What are the core doctrines of the Christian faith?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry’s television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n’ roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become a great defender of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the importance of holding fast to Christian doctrine in these increasingly apostate end times.
Eric Barger: We must begin with the idea that there is a God who communicates with men. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross as a substitute for me and for you and for anyone who would believe. Jesus was deity, being fully God and fully man. These are the essential doctrines as outlined in the Apostles’ Creed, found in the back of most of the hymn books and posted to my website. Every Christian ought to know these doctrines and accept them as non-negotiable.
Dr. Reagan: There are two major things that characterize a cult. One, they always have a distorted view of Jesus. He is never to them the Son of God and deity in the flesh. To them He is Michael the Archangel, or He was a man who became a god, or whatever.
The second characteristic of a cult is that you have to work your way to Heaven. In fact, that is one of the things that sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. Every other religion can be spelled D-O. In Christianity, it’s spelled D-O-N-E.
Now, what is the most dangerous cult? Is it the Mormons, is it the Jehovah’s Witnesses, is it the Moonies?
Eric Barger: No, it is those who claim to be Christians, but don’t believe the Gospel.
Nathan Jones: That works based salvation creeps right in there.
Eric Barger: That’s right. The bottom line which makes this works based thinking the most dangerous cult is that it is always based on what we can do for God or the cult, but not what Jesus already did for us.
Dr. Reagan: I had a lady write me a few years ago and she said she was born into a mainline denomination and grew up in it. She was faithful to it and even was teaching Sunday School on a regular basis. Then, one day she really got into the Word and discovered she wasn’t even saved.
Eric Barger: I have talked to pastors who have told my privately, “I was in the ministry. I have gone through seminary, but at some point while I was pastoring such and such church I realized I really don’t know Jesus. I know all about Him, but I don’t know Him as Lord and Savior.”
We can really know a lot about God on the basic level by memorizing words in the Bible so that you can say you know He did this and this and that, but if you don’t know Him as your Lord and Savior, if you haven’t personally invited Him into your life and in doing so turn from the world and turn from your sin in repentance to follow Him, then you don’t really know Him as it matters.
We then need to pray, “Jesus, I can’t do it myself. I believe in you as Lord and Savior.” If you have never done that, no matter how good you are, no matter where you were baptized or when or how many times, and no matter what you think about your own good works, none of those things can save you. Only what Jesus did by dying on the cross and our responding to that free gift of grace in faith can save us.
It’s not about us, rather it’s all about Him. We need to get in agreement with what Christ did for us and obey what His Word says. Get into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and really get to know Him.
14 CommentsLeave a Comment
Potential "mark of the beast"?
None But Jesus!
It should be clear that as long as the Church does not make disciples of men, they have no core to retain stability concerning doctrine. Many Churches are filled with babes who never grow into maturity in Christ because of their dependency on the local Pasor.
Their doctrine and relationship with Christ is based solely upon the doctrine of perspective leaders. A change in direction for the Church must being first with the leadership then with the individual members themselves. While it is evident that many clergy have sought to position themselves as Kings over men with their perspective kingdoms, they bear the responsibility for creating spiritual bankruptcy within the Church today.
The Church is the Body of Christ, we are all responsible for its growth and maturity, this task is not limited to those who deem themselves leaders. We can simply see in comparison to the corporate and financial world the leadership of the Church has failed in their lust for power and monetary gain. It is time that true leadership be recognized based on an example of their personal lives and their willingness to compell those under their direction to be as Berean's desiring the meat of the Word. Entertaining the masses must be replaced with true evangelism not based upon perspective members in an assembly but based on the desire to see them redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and mature into responsible leaders themselves.
I pray the Church would be restored yet as long as the leadership is based upon theological degree's, marketing strategy, and loyalty to denominational curriculum, it is clear this change will not come. Church has become a business or a corporation, their concern is sheer numbers coupled with financial and political power. It was the same for Israel even as her Messiah visited, bring condemnation to the religous authorities and their willingness to compromise holiness for monetary gain.
The Pharisee's installed a theocracy, placing chains upon the people, their blindness led to the people also stumbling. This nation as it was for Israel is crumbling at the seams, not because of the political leadership, yet because of a bankrupt spiritual leadership. The current economic disaster that America is facing even dragging down the world with it, began in the pulpits of America. It is time the Church accept responsibility and remove those in power who have brought this corruption before it is too late!
When the core is corrupted, the entire organism will fail!
