"Now in our 24th year of standing for truth!"
Eric & Melanie Barger
Ministry Update - July 24, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI Claims Catholic Church is the ONLY "True" Church
"I cringed last week when Pope Benedict XVI released his shocking statement on 'Catholic Identity.' In clear, non-negotiable and jaw-dropping terms, the pontiff stated that (1) only Catholics are true Christians; (2) other Christian denominations are 'not true churches'; and (3) all non-Catholics lack the 'means of salvation'” says Charisma Magazine editor J. Lee Grady in his July 20th "Fire in My Bones" email newsletter.
Though I don't always find myself in complete agreement with Grady on all points, I never fail to appreciate his boldness and zeal. In this case however, his email is a gold star "must read." In this piece Grady also cites the exclusivity heresy prevalent in the Church of Christ denomination and the "Oneness" or "Jesus Only" Pentecostal movement. How refreshing to see a writer such as Lee Grady calling these groups out doctrinally - praise the Lord!
The Pope's statements do also serve as a reminder of where the lines must be drawn. Before we Evangelicals ignorantly try and find common ground with heretical groups, be they Roman Catholic, pseudo-Protestant or just plain cultic, we must first examine the absolute unchangeable doctrines that define authentic Christianity and the heretical views that others hold which will forever divide them from true orthodoxy. In short, its not always what we agree on that matters, its what we can never agree on that must be considered.
Doctrine does matter. Words count. And it is certain that the current disrepair that the once great denominations find themselves in today has been caused to a great extent by disregard for truth and an unholy perversion of biblical standards - two attitudes that are slowly permeating once trustworthy Evangelical circles today. God help us.
Read Lee Grady's article "Pope Benedict's Outrageous Announcement" here...
FIRE AND ICE
Journalists have warned of climate change for 100 years, but can’t decide weather we face an ice age or warming
It was five years before the turn of the century and major media were warning of disastrous climate change. Page six of The New York Times was headlined with the serious concerns of “geologists.” Only the president at the time wasn’t Bill Clinton; it was Grover Cleveland. And the Times wasn’t warning about global warming – it was telling readers the looming dangers of a new ice age. The year was 1895, and it was just one of four different time periods in the last 100 years when major print media predicted an impending climate crisis. Each prediction carried its own elements of doom, saying Canada could be “wiped out” or lower crop yields would mean “billions will die.”
This article may be one of the best proofs ever that the notion of Global Warming is nothing more than a politically charged fiasco. Read, print and distribute is my advice.
Heresy Alert in Seattle...
Episcopal Priest Announces -
"I am both Muslim and Christian"
The June 17 edition of the Seattle Times reported as follows:
"Shortly after noon on Fridays, the Rev. Ann Holmes Redding ties on a black headscarf, preparing to pray with her Muslim group on First Hill.
On Sunday mornings, Redding puts on the white collar of an Episcopal priest.
She does both, she says, because she's Christian and Muslim.
Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been a priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim — drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved.
Her announcement has provoked surprise and bewilderment in many, raising an obvious question: How can someone be both a Christian and a Muslim?"
Allow me to answer that last question. Simply, one cannot truly be a Christian and also a Muslim but in the mind of religious liberals any path to God will do.
The single thing that stands squarely in their way is the Cross of Christ. If all religions are equal and all paths lead to the same end then true Christians obviously have chosen to follow the most despicable of all gods. Why? If there were other roads for man to take in his quest for redemption, mercy and eternal life, would a loving God require His only Son to die such an unthinkable death? Either redemption is through Christ's sacrifice for everyone who would believe or His death was a meaningless and futile act.
To anyone who believes in universalism or equality of religions I would say: all religions can be wrong but they can't all be right. Either Jesus IS the only way or He's no way at all. Otherwise He was a deceptive liar.
Read entire Seattle Times article here
CONTINUE TO FIGHT!
I wanted to encourage you to continue the fight. Your article, "Will They Say of Us: "They WERE the Evangelicals" and the previous one on exposing the Purpose Driven Life error are two of the best and most accurate I've read.
I tried to read that book when it was given to me, but COULD NOT! After 15-20 pages I put in on the shelf. I sensed in my spirit something wasn't right with it. Your article hits it in the nose!
Keep preaching the truth-the cross of Christ-the Blood-Repentance-Faith and hope in Christ alone! The resurrected life. There absolutely is no other way.
These are the absolutes of the gospel that must be preached and lived! Keep at it brother!! Where are the Evangelicals?? Please pray for the intensity of that fire to burn more and more in me-that my message would be this gospel and nothing else!! Love and appreciate you.
George - Texas
WATERING DOWN THE GOSPEL...
Although I enjoyed "The Purpose Driven Life" book, I've been a Christian for over twenty years and I can understand what you are saying about how it's watering down the Gospel to unbelievers.
