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"Now in our 22nd year of standing for truth!"

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Eric & Melanie Barger


Those of us engaged in the ministry of Christian Apologetics are sometimes a very misunderstood bunch.

People get the opinion that because we speak out in warning on many issues that we're just against a whole lot of stuff. I will admit that when it comes to the Cults, Liberalism, the New Age Movement, Harry Potter, Islam, etc., we apologists don't find much to praise and have many theological bones to pick. But honestly, I for one am not just trying to be against everything. In fact, I am constantly looking for what I can actually endorse. Irregardless, many misunderstand the mission and importance of sound apologetics because it can certainly ruffle feathers and bring discomfort. This usually leads to the apologist taking flack for being what some think is overly sensitive, too picky or downright nosey concerning any given topic of discussion.

OK, I'll admit that on theological issues I am sensitive, picky and yes, nosey too. No wonder for today many in the Christian community have a perilous tendency to accept any and every thing that comes along and merely claims to be "Christian" and do so without thought of applying biblical standards. Apologists generally do the opposite as we strive to test, research and approve both religious and social phenomenons by the changeless standard of God's Word. Because of the disconcerting lack of discernment around the Christian Body today raining on somebody's parade - even with truth - is usually patently unpopular. Thus we apologists are perceived as "negative", "judgmental" and "narrow". Life is tough for the barer of bad news. That's alright, no big deal.

When you get as busy as we are in this particular ministry though something occasionally gets by you. Every now and then a turkey slips under the radar. When this happens I believe that we need to acknowledge it. Yes, apologists sometimes need to apologize. Confounding my detractors who seem to believe that I think I am perfect and yes, showing my humanity (note: tongue completely in cheek...) I need to make a correction, an apology and a retraction.

A few months ago we thought we may have found a popular fantasy novel that we could actually endorse. Imagine that? Written by an English Anglican vicar, G.P. Taylor's Shadowmancer (Strang Communications) is getting some rave review in the secular and Christian press. After reading the glowing endorsements the book has received and being acutely aware of the need for something biblical to knock the occultic likes of Harry Potter down a few notches, I have for some time been encouraging folks to read Shadowmancer. I now regret this.

Over the weekend of March 4-5 (2005) Melanie and I ministered at the Bay Area (Calif.) Sunday School Convention. One of today's premier Christian researchers, Berit Kjos, was there and gave me some convincing and disturbing information concerning Taylor's popular novel. Berit, a recognized author and authority on religions and trends in the Church today, is a person whose insights and research we have esteemed and trusted for many years. As with anyone else I may differ with her on a point here and there but I encourage you to click here for Kjos' complete treaties on Shadowmancer.

In the past there have been some great Christian fantasy novels such as Frank Peretti's work which I have spoken up for. Regrettably, in the light of further examination I must now retract my past comments concerning Taylor's Shadowmancer. I have made the unacceptable multiple mistakes of not completing a careful reading of the book personally and instead heeded the many glowing reviews done by "Christian" magazines. I had ample warnings, most notably not taking more stock in the uneasy feeling that my wife Melanie expressed concerning the book. Though Shadowmancer and Taylor's latest book, Wormwood, are selling millions of copies and though they are published and promoted by Christians I simply know better than to let my guard down in this way. I am guilty of merely hoping we had found a counter to Potter without doing the kind of diligent research that must accompany our work.

Among the many issues Kjos takes exception with is that Shadowmancer endorses the use of animate objects (crystals, no less) from which the heroes gain supernatural power. Also, the storyline promotes the misconception that any particular building or place, such as the altar in a church, affords supernatural protection from evil forces. Upon my revisiting of Shadowmancer perhaps most personally disturbing to me is the symbology and syncretism which Taylor employs. It is this very thing that has kept millions in bondage worldwide as individuals embrace Catholicism - while also maintaining the pagan customs and religious practices of their locale. My previous casual perusal of the book did not alert me to these unacceptable discrepancies. Though Shadowmancer is indeed replete with biblical imagery the few aforementioned facts I have sighted are more than sufficient to cause me to recant any endorsement I have given to the book.

If I have in some small way added to the spiritual confusion which accompanies Shadowmancer please forgive me. One last concern: considering the nature of the novel and their past track record, we should wonder how much more unbiblical Hollywood's version of Shadowmancer may be when it makes it to the silver screen in the not too distant future?

Thanks for allowing me to transparently share my "apologetic" apology with you.

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Prayer Partners how we love and appreciate you!

Your intercession for us is so vital. Last week we were able to minister to many hundreds folks in the Bay Area at the BASS Convention and at Alpha Beacon Christian School and yesterday in churches at Roseburg and Canyonville, Oregon.

This week I'm ministering five times at the Northwest Christian Education Conference. We go to conferences like BASS and NWCE as a labor of love with no guarantee of financial remuneration. Through the years we have seen such tremendous results in conferences like this that we feel that we simply must go. It is your support - both regular and one-time gifts - that makes it all possible. Thanks for standing with us financially and for simply praying for God's hand to move through the ministry!

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As you who are regular readers know, we have been uploading chapters from my book Disarming the Powers of Darkness. Chapter six is now online. "What You Think and What You Say - Does Satan Know Your Thought?" is the next step on the path to personal victory and overcoming each and every trap of the enemy! Click here to start reading!

Go to Disarming the Powers of Darkness chapter menu

View other Spiritual Warfare materials

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God bless you!

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