I think the word "cult" gets thrown around too easily, but I'm still using it in this series (part one, part two). I'm not saying "cult," but "cult-like tendency." Cults don't have history on their side. They find a new teaching and practice that contradicts historical doctrine and application. If there is to be a change in what Christians believe and do, it should be accompanied first, if not alone, with serious exegesis of Scripture. When I say that fundamentalism and evangelicalism have a cult-like tendency, I'm suggesting this feature, the neglect or ignorance orthodox, historical theology. I'm not saying, however, that fundamentalists and evangelicals don't consider historical doctrine and practice at all. They do, but they are selective in this, which is also what one witnesses in cults.
Biblical, spiritual matters should be considering first whether it is what God wants, what He said, not what will be popular, "help" with the size of the church or the organization. The world will clash with the church in a greater, more severe way on certain doctrines and practices, highlighting the difference, the contrast between the church and the world. A major teaching in the Bible is the suffering of the church. Jesus said the world would hate His people, like the world hated Him. 1 Peter is a book that teaches the calling to suffer. A tendency of churches, however, and professing believers, is to try to avoid suffering. It's natural, but it must be resisted. A church should just keep walking the right path in doctrine and practice, despite the hostility of the world. Pragmatic compromises with the world will not help. They might look like they help in the short term, but they are not honoring to God when they move away from God. Again, this is all about God, so His honor must stay in the forefront.
Little suffering will occur for a church because they use the King James Version with its underlying received text. Some will happen, mainly in the nature of being marginalized as kooks or quacks with no proof from the accusers. There will be those who will not attend a church if a modern version is not used. It's been programmed in now after years of propaganda. I know modern version advocates will say the opposite occurs too with people who reject modern versions for the King James, especially in certain areas of the country. That tide is turning or has turned now. The point I've made on this is that the church has believed in the perfect preservation of Scripture and that has been forsaken by fundamentalism and evangelicalism, ignoring historical doctrine to do so. That is a cult-like tendency, to leave the historical doctrine of the preservation of Scripture because of science. We are seeing the same trend with 6 day literal creationism for views compatible with evolution. Leaving the orthodox understanding of Genesis based upon worldly thinking is cult-like. Fundamentalists have not taken this turn on Genesis, but they have moved on the text of Scripture based upon similar "scientific" principles.
A major turn in fundamentalism and evangelicalism away from historical application of Scripture, the practice of God's Word, has been on the so-called cultural issues. The historical understanding of Deuteronomy 22:5 among Christians has been practiced as men wearing pants and women wearing skirts or dresses. Historically, true believers have believed that the disobedience of this passage in this way made the violators an abomination to God. That was the position that Christians took, all of them. As the culture of the world began to move away from this Christian influence, Christians stood against the world, but over a longer period of time, Christians too have shifted on it, until there is little to no difference between the church and the world in this practice. In fact, now professing Christians actually attack, mock, and ridicule the historical Christian position and practice on gender distinctiveness in dress as much as or more than the world itself does.
The change in practice on dress did not start with study of the Bible or exegesis. It started with accommodation to the world and then acceptance of the world's practice. Christians were no longer obeying Deuteronomy 22:5. Some interpretational differences came later as fundamentalists and evangelicals attempted to justify their lack of practice.
Understand that accompanying the disobedience of Deuteronomy 22:5 has come the variation in the roles of men and women and the rise of homosexuality. They are related issues. First came the God-ordained symbolism of men wearing pants and women wearing skirts and dresses, and then once the symbol was rejected, the roles themselves have moved to the worldly thinking as well. New arguments arose against male headship and female submission, changing the historical beliefs of Christians. And this is related to the creation issue, since God created the roles of men and women, and He wanted those differences designed into the external symbolism of dress. This is clear in Deuteronomy 22:5 and 1 Corinthians 11:3-16.
From my perspective, the arguments against the man wearing pants and the woman wearing skirts and dresses, are weak and ridiculous. They are not trying to follow what the Bible says, just looking for a way out in order to fit in with the world. The issue has become political more than exegetical. You take a position that will allow you to fit in with more people. There is no history with it. The people will not refer to positions Christians have taken. They will not talk about how Christians have interpreted the passages. They don't want to do that. They know what it means. Instead, they just take pot shots at those who continue believing and practicing the biblical and historical way. This is a cult-like tendency. It is illustrated with the rebellion on the dress issue, but it is happening in many of the cultural issues. The world is turning the church upside down.