I believe Christians are, or may be, intimidated by the word "cult." The word is not only used against Christians by non-Christians, or even by non-Christians against religious groups in general, but by professing Christian denominations against other professing Christian denominations that are small and seen as exclusivistic or eccentric. Here is Merriam-Websters definition of the word "cult":
The definitions have to do with a ritual practice based on a set of beliefs. These definitions can be applied to literally any social practice, regardless of its religion. The word is unsurprisingly derived from the Latin noun "cultus", referring to a ritual or practice, and is related to the Latin verb "colere", meaning to care for or to cultivate.
The real sociological significance of the word "cult" is in its connotation and not its denotation(indeed, it is devoid of any denotatively unique significance). It is an ultimately contentless word roughly meaning "weirdo." It has been said that a cult is a religious movement with no political power, and this, in an attempt to denigrate and ridicule religion and shame its practitioners.
I would heartily agree with the notion that a "cult" is a religious movement with no political power, but I would argue this against anti-theists who use the word in a polemical manner against theists, and argue that this truth proves that the word is a vacuous rhetorical maneuver intended to shame and humiliate those who practice a religion. It is what what the rhetorician and writer Richard Weaver might refer to as a "devil word", whose only purpose is to demonize those to whom it is applied. This does not mean I am against demonization. I would simply suggest we use more biblical, theological, rather than sociological, language. There are no cults vs. non-cults. There are only false gospels and the true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is monergistic Christian orthodoxy, and there are heretics and apostates.