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"Now in our 24th year of standing for truth!"

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Eric & Melanie Barger

Ministry Update - May 12, 2007

Praise the Lord! Late Winter and Spring have been a very fruitful time spiritually and after ministry last weekend at the 55th annual CMTA / G.L.A.S.S. (Greater Los Angeles Sunday School) Convention as well as at College Avenue Church of the Nazarene in Whittier, I am finally home for the approximately the next month. But being home means perhaps busier days than when I an traveling and speaking because of the time spent in research, writing, preparation catching up on administration and of course hanging out with wife, family and grandkids! Being that May has two major holidays which impede scheduling guest ministries in local churches, its been my habit to take much of this month each year to pray and prepare for the rest of the year.

I'm planning another major trip to the Central and Eastern U.S. in June and will be stationary again in July to undertake one of the most lofty and exciting goals we have ever considered in July. (I'll fill you in as time passes on this.)

I hope that the article "Will They Say of Us, They Were the Evangelicals?" (included below in this email) will not only challenge and inform but will be transforming for many who read it. We mailed it via postal mail some time ago to our current "TAKE A STAND! REPORT" list and have gotten some absolutely thrilling feedback about it. In fact, just this morning another pastor, whom I highly respect, called me to say that the last TAKE A STAND! REPORT was "a home run" and that what I had written in "Will They Say of Us, They Were the Evangelicals?" "hit it out of the park." Needless to say I am humbled when men of God say such things about any of our work. Once you read the article, I am interested for your feedback too. As always, you can write me personally by simply clicking here.

Thanks for remembering us this month. During periods when I am off the road we specifically count on your support to meet the needs of both family and ministry. Its our prayer that as we have touched so many lives by God's call and grace you will consider sowing a gift to the ministry, especially during this season.

God bless you and thanks for your care and support!

Eric's dynamic seminar series is available for your church!


Eric is available July 1-4 for either a full series or
for single services at churches in the Eastern or Central U.S.

This would be a prime time for Eric's inspirational, informative presentation about the Christian foundations of America, including many powerful facts and quotes from the Founding Fathers!

Contact us for information here
without delay

Other open dates include:

June 24-29 in the Central & Eastern United States

July (2 weekends in Washington State)

August in Texas & the Southeast United States

Click here for information!

In March, I crisscrossed the nation nonstop, speaking fourteen times during just one nine-day period alone. During this time, God graciously drew many souls to the Cross of Christ, powerfully bringing deliverance to those sincerely seeking Him. Praise the Lord!

Through the years, we’ve seen thousands of people answer invitations and come forward for prayer. Recently, there have been numerous services where, after I have preached, 7, 12, 14, 20 or more people have prayed to surrender their lives to serve Jesus Christ. Though I cannot say exactly what may have transpired in the hearts and lives of all those who responded to my altar calls, I can guarantee one thing. Little of eternal significance could have taken place had I watered down the Gospel, preached a manmade formula, soft-soaped the truth or been concerned with how I was personally perceived by those in the culture. Though I am a teacher/evangelist and not a classical revivalist, I recognize that it was with this attitude that the fiery, zealous preachers from our past boldly proclaimed the words of truth. How tragic it is that today the mainline denominations - seeking cultural acceptance - have in large part surrendered to the cult of theological liberalism and traded authentic Christianity for a powerless, wicked counterfeit.

Where are the likes of Whitfield, Moody, Spurgeon, Edwards and Wesley today? Who will proclaim the uncompromising Gospel that sin is sin and Jesus’ blood is the only remedy? Before you simply answer “we evangelicals will,” think again.

Thank God, there is a precious remnant who still defend and preach the Bible as eternally true and Jesus as risen, triumphant Lord. If my tone sounds fatalistic or negative to you it is only because we cannot forget that it wasn’t to terribly long ago the Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ and American Baptists (among others) unabashedly stood for truth, righteousness and salvation through the finished work of the Cross of Christ. They WERE the evangelicals!

Over the past few decades however, these once solid denominations have exhibited less and less biblical truth until now many of their churches exemplify a mere form of Christianity which is completely void of the power of God. Gratefully, it is not every Methodist or Lutheran who has followed into the traps of heresy and compromise. However, the further up the ladder towards the denominational leaders and seminary professors one looks the harder it is to find true Bible believers who refuse to be swayed from the truth.

