Category: What is apostasy and how can I recognize it?


The Bible speaks a lot on lying, for both the non believer and believer. Eph. 4:25: Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.”

Prov. 12:22: “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.”

Lying always has the intent to deceive the hearer and protect the liar. Lies have permeated our culture, its celebrated on TV shows. People lie about investments to get ahead in business. It is used in nearly every vocation, even in religion. They lie in the church with false promises so that you give them your money. They brag on how many people are saved and healed, boasting on how God is using their ministry so people are more willing to give their money to them. In fact lying often has to do with only two goals, power and money.

We are in the time of lying, in both politics and religion. The lie is told so easily and boldly and the truth is told so weakly and inefficiently. We have been fed lies portion by portion, piece by piece for so long that the lie has become as the truth. And no one wants to believe lies have encompassed the way the church conducts her practices.
James Dresden “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.” We are inundated with so many lies we do not know where the truth is found anymore.

I Jn. 2:21 tells us “no lie is of the truth.” Lies are not just the opposite of the truth, a lie has NO truth. Lies reject honesty openness, integrity, love; they are an assault on everything good and holy. The tactic used to produce the first sin from the first humans, came from the source of all lies – Satan.

Here is what Jesus described Satan as…John 8:44-45: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
“But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me”.
His nature is to lie and to bring confusion to those who want to understand a matter. He does this by influencing people to lose integrity and lie. He concentrates on the areas that have the most influence, mostly on religion so that people do not arrive at the truth that can save them.

There is the spirit of the world, that lives in the natural man preventing him from receiving any of the things of the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:12-14). The spirit of the Antichrist, we are told is already in the world. (I John. 4:3) that denies Jesus is the Christ “is the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). There is a spirit of the current age that does not lead people to truth but gives them the impression they are right.

Let me make some correlations so we can understand how the ‘spirit of the world” is working in politics and the church.

The most serious of dangers always come from within. This is true of a country and is certainly true of the church. The church has been corrupted from within in America and because of this encroachment the political system has been affected. Why? Because Americas spiritual beliefs (her religion) once guided and guarded the people. The Frenchman Alexis de Toucheville visited America in the 1830’s said America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Which he determined were because of her religious views.
The peter principle is at work and has reached its zenith. Those who are incompetent are running things and ruining things. Because they lack integrity and have no moral compass except their own feelings they are unable to discern what is truth from what is false. The decisions they make is nearly always wrong in judgment.

Isa 59:14-15: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.”

Jer 7:28: “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the LORD their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.’”

Hosea 4:1-3: “Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed.
Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away.”

United States of America is under judgment, because we have based our system on godly concepts and principles and yet do not enforce them, for the most part we have abandoned them. If you look up the judgments the Lord sends to a nation, they often come by weather, finances (unemployment),  food, health and increase in crime and murder. We see all of these in play. When the innocent are allowed to become victims i.e. the unborn, at some point God steps in.

What is the corruption that is taking place in politics and the business sector also is happening in religion. In fact because it has taken place in the church that God has allowed it to spread throughout. We are to be the salt to preserve but have lost our savor.

One of the greatest inroads the world has made in the church is to convince us to be non-judgmental in the face of blatant lies and hypocrisy. What is a lie, what is false, what is error is to be judged and removed not be tolerant as if we have no knowledge of the truth.

I don’t think many of us realize how far off the narrow road churches have gone with Christian media- TV, radio, magazines. From the prophetic and signs and wonders movements influence we have a parade of heresies: the newest revelation from prophets is always anticipated without ever holding them accountable of being wrong in their last prophecy. The word faith philosophies of health and wealth are never addressed when the last person pronounced healed died. The new moves of the spirit with people lying of their visiting heaven and writing books and going on tour with their invented lies. The whole Gnostic idea of being taught by a spiritual experience that challenges what is written. The newest tactic in spiritual warfare is sought when the last one promoted didn’t work any better than the one before that. The newest deliverer’s revelatory scheme to release one from curses and demons; or the newest fantasy book that claims to teach about God in metaphor, on and on ad infinitum. Like a merry go round that has spun out of control, when are we going to stop this to let people get off?

