The Rev. Billy Graham says there are two things to look for when trying to determine whether someone is following a cult, even if they claim to believe in the Bible.
In a Q&A published on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website on Thursday, a person asked Graham about the spiritual intentions of a couple who tried to evangelize them at the home.
"A couple came to our door the other day and said they wanted to read the Bible to us. They were very friendly, but later my uncle said we shouldn't have let them in because they belong to a cult. Now they want to come back and talk to us about their beliefs. Should we let them? the person asked.
Graham commended the person for being "cautious" and then noted that elsewhere in their letter the person gave "two clues that indicate they represent a non-Christian group or cult."
"First, they do not accept the Bible — and only the Bible — as the Word of God. Instead, they add to the Bible by placing the writings of their founder on the same level as the Bible," wrote Graham.
"The other clue is that they deny Jesus Christ is the unique Son of God, sent from Heaven to save us from our sins by His death and resurrection. But the Bible's teaching is clear: Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, who alone is able to save us as we put our faith and trust in Him."
This is not the first time that Graham has been asked about whether or not a given group was a cult. Last year, another person asked the famed evangelist about how they can find out if their neighbor's church was in fact a cult.
In his response from last August, Graham laid out three parameters, the first one being "what do they believe about the Bible? Is it alone the Word of God (as Christians affirm) — or do they add to it, or claim they alone have translated it correctly?"
"Second, what do they believe about Jesus? Is He alone the divine Son of God, sent from Heaven to save us from our sins? Or do they deny this, or claim we must work to save ourselves?" asked Graham.
"Third, what do they believe about other Christians? Do they claim that they, and they alone, have the truth — or do they rejoice that God is also at work elsewhere?"
The word "cult" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous."
The term is frequently used to describe various religious sects in a negative light and is almost always a pejorative descriptor for a group.