It is understood that the term “cult” is often used in a vague sense without a standard definition. Some of the most extreme cults require living in a communal setting, control over personal decisions, cutting ties with family, among other anti-social behaviors. When some people think of a cult, they visualize a tight-knit group of this sort living in a compound in isolation where everyone and everything is bound to the dictates of the cult leader. Those are the most extreme cults. Are those the only groups deserving a cult label? Dictionary.com starts off with an eight-part definition for the term cult, which we provide here for your convenience:
1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.
2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: [example] the physical fitness cult.
3. the object of such devotion.
4. a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.
5. Sociology. a group having a sacred ideology and a set of rites centering around their sacred symbols.
6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.
7. the members of such a religion or sect.
8. any system for treating human sickness that originated by a person usually claiming to have sole insight into the nature of disease, and that employs methods regarded as unorthodox or unscientific.
Only one of the eight possible definitions refer to an extreme communal living behavior, and only in the last part of the definition: "6. a religion or sect considered to be false, unorthodox, or extremist, with members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader." However, many of the other more broad definitions at dictionary.com focus on a person or ideal that is the focus of devotion or interest.
Further down dictionary.com provides an alternative definition from the British dictionary that does not even mention the isolation from society element:
1. a specific system of religious worship, esp with reference to its rites and deity
2. a sect devoted to such a system
3. a quasi-religious organization using devious psychological techniques to gain and control adherents
4. sociol a group having an exclusive ideology and ritual practices centred on sacred symbols, esp one characterized by lack of organizational structure
5. intense interest in and devotion to a person, idea, or activity [example] the cult of yoga
6. the person, idea, etc, arousing such devotion
7. something regarded as fashionable or significant by a particular group (as modifier): a cult show
8. (modifier) of, relating to, or characteristic of a cult or cults: a cult figure
Any reasonable person that is remotely familiar with Ruckmanism recognizes that it does not involve “members often living outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader.” If this was the only way the term cult was used, or its only definition, then Ruckmanism is not a cult. However, many other aspects of the definitions provided (such as “intense interest in and devotion to a person, idea, or activity”) seem to fit Ruckmanism like a glove.
It should be noted that it is a frequent practice for Ruckmanites to bring up extreme cults as a diversionary tactic when defending themselves from cultic behavior accusations:
…a "cult" under some heretic called "Ruckman." The idea is to identify Bible believers with people like the "Davidians" under Koresh, or Jim Jones. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Dec. 1993, p. 11)
Read our research and decide for yourself whether Ruckmanism deserves to be described as cultic or an outright cult.
In practice Peter Ruckman has a very loose definition of what constitutes a cult
The fact is that Ruckman himself is very loose with his use of the term “cult.” This can be demonstrated by his frequent use of the “Alexandrian Cult” label. He even has a 257-page book about what he chooses to call “the Alexandrian Cult.” We examined the titles of articles in the Bible Believers’ Bulletin and counted 91 cases of utilizing the term cult or cultic in the titles of articles from 1978-2014! An example of one of these include “Cult Members at Lynchburg, Va. Speak Up For Jerry Falwell” (Bible Believers’ Bulletin July 1979, p. 2). Here are some scattered examples of how loose Ruckman is in applying the cult term to others, some being respected figures of Christianity:
Cultists…Matthew Henry…A.T. Robertson, Machen, Warfield, Robert Dick Wilson, Gleason Archer (Ruckman, Peter. Minor Prophets Commentary. Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1978, 1984 p. 466)
And the Alexandrian Cult has as many Evangelicals and Fundamentalists in it as it has Liberals and Neo-Evangelicals. (Ruckman, Peter. The book of Minor Prophets Vol. 1 Hosea-Nahum. 1978, 1984 reprint, p. 258)
…these Jim (Bob) Jones people… (Ruckman, Peter. Twenty-Two Years of the Bible Believers’ Bulletin Vol. 8 Essays on Bible Topics. 2010, p. 85)
If we used Ruckman’s own loose definitions of “cultists,” “cult members” and “Jim (Bob) Jones people,” Ruckmanism is indeed a cult! We have written about Ruckman’s use of the “Alexandrian Cult” label in our article The Alexandrian Cult and its Creed: A fantasy of Peter Ruckman.
