Shepherding/Discipleship Movement Survivor's Blog

The present-day impact of the Shepherding/Discipleship movement from the perspective of a former member of Morning Star International (now Every Nation Churches and Ministries).

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Course in Cults

I'm all excited because I just attended the first class meeting for the "Cults" course I'm taking this semester. It's a bonafide college level, for credit class. I won't try to come off as a cult "expert" when I'm done just because I've taken a silly class, but at least I'll be able to say I'm a little more formally educated in cult issues than someone who reads a bunch of stuff posted on the 'Net.

I was a little concerned when I got the book for the class, since it takes the viewpoint that many of what are commonly called "cults" are merely misunderstood "new religious movements." However, it seems the professor takes a harder line on some of these groups, acknowledging that they can be quite dangerous and harmful, and that we'll be using the book mostly as reference while the primary text will be his lecture notes. Also, while the class won't be exclusive to Christian/Bible-based cults, about 70% of the class will focus on those since those comprise the majority of what are commonly known as cults here in the US.

The professor was also a pastor for many years, and he briefly mentioned things like, "excesses in the church," the impact of televangelists, disillusioned Christians no longer going to church, so while one of the ground rules is no soapboxing for one's personal theological agenda (including his), I have a feeling I'm going to agree with him on a few more issues than I was concerned I might going in.

I'm easily 20 years older than anyone else in the class, except the professor of course who makes me feel pretty darned young. You know you're getting old when everyone else thinks, "Essays have to be THREE PAGES???" and I think, "ONLY three pages?" Oh, and there's the little issue about it being on the fifth floor of a building with an elevator restricted only to those who are truly disabled. Either I'm going to be in decent shape at the end of the semester, or I'll completely blow out my already semi-arthritic knees and become officially qualified to take the elevator.

One thing he said in passing that has me very intrigued... that there are three Bible-based cults that have recently established a presence in our area. Makes me wonder which three he's referring to. Or if my former group is on that short list. I suppose I'll find out soon enough.


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