[Caveat: Constance Cumbey discusses EMNR on TruNews with Rick Wiles here. This interview serves as a conversational addendum to this article. (See archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2007)]
In 1982, EMNR was formed to become "a consortium of Christians in North America, seeking to help people distinguish authentic from in-authentic Christianity and strengthen evangelical Christian ministries to new religionists and cultists." [Source: www.emnr.org]
Dr. Walter Martin was a founding member of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR). The organization was formed as a think tank for apologists, with a focus on reaching people involved in cults. The EMNR web site claims to adhere to the same purpose today, as they are recruiting new ministries and apologists for membership. However, the devil is in the details, as the following vacillations and misgivings concede.
I was flattered when asked to join EMNR about a year ago. I asked in return, “What is EMNR?” I got a very impressive answer! Lots of well known names were mentioned.
It sounded good. There was a lot I was not told.
Resignation Letter to EMNR from Kevin Rische and Jill Martin Rische (Walter Martin Ministries)
Last fall, when I was asked to join, I was taken aback when I heard that Dr. Walter Martin’s daughter, Jill Martin Rische, and her husband, Kevin, had recently resigned. It was a provocative decision since Jill’s father had been a founding board member. I was shocked when I found out why they had left. I was in agreement with them in their decision, as time had certainly merited my hesitation to join EMNR. I found myself a little disillusioned asking God in prayer, “Where are the apologists that love You? Where are the Christians that hate a lie about You and hold tenaciously to Your Word no matter the cost? Where are the Christian leaders not living for the praise of men?” Two of them, Kevin and Jill, were no longer in EMNR!
Here is a letter written by Kevin Rische and Jill Martin Rische, daughter of Dr. Walter Martin, to explain their resignation from EMNR in 2005:
(Craig Hazen, Director of MA Program in Christian Apologetics, Biola University, has never apologized to date. EMNR still chooses to not deal with the concerns addressed in this letter from Kevin Rische and Jill Martin Rische, directors of Walter Martin Ministries).
EMNR has a page on its web site for the Lausanne Covenant. What is the Lausanne Covenant? Lausanne was drafted as a plan for globalization.
“…The holistic gospel of Christ shall bring about renewal of individual life, church, society, as well as a throughout cultural renewal. Ultimately, the gospel will be spread unto the ends of the earth, leading to the restoration of all nations…”
For more on globalization: http://www.erwm.com/EvangelicalsandNewAgers.htm
Considering Jesus’ words that few would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and that we are destined for tribulation from the world system because it hates Him, where in His Word do we find the "whole task" of solving the world’s problems? On the contrary, Jesus said that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11). Does this mean that we should turn away from those in true need? Of course not. But while we may help individuals in need, we have not received a mandate to eradicate poverty from the earth, any more than we have received a mandate to solve the problem of overpopulation or the proliferation of nuclear weapons. These are personal agendas being foisted upon the Church as a whole by social activists. They are not part of the Great Commission. There are enough causes to go around many times over. To require socio-political action as a mandate is to steer the Church in a direction not intended by Christ. So pervasive has the Lausanne Covenant become among the vast majority of Evangelical churches that a Christianity Today article has stated, "The unifying question has quickly become: ‘Do you subscribe to the Lausanne Covenant?"’ Our question is, "Are we to be united in Christ, or united in the Lausanne Covenant that forms the basis for the World Christian Movement?" [Directly quoted from: http://www.crossroad.to/Excerpts/world-christian-movement/evangelilzation.htm]
The purpose of the Lausanne Covenant is for Christians to all work together in evangelism. These days, however, with the movements of the emergent church, contemplative prayer, and seeker friendly gospels casting a new definition on the word “evangelical”, I cannot work together with all “Christians” in God’s name. Working with “Christians” en vogue would be embracing a New Age paradigm, endorsing counterfeit spirits, and “accepting” a different god. Today in evangelicalism I am more than willing to separate and not worship “Christ and Satan” (1 Cor. 10:20-22) in the world or God’s House.
Tell Me the Old, Old Story
Here is an excerpt from the EMNR Quarterly Update (Winter 1993-1994), long before there was an “emerging church” movement or “contemplative prayer” or an effort from “evangelicals” to call God “mother”. It was a different organization back then, long before anyone ever dreamed that cults would be called “sacred tribes” from so-called Christians, back when a Mormon was known as a person who was lost and not mistaken by “apologists” for being saved, back when the Gospel told by EMNR members was the old, old story of sweet salvation—the one from the Bible, before that precious old book ever needed “updating” or was ever thought to be “sexist” by pastors, evangelists, and seminary professors.