Yes, the liberals of today, were the evangelicals of yesterday and we who claim the title “evangelical” must wake up to the fact that our claim to be Bible-believers does not protect us from apostasy. We must soundly reject the specious and deceptive lie of the Enemy that we are theologically immoveable, for clearly, we are not.

As I have previously pointed out, the broad acceptance of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church is proof positive that evangelicals are quickly losing - or have already lost - their way.

As I stated in our February (2007) newsletter it is very disconcerting for me to use words such as “heresy” and “cultic” when referring to any supposedly Christian brother’s teaching. This does not come easy. Nevertheless, to not warn of the deception found in Dr. Warren’s teaching is far more grievous to my soul. (Read my comments at http://www.ericbarger.com/emailers/2007/update3-9-07/update3-9-07.htm or write us and request a copy of the February 2007 newsletter.)

Let’s not forget that each of the organized cults we in the west face today sprung up from inside the authentic Church. Certainly not everything taught or accepted by Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses is blatantly evil or even theologically wrong. Joseph Smith, Charles Taze Russell and others used seductive methods and extra biblical doctrines to lure in their followers. They exhibited charisma and couched their errors in a pseudo Christian cloak. They weren’t blatant Satan worshippers but what they produced is as eternally deadly as any pagan ritual or sacrifice.

Just as prophesied by the New Testament writers, there have been and will be erroneous leaders inside the Church who may for a season appear or claim to be orthodox. Yet these teachers influence the flock the same way that mold, if not removed, affects an orange.

The battle for truth and against error has been with us since Old Testament days. The cults have always risen up because individuals have been seduced into listening to the supposed wisdom of a false teacher instead of following the righteous standards of the Word of God. Can we expect anything BUT this to occur in these last days? As my friend, Jim Spencer, remarked recently “Discernment is at an all time low in the Church since the Reformation!” I am afraid it would appear that he is indeed correct.

Certainly, the problems we face in Christianity today started well before Dr. Warren’s rise to super stardom but the very fact that these books have skyrocketed in popularity signals what I have referred to as “Our Disturbing Spiritual Condition.” With the numerous glaring theological and practical difficulties found in the Purpose Driven philosophy, why have so many evangelicals accepted these teachings? The answer is the same for us today as it was concerning the original followers of Smith and Russell, etc. - we either don’t know our Bibles or don’t care to follow them!

Let me give you a most basic example of what I am referring to from the research piece I have written titled Examining the Purpose Driven Philosophy. In the report, along with other information, I site eleven substantial problems with the Purpose Driven philosophy. Number nine is Warren’s view of salvation.

What could be more elemental to evangelicals than the very plan of salvation? If we have this wrong, we are doomed yet Rick Warren is clearly presenting a plan of salvation that does not follow the Scriptures. Space here will not allow me to reprint all that I wrote in Examining the Purpose Driven Philosophy concerning this topic but here are a few paragraphs to help you understand my concerns.

In Examining the Purpose Driven Philosophy, I wrote the following back in December of 2005:

Perhaps most unsettling is Dr. Warren’s view of what constitutes separation from God and what the definition of salvation actually is.

Please carefully read the following quote from pages 58-59 of The Purpose Driven Life.

"First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you're not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you've done, God wants to forgive you.

"Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as Lord and Saviour. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose.

"Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: 'Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.' Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!"

If that sounds right then it is only because we evangelicals have gotten so used to the term and notion of someone making a “decision” for Christ. I admit that I have used the term “decision for Christ” many times. However, I have come to realize that unless the Spirit of God draws people to Himself and unless they are convicted of sin and righteousness they can repeat any prayer that Rick Warren, me or anyone else may give them and still remain as lost as a goose!

The key ingredient which is dubiously missing from Dr. Warren’s theology as presented in the PDL is REPENTANCE. Let me state unequivocally that there is NO salvation without repentance.

We have supplanted so-called “decisionism” for authentic conversion. What a tremendous disservice that Dr. Warren as well as many evangelicals have done (to the lost and to the Lord) by announcing that anyone who merely says a few words is somehow automatically a member of the family of God and on their way to Heaven.

