Monthly Archives: April 2016

Prince a Christian?

Prince-2016[1]

Dear Mr. Barger, The world is really sick. I remember you wrote a great book back in the 1990s about rock music. I have a link I’m sharing with you regarding how they claim Prince was a conservative Christian!?!

Link to Washington Post article here.

They supply lyrics to boot. I know you’re a busy man, and I pray for your wife and you. I’m very glad your eye is OK.

Could you please comment on the article, or send me a link to something you’ve written that counters these lies. A lady I know was gushing about how “Christian” he was, so any info you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

In Christ,

John

Eric’s Response

Hi John,

Thank you for your kind comments. I appreciate the encouragement.

You are correct that the world is sick and getting worse. Jesus is the medicine but they have rejected what could heal them.

The Washington Post story you linked me to is so offensive and fraught with issues that it might take me a while to dig through its problems. It’s just another example of how the secular world doesn’t know what Christianity really is, confusing it with cultic theology, and then using any opportunity to just bash anyone they perceive are Christians, framing believers and others in such a way as to say that we have no values different from theirs. As we are seeing so often, many in the culture relish the opportunity to express that in effect, “Christians are just like the secular world.”

Regarding Prince, he was not a Christian. That is abundantly clear and it’s not just the opinion of one. He was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. Remember: the JW’s do not believe in a triune God, nor do they believe that Jesus is God incarnate. One can sincerely believe in “a Jesus” until they are blue in the face, but if it’s one of the many false Jesuses being taught by cults and world religions (see II Cor. 11:3-4), then that person is still lost for eternity without salvation and without God.

Here is just one source on Prince. He confirmed that he was a JW during at 2009 interview with TV host Tavis Smiley.

When Prince told Smiley that he didn’t vote in political elections, the singer explained saying, “The reason why is that I’m one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and we’ve never voted. That’s not to say I don’t think … President Obama is a very smart individual and he seems like he means well. Prophecy is what we all have to go by now.”

A Christian Post article goes on to say, “In another 2009 interview, Prince told People, ‘My mother told me one day I walked in to her and said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to be sick anymore,’ and she said, ‘Why?’ and I said ‘Because an angel told me so.'” (Read source here)

For anyone who believes in any kind of supreme being, it is in our human nature to hope someone who passes on is safe on the other side. People make statements about an individual who has died “being in a better place.” Yet the truth is that if the deceased was not an authentic born again Christian they are surely NOT in a better place but quite the opposite. Our culture – and astoundingly much of the perceived Christian world – has adopted a catastrophically false line of thinking that treat bliss in the afterlife is somehow a foregone conclusion for every person. I believe our failure to refute and correct this fallacy are eternally detrimental to everyone involved. Usually, based on whether we liked someone or were related to them or various other reasons, people all around us within the church setting give the world the distinct impression that talent, charm, family ties, or other factors somehow play into an individual’s eternal condition. Our silence, probably fostered through the fear of what people might think of us for being so narrow and “non-inclusive,” strengthens and allows this myth to be repeated and spread without even a mention of the reason and purpose of the Cross. While we don’t have to necessarily declare the departed being discussed as “in hell,” we surely need to warn the living that there is only one way any of us can escape it and that’s through the blood of the Lamb of God.

This issue is not just about God’s final judgment and the reality of hell. The pressure of the culture and our human desire not to be viewed as “narrow” have led some identifying themselves as Evangelicals to fall into the trap of become fuzzy or noncommittal about the path to Heaven as well. This is apparent as universalism has steadily become more accepted, justified, and form-fitted into Christianity. This has transpired because those who’ve fashioned their own theology about death – instead of God’s – are allowed to go on unchallenged. Our human hopes, which in this area could be called “self deception,” along with the popular unbiblical teaching that portrays God only as a “God of love” in the New Testament, lead us to believe He couldn’t really be serious about final judgment. The problem with this notion is that, if God is not also a God of justice, then whoever the deity being referred to is could not be the God of the Bible. If God’s love negates His justice, then Jesus died a needless and horrific death and we humans can just pick our own route and our own terms by which to have fellowship and eternity with whomever we perceive is God. The awful failure of believing that God is going to save everybody automatically or that particular individuals are given special treatment based on who we see them as (great humanitarians, social workers, even musicians, etc.) is biblically inaccurate. One simply has to ignore vast amounts of the Bible to arrive at this conclusion. This common misconception is once again our human hopes and fallen nature at work that says, “If I’m just good enough, then God will accept me based on my own righteousness.” In Prince’s case, we can’t even say his works were overwhelmingly good. Instead, the opposite is true, according to Scripture. People are trying to preach him into Heaven based on his talent, charm, or mystique. He may have been an excellent, even prolific musician as far as the culture around us is concerned, but can we say he was righteous because he lived a sold-out life dedicated to the Jesus of the Bible? I think not.

