Melanie and I pray that you are experiencing the peace and joy that
this special time of the year symbolizes!
It has been a very busy year, one that has
provided many open doors of ministry and opportunities to reach the lost for Jesus Christ.
Praise the Lord!
The seminar ministry continues to be the capstone of our work as I traveled across the
entire continent this year several times over. Hundreds came to Christ and multiple
thousands found answers, challenge and hope through thye meetings in churches, conferences
and Christian schools.
Our website continues to record many thousands of visitors each month. From around the
world people are seeking answers concerning spiritual warfare, the cults, the occult and
apologetics. Below you'll find a few of the latest emails we've received on issues such as
Christian Apathy, End-Time Deception and of course, Harry Potter.
Also in this year-end update you'll find a new article I've written entitled "The
Price of Being a Witness." I believe it will challenge you as you
reflect on exactly what the Bible means when God's Word speaks of being a
"witness" for Him. I hope you'll take a few minutes and read this piece.
Where we are and where we need to be...
It would be wonderful for the ministry to finish the year completely debt free.
However, to do this it will take some substancial giving by many of you who read our
updates and appreciate our ministry for the Lord. Its no secret that each year during
December and January we especially need your finiancial help. Will you pray about
supporting our outreach? We're making a difference in a dark world! Your gifts are planted
in good soil.
Please consider making a year-end gift to this time. To donate with a
check or by using PayPal or your debit or credit cardplease click here.
Thanks so much!
LULLED TO SLEEP
Attended your seminar at "The
Gathering", Brandon FL (in October)
Thanks so much for sharing (ON THE OCCULT). I see where I have been lulled to sleep...NO
LONGER. Look forward to searching your website and the Scriptures for more insight.
I'm familiar with your line of thinking, and thought I'd share a quote from our
It is noble, but somewhat misguided to believe one can separate oneself and one's loved
ones completely from influences that contradict or threaten one's own beliefs.
In my opinion, it is far wiser to teach how to sustain one's beliefs while interacting
with the world. In Christian terms, "to be in the world, but not of the world."
Wouldn't the logical extension of your argument lead one to exclude most of Disney's
productions? Here's another quote from our discussion.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks, is that not "magic?" How about Mary Poppins? Or Darby
O'Gill and the little people? Or Escape from Witch Mountain (parts 1 and 2)? Or goodness
me, Aladdin? (remember the fuss over the smoke? but not the "magic?") How about
Mickey Mouse as the Sorceror's Apprentice in the original Fantasia? Disney is rife with
pagan symbolism, back to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White and before. Disney
made pagan "cool" in America.
I'm not writing to stir things up with you, Mr. Barger. But I do wonder where you draw the
line. Should I not eat at McDonalds because some they employ Islamic people? Refuse to
read The New York Times because they once published ads for cigarettes?
Obviously there are things that Christians shouldn't participate in. But being in yet not
of the world means engaging the world with confidence in God's work in one's life, as
Thanks for taking the time to read my comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to
say in response.
Thanks for writing.
Frankly, I have answered this same line of thinking so much I'm not sure I have a fresh
answer in me. I'll try.
You said: "It is noble, but somewhat
misguided to believe one can separate oneself and one's loved ones completely from
influences that contradict or threaten one's own beliefs.
In my opinion, it is far wiser to teach how to sustain one's beliefs while interacting
with the world. In Christian terms, 'to be in the world, but not of the world.'
We're talking about rejecting entertainment that glorifies witchcraft. Is that so much to
ask? No one is being forced into participating. Anything Potter is a pure volitional
choice. I guess people have a rough time understanding how serious this is in God's sight.
(See the Deuteronomy 18 passage and the Hebrew word studies in the Mallory piece http://www.ericbarger.com/potter-christians.htm)
You said: "Wouldn't the logical extension of
your argument lead one to exclude most of Disney's productions? Here's another quote from
------------ Bedknobs and Broomsticks, is that not 'magic?' How
about Mary Poppins? Or Darby O'Gill and the little people? Or Escape from Witch Mountain
(parts 1 and 2)? Or goodness me, Aladdin? (remember the fuss over the smoke? but not the
'magic?') How about Mickey Mouse as the Sorceror's Apprentice in the original Fantasia?
Disney is rife with pagan symbolism, back to Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White
and before. Disney made pagan 'cool' in America." ------------
Exactly. You have made my case for me. Just because a book, movie, TV show, cartoon, etc
exists, does this mean that we have to participate? If they oppose God's Word the fact is
we should endeavor to abstain.
You said: "I'm not writing to stir things up
with you, Mr. Barger. But I do wonder where you draw the line. Should I not eat at
McDonalds because some they employ Islamic people? Refuse to read The New York Times
because they once published ads for cigarettes?"
