Let’s face it, Christianity is a cult. And most Christians should be more cultlike. It’s true, but I wouldn’t recommend the use of that word!
The dictionary provides this primary definition of a cult: “a symptom of religious worship or ritual.” A secondary definition expands: “a devoted attachment to, or extravagant and admiration for, a person, principle, etc.”
In Ephesians 4:14-32, Paul begins with a serious challenge: “Grow up—mature in the faith.” He continues, “Live the whole truth.” In verse 16, he says, “…grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”
In Ephesians 4:17-19, Paul gets tough with the Ephesians. It sounds cultic, because it reflects the culture of the Kingdom of God. He says, “I insist … don’t go along with the crowd—they’ve lost touch with God.” Paul gets to the sensitive facts: “Feeling no pain”—no remorse with no moral compass—“they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.”
Paul continues in verses 20-24, focusing on the Christian life, which is very different. He says, “You have paid careful attention to Christ … instructed in the truth.” He clarifies by saying that in Christ, you are renewed, inside and out.
In the latter part of this chapter, Paul has a checklist: (1) It’s OK to get angry, just don’t stay angry. (2) Watch your mouth—what you say. (3) No cutting, backbiting, profane talk. (4) Be gentle, sensitive to each other. (5) Forgive one another quickly.
This material from Paul is not a license to be cultlike in the abusive sense. But it sure says a lot about God’s expectations concerning the culture of your church. Kingdom culture is all about values, beliefs, attitudes, priorities, and worldviews. Those cultural elements represent the atmosphere of your church. This culture defines your church. It defines, or should define, every Christian—including you and me.
We’re not perfect, but we are on a journey. If you claim to be part of this “cult,” this culture, it ought to show—personally and corporately. If it does, you and your church will be more attractive to unbelievers!