Apostasy has fiercly grown simply because of a compromising leadership where there is no accountability! They are not willing to confront those that preach false doctrine, sure they talk about it and it's influence, yet they never confront it physically. It is the failure of those that know the truth, yet have let their brother fall in the pit that will receive the greater judgement! It is time to stop patting our selves on the back believing that we are safe and secure in our knowledge of the truth, it is the lack of accountability that is leading many astray.
I believe that the words of Christ in relation to declaring "Depart from me, for I never knew you" is reserved for those who claimed to know him yet in their willingness not to confront false doctrine and false shepherds they deny the one that bought them. Christ nor the Apostles were slack concerning confronting those responsible for leading many to damnation, it is the leadership of those that claim they see, that are more blind then those they claim are without sight.
‘Core Doctrine’ – this reminds me of the essentials of bodily exercise. If the ‘core’ of the human body is weak, then the whole body is severely weakened. Without the ‘Core Doctrine’, there is simply no body. :-
‘…if the Church does not make disciples…’
ABSOLUTELY! Certain churches claim that a believer and being a disciple is one and the same thing. This is so wrong.
When newly born-again; the new believer has all the potential to become a mature adult in Christ, but until they begin to make the effort to KNOW God’s Word AND to also APPLY it to their daily Christian walk; they will always remain children, forever sucking on cold or lukewarm milk and never a meat chewing, mature disciple of Christ. While I agree with you about compromising church leaders; it is also the responsibility of the individual believer to make the effort to learn the Truth.
I heartily agree with the majority of your comments – with the exception of the second paragraph on the final comment:
“I believe that the words of Christ in relation to declaring "Depart from me, for I never knew you" is reserved for those who claimed to know him yet in their willingness not to confront false doctrine and false shepherds they deny the one that bought them."
My reasons why.
I NEVER knew you. This is an unbeliever standing in THAT day (vs.22) which is the Great White Throne judgment of UN-believers. If these were believers who had lost their salvation, then Jesus words of ‘I NEVER knew you’ would be false’ as the truth would have to be ‘I ONCE knew you – but…’
These are the ‘false prophets’, the wolves in sheep’s clothing with an outward appearance of manufactured, emotional pseudo love so prevalent today, who ‘performed’ (acted) the part but who had never BELIEVED in Jesus to save, yet used His Name to their own advantage of SELF. They did ‘signs’ in Jesus’ name like Jannes and Jambres; fakers and imitators of The Holy Spirit with ‘another spirit’ good enough to fool genuine, but un-discipled, believers deceived by many ‘good works’ such as feeding the poor, healing the sick – done to be seen and applauded by men.
They justified themselves before the men they deceived who acclaimed them as ‘righteous’. Yet it was THEIR ‘filthy rags’ righteousness that was evident. By not believing in Christ to save they were not clothed in HIS perfect righteousness. So for all their outward appearing, Jesus Christ was absent from their dead spirit and void soul. Self-justification does not save; so they are not sons of The Father. They call Jesus ‘Lord, Lord’ in vain. THEIR manufactured, pseudo fruit of feelings and emotions are in abundance, many words and deeds of their own volition.
The Fruit of The Holy Spirit Love, Joy, Peace… is non-existent because these fruits can ONLY be produced through obedience and application of the Word of God; they grow with maturity by obedience to The Word and cannot be feigned. This, in turn, can only be understood by a believer, with a Living Eternal human spirit able to communicate with a Holy God.
They have not done ‘the will of the Father’ which is that all men everywhere should BELIEVE in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ to save from sin and receive Eternal Life. Evidence of ‘good works’ is not evidence of Salvation. The ‘works’ that a believer must do is to be a ‘doer’ of The Word not hearers only. This is a ‘work’ the frailest believer can achieve having the Mind of Christ; that in the face of adversity, in the trial of our Faith, is to claim a promise such as ‘ALL things work together for good…’. ONLY God can observe the inner sanctum of a soul to know its true state.
Knowing Biblical Doctrine is essential. To KNOW that we CAN ‘count it all joy’ which is an imperative command in James1:2-4; because these trials will THEN produce in us endurance, making us trained and fit for our future role in Christ during His Millennial rule on earth. There are many such commands in Scripture, about 50 in the letter of James alone. Jesus loves us; He wouldn’t deceive or mock us with instructions if He didn’t know for certain that we are capable of following them by dying to self, laying aside our will ‘And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.’ Laziness will not be an acceptable excuse at the Bema Seat; neither will the bleat of ‘legalism’. IF we love Jesus we will make every effort to keep His commands. John 14:15.
The False Prophets, the wolves in sheep’s clothing, are not looking ahead to our future reality in Christ; they are too involved with the here and now of this present age satisfying the five senses.