Not at all the same thing and its a bit of a silly argument. However, I always try and
spend my money in establishments owned by Christians.
You said: "Obviously there are things that
Christians shouldn't participate in. But being in yet not of the world means engaging the
world with confidence in God's work in one's life, as Jesus did."
Do you suppose Jesus would entertain Himself with images and stories that His Father's
Word directly forbids? I'm all for and encourage engaging the world head on. This doesn't
mean however that we need to bathe in their sess pool. Harry Potter is akin to spiritual
pornography and certainly constitutes spiritual adultery when consumed by
Bless you and thanks for the civil exchange.
(GREGG WRITES AGAIN...)
I also thank you for the civil exchange. Many of my brothers in the faith are willing only
to shout, "You're wrong!"
Would you be willing to dialog on this subject? I would find it helpful and instructive.
But I'd certainly understand if you don't have the time or inclination.
I appreciate the bit about answering a question repeatedly. I work for a sacred music
publishing company, as an editor, and have to do that regularly.
Peace to you today,
(ERIC RESPONDS AGAIN...)
I will gladly answer questions and dialog as time permits, But brother, first we need to
agree that the Scriptures must be our only guide. The Bible is God's complete and
infallible Word to us. If we are to avoid the traps of the world we must agree to the
absolute standard of the Bible as sole arbiter.
This being the case and given that the Bible leaves no wiggle room concerning false
teaching, witchcraft, sorcery, etc., shouldn't the discussion end right here? Sorcery and
witchcraft are not issues that God was mute about. The standard He left us is very
For the dedicated, bible believing Christian whose sole wish is to please the Father and
not jeopardize fellowship with Him the standard is clear - stay clear of witchcraft.
Period. Fantasy or real life...it makes no matter. It's not that we shouldn't be aware of
what the world is doing. Its just that to be entertained by it is one of the ultimate
The editors of Zondervan's Full Life Study Bible point
out a very important and overlooked point concerning the Christian's perception of
Romans 1:27 and following deals with sexual immorality, in particular homosexuality but it
holds a key insight on the issue we are dealing with here.
27 "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their
lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in
themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like
to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those
things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,
wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity;
whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil
things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without
natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they
which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in
them that do them."
Note that ending statement: "but have pleasure in them that do them."
Study Notes for Romans 1:32
Pauls last word on human sinfulness is Gods condemnation of a condition
even more damning than the practice itself, i.e., supporting and encouraging evil by
taking pleasure in the immoral actions of others. This is the ultimate in depravity
vicarious enjoyment of lust and evil. Sin becomes entertainment. Being entertained by
watching other people sin and engage in ungodly actions, even while you yourself abstain,
brings you under the same divine condemnation as those engaging in such evil
practices. (The Full Life Study Bible, p. 1712)
Certainly this passage and the study notes coincide with lustful sin, pornography, etc.
But the strongest condemnation by God of any practice in the entire Bible is the warning
given to His people against the "Nine Forbidden Practices" of the occult listed
in Deuteronomy 18: 9-12. (Again, see my response to Mallary at http://www.ericbarger.com/potter-christians.htm.)
To view the occult as entertainment is to view sin for pleasure.
We have been systematically conditioned to accept "white" witchcraft. Clearly,
the Bible makes not distinction between so called "white" and "black"
witchcraft. Being that there are only two sources of spiritual power in the Universe -
God, who holds complete power and Satan, who God has delegated certain powers to - it is
clear that the trap that countless Christians have fallen into is to believe that because
perceived evil is defeated by perceived good then it any given story that contains these
elements must be a virtuous story of right triumphing over wrong, God over Lucifer. This
is an outright lie of the Enemy to deceive us into accepting his standards (relativism)
instead of God's (absolutism).
Satan uses our lack of knowledge and nonchalant attitude against us by slowly bringing us
into what I call "The Lot Syndrome." We have chosen the "lesser" of
evils to be entertained by instead of no evil at all. Thus, we become accustomed to evil,
being slowly desensitized to the place where we no longer hold disdain for it and while we
may not embrace the practices ourselves, we either rationalize some facet of evil or just
look the other way with making any statement of truth to oppose evil in the lives of
In this so called post modern era it is we who have changed yet God's standards for us to
follow remain changeless. So, understanding this, why would we, who've been bought with
the price of His Son's blood ever want to be entertained by images or stories the likes of
which end up in the Lake of Fire? Revelation 21:8 tells us:
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the
lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death"
Gregg, I have been over this literally hundred's of times with folks having answered many
emails, letters and calls and after ministering and speaking on the topic of the occult
for 20+ years. I hope my position (and I believe the Bible's position) is clear. However,
if you can help me articulate it clearer I would appreciate your input brother.
