EMNR – Annual Conference

Annual Conference

EMNR – Evangelical Ministries to New Religions – organizes an annual conference at which Christian apologists, cult experts and countercult ministers speak on a wide variety of topics.

For instance, topics that will be addressed at the 2014 conference include:

The 2002 Controversy

No Christian organization is perfect (by virtue of the fact that there are no perfect Christians), and EMNR is no exception. As the coalition brings together a diverse collection of ministries and individuals conflict can not always be avoided.

This was the case in 2002, when – at the request of then EMNR president John Morehead – two cult apologists were invited to speak at that year’s conference. Morehead had asked J. Gordon Melton and Douglas E. Cowan to address the question, ‘If the Christian countercult wants to be taken seriously by secular academics, what does it need to do differently?’

However, most Christians involved in apologetics and countercult ministry do not take J. Gordon Melton and Douglas E. Cowan seriously – for good reasons:

Most EMNR members and other interested parties did not think such men ought to be given a pulpit at a conference by and for Christians on subjects related to Biblical discernment and countercult ministry. [As an aside, criticism from the Melton/Cowan corner might make a bit more sense if they showed a willingness to seriously address significant problems within their own community of New Religious Movement researchers].

John Morehead stepped down as president of EMNR in Jan. 2003 and has since pursued what he considers to be a different approach to apologetics.

In November, 2005, John Morehead noted on his blog that he is “no longer a part of the evangelical countercult community”. Later he explained:

In the past I served on the board of Evangelical Ministries to New Religions (EMNR), a membership organization for evangelicals involved in countercult ministry. For two years I served as president, and during my involvement with the organization I presented two papers that attempted to move the organization into healthy critical self-reflection in order to engage other disciplines in their understanding of new religions, most notably that of missiology. Unfortunately, these papers and my subsequent efforts generated more heat than light for some on the board, and their membership, so I resigned in an effort to develop my missional paradigm apart from the organization.

– Source: EMNR Annual Conference: Any Shifts in Perspectives?, MoreheadMusings, Jan. 17, 2006

Meanwhile no cult apologists have been invited to speak at subsequent EMNR conferences.