David Reagan - Gendron and Barger on Defending the Bible and the Church
Christianity is coming under unprecedented attack in this nation, and now, as never before, Christians need to be equipped and ready to contend for the faith. Our 2019 annual Bible conference was devoted to that theme, and in a moment, we will present excerpts from two of the presentations that were made at the conference in defense of the Bible, the Gospel and the Church itself. Stay tuned.
Tim Moore: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our soon returning King, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. I’m Tim Moore sitting in for Dr. Reagan. I am the Associate Evangelist for Lamb & Lion Ministries, and I am also Dr. Reagan’s designated successor.
We are in the process of showing you excerpts from our annual Bible conference, whose theme this year was Contending for the Faith. During the past three weeks, Dr. Reagan has already shown you portions of the presentations made by our keynote speaker, attorney Kelly Shackelford, and by our creation speaker, Mike Riddle. If you missed those programs, you can find them posted on our website at lamblion.com.
This week I want to share with you portions of two presentations that were made by doctrinal expert, Mike Gendron and apostasy expert, Eric Barger. I want to begin with Mike Gendron.
Mike is a former Catholic who has a ministry called Proclaiming the Gospel. You can find the website at pro-gospel.org. His topic was Defending the Integrity of the Bible and the Gospel. Here, now is Mike Gendron.
Mike Gendron: I’d like to give you the definition of an evangelist; some of you may not be aware of how the Lord has gifted me. But an evangelist is one who’s called in from out of town to deliver a message that the church would normally fire their pastor for preaching.
Well, it is a very difficult message. We’re going to expose the evil deeds of darkness and the schemes of the Devil because we need to know who we are fighting against, who are contending for the faith. But as I was preparing this message curiosity got the best of me and so I looked up the endangered species list to see the creatures that are nearing extinction. I was not surprised about what I found, but I was disappointed in what I did not find. The top ten included: the sperm whale, the Bengal tiger, and the Asian elephant, but there was a glaring omission. I believe the most endangered species in America today are pastors that faithfully preach the whole counsel of God. We know that they are hard to find because we get calls from all over the country asking us where they can find a good, solid, doctrinally sound church. Well, most pastors today are spending more time entertaining the goat, rather than feeding the sheep with the preaching of God’s Word. And that’s why this conference is so important, we’ve all come together to learn how to defend the eternal truths of the Christian faith.
Well, as we begin let’s look at the decline of discernment in the church and the rise of deception. And this really shouldn’t surprise us because in Matthew 24 Jesus said the last days would be marked by great deception: by false Christ, by false teachers, by false prophets. And that deception would be so powerful that even the elect, if possible, would be deceived. Well, tragically many Christians are unable to discern the truth from error, and that’s because they’re not being feed the truth from the pulpit. If they are not hearing the truth how would they ever know what is false? So, when the Word is preached then we can have discernment.
But the question we want to address in the beginning is why must we content for the faith? Well, we must resist the fierce opposition to the truth. There are many adversaries who out number us, and they are relentless in waging war with weapons of deceit. We must defend the glory, and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ and also the purity, and the exclusivity of the Gospel for future generations. As saints of the Most High God we have been given a great responsibility. Jude wrote, “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints.” The same faith that was signed, sealed and delivered 2,000 years ago is the faith that we need to contend for today. The word for contend in Greek means to agonize in a strenuous ongoing struggle against opposition. This is what we must do if we are to defend the Gospel and the Word of God.
We also need to be aware of the diabolical schemes of the Devil. And I want to list some of them for you, just so that we are all aware of the opposition that we are facing. Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour anyone in his sight, 1 Peter 1:5. Another scheme of the Devil is to blind people from the light of the Gospel, we see that in 2 Corinthians 4:4, that Satan the god of this world blinds people from the light of the Gospel so they cannot see the glory of Christ. There is a supernatural blindness that the devil imposes on unbelievers. Another strategy is to corrupt and distort the Gospel, and we see that in Galatians 1:6-9. He also seeks to hold people captive to do his will. What did Paul write in 2 Timothy 2:24-26? He said that we are to pray for those in opposition that God would grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth so they can escape the snare of the Devil that holds them captive to do his will.
Another strategy is to keep people from the Bible because the Devil knows that the truth of God’s Word will set them free. In fact, that is the only way people can be set free from the snare of the Devil. It was Jesus who said in John chapter 8 that if you are truly a disciple of mine you will abide in My Word, and then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So, Satan’s strategy has been to attack, to misrepresent, and to corrupt the Word of God. Ever since the Garden of Eden he has been attacking the authority and the veracity of God’s Word.
