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Article ID: 10278
Age Group: Adult
Posted: November 6th. 2005
Take a Stand! Ministries
by Kerr Cuhulain
Take a Stand Ministries was founded in 1983 by Eric Barger. Barger (pronounced Bar-jer), is now based in Puyallup, Washington. He began as a rock musician, recording engineer and record producer "lost in New Age mysticism and drug addiction" who became a fundamentalist Christian in 1981. He became conference speaker, author and evangelist, taking a "Take A Stand!" Seminar series on the road in 1984 to churches across North America. Eric is the author of several books including From Rock to Rock and Disarming the Powers of Darkness (with David Benoit). He has written for USA Today and has been featured on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, "Point of View with Marlin Maddoux, " and "Truths That Transform" with Dr. D. James Kennedy. Take A Stand! Ministries has a web site at www.ericbarger.com.
Barger tells the story that he was saved "through the diligence of a Christian marriage counselor." Eric describes himself as "Having come from a background as a secular musician and record producer who was addicted to drugs and straight out of the New Age Movement." Eric complains about the Seattle church where he frequently testified about being delivered from Satan. He reports that after one of these testimonies one of the elders of the church approached Eric in the foyer. Eric says that this elder asked "Eric, I don’t know why you talk about the Devil so much. He never affects me." Nor any of the rest of us, but you won’t get Eric to see that, as you are about to see.
Barger’s emphasis is on spiritual warfare. His books, lectures and web site are full of references to this. On his "Disarming You" web page he quotes John Gill, pastor of the Strict Baptist Church (1720-1771). "Your Are in a War!" Gill tells us, "Every Christian’s life is a warfare with Satan, and his principalities and powers, with the world, the men and lusts of it, and with the corruptions of their own hearts; and much more is the life of a minister of the Gospel, who is called forth to meet the adversary in the gate; to stand in the hottest place of the battle, and sustain the whole fire and artillery of the enemy; to fight the good fight of faith, endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ, and with the weapons he is furnished with to war a good warfare: which is not done "after the flesh"; in such a manner as the men of the world wage war with one another; or upon carnal principles; or with carnal selfish views; or in a weak way and manner; but in a spiritual way, with all simplicity and disinterested views, with great courage and intrepidity of mind."
Barger goes on at length following this quotation, insisting that "Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, we are all in a spiritual war." He admits that this idea "may well be dismissed by others" and advises his readers: "Don’t expect to win any popularity contests for speaking up about waging Spiritual Warfare." This doesn’t deter him. What it comes down to, for Barger, is the question: "Whose side are you fighting on, and which kingdom are you a part of?" As "Biblical proof" that "Spiritual Warfare" is a reality, he lists quotes from Ephesians 6:12, James 4:7, Jude 3, 1 Peter 3:15, 1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 10:2-5, 2 Corinthians 10:5. On another page Barger tells us that "the reality should be that Christians are an army, engaged in a war, and that the church is a training ground to help equip the soldiers as well as a hospital to bind up those wounded in the conflict."
Barger clearly views himself as at the head of a crusade to conquer the world for his religion. "Who We Are—Conquerors!" is a subtitle on his Ground Rules for Spiritual Warfare page. Under this subtitle he states: "This leads us from being ambassadors, endowed with every authority of His throne, to our position as conquerors over sin, hell and the grave! ...It is clear isn’t it? We are more than conquerors, aren’t we? Either we are and Jesus was right; or we aren’t and He wasn’t. Can there be any middle ground? No! Jesus surely didn’t come and give His life so we could proclaim that we’re 'kinda’ conquerors some of the time! The reality we need to start living in is that we are more than conquerors all of the time—even when times are tough and the going is hard. When the church realizes its position, authority and role in Him and takes seriously the call to disarm the powers of darkness, we’ll then move in the realm in which He ordained us to operate."
Barger’s position on psychiatry and mental health is clearly laid out on his web site. He refers to psychiatry as "[attempting] to deal with spiritual issues by using completely worldly means." He is upset that "the first remedy the world around us employs when someone exhibits signs of demon possession" is what he refers to as "Secular psychiatry." He believes that psychiatric medications do not fix this problem, claiming that they simply "disguise the symptoms but absolutely nothing to alleviate the cause." "Secular psychiatry, " Barger claims, "cannot cure the demon possessed and can at best only rearrange a person’s emotional and mental problems. Doctor Jesus can cure them completely, set them free, and make the broken soul whole!" Barger believes in demonic possession: He cites the first part of II Corinthians 2:11 as evidence of the "very real possibility that the lives of believers can be interrupted by the powers of darkness" and tells us that "it should be obvious from this passage alone, that indeed, we and our homes can be affected by demonic intruders."
On another page on Barger’s site one of his readers writes to ask if he has any information on "the relationship between mental illness and demons?" This reader’s brother, a paranoid schizophrenic, had died a few years earlier and this reader was clearly looking for answers to help him get closure. The reader observed that "many, even ministers, do not want to discuss it and there is not much in print that is middle of the road, so to speak. It is either avoided or denied, or every bad habit is called a demon that needs to be cast out."
