On January 7, 2013, I was interviewed by Jan Markell, Founder and President of Olive Tree Ministries, and her guest co-host Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. Jan has written eight major books with prominent Christian publishing houses. She has produced a dozen DVDs, some featured on Sky Angel. At one time she traveled full time across America as a speaker. Since 2000, Jan has been broadcasting her nationally syndicated "Understanding the Times" radio program over the airwaves and Internet. It is a great source of news and commentary-driven information.
Jan, Eric and I spent the one hour radio program discussing how to discern discernment ministries and expressed our concerns over some of their increasingly bitter attacks on the Church and Christ-redeemed Christians rather than on exposing the Enemy and his plans.
Eric Barger: What really concerns me is that what is happening in apologetics and discernment today with the bitter attacks from some discernment ministries against believers in Christ is helping to, may I say, train in the wrong way the next breed of apologists, the next generation. Is this the way the next generation of apologists are going to think they need to operate inside the Church? This is of great concern.
What apologists and discernment ministries need to do is come back and look at the Scripture and recognize that if we are not showing love to one another then we have missed the mark. I'm going to say this again because it needs to be repeated. If we are not showing love and instead are treating other Christians badly because we instead selfishly want to correct people by bringing "truth" into the picture and not do so in a spirit of love, then it is the wrong spirit.
Jan Markell: David, one of the issues people have for example with Jonathan Cahn who wrote The Harbinger, is that he is a Pentecostal. Today that seems to be an offensive stance.
Dr. Reagan: There are a number of motivations for what I call the "pit-bulls" who are out there attacking everybody. One of them is that there seems to be a knee-jerk response that if somebody is a Pentecostal or a Charismatic then they have nothing good to say. Instead, they are just going to rip them from one end to the other.
Secondly, I think jealousy is in play. Some of these "discernment" people are very jealous of their fellow Christians who have been blessed by the Lord and who have large ministries or ministries that have had a significant impact. They are just jealous. Some of it is motivated by the fact that they inherently believe they can build themselves up by tearing other people down. Unfortunately, there are people who respond to that approach and declare, "Oh, yeah, this guy is really ripping everybody apart, so now I'm on his side." I think that's a very sad reason to take a stand against someone.
Eric Barger: Let me just say "amen" to that. I had a discussion with another major ministry leader who is on radio five days a week. I will leave him nameless for his sake because he is not here to comment, but he told me nearly identically the same thing that you just said.
Jan Markell: David, you've said this, "I've always had great respect for the Pentecostal movement; in other words for its zeal, enthusiasm and its passion. The praise music it has produced has blessed my soul." You added, "I am also thankful for the way God has worked through the movement to resurrect the gifts of the Spirit. But, I have never been able to accept their core teaching that the baptism of the Holy Spirit must be manifested in the gift of tongues, etcetera." I agree with you. I think somewhere along the line, and maybe it was because of some of the excesses seen on the TBN Network, I'm not sure as I don't have Christian television so am not sure of what is all being aired, but somewhere along the line the Pentecostal issues just seem to have become a lightning rod. I think it's very tragic.
Dr. Reagan: "Christ in Prophecy" is currently trying to get on the TBN Network. We announced that to the public and asked them to pray for it. You wouldn't believe the number of hate letters that I got. People accused, "How could you dare be on such a horrible network? How would you be on such a network with people preaching things like the Word of Faith doctrines and so forth?" I wrote back and said, "I would be willing to be on CBS, NBC, and ABC if I could afford it and they would give me a time slot. I would even be on a pagan network with a bunch of pagans if I could get on there and proclaim the soon coming of Jesus to as many people as quickly as possible."
The fact that I am on a network doesn't necessarily mean I agree with what may be their basic theology. And yet, there is this automatic knee-jerk response from some "watchmen" who bite, "Well, you must have gone apostate, because you want to be on the TBN Network."
Jan, the network you're on must have some people who don't agree with you and your theology and all. Does that make you an apostate?
Jan Markell: No, I know.
Eric Barger: I have said many times that if the Mormons invited me to come speak, I'd go, but then I'd be ripped apart for it. Still, I would go gladly as long as I wasn't told I couldn't present the authentic Gospel message.
Dr. Reagan: There you go! I'm glad this brand of "watchmen" weren't around when the Apostle Paul went to Athens and rubbed elbows with all those heathens there and shared the Gospel. He would have been attacked immediately!
Dr. Reagan: I appreciate you guys for speaking out.
Eric Barger: Sadly, many in the Church are rejecting many of the discerners and apologists and making themselves open and ripe to being deceived by actual apostates like the Brian McLaren's and Tony Campolo's. When this sort of deception happens and people are not motivated by love and when discernment is only being done in a caustic fashion, I believe that real biblical error is then passing through the midst of the in-fighting. People then who should be hearing the truth about Apologetics are instead discounting all of it. What a tragedy!
Jan Markell: The Bible speaks repeatedly about false teachers — wolves in sheep's clothing — particularly in the Last Days. Jesus refers 14 times to some of those false teacher as "ravenous wolves."
Then we have the passage in Jude about contending for the faith. It's a commandment; not an option. Jude says, "I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints, for certain persons have crept in unnoticed." Well, they have! They have crept into the world of the Church and even into ministries.
We here are not suggesting that you not become discerning people and that you not sharpen your discernment, but we are asking you to do all things in love.
While we wait upon Jesus, in the meantime, look back and thank Him. Look around and serve Him. Look ahead and trust Him. Always look up and expect Him, for Jesus is coming again sooner, rather than later.