There is an intense battle raging for the souls of men. And ultimately this battle comes down to the Word of God, and the lies of the Devil. We need to remember Satan’s ultimate goal is to create a one world religion where he will receive the glory, and the praise that he has always sought. Well, there’s more strategies and schemes of the Devil, he is using his servants who are false apostles, and deceitful workers disguised as apostles of Christ to deceive, mislead, to destroy, and to kill. We read that in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15. He also is causing apostasy with many teachers who embrace deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. This is the warning Paul gave us in 1 Timothy 4:1, “In later days people will depart from the faith and follow deceitful spirits.” So, as the god of this world and the Prince of the Power of the Air, Paul tells us that he is at work in the Sons of Disobedience in Ephesians 2:2. Don’t miss this. Paul is saying that Satan is at work in all unbelievers to accomplish his goal. Clearly, we are outnumbered, and we are outmanned, but we are more powerful because we have Christ on our side, and He has declared the victory.
All we need to do is to report to the Commander and Chief. Now, some of us might be AWOL; absent without leave. But I pray after this conference you’re going to be ready to fight the good fight of faith. And part of that is to defend the Bible’s authority and sufficiency. A verse that you’re all familiar with, 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction for training in righteousness.” The Bible is our supreme authority. This verse tells us that we use it to correct and reproof anyone that might be in error. There is no higher authority than almighty God, and Creator, and His Word is sufficient to make every person complete in Christ. In other words, we don’t need psychobabble. We don’t need worldly wisdom. We can go to the Word of God, that is all we need, it is sufficient. God choose 40 men to pen His Word as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21. To the Thessalonians Paul wrote, “When you receive the Word of God you accepted it, not as the word of men, but as what it really is the Word of God,” 1 Thessalonians 2:13. I love what Spurgeon said, “The Word of God is like a lion. You don’t have to defend the lion, all you have to do is let the lion loose, and the lion will defend itself.”
Well, what does that mean to you and I? It means if we will make the Bible known to unbelievers, the Bible will accomplish its purpose. Isaiah described it this way, “When my Word goes forth,” speaking of God, “When My Word goes forth from my mouth, it will not return to me empty without accomplishing what I desire, Isaiah 55:11. So, we must defend the authority of God’s Word, and the sufficiency of God’s Word. God’s Word is eternally true. The eternal Son of God said His Word is truth and everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. “The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the Word of God endures forever,” 1 Peter 1:24. “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever,” Psalm 119:160.
Therefore, here’s the bottom-line. Every teacher, every spirit, every doctrine, and every tradition must be tested by using Scripture. We got a great example of that in Acts 17:11 when the Apostle Paul was preaching in the synagogues of Berea. He noticed people were searching the Scriptures to test the veracity of an apostles teaching. That means every teacher whether it be the Pope, the Cardinal, the Priest, every teacher that opens the Word of God must be tested using the supreme authority of God’s Word.
Tim Moore: Mike continued to present a masterful defense of the integrity of both the Bible and the Gospel. At the conclusion of this program we will tell you how you can get a copy of his entire presentation.
The next speaker I want to introduce is Eric Barger. Eric has a dynamic ministry called Take A Stand! It is a discernment ministry that exists to guard the Church from heresy and apostasy and the attacks of cults. You can find this ministry’s website at ericbarger.com. Eric’s presentation was titled, Defending the Church from the Emergent Church Movement.
Here, now, is Eric Barger.
Eric Barger: I think we have a great place to begin, I think it’s in Jude verse 3. So, we’ll start right there, Jude verse 3. And if you are going to take notes, I do encourage you to do so, but don’t try to write it all down, because you’ll never be able to write down all the slides I’ve got planned here for this next 50 or so minutes. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered unto the saints.” Notice it doesn’t say be contentious for the faith, but to contend for the faith. A lot of people don’t like that idea, they want to believe what they want to believe, and don’t want anybody to get in their way, or try to break up the foolishness they might be buying into. We need to be people who are contending for the Word; and that means we are defending it, and we are taking it out to the public to friends, neighbors, loved ones wherever we can and being able to defend it when the time is right.
Verse 4 says, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” That really defines some of the liberalism that we have seen infect the Church over the last 150 or so years. When I use the word liberalism today, I’m not talking about in political terms, though there could be some similarities, and there are. But I’m talking about spiritual liberalism and what are they, or who is that? Well, it’s people who claim to be Christians but don’t believe what the Scripture says. And they have a liberalized view of it. So, political and spiritual liberalism I guess there could be some similarities, but they’re not quite the same.