Ruckman has publicized, repeated and encouraged the cultic statements of others about himself or his views
Ruckman has frequently used his Bible Believers’ Bulletin to publicize cultic statements about himself written by others. Observe these examples:
The Filipino people are so loyal. Every one of these men read your literature, Dr. Ruckman. The whole time I was there, we would sit out under the stars at night and have little “preacher” sessions. Your name was in much of the talks. They have learned a lot from your influence. They told me that you are the “big dog” and they are “the puppies.” (“A Report From the Philippines” Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Feb. 2008, p. 18)
You and your friends are so filled with “Ruckmanitis” that you are so blind to the truth that God has revealed to the Body of Christ via Dr. Ruckman. … Reject dozens of Bible truths that God has revealed to Dr. Ruckman with the result being that they stay thirty years behind the Body of Christ and never catch up. You see, “Ruckman” is not the problem. The Lord has hidden these great truths from them because they have rejected the source from which Dr. Ruckman got them. He is only guilty of believing the source: the Book—the Authorized Version of 1611. (Waddle, Tom. “The Source” Bible Believers’ Bulletin. May 2008, p. 17)
As you now, [sic] the faculties and staffs of the fifty major Christian Colleges in America have decided that “Ruckmanism is a cult,” and “Ruckman is a cult leader who teaches heresy.” I thought you might like to see the other side of the coin.…Then I came in contact with Brother Ruckman’s material. It was absolutely, totally from God. I have no doubt whatsoever! Brother Ruckman’s work confirmed to me, factually and historically, what God was trying to tell me for a long time. … I get letters like that all year round. (“From a Typical ‘Cult Member’” Bible Believers’ Bulletin. June 2006, p. 20)
I now officially consider myself a “Ruckmanite” that believes everything I hear and read by you, and I want to be a little nut in Kentucky who follows the “nut in Florida” as long as he follows the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Oct. 1999, p. 10)
In March, 1992 the Bible Believers’ Bulletin passed along a demonstration for a method that a Ruckmanite pastor utilized with prospective missionaries for filtering out those who reacted strongly against Ruckmanism. The hypothetical conversation in the demonstration between the Ruckmanite pastor and the prospective missionary led to this key part: “But if he [the missionary] says, ‘I believe the King James Bible,’ then my next statement will be, ‘Oh, you must be a Ruckmanite!’” (the pastor pretends to be against Ruckman in order to elicit a reaction). This technique has cultic overtones, and it reveals that in the end —for Ruckmanites— it’s all about Ruckman! A side benefit, however, is that balanced non-Ruckmanite missionaries would not feel comfortable ending up inadvertently in a Ruckmanite church.
There is an extreme and unbalanced reaction against those who disagree with Ruckmanite views
Ruckman blasts others in some of the crudest ways imaginable for not holding to his dogmatic views. If you don’t believe his nonsense that the KJV contains advanced revelations, corrects the Greek and Hebrew, is superior to the originals, etc., and you dare warn others about him, Ruckman will label you a cultist. For example, he has placed a defender of the KJV in his “Alexandrian Cult,” namely Bruce Lackey, author of Why I Believe the Old King James Bible and Can you Trust your Bible? (he answers in the affirmative). Ruckman even called Lackey an “elitist tradesman from the Alexandrian Cult.” (Ruckman, Peter. King James Onlyism versus Scholarship Onlyism. p. 3). Notice these other examples:
They [other KJV defenders] are not King James Bible champions. They are mean, thieving, sneaky, little, egotistical brats who have achieved “success” through fraud. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Oct. 2004 p. 14)
Look out for any Fundamental, Pre-Millenial, Independent, Soul winning boob that spits, spats, splutters, or flushes when you say “Ruckman.”…he’d burn the King James Bible if it wouldn’t “hurt his testimony.” (Ruckman, Peter. Acts. 1974, 1984, p. 643)
We call these diseased pastors “patients.” They are mentally sick. The disease is called “Ruckmanitis,” or “obsession with Ruckman.” Bring up that name, and they will foam at the mouth (if they are honest!). …these powerless, fruitless fakirs… (Ruckman, Peter. BBB reprint #7 (Strictly Personal). 2004, Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, pp. 490-491)
The latest and most fantastic cult that has sprung up among Baptist “Fundamentalists” is the “anti-Ruckman-King James Only Cult.” (Ruckman, Peter. Bible Believers’ Bulletin Aug. 1998, p. 3)
Ruckman was hypersensitive at times and frequently reacted to his critics with a vengefulness far exceeding the scope of the matter being responded to.
