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When Churches Become Cults

And I still believe in Jesus Who loves
All people — His people — of faith and creed.
He has not forsaken those not yet moved
By the pleas for salvation amidst bittersweet misery.

All men are formed from aether and clay,
Here on the shores of the mystery lagoon
Where the coldest flames of tragedy linger today,
The spot above the world not unlike Eden,
Not unlike the games the evil ones play,
Pitting man against men, and men against Heaven
— both rightly and wrongly opposed to it. I
Still believe we should trust what He says;

We must humbly serve according to His commandments,
That we must share the Gospel with dignity.

I have walked through life alongside professed preachers
Who followed Christ and others that did not.
I have walked with Protestants, Muslims, Jewish teachers,
Some religious, some spiritual, some secular, some not.
I have seen miracles take place from within,
Broken hearts released from hatred, erasing all doubts
In my being that God is still working, listening,
To the concerns of all who acknowledge Him, without
Forsaking the integrity of free will or preordination.

I have heard that the LORD shows mercy,
Purging His own memory to forgive, carrying tears
Of His weary children — the orphans of Creation.

I have, in Israel, encountered His Spirit Holy.
I have met congregations on my own shore, here,
— they only saw laws where Jesus should be:

Should I use electricity? Whom should I hate?
Whom should I love? Are you my enemy?
Surely I am saved if I tithe myself away!
What about community? Who should be my friend?
Who will hold me accountable for my purity?
Surely genuine fellowship will save me from sin!

I still believe Christ blots out all idolatry.

I have seen some modern men obsess over Him
In ways unhealthy, seen them abuse their sanctity
To groom, doom new believers into ideological slavery.
They have their retreats and their own missions,
To grow powerful by preying on the vulnerabilities
Of the sick, the poor, who lack family.

I have seen the bowels of those rare movements
That claim their Christianity, but really work iniquity.
Too often they blame the Devil and demons
Instead of obeying the LORD and taking responsibility
For the ways they treat even unpopular neighbors.

Christians are called to understand the Law’s purpose
— to love God and all people as themselves
Through belief. I know the love of Jesus
Is selfless and perfect, perfected in Jesus.

I have seen His Spirit heal broken souls
— heard Him speak through the Scriptures, a voice
Calming and tranquil, firm and trustworthy, fully righteous.

And I know now that churches become cults
When following God becomes ritual instead of choice.


  1. Wow Andrew. That poem is really profound and insightful. The closing sentence rang deep for me. Thank you for your gift.


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