Most books on cults and/or new religions try to offer information about every single cult or new religion there is. The result is often a large, unwieldy book that is hard to handle, and even harder to find things in. And even then, the information is often superficial, with an impressive breadth of topics, but a rather unimpressive depth within each topic. This is true of many books about cults and new religions, but not all of them, and particularly not about The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions, by Ron Rhodes. He chose to focuse on the twelve most common cults/new religions, the ones most people are likely to interact with. Thus, he can offer a depth of information like few other books.
Rhodes begins by offering a definition of cults, and a description of why cults are growing so rapidly today. He devotes a chapter to each of the following cults/religions: the Mormons (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or LDS); the Jehovah's Witnesses; the Mind Sciences; the New Age movement; the Church of Scientology; Hindu-based cults; the Unification Church; the Bahá'í faith; Unitarian Universalism; Oneness Pentecostalism; Freemasonry; Satanism.
Rhodes offers information on the history and doctrine of each cult/new religion, so readers can place them in their historical and social context, and understand what makes them attractive to so many people. Then he offers an apologetic response to each cult/religion, in the hopes of helping people reach out to cultists with the good news of Christ.
Rhodes tried to avoid the sensational aspects of each cult, choosing, instead, to value the sincerity of cultists while lamenting the fact that their philosophies and beliefs are misguided. Wherever possible, Rhodes takes his information about a cult/new religion from the group's own definitive literature. Where a group claims inspiration from the Bible, Rhodes shows clearly and concisely how the group has twisted Scripture to fit their ideas and goals.
Overall, Rhodes offers one of the best new looks at cults and new religions. His love and concern for cultists is clearly evident; his ultimate goal is to offer those in a cult or new religion a way out, to offer them Jesus as a better alternative. After reading this book, you can join him in that task, and you can begin to meet The Challenge of the Cults and New Religions.
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