Ruckman’s followers have often defended him in a cultic fashion
Some Ruckmanites are so cultic that in one case one declared the calendar was wrong in order to not have to admit that Ruckman was mistaken in guessing the wrong date for the rapture! This is evident in a book by the title Ruckmanism Ruckus by Geneha Kim, a 2006 graduate of Ruckman’s Bible institute. The lengths to which Kim goes to defend Ruckman in his book constitutes a tragic, but likewise fascinating look into cultic behavior.
Kim totally buys into Ruckman’s excuse for guessing wrongly that the rapture would occur in 1989: “The reason why God did not come back at May 14, 1989, is because today’s calendars are in error.” (p. 166) Kim continues defending Ruckman as follows on p. 166: “Dr. Ruckman did not do anything wrong. He merely timed the dates from the Bible and used scripture references for his guidelines.” (p. 166) Kim refuses to see anything wrong with what Ruckman did and brings it up yet again in another chapter as follows: “But as already covered in Chapter 10, Dr. Ruckman is not proven wrong on his timing of the second advent.” (p. 291) Notice the cultic use of the all-inclusive word always in the following statement: “However, Dr. Ruckman has always abided by the scriptures as his final authority, including his date-setting of the Rapture.” (p. 167)
His thinking is so twisted that he blames the calendar for being wrong instead of admitting that Ruckman was wrong in his rapture date guesses! What more proof could be needed to establish that at the very least Ruckmanism is a personality cult?
Ruckmanites are often silent about some of Ruckman’s most controversial views
Ruckman’s unbiblical position that abortion is not murder and life does not begin at conception is well known. In light of this it would be of interest to briefly look at the case of how a Ruckmanite handles Ruckman while in disagreement with his views on abortion. Pastor Glen Stocker, who studied under Ruckman, wrote a 52-page booklet in 1991 by the title What God says about Abortion vs. Pro-Life. In his booklet, Stocker makes some good arguments from Scripture, science and medicine that are in contradiction with what Ruckman has taught. For this Stocker should be commended. However, he is absolutely silent about Ruckman’s views on abortion in the booklet (he surely knew, having graduated from PBI). Not only did he not warn against Ruckman's views on abortion in the book, he actually mentioned Ruckman positively (for one of the quotes he is known for, unrelated to abortion) in passing on p. 12! Stocker has continued to associate himself openly with Ruckman, such as scheduling Ruckman to preach in his very own church the very year he wrote the booklet (Bible Believers’ Bulletin Jan. 1991, p. 7). Stocker was also a keynote speaker in Ruckman's 2008 "Bad Attitude Blowout" conference.
Another example of a Ruckmanite being silent about some of Ruckman’s most controversial views would be Geneha Kim, whom we already mentioned along with his book. Even though Ruckmanism Ruckus was a lengthy book (nearly 400 pages) and he assured readers on p. 311 “I have covered as much as I could in which Christians find fault with Dr. Peter S. Ruckman,” notice all the Ruckmanite teachings that were not mentioned (or at least not dealt with) in the book:
- Marriage is “flesh joining flesh”
- Extreme beliefs about UFO’s
- Ruckman saying abortion is not murder
- Ruckman’s belief in superstitions
- Twisted view of God’s love
- Where the Word of God was before 1611 (the matter is brought up in the book, but the question is not answered)
- Bizarre government conspiracy theories
Ruckmanites often feel excused for their silence by repeatedly making statements to the effect that “we are not saying that Ruckman is perfect” and leaving it at that. Only the most daring among them dare to specify areas in which Ruckman is wrong in their eyes. It often occurs only when someone questioning Ruckmanism brings up the offending topic. In that case a Ruckmanite will often state something akin to “I’ve never said Ruckman was perfect” and they will often minimize the matter and insist that it is still harmless and productive to read after Ruckman.