The word faith movement is like a union, its heretical teaching on positive confession for health and prosperity have become the norm for many. Word faith teaching has monopolized the TV air waves, the church is being influenced and controlled by its own corrupted media. The voices may change but the words and concepts are the same as it comes from the many different people.

We do not live in a perfect world nor is there a perfected church. But this should not be used to excuse our autonomous bible study. These false doctrines continue because people have been exposed to a group think mentality and do not want to be independent and think different than anyone else. After all we may have to stand on our own and be questioned for going against the flow (which is often the spirit of the age not the Holy Spirit). As Christians we are to be exercising the mind of Christ, not use our fallen nature, our natural mind.

When is the church leadership going to be serious enough about their faith to help the members begin a plan to not just read through but study the Bible. This is what the Bible calls discipleship after evangelism. This lazy influence has taken away the incentive for people to hunger, to study the Scripture on their own. Instead they are telling people to just have faith, a faith which is disconnected from the word in its context. It is a false faith because it concentrates on us, our will not God’s.

The “preachers of falsehood” have a monopoly of air time, but they will always have some truth included in between their sandwich of lies. Occasional inter-mitten Scripture are sprinkled as salt on an old rotten piece of meat that should have been thrown out long ago.

James 3:1: “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Many who have no ability to teach the word (I do not mean speaking ability) are behind the pulpits influencing the church into unbiblical ways.

They end up using the Bible only to stop someone using the Scripture to expose their error; so they are actually trying to silence the truth. Much of the church is so spiritually immature she finds herself unable to distinguish between God’s Word of truth and Satan’s lies. The very thing Paul was fearful about… “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted– you may well put up with it!”(2 Cor. 11:3-4) and how we put up with it today…. flattering the audience with stories of how wealthy they got with this “secret” they found. Tithe for your blessings, give to the TV prophet for the hundredfold, depend on the words they confess. Jesus is more like Santa Claus each day of the year. You can turn to the majority of Christian channels and hear these so called prophets tell you to call in the next few minutes to give money so that your situation can turn around by their speaking the word to God.

1 Cor 13:6 Paul says that love “does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” (an interesting word, iniquity – adikia – (legal) injustice (properly, the quality, by implication, the act); morally, wrongfulness (of character, life or act). One cannot be walking in the truth if they support those who lie.
The truth comes from the nature of God, it is pure, it is beneficial, it is powerful, and it is written because He loves us. We need to listen carefully to discern that what a person speaks is in fact the truth.

We all know how arrogant politicians can be and so are the TV prophiteers that are selling the church a lot of worthless promises in the name of the Lord as a means of gain. We have all heard of junk science, we have junk doctrine, noxious speech that is useless for our spiritual growth. As Jeremiah wrote, “Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit” (Jer. 7:8). They have revisioned the scripture to mean what they want it to mean to benefit themselves. Jude 1:19 “These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.”
These people go by their feelings and emotions and so they lack real logic and biblical agreement, the Holy Spirit is not with them. This all implemented by men who claim to be spirit filled, anointed, who are prophets and apostles but are actually without the Spirit, who have allowed another spirit to work. How can we tell? The Bible says if they do not speak according to this word they have no light in them (Isa.8:20). In other words they keep the darkness over the people and bring no dawn; not for you, nor themselves.

Exod. 18:21: “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.
Once the church compromised with these teachers it left the door open for them to be welcomed and established, instead of good men of truth that fear God, we have the opposite and have forfeited God’s blessing.

The Main media newscasters are on the side of Liberal progressive politicians just like the Christian broadcasters are on the side of word faith teachers. They bring in the money. People are hear few contrary views so it is basically a controlled media. The Christian TV has become an extension for the false teacher’s message of money – they have a centralized control, a monopoly on the air waves. They preach an unbiblical pseudo – ponzi scheme called “seed faith.” Their teachings for years have moved the church in the wrong direction that affected evangelism, discipleship and tithing and now many are reaping the whirlwind.

