The Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin
This work is a classic reference work on cults, having been first printed in 1965. The book has gone through at least thirty-six printings and the latest edition has been revised and expanded. Walter Martin is a recognized expert on the cults. He is a Baptist, founder and director of the Christian Research Institute.
The book defines a cult as the following:
A cult…is any religious group which differs significantly in some one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture…a group of people gathered about a specific person or person’s mis-interpretation of the Bible.
The author discusses the psychological patterns impacting the cults. It is important to understand the conditioning that some religious groups exercise over their disciples. The writer also discusses the importance of understanding the language among the cults. Often groups re-define terms beyond the original meanings in order to build support for their doctrine.
This work addresses the following religious groups: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Mormonism, Spiritism, Zen Buddhism, Baha’i, Anglo–Israelism, Scientology, Eastern Religions, Islam, Seventh-Day Adventism, Unitarianism, and other cults.
Walter Martin attempts to approach each cult with a historical analysis of the rise of the cult. He then completes an evaluation of the particular teachings relating to the cult and provides a reply against the errors of the cult using the Bible.
The study of cults can be very interesting and intriguing. This writer spent several years studying Mormonism from many reference works within and without the Mormon Church. He has visited special Mormon sites such as Johnson Farm in Hiram, OH where Joseph Smith claimed to have a vision. He has also been to the Mormon Temple around Washington D.C. The sincerity of the people in Mormonism has never been questioned at any time; however, they have been misguided into a maze of circular reasoned contradictions. Their religion is a progressive one, which is a classic sign of a cult. When one becomes a Christian, they have the opportunity of learning all the teachings of the Bible prior to becoming a member. With Mormonism, small incremental doses of the poisonous doctrine of Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders are interjected along the way. The material in The Kingdom of the Cults is an excellent beginning point in studying the various religious groups we may come across. It is important we have an understanding of these groups, their teachings, their vocabularies, and the weaknesses that can be used to try and reach and pull some of them from the abyss.
I highly recommend adding this book to the church library. One important suggestion: do not buy an older edition of this book. Purchase the latest edition of this book available. Unlike the teachings of the Bible that change not, the cults’ teachings change over time which make revisions necessary.
Originally printed West Virginia Christian, Vol. 11, No. 10, October 2004, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.