Keep doing what you are doing!
I was beginning to think that there must be something wrong with me. However, when I hear and see ministries like yours I know that I am indeed hearing from God.
I'll be praying for you and your ministry.
Stephanie - Indiana
* Again, you can read the two articles George, Stephanie are referring to online:
"Our Disturbing Spiritual Condition" and "Will They Say of Us... They WERE the Evangelicals?"
MISSIONARY IS BURDENED FOR THE AMERICAN CHURCH
I am a missionary in Mexico working alone in a small town. I heard you speak at the Christian Worker's Conference in Spokane, WA in either 2003 or 2004. I had been in Mexico five and a half years and was then home for a bit over a year before returning. I appreciated your lectures at the conference and signed up for the e-mail. I thank you for being faithful to God and to others of His servants.
When I came home in that year, I visited many of the churches who support me and some others as well. The more I saw, the more burdened I became. So burdened that I started praying and am still praying for the churches of America. In each church I saw the same pattern but one in particular I'll comment on. I went with a friend to the Sunday night service. They had disbanded the traditional service to have instead cell groups in homes. Each cell was doing something a bit different, something intended to meet the 'need' of different groups. The one we went to was studying "The Purpose Driven Life". Until that time I was unacquainted with the book. I was there for a couple weeks so I made the effort to read some of it so I could follow the conversation. I was appalled to see how it twisted the verses to prove what it wanted to say. Of course the group thought it was wonderful, the next best thing to sliced bread. And of course they didn't open their Bibles the whole evening. If that wasn't enough, one of the ladies made a comment that she was reading a book for Sunday School, another book for ladies group, and this book for Sunday night. She didn't say she didn't have time to read the Bible but it was painfully obvious. She was a wife and mother and reading three books already. Every where I went "The Purpose Driven Life" was all the rage, and it made me sick, literally, to my stomach.
Last night I read your article on Christianity: Extreme Makeover Version. Again, I just want to thank you for standing tall to tell the truth to this generation. I pray with you that people will listen and turn around in repentance.
I have wanted to tell you one other thing ...As my time here has progressed I noticed that my own spirit was starting to lag. I have a faithful friend who writes me every day. May God always bless her richly for that. He knows how much I need that constant Christian companionship. She began to ask me if I sang and I was trying to mull that over when one chapter of the book you were putting on line talked of the victory in singing (praise). I really appreciated your comments on Psalm 149. God used you to convince (convict) me to start singing everyday. I started to work my way thru the hymnbook that I brought with me. At the close of my devotions in the am I sing two pages without the music so I can concentrate on the words and just praising God. Since then there has been victory in my spirit and joy in my days. I thank you again for standing tall and telling the truth. May God bless you and always supply your needs to continue, enabling you in every way.
Love in Christ,
Janet - Mexico
REMOVE ME FROM YOUR LIST!
Please remove me from your mailing list.
I disagree with your bashing of Rick Warren. The problem is how some have chosen to apply the preinciples. Stick to spiritual warfare. You're following Satan's red herring it seems.
Carol - Oregon
I received your letter asking to be removed from our list and have instructed our office staff to do so.
I appreciate you voicing your opinion about Dr. Warren but the Scripture clearly warns us to expose those who are in major error.
Apologetics and Spiritual Warfare have been my fields. Apologetics – comparing doctrines and practices to Scripture – is often unliked when we allow personal feelings to interfere with an evaluation of truth.
As I have written, it is not that everything in Dr. Warren’s books is blatantly wrong. It is however that he is very wrong on issues that biblically minded Christians cannot waver from. Just as not every tenet of Mormonism is evil in itself, the whole of Mormonism is responsible for the spiritual destruction of millions of souls. Just because it sounds Christian does not mean that it is Christian.
I have tried to examine trends in the Church in the spirit of the Bereans from the Book of Acts and in the same fashion as the Apostle Paul did as he wrote to Timothy and Titus the young leaders whom he was instructing and molding to carry the torch of truth forward. If my disagreement with Dr. Warren was purely on peripheral doctrine, it would be one thing. However, if indeed Dr. Warren is wrong on issues as important as repentance being a prerequisite for biblical salvation. How can I be silent? The Purpose Driven philosophy is by no means a “red herring.”
I have enclosed a copy of my research report to you, as well as my two newsletters from earlier this year concerning issues encompassed in the PDL and PDC books. I am sure that it was one of these two newsletters which caused you to ask to be removed.
