Rev Fr G L Khing
The term ‘cult’ refers to a system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. All religions are cultic in nature, yet the object of worship is God. A diversion from this true worship leads to erroneous cult where human beings begin to take the place of God. To divert the attention of believers from worshiping the One True God, some people rise up to certain heights and claim themselves to be new gods or goddesses of this generation. While others claim themselves to have direct access to the divine world without fail. The lustrous appearances of such cult make hundreds of people to fall under their trap. Their teachings are almost heretical in nature.
Some types of (invalid) cult exist in Nagaland under the guise of Christian churches – churches which are not true in themselves, those arising out of crisis of leadership and misunderstanding. These are the new cults in Nagaland which are harmful in themselves and for others. We have numerous churches of these sorts all for the glory of God. We have learnt well to hide under the erected Cross.
A group of people following their own versions of prayers and worship are not new to Nagaland. Although their object of worship is God, yet random emergence of churches under various names has become a type of ‘new cult’ or ‘new style’ in Nagaland. The search of highest leadership along with some misunderstandings bears fruits in plenty in the form of new churches in Nagaland. Should we call these new churches as cultic churches? There are numerous independent churches trying their best to please people in order to get more flock under their fold.
Singing, dancing and loud prayers alone do not make a church. The Church is the body of Christ on earth. Some are trying to disfigure this body of Christ, while some are trying to present Christ in a duplicate form to appease the present generation. The young people in particular must not become prey to this type of churches. We must continue to keep our faith in God strong and healthy.
We believe in freedom of religion, but this does not mean we can segregate ourselves from each other as we like and build our own churches for the sake of survival. New churches which emerged out of nowhere are sufficient enough to confuse ordinary Christians as to what is and what is not a church. It is not necessary that every theologian starts a new church according to their whims and fancies.
Today, we are worried about the cultic churches of China or other post-modern cultic churches which are negatively influencing the youth of Nagaland. But we are less bothered about the various churches which are fast emerging in front of our kitchen door. There is no wrong in forming new churches to serve the spiritual needs of the people. But random rising of new churches which resulted from crisis of leadership and misunderstanding must be checked at the right time. If not, a day will come a time when every family will own their personal church. We are not far from it. These are new cults (in different forms) in Nagaland.
In my previous Article, “The Church and its virus in Nagaland”, I have mentioned the same sickness of the new emerging churches. ‘The time will come when there will be ANNUAL SPELLING BEE COMPETITION to name the different churches in Nagaland. There will be God church, Jesus church, Holy Spirit church, the only true, the more true church, the better church, the best church, harvested church, not yet harvested church, white church, green church, ripen church, paddy field church, jhum church, terrace church, Jerusalem church, Bethlehem church, Israel church, soul church, body church, head church, two feet church, two hands ministry church, etc…’ (if there are churches with such name, it is only co-incidental. Therefore, no offence against any church bearing such name)
A type of cult in the form of random emergence of churches is a threat to this generation. We must be on the lookout. Yet the choice is yours. God bless Nagaland.