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Understanding Cults and New Religions, by Irving Hexham and Karla Poewe (Grand Rapids,Wm. b. Erdmans, 1986) pp. 180.

This book was written for the specific task of helping Christian laymen, pastors, youth workers and theological students understand cults from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is based on the belief that understanding preceeds criticism. Consequently, many well meaning evangelical apologetics tend to do more harm than good. The aim of this book is to bring an understanding of cults and the people who join them to Christians and to promote communication between people who hold very different views.


1. Christian Apologetics, Deprogramming and the Cults

2. Evangelical Conversion and the Logic of Belief

3. The New Mythology: Mythological Fragments

4. Modernity and the New Mythology

5.The Primal Core

6. The Yogic and Abramic Traditions

7 Psychological Aspects of Conversion: The Individual in Crisis

8. Social Aspects of the Cultic Process: Tensions and Reactions

9. The Psychology of Shamanism: Some Cross-Cultural Comparisons

10 Magical Religions, Hysteria, and Christianity

What some critics said:

a. This is one of the most important studies of conversion and the modern mind that I have important apologetic. I urge pastors and youth ministers to give it a few hours of your time it will help you help your people."

L. Russ Bush, Southwestern Journal of Theology, Fall, 1987

b. Hexham and Poewe accomplish remarkably well their expressed purpose. Their emphasis on the social sciences provides a dimension often neglected...Thorough research and breadth of understanding of new religions characterizes this work. This book will constitute helpful reading for courses on contemporary religions and for those people who seek a balanced view of cults and new religions."


Missiology, Vol. XVI, No. 3, July 1988.

c. ... an important study about the proliferation of modern `cults'... a remarkably wide understanding of modern culture and social conditions, they provide well-documented and illuminating background ... without slick answers. Excellent.


Expository Times, May, 1988

d. ... a provocative and often cogent interpretation of the emergence of the new religious consciousness which should be of interest to sociologists of religion as well as its intended audience of Christian laity and clergy."

William H. Norman, Sociological Analysis, 2nd Qtr, 1989

This book was originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans and is now available in a reprint edition from REGENT COLLEGE PRESS Click here to place an ORDER.