"...yes, I believe that some mental illness is a direct result of demonic possession or oppression. However, the key word there is SOME. Some mental illness can be a result of genetics; some from chemical imbalance but I do hold to the belief that all of mankind's problems stem either directly or indirectly from the Garden (the fall of man in Genesis 3)."
Barger then goes on to claim that "Jesus was facing a full-blown case of demonic possession when He came upon the demon possessed man in Mark 5." Barger then admits that he is "not a medical doctor and certainly have no desire to psychoanalyze a person. I believe God has every answer we need and His Spirit can lead us either to a doctor or an altar for help (God knows we ALL need the altar, amen?)" In light of the earlier remarks about "secular psychiatry" it would seem that Barger wants His Spirit to lead you to one of His doctors.
Barger believes that "Satan’s first point of attack" was on "the validity of God’s word." Thus if you disagree with Barger, he classifies you as being in league with the Devil.
Barger, like many others of his ilk, are having a great deal of difficulty finding evidence to support their claims. Their only way around this is to claim that their imagined enemy Satan has transformed himself to appear harmless. On a web page with the title Ground Rules for Warfare, Barger warns his readers that:
"Yet, there is another side to overcoming our flesh and its resistance to the reality of a spiritual side. In a day when millions have adopted New Age and occult philosophies and practices, there is an exploding interest in the supernatural, its powers, and its beings. However, those seeking experiences outside the pages of the Bible almost universally deny that any evil beings exist. A trip into the New Age, spiritism, or psychic power is just another way to tap the 'goodness’ of the spirit realm which is continually advertised by its seekers as benign and void of harmful inhabitants. Bible believers caution that 'Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ (II Corinthians 11:14), but New Age followers have fallen into the trap. They believe primarily in the powerful and seductive experiences Satan offers, not realizing their blissful acceptance will someday turn tragic. Still others have grasped the reality of Satan’s powers and have willingly enslaved themselves to his bondage. Regardless, it is certain that the spirit world is not a 'fantasy land’ and that more than just a possibility of serious consequence exists if we choose the wrong path into the supernatural.
"If it weren’t already enough that the world system constantly pressures us, mocking the Bible we follow, and its presentation about Satan; and that our flesh must continually deal with living in the natural world, there is yet another aspect. Satan himself wants us to be deceived about his existence, identity, and goals. That is that he, his demons, and the fallen angels are a factual reality and that their driving goal is to steal, kill, and destroy! (John 10:10)"
Eric’s paranoia and fear are crystal clear on this web page. We tells us that people "are under continual bombardment from the spirit world" and believes that we are all "subject to the injection of ideas, confusion, fear, and a host of other thoughts that did not come from God nor from their own memory banks. Satan’s fiery darts can inflict and influence the believer if he allows it." He claims that this must be true "as countless Christians attest to this reality and many more exhibit lives disrupted from the encroachment of demonic power."
Barger would like you to believe that the problems of the world today are caused by "Ignorance to the spirit realm, its inhabitants, their activities, their abilities, and Spiritual Warfare in general." Ignorance is indeed the problem that causes the discrimination and hatred that Pagans and other religious groups face in the world today. The misinformation that Barger is supplying is creating the very problems that he complains about.
Much of Barger’s Ground Rules for Spiritual Warfare page is given over to discussions of how Christians should not fear the devil. Barger goes on at such length on this subject that I get a strong impression that he is actually trying to convince himself that HE is not afraid. I’m certain that Barger is the fearful one here.
One of the things Barger has been selling on his web site since September 2000 is the book Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Times Occult Invasion which he co wrote with David Benoit. Benoit’s name has come up in many of my earlier articles in my Witch Hunts series. The subjects covered in this book are all of the usual ones found in hysterical books of this sort and include "Nine forbidden practices", human sacrifice, abortion and the occult, divination, astrology, "enchanters", witchcraft, "charmers", familiar spirits, "wizards, magicians and sorcerers", necromancy, "enemy infiltration", cartoons, Hollywood, Harry Potter, Pokemon, and Halloween.
In the introduction Barger and Benoit state:
"Our goal in writing Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion is to offer a resource concerning the occult, in particular concerning the many ways our culture is being affected by it’s workings. Though sometimes subtly, occultism such as witchcraft (WICCA) and the New Age Movement are undoubtedly infiltrating and often capturing the masses today." The reference to infiltration implies that Wiccans have a plan to proselytize and recruit. This is, of course, not true. "Occult beliefs seem to be exploding around us, " they warn, "...In a time when psychic hotlines, astrology and witchcraft seem to be the norm, and when our children find their entertainment inundated with occult practices, extreme violence and heroes such as the fictional boy-wizard Harry Potter, Bible-believers are sure to recognize that we are indeed living in the last days." They continue:
"Based on an examination of Deuteronomy, chapter 18, we believe that understanding the 'nine forbidden practices’ mentioned there is mandatory for successful Christian living in this and every era. Also, our chapters discussing other pertinent and controversial issues such as the affinity that Hollywood, television and cartoons hold for the occult, as well as the yearly celebration of the pagan holiday Halloween, will give readers ammunition for the battles being waged for our communities, our churches and our homes."