Dr. Reagan has probably talked about this on more than one occasion in my presence, and I know when I was on TV, I think the first time, we talked about Emergent at that point in time. I told him about a conference I went back in 2008. You know back in those days the Emergent Church had already attracted close to 20 years’ worth of following at that point. It was something that was definitely bubbling, not just under the surface but all-around Christianity. And after I attended a three day conference by Brian McLaren that year up in Nampa, Idaho, really I was given to really do one thing, as much as I could for the next little while and it has continued to this day, and that is to really express my, hopefully, biblical displeasure about the Emergent Church Movement. I love the people. I just don’t like what they’re doing, or what they’re saying because what they’re doing is what we would call heresy. It’s apostasy. How many of you know that is one of the main signs of the end times? Apostasy happening in our midst.
So, I was thrust into exposing the movement, its errors, and those who would perpetrate those things anywhere I could, whenever I could after that three-day conference. Brian McLaren is what some would call the godfather of the Emergent Church Movement. And I don’t know if ever shown these pictures, certainly not at this conference or elsewhere, but not on TV anyway. But that’s Brian McLaren you see him in the brown shirt, not a very good pictures, that’s my old cellphone I took it with. But that’s at Northwest Nazarene University, that was my first shock when I saw that he was speaking at a conference there. And I thought well he probably just rented the facilities and they weren’t really sponsoring him. That’s what I thought until I got there and listened to the Q&A period and found out some of the professors at Northwest Nazarene were more liberal than Brian McLaren. That was a shock to me considering how many Nazarene churches I’ve spoken in through the years. And Nazarene pastors I know who love the Lord and love His Word.
That was Brian McLaren’s “Everything Must Change Tour.” That was the name of one of his books. Boy, he means it; everything must change. I quickly began to understand at that point that the Emergent world has very few standards, very few absolutes. And really I felt like I had to communicate whatever I could about this. And if I was going to, I had to understand that even though they change an awful lot, and they morph from one thing to another, that there are somethings we can look at to see that if something is quote “Emergent” or not. I’m going to get to all that in just a minute.
It was in Boise, Idaho, or Nampa, Idaho and it was again at Northwest Nazarene University, like I said. I was there all-day Thursday and listened to the Q&A, and I was already shocked at that point even though I kind of knew what McLaren was going to do because I had read one of his books. But when we got to the Friday night and we came back from dinner they had put a table down in front and there were some things on the table, a couple large items. And the pastor I was with who has gone on to be with the Lord now, but he and I were sitting back there. And I whispered to him, “If they want us to go down front and do anything down there I’m not going to go.” And he looked at me and said, “Don’t worry I won’t let you.” And believe me we didn’t want to go down because of what happened.
McLaren came out and after they had sung some songs that any Wiccan priestess would have been happy to sing along with. These were dark and morbid songs, nothing about the joy or glory of God. It was all about how evil man had been, and what man had done to the planet. And then they showed a film by that wonderful evangelical group the Sierra Club. You know I’m tongue-in-cheek saying that don’t you? Yeah, hardly evangelical. They were one of McLaren’s tour sponsors, and had a booth set up out in the foyer. And then began the complete redefinition of previously orthodox terms. Things that I thought I knew what they meant, but I was being told that I really didn’t understand what they meant, or that Christians around us didn’t know what they meant. And that we missed the meaning of these things and now the Emergent Church had ridden onto the scene to rescue Christianity from the hands of the fundamentalists as they called us.
At one-point McLaren turned to the mural of John Wesley, I have circled in the picture there, and he waved his hands and he said, “If John Wesley were here, he would be an Emergent leader.” And I thought isn’t there any Methodist in this room who’s going to stand up and yell, “Heresy,” at that? Where are the Nazarenes? Where are these people? Why aren’t they saying something? Instead they were there taking it in, the 300 or so people who were there for the weekend.
Well, the things that had been placed on the table down front that I have circled there in this picture, turned out it was a vat about so tall, and it was full of water. And then there was a tub that you might feed a small barnyard animal with, you know it was a small tub that you might see on a farm. And McLaren was going to instruct us about these two things that were down front and encourage the people to, if they understood what the new Christianity was really all about, that they could come down front and take water out of the vat and baptize themselves into the new Christianity. Now, I’ve never seen anybody baptize themselves into real Christianity. But he’s encouraging people there to come down and baptize themselves into the new Christianity. I never saw anybody go down. But the invitation was there.