Many blessings as you search for His truth today,
ON THE END-TIME APOSTACY
I have been reading some of the material posted at your site. Came across this article
about Catholoscism (pun intended). I fully support and advocate what you said. All of it
concerning the catholic heresy, and truly felt you could have said more. Much more. I
myself feel a bit of righteous indignation is in order because they will lead the world
into such disasters. There is no stopping that, but, the ol' fashioned fire and brimstone
is lacking, and the cold hard fact is that they will be the cause of our being
"delivered up". We will refuse to accept their offer of solidifying the worlds
religions. To our deaths.
As you said in so few words, they're not the only bad apples in the body. We're being
force out of the churched because the basket is rotten. We're in each others homes
now...and finally learning to be in each others hearts. I guess we owe that to the
"falling away" from scriptures.
I have noticed that God is working mightily in bringing His children to connect as a
"body". I can tell that the parts are connected via prayers, and that when we
lift holy hands I feel the weight of more than my prayers. I feel the lifting of prayer
itself as a whole of the body of Christ.
The closeness of His coming (our catching away) is a sweetness on my tongue, but as long
as I'm here, the sadness of the lost is immeasurable. It seems as all have stopped
hearing, and that no eyes are opened anymore. It feels like the time to be sly as foxes
and as innocent as doves.
Your writings and your faith, this web site, gives me cause to thank my King Yeshua, and
give Him the Glory for you and yours.
Peace my friends, see you soon!
Adrian, the Sword Swinging Servant
I have been thinking a great deal
about the toll that witnessing for Christ has taken upon Believers throughout the ages.
For many years I have written about and taught on witnessing techniques to help Christians
win those lost in the cults. But in studying out the Greek word most commonly translated
into witness I recently came to a whole new perspective on what it actually
means to be a witness.
If one was to survey evangelicals
most would define witnessing as telling someone about and/or winning them to
the Lord. Most Bible-believers would correlate Matthew 28:19-20 (the passage which is
often referred to as the Great Commission) with this. And most assuredly this
is a valid aspect of being a witness. However, to accurately define what a witness is
according to Scripture well need to go deeper.
Though most evangelicals would give a
hardy amen to anyone exhorting them to be a witness for Jesus, when it comes to actually
carrying out this activity themselves there is a large disparity in numbers between the
sayers and the doers. We all agree it should be done but then
attempt to excuse away why its not our ministry.
Not only are Christians at odds as to
what it means to be a witness but we are also in conflict about what to convey when we do
seize the opportunity to witness to others! There indeed exists an ever widening chasm
that separates Christians (evangelicals included) on what actually constitutes salvation.
Some would say just believe while a markedly smaller number would respond
repent and believe. (Jesus taught the latter.) These disagreements of doctrine
and practice should come as no surprise when one considers many of the accepted popular
trends in the Church today. More on this at a later time.
What is a witness?
The biblical definition of the word
witness may surprise you. You wont hear any of the preachers from what
is today commonly referred to as the feel good church movement mention it. But
you need to understand what God is asking of every one of us who name the name of Christ.
- We are all obligated to be
witnesses for Jesus Christ.
- We need to be missionary minded
wherever we are.
- Witnesses focus on the meaning of
Christs life, His death, His resurrection, His saving power and on the promise of
the Holy Spirit.
- Our witness to others should avoid
being ultra condemnatory but should bring conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment
and be aimed at seeing people brought to authentic saving faith and repentance.
- Christian witnessing must be
escorted by a holy lifestyle.
- Our witnessing must be completely
controlled and dependant on the leading and power of the Holy Spirit.
- And lastly, we must be aware that
being a witness for Jesus Christ may be accompanied by a price.
Now lets examine the word witness
The word witness in
English comes from the Greek word martureo. It appears 64 times in the King James
Version of the New Testament and is defined:
to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e.
to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that he knows it because
taught by divine revelation or inspiration
to give (not to keep back) testimony
to utter honourable testimony, give a good
Witnesses appears 24
times in the King James, comes from the Greek word martus
and is defined:
in a legal sense
an historical sense
one who is a spectator of anything, e.g. of a
in an ethical sense
those who after his example have proved the
strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death
Did you catch that last part? To be a witness is to be a willing martyr for Jesus
Christ! This is the depth our witness must take on to be worthy of the biblical
is what we are to do and witnesses is what we are to become
regardless of the outcome. It is certainly not that we must die to be a faithful witness,
only that we are completely willing if need be.
To explain how totally intertwined
being a witness and a martyr are consider that five times in the book of Revelation the
appears in the Greek. Three times it is translated witness
(1:5, , 11:3). However, in Revelation 2:13 and 17:6 this same word martus
is translated martyr implicating
the death of His Saints for the name and cause of Jesus.