There’s that reference to spiritual warfare again. Barger and Benoit confess that "Occasionally we’ll get an email or comment critical of our concerns about the occult. This is to be expected from those outside Christ, but often it is directed from someone within the Church." They attempt to deflect this criticism by claiming that "the occult is actually the very crux of the rebellion that the vast majority of today’s entertainment world is peddling."
Like many of the others that I’ve written about in my Witch Hunts series, these two describe those who do not subscribe to their world view as in rebellion AND describe that rebellion as a form of witchcraft. "All sin flows from the act of rebellion, " they tell us, "yet there are many Christians who sit in church year after year never understanding that the basis of all sin – rebellion – is biblically associated with occultism. The Bible clearly denotes that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (I Samuel 15:23) and that trusting other belief systems dictates that one rebelliously follow and serve other gods. This is true whether the rebellion surfaces as Satanism, sorcery, witchcraft or any of the variations of its end time spin off, the New Age Movement. While the occult may have many different facets and may seem mysterious and foreign to most, the spirit behind it is nothing more than rebellion. When we realize this, Satan’s veil or darkness and threat of the unknown can be seen for what it is – a shallow masquerade feebly attempting to defy Almighty God."
In the first chapter of their book, "Nine Forbidden Practices, " Benoit and Barger state that "Ignorance invites misunderstanding, fear, complacency and deception." That’s very true, but notice how they’re hiding behind this statement. Their suggesting that what they are presenting is accurate, when in fact it is anything but. It is their ignorance which is the problem.
What are these "nine forbidden practices" that these two are on about? They’re the practices listed in Deuteronomy 18.They summarize them in a sidebar as:
- "Human Sacrifice – We call that abortion today!
- "Divination – The Heart of the occult. Manipulation from demonic sources.
- "Astrology – We either trust God or the Zodiak but not both!
- "Enchanter – Someone satanicly endowed to produce seductive spells.
- "Witchcraft and Witches – Includes its modern, organized counterpart, Wicca.
- "Charmer – One whose ability to manipulate objects or beings comes via demonic powers.
- "Consulter with Familiar Spirits – One who gleans knowledge from the powers of darkness.
- "Wizards – Practitioners of magical arts
- "Necromancers – Those who claim to be in contact with the dead."
From this they go off on a seemingly endless list of Biblical references and interpretations of Hebrew words. They state that "our acceptance or rejection of these false teachers and their works will be a test of our allegiance to God!" They go on to say that anyone who should "fail to reject and expose any and all of the occult practices and various entertainment modes that now endorse them" will have " failed the test and have commenced to following 'other gods.’" They even claims that "that those who entertain themselves with the images of evil, including the many brands of occult-based entertainment, are under the same judgement and curse as those who actually perform the occult deeds! Wow!"
They claim that the reason "why God doesn’t answer our prayers, save our families, anoint our worship services and fill our lives with boldness, power and miraculous authority" is because people "continually implant Satanic occultism into our minds and lives through 'harmless’ entertainment venues."
Chapter 8 of Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion, "Familiar Spirits, " is especially strange. You see, what they discuss here is UFOs. Benoit and Barger state:
"It is our personal belief that the UFO/alien phenomenon is one hundred percent inspired and engineered by Satan. They are actually demonic materializations in a very well orchestrated plan to deceive mankind and condition him to accept the supernatural in the end days. Thus, any alien beings that have been sighted or communicated with are demonic in nature. In fact, we believe in the very real possibility that aliens/UFOs could play a defining role in either events surrounding the explanation of the Rapture of the church and/or the subsequent rise to power of the Antichrist. We are not alone in this belief. Some of the greatest Christian minds of this century, including Dr. Walter Martin, thought the same."
Benoit and Barger tell us that many books on UFOs are found in the occult section of libraries and point to this as proof of a connection between the occult and UFOs. They claim that because many people in the New Age or in Pagan spirituality have an interest in UFOs, this means that Satan is somehow involved. They ask: "If aliens really are coming from other planets, why are they so closely linked with the occult?" They state their belief that "occultists and New Agers have a corner on the market in communicating with aliens" and from this leap to the conclusion that "aliens" actually originate in the "spirit world." "...we believe, " they conclude, "these 'aliens’ to be nothing but masquerading demonic intruders, who are weaving a deceitful web in order to further trap millions today." They cite Jay Allen Hynek’s belief that UFO’s originate in a "parallel reality" and state that "We believe the parallel reality he is referring to would be the non-three dimensional supernatural realm described in the Bible." They tell us that "After all, Scripture reminds us that the Devil IS the 'prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2)."
As we have seen in the past few years, many of the evangelists that I’ve written about in my Witch Hunts series hate anything to do with Harry Potter. Benoit and Barger are no exception and Chapter 15 of Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion, "The Magic of Harry Potter, " is devoted to this obsession.