Since mankind’s fall into sin recorded in Genesis 3, man has been separated from God and is due the justice and punishment of that rebellion. However, God showed His supreme love for mankind when He sent His Son, Jesus, to be the propitiation, or substitute, for our sins. It is, as Prince once tried to sing about, at the Cross where judgment met love. However, God’s salvation comes with the price of repentance on our behalf. Now it is our individual choice to accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus’ once-for-all redemption for our sins or to reject it by continuing on our own path.

Now, we should recognize that God can and will eternally save whoever calls out to Him by faith, but the doorway is solely Jesus, not the Watchtower, the LDS Church, Buddha, Vishnu, or our good intentions, etc. There is but ONE way to salvation. So, based on his own testimony of being a Jehovah’s Witness, and the Watchtower’s own failed and counterfeit plan of salvation, trying to fit Prince into authentic, biblical salvation is just so much wishful thinking and ignorance about God’s precise plan and how to enjoy its intended eternal benefits for us. It’s true that we don’t know what may have happened in Prince’s last weeks, days, hours, or even seconds on earth. But one very rarely has an instantaneous reverse epiphany about the false teaching they have followed for years. Thus, Christians and others who try to talk or rationalize Prince “into Heaven” are exercising wishful thinking not based in biblical truths. People won’t want to hear that, but the facts don’t change just because we want them to.

I could go back through what I wrote here and attach Scripture after Scripture to what I said. For the sake of time I won’t do that now but anyone the least bit versed in the Bible can do so. Hope that helps, my friend.

Bless you as you contend for the faith and present the hope and love of God’s plan as the alternative to the coming judgment awaiting all who reject the Savior.

Eric
Take A Stand! Ministries
www.ericbarger.com

Website Crosses 5000 Page Milestone

Today, the site crosses the 5,000 page mark with the addition of the first few chapters of The Story of the Seer of Patmos. The book of Revelation pronounces a blessing upon everyone who “reads” or even “hears” it read. Yet, many treat it as a mysterious book that should not be read and cannot be understood. S. N. Haskell has opened the book of Revelation up in an easily read style that explains it and its relation to our day. This book, originally printed in 1905, makes an excellent study book for young and old.

Link: http://www.crcbermuda.com/reference/online-books/the-story-of-the-seer-of-patmos

 

How Reading Can Transform Your Health

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“As weird as it sounds, reading “War and Peace” put me back in control of my life—and that’s why it’s my favourite book.”

In How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health, Michael Grothaus says, “Reading doesn’t just improve your knowledge, it can help fight depression, make you more confident, empathetic and a better decision-maker.”

Grothaus’ life was in a rut … until he read War and Peace. Its 1,500 pages took him two months to conquer and immediately became his favourite book because of how it changed him. “It’s almost impossible to explain why,” he says “but after reading it I felt more confident in myself, less uncertain about my future. … As weird as it sounds, reading War and Peace put me back in control of my life—and that’s why it’s my favourite book.”

But Grothaus’ further research into reading revealed that such a transformation through reading wasn’t weird but ‘the norm for people who read a lot—and one of the main benefits of reading that most people don’t know about.” What else did he discover?

  • Reading for pleasure can help prevent conditions such as stress, depression and dementia.
  • Reading can offer richer, broader and more complex models of experience, which enable people to view their own lives from a refreshed perspective and with renewed understanding.
  • Reading about other characters and situations helps you to look at life’s challenges from a renewed perspective.
  • People who read find it easier to make decisions, plan and prioritise, because they are more able to recognise that difficulty and setback are unavoidable aspects of human life.
  • People who read for pleasure regularly report fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers.
  • Being more engaged with reading, along with other hobbies, is associated with a lower subsequent risk of incidents of dementia.
  • People who read books regularly are on average more satisfied with life, happier and more likely to feel that the things they do in life are worthwhile.
  • Despite reading being a solitary experience, research shows that reading improves empathy and increases social support.
  • A recent survey of 1,500 adult readers found that 76 percent of them said that reading improves their life and helps to make them feel good.

