By Nathan Jones
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.