"Is J. K. Rowling a real, practicing, bona fide witch?" they ask us, "Our research turned up no overt statement she has made to make us believe so. However, when Ms. Rowling was asked about her favorite holiday, it was Halloween. We realize that many people who are not occultists might respond this way, but we figured her answer wasn’t going to be Valentine’s Day! What makes us explore this possibility further is just the occult accuracy of the texts." They complain about the "darkness" in some of Rowling’s books. "Scripture demands that we have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness (Ephesians 5:11), " they wail. Like so many of the other Potter-bashers that I’ve written about, they point to the "odd birthmark on his forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt" and state: "We know that some will consider it a stretch, however the lightning bolt has long been a symbol of power in the occult and Satanism. If Harry Potter was a heroic Christian boy and not a warlock, we’d just think it was odd. But knowing who he is and what he does, again we see it as no coincidence." If they’d actually read the books they’d know that the lightning bolt mark on Harry’s forehead is a scar, not a birthmark. From this they point out that "six hundred fifty thousand lightning bolt tattoos were distributed to bookstores worldwide" as a part of the promotional campaign.
Much of this chapter is given over to documenting complaints about Potter from various Christian individuals and groups. They are very upset that so many Christians read the Harry Potter books. They fume about how both Christianity Today and Lutheran magazines have endorsed Harry Potter. They conclude:
"We do face a world laced with folklore and fairy tales—each of which utilize white vs. black magick. (Keep in mind that white witchcraft vs. black is a joke among occultists.) The biblical truth is that these stories—no matter how accepted they are in our culture—present an anti-biblical view of evil and good. Though they may warm our hearts and touch the nostalgia buttons in our memories they are, in reality, works of the Devil. And concerning the case at hand, there must be an effective way of teaching children without glorifying a warlock named Harry Potter. As one pastor commented "Allowing our children to read Harry Potter books (just because 'everybody else is’) is allowing them to read nothing more than spiritual pornography." Have we forgotten our standards as Believers?... The Bible says that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light and that his ministers will appear to be righteous (II Corinthians 11:14-15)... Witches have good reason to be excited about Harry Potter. The book series is giving the 'craft’ a huge boost. No wonder that when interviewed by USA Today, a warlock endorsed Harry Potter and bubbled with excitement at the series’ wide acceptance by the mainstream." The "warlock" that they were referring to here is Michael Darnell, a Winnipeg based computer programmer who is a Wiccan. He does not use the term warlock to describe himself (nor do any male Wiccans): This was the term applied to him by Benoit and Barger. Darnell had told USA Today: "For once, the witches aren’t ugly old hags. For once they’re the protagonists rather than the villains."
From this Benoit and Barger go off on a tangent, mentioning that on 27 September 2000 a Wiccan minister from the Covenant of the Goddess was invited to pray at a Dallas (TX) City Council meeting. The invitation was subsequently cancelled after word got out and Christian radio stations in the Metroplex area began alerting listeners, bringing pressure to bear on the councilmen and mayor. "Though an opening prayer offered by clergy is the normal course for the Council to take, " Benoit and Barger tell us, "When they realized just who it was that was coming to 'pray’ they thought better of the invite." Freedom of religion is definitely not part of Barger’s and Benoit’s agendas. Benoit and Barger continue:
"When a local TV reporter asked Mayor Ron Kirk if he was worried about having spells cast on the Council, the city or himself, he answered no. Though Wiccan pickets lined the streets protesting the absence of occultist 'Reverend’ Bryan Lankford’s invocation before the Council, Kirk said he had read the four Harry Potter books and knew exactly what to do concerning spells and incantations! We can assure you that we certainly sleep better here in Texas knowing that the mayor of Dallas has learned all about 'white’ witchcraft from J. K. Rowling’s boy-wizard! How sad that the mayor’s answer wasn’t framed by Scripture pointing to the cross of Christ as his protection. By the way, amid cries of 'bigotry’ and 'intolerance’ from freethinking Texans, the Wiccan priest was invited back the following week and did indeed invoke a 'blessing’ at the opening of the Council’s session." I applaud the Dallas City Council for not caving in to the pressure of these hate mongers. They seem to realize, as Benoit and Barger definitely do not, that the Harry Potter books are fiction and do not in any way describe the real life practices of Witches.
From this Barger and Benoit launch into a diatribe about how allowing Harry Potter in the classroom is "favoring and even encouraging witchcraft, " demanding equal time for their Bible, as if the works of J. K. Rowling were some form of occult scripture. They complain that "Each year Halloween—witchcraft’s most celebrated day—is recognized at virtually every public school in our nation, while Christmas has become a banned word on campus." They complain that the ACLU does not support their cause and refer to this organization as the "Antichrist Liberties Union." They claim that there is no separation of church and state, just a separation of "state and Christianity."