I do hope you will sit down, open your Bible and read through the larger report enclosed. I believe I have laid out a sound case concerning the utter apostasy and danger found in Dr. Warren’s philosophy. Though the report is certainly not exhaustive by any means, I do believe that if I am correct Bible believers will have to give pause to what I have found. Carol, I did not take this issue on flippantly. I spent over a year researching, writing and then praying about whether to ever release what I had found. In the end, I felt compelled to expose the Purpose Driven philosophy. Truly, none of us nor our beliefs are 100.00% perfect. However, the line of demarcation between truth and eternally grievous error has been crossed by many in positions of leadership in our denominations and seminaries today. This is truly the only reason I have spoken about in opposition to the Purpose Driven philosophy. Those who truly care about following the New Testament should do all we can to buck the tide of sloppy and unbiblical thinking that is pervading the church today. If we do not, I shutter to think what shape the Church will be in doctrinally in years to come should Jesus tarry.
One last note. I honestly expected many people to be upset with me on this issue. However, as of today, you are the third party out of over 125 letters and emails we have received who has voiced opposition to what I have written. I appreciate all of the positive feedback but it is the three who have either missed what I said or who have turned me off because they don’t care what the truth may be that I am concerned for.
Carol, Once again I really appreciate you reading through the report I’ve enclosed and I want you to know that I will be happy to dialog further with you on this matter should you desire.
God bless you!
THANKS FOR THE ARTICLE!
Thanks for the article Eric!!! When I received your email with the news that you finished the article on the Purpose Driven Life (after hearing about it from many in our church that received it by snail mail, all positive) I shouted Hallelujah!!!!
I have been going through the teachings of Christ, in the Gospel of Matthew, and comparing them with the modern teachings of the "seeker" movement. As a Shepherd of God's Church, I feel that it is my responsibility to do so. This has not come without persecution... In the process I was given a CD by Rick Warren about loving God's Church. He speaks about how Christians should not speak against other Christian as he himself is speaking against those who are speaking about Saddleback Church. He also says that he is out to rid the would of poverty and disease, yet says that there will never be unity in the church until Christ returns. I guess he doesn't think Jesus prayer in John 17 will be answered. He ends by saying that Saddleback is not trying to bring heaven to earth.
Keep up the GOOD work!
Pastor Ted Rivers - California
Thanks for the encouraging email Pastor Ted!
Indeed, what you have highlighted is yet more of the confusing ideas being promulgated by Dr. Warren. He is naturally adverse to others discussing the many errors found in his books and teachings, including his view of the very reason that the Church exists. Still, as watchmen in these end-days it is our job to boldly, lovingly and biblically do so. I know you are continuing to do this and I encourage you to continue as you fight the good fight my friend.
HOW MANY CHURCHES HAVE YOU GROWN?
The problem with your church growth article is you assume that changing methods means a watered down gospel. We have used 40 days of purpose in two churches. The first two years we had 147 people saved. How many churches have you pastored and grown????
SJ - Internet
Thanks for writing.
First, I do not pastor. I work in apologetics so I'm not trying to figure out what latest technique will help me entice more people to sit in my church pews every Sunday. Second, by "saved" do you mean 147 people who were brought to understand that to be saved one needs to be repentant of sin? You won't find that in Dr. Warren's book or in the mindset of the Modern Church Growth Movement. Its not "positive" and is perceived to be anti-growth.
The defense of the faith is my main concern and calling in ministry. So indeed, it's not that I am assuming there is a watering down of the gospel in much of the church growth teaching today. There obviously is and that is exactly the point. This is why I am appalled by the apparent "different gospels" being presented by the church growth and "seeker" gurus, the chief of whom is Dr. Warren. When we're told - either overtly or covertly - that preaching on sin is anti-growth and that sermonettes on how to be happy in the here-and-now are the answer then those that know the truth should all be concerned, shouldn't we?
Is church growth all that matters? If that becomes our focus we are destined for a mess. We are not solely responsible for growing a congregation. What about the sovereignty of God? Just because something may work certainly does not make it right. What we are completely responsible for however is the proclamation of truth. Standing on solid doctrine and proclaiming repentance as the only avenue to salvation is what the Scriptures require of us.
Let me add that I am also taken aback by Rick Warren's egocentric view that "for the past 100 years Christianity's arms and legs have been amputated" and he's now here to save the day (Philadelphia Enquirer, Jan 8, 2006). Try telling that to the countless martyr's who have died for the authentic gospel!
Stay tuned. At some point in the future I'll be releasing a paper that details eleven doctrinal problems with Purpose Driven. You need to read them. (Note: SJ wrote me in January 2006...over a year before I released my research on the Purpose Driven philosophy.)
With all of that said, I believe a church can possibly use The Purpose Driven Life and with proper warning and direction can gain some useful things from it. But I surely wouldn't recommend it. The problem is that it is tough to dig through to find the good points when there are so many historically and doctrinally questionable issues. Warren is without question attempting to revamp Christianity exactly as the Scriptures predict.
Read II Tim 4 and Acts 20 for starters.
Again, perhaps the most disturbing thing I noticed was not what Dr. Warren incorporated in the book. It was what he left out. Essential truths ignored are as troubling as cultic doctrine included.
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