“Attempts to deal with the cults from other viewpoints…are insufficient from a distinctively evangelical Christian standpoint…Evangelicals know that the deeper need is an informed approach to cultists in the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit with the dynamite of the Gospel tested by the central doctrines of inspired Scripture…when the government seeks counsel (as at Waco) and when a United Nations of Religion is projected in the next two years, a referral service more broadly representative of evangelical Christianity should be readily available…it is important that evangelicals not become as divided as the immature Corinthians….To help meet this critical need…I founded EMNR in response to the challenge of the Consultation of World Evangelism sponsored by the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization in Thailand, 1980.” –Dr. Gordon Lewis, founder of EMNR.
“On October 9, 1984 EMNR was launched when Dr. Lewis and attorney, Timothy Philibosian, held a meeting at Denver Seminary…Besides Dr. Lewis and Philibosian, founding board members that attended EMNR’s first incorporation were Karen Hoyt, Ronald Enroth, the late Walter Martin, and James Bjornstad.”
Of course, that was before the Lausanne’s Forum for World Evangelization in 2004 in Thailand for “a new vision, a new heart, a renewed call” for globalization in the New Age. http://www.lausanne.org/lcwe/assets/LOP30_IG1.pdf
Now that the occult has caused such decay within the nominal church of Jesus Christ in the 21st century, Christians must make a separation from false teachers and today’s libertinage of Christianity within the “church.” EMNR is not immune to such a holy mandate (and neither is Denver Seminary, for that matter). http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/withgod.htm
EMNR: Evangelizing Cults or Endorsing Them?
Eric Pement is on the board of directors for EMNR. On Eric’s web site, he posts an avid endorsement for the controversial “Jesus People”, though he and his wife no longer live with them in the Chicago commune: http://www.student.northpark.edu/pemente/jpusa.htm.
That is interesting, because, since my experience in July 2006 at Cornerstone, I have read from the Chicago Tribune and the Message Board for ex-JPUSA members that the Jesus People have a cult-like history of abusing members in the commune. Many cult-rehab places I have researched have helped ex-JPUSA members heal after leaving the commune.
But I am not telling Eric anything new. In my research since Cornerstone, I have found that Eric and his wife, Barb, know about that abuse far too well. Yes, they know all about it.
It makes a Christian wonder how Eric can sleep at night “endorsing” such abusive mind control of the leaders at JPUSA over trusting members in the name of Jesus. He may owe an apology to these people:
“…I was lucky enough to get out. I have had a good chance to look back on my childhood and analyze it from a normal perspective. When I left the community I had a real hard time relating to other people my age. Thinking about a relationship with someone of the opposite sex almost seemed sinful. It has taken me years of pretty painful experiences and some awkward situations to become a normal, functioning adult. I have had to accept the fact that my childhood was so much different. I don’t even like to discuss it."
“…I met and married my spouse there and raised my children within the community, but later left. We did not submit to family planning JPUSA style–you must receive permission from the entire council to have a child. Some couples were deemed ‘too troubled’ and forbidden to have any children. Some were called ‘traitors’ if they did. At one point we were threatened to be moved into the community’s homeless shelter…”
Or how about these poor victims?
…a highly critical Web site was launched that countered Jesus People USA’s own flashy online presence. It included impassioned entries from former members who describe the commune as a "corrupted, unhealthy and decaying vine" and a "Russian prison." [Source: Chicago Tribune Article, "Exodus from Commune Ignites Battle for Souls" By Kirsten Scharnberg, Tribune staff reporter; April 2, 2001. For the entire article from the Chicago Tribune, go to www.lightingtheway.blogspot.com to post August 19, 2006]
[For more testimonials of abuse, read the “Open Letter” to Jesus People USA leaders from former members at: http://www.angelfire.com/zine/jpusainfo/]
Dr. Gregory Reid does not share Eric’s rave review of the “Jesus People USA” either in his recent article on Cornerstone entitled “Days of the Dead Indeed”: http://www.gregoryreid.com/id185.htm.