One of the 2002 additions to Barger’s web site was the page "Wiccan Divorces." This involves two letters Barger received following one of his broadcasts on American Family Radio. The first is from a woman identified as "Jennifer, " who says that 3 years earlier her husband had expressed an interest in "witchcraft." Jennifer reports that she went to "some of his circle meeting [sic] and was so afraid of losing my marriage I made some wrong decisions in my life. I started doubting whether there was even a God because I questioned what I believed and questioned what they believed and was in so much spiritual warfare I thought I was going to go insane. I had all of it I could stand and knew I had to get away from that kind of influence and I knew that I had to go home (to my parents) I knew God was there. I was in so much turmoil, I was a emotional wreck and I didn't want my marriage to end and part of me didn't want to leave, but I believe God was taking me home. I had preachers give me advice on that I should stay in that marriage and I struggled with that. I believe when God saw that I couldn't handle anymore he said 'OK enough’ and my husband decided to leave."
Jennifer subsequently describes how a divorce ensued and her ex husband wanted her 9 year old daughter to go to his "meetings." "I had a long court battle, " Jennifer explains, "but by the Grace of God she is not allowed to be around his witchcraft. My ex-husband is a high priest and his new wife is a high priestess. He is very much involved in witchcraft and other forms of the occult. I know more about it than I care too. But When I came back to my small home town no one it seemed to understand that I had been in a war. No one really knows what Wicca is."
In this letter Jennifer never cites any specific concerns or incidents and never describes exactly what she witnessed at these "meetings." She says that she made some "wrong decisions" but doesn’t say what she means by that. You’re supposed to make your own assumptions about these things. Jennifer concludes by telling Barger what a wonderful job he is doing. "God has worked everything in my life that was meant for evil and made it good, " she tells Barger, "My ex doesn't even call anymore. I know that it hurts my little girl but I do know that I would rather him not speak to her, than for her to have a relationship with him and for her to be influenced by him daily."
Barger thanks her and cites her testimony as "a reminder of Satan's power and desire to mess up lives and families."
The second person is identified as Sarah from Oklahoma. She tells Barger that she is 22 and a single mother. Sarah says she grew up in a very strong Christian home, being home-schooled for 4 years and graduating from a Christian school. She says that she attended a Christian college. While working as a youth director at her home church, Sarah meets Joe through a friend. After three weeks together they move in together. Sarah says that at that time she "knew that he was involved in some stuff, but I did not realize exactly what." She says that in that three weeks Joe got her "hooked in occult practices, while living a double life at my church." Sarah tells Barger that she allowed herself "to be taken into the world of drugs and immorality." 8 months later she finds herself pregnant and decides to "turn back to God." "That decision created a lot of abuse from Joe, " Sarah reports, "who was then my husband. To make a long, painful story short, Joe chose his life of drugs and Wicca over his family. The ironic ending to that chapter of my life is that our divorce was finalized on October 31, 2001." Note how this is the first time that Sarah has named Wicca as his belief. As with the previous letter, no details are given to describe what exactly Joe did, what drugs were allegedly involved, or what she meant by "abuse." Note also the date of the divorce. She asks Barger for free resource materials.
Barger writes back to praise her and tell her that materials are on the way.
A link on Barger’s web site takes you to a Fox News story from New York by Kathleen Wereszynski, "Wicca Casts Spell Over College Students", dated 12 December 2002. It describes how Syracuse University's Pagan Society conducted services in the campus chapel and how at the University of Arizona and Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Wiccans can be excused from class on Wiccan holidays. Anthony Paige, a SUNY Purchase College graduate who started a pagan student group there, told Wereszynski that Wicca appeals to some college students because "there is no sense of sin. There is a karmic law, but there's no scorn or condemnation." Paige is the author of the book Rocking the Goddess, Campus Wicca for the Student Practioner. Rev. Thomas Wolfe, dean of Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse, worried some would object to having Wiccan rituals performed in the same spiritual center used by Christian, Jewish and Muslim students, but told this reporter that he’d faced no objections.
Enter evangelist Eric Barger of Take a Stand! Ministries. He tells Wereszynski that "Wiccan practices can lead to darker practices among vulnerable young adults. Of course, not everyone who delves into white magic or Wicca goes deeper, but it opens the door to black magic." Barger told Weresxynski that he had "the right to warn people." Warn or misinform?
Wereszynksi tells the reader that not all young Wiccans have come out of the broom closet. Small wonder, with people like Barger around. Wereszynski tells us that Alyssa Beall, a Wiccan and graduate student in religion at Syracuse, would be teaching a class on the History of Witchcraft and Magic next semester. The course, which discussed the meaning of the terms "magic" and "witchcraft, " and their connotations in history, was originally capped at 25 students but had to be increased in size to 35 due to demand. Barger told Wereszynski that he didn’t object to such courses "provided they're taught from a historical perspective and not with the intent to encourage students to practice." For "historical" read "Biblical." "Young girls want to be involved in witchcraft, " Barger complained, "There is an occult explosion going on around us."
