‘Cult’ is a branding that no church desires.Gloriavale is a 500 member religious group that has organized itself into a community in an isolated part of the South Island of New Zealand. They have allowed TV to film their activities and at least once a year they have invited visitors to join them in an open house banquet. They wear standardized clothing (like Quakers), the women wear head coverings, the KJV is the only translation allowed and all possessions are held in common. Despite all efforts on their part, negative press has plagued the group for years. Some accusations incidental, some very concerning. Isolationism is at the heart of such groups. Not that all exclusivist groups retreat to the countryside to practice their alienation techniques. Universities have been rich breeding grounds for various ‘cults, sects, societies…,’ whether religious, political, or otherwise.Retreating to a position of remoteness is not confined to groups.Individuals can move themselves away from their usual social groups, also. If the move is to abandon an ungodly environment all appropriate encouragement and help should be offered. I spoke with a brother in the Lord who found himself in a congregation which had become increasingly secular. Finding himself isolated within a church that was not willing to remain Biblical, he had to leave. Though now productive in another congregation, he remains broken hearted over the circumstances that made him separate himself.Proverbs 18:1 deals with a different kind of isolationist:“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;He rages against all wise judgment” (Proverbs 18:1).This man leaves the Lord’s Church to satisfy his own wants. Tragically, he is not happy to ‘slip out the back,’ he must first air his grievances to the potential destruction of all. His self-justification finds its outlet in fights over things that he himself used to consider ‘Wisdom from above.’ He not only steps away from his brethren, he sets himself above Wisdom itself.All this proving that the ‘cult of self’ is the most pernicious of all. Jesus calls us to be his brethren – together!John StaigerIf you have been blessed by this message, please feel free to: Like, Comment or Share it with your friends.