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For years our church has had the privilege of working together with Watchman Fellowship in educating Christians about the cults and other world religions. In an era of cultural relativism, discernment between truth and error is critical. Watchman Fellowship has kept our focus on biblical truth and kept us aware of current religious error.
We have found their staff to be a help to us in many ways. They have taught in Sunday School classes, conducted weeknight and weekend seminars, and led group studies. They have helped us in the whole area of apologetics (the defense of the faith), assisted our evangelism training, and participated on occasions in our annual apologetics conference. Watchman has been such an integral part of our educational emphasis that they are a regular part of our curriculum and teaching strategy.
As a pastor, people have come to me for help with many different situations over the years. One of the challenges many of our people face is helping a loved one who is caught up in or being recruited by a cult or aberrant religious group. In such cases, I have found Watchman Fellowship to be a tremendous resource to our people when faced with a personal or family challenge. A number of our folks have had opportunities to share with someone who has been misled by a cult. Here are some of their testimonies:
“Taking their class has been most beneficial. My mother-in-law is into the New Age and my brother-in-law is into the health and wealth gospel. I haven’t yet led them to the Lord but it certainly has helped me clarify and express my beliefs to them.”
“Clete, a guest speaker in our 4th grade Sunday School class, convicted some of the kids of all this Star Wars mania. I was surprised at how much the kids knew and didn’t understand especially about some of the cards they are trading. With my own children being much older and, hopefully, wiser, I wasn’t aware about these cards and the danger. Kids used to trade just baseball cards. . . .”
“They truly helped my husband and me with my Dad. He is into New Age and really doesn’t know what he believes.”
I am pleased to be a partner in ministry with Watchman Fellowship and to be able to send people to them for advice and help. Presently, I know a number of people in our congregation and in Christian work who have been counseled by Watchman Fellowship and restored to a proper biblical perspective.
As our culture becomes more relativistic and pluralistic, new religious movements seem to proliferate. Many of these are simply new variants of old heresies. Our people must be trained in how to defend the faith against these movements. I have found that the staff at Watchman goes right to the heart of the issue, pointing out the proper scriptural frame of reference and the error. They have protected the gospel.
Watchman Fellowship has been a cutting edge resource for me when some new group or teaching has come along. They always have the most recent information and make it freely available as needed. I desire to have them repeatedly equip our people in this area and also to guide us as we seek to develop ongoing programs to do that.
Frank M. Barker, Jr., served for forty years as Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church from its inception in 1960. He recently retired and was succeeded by Harry L. Reeder, III. In 1972 Dr. Barker and Briarwood Presbyterian Church hosted the first organizational meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He has served the denomination as the Moderator of its General Assembly and as a member on several key committees. Dr. Barker has preached and taught extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central America. He and his wife Barbara have three grown children and six grandchildren. Watchman Fellowship has had a close association with Dr. Barker and Briarwood from its start here in Birmingham. We are grateful for his contribution to the cause of Christ, and wish him well as he begins a new venture in serving the Lord.