Tuesday, March 10, 2009

NEW CULTS OF BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY: Theological Innovations in the Postmodern Age

by CM Kunsman and Gary W Kunsman

Copyright 2004; 2007 UnderMuchGrace.com
May not be reproduced without written permission from CM Kunsman.

The article appeared originally in the June and July 2004 issues of Christian Culture. Visit the Center for Cultural Leadership web site:

“A propensity toward evil within religious communities
always provides warning signs….
All human institutions, all religions are subject to corruption.”

According to Kimball, charismatic leadership, isolationism and zealous commitment to compelling ideas combine to become a “prescription for disaster.” He asserts that Jesus set the standard for the ultimate “compass” for all world religions.2 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind….Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mt. 22:26-40). Departing from this principle produced a wide array of types and degrees of harm, ranging from the psychologically subtle to the physically fatal. It is harrowing to discover that these processes – primarily behavior modification, group conformity and obedience to authority – are common among all abusive groups with regard to all faiths, including Biblical Christianity.

How do we assess a church or other group with seemingly orthodox theological doctrine that employs subtle deception and manipulation to coercively indoctrinate members as a means to accomplish the justifiable end of preaching the Gospel? At what point does the doctrine of church government or the enforcement of that government harm its membership or the rest of the body? How do we identify error of this nature within a local body or denomination when the effects of insidious abuse often emerge long after the harm and damage have occurred? These difficult questions deserve serious attention. Whenever the focus of life within a local body deviates from the central tenets of salvation, potential exists for a host of these and other injurious possibilities. The rapidly growing trend of this type of perverted legalism within Christianity itself demands prayerful vigilance for the “warning signs” presented in Scripture and from the insights afforded us by history.

This brief study evaluates the phenomenon of Christian and Bible-based churches exhibiting cultic social practice within the subculture of evangelical Christianity in America at the dawn of the 21st century. Cultic social practice is suggested to be a theological innovation of many Christian churches and denominations as a response to the pressures of postmodernity. After a brief review of the study of group manipulation and control within society, we will note that thought reform theory appears as the primary area of concern. The theological characteristics of fundamentalism are proposed as one possible explanation for the particular appeal of cultic social practice to Christianity within a postmodern culture. This review concludes with a call for continued study and meaningful, goal-oriented dialogue within Christian circles concerning the distressing problem of cultic social practice within the church and society.


Postmodernism. Even if one rejects the concept of the inherent and inevitable decline of civilizations, one cannot reject the overwhelming trend of evidence that chronicles the decay of America and Western culture. Crime, illiteracy, racism and economic volatility document the disintegration of our society. With the dawn of postmodernism, the central ideas of society have been replaced with abstractions and substitutions for meaningful objectivity. “Meaning implodes” as all contexts are absorbed into the communication medium and the “medium becomes the message.”3 The simulation replaces the objective context, thus creating simulacra, the “hyper-real,” to which an empty, false metaphysical value is ascribed. With only relative frames of reference for morality and meaning, denial of the objective content of living and the spirit of life produces an underlying metaphysical despair.3

American life now revolves around self-indulgent delight and distraction from inevitable nihilism arising from postmodern thought –aversion to the authentic – through entertainment, artificial information and the hype of commercialism. This type of “kitsch” of commercialism falsely transforms the “phony, clumsy, witless, untalented or boring” into the “genuine, graceful, bright or fascinating.”4 Ignorance and self-delusion reduce the critical thinking skills of the mind in their frantic effort to deny the brutal pain of authenticity. Pursuit of the transcendent and the true acquiesces to the immediate gratification of delusion. In this pursuit of blissful ignorance, as Sir Joshua Reynolds observed, “there is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.” As our desire for truth wearies amid this relativism and sensory overload, experience teaches us the futility of critical thought. Berman states that “thinking” within the postmodern society equates to “wandering through the latest mental theme park.” We have lost the ability to think through the ambiguity of the messages of commercialism to even “distinguish garbage from quality.”5

