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One of the biggest mistakes that new disciples make (and it is a mistake that often proves to be spiritually fatal) is that they assume they know more than they do, and that they can protect themselves against the fiery darts of the enemy just through their own shrewd minds. So they race off into battle on their own, and that is the last we see of them. It takes some people a lifetime to stop arguing with the enemy in their own strength and just get busy working for God.

Cult-busters have a high success rate if they can get a new recruit physically away from the group before they have had much time to get to know the group first-hand. The longer one stays with a group, the more personal knowledge he or she has of what is really happening; and it becomes more difficult for cult-busters to convince such people that the group is really the monster that they want him or her to believe it is. But even after someone has been in a group for several months, they still cannot be absolutely certain that nasty secrets have not been hidden from them... especially considering that there are always new teachings cropping up. That's another trick cult-busters use to generate fear in the minds of new recruits. They start by saying that cults all have sinister secret teachings that the "cult" won't reveal to you until after you've been sufficiently brainwashed to receive them. Then they ask, "Weren't there some teachings that you never discovered until after you had been in the group for a while?" And of course there were! In fact, there are teachings that I myself am still discovering!! That's the way all learning is. There is wisdom in starting with simple teachings that people can grasp and agree with easily, and then gradually work up to more complex teachings.

But if you leaders have someone who is really curious and they want to know it all, all at once, then be sure to make time available during the trial week especially, for that person to read everything they can about what we teach [including the 'strong meat' in this book]. Bible prophecy is another example. It can be very complicated. It may not be essential for everyone to understand all of it in order to be a fully functioning member of our community; but if you have someone who (for whatever reason) wants to hear it all, then it's likely that such a person has good leadership potential, and we should encourage such interest.

Anyway, once the cult-busters get someone physically separated from us (which they do by appealing to the new recruit's pride), then all they need to do is to generate fear. It's not such a big jump from pride to fear, since they both come from the same source. Even when we are completely surrounded by and supported by one another, we are still just a step away from fear, if we choose to give in to it. The devil is always whispering in our ear, "But what if you don't really know the whole picture? What if they really are evil?" And as soon as we start entertaining those sort of thoughts, we will see evil, and we'll see it in the most innocent things. The fear will grow until you end up leaving, and after you have left, your imagination will go completely wild with theories about what we must be teaching now that you have left! Obviously when someone has been physically isolated from the evidence, and is surrounded by people who are all preaching fear, it takes a spiritual giant to withstand such an assault. Anyone sucker enough to be drawn away through their own pride in the first place, is probably not the spiritual giant that they think they are! So once the cult-busters succeed in separating us, their job is relatively easy.

The enemy in the form of relatives, system friends and cult-busters will often demand that new recruits prove they are really free. They will challenge you to do this by either leaving the group, or by telling members of the group to go away and leave you on your own. If you do this, we will leave; but what happens after that is almost certain to be bad for you spiritually.

Because of pride, you will have given in to arguing with the enemy and trying to prove you are free, thinking to yourself, "I'll take them all on and prove to them that I am resolute and strong." In fact the likely scenario is that you will be ruthlessly worn down by the psychological baiting that the enemy will give. You will be drawn into thinking that an argument will hammer home the truth and pacify the enemy. The stage is set. The trap has been laid.

Because our enemies are not interested in finding the truth, they will argue, fire questions, change the subject, and do anything else to break the new recruit's convictions. This may involve half-truths, emotional blackmail, and doing anything to sow doubt and confusion. All of this will eventually wear you down if you allow yourself to be subjected to it. Confusion arises as the line between reality and lies is no longer apparent. Doubts grow, until the new recruit becomes the pawn of 'concerned' family and friends.

You will most likely react in fear and start saying things impulsively, desperately clinging to what you had thought was true. Winning the battle is no longer as easy as you had thought it would be when you started out.

Little by little, you will begin to accept some of the points raised. If you are in a situation where one or more members of the group is present, one of them may try to come to your assistance. But unless you are listening very carefully to the cues coming from fellow Christians, you will continue to flounder by trying to sort things out in such a way as to come out looking good personally. 

This is a tricky situation. What can a fellow Christian do? Some of us would get heavy and give an ultimatum, i.e. "Either you choose to work for God, or you can go back to the system". Or we may think of something else to say, to shake you up. Of course, anything said or done by us to encourage you will be met with abuse and attack from the cult-busters and family members, in an attempt to silence us. A new recruit is often more interested in impressing friends and family members than in following Christian counsel anyway (or you would not have allowed such a situation to arise in the first place), and this increases the spiritual danger.

When friends say, "Prove you are not being controlled, by coming with us on your own," they are setting you up. It's a bit like a policeman who pretends to be offended because you won't "chat" with him while you are waiting to be charged with a crime. The only reason he wants to "chat" is so that he can get information to use against you. It's his job and you are stupid if you believe he is doing anything other than that. All the best legal advice says, "Don't talk to the police, whether you are guilty or innocent." The same is true in a confrontation with angry relatives.

A similar problem arises when you meet a viper on the street who shouts "What's wrong? Why don't you want to talk to me? Don't you have any answers?" when you try to walk away from a nasty confrontation. People with that spirit are not interested in what you have to say. They are only trying to get you on the defensive. Ask yourself why you should feel compelled to prove yourself to anybody who is attacking you? Why should you prove that you are "friendly" to a policeman, when he is obviously trying to find something to arrest you for? Why should you prove yourself to a viper on the street who has rejected the truth and only wants to argue? And why should you try to prove that you are "strong" and "independent" to friends or relatives who are trying to use the situation as a strategy to control you?

An army is headed by generals who do all they can to anticipate responses to certain actions. The generals know that the enemy has a battle plan, and they need to have one as well. It's like this spiritually with vipers on the street, or with agro family members or friends, or with cult-busters. We must not be blinded by naive wishful thinking that deep down they are reasonable people, who just don't know the facts. If they want to know the facts, there are other ways for them to find them. If they want to know the facts, they will not change the subject when you have successfully explained a point. If they want to know the facts, they will not attack you and your friends on the basis of hearsay.

The Bible says that we should "reject" anyone who continues to argue after the first and second "admonition". (Titus 3:10) They can always write to us later if they have a change of heart. But when they come to attack the truth, then we must see them for what they are - the enemy.

It is easy to believe that the sincerity you feel in your own spirit also exists in your parents and friends, even when others of us who are not so affected emotionally can see that your friends and family are vigorously opposed to your decision to follow God. You can become blinded by wishfully thinking they are not conscious of the evil that they are doing. Unfortunately, even if this were so, you would need lots of wisdom and counsel to find the right time and place to make them aware of their error. Other more experienced Christians have been through it many times before, and they know that God himself cannot change the heart of a person who wills to resist the truth.

Jesus said that if people reject us, it will be because they rejected him first. Maybe they haven't heard everything that he said; but they have heard some of his teachings through us, and that is what turned them against us in the first place. They have decided that the truth is uncomfortable, so they have rewritten reality to fit their own image.

It is easy to think that being drawn into debating with them will finally win them over. But even if they are genuine, simply refusing to debate with them, and getting on with obeying Jesus yourself, will have as much impact on them as anything else you can do or say.

You need to understand that on the whole, the opposition knows what they are doing; what is being done is coldly calculated to stop you from following God. Arguing will not achieve anything. You need to resist the emotional tug and ask God for strength to smash your pride and stay in touch with the truth yourself.

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