And then he said, “While you’re down here you see the tub here is full of dirt.” And he said, “Just take a minute put your hands in the dirt.” And his exact words were, “And see what needs to be saved.” Because his message was about salvation, that mankind had to bring to mother earth. Now, this is in a Christian university. This is by a man who claims to be an evangelical. And I’m listening to this going, “This is worse than I thought it was.”
When I left there, I remember feeling I had to speak out about this, there was no way I couldn’t. So, encouraging people to come and do these kind of things in this Christian setting you can imagine how I felt. And I just want to make sure nobody missed what I just said. He said, the word salvation is all about us saving the planet.
Now, let me just define the term Emergent Church Movement. Understand it is not a church, and it is not a denomination, it’s not a specific group with a set of doctrines. But one thing they don’t have is a specific set of doctrines, it’s kind of a free for all, do whatever you want and believe whatever you want. And if you claim to be Christian you can figure out a new way to do Christianity, and you can just begin to ignore anything that has held the Church together for these last 2,000 years, that has gotten us here. So, the Emergent Church is hard to define, it really is. And it changes a lot from person to person, teacher to teacher, in the Emergent Movement. It’s hard to get similar definitions from different people out there.
Few points maybe to remember that will help you in this is it doesn’t have a central leader, or structure, there isn’t a headquarters for the Emergent Church Movement. They don’t have a standard system of belief; anything but that actually, they’ve run from that, they don’t like the idea of having a set of doctrines. In fact, doctrine is a dirty word in Post-Modernism. It’s a dirty word in Liberalism. It’s certainly a dirty word in the Emergent Church Movement.
At its extreme its continually evolving because they believe that the Church has never been what it should be, and somehow, they’ve found the answers that the rest of us have missed, and the Bible has forgotten to give us. Emergent leaders and their followers have three things in common, it could be more than that. I used to say they have one thing in common and I make this one point but I’m going to expand it today to three different things.
Number one: They are deceived. They are deceived because they don’t put God’s Word first and foremost, it is not in the forefront of their thinking. And so, they are deceived because they have not allowed God’s Word to lead them, and to correct them when need be. I hope when were finished today about maybe everything else that you will have an understanding, that you will be able to recognize Emergent theology or philosophy when you see it without somebody telling you it is Emergent. That you will be able to see that it is error, whether it is called Emergent or something else.
And honestly the term Emergent is not what I want to leave you with today. But you need to be able to understand what error is, the error that is around us in our churches. And by the way, one thing I can tell you that Satan loves is when Christians see error and we decide that we don’t want to stir anybody up or make anybody uncomfortable, so we are just quiet and silent about it. That’s nowhere in Scripture. Now we’ve got to be the people bringing a word to these things, challenging them. I don’t mean beating people up and being holier than thou, and you know condescending to people. But I do believe that we should challenge error wherever we see it.
Second thing the emergents have in common, at least what I see is, they reject the inerrancy and the authority of Scripture. And again, that is a huge problem for them because if we don’t have the Scriptures to go by, what do we have to go by? And it’s no wonder that the emergents have built these ideas, and many different ideas from teacher to teacher that don’t match what the Bible says, because they don’t want to look to see what the Scripture says. They think it’s too narrow, and it’s confining, restricting.
The next thing is they claim to be us. That bugs me. How about you? To a man they claim to be Evangelicals. They claim that they are us. They claim to be Evangelicals. And you know when they are reminded what the Bible states about an issue, well they respond by saying, “Well, you’re just way too uptight. You need just to let us take this and do what we need to do with it.” And they are free to do that, but just don’t call yourself Evangelical please. Call yourself anything else, but when I... it used to be the term Evangelical, if I told somebody that wasn’t a Christian what I did for a living or what I did in my life being an Evangelical minister I didn’t have to attach a paragraph of definition with it. But these days if I say I’m an Evangelical, it’s got to be followed by a paragraph explaining what I’m talking about when I say Evangelical because of these guys. If the Emergent Church people are Evangelicals I’m not, and I didn’t leave them, they left me. And they decided to do what they’re doing and do it in error.
They say the culture is radically changed and a new church must now emerge in response to the culture and that’s how they got the dear ole title Emergent Church.
The emergents believe that it should be experience before reason, spirituality before doctrines and absolutes, images more important than words, feelings over truth, earthly justice before salvation, and social action before eternity.
Tim Moore: The rest of Eric’s presentation is contained in the conference video album, and in a moment, our announcer will tell how you can get a copy.
Well, folks, that’s our program for this week. I hope it has been a blessing to you. Until next week, the Lord willing, this is Tim Moore speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”