The concept of "cult" was introduced into sociological classification in 1932 by American sociologist Howard P. Becker as an expansion of German theologian Ernst Troeltsch's church-sect typology. Troeltsch's aim was to distinguish between three main types of religious behavior: churchly, sectarian and mystical. Becker created four categories out of Troeltsch's first two by splitting church into "ecclesia" and "denomination", and sect into "sect" and "cult". Like Troeltsch's "mystical religion", Becker's cults were small religious groups lacking in organization and emphasizing the private nature of personal beliefs.
It was certainly looked upon by the Roman Catholic [universal] Church from Constantine forward as any religious group which departed from Roman Catholic doctrine and dogma. However we who are non Catholics and not necessarily Protestant, would take the position that doctrine, not dogma, should be the discriminating measure of the soundness of any Christian group.
Religious churches and organisations are plethora today. The Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis (a Jesuit) is making advances to Lutheran, Pentecostal, Protestant and even Muslim groups to name a few. Encouraging them (us) to come together, setting aside doctrine for the sake of unity.
For we who are authorised Bible believing, born again Christians this idea is untenable. For us the Authorised Bible is the only and final authority for faith and practise.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Sola Scriptura (Latin ablative, "by Scripture alone") is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, it demands that only those doctrines be admitted or confessed that are found directly within Scripture or are drawn indirectly from it by valid logical deduction or valid deductive reasoning. Sola Scriptura does not deny that other authorities govern Christian life and devotion, but sees them all as subordinate to and corrected by the written word of God.
Those who depart from that standard in doctrine, dogma or tradition are to us heretics despite their quoting of supporting verses of scripture, visions, miracles or an angel from heaven (Gal 1:8).
Cults invariably follow the teachings of one person or group of persons, such as an executive body or governing board. Heretics individually hold doctrines that, while supported by scripture verses or passages, are in conflict with the overall teaching of the whole Bible.