As with anything, it depends how terms are being defined. In a Christian context, the definition of a cult is a religious group that denies one or more of the fundamentals of Christianity—teaching doctrines that, if believed, put one outside the bounds of Christian orthodoxy. Christian cults claim to be part of the religion, yet deny essential truths of that religion. They typically publicly present themselves as Christian but hold beliefs that speak to the contrary.
By this definition, the Seventh-Day Adventist movement is a cult. They deny orthodox trinitarianism, in favor of their own concept called the Heavenly Trio, as well as their own unique gospel message branded as the “Three Angels Messages.” On top of this, they believe the writings of Ellen G. White function as a divinely inspired, prophetic source of authority that correct inaccurate interpretations of scripture, claiming that she is the infallible interpreter of the infallible scriptures.
Another hallmark sign of a cult is the claim that God has given them and only them a special revelation to take to everyone else—one that, if rejected, will result in condemnation. This is precisely what the SDA Church claims stating that they have a unique mission, message and purpose as God’s “end times remnant” to take to the rest of the world, including the Christian world. If one hears this message and does not come and join them, they will be eternally lost. It is a life and death issue.
Other groups in this category include the Christadelphians, Unity, Bahá’í, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Worldwide Society Church of God, Christian Science, the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), and many others.