The late Dr. Walter Martin reviews the importance of defining the meanings of terms we commonly use within our community of Christ-followers. In defending the faith, we must become more acquainted with exactly what it is that we believe as we discover that other groups claim to believe in Jesus but under closer examination we learn that these groups may as well be calling the Jesus they believe Joe-Bob or Pumpkin Face Sunny Clown, because it’s not the Jesus Christ of the Bible and so it’s not the Jesus Christ of Christianity.
An excerpt from Kingdom of the Cults by Dr. Walter Martin:
“In 1978, Walter Martin had this to say about the defense of the faith:
“Today, the Christian Church is not on the advance, she is in retreat. The reason she is in retreat is because the world threatens her. About us on every side are people trying to poke holes in Scripture instead of proclaiming Scripture. We are attacked by philosophers, psychologists, and psychiatrists, by the whole massive front of evil, no matter what garb it takes. The idea is to push back the Christian Church. And there is only one way that you can resist such force: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, Says the Lord of Hosts’ (Zechariah 4:6). It is a grounding in the Word of God, it is a fullness in the Spirit and life, it is the realization that if we are going to be more than conquerors for Christ, then we must have our priorities ordered and we must get into the Scriptures and get out with the answers…
“When you are talking with people in the occult, remember that they are flesh and blood human beings, not supernatural caricatures. They have needs and wants–they are people who will bleed if you stick them with a pin or cry if a loved one dies. They did not abdicate their citizenship in the human race because they were taken captive by the devil. You must be able to identify with them. You have to realize, ‘There but for the grace of God, go I.’ It is terribly important to understand that they are people of value and worth to God, and all the blasphemy, the anger, and the awful things they may say to you and about Christ they say in ignorance–exactly like the apostle Paul, who called himself the least of all the apostles who obtained mercy because he did what he did in ignorance.
“You and I are the commissioned and ordained servants of the King of Kings. He gave us the opportunity to obtain that knowledge. He gave us the power of the Spirit. He gave us access to His Word. He challenged us to become more than conquerors. He opened the fields unto harvest.
“Will you not hear the voice of the Lord of the Vineyard? See these fields of the cults and the occult, and reach out of them in the name of Jesus.” Martin, Evangelizing People in the Cults and Occult, CD/audiotape (Anaheim, CA: Melodyland Christian Center, August, 1978)
In my early 20s I started listening to Dr. Martin through Christian talk radio. It was on sponsored programing like The Bible Answer Man on KKLA in the Greater Los Angeles area that I was inspired to study in order to be able to answers about what it was that I believed and to know that neither I nor my family was being misled by the many false prophets and preachers who happened to have slipped in among the faithful.
Jude 1:3Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, 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. 4For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Although he passed in the summer of 1989 I remember his work as having had a big impact and no doubt will continue to influence millions as the Doctor was a great American Evangelical minister, author, and Christian apologist who founded the Christian Research Institute in 1960 as a para-church ministry specializing as a clearing-house of information in both general Christian apologetics and in countercult apologetics. This is the kind of person who would “often skipped eating during his lunch hours to answer a variety of tough questions about the Bible and the Christian faith while standing on the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, in New York City.” –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Ralston_Martin