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Reverend T Mwangi: How to spot a cult

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 Reverend T Mwangi. (Courtesy)

Reverend T Mwangi of Life Church International in Limuru recently took to social media to discuss the issue of cults and cult tendencies in modern-day religious organizations.

According to the Reverend, cults are formed under spiritual personalities and religious ideologies, and some mature to be occultism. He also noted that there are many spiritual organizations with cultic tendencies. He emphasized the importance of recognizing the warning signs of a cult before it's too late.

The first warning sign that Reverend Mwangi listed was "authoritarianism." He explained that this occurs when one spiritual leader is treated as almost god-like, with their words being considered final and beyond question.

He stressed that "no man is above God and no man is above the standards of scripture." He went on to say that leaders who display authoritarian tendencies often use fear and intimidation to keep their followers in line.

The second warning sign was "isolation." Reverend Mwangi explained that the first phase of isolation is to criticize every church, pastor, and minister, creating an image of the church as the only true one.

The second phase involves the secularization of everything, including schools, media, families, and society, which can lead to brainwashing and manipulation. He cautioned that "there is no monopoly of truth," and that it's important to have open dialogue and engage with diverse perspectives.

The third warning sign, according to the Reverend, is "strange spiritual encounters." He noted that some people claim to have encountered Jesus, angels, or other spiritual beings and end up teaching doctrines that cannot be verified scripturally. He stressed that the rule of faith is "if it's not written, it's not of God." He urged people to be discerning and to test everything against the word of God.

Lastly, he discussed the cult tactic of "selling fear." This centers on apocalyptic books and eschatology, or the study of the end times. He explained that some use "news paper eschatology," which entails assembling the latest news and using scriptures to justify end-time realities. Others use "escapism eschatology theology," which teaches that believers will escape this world of pain and suffering and go to a better place where there is no pain.

The problem with this, Reverend Mwangi noted, is that it disengages members from being vibrant in life, and death becomes their motivation as a channel of exit and entry into a dimension of bliss.

Reverend Mwangi's post came in the wake of a horrific tragedy involving Pastor Paul Mackenzie, who reportedly instructed his followers to starve to death to meet Jesus in Shakahola, Kilifi.

The news had rocked the country, and Reverend Mwangi felt it was important to speak out against the dangers of cults. As of Monday evening, 73 bodies had been exhumed from a gravesite in Shakahola village, where followers of Pastor Mackenzie are believed to have been buried.

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