By Nathan Jones
One of the signs of the end times is a great proliferation of false doctrines and teachers (Matt. 24:11,24; 2 Pet. 2:1). If doctrinal liberalism is indeed the most dangerous of these false teachings today, as apologist Eric Barger has declared, then how do we recognize if we or others have fallen into that error?
The question was taken to one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. 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 one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.
Eric, how can we recognize someone in the cult of doctrinal liberalism?
One thing I have noticed as we have moved into these end times and are getting closer and closer to the coming of the Lord is that there are more and more attacks upon Jesus and who He is. More and more are saying He was just a great man, that He was a good teacher, that He was a wonderful person, or He was merely a good moral person. They say, "But God in the flesh? Come on!"
Let's never forget that these doctrinally liberal people, and we have liberalism throughout all the denominations and in our seminaries, if you are going to find the most liberal spot in the seminaries and denominations, look at the very top. That is a sad scenario, but that is the truth.
It is us guys out here who they would look at as backwards and hayseed and all those things since we don't see it as "intellectually" like they do, and we just couldn't have been educated enough. I guess I haven't been educated enough to realize the Bible isn't God's Word, because I believe that it is God's Word. I believe it from cover to cover that it is God's Word.
I was reading recently a quote from a very liberal theologian named Marcus Borg. He is part of the Jesus Seminar, which as we all know, is not about the Jesus of the Bible. It is a very, very liberal place. He said that when he went to seminary that convinced him that the Word of God was not a God-inspired thing. He concluded that it was a man-made book and that it wasn't God's book. At the Jesus Seminar, one of the most apostate things that has come on the Christian scene in a long time, they are voting on the which words are the words of Jesus! Did He say it, did He not say it?
Rudolf Bultmann, the liberal theologian who is partially responsible for this seminar, talked about demythologizing the Bible, you know, you have to take all the myths out. The myths would be the Resurrection, and myth of the Virgin Birth, all those things.
The co-chairman of the Jesus Seminar is John Dominic Crossan. I read a quote in Time magazine where he said that Jesus' body was laid in a shallow grave and torn apart by wild dogs!
That may be a good reason why you ought to really be careful where you go to seminary to make sure you are going to hear the truth, because some of our kids are going to go to seminary during a very vulnerable time in their life. And, they can be completely tripped up for eternity.
This is a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, and Paul said to Timothy from such turn away, don't have dialogue, don't figure out what you have in common. I can dialogue with people if they are willing to say that Scripture is what our dialogue is about and that it is truth and everything comes from that. But, when people are denying the foundational doctrines of the faith, do like Paul said and run from them like they were a disease.
A little leaven will leaven the whole lump, and that what's happened to our denominations today. We want to sit around and intellectualize and have committees on whether God's Word is God's Word, instead of realizing there is a lost and dying world out there, because they do not see the world as lost. They think good works will do it. You see, works have replaced salvation by grace in the liberal mind.
We have on my website a poll that was taken now about 9 years ago. In that poll there were 7,500 ministers polled throughout each denomination. 13% I believe of Lutheran pastors did not believe in the Resurrection. It got down to 51% of the United Methodist ministers didn't believe in the Resurrection. These are people who are involved in some sort of religious philosophy, but they have disqualified themselves from being authentic ministers by their lack of belief in the very doctrines they are supposed to be upholding.
What hope do we even have if the people in the pulpit aren't telling us the truth?