Grothaus goes on to give four tips on how to overcome obstacles to reading in our distracted and over-committed lives (see here).

But if reading secular books can have such life-transforming benefit, how much more will a wide range of good spiritual books transform our lives and even our eternity.

“From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

David Murray

Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Seminary. He is also Pastor of Grand Rapids Free Reformed Church. David is the author of Christians get depressed too, How Sermons Work, and Jesus on Every Page. You can read his blog at HeadHeartHand.org/blog or follow him on Twitter @davidpmurray. David is married to Shona and they have five children ranging from 4 months to 17 years old, and they love camping, fishing, boating, and skiing in the Lake Michigan area.More from David Murray or visit David at http://headhearthand.org/blog/

Source: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/259456-reading-can-transform-health.html

10 Traits of a Real Man

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The picture of “real” our culture paints for men is just as ridiculous as the picture of the perfect body for women.

What does a real man look like in 2014? Think about the definition our culture gives to us. Look at the movies. Read the magazines. Listen to the music. What are the constants? I see three … muscles, money and women. A real man is tough. He doesn’t show emotions. He can handle his own business. A real man has money. Who cares if he blows it on trinkets? The point is he has it. A real man has women. You can’t be a real man and not have a girl.

But what if our culture is feeding us a lie? What if our culture is grossly misleading us when it comes to the nature of a real man? Our high schools, colleges, workplaces and homes are filled with men that are trying to be legitimate. The problem is we are looking for legitimacy from a culture that changes daily … hourly. A culture that is predicated on promiscuity. Infatuated with the almighty dollar. One day our culture tells us to dress one way. The next day it is completely different.

The picture of “real” our culture paints for men is just as ridiculous as the picture of the perfect body for women. It is a facade. Smoke and mirrors. We must wade through all the charades and cultural stigmas. It is a lot of wading. But once we dig below the surface, something different is exposed. Something divorced from the cultural nonsense. Something grounded in the Truth and not a perceived one. Something … real.

Here are 10 traits of a real man in today’s culture.

1.) A real man always treats people with respect.

A real man doesn’t trash talk or bad mouth other people. “But Frank, what about my teacher at school? Or what about my boss at work? They deserve everything they are getting from me and others.” Right … so tell me again what you deserve for all the awful things you have done to others? See … a real man finds no value in tearing down other people. He realises these people are not much different from himself. He also realises God is not glorified in the tearing down of others.

2.) A real man honours his wife and friends.

I grew up in an environment where wives were not honoured. I was around too many people who used outings to the bar, the golf course or the hunting camp as opportunities to talk about their wives’ failures and downfalls. They would also throw in the failures of their friends for good measure. But show me a man who builds up his wife and friends … and I will show you a real man. Why? A man who honours his wife and friends can only do so because he is confident in himself.

Men, when was the last time you complimented your wife in front of others? When was the last time you made her feel important? A real man makes a habit of honouring and building up his wife and friends.

3.) A real man never leads women on.

Guys, let me be real with you. If you date girls just to have a girl or you want sex … if you have no intentions on a legitimate relationship … you are a coward. That’s direct, yes. But it’s true. It’s real. If this is you, stop it. End the relationship. A real man respects the feelings and dignity of women. He does not see women as objects to fulfil his desires. He does not date because having a girl is fun or expected. There is intentionality behind his relationships. A real man gets this.

4.) A real man works hard, but never chases a paycheck.

Laziness is plaguing our country … no doubt. But the pursuit of a paycheck is also plaguing our country. A real man is not lazy. He works hard. But a real man also never allows the almighty dollar to be the purpose for his hard work. A real man works hard because he works for the Lord. The pursuit of a paycheck is turning men from husbands and fathers into distant figures whose lives have no greater purpose than to lust after a large number in a bank account. How ridiculous. A real man doesn’t get caught up in the lies of our culture.

This allows him to work hard while working. But this also allows him to rest hard, play hard, be present as a father and husband, and nurture his relationship with God. Make no mistake. Pursuing a paycheck at the expense of a family and God doesn’t create a real man … it creates a wasted life.

