Monday, October 10, 2011

The definition of cult

Listening to the news tonight, I heard this report: Texas evangelical leader Robert Jeffress, the Baptist megachurch pastor who introduced Rick Perry Friday at the Values Voter Summit, said that Mormonism is a "cult" and he does not believe Mitt Romney is a Christian. "That is a mainstream view, that Mormonism is a cult," Jeffress told reporters at the summit. "Every true, born again follower of Christ ought to embrace a Christian over a non-Christian."
As I said in my last newsletter, "ignorance is dangerous," and if one takes the time to look up the definition of the word "cult" one finds this definition from Chambers Dictionary of Etymology: "Cult n. 1617, worship or homage;later, system of religious worship (1679, in writings of William Penn); borrowed through French culte, learned borrowing from Latin, and directly from Latin cultus (genitive cultus) cultivation, care, attention, worship, from cult, stem of colere to till, cultivate, attend to; see COLONY."

According to this definition all religions are cults because they are a "system of religious worship."

According to Chambers, the definition of religion is : "Religion n. Probably before 1200 religiun a religious order, community of monks or nuns, in Anrene Riwle; borrowed from Old French religion religious community, learned borrowing from Latin, and borrowed directly from Latin religionem (nominative religio) respect for what is sacred, probably with the original meaning of care (for worship and traditions);..."

The origin of the word "Christ" is also interesting. Again from Chambers: "Christ n. Middle English and Old English Crist the anointed one, the Lord's Anointed, Jesus Christ. (about 830, in Vespasian Psalter, 675, according to the Peterborough Chronicle): borrowed from Latin Christus, from Greek Christos, noun use of christos annointed, from chrien anoint (see Chrism). The Greek is a translation of Hebrew mashiah annointed of the Lord), MESSIAH. This word and its derivatives and related forms such as chrism, were rarely spelled with ch in Middle English even after the 1400's. The spelling Christ did not become standard until after 1500. The more frequent name in Old English is Haelend healer, Savior:..." And Chambers finishes the etymology with, "Sometime in the late 1300's it became common to write the name Christ and words associated with it, such as Christian, with a capital letter, but the practice did not become fixed until the 1600's."

When the word Christ or Christian is associated with it's roots one discovers the designation indicated a behavior of a person or a group. That behavior was to heal, care for, and to teach truth.

It is important to look at the original origin of words, systems, and beliefs. To not do so is ignorance.

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