In April 2004 Barger attacked Lord of the Rings on his web site. He tells us that "those wishing to be consistent with scripture should completely abstain from endorsing, reading the books, or watching the motion picture adaptations of The Lord of the Rings." He tells us that he is "excruciatingly aware of how disconcerting my position will be to some. Though I do not relish it, I often find myself on the opposing side of popular issues." That’s for sure. He sums up his two principal issues thus:
"First is the growing disregard for the authority of Scripture within the Church. One doesn’t have to go too far to find heretics within our midst who have lost their anchor and are floating in the perilous sea of liberalism. They will certainly see no problems in the Rings story because they also find no fault in the world of the occult – yet still claim to be Christians. Secondly, there has been a sort of occultic desensitization that has transpired in the culture over the past 50-75 years. This phenomenon has drawn millions of people to embrace 'white’ magick as an acceptable solution for dealing with the trials of life. With society now captivated by the philosophy of sorcery, spells and incantations, and with no moral absolute to hold to, it is no wonder that so called 'white’ witchcraft has become an acceptable vehicle for the heroes of a supposedly 'Christian’ fantasy story."
"It is also important to note that it is more than just counterproductive to give Tolkien books or Lord of the Rings DVDs as evangelistic tools to witches, pagans or New Agers around us, "Barger rants, "If we do so, telling them that Tolkien was a Christian and that the story is a Christian allegory, they will surely contract the idea that the Christian worldview is actually much more closely related to their own than they ever previously dreamed!" It is certainly much closer than Barger is prepared to admit.
Barger explains that the Bible should be "the only guide to navigate the complex world which Lord of the Rings presents us with." He complains that "J.R.R. Tolkien (and his protégé, C.S. Lewis) utilized pagan imagery and characterizations that are considerably outside the pale of biblical Christianity." He claims that "at least part of the reason that Rings has become a so-called "Christian classic" is that someone told us that it was? It is this sort of unverified acceptance that has plunged the mainline denominations into the complete state of theological disrepair that they are in today. You see, the people in the pews took someone’s word for what was biblical and approved by God and many of those "someones" turned out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing who knew not the Word of God and cared for its truths even less!"
"Lewis and Tolkien created their stories in a day when the occult was not the norm, when there was NOT a mass proliferation of occult philosophy and practice and when the majority of the church had little or no understanding of such things." Barger tells us, "This does not justify the 'white vs. black’ magick scenarios in their works, but could serve to explain it. In my mind, this is another very important reason that Rings and other works of its kind are off limits in our day. Then came the 1960’s and the great outpouring of evil activity that led us to the drug culture, the sexual revolution, and the blurring of truth in general."
Like so many of the other people that I’ve written about in my Witch Hunts series, Barger blames Catholicism. "Let me suggest that since Lewis was affected so greatly by Tolkien that the answer could lie in Tolkien’s Catholicism, " Barger says, "Following standard Catholic operating procedure, it is obvious from his works that Tolkien saw nothing wrong with integrating not just secular but downright unbiblical ideas and imagery into his writing. It is a fact that when embarking upon fresh mission fields, Catholic missionaries have for centuries made a habit of integrating the religion of a region into the tradition and practice of the Church in any given area. The resulting cultural and spiritual synthesis has allowed many unbiblical beliefs to operate alongside the teachings of the church. (A glaring example of this is the current mix of Catholicism and Caribbean Santeria and voodoo that has now immigrated to Catholic communities within the United States in places such as Miami and New York City. A quick search on the Internet turns up thousands of page hits showing the complete marriage of these occult religions and Catholicism)."
It wasn’t the Catholic Church who mixed African religion with Catholicism, Eric. It was black slaves who did so to try to keep their tribal beliefs alive. Many modern followers of Afro-Diasporan religions are now stripping away the Catholic veneer to get back to their spiritual roots.
Barger dismisses any "attributes of absolute morality" which Tolkien and Lewis wrote into the integrity of their hero characters as it was "sorely lacking any Biblical basis." Barger insists that "The use of elves, unicorns, witches, magicians – even to attempt to allegorize the story of Christ - are off limits – especially in our day. With the proliferation of the occult and the complete public acceptance of "white and black" magick these themes will prove detrimental to the cause of evangelism and certainly present a double standard." Barger then states:
"Plus, HOW CAN GOD BLESS US, OUR HOMES AND OUR CHURCHES IF WE PERSIST IN BEING ENTERTAINED BY IMAGES, STORIES, MOVIES OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT REPRESENT THE PAGAN WORLD IN A POSITIVE LIGHT?"
Like he did in his anti-Potter rant, Barger complains of "intellectual Christians" who endorse the literature of Tolkien and Lewis. He tells us that he believes that "Tolkien allowed an apparent fascination with the occult to override clear biblical thinking, we must not allow the same to happen to us." Barger tells us that he is "troubled by how few Christians are willing to buck the tide and call the Rings phenomenon as it really is biblically." Barger points out that Craig Branch, in the Watchman Expositor in 1998, stated that "Defenders of FRP games, imagination games, and other entertainment which utilizes witches, wizards, sorcerers, magic, ghouls and monsters point to the Wizard of Oz, Grimm Fairy Tales, and the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis…" "Sticking to the Bible should be our goal, but for many that’s sadly just too mundane, " Barger complains, "Perhaps the intelligentsia among us should reverse course and try to nullify some of their 'higher thinking’ replacing it with simple biblical truth?"
