By Nathan Jones
What does being an Apologist mean?
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 one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America. He joined us to talk about the greatest threat to the Church today — apostasy, particularly from the Emergent Church Movement.
Defining an Apologist
Eric Barger: I have a pastor friend of mine who I've known for many years. He's really a mentor to me. He wrote just a terrific reference letter for me which I didn't ask for, but it just came in the mail. I was just so blessed that he said so many wonderful things about me. He said, "Eric Barger is the greatest apologizer you will ever find. Bring him to your church and take him around town and he will apologize for everything." It was a spoof letter! We had a lot of fun with that, though.
Well, the term Apologetics can be found in the Bible eight times. The Greek word is apologia which means an "able defense of the faith." The most famous use of apologia is in 1 Peter 3:15, "Be ready always to give an apologia/answer." So, apologetics isn't about being sorry for anything.
There are all kinds of apologists out there: Democrats, Republicans, Muslims, Christians, Mormons, and all kinds of other apologists out there. I am a Christian apologist. I stand on what the Scripture says. From the Bible I try to give answers and reasons for our faith.
I am not apologizing for anything. Jesus carries all of my sorrows and He has taken care of all of my shortcomings. I'm not perfect, but I am forgiven. I'm helping people to understand the defense of the faith. That is what all Christians ought to be doing.
At Take a Stand! we deal in apologetics concerning the cults. We deal with spiritual warfare, and really the whole genre of the ministry concerns spiritual warfare of some sort. I've written a book on the occult and how it has become popular in our culture. I deal with current issues in the Church, and that may be the thing I talk about the most these days. When you deal with the cults, you are exposing the false doctrines in the cults. That is another word called Polemics. So, I kind of mix these defenses of the faith together. Sometimes when you are defending the faith and expressing what the truth of Christianity is, you are also exposing false belief systems, so they go together.
I even get into music having started my ministry with that topic. I was a rock musician for many years. I was a record producer and engineer. I was also a professional drug addict back in those days with a little longer hair. The lifestyle of it had an impact on me. I wanted to be like my heroes, my role models, who were the musicians in the 70' and in the 60's even before I first began to play. After I got saved back in the 1980's, I wrote three books about the secular rock music industry. From there our ministry slowly evolved into talking about cults and talking about the occult, and now of course dealing with the Church.
In the next part of this series on the Emergent Church, Eric will explain what the movement's all about.