From fideistic, sound-bite sermons to the mass-market sale of apocalyptic fiction and hell insurance, one cannot deny the capitulation of Christianity-at-large to the dynamics of postmodern culture. As Mark Noll states, “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.”6 The majority of those who call themselves Christians hold, without the least bit of concern, contradictory beliefs that cannot be reconciled with Scripture, thus proving widespread rejection of objectivity. “Not only is objective doctrine minimized in favor of subjective experience, experience actually becomes the criterion for evaluating doctrine.”7 The intellectual impotence of most Christians rivals that of the popular culture. Noll cites a telling discourse by Os Guinness:
"Evangelicals have been deeply sinful in being anti-intellectual ever since the 1820s and 1830s. For the longest time we didn’t pay the cultural price for that because we had the numbers, the social zeal and the spiritual passion for the gospel. But today we are beginning to pay the cultural price. And you can see that most evangelicals simply don’t think. For example, there has been no serious evangelical public philosophy in this century….It has always been a sin not to love the Lord our God with our minds and well as our hearts and souls….We have excused this with a degree of pietism and pretending that this is something other than what it is – that is, sin….Evangelicals need to repent of their refusal to think Christianly and to develop the mind of Christ.”8

Revivalism and Fundamentalism. As Noll expounds in his work, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, the revivalism and fundamentalism that emerged as theological innovations in the late 1800s offer some explanation for the atrophy of thought within Christianity. In American society, without the influence of the state in the establishment of religion, the work of preaching the gospel fell heavily upon the action of individuals. An economic-like, action-oriented process of a “religious market” ensued in which individuals bore full responsibility for evangelism of a very diverse population.9 Revivalism, in this sense, fostered a type of paternalism calling for evangelism at nearly any cost. Charles Finney stated: “[T]he connection between the right use of means for a revival and a revival is as philosophically [i.e., scientifically] sure as between the right use of means to raise a crop of wheat. I believe, in fact, it is more certain, and there are fewer instances of failure.”10 Conversion shifted to rely primarily on experiential appeal rather than on objective evaluation of the Gospel message in concert with subjective experience.

Charles Ryrie described one of the core distinctions of fundamentalism as a “concern for the glory of God rather than simply the outworking of salvation as the underlying purpose of God in the world.”11 This paradigm shift from the reflective pursuit of the fear and trembling of sanctification to the “higher,” experiential life created a mindset of anti-intellectualism and neo-Gnosticism. The primary role of the church within the world was to rescue sinners from the world while remaining untouched by the world’s system. Wholesome, everyday living was viewed as the “unmediated agency of God.”12 Rigid, authoritative charts and diagrams reinterpreted the world and its history based on Scripture alone with “little consideration” and without critical study of the world itself. The rigid disciplines established by fundamentalism for properly relating to the world actually dulled the Christian ability to thoughtfully relate to the world.

Theory of Thought Reform. Human minds require frames of reference to structure reality and life, and logic (the science of proof) aids us through learning about the structure of the environment. With the ever-increasing complexity of daily life, we do not have the luxury of logic through concentration on all of the overwhelming information available to us on a given subject. As Cialdini explains, in order to facilitate efficient use of our mental resources and respond appropriately to our environment, we develop “rules of thumb” or stereotypes (oversimplified, fixed conceptions using a highly representative piece of the overwhelming sum of the total) about situations and ideas to use as tools to help us navigate through familiar and complex environments. These “fixed action patterns” or intricate sequences of behavior prove useful and reliable only if the cues that we use to stereotype are not misleading. If the cues are deceptive, however, these pre-existing, automatic, fixed action patterns mindlessly direct our behavior becoming “weapons of influence.”13 Psychological manipulation occurs incrementally and insidiously without the appearance of manipulation. Pressured to suppress logical analysis of contradictory information in favor of the simplicity of trusting the cues, the individual succumbs to a less stressful, automatic response.