When one considers the correlation of
witnessing for Jesus Christ and losing your life for doing so it is no wonder that martus
translates to both witness and martyr. Here is a short list of early Christians,
including some of the Twelve, who died martyrs deaths because of their faithful
witness for Him.
Peter crucified upside down
John the Baptist beheaded
James, the brother of John
killed by sword
Matthew killed with a halberd
John died of old age but was
exiled to Patmos, imprisoned for his faith and likely tortured. John is the only
Apostle who did not suffer death for Jesus Christ.
Most of us will probably never
experience intense persecution let alone martyrdom because of our faith yet martyrdom is
anything but extinct. Estimates are that more people died for the cause of Christ in the
last century then in the preceding nineteen centuries combined. One reliable estimate
indicates that currently a minimum of one thousand Christians lose their lives in
martyrdom each day. Some estimates are considerably higher. However, without a
powerful spiritual awakening it is clear that should persecution break out in North America (such as
being experienced by our brothers and sisters in China, Sudan or Iran) the majority of Christians here would never dare witness to
anyone again. How can I be so sure? The fact is that the number one reason that Christians
in the west do not witness to the lost today is that we are concerned about our social
standing and how others will view us if we tell them about Jesus! Do you think wed
stand up for Christ if prison or a guillotine might be the end result?
Most American Christians simply
cannot relate to the test of martyrdom. We dont want to believe that our prosperity
and safety could come to an end. We seem to be of the opinion that God would never require
us to give our lives for Him by boldly witnessing that He alone is Lord of all. We
perversely believe that we are somehow special. No, the word anemic actually fits far too
many western Christians today. Imagine telling the freshly martyred saints who today died
for their faith somewhere in the world that if they would have just gone through the
40 Days of Purpose they could have avoided such a death. Will the amoral,
here-and-now, do-anything-to-attract-a-crowd pragmatism of the modern church growth gurus
somehow spare the martyrs spoken of in the book of Revelation? Will all of our great
success in finding earthly purpose or building worldly kingdoms induce a Holy rewrite of
history eliminating the need for future judgments? I think not. Instead, the response of
the martyrs to all such ideas might be that our foolish pride and unscriptural ideas have
convoluted our thinking and our faith. The martyrs ability to first be a witness and
then to be able stand for the Lord in the face of death comes only from the power of His
Spirit and the strength of His Word. They read their Bibles and had faith firmly grounded
in God. They were found unshakable and were thus spared the worst fate eternally.
And they (Saints) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their
testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Comforted to Silence
Dont misunderstand me. I am a
generally positive, joyful person who is enjoying life and is grateful for the peace and
freedom that living in America provides. But I detest the spiritually bankrupt
psychology of self that now permeates many of our most influential pulpits
disguised as the message of Christianity. This fixation on us by us is assisting
the enemy in making an already rather gluttonous generation even more self-indulgent.
Because of the current preoccupation
with self in todays Church most Christians dont engage in witnessing because
it takes them outside their comfort zone. Though few would admit it, witnessing is just
plain too uncomfortable and inconvenient. Shouldnt those who operate their lives in
this manner be concerned with the reality that someday they will each stand before God
knowing they have traded away the blessing and privilege of proclaiming His truth in hopes
of acquiring acceptance among men instead?
I suspect the reason we often fail
when it comes to witnessing is because (1) we havent really considered or have
simply taken for granted the complete sacrifice Jesus Christ made for us and (2) we want
all of the benefits of salvation but without the cost of crucifying the flesh. Truly
without an abiding awe and respect for what He endured on the Cross and the determination
to deny sin a place in us wed never be able to stare down death for His names
Amazingly, Christians who do make the
effort to witness are often subtly pressured by other Christians who dont share
their faith because the one who witnesses makes the slackers around he or she feel
uncomfortable! The truth is that if we really
care about the eternity of others well be constantly talking the talk and walking
the walk of Christianity in hopes that they might be saved too.
Dear friend, I know these have been
strong words, perhaps even harsh to many ears. To unmistakably equate martyrdom with
witnessing certainly does not resemble the way most modern Christians define the terms.
Nevertheless, I pray that those who are genuine in their desire to serve and glorify the
Lord will take this as instruction and not rebuke. We should each regularly examine our
faith and this study certainly made me probe, inspect and yes, repent of what has
previously been a fairly shallow view of what witnessing is and what it may cost.
As I close I pray that it is certain
that our witness needs to be more than a bumper ornament or a Scripture printed on our
checks. Our witness needs to be more than just occasional as well. It must be a lifestyle
of word and deed that together presents Christ to a lost and confused world. I encourage
you, lets be about our Fathers business and together work for as Jesus warned the night cometh, when no man can work.
Take a Stand! Ministries
PO Box 1485
Rowlett, TX 75030 USA
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