Is it Mormonism? Jehovahs Witnesses? Christian Science or New Age thought? No! The MOST Dangerous Cult is cut from the cloth of Christianity and is right in our midst!
In February of this year I will celebrate my
twenty-second year as a Christian, with over nineteen of those years spent in service to
the Cross as a radio commentator, youth pastor, evangelist, author and teacher. In the
early days of my Christian walk, my wife Melanie and I attended a local church in our
Upon my conversion, having been spectacularly delivered from a 14 year drug addiction and also what we now call The New Age Movement, the only thing I knew was that Jesus was indeed the God of gods and that He had radically and miraculously revolutionized my life. Being hungry for all the truth my little brain could handle, I quickly became a regular listener to Christian radio. It was on the airwaves that I found a man who would become my mentor, if only vicariously. The teaching and ministry of Dr. Walter Martin, the original, real and only Bible Answer Man perked within me the biblical call to defend the faith (Jude 3) and introduced me to the need to be ready to give every man an answer (I Peter 3:15). To this day these verses are the very basis for my life and work.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
Being discipled by our doctrinally sound marriage counselor while hearing Dr. Martin expose the cults and false doctrines around us on his program each day, it wasnt long before I began to question the tradition, practice and beliefs (or lack of them) being embraced by the aforementioned church around the corner from our house. Many of our neighbors attended there, it had a Cross in the yard and it claimed to be a Christian church so it was, right? After all the Presbyterian Church had been a standard bearer of the faith for centuries. They had guarded and protected the faith hadnt they? I was bound to hear the Gospel there wasnt I?
Just as millions of unsuspecting souls do each week out of family tradition, convenience or just plain biblical ignorance, I was trusting a denomination that once preached the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ to continue to do so unabated. It is a shock to the system when one comes to grips with the Scripture and realizes that though the shell of the church appears to be intact, the core has been rotting for some time. It was in those days that the Holy Spirit woke us up to the revelation that just because something claims to be Christian, does Christian things, is adorned with Christian décor, Bibles, hymn books and the like does not mean that it is authentically Christian. In reality, when we began carefully comparing the doctrines and practice in the church with the clear teaching of the Bible there was no other conclusion to make; we were sitting there each week being indoctrinated by a part of what I now identify as The MOST Dangerous Cult!
Now dont get me wrong. They were not exalting Satan, endorsing orgies or sacrificing chickens in the aisle! Melanie and I loved the people there and knew that a few were indeed saved, but sadly it wasnt the church's fault that they were. The pastor was a very sweet guy and we appreciated some parts of the fellowship there, but quickly I was deemed a trouble maker for I went from being new convert to evangelist on a mission. It was obvious that the majority of the congregation had never had a life-changing experience with Jesus, were not saved (no fruit) and hadnt a clue that they needed to be! My newly found ministry didnt go over very well at all. That Barger guy who does he think he is? He comes in here, barely off drugs and now hes asking critical questions. Why were good people; been in church all our lives and now this whippersnapper is questioning our religion? I may not have understood all doctrine back then and I surely wasnt as tactful as I could have been but I knew that the eternity of many was in jeopardy because church membership had replaced personal relationship with Christ and good works had become the way to attain salvation instead of the finished work of the Cross. Though I didnt know what to call it, I knew the crux of the church didnt line up with Scripture and before long (and to the relief of some of the parishioners there) Melanie and I found the door and never returned.
There are some of those reading this article who would never have caused a stir through questions such as we asked (let alone have left the church) and herein lies the problem. Though I am 100% in favor of being submitted to pastoral leadership, we must never trust anyone to be the keeper of our truth for us. Entire denominations that once preached the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ have slowly become social centers, spouting the fellowship of man instead of the truth that will set souls free. While many congregants sat by in silence, the so-called German Enlightenment of Wellhausen, Graf, Bultman and Tillich slowly seduced many once sound bible schools and hence made its way into the bedrock of mainline pulpits worldwide. If we are going to avoid doctrinal shipwreck we must remember that it is not hyper-critical to critique doctrine and practice. In fact, we ministers must encourage those in our congregations to study to show themselves approved of God (I Tim 4:3)! In the Book of Acts the Bereans are praised for doing so but in todays liberal churches and seminaries you are chastised for being radical or criticized as a fundamentalist should you question the activities and teaching, in particular when you question the silencing of sound theology with its modern replacement - social insight.
HOW FAR THEY HAVE FALLEN
For anyone who doubts just how far we have slipped I suggest you study the following poll results concerning one of the essential or major doctrines that has held the Christian faith together for the past 2000 years.