According to Hassan, our gift of logic can deceive us into believing that we are absolutely rational, and invulnerable as a result.14 This naïve assumption of environmental autonomy denies the strong effect of emotional and physical factors on the clarity of our logic. Likewise, the assumption of our invulnerability allows much room for vulnerability to shame-based relationships. When under pressure, we have fewer resources to help us maintain critical thought and vigilance, so we depend on stereotypes to decrease psychological stress.15 When presented with dilemmas that create discontinuity between and among the elements of an individual’s psychological, emotional and physical concepts of self, especially under conditions when our energies are depleted, the stress produced by the dilemma cannot be easily resolved. This stressful “cognitive dissonance” forces the mind to shift the two remaining and unaffected psychological, emotional or behavioral components of the self to conform to the challenged dissonant component to alleviate cognitive stress.16

Manipulation of one aspect of the self (thought, emotion or behavior) thus provides very powerful influence over the continuity of all of the remaining aspects of self. Stress forces the suspension of critical thinking (an evaluation process of events by the autonomous self-will) and facilitates powerful, coercive domination of the entire self. Domination of the individual will produces critical self-evaluation in response to social pressure rather than an autonomous critical evaluation of the message and environment. Indoctrination and reinforcement of the changed aspects of self through social mentoring help solidify the transformation.17

Jesus referred to the technique of the “double bind” when he chastised the Pharisees for their “thought stopping” riddle regarding swearing by the temple, which meant nothing, versus the more binding oath of swearing by the gold of the temple (Mt. 23:16-17). Contradictory and/or complex information communicated congruently causes temporary confusion and disorientation (e.g., The harder I try to understand, the more I will never understand. Understand?) Such a divisive presentation of information in a controlled environment of in a pressured conversation induces most people to respond by a temporary suspension of thought. This causes adaptation of behavior to fit the circumstance created to establish dominance and manipulative control over the will of the individual.


Cultic theological innovation. Typically within Christian circles, a religious group’s view on the deity of Christ provides the most common, traditional definition of a “cult.” Within the disciplines of psychology and sociology, however, the definition of “cult” derives more from a direct translation of the word: a zealous devotion to a cause, an ideology or an individual. Expanding on the original meaning, “cult” defines groups that utilize a systematic and sophisticated process of manipulation to unknowingly reduce individual will and gain control over thought, feeling and behavior. Utilization of deception determines the applicability of the term and does not consider theological doctrine. Denial of this type of cultic activity within orthodox Christianity owing to the ignorance of abusive social patterns and avoidance of the term’s negative connotation seriously compromise the whole of Christendom.17

We must be mindful that spiritual abuse is not a new phenomenon (Ezek. 34, Zech 11, 2 Pet 2). Jesus confronted the abusive manipulation and legalism of the Pharisees (Mt 10, 23), exposing their narrow standards of religious conduct, abuse of authority and proud showmanship that are also characteristic of cultic churches. In particular, Paul’s impassioned epistle to the foolish Galatians concerning the legalism of the Judaizers affirmed justification by faith alone and defended Christian liberty under grace. In 2 Timothy 3, Paul discusses manipulative teachers that entrap gullible women loaded down with sins and lusts (v. 6), “always learning but never coming to knowledge of the truth” (v. 7), dynamics that sound much like the authoritarian and cognitive dulling techniques of thought reform. The book of Titus mentions deceptive teachers, many of them Judaizers (Titus 1:10), whose teachings disrupted family life (v. 11) based on doctrine derived from “Jewish fables and the commandments of men” (v. 14).

Contemporary cults, be they Christian or pagan, pose a difficult paradox: not all cults are harmful, depending on one’s definition of “harm.” Many cults embrace irrefutable elements of doctrinal truth concurrent with abusive practices that “leaven the whole lump” (I Cor 5:6-8, Gal 5:7-12). Groups of people devoted to a righteous cause nearly always start out with good intentions but become corrupt when they capitulate to secular methods of conduct, especially in methods of recruiting members, dispersing philosophy and maintaining desired group behavior. Many cults provide valuable benefit to both individuals (discipline, vocational training, community) and society (moral conduct, philanthropy); however, the same groups may prove more damaging and threatening to others. Cults violate the freedom of individuals, but the definition of the term “freedom” varies within the Christian community. Many Christians in abusive churches undergo personality trait transformation to accommodate the cult persona (these authors included), as evidenced by scientifically documentable subsequent return to the individual’s pre-cult personality.18,19,20 Assessing cults within Christianity can be a provocative practice, especially when Christians differ on issues defining language and doctrine within their own subculture.21,22 Fellowships may be completely unaware that their dynamics are cultic or harmful. Groups may manifest only a single cultic dynamic, and the extent to which they enforce a particular dynamic will vary widely between groups.