It is said that our battle is with what is right, and what is NEARLY right – nearly right is counterfeit.
Like Sue, I agree with most of what you said and I agree with her context of "I never knew you".
The part I agreed with most is "Church has become a business or a corporation, their concern is sheer numbers…"
When I was on a church council it seemed that they always had too much of a concern about numbers. The concern was mostly seemed to be to get money to pay the electric bill, etc. instead of are people being saved.
Sometimes Lamb & Lion talks a lot about "let's get 2,500 members…now let's get 2,700 members…thouugh I think their motivation is to expand their ability to spread the word that Jesus is returning soon. I believe this as they always ask we pray for them to be good stewards with our donations – something I never heard in church.
Thanks E.I. and Billy, I appreciate your comments and I sincerly wish things could be different among the many Churches today. I often think how startling the difference would be if we had true accountability! I also know however that false shepherds and wolves in sheep's clothing would not have such a vast audience if their congregations desired to know the truth in searching the scriptures for themselves. Blessing to you all, Maranatha!
Interesting how we scream "It's all Christ! It's all Christ" for salvation, but then once someone is saved he or she is told, "You'd better read your Bible, you need to pray, you must go to church, you should be serving God, you need to tithe, you . . ., you . . ., you . . . ."
We may not have made works mandatory for salvation, but we have certainly made it essential for Christianity itself!
And in doing so we have perverted the true Gospel, which says D-O-N-E—not only for salvation, but for living the Christian life, too!!
Just as you received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him. Col. 2:6
That my friend is called religion! True works motivated by the Holy Spirit require no cohersion, or manipulation. Christianity is not a religion, it is a path that requires denial of self and love for those that are in darkness, compassion, mercy, and justice is the pattern. All our gifts having received from the Holy Spirit are to be used to focus on evangelism, yet without love even this would be impossible.
The Word of God was given freely to us all and freely we must give. The tithe is not required in the Church, what is required is a free will offering motivated again by love for others, not of cohersion, or manipulation. To walk as a Christian, we must not allow ourselves to come under bondage through various works or requirements of men. The freedom we have been given is not provided by self appointed clergy, it is provided by our Lord. Our task is to bring the light of the Gospel to those dwelling in darkness, not to be weighted down in religious practices.
I agree with Rodney!!!
JUSTIFICATION is DONE!
Spiritually we are NOW seated in heavenly places IN Christ as citizens of heaven.
Meanwhile, back on earth, SANCTIFICATION – working out our salvation with fear and trembling while in the flesh, with a fallen sin nature to contend against, is ‘being done’. It is a hard slog until we are Glorified when we are raised incorruptible when we shall be like Christ when we meet Him face to face.
You have plucked out a verse and isolated it to 'prove' a point? Would it be fair to say that you are separating the spiritual from the physical? Yes I do think so, which is interesting as vs 6 are but a few words taken out of the whole context which is a warning against the ‘Colossian Heresy’ which was the forerunner of Gnosticism. Docestism is a close relative it seems, and another was Cerinthianism, a sort of separating the humanity of Jesus from Christ’s Divine Spirit.
Scorning the physical as inferior in favour of the spiritual was a principle of Greek philosophy – and vain deceit, beware vs.8. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead BODILY and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power…”
If you read the preceding verses along with the proceeding verses in Colossians, you will find vs6 in its rightful context.
It is a hard slog dying to self, saying YES to God’s Word while practically applying it to one’s life. It is all about the trial of our faith, being obedient to His commands (if we love Him) and EARNING rewards at Christ’s Bema Seat to inherit as heirs of Christ IF we suffer with Him; in ADDITION to being heirs of God which is FREE to all who believe in Christ to Justify from sin. Romans 8:17.
According to Romans and other scriptures, we have already died with Christ, been buried with Him, and are raised and seated with Him (as you say, I.E.), and that part of us that has died and been buried is indeed our old self (our sin nature). So, our "slog," as you put it, through life is not so! We can dance in assurance that God has taken care of our self–He has made us holy, righteous, and acceptable NOW.
And no, I'm not taking anything out of context, but this teaching is often difficult for believers to grasp. They think it's humble and right to say that we're still dirty sinful worms. But I ask you, has not God created you anew (and that's past tense by the way, yes)? So did God screw you up? Why would He kill you off and recreate you only to make you into a dirty rotten sinner again?
And please show me one verse that says God will change our spirits and souls after we die. You can search, but you won't find it. You get a new body, not a new spirit and soul.
I used to believe this baloney, too, but it just doesn't hold water.