"Now entering our 23nd year of standing for truth!"
Eric & Melanie Barger
Ministry Update - November 12, 2005
"Home" Missions 2005
I have often remarked that America is in grave need of a revival. It is my contention that without a convicting, stirring move of God our capability to touch other nations will eventually be drastically reduced - or perhaps negated completely. I know that these words may sound negative to some for in the natural world the idea of our prosperous nation ever playing an inconsequential role in foreign missions seem improbable at best. But I firmly believe that for us to continue being the catalyst of foreign missions we need to also concentrate on "home" missions.
What could happen to make us ineffective? Considering our apparent financial and military might the likelihood of any scenario removing America from the foreground of world evangelism does seem improbable. But the question of just what level of impact we’ll have on the world for Christ is not in our hands. It’s in God’s and considering that the Church is in advancing stages of moral, spiritual and theological decay the question is not what new plan or strategy we’ll employ next. The question is just how long will God allow us to continue at all?
America was founded by men the majority of whom had tremendous Christian faith. Their vision was that the United States would be a lighthouse to the nations beaming the goodness and mercy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. But again, without a revival led with heartfelt repentance how long can we sustain our place as God’s lamp of truth to the world? It is for this reason that I have remained a "home" missionary all these years.
As some of you know, I am planning at least one missions trip overseas in the next year. A second trip is in the discussion stage as well but after 22+ years of ministry, my heart and focus has been and continues to be "home" missions - and for good reason.
As burdened as I have become with the lives of those in places like Thailand, China and the sixty or so countries politically controlled by Islamic doctrine, my concerns have been focused on our culture. Reading the Scriptures and then reading the newspapers tell the story clearly. Without a change in our collective heart condition we are headed for certain disaster as the protecting hand of God continues to lift off of our nation in judgment of our godless ideals, greed and sin. Note too that without honest repentance Canada will be right there reaping the rewards of sin with us.
I don’t relish reminding you but Psalm 9:17 declares clearly that the wicked and the nations that forget God are destined for Hell. But thank God there is an antidote!
It seems to me that if ever there were a need for "home" missionaries, that time is now. This is why we are among the number of men and women in America whom God has called to preach the power of the cross and to give an unwavering answer (an apologia - gk) to every man. (I Peter 3:15)
There is no doubt that the Church is in trouble here in America. The news is not all bad though. There are positive signs happening as well and we are making a difference. However, nearly every day it seems that I read something that indicates the Church sinking deeper into the predicted End-Time apostasy while at the same time the cults lead the unsuspecting right into Satan’s arms. Perhaps worse is the growing apathy apparent in the lives of so many Christians today. Sin doesn’t trouble us; spiritual things are secondary and all the while the cults seem to move unchecked by true believers.
Recently I was in Missouri and was having a meal and fellowship with a pastor and two fellow ministers when eight Mormon missionaries paraded by in the restaurant. I took this as an act of defiance orchestrated by the Prince of Darkness aimed at simply intimidating us. It was as if Satan was saying, "Look what I’m going to do with these nice, clean young men. How will you stop me?"
My immediate reaction was to get up and engage them in a loving yet straight forward apologetic conversation. What struck me though was this question: who in the community where I was would be able to fend off the sweet-sounding yet demonic gospel these boys would sincerely present on doorsteps in the surrounding neighborhoods? More so, who would be able to reach through the slick veneer of Mormonism and touch any of these Mormon kids with the authentic Gospel and the Jesus of the Bible?
I knew the answer was that there would be precious few souls in town who could effectively dialog with these trained and schooled Mormon missionaries. Perhaps more disconcerting is that only a few more residents would recognize the peril of what Mormonism itself represents.
The proliferation of the cults and occult in our culture today is unlike anything seen in modern times. It is paramount that Christians understand why they believe what they believe and know how to defend their faith and dialog with those around us.
Along side the need for each of us to be apologists for our faith is the need to be schooled in polemics. This is the ability to expose the falsity of cults and other religious systems which lead people away from the true God.
One does not have to become an expert in all of the cults. In fact, to do so may be a risky spiritual proposition for anyone not specifically called out by God into this kind of ministry. However, if a cult is operating in your vicinity or if a friend or family member has fallen prey to a particular group or teaching we Christians need to do better than the cliché’ that its "of the devil" if we expect to see a captive set free from Satan’s cultic clutches.
This is why TAKE A STAND! MINISTRIES exists - to give reasons for faith and answers to every man of the hope we hold in Jesus Christ! We’re about the business of training "home" missionaries who will make an impact in the culture for Jesus. I encourage you to get prepared, know what you believe and be ready when the cults come through your neighborhood. Don’t wait until they knock on your door and only wish you had an answer which might turn a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness to the Savior.
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Hi Eric! I heard you on a late radio program that aired on 670 AM, Denver. I am a Christian with a concern for a friend that lives up in Elk, WA. She proclaims to be an "animal communicator," and I had heard you say something to the effect of a high concentration of "spiritists" up there in WA. Do you have any more info on this? I wonder if this is why she moved up there from Colorado. I have been trying to witness to her these many years. Please also pray for me against any curse or incantation her or her little friends may bring against me. Thanks! DJ
Greetings and thanks for writing!
