Bearing False Witness?: An Introduction to the Christian Countercult

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003 - Religion - 255 pages

From Hare Krishna to the Latter-Day Saints, and from Jehovah's Witnesses to the New Age, religious pluralism in North American presents evangelical Protestantism with significant challenges. Declaring newer religious groups cults, aberrant sects, and heretical religions, the Christian countercult movement has warned that these groups represent a threat to society. In ^IBearing False Witness?^R Cowan considers the Christian countercult as a whole, locating it in sociological perspective as an entity distinct from the secular anti-cult. Through his analysis, the author argues that the primary purpose of the countercult movement is to reinforce and repair the Christian worldview when it appears threatened by the advent of alternative religious traditions. This unique analysis of the Christian countercult helps explain why conservative Christian responses to competing religious movements have taken the form that they have in addition to how those responses are carried out.

Unlike the anti-cult movement, which is concerned with removing individuals from cults and returning them to their families, the Christian countercult movement, according to the author, attempts not only to remove cultists from the negative influences of the cults to which they belong, but also to insure that they will join the particular version of Christianity adhered to by the countercultists themselves. Beginning with the countercult's early history, the author provides an historical account of the movement and its present activities. Since the rise of new religious movements, the growing interest in religions imported from outside North America, and the broadening of the religious marketplace continues to grow, understanding the Christian countercult and its presence as a countervailing pressure to these increasingly socioreligious dynamics becomes ever more important.

 

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Contents

Confronting Cults
xiii
From Extraction to Migration The Christian Countercult in Sociological Perspective
9
For the Bible Tells Me So Constructing the Countercult Cosmology
23
Definition and Counterdefinition The Countercult as RealityMaintenance
37
Typologizing the Countercult
55
A Territory under Siege The Early Countercult in the Twentieth Century
57
Demon Siege The Countercult on the Fringe
73
The Siege Continues Modern Countercult Continua
89
Countercult Apologetics
125
From False Worlds to True Part 1 Other Religions According to the Countercult
127
From False Worlds to True Part 2 Cults the Occult and the New Age Rage
149
The Countercult against Christianity The Case of Rome
165
Gittin Thar Fustest with the Mostest Antipathy Authority and Apologetics
185
Notes
207
References
217
Index
241

The Siege in Cyberspace and the Democratization of the Countercult
109

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About the author (2003)

DOUGLAS E. COWAN is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Sociology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He is the co-editor of Religion on the Internet: Research Prospects and Promises.

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