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When Cultists Ask: A Popular Handbook on Cultic Misinterpretations
~Norman L. Geisler , Ron Rhodes
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Sales rank: 1768181

Product Information

Media: Hardcover
ISBN/ASIN : 0801011493
Manufacturer : Baker Books
Release data : November, 1997

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  • Subjects - Religion & Spirituality - Christianity - Evangelism
  • Subjects - Religion & Spirituality - General

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    1 star1 star1 starNo starNo star    Correction to my previous review - excuses to Rhodes

    I am writing after one of the author, Ron Rhodes, wrote me about my previous review. I had assumed he was responsible for the definition of cultism included in the book, and for the inclusion of Catholicism. Rhodes explained that it was Geisler who entirely worked out the definition of what a cult is and entirely insisted for the inclusion of Catholic interpretations in the book.

    Rhodes points out that they (the authors) still) wrote on p. 18 that catholicism is not a cult, which I appreciate. But I still do not understand why then include catholic interpretations in such a book?

    All my excuses to Ron Rhodes and for saying of him that I understood him to be rather "fanatical". I must have been angry to see Catholics included in this book on cultists, hence the lack of thoughtfulness in my previous review. Well I am disappointed by what Geisler has done in this book. Of all his books, it clearly remains the one I like the least.

    1 star1 star1 starNo starNo star    Geisler's worst book

    After an introduction about what a cult is, this book is a collection of Bible verses followed by the "cultic misinterpretation (anything not compatible with calvinism) and a defense of the calvinist view, and with some indexes at the end.

    I am a big "fan" of Norm Geisler, I like very much his works, I promote them and collect his out-of-print books. I have almost all his books. Rhodes has written some books about "cults". I also have a few books by Rhodes. I think that Geisler made here a major mistake with this book in collaborating with Rhodes, whom I understand to be rather fanatical (calvinist/fundamentalist), as I could also see from his site. I have much critic against this book although I am a conservative protestant (and was even myself a fundamentalist some years ago, but now I am intellectually responsible). The big problem with this book is that (Catholic) Christianity is defined as a cult,. as well as any religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, freemasonery, etc.) that does not interpret the Bible like Rhodes does. Now I grew up as a Roman Catholic (I am no more, but still in touch), my father was a grade 33 mason and Great Master (I am not freemason either) , and I also know enough about other religions like buddhism (and also some buddhists), etc. to see that it is deadly wrong to include Catholicism, freemasonery, buddhism, etc among the cults!! Let us look at the three kind of criteria retained (by Rhodes I assume) to define a cult:

    1 doctrinal:

    1. A. New Revelation: (something new besides the Bible): but Jews could do the same and claim that Christians add a new revelation and are therefore a cult! And the Hindu and the buddhists could just do the same. 1. B. Everything that does not interpret the Bible like protestant/calvinist do -- other Christians such as the Catholic and the Orthodoxes could also in the same manner qualify the protestants of being a "cult", because they do not interpret the Bible like they do!! 1. C And everything that denies the sole authority of the Bible: here any other religion could say the same of their own Holy Book and claim that Christians are cultists because they do not recognize the sole revelation (of the other religion)!! 1. D. Any other view on salvation besides the protestant one: but other religions could as well accuse protestant of having a different view on this! It is clear that that kind of criteria lead to qualifying any view as cultic: they are simply as absurd as the "presuppositional apologetics". They are destructive for Christians when applied from another view.

    2. Sociology 2. A Authoritianism: but what about the authoritianism of Luther and especially Calvin (the latter having those who disagreed with calvinism burnt alive in Geneva...) 2. B. Exclusivism, Dogmatism, Close-Mindedness, Blind-Faith...: this applies much more to fundamentalism/calvinism than Catholicism, the later having room for inclusivism, debate, and rational, common-sense justification (thomism)!!

    3 Abuse: 3. A. Legalism: this is often found in calvinism/fundamentalism! Besides, should someone who follows the laws of the state (for driving, etc.) also be called cultist? 3. B. Sexual and Physical Abuse: at least Rhodes is right here, fortunately (but what about Calvin having those who skipped Sunday service beaten many time with wooden stocks?) 3. C. Intolerance: I agree, here again (but what about Calvin burning alive dissidents in Geneva?)

    Using Rhodes definition, anyone could define protestantism/calvinism as more cultic than some of the religions or included here!! Rhodes is definitely wrong, he should not have focussed at what diverges from protestantism/calvinism, but rather focussed on the abuse, this is the real ear-mark of cults: psychological abuse (brain-washing, etc.), sociological (separation from family and friends, strong integration with the cult, etc.), intellectual (interdiction to read critical materials, or incitement not to read/hear/consider anything contrary to the cult...), financial abuse, etc. all things he did not retain as criteria!!. My judgement is that Rhodes is not so competent about CULTS, albeit he may be competent in defending protestantism/calvinism as is does well in this book. This is not to say that the he is bad, I think he wrote a good book about the New-Age Jesus, he is simply very confused about what a "cult" is. I thought that W. Martin was already quite confused in classifying world religions as "cults", but Rhodes goes further in classifying Catholicism as a cult!

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