For further monism and neo-paganism, exposing the spirit of the “Jesus” of the “Jesus People”, here is a link where Glenn Kaiser, a leader in the JPUSA commune, is endorsing the emergent church: http://www.glennkaiser.com/content.cfm?Spiritual_ContentID=64
It is interesting that Eric is Vice President for Evangelical Ministries to New Religions
(http://www.emnr.org/our_board.html), an organization which began as a think tank for evangelicals with the purpose of reaching those in cults.
These days EMNR is posting articles from people who believe that cults are “sacred tribes”! If EMNR continues down this path, EMNR could be one of the greatest things that has happened to the cults in a long time from a worldly standpoint—even with endorsements for them! The main rule, apparently, is to never offend. It has been said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It seems to be the paradigm of EMNR is to make that road as comfortable as possible for the cultists and much more challenging for any Christian to make a fervent stand against lies about Jesus and attacks on the Bible.
Does EMNR Believe Cults Are “Sacred Tribes”?
From the EMNR web site:
EMNR is a professional membership association for individuals and organizations in ministry to "cults" of Christianity, new religious movements, and world religions. There are many benefits to membership in EMNR, an international network of ministries striving to serve its membership.
EMNR, though founded in 1982, has evidently become a new kind of “ministry to cults”! According to its own web site, EMNR is a “ministry to cults” while “reconceptualizing the word ‘cult’” as they post articles from people who believe cults are “sacred tribes”. [Source: http://www.sacredtribes.com/]
John Morehead and Jon Trott were teachers at Cornerstone 2006. (See my encapsulation posted on www.christianworldviewnetwork.com of that festival. Jon Trott was a speaker in the “Gender Revolution” tent at Cornerstone 2006 on behalf of Christians for Biblical Equality; www.cbeinternational.org).
Here are some articles from John Morehead and Jon Trott, posted on the EMNR web site found under “Research Papers” http://www.emnr.org/research.html#GENERAL:
“Reconceptualizing the Word ‘Cult’” by Jon Trott (Cornerstone Magazine, Vol. 30, Issue 122) is posted. “Moving Together Beyond the Fringes: A Paradigm for EMNR’s Viability in an Age of Religious Pluralism” and “Transforming Evangelical Responses to New Religions: Missions and Counter-Cult in Partnership,” by John Morehead, as well are posted. I must say EMNR does seem to be “transforming evangelical responses”!
An article by Philip Johnson, “Wiccans & Christians: Some Mutual Challenges" [revision and expansion of "The Way of Wicca"] is also proudly posted on the EMNR web site. He also evidently believes that cults are “sacred tribes.” [See: http://www.sacredtribes.com/]
I contacted Bill Honsberger, a board member of EMNR, recently in a letter addressing these injustices against the Great Commission and injuries toward biblical apologists. I was told that EMNR does not endorse the teachings of Jon Trott or John Morehead. He explained that Morehead used to be the president of EMNR, but he resigned about three years ago; I was informed he left after “giving up” on them. I was told that EMNR has nothing to do with Sacred Tribes or any of their material.
I emailed Bill, an EMNR board member, back to remind him that EMNR has posted articles in particular by John Morehead and Jon Trott on the web site, exposing EMNR’s apparent endorsement of their erroneous tenets.
I am sure some dedicated and sincere, uninformed Christians are members of EMNR—people who would never think of cults as “sacred tribes”! They know that if we love relatives or best friends, we get upset when lies are spread about them, much more so when lies are being proliferated about Jesus! It is not some amicable misunderstanding—it is an offense, because these are lies about our Greatest and First Love. If someone does not repent for misrepresenting the Lord and misleading others about Him, it should come very naturally for a Christian to obey Jude 22-23, 2 Timothy 3:1-7, James 3:1; 4:4, 2 Peter 3:17, 2 John 10-11 (concerning giving false teachers a platform in the church) and 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15.
It is not our job as Christians to make the lost feel at ease and cushy on the road to hell! Maybe EMNR will get back to its purpose of evangelism according to the Bible: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you” (Luke 6:26). “Come out of their midst and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). “Behold I lay in Zion a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (Romans 9:33). “The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very Cornerstone and a stumbling block and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:8). “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
Jude 3 was not written to be confused with a politically sycophantic support group, keeping the cults comfortable.
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