Jesus never called men to just pray a little prayer. He called them to repent and completely follow Him. This is also the continuing message of the Book of Acts (2:38, 3:19, 8:22, 17:30, 26:20 etc.). The Book of Acts is our roadmap for the Church age yet we evangelicals have decided to take just part of what Paul wrote to the Romans (10:9-10, 13) and build our entire doctrine of conversion on it. One should also read Romans 3 which declares the sinfulness of man and our separation from God especially in a day when the bulk of humankind around us believe that somehow God grades on a curve and that because they aren’t as bad as Hitler or Osama then they are going to get into Heaven. While it is true that the letter of the Law kills, without the Law pointing out our absolute failure before God how would we understand our fallen condition? Without an understanding of our sinfulness and the imperative need that we each have to turn from what got us into this mess, how can a conversion be genuine?

It is just this sort of easy-believism that is literally going to take millions of people to Hell. We should be shocked by how easily we have been lulled into thinking that praying some sort of a prayer without including true repentance from sin as a prerequisite could actually make for a real, authentic salvation experience. This is why (in my estimation) the “seeker” model is one of Satan’s most effective tools to ward off a real conversion to Christ. I am not alone. In a personal letter, David Wilkerson of World Challenge wrote, “As I’ve traveled the world the last two years in ministers’ conferences, I’ve seen the havoc which that ministry (Rick Warren’s) has caused…It (the Purpose Driven Church philosophy) simply does not work.”

In exhorting the Ephesian elders, Paul states in Acts 20:21 that his complete teaching in a nutshell was “repentance and faith.” As Paul witnessed to King Agrippa, he recounted the Lord’s instructions which were given to him on the Damascus Road. It was Paul’s mission (and must be ours) “…to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18)

Clearly, FAITH and REPENTANCE are co-equal elements to authentic salvation. Paul’s mission was not to teach one and not the other for faith without repentance leads no man to Heaven. In fact, Paul stood accused by the Pharisees and eventually lost his life because he taught two things: resurrection of the dead and repentance from sin.

We should note that the Roman governor, Festus declared Paul as “insane” for proclaiming resurrection and repentance. This is a microcosm of how so many in the world feel about the real message of the Christianity. It is also why many people claiming to be the “Church” have altered the message today.

It’s not that I think our themes or delivery should necessarily be depressing or negative. However, the truth is that the world will gladly embrace the “feel good” or so-called “positive” gospels while they generally reject preaching from the Word of God that focuses on repentance. This is the reason that various Christianized self-help teachings have garnered such large followings in recent times.

In the flesh, I can surely understand how some pastors could attempt to justify becoming more “positive” in an effort to draw larger crowds. While I reiterate that I am all for being positive, it cannot be at the expense of the real gospel. Shouldn’t we stand for the whole truth and let the Holy Spirit draw whom He will rather than tampering with the only message that can redeem a soul? Doing otherwise is certain to result in eternal disaster.

Frankly, I cannot for one moment fathom the Apostle Paul that we read of in Scripture teaching the Purpose Driven philosophy. However, I will admit that if Paul would have employed Dr. Warren’s teaching he probably could have avoided a whole boatload of trouble – including losing his head. Instead of focusing on repentance and eternity (complete with confronting false doctrines and sin) if Paul would have just toned down his sermons a bit and been more practical he could have gained favor with the crowds in Ephesus, Caesarea, Athens and elsewhere. After all, the masses rejected his narrow views and he did want them to come back to his church didn’t he? Didn’t he understand that he needed to give the people what they wanted? They would have accepted a more positive and uplifting message wouldn’t they?

Even in the face of unspeakable rejection, intense persecution and numerous death threats, I simply cannot envision the Apostle following the advice of the Modern Church Growth Movement, can you? God help the Church to once again preach what the Scripture demands instead of “feel good” self-help and psychology masquerading as the gospel for we have surely lost our way.

Warnings for the Wayward Church

"We do not believe that we should seek to make sinners feel safe and comfortable in church. Is it right for me to speak comfortable words to a man who is going to hell unless he turns from his sin? If I fail to warn him of the consequences of his sin, and he dies and goes to hell, will God require his blood at my hand? When is godly sorrow and conviction of sin such a wrong thing?"
- Pastor Chuck Smith, founder of Calvary Chapel

"If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord's will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Savior, while they are wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel, insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness."
- C.H. Spurgeon

"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

“I'm not about to put up a silly skit and preach a 15-minute message on 'how to cope' to a multitude of people who are dying and going to hell. I tremble at the thought.”
– David Wilkerson

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