Inerrancy/Infallibility - Part 1

"The Bible means what it says, and says what it means". "The Bible is perfect". "The Bible is infallible". While you certainly don't have to be involved with a cult to believe the above statements, it is important to know that these or very similar teachings are core principals of almost every "Bible-based" religious cult in the world today.
If you were to take a minute now and do an internet based word search on the abovementioned phrases, the search engine would return thousands of hits from almost as many sources. Some of these sources would no doubt be legitimate churches and faith based religious groups while others would be high-pressure cult-like organizations.
Since the belief in Biblical inerrancy is quite common, and certainly not restricted to cult members, you might be asking yourself why this article is even posted here. Excellent question! I am convinced that it is worth it to explore this topic based both on my own personal experience as an ex-cult member and my experiences with other ex-members as an exit counselor and support group facillitator.
Any expert on cults will affirm that the ex-member physically leaves the cult before (often long before) their mind and emotions completely leave it. This fact accounts for the reality that a fairly high percentage of ex-members return to their group within one year of leaving it. It also accounts for the fact that until an ex-member does his or her homework by reading books, talking with other ex-members, doing internet research or whatever, they are very vulnerable to recruitment by another cult.
Full cult recovery in my opinion is a two-part process. The first phase is recognizing and understanding the manipulation techniques the group uses. These techniques are sometimes referred to as "mind control" or "thought reform" techniques. All self respecting cults use these methods to some degree or another and it is imperative that the ex-member realizes how he or she has been manipulated. Steven Hassans book "Combatting Cult Mind Control" is an excellent starter piece for the newly out ex-member. This and other quality books are listed in the "Reference Material" section of this website.
The second phase of cult recovery involves confronting the cultic belief system. I have met many individuals who leave their groups, do their homework, get a good understanding of thought reform techniques and how they were used effectively on them, and then stop. For certain this is a great start and unfortunately, many ex-members never find the help they need to get even this far and that is very sad.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Do I still consider returning to the group?
2. Do teachings from the group leader(s) still resonate in my thoughts.
3. Are there emotional "triggers" in my life such as key words the group leaders used, and/or special days(dates) that had significance in my group.
4. Am I still adhering to group principals even though I no longer attend functions.
5. Am I fearful or apprehensive about running into people who are still members of my former group.

If you answered yes to some of these, the good news is you are somewhere on the road to recovery from your group experience. It is also possible that doing some work on the phase two (belief system) side of recovery could be beneficial to you.
Over the next few articles, We will take a long hard look at the inerrancy model and how it is used and abused in Bible-based cults. We will not get into specifics such as this group teaches such and such and that group teaches thus and so.
We will talk about the following:

1. My way or the highway. What do cults really mean when they say "the Bible is perfect and infallible"?
2. Why can't we all just get along? Why is it that many times different groups that all teach that "the Bible is perfect and infallible" often agree on almost nothing with respect to what the Bible says?
3. So which group, if any, is right? Is the premise itself valid? Is inerrancy really infallible? (this one could be controversial, PG-13)