There are many spiritualists in the Northwest but they are certainly not limited to this area. I have spoken in a church in Elk, WA several years ago and though I do not remember anything particularly "New Age-eee" about it, it is a fairly remote area North of Spokane.
Animal necromancy is becoming more prominent in spiritualist circles and is obviously one of Satan's deceptions used to entice and finally destroy lives.
As far as you are concerned, as a Christian I encourage you to make certain that there are no avenues or doors open in your life where Satan could gain a foothold. He wants us to fear his evil work and attacks and certainly revels in any paranoia so cast that off. I encourage you to take a positive, proactive stance against any intrusion of the Evil One. Take the authority of the Believer against the forces of darkness and apply the power of blood of Jesus Christ and directly against the enemy, putting him on notice that your life is clean according to the sacrifice of the Lamb and that he has no right over you. I believe you should pray that the Lord release your friend up in Elk and that you need to put Satan on notice that you are laying claim to her life as well.
If the idea of proclaiming the power of the blood or exerting the authority of the Believer is in any way new or foreign to you, I invite you to read my book Disarming the Powers of Darkness online, in particular the chapter on the Blood of Christ (see http://www.ericbarger.com/disarming/disarmingtoc.htm and http://www.ericbarger.com/disarming/power_blood.1.htm)
God bless you and let me know if there is anything else we can do. I have prayed for you tonight and for your friend at Elk too.
- Eph 6:12...
Magic The Gathering
Dear Sir, I heard you on Noah Hutchings' radio program! (Southwest Radio Church) I would like to ask you about the card game, Magic the Gathering. Our married son is an avid player of that game. So much so, that he has traveled a few times to compete on their "pro tour". Five years ago he was baptized into Jesus Christ. He says that one motive for his continued participation in Magic the Gathering is...he has an opportunity there to witness for the Lord to other participants who aren't churchgoers. Our son has told us he competes in the Name of Jesus. He says most of the competitors are not openly on the dark side spiritually, and some are Christians. My wife & I don't know that much about Magic the Gathering. Our son has said he's not involved in any spellcasting with the game. His opinion is...he could just as well be playing another strategy game like chess with them. Although he looks for opportunities to share the Gospel with others, we would of course be concerned if our son unknowingly is being misled into dangerous occultism via this game. I myself sense a low-key underlying darkness in the retail card shop where Magic cards are sold (and which hosts local competitions). Any thoughts you have on Magic the Gathering and/or advice you might offer in regards to this matter would be appreciated!
Thanks and God bless, Doug
Thanks for writing. I hope I can be of help and give you some perspective.
I too have the same uneasy spiritual feelings in the card shops. I have experienced this every time I have been in one of the shops. There is no doubt a fair amount of demonic activity going on both in these shops and in some of the games in the "Magic" genre.
However, that in itself does not necessarily answer your questions. I believe your concerns are warranted. Though your son is grown and married I believe that the violence and occultism of this kind of game should be enough to spur Christians away from them. However, I know that many Christians are indeed involved. This may be especially true when one is adept at the game as your son appears to be. Its hard to break lose and its easy to justify one's continued involvement.
I encourage you read the emails I answered at in the Jan 20, 2005 newsletter (http://www.ericbarger.com/emailers/update1-20-05.htm). Though "Magic The Gathering" is only mentioned in passing (though powerfully) by one of the writers, take note of the philosophy I follow in the newsletter that the Bible teaches us to avoid every kind of evil and that we cannot "Christianize" evil. Your son's idea that he is a witness by playing the game and that its no different from other strategy games is flawed in at least ways.
First, the Scripture forbids acting in a way that is unscriptural or "like the world" - even to be able to be a witness. I don't know your son's heart but in times past I have heard that same statement from my daughter and I believe it was usually to help her justify what she was doing more than her desire to be a true witness for the Lord. You have to be judge for yourself what the case may be with your son.
Second, as I present in the answers I give in the emails in the Jan. 20 newsletter, God's word is clear that some things are off limits for Christians. The Occult is certainly one of them. Carefully read my answer to the first email in the Jan 20 letter, taking note of the Deuteronomy 18 passage and the Hebrew word for "abomination" there.
I'm not even commenting on the actual game "Magic The Gathering" here. Because there are so many different games like "Magic" today I think its important that we examine the philosophy behind the games. By the way "Magic the Gathering" is distributed by "Wizards of the Coast" who also own the rights to "Dungeons and Dragons" and "Pokemon." This is certainly an indicator that "Magic" may be more than just harmless strategy.
Study this and please write back if you need more. I'll be glad to help if I can.
I am so glad that you put it out there for us to hear how it really is...all too many times us as Christians (that say we love Christ) ignore the should be obvious. I have been struggling with Halloween for several years. I did however take mine trick or treating last year, but definitely decided not to this year or the coming years.
