Have you seen all of these Calvary Chapels pop up all over the place? I live in Southern California and they are everywhere. Calvary Chapel is a total cult.
They believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and in the importance of expositional teaching. They believe in pre-millenialism AND in a pre-tribulational rapture. They’ve got their own bible college that’s not even accredited and I think they teach all of their pastors to sound exactly like their founder, Chuck Smith. Cult, cult, cult!
Okay, my spoof is over. I don’t actually think that Calvary Chapel is a cult. But if you actually go to a Calvary Chapel and you read my “accusations” against it you probably thought “yeah, so? how does that make us a cult? I’m glad we believe those things and I’m going to stick up for them against a jerk like you.”
This is exactly how Mormons feel when we lead with the cult accusation. There may be excellent reasons why the LDS church qualifies as a cult of Christianity BUT if that’s where we start with them, they have no reason to believe that we actually want to befriend them and have true concern for them. Instead we’re telling them we want to combat them and tell them all the reasons we think they are wrong (and perhaps that is exactly what some want to do). But if we do that we should expect them to fight back. In my experience, picking fights is about one of the worst ways to change minds and one of the best ways to solidify people against your point of view.
Honey attracts more flies than vinegar.