Ruckman’s criteria for spotting a cult is self-condemning
Assisted by a quote from Walter Martin, Ruckman provides the following brief formula for spotting a cult:
The way you spot a cult is by their use of a word which to them bears a different meaning than the Biblical use of the term. (Ruckman, Peter. The Bible Babel. 1994, p. 1)
We have done a number of studies in which we believe Ruckman is guilty of this exact practice in his teachings. Notice these examples, among others:
False doctrine is prominent in its main teachings
The above heavily-documented articles listed also serve to prove that false doctrines are an integral part of Ruckmanism, which is at the core of all cults. We are not covering false doctrine in depth in this article, because it is dealt with extensively throughout Ruckmanism.org. Ruckmanite churches typically try to identify themselves as Baptists, which is very deceptive, considering that the teachings they harp on the most are not historic Baptist doctrines. What Baptist churches were known for teaching a combination of believing in plans of salvation requiring works for certain periods, no women in heaven, Jesus could have sinned if he wanted to, spiritual circumcision, space travel and reproduction in heaven, sleeping together constituting marriage, the KJV can correct the Greek, is doubly inspired, and contains advanced revelations; rapture date guessing, abortion is not murder, among other reprehensible and unbiblical views we have documented at ruckmanism.org? Only God can see the heart, but it seems as if Ruckmanite churches who place "Baptist" on their church name are committing religious fraud in hopes of luring in the unsuspecting.
Ruckman himself teaches that cult leaders cultivate their education background to pass themselves off as scholars
Notice what Ruckman wrote about this:
In addition to this, every Cult leader cultivates his (or her) educational background so that he (or she) will pass off as a “scholar” even where not one earned degree shows up. (Ruckman’s Battlefield Notes. 2003, p. 158)
Ruckman does have an earned doctorate, but this should not excuse him from being suspected of using this very tactic. Does Peter Ruckman actually say not to trust any scholar except himself? He doesn’t say it outright, no doubt because of the anti-cultic backlash he would receive. However, in examining Ruckman’s abundant writings, a pattern clearly emerges. He denounces all other Christian scholars of recent times (often going back hundreds of years), and at the same time keeps propping himself up as the one scholar to fill that void (all the while being careful not to call himself a scholar). Ruckmanites are quick to point out times when Ruckman has stated that he is not a scholar. However, this is false humility, because he despises the term “scholar.” He has instead referred to himself as a “professional teacher,” which is virtually synonymous with calling himself a scholar. (Bible Believers’ Bulletin. Sep. 1993, p. 4)
Ruckman stated that cult leaders cultivate their educational background to pass themselves off as scholars. But does not Ruckman practice this himself? Observe this example:
By 1901, the Lord God Almighty was “fed up” (see Isaiah 1:10-13) with Christian colleges, seminaries, and universities, and as J. Frank Norris and Billy Sunday tried to get things back together against hopeless odds, the Lord decided he would raise up a “joke on scholars.” The joker’s name was Peter Ruckman. … What the Lord needed was a “bookworm” who could digest 500 years of Christian scholarship, interpret it correctly, place it in its proper light in regard to the Holy Bible, and defend it against 5,000 to 10,000 apostate, conservative scholars who would rather die and go to hell than submit to God’s authority. The pedagogy began November 19, 1921 [date of Ruckman’s birth]… (Bible Believers' Bulletin. Dec. 1985, p. 2)
Some cultic leaders know better than to publicly demand he be followed without question. Many are more subtle, and use manipulative tactics to tear all other leaders and teachers down leaving only themself to follow. The cultic leader may not be on record stating that only he should be followed, but that is by design when more subtle tactics suit their purpose. Ruckman more commonly uses the tactic of self-elevation or name calling and ridicule when others he targets (often those who question him publicly) do not agree with his strange teachings. See also Ruckman teaching that no other scholar can be trusted other than himself.
