Almost every major ministry has somewhere laid out a definition of a cult. The 700 Club is no exception.
In the May issue of Frontlines, The Christian Broadcasting Network newsletter, Pat Robertson uses the recent mass suicide in California to launch his definition:
1) ...anyone who does not practice righteousness;
2) ...a leader who says, "Look at me instead of Jesus Christ;"
3) ...a philosophy of fear;
4) ...elevate the writings of their leader above the Bible or distortion of the Bible to back up their own point of view.
Yet, Robertson is buddy-buddy with the largest cult in the world, according to his own definition. On point one, this cult has a 2000-year history of unrighteous deeds, from murder of the saints to blasphemous idolatry.
On point two, the leader claims to be the "vicar of Christ." Vicar comes from the same root word as vice (as in vice president, one who acts in the place of the president).
Thus Roman Catholicism draws the attention of its followers away from Jesus to the pope who makes no bones about claiming to be Christ's mouthpiece on earth.
Third, fear is the major bond between Roman Catholics and their Institution. Fear that they will not be good enough to go to heaven; fear that not enough masses will be said to get them out of purgatory; fear that when they die they will go to hell because no priest will be around to hear their confession and forgive their sins; fear that if they visit a Protestant church, they will have committed a mortal sin for which there is no forgiveness.
Fourth, along with the Bible, Catholics are taught a body of tradition and are told that it is equal to the Bible in authority. Most of the pillars of Catholicism, the Eucharist, worship of Mary, confession to priests, purgatory, either have no biblical foundation or are definite distortions of Scripture. The popes have truly "made the commandment of God of none effect with [their] tradition."
Yet Robertson and almost all other "evangelical" leaders still call this 1-billion-member cult a "Christian church."