In March 1999 Current
Thoughts & Trends polled 7,441
Protestant Ministers were asked if the Resurrection of Christ actually happened.
American Lutherans: 13%
Presbyterians (PCUSA): 30%
American Baptist: 33%
(Source: Current Thoughts & Trends, March, 1999, Page 19)
Beloved, the resurrection of Jesus is perhaps the keystone of our faith and certainly the centerpiece of our hope! What business do these people have attempting to portray themselves as messengers of the Gospel if they dont even believe Jesus rose from the dead? Being raised a Methodist it is beyond my comprehension that over half the Methodist ministers have abandoned orthodox views of a doctrine so paramount to the faith as the resurrection. Is it any wonder that the Holy Spirit seems to have written icabod (the glory has departed) across so many church doors today? May I suggest that those who do not accept historic and orthodox doctrine should resign the ministry immediately and explore careers in social work instead!
While we all do have our own distinctive beliefs on peripheral doctrines (which identify some as Baptists, some as Presbyterians, some as Pentecostals, etc.), what truly signifies that we are indeed following the historic faith is our agreement on the essential doctrines. These doctrines would include the virgin birth, salvation by grace, the resurrection, the deity of Christ and others that have been the pillars of Christianity since the beginning.
Modern liberalism began when some elite intellectuals (led by demons from hell) first attacked the inerrancy of the Scriptures, concentrating their assault on the miracles of both the Old and New Testaments. Just as Lucifer did in the garden (Genesis 3), they cast doubt on the authenticity of Gods word and then slowly but surely began introducing social doctrines mixed with good works and Christian symbolism. This widely held deception is without question a different gospel now being preached from literally thousands of pulpits each week and it is undoubtedly resulting in more people perishing in hell for all eternity than the work of all the cults combined! Woe to the false teachers leading their flocks who thought they were hearing the truth each week into Satans arms!
In those early days I collected a good number of Dr. Martins teaching tapes. I listened. I prayed. And I tested everything that came my way in the name of Jesus (I Thessalonians -22). I became acutely aware that once strong fountains of truth had become dried up rivers of death. The water of life that flowed from the Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and other churches hadnt just cease to flow. In far too many pulpits the truth had been perverted into deceptive stream of poison, controlled by Satan for the express purpose of destroying souls! It was exactly what the Apostle had warned about:
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God (II Tim. 3:1-4)
While many have erroneously quoted this passage when referencing the slippery slope the culture is on, it is not the world Paul is speaking of here. He makes this clear in verse five.
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. This could read: Having a form of the religion of Christ
This is speaking of leadership from within what claims to be the Church and Paul implores us to recognize them as heretics, warn others, and then run from what they teach as if it were the plague!
In II Timothy 4:3 Paul continues his warning and predicts a time when those involved with the Church will be so spiritually blinded that they will not even be able or willing to recognize the deception and darkness being presented as the truth. Claiming to be Gods spokesmen heretics piously step into pulpits each week around the world who are totally devoid of the anointing, leading and salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (Literally unto mythology).
Let me be quick to point out that it is thankfully not every Methodist, Presbyterian or Lutheran church that has abandoned historic faith and begun to practice and advocate anti-biblical activities and teaching. Praise God that there are movements afoot to fight for and restore the truth which has been abandoned by many denominations and individual churches. However, we must remain aware that liberalism claiming to be Christianity is the MOST destructive religious cult operating in our society today and the majority of those who are in its clutches have little or no idea that anything is awry!
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
In closing and at the cost of angering some, I must challenge the reader here concerning his or her own faith. Have you sought out the Scripture for yourself? Do you know that you are a real Believer? Are you trusting the blood of Christ to save you or have you accepted the damning doctrine of good works relying on your church membership, community service, water baptism or charity to win approval for you in Gods eyes and allow you entry into Heaven?
Please let me suggest that we have produced an in depth resource for you on this subject. If you or someone you know is caught in The MOST Dangerous Cult I cannot encourage you strongly enough to stop right now and order the new 60+ minute video, The MOST Dangerous Cult. Complete with many slides, quotes, documentation and Scripture, it is packed with information and my personal story that is intended to challenge and inspire the viewer. This video leaves no room for question about the hellish eternity in store should one follow this MOST insidious cult.
Just as it was for me many years ago, understanding
and identifying The MOST Dangerous Cult
may be the single MOST important thing
you can do for yourself or someone else - eternally.
(c) copyright 2003, Eric Barger
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