Ruckmanites make exclusive “us versus them” type statements that have a cultic slant
Preachers who will not preach on the street are not followers of Jesus Christ or Paul (Bible Believers' Bulletin Mar. 2001, p. 1)
If they refuse to be intimidated by “Ruckman,” then they must stay subverted to the apostates who intimidated them; (Ruckman, Peter. BBB reprint vol 6 Worldwide Damnation/Homosexuals. Pensacola, FL: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 2003, p. 572)
“Ruckmanism” or “heresy.” You say, “Why?” BECAUSE IT IS “SOUND DOCTRINE;” IT IS BIBLICAL TRUTH FROM THE HOLY BIBLE. (Bible Believers' Bulletin Feb. 2006, p. 14)
“Ruckmanitess”: a contagious, terminal disease which sidetracks every proud, self-righteous, blind, Bible-perverting “Fundamentalist,” Conservative, and Evangelical who ever gets infected. (Bible Believers' Bulletin Mar. 2007 p. 14)
“Ruckmanism” is a smoke screen put up to cover and protect the sins of those who will not submit to any authority higher than their personal opinions and preferences. (Ruckman, Peter. The Last Grenade, p. 238)
“Ruckmanism” is an imaginary device invented to protect the income of the modern apostate Fundamentalist. …Ruckman is only a “threat” to the income of educated apostates; they know it. That is why they talk and act like they do ($$). (Bible Believers' Bulletin June 1994, p. 19)
Ruckmanites are obsessed with Ruckman
We recently spent a little time to see what Ruckmanites were posting on the internet, mostly Facebook and Youtube. Here are a few examples of what was noticed that prove how it is not hard to find cases of cultic obsession with Peter Ruckman:
1. A public Facebook post by a Ruckmanite pastor looking for someone to fill his pulpit during his absence: "Hello, looking for someone who is a Bible Believer who supports Dr. Ruckman to come preach…"
2. “I thank God for Dr. Peter S Ruckman” Sermon title on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy_DUUfRqcg&t=921s
3. “My journey to find Dr. Peter S. Ruckman and the perfect Word of God” lecture title https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlbmuN9CpAQ&t=37s
4. “How to honor Dr. Ruckman’s Legacy” sermon title according to the speaker, although assigned the title “Reformed Ruckmanism” when uploaded to Youtube. At the 2 hours 15-minute mark, Bill Grady affirms, “I have gained from the Ruckman position. He is my hero. He always will be. And I love his memory, because he changed my entire life.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-fkxrwvuUY
5. "I am a translator of the books of Dr. Peter S. Ruckman for many years ago. When I translated his books, I filled with his spirit (Ruckmanism) and his books and KJV beliefs are my lifelong handbooks." https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/pensacola-fl/peter-ruckman-6900884
6. A tribute to the Best Bible teacher this world has ever known, Dr. Peter Sturges Ruckman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q2N4o-79Ps
Obviously, Ruckmanism on the internet is not limited to Facebook and Youtube. Ruckmanism is rampant on many websites and forums, especially those that deal with Bible version issues. Here is one brief example of a statement we found on a forum that is cultic through and through: “I agree with everything Dr Ruckman has ever said.” https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/peter-s-ruckman-has-died-christianity-loses-a-great-teacher.1618863/
We do not expect to persuade many Ruckmanites to abandon Ruckmanism with our writing and research. This is because it is in many ways a personality cult. The more Ruckman is exposed, the more Ruckmanites simply coalesce around each other and become even more defensive and protective of their leader. Ruckmanism revolves around a person, and that person is not Christ (remember the “Ruckman changed my entire life” testimony?). Their loyalty is to Ruckman, not Christ and his Word. Pointing out false teachings do not phase them. The more that false teachings are brought to light, the more voraciously they defend him. We don’t see the same eagerness to defend Ruckmanite-type teachings prevalent among them that did not originate from Ruckman himself. The loyalty seems to be centered more on a man and his personal writings/audio/video teachings then on a general system of teachings.
What do you think? Is Ruckmanism a cult? Comment below.