Just as evidenced by our American fundamentalist fathers before us, the unique characteristics of the spirit of our age offers unique challenges to the contemporary church. Amid our cultural decline, the church must again respond with new theological innovations that specifically address the issues of the postmodern world. For example, “special purpose religions”23 and Bible-based cults serve a functional purpose in reaching the lost by addressing the ideals and issues of postmodern culture. Berman offers the concept of an individualistic monasticism as an alternative, a potential means of preserving the ideals of our culture, much like the monastic movement of Catholicism did amid the decline of the Christian Roman Empire.24 Cults provide security and freedom form responsibility (implied by submission to authority) to individuals that can no longer comprehend transcendence but experience a longing desire for it. Gnostic, all-encompassing doctrine attracts the power-oriented and provides a therapeutic respite from the effort and ambiguity of choice. Mega-churches with ear-tickling messages appeal to the commercial-oriented, offering the illusions of freedom and choice. If, as Veith postulates, our cultural climate is like to that of the fall of Babel, cults could provide society with enticing alternatives to traditional Christianity. The disintegration of modernism launches us headlong into the postmodern issues of sin, idolatry and language, the very same issues that plague cultic groups.3, 14, 25

Decent into idolatry. Although zealous devotion to a cause offers many apparent benefits and may provide valuable innovations for evangelism, the potential for error increases significantly.26 In an aggressive attempt to counter the heresy of the age, distraction from the perfect and primary doctrines of Christianity predictably creates imbalance(Gal 2:14-21). Legalistic focus on doctrine, even as a tool to accomplish a righteous end, becomes idolatrous when use of the tool becomes absolute.27 Issues that do not fall within the realm of the perfect or the good will of God become ambiguous as they fall closer to the border between the permissible will of God and those that clearly violate the Biblically mandated will of God (Rom 12:1-12, 14:1-23). If group leadership assumes undue paternalistic responsibility for the ultimate fate of all Christians, construction of helpful cultic tools to facilitate the apparent righteous goals of the leadership seems reasonable, but it is not justifiable to create an icon from that tool. Was this not the same dilemma that motivated Aaron to fashion a golden calf (Ex 23)? Could one speculate that he fashioned an idol, not with the intention of turning Israel from God, but to ease their comfort and provide a representation of God to which they could direct their worship? His naïve intentions may not have been evil, but the means by which he sought to accomplish his end were disastrous.

Proper submission to authority emerges as the common theme within all cultic groups. Calvin asserted that when “….a government…partly extinguishes, partly suppresses the pure light…[t]he worship of God is deformed by a varied mass of intolerable superstitions; doctrine (without which Christianity exists not) is wholly buried and explodes, the public assemblies are schools of idolatry and impiety.”28 “Partial suppression” of doctrine concerning individual roles within the government of family flows from that of authority, and reveals the excessive cultic focus on that community rather than the Gospel. “What gives this kind of experience its religious flavor is that the self becomes caught up into a larger personality –not God, but the community. The sense of alienation is overcome when the individual is absorbed into the group.” As Veith continues to expound on the subjective “eclipse of doctrine” within the contemporary church, he states “this is, of course, exactly the point and appeal of fascism.”29

Abuse of women. One of the most controversial issues within contemporary Christianity, distortion of the proper role of men and women within the life of the family, the church and society-at-large, also emerges as perhaps the most damaging of all abuses within Bible-based cultic groups. Strong correlations between spousal abuse and cult membership exist 30,31 as well as a continuum of psychological and physical abuse of women within cults.32, 33, 34 In a response to the excesses and harmful caricatures of women within feminism, many churches narrowly define the role of women. Women who define the exceptions to these narrowly defined roles are granted only limited grace and freedom of activity. In many orthodox Christian groups, the barren woman, the ill woman and the woman oppressed by a spouse out of compliance with his own role in the family become hopelessly and despairingly devalued.