5.) A real man never allows hobbies to be more important than marriage and family.

I love golf. I would play every day if I could. But I also have two kids and a wife. I have a full-time job. I go to school. I have a blog. There are 24 hours in a day. Something must go to the back burner. A real man understands that “something” is not his wife and kids, his job, or his relationship with God. There are seasons of life where your golf game, fishing, hunting or fill in the blank are going to take a hit. Hobbies are just that … hobbies. They are extra. On the side. A real man never sacrifices quality time with family or God to nurture a hobby.

6.) A real man values purity.

I just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. My first trip to Las Vegas. Wow. The insatiable drive for sex and money was indescribable. It was everywhere. Women wearing next to nothing begging for the attention of those around. Billboards. Shows. Sensuality and the objectification of women (and men) were impossible to ignore. We live in a sex-crazed world.

A real man doesn’t use this as a crutch to feed his sexual appetites. He values purity in his thoughts, conversations and relationships.

For much of my life, I struggled to keep my mind pure. I thought it was just natural. Lusting. Pornography. Those are just normal for guys. Boys will be boys, right? Wrong. Now that I am on the other side, I see that God’s intention for my life is not for my mind to be filled with lust. It’s not God’s intention for your life either. Lust is sin. A real man takes the steps necessary to keep his mind and actions pure. Purity is a virtue. It is something God values. A real man pursues it.

7.) A real man is in control of himself.

If someone else can force you to react, you are not in control of yourself. Write that down. So, if another person’s actions force your hand … someone else is in control of you. That’s dangerous. A real man is not controlled by emotions. He is not controlled by others. Despite the lies of the world, this is true strength. Strength that comes from within. Strength that comes from God. Self-control breeds a life with less regret and more stability. A real man values self-control.

8.) A real man finds his strength in the Lord.

A real man doesn’t look to the world for his identity, sense of worth and strength. He draws strength from the Lord. God is the only source of lasting strength, and a real man acknowledges this reality. He then uses this strength to lead his family, run his business and interact with his peers at school in a way that glorifies God. Go ahead and look to other sources for strength, identity, and sense of worth. But don’t be surprised when you find the ride exhausting and the goal unattainable. Riding cultural waves is dangerous … especially when you don’t know when the next wave is coming. Real men don’t ride waves.

9.) A real man celebrates the successes of others.

If you can’t celebrate the successes of the people around you something is wrong. It’s toxic. This dog-eat-dog cloud that hangs over our culture is a lie. A real man celebrates with his friends, wife and co-workers when something positive happens in their life. He is only able to do this because the successes of other people have no effect on who he is. A real man is confident in his own abilities and talents, so he is in a position to celebrate with others. A real man works hard, competes hard, but is able to shake the hand of the other team if he loses. He can tell his co-workers congratulations when they get a promotion … and mean it. He can celebrate with his spouse when she excels at her job. Who cares if she makes more money or has a more important title? A real man isn’t in competition with his friends and spouse.

There is more than one seat at the table of life. Pull up a chair and let others sit down.

10.) A real man is just as honest when no one is around as he is when the world is watching.

Consistent. This word, maybe above any other, describes a real man. His relationship with God. His treatment of others. His actions and thoughts. Consistent.

A real man is honest and ethical. Doesn’t matter how big or small the decision might be. Doesn’t matter if no one is watching. Doesn’t matter if no one will ever know the outcome of his decision. A real man doesn’t cheat. He doesn’t cut corners. He doesn’t make unethical business decisions.

Here is why. A real man doesn’t live for others or for the cares of this world … he lives for God. You see, a man who operates one way when no one is around and another when the world is watching does so for one reason … he is more concerned with the world than God. He is too concerned with the approval of others. Too concerned with the cares of this world. Saving money. Preserving a reputation. Being accepted. These are reasons to be unethical and dishonest.

A real man doesn’t sacrifice honesty on the altar of acceptability and approval. Even if honesty and integrity cost him a job, money or a grade on a test. He won’t compromise. He is consistent. He is dedicated … to the Lord.

Source: http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/276065-10-traits-of-a-real-man.html?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRouuqrBZKXonjHpfsX%2B6u4tUKa1h4kz2EFye%2BLIHETpodcMRcdlPa%2BTFAwTG5toziV8R7DEJM1u2dkQXhXh