It is hard to get away from all the parties though when you have children. We did have a "Fall Party" that seemed ok. I am not even sure about that, but I do not want to push my girls over the edge. We did not dress up at all, just played some cute games and shared candy...what are your feelings on that? I don't want anything I do from here on out to be an abomination to my Lord! I definitely don't want to invite evil into my home....not even with a jack-o-lantern.
Some of my friends and family think I have gone too far..."it is just innocent fun". I know you have heard that before, but that is when evil likes to creep in, right?
Anyway, thanks for your uprightousness and clear thinking that comes from the HOLY SPIRIT!!!!!!
Bless you Amanda!
I encourage you to keep taking biblical stands in a loving and non-legalistic spirit...regardless of how some others may think you've gone too far. God blesses our obedience.
Thanks for the kind words. They are an encouragement to me.
Psalm 37:23 always,
Incites from Inside - Catholicism
Today I was reading your newsletter and stumbled upon your article on Catholicism. (www.ericbarger.com/infomenus/catholicism.htm) I am a missionary in Tarapoto, Peru and write a monthly devotional that goes out to over 300 people around the world. Recently, I too had been questioned as to my heart possibly being tainted against Catholicism. My response was the same as yours.
Unlike you, I had been raised a Catholic through to my second year of college where I also attended a Catholic University. I was married in a Catholic Church and even sent my children to Catholic school for two years. From very young I remember wanting something but never knowing what it was. I would go into the church and pray while my friends were on the playground playing during recess. I would look at the statues hoping I would see some sign of life. That God would consider me to be one of his special children to hear Mary speak or see Jesus bleed real blood. I felt empty inside but I hungered for something real.
My grandmother's sister was a nun and I remember thinking that maybe that was the answer to getting closer to God. After spending time with her I realized that being a nun would not make me holy.
After several years into my first marriage I turned from God. Discouraged with all the hypocrisy and constant changing of doctrines, I kept feeling that something was not right, something was missing. No matter how much I went to church I continued in my sins. I was never ever taught to read the bible. I was never taught that my sins could be forgiven only though the blood of Jesus or that I could truly have a relationship with him.
One day at the age of 33 someone shared the truth of Jesus with me. I began to hunger for more but not having a church to go to I fell heavily into the sin of adultery and within years my marriage dissolved. In 1993, our Lord brought a woman into my path that led me to a wonderful spirit filled gospel preaching church. The minute I walked into the door I knew I found home. Today I am married to a wonderful God-fearing man and together we are serving our Lord in Peru.
The primary religion here is Catholicism and as you shared in your article it is a religion mixed with all the cultural witchcraft/idol worship practices of the jungle. My spirit grieves as I see men and women lost in the throes of idolatry. Good Friday, for example, is a major feast day. In the evening a funeral procession forms. People gather holding candles and begin a march throughout the village accompanied by a funeral dirge following a statue of Jesus in a glass coffin with a statue of Mary behind him. Easter Sunday is like any other Sunday. There is no emphasis given or parade celebrating the fact that he is Risen and Alive. Mary is always the last statue to be seen in any celebration. In October women wear purple dresses with long sleeves in a fabric that is not conduit to the heat of the jungle in celebration of "Lord of the Miracles". If they suffer enough by wearing these special dresses they may possibly receive their miracle. this also produces a sin of pride since they wear these everywhere and project themselves as being somewhat special because of this sacrifice. Not unlike Christians who wear their fasting face to appear more holy.
I have been burdened to pray for our Lord to set them free from such bondage and lies. Mary cannot save us. She did not die for our sins. In fact, she was one of the followers of Jesus found in the upper room who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and boldly went out proclaiming the "Good News". Never once in the bible does it ever say for us to worship her. I think it would grieve her to see God's children so misled, worshipping her instead of the one who died for her and for us and for the world.
I have friends who are Catholic but who have found truth and seek to know the one true God. I love all people but as you put it so well, I hate Satan and the lies he deceives people with. No religion or denomination holds the exclusive rights to heaven or eternal life. It is only through the blood of Jesus that we gain entry into the Kingdom of God.
I don't know why I am writing you. I just needed to share.
I once was blind but now I see. Since dedicating my life to Christ, I have been filled with such peace and joy. Regardless the circumstances He is always with me. I pray for those caught in the throes of any religion that professes to be the one true religion, that does not hold up to Scripture and that condones idol worship and the worship of man above all others.
I pray that light would come and the scales from their eyes removed. That they would see truth and follow Christ. I pray our Lord continues to give you the words to share in boldness and that we too would continue to speak His truth to a sinful dying world. God forgive us for our complacency as Christians.
May God arise and His enemies be scattered. Thank you for allowing me to share. God bless you...Karen
What a testimony...wow. What a terrific and insightful letter. I pray that your ministry touches untold multitudes for the glory of God.
Please stay in touch and let us know how we can assist you, if only to be able to pray specifically for you.
Bless you my sister,
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