Totalitarian legalism. Imbalance focus on any Biblical doctrine, however correctly applied, obscures justification by faith when used as a measure of spiritual worth. Adding religious performance standards to the work of the Cross degrades or shames others. Community rightly requires standards of conduct, but errors of legalism arise when those standards are used to shame or degrade others with different convictions. “When the wellsprings of irrationalism are released, human beings have a tendency to lurch to authoritarianism, violence and self-destruction. The confessional doctrine of original sin accounts for the way that laudable ideals and noble-sounding goals can quickly turn so monstrous. Certainly, this was the case in Jonestown. And in Nazi Germany.”35

Dostoyevski illustrated the result of irrationalism within Christianity in the words of the Grand Inquisitor when the character finally speaks what he has long pondered silently. “We have corrected Thy work and have founded it upon miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep.”36 Christ imparted freedom in Himself and yet, as the Grand Inquisitor observes, we humans flee from the responsibility of that freedom and humbly relinquish it to an intermediary. Paternalistic tendencies of leaders within climates of uncertainty tempt proud human natures to rescue the helpless sheep from their plight of responsibility; in so doing, they deny the providential work of God in the life of every believer (Phil 1:6, 2:12-13).


Vigilance. The serious and complex threat of cultic social behavior within Christian churches cries out for diligent attention to the subtle and insidious nature of these behaviors. We must dedicate ourselves to understanding the nature of our culture (Rom 11, 13) and examine our institutions for signs of error and commit to godly change. Confusion of our Christian institutions with our identity in Christ predisposes us to legalism, frustrating the liberty that grace affords the believer. Our religious life and wholesome living must never become ends unto themselves. Churches must logically examine the soundness and orthodoxy of their own doctrines, though this practice may seem as threatening as staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. However uncomfortable or convicting, Christians must look back at their doctrinal heritage and use their God-given logic to evaluate their current religious practices.

Critical engagement. The evangelical church must abandon the intellectual isolation of the past, daring to interact with the world without viewing it through the narrow lenses of 20th century fundamentalism. The nurture of thought within all realms of Christianity, from that of personal study to advanced curriculums of our universities and seminaries, will bring the light of truth and critical logic to the complex problems within the church and society. Christian institutions must encourage individuals to evaluate all messages, even those within its own subculture, thereby wisely and rightly dividing truth based on Scripture and sound logic instead of the man-approved tenets of church doctrine. Awareness of the devices of cultic groups will aid in the endeavor to encourage faithful stewardship of the life and mind of the believer.
Effective evangelism of our pluralistic culture will result as a vital benefit of the deepened intellectual life of the church. Acknowledgement of the truthful aspects of secular ideas need not become repudiation or compliance of the sanctity of our own ideas. “Christians can cooperate with those of different faiths in various social and moral causes without denying their commitment to Christ’s uniqueness. Familiarity with the world’s religions helps Christians discover the positive elements of other faiths, a bridge not only to relationships and interreligious understanding but also to effectively communicating God’s love in Christ.”37

We must commit ourselves to orthodoxy and walk in faith, attentive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in concert with our gifts of logic (1 Jn 3:19-21; 4:1-3). A renewed approach should not mean “dead orthodoxy,” “the insistence on some kind of doctrinal purity at the expense of a warm, personal faith. The goal should be “live orthodoxy,” a faith that is both nourished in experience and grounded in truth, with room for both the feelings and the intellect. At times in church history, doctrine has been overemphasized, but that will unlikely be a danger in a society who’s every tendency is to deny truth altogether.38

If all human institutions are subject to corruption (and they are), we must remain vigilant for the signs of warning that God and history have provided. As Christ’s ambassadors to a fallen, postmodern culture, may we remain true to our compass: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind….Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mt 33:36-40.)

