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.” The founders of EMNR adopted the Lausanne Covenant as its governing document which would apply to both member organizations and individuals. EMNR was born in an effort to practically implement Affirmation 7 of the Lausanne Covenant: “We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for the furtherance of the Church’s mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources and experience.”
Though EMNR was conceived as an umbrella group for ministries to the cults and new religions, our founders and board members have no wish for EMNR to assume a magisterial role, nor to become a closed guild which might diminish the validity of other ministries who are not part of EMNR. We recognize that many devoted and Spirit-led Christian ministries and missionaries will never affiliate with EMNR, and that in the providence and timing of God, both our own ministries and EMNR itself will one day be drawn to a close. We pray that while we are now active in the service of Jesus Christ, we will acquit ourselves in honorable work and strive for moral integrity in all we do.
As in any coalition, we expect to find believers with varying levels of competence, maturity, and ministerial experience. Some Christians have not developed the skills and knowledge necessary to present a balanced approach to this difficult field. Some of us have engaged in unjust or superficial judgments against others. On occasions some have judged presumptuously, making nonessential matters a test for Christian fellowship.
Because Christians still struggle against fleshly desires and ambitions (Eph. 4:20-32), there are occasions when Christians sin against one another by attitude, tone, timing, or delivery in their attempt to correct. As a result, some have earned the label “witch hunter” or “heresy hunter.” We need to be sensitive of such adjuration, and be ready to be instructed and corrected when the charges are valid.
The founders of EMNR recognized these issues and addressed them in seminal form in the “Statement of Purposes” to which every EMNR member must agree in order to accept membership. They read:
STATEMENT OF PURPOSES
- Missions — Facilitate mission to new religious movements through networking and the stimulation and formulation of mission strategy to new religions as frontier mission to unreached people groups.
- Accountability — Maintain worthy theological, ethical and missiological standards among members.
- Scholarship — Stimulate the scholarly and popular production of research and writing on neglected aspects of strategies, methods and materials important to reaching these unreached people groups.
- Recognition — Recognize the qualified and credentialed ministries reaching the unreached in the new religions and cults.
- Networking — Encourage mutual understanding and cooperation among evangelical Christian agencies and individuals, as well as secular organizations where appropriate.
- Referrals — Recommend to the public, churches and schools those agencies and materials which meet quality standards and may help as a protective to involvement with a non-Christian or pseudo-Christian religious movement.