Disclaimer: The following books comprise a brief list of resources that we have found helpful for our church planters. In endorsing each of these books we are not saying that we agree on every point, but rather find the book as a whole helpful.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, & World Religions
by George Mather
Encyclopedic Dictionary of Cults, Sects, and World Religions is arguably the most significant reference book on the subject to be published. Formerly titled Dictionary of Cults, Sects, Religions, and the Occult, it provides reliable information on the history and beliefs of nearly every form of religion active today. This extensively revised edition includes new topics, updated information, and a brand-new format for a clearer, more organized approach.
The authors evaluate the beliefs and practices of each group from the perspective of the Bible and the historic creeds of the Christian church. You’ll also find group histories, numerous illustrations, charts, current statistics, websites, bibliographies, and other useful information.
The Challenge of the Cults and the New Religions
by Ron Rhodes
Even though cults do not make the news these days as they did some years ago, they are still of concern to many people. Rhodes, an author, radio personality, and president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries, addresses this concern from the viewpoint of an evangelical Christian. His thrust is to show where these groups go wrong for Christian ones, how they twist Scripture and how to counter them. He writes very clearly and does an excellent job of defining cults and new religions as well as introducing the 12 groups with which he has chosen to deal. Even readers not sharing the author’s viewpoint can learn a good deal about these groups. However, one might wonder why some were included, for example, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Unitarian Universalism, and Freemasonry. They are certainly not new, and few would categorize them as cults, but perhaps their inclusion is justified by their evangelical approach. A good addition to the literature on cults, in particular for evangelical Christians.
Kingdom of the Cults
by Walter Martin
Major cults & religions covered: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, New Age Cults, The Unification Church, Rajneeshism, Baha’i Faith, ISKCON, Hinduism, Transcendental Meditation, Buddhism, World Faith movement, The Theosophical Society, Apocalyptic Cults, Islam, Christian Science, and Unitarian-Universalism.
In an era of rapid cult growth worldwide, Christians today more than ever need the trustworthy information contained in The Kingdom of the Cults. This comprehensive new edition equips readers from every walk of life to use biblical truth to counter the efforts of cults to masquerade as mainstream Christians.
Included is all the authoritative data of previous editions as well as an analysis of the latest ideological and organizational developments of cults old and new. Updated statistics and references detail the alarming spread of the cults, particularly on the mission fields of the world. This edition also recounts the startling yet welcome embrace of orthodox Christian faith by the Worldwide Church of God. Readable and reliable to a wide cross-section of Christians—from teachers and pastors to lay believers trying to understand and witness to their neighbors, The Kingdom of the Cults is certain to set the standard for cult reference texts.