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Eric Barger on Perilous Times: Universalism and the Harlot
By Nathan Jones
The Apostle Paul prophesied that in the end times — during the season of the Lord’s return — we would be confronted with perilous times, when people would love themselves, love money, and love pleasure. He was echoing the words of Jesus who had proclaimed that society would be as immoral and violent when He returns as it was in the days of Noah. Have those perilous times finally arrived?
Dr. David Reagan and I asked this question on our television program Christ in Prophecy of Eric Barger, the founder of an apologetics ministry called Take a Stand!. In the first segment, he addressed religious persecution ratcheting up in our day. Eric will now answer why he thinks Universalism will lead to the prophesied Harlot religion.
Universalism and the Harlot
Nathan Jones: Eric, do you see the world’s move towards Universalism in our perilous times as moving towards becoming the Harlot Mystery Babylon religion that will rise up during the Tribulation?
Eric Barger: Yes, I do, because mankind believes they will be deified in the end, or at least in their own minds.
Nathan Jones: Universalism in its essence is really Humanism. It’s mankind deciding what they believe to be the truth with the ultimate object of worship being humanity, particularly oneself.
Eric Barger: I’ve said for a long time that the New Age Movement is moving closer to Humanism and Humanism is moving closer to the New Age. Sometimes you really can’t tell one from the other until you can dig into the person’s life who is teaching it.
Dr. Reagan: Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas often points out that every religion in the world except Christianity can be summed up in one word, and that word is “do.” You’ve got to work your way to heaven. Christianity is the only religion that can be summed with the word “done.” The work of salvation is over and done with on the cross by Jesus Christ. There is nothing that we can do except accept Christ as Savior.
Eric Barger: That is exactly right. Honestly, it’s part of our fallen Adamic nature to believe that we can do anything to save ourselves. That any of our meager good works can do anything to save us from the affront our sins have done to our relationship with God. People put the cart before the horse and don’t realize that we don’t work to get saved, rather we work because we are saved. When we get that truth right, the pressure goes away.
Others teach that we have to become perfect somehow before we can approach Jesus for salvation. People must understand that in Christ we’ve been made perfect because He is perfect in me. I’m not perfect, and I can do nothing to save myself. Jesus Christ is perfect, and that’s why His ultimate sacrifice paid for our sins. All we have to do is accept that truth in faith.
Dr. Reagan: It’s very disturbing to see how negatively people today react if you say something to the effect that Jesus is the only way to heaven. You are instantly declared to be a bigot, intolerant, whatever. Even among Christians you find this accusation. I always say back to them, “I’m not saying that; Jesus said that. Do you believe Jesus was really God in the flesh? Do you believe He was the Son of God? He said it! Are you going to accept what Jesus said, or not?” Well, the Bible is just not tolerant.
Eric Barger: Yes, well, Christians are not called to worry about how the Gospel lands with somebody. We’re just called to put it out there. Put the truth out their way and whoever God is trying to deal with let the Holy Spirit move their hearts. Everybody should get an opportunity to hear the Gospel. And if they don’t accept it, well that’s a different story.
Christians must put the Gospel out there. We must be faithful with the Gospel and not try to figure out how we can somehow make it palatable to somebody by watering it down. The minute we do that, when we start watering down the truth of the Gospel, then we discredit God and lead people astray.
In the fifth segment of our interview with Eric Barger on perilous times, Eric explains how the term evangelical has begun to lose its meaning.