ReferencesFont size

1. Kimball, C. When Religion Becomes Evil. Five Warning Signs. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco/Harper Collins Publishers, 2003, pg. 38.
2. Ibid., pg. 39.
3. Bauldrillard, J. Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila E. Glaser. Ann Arbor, MN: University Press, 1994, pp. 1, 31.
4. Fussell, P. BAD, or the Dumbing of America. New York: Summit Books, 1991, pp. 190-94.
5. Berman, M. The Twilight of American Culture. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000, pg. 54.
6. Noll, M.A. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmands Publishing, 1994, pg. 3.
7. Veith, Jr. G.E., Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994, pg. 211.
8. Ibid., pg. 23. From Noll’s citation of Os Guinness, a journal published by the Church of England: “Persuasion for the New World” in Crucible, (4)2, (Summer 1992), pg. 15.
9. Finke, R. Religious Deregulation: Origins and Consequences. Journal of Church and State, 32, Summer 1990, pg. 625.
10. Finney, C.G. (McLoughlin, WG, ed) Lectures on Revivals of Religion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960, pg. 23.
11. Ryrie, CC. Dispensationalism Today. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1965, pp. 44-46.
12. Noll, Ibid, pg. 119.
13. Ciladini, RB. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, 2nd ed. New York: Quill/William Morrow, 1993, pp. 1-16
14. Hassan, S. Combating Cult Mind Control. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1988, pp 53-60.
15. Laudau Tobias, M. and Lalich, J. Captive Hearts, Captive Minds: Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Abusive Relationships. Alameda, CA: Hunter House, 1994, pg. 27.
16. Ibid, pp 101-103.
17. Enroth, RM. Churches That Abuse: Help for Those Hurt by Legalism, Authoritarian and Spiritual Intimidation. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992.
18. Gasade, L and Block, RA. Cult Experience: Psychological Abuse, Distress, Personality Characteristics, and Changes in Personal Relationships Reported by Former Members of Church Universal and Triumphant. Cultic Studies Journal, 15(2); 1998, pp 192-221.
19. Martin, PR, Langone, MD, Dole, AA and Wiltrout, J. Post-Cult Symptoms as Measured by the MCMI Before and After Treatment. Cultic Studies Journal, 9(2), 219-250, 1992.
20. Yeakey, F. The Discipling Dilemma. Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate, 1998, pp 23-38.
21. Martin, PR, Pile, LA, Burks, R and Martin, SD. Overcoming the Bondage of Revictimization: A Rational/Empirical Defense of Thought Reform (In Response to “Overcoming the Bondage of Victimization” by Bob and Gretchen Passantino). Cultic Studies Journal, 15(2); 1998, pp 152-91.
22. Passantino, R and Passantino G. Overcoming the Bondage of Victimization: a Critical Evaluation of Mind Control Theories. Cornerstone, 1994, 31-42.
23. Hart, DG. Deconstructing Evangelicalism: Conservative Protestantism in the Age of Billy Graham. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004, pg 126.
24. Berman, Ibid., pp 71-90.
25. Veith, Ibid., pp 20-23.
26. Kimball, Ibid., pg 44.
27. Johnson, D and VanVonderan, J. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1991, pp 69-70.
28. Calvin, J. Institute of the Christian Religion, Henry Beveridge, trans. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970, II, pg 305.
29. Veith, Jr, GE. Modern Fascism: Liquidating the Judeo-Christian Worldview. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1993, pg 72.
30. Hassan, Ibid., pg 106.
31. Landau Tobias, et al., Ibid., pp 17-23.
32. Lalich, J. Dominance and Submission: the Psychosexual Exploitation of Women in Cults. Cultic Studies Journal, 14(1), 1997, pp 4-21.
33. Johnson, et al., Ibid., pp 97-100.
34. Langone, MD., ed. Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological Abuse. New York: W.W.Norton, 1993.
35. Veith, Ibid., pg 74.
36. Dostoevski, F. Brothers Karamazov. New York: Airmont Publishing, 1966, pg 232.
37. Copan, P. True for You, But Not for Me: Deflating the Slogans that Leave Christians Speechless. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1988, pg 77.
38. Veith, Postmodern Times, pg 220.

Dr.Cynthia Kunsman is a nurse and naturopath with graduate studies in apologetics and additional studies on the issues of thought reform. Reared in Pentecostal Christianity, she sought a more balanced understanding of rigid formulas of faith and healing, but this search resulted in involvement in a cultic church in suburban Baltimore. Dr.Gary Kunsman is the chief forensic toxicologist for a medical examiner’s office, a faculty member of a university graduate program in toxicology and a former professor at a local seminary affiliated with the cultic church where he was also a member. Both authors, now in their eighth year of recovery (at the time of this writing in 2004) from their four year membership in an abusive, cultic church embrace a Reformed view of Christianity and worship in a non-denominational fellowship.

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