I recently had an exchange with a member of the counter-cult on the topic of Mormonism and I came away from that encounter with two images stuck in my mind. The first is a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the scene where a group of medieval townspeople bring a woman forward with allegations of witchcraft. If you haven't seen this film you can view this scene on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_l5ntikaU. This scene came to mind not only in terms of the questionable means of assessment and understandings that many (but not all) evangelicals have of new religions, but also with the glee exhibited in the townspeople over the hopeful burning of the witch, a glee that I see reflected in many an evangelical as they denounce religious others that they claim to care about.
The other image that came to mind, and one far more disturbing, is that of McCarthyism. I recall watching newsreel footage of the political "witch hunts" this country experienced in its zeal to weed out communism, a zeal that often times saw communists in the ranks of fellow Americans that were not there. This image came to mind as I had just experienced a similar zeal on the part of a segment of the counter-cult intent on labeling myself and others as divisive and dangerous to the church. With these kinds of judgments it seems as if at least one segment of the counter-cult is launching a new form of McCarthyism in the church, and demonstrating theological and missiological naivette in the process.
For now I'm be content to chuckle at the "expert" mob that brings forward alleged heretics. Let's just hope that they remain small and marginalized.