Correcting the Cults

by Norman Geisler and Ron Rhodes,
Baker Books, 1997,
ISBN 0-08010-6550, $19.95, 365 pages

We try to find books for this column that we feel either will be a great help to our readers or are a definite threat to Christianity as a whole.  Sometimes the books we review are explaining a particular issue, and sometimes they are research books that can be used to investigate a particular problem.  This book is a reference book that can be used to seek out answers to cult distortions of the Bible.  The biggest problem with this book is that its title is misleading.  The term cult is usually not applied to Catholicism, Buddhism, and Judaism and yet the teachings of these groups are addressed in the book as are many other groups.  Some of these, such as Mormons, International Church of Christ, and Jehovah Witness, might be able to be justified in being called cults but the book goes far beyond that in discussing the teachings of many groups that are considered more mainstream by the public.

What Geisler and Rhodes do is to take passages in the Bible that people distort or misunderstand and show why what they are teaching about the passage is not true.  Sometimes the objections raised are translation problems, sometimes they are contextual problems, and sometimes they are just out-and-out distortions and twisting of scripture.  Occasionally the theological bias of the authors shows through, and their interpretation may be something that you as a reader will disagree with.  The authors argue for example, that Mark 16:16 does not mean that baptism is essential for salvation.  The fact that there are many other passages that indicate that baptism is vital is ignored.  Their interpretation of this verse is made without consideration of these other verses.  This is rare, however, and most of the challenges to cults and even mainline denominations on how they understand a particular verse or passage is valid.

The most useful things about this book are its indexes.  There is a scripture index, a topical index, and a religious group index.  You can look up a particular verse that some group or person may have a question about; you can look up a topic like divinity, atonement, or homosexuality; or you can look up a group like Mormons or Unification Church.  This makes the book extremely useful as a reference source.  We recommend it highly for that purpose.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MarApr06.