the Word of God. Paul writes to Timothy and all saints saying, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the world of truth." Christians should master the Bible so that they will not be deceived by any false teaching. Second, Titus commands us to be able to confront and refute false teachers. Finally, in Acts 20, Paul exhorts the leaders of the church to protect their flock from the false teachers that will prey upon the sheep. Every Christian is called to know the truth so well they can confront false teaching, and protect their church and family from it.
 
So tell me this, why did Patrick Zukeran bother writing this article? Why didn't he just write: "If it's not Christianity it's a cult." and leave it at that?

Let's expand a bit on the information that you have provided me, shall we.

"So tell me this, why did Patrick Zukeran bother writing this article? Why didn't he just write: "If it's not Christianity it's a cult." and leave it at that?"
 
He bothered so that seeking individuals like yourself wouldn't fall into a group of people that weren't Christ/God centered.
There is only one God Bob, and He loves you ...not what you're doing, but You. I truly hope you find Him in your search. It's not about a group or a church, it's about a relationship... one on one with the Creator of the universe. He loves you, and so do I.

Andy Sharp / Crossroads Realty
ajsharp@iserv.net

Did you reread your email before you sent it? All of these same words are said by every cult leader that ever existed. You're using the same tactics as they do with your open arms of love for anyone who will fall into them. Don't you see that? Establishing a cult following is no proof at all, especially after the "God" dies. Then it's a cakewalk because the story can become whatever anyone wants it to be!

Did you ever stop to wonder why out of all these gods that are supposed to be true why no one has ever preformed a miracle for all to see so as to save all of mankind from eternal suffering? It's always just some story from ancient times, back when people believed in mermaids and flying dragons.

A little advice: Anytime someone tells you that a man is God, don't believe them. A man isn't God. Even if He existed 2,000 years ago. It's still a guy, no different than Applewhite, Jones, Koresh, Zendik or even Manson for that matter.

By the way, I was sorry I didn't get any answers to my questions. Especially: "I'd be very curious to hear if the author of this article thinks that Hinduism is a cult, or Muslim, or Buddhists, or if they're also true religions?" There's the 24 thousand dollar question! What's your take on that? Real or cults? You have two choices.

Bob

 

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