Barger then lists the six problems that he has with the works of Tolkien and Lewis:
Barger concludes with "suggested resources", which includes an endorsement of the aforementioned Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion. Barger includes links to Berit Kjos, whose name has come up many times in my Witch Hunts series, www.blessedquietness.com (the subject of one of my recent Witch Hunts articles), and www.lightforthelastdays.co.uk.
- Misidentification of God: Barger doesn’t feel that Tolkien correctly identified God in his works. Specifically that Tolkien’s concept of God was closer to "Norse and Celtic mythology than the caring personal God of the Bible." Barger points to Lewis misquoting Psalm 82 in two of his books, which to Barger hinted at "Mormon doctrine."
- "The Finished Creative Work of God": This is another criticism of Tolkien’s Catholicism. "(As a Catholic) Tolkien affirmed his faith in the One God who created the universe, " Barger states, "But his mythical God stopped creating before the work was finished, and then turned the rest over to a group of lesser gods or 'sub-creators.’ In other words, Tolkien invented a hierarchy of deities that defied the Biblical God's wise warnings concerning both real and imagined idolatry."
- Tolkien taught reincarnation: "Besides his extensive use of unbiblical themes such as elves, gnomes, dwarves and wizards and other creatures empowered with magical skills, " Barger complains, "He gave his elves the certainty of unconditional eternal life teaching overt reincarnation. Humans, on the other hand, are not afforded such in Tolkien’s fantasy... Instead of the Christian's hope of eternal life, Tolkien's world offers reincarnation... This popular notion defies the Scriptures..." Barger also complains that "Tolkien also overstepped the biblical mark by building ancestor worship into the storyline – one of the pagan world’s most revered practices."
- "Both Tolkien and Lewis endorsed drinking alcohol and smoking and did so in their personal lives": Barger admits "This may seem trivial to some." I’ll say. Barger throws in a further complaint that in children’s books Lewis... also included swearing..."
- Pagan Sympathy: Barger claims that the reason that Lewis and Tolkien showed "pagan sympathy" in their stories was because they were affiliated with "Charles Williams who was a member of the highly satanic, Qabalistic 'Order of the Golden Dawn.’" Highly Satanic? What does that mean? The Golden Dawn is not and has never been a Satanic organization. Barger correctly points out that the Order of the Golden Dawn "was primarily made up of mystical 'Christians’ and former followers of Madame Blavatsky the founder of the Theosophical Society." Barger claims that this society "still adhered to Luciferianism." There’s that Luciferian nonsense that long time readers of my Witch Hunts series will have repeatedly seen surfacing in literature such as this. Barger states that "Williams, along with Tolkien and Lewis, were members of a close knit Oxford reading group known as 'The Inklings.’ This is almost certainly where Lewis arrived at his extra biblical ideas concerning the Holy Grail and other mid-evil [sic] myths." Note Barger’s modification of the word "medieval."
- Occult Desensitization: This is one of the persistent themes of Barger’s works and of those of many of the others that I’ve written about in my Witch Hunts column. Barger claims that Lewis and Tolkien were victims of this and thus passed it along to desensitize millions of others
Barger teams up with Benoit again to produce the 1999 pamphlet Halloween: This Trick is No Treat! This is reproduced in its entirety on a web page on Barger’s site. Barger claims that he has distributed "over 200,000 of them" worldwide.
They start by correctly telling us that Samhain is the Celtic New Year. They claim that "One legend explains that on Samhain the spirits of all those who had died throughout the year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope for entering the afterlife." It would be more correct to say that these spirits come back to contact their relatives, having already entered the afterlife, not to possess the living. They correctly point out that Samhain "was also the day that the living were to communicate with the dead (with magnified effectiveness)", but conclude from this that "This practice is... necromancy." This leads them into the usual quotations from Deuteronomy 18:11
They also give some correct historical details regarding the origins of Trick or Treat. However, they allege that "History tells us that on Halloween the Celts would terrorize the countryside and populace, butcher cattle, and take it as spoil to please their gods." There is no historical basis for such a claim.
In a similar fashion, they start by telling us some correct details about the Celtic origins of the Jack o’Lantern. Predictably, they then tack on the claim that "The myth behind the jack o’lantern was that a man named Jack made a pact with the Devil and had to wander aimlessly through the darkness with only a piece of coal from hell in a turnip to guide him." This is a Christian myth of their invention, not a Celtic myth. The Jack O’Lantern was meant as a light to help guide the spirits of our ancestors to us, and has nothing to do with the Christian Devil.
