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"Now in our 23rd year of standing for truth!"

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Eric & Melanie Barger

Ministry Update - October 14, 2006

The Shocking Reality

Barna Research Group releases survey results concerning teens and occult practices…

In early 2006 Barna reported that of 4000 teens surveyed across the United States:

- 73% have engaged in occult activity beyond mere media exposure and horoscope usage

- 27% believe horoscopes are always true

- 35% have used a Ouija Board

- 35% have read occult books

- 26% have played games based on the occult or sorcery

- 10% have participated in a séance

- 7% have attempted casting spells, hexes or have attempted mixing a magic potion

- 30% have had their palm read

- 27% have had their fortune told

- 14% have witnessed psychic powers being used

- 9% have visited a medium or consulted a psychic

The Barna survey served to confirm disturbing truths found in the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey. The “ARIS” data indicated that between 1991 and 2001 the number of people identifying themselves as Christians in America dropped from 86.2% of the population to 76.5%. During the same period those claiming to be Wiccans rose by an astounding 1675% !!!

For years I have been remarking at my seminars and in private conversations that the Church is at least partially responsible for the fact that teens are seeking out satanic, occult and New Age spiritual options. This is due to a lack of personal commitment to godly values and a breakdown of lifestyle role modeling by Christians throughout our churches. The shift towards occult spirituality has no doubt been aided by the fact that many teens are growing up in home and church atmospheres which are to varying extents void of the reality, anointing, spiritual presence and power of God. (Matt 24:12)

The following comments, which summarize the findings of the Barna research team, directly address the root of the problem.

“The research revealed that many churches fail to address the subject of the supernatural with sufficient frequency or relevance. Only 28% of churched teenagers recall receiving any teaching at their church in the last year that helped to shape their views on the supernatural world!”

Wow. Shame on us. But more importantly, what action are we now going to take? Will we fast, pray and declare war on the Enemy? Or will we refuse to rock the boat and just go with the flow? Will youth pastors continue to use game playing, pizza parties and ski trips as the main staples in order to keep the crowd – and in so doing silently proclaim that activities alone constitute having “church?” Or will they be the kind of bold, Godly zealots that Paul and Peter would have appointed? Will our leaders be content to keep downplaying the tough issues of sin, lifestyles and doctrine as well as the uncompromised preaching of the Gospel just to keep filling the seats with people whose ears long to be tickled? (II Tim 4:1-8, Isa 30:8-17)

Throughout the church today many of our youth are spiritually starving. Why do you suppose they appear to be flocking to the occult? Surely, this rise of the demonic is also described in the Bible.

In his most prophetic writing concerning the end days, the Apostle Paul warns the Thessalonican church of exactly what we are seeing in our time.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
- II Thessalonians 2:3-12 (KJV)

As I detailed for years in the seminar and video The MOST Dangerous Cult there must be from within the Church a “falling away” or, as another translation states, a “rebellion” from and against the truth. The actual Greek word translated “falling away” is apostasia or “apostasy.” This defection from the faith by those who claim to be Christians is a sure signal that the Antichrist’s arrival is eminent.

Further down in the passage Paul speaks of the “mystery of iniquity.” (This verse serves as a springboard for my late 2006 teaching video Bible Prophecy and the Occult.”) When examined carefully this phrase yields an astounding prophetic truth.

The word “mystery” in II Thessalonians 2:7 comes from the word musterion (Strong’s Concordance Greek word #3466). It means “…hidden thing, secret, mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals, a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding (with) a hidden purpose.”

This is a clear description of the occult!

When coupled with the word “iniquity” (anomia gk) or “contempt and violation of (God’s spiritual) law” (Strong’s Concordance Greek word #458) Paul is clearly expressing that during the period just preceding Antichrist’s rule there will be a blunt rejection of truth and a rise of the occult which is, according to Deuteronomy 18:9-12, “tow`ebah” (Strong’s Concordance Hebrew word #08441) or the worst of all abominations before the Lord!

According to Scripture it is clearly no coincidence that the current occult explosion is happening at the same time that many Christian leaders have determined to follow unbiblical, seeker driven ideas which appease the crowd instead of proclaiming God’s complete word.

Though this rise of evil in the last days is indeed prophesied, those who have ears to hear will hear and will shine the light of truth on both the occult activity and the anemic condition which parallels it and which now pervades throughout the Church.

I should note that a similar abandonment of truth was a byproduct of liberalism’s encroachment into the once sound mainline denominations decades ago. Then, now and from the beginning one of Satan’s primary tools has been to plant seeds of doubt which attack God’s word (Gen 3:1). What should distress us today is that this evil disregard for God’s word - often veiled like a Trojan Horse - is now in full swing inside evangelical circles.

Here is the hope – there is and will be until Christ’s return a holy, obedient, vocal and evangelistic remnant. Praise God! Our task is clear. Help prepare the next generation to be powerful servants of the Most High God.

Our kids desperately need to be instructed, prepared, equipped, prayed for and warned through the whole counsel of God’s word. Above all, they need to experience first hand that God is where the fulfillment, joy and strength is.

The truth is that our teens are looking for us to set the bar. God help us that we give them something to shoot for. Forget the pop psychology with a Bible verse attached, the self esteem teaching, being “Purpose Driven” or merely religious. Start praying for revival and stop worrying about how the world (or the unsaved in our churches) perceive us. Bring back the presence of God to our churches or watch Satan lure our kids deeper into his camp!

"A man on fire disturbs the world, a building on fire attracts the world, a community on fire changes the world. ...I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell." - William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army

We welcome your comments and ideas. Please write Eric here.

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