It has been brought to my attention recently that some who used to be in the United Pentecostal Church now consider it to be a cult. While I might take some offence at the allegation, (I am after all a currently licensed minister of the United Pentecostal Church, International), I thought I would look up the word "cult" in the dictionary. In Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, (the first reference available in my Google search), the definition of the word "cult " is as follows:
I know that there are those who sincerely believe the United Pentecostal Church, International is a cult because we reject the doctrine of the Trinity as stated by the Roman Catholic Church. However because we believe the only rule of faith is what the Bible says, I would say that we are not a cult in the modern sense of the word. But let me take Mirriam-Webster's definition to heart and see if we fit.
I recall a question I heard some years ago, "If you were put on trial as a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" If we do not subscribe to the doctrine of the Trinity, but rather give our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ alone as God manifested in the flesh, then we are guilty in the first instance. However while we may be considered somewhat extreme in our view of the Godhead (See Isaiah 9:6, John 14:7-10 and, Colossians 2:9-10) I don’t think we could be considered physically dangerous.
I am reminded of a book I once read, I think the title was "The Wind of God." It was about the Pentecostal movement of the day, both classical Pentecost and neo Pentecost. The United Pentecostal Church was one that was listed as classical Pentecostal. The writer of the book said of the United Pentecostal Church that we tended to exalt the Lord Jesus too highly. I remember thinking at the time what a compliment because I didn't (and still don't) think it possible to exalt the Lord Jesus too highly. So I guess that in that regard we are guilty also.
The third clause is, ": a small group of very devoted supporters or fans."
While I have heard over the years of our amazing growth and that the Pentecostal movement is one of the fastest growing religious movements in the world, we are still, by-in-large, pretty insignificant . The Lord Jesus was asked by a disciple in Luke 13:23-24, "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." And the Apostle Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 1:26-29 "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." That being said, the Church of the Lord Jesus will never be a large conglomerate in this world. So I guess we fit the bill here too.