"When David and Eric were growing up, they were always told that witches were make-believe, " they tell us, "But, witches are real. The Bible talks about them in several passages. Today witchcraft is a very popular religion among our youth in America. Who would have ever thought that a seventeen-year-old honor student in Detroit, Michigan, could sue her school for the right to wear her pentagram, which is a symbol of her Wiccan religion. This is exactly what Crystal Seifferly did, according to the Chicago Tribune, February 10, 1999." They are absolutely right: Crystal won. What they don’t tell you is that Tempest Smith, a twelve year old in the same school system, committed suicide months later after being mercilessly bullied for her Wiccan beliefs for 9 months. The lawsuit related to that incident is still before the courts.
Barger and Benoit admit that "The Wiccan religion does not believe in the Devil or Satan... Witches do not claim to be Devil worshippers. Witches do not believe the Bible is true so they will not accept a character from the Bible to worship." However they claim that Wiccans "believe in five elementals, which are the false gods of forces... The five elementals are earth, wind, fire, water, and spirits... Many witches will hide behind environmentalism as a cover-up for the worship of Gaia, the goddess called 'Mother Earth.’" Long time readers of my Witch Hunts series can attest to how individuals of Barger’s ilk are often vehemently opposed to environmentalism.
This is followed by pointless drivel about black cats and about how "History tells us that after the bonfire to Samhain, people were afraid to walk home in the dark. They were in fear of being possessed by spirits. So they dressed up in costumes and carved scary faces in their fire holders. They hoped that the spirits would be frightened and not bother them." I don’t know where they’re getting their "history" from, but Samhain is a time to celebrate with your ancestors, not fear them.
They conclude with the usual recap of Deuteronomy 18:10–12, and tells us that "Christ is asking for our obedience, but first He wants our hearts. He is willing that anyone who calls on His name can be saved and be delivered from darkness. Witch, Satanist, murderer . . . it doesn’t matter, He can and will forgive you! Praise God!"
On 28 October Barger attacked Wiccans on his web page "Right: For All the Wrong Reasons." The Puyallup, Washington, School District canceled the annual Halloween parade and school officials proclaimed there would be no celebration or acknowledgement of the pagan festival that year. The reason the school board cancelled Halloween was so that it would not offend local Wiccans. A school district spokeswoman, quoted by local KOMO-TV, said, "Witches [masks] with pointy noses and things like that are not respective symbols of the Wiccan religion, and so we want to be respectful."
Barger didn’t like that reason. He of course believes that "Believers should have no part in the recognition of Halloween and the accompanying activities." Barger concluded that "The bottom line here is that precious few (if any) school boards seem to care much about what concerned Christians or Jews have to say regarding the occult practices and sorted history of Halloween. School officials worldwide have shoved Harry Potter and other occult material (including the celebration of Halloween) down the throats of Christian families nonstop and sometimes in the process just simply dared anyone to resist. Yet in an effort to avoid a holiday which they perceive could possibly offend the practitioners of witchcraft, the "P.C." Puyallup school board now finds themselves embroiled in a sticky controversy the likes of which the local palm reader on Meeker St. could never have seen coming!"
"Make no mistake, " Barger rants, "I'd like to see the rejection of Halloween by every school district but that's not about to happen - at least for the right reasons anyway. The Puyallup school board is exhibiting just the sort of twisted thinking that is gripping our world today. Right has become wrong and in an effort to appease those who practice evil, good and truth suffers. Offend the pagans - never! But who cares about Bible believers?... Efforts like this to placate pagans have overtones of another sort too. You can count on the idea that the politically correct crowd has its sights set on limiting or eliminating the voice of Christians as we proclaim Jesus as the only way of eternal salvation too. We wouldn't want to upset anyone with the reality of the Cross or the finality of hell for those who reject it now would we? That would hardly be 'politically correct.’"
Oh yes. Barger would very much like to be perceived as the persecuted minority here, rather than the persecutor. It won’t do. That he is a perpetrator of religious persecution is evident to anyone who takes more that a cursory look.
 Ground Rules for Warfare http://ericbarger.com/disarming/ground_rules.htm
 Ground Rules for Warfare http://ericbarger.com/disarming/ground_rules.htm
 Ground Rules for Warfare http://ericbarger.com/disarming/ground_rules.htm
 Mental Illness and Demons http://ericbarger.com/demons_mental.htm
 Ground Rules for Warfare http://ericbarger.com/disarming/ground_rules.htm
 Ibid, emphasis in original.
 Ibid, emphasis in original.
 Ibid, exclamations in original.
 USA Today, May 30, 2000
 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0, 2933, 72791,00.html
 Ibid, emphasis in original.
 Ibid, emphasis in original.
| ABOUT... |
Bio: Kerr Cuhulain the author of this article, is known to the mundane world as Detective Constable Charles Ennis. Ennis, a former child abuse investigator, is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. Better known to the Pagan community by his Wiccan name, Kerr Cuhulain, Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. Kerr is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon. Kerr went on to write four books: The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca (Horned Owl Publishing), Wiccan Warrior and Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior. (Llewellyn Publications), as well as a book based on this series: Witch Hunts: Out of the Broom Closet (Spiral Publishing).
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