The connection of faith to our country is the church, America is reaping the wind because the church is complacent. God asks all to repent, but he is not expecting the citizens to repent but the church, his people.
1 Peter 4:17-18 “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

The Old Testament is an example to us today, that we do not make the same mistakes as individuals or as a nation or church.

Jeremiah 9:5 says, “Everyone will deceive his neighbor, and will not speak the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves to commit iniquity.”
That’s our society our world today, and it can be the Church because we have not remained anchored to the truth but have drifted away with the ways of the culture. Paul says “Do not lie to one another,” “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor” (Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:25). We will either influence society, or it will influence us; we are to be different then the world.

Hosea 4:1-3: “Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel, for the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed.Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away.”

Isaiah 8:21-22 then says: “They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.”

Think about all the disasters that are coming upon the world and this nation, does God not warn us what will happen when we actively and openly forsake him?

Yet he promises to those who stay steady: Isaiah 26:2-3 “Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

The future in the age of lies
Many believe in all kinds of lies over the truth, these lies are rampant and influencing many. But there is a lie that coming that will change the world, 2 Thess. 2:9-10: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” People will be so used to lies that they cannot bring themselves to believe in the truth and will be prepared to accept the ultimate lie of the ages.

1 Tim 4:1-2: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

Because they have already refused the truth all that is left is to embrace a lie. He will empower their lies. God will allow the deceiving spirits to speak through them without interference (2 Timothy 4:1) and oppress them, as he has done at other times (I Samuel 16:14, 18:10). In the same manner in I King 22:21-23. God is going to allow their own lies to govern them because they reject God’s counsel (His Word) the truth. He will empower their lies. God will allow the deceiving spirits to speak through them without interference (2 Timothy 4:1) and oppress them, as he has done at other times (I Samuel 16:14, 18:10). In the same manner in I King 22:21-23:

OUR God is described as “a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He” (Deut. 32:4; Psalm 31:5). He has absolutes he does not believe in mixing truth to appease the hearers. There is a difference between telling the truth and telling some of the truth – to promote what one sees as beneficial. Lies often result in far quicker a response, they impresses people. The truth stays the same – it does not change because it is absolute, unchangeable. The Bible says no lie is of the truth (1 Jon 2). We live in an age that is indicative of lies (that is trying to bring change), that is influenced by the source of all lying – the father of lies, who wants us to believe we have no moral absolutes, and these changes are good, beneficial; when the fact is they bring confusion.

We are in the time period- Jesus called a season, a period before the end. Mt.24 mentions the increase of Diseases, earthquakes, reports of war, overthrows of government. 2 Tim 3 mentions the rise of distrust, treaty breaking, lying, deception, all sorts of sins and a form of religion without the power. These are the signs that are taking place- but the end is not yet. In the meantime we are going to see an increase in violence, and deception especially focused on Israel.

We are living in the last age of lying. Where is this all headed?
2 Thess. 2:11-12: “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
In an increasing age of lawlessness, the practice of lies, empowers each person to follow the dictates of his own deceitful heart. It makes our love and compassion grow cold.

Rom. 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” Rom. 2:8: “but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness– indignation and wrath”

The Scripture tells us “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). Satan is the father of lies, he is the energizing influence behind all falsehoods and false religion and at the end he grows stronger. This means we too must grow stronger to counter his influence.

John 3:21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Zech. 8:2-3: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘I am zealous for Zion with great zeal; with great fervor I am zealous for her.’ “Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.’

The Lord uses this term zeal but a few times, to the compromised church of Laodicea…
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19).

To those who have abused the Lords house for the own gain, And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up” (John 2:16-17).

It is only when Jesus the messiah returns to earth, to Jerusalem to set up his reign and kingdom on earth that we will enjoy an age of truth and righteousness, we can’t change history but we have time to change ourselves, our course. Consider your future.

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Most premillennial Bible prophecy teachers would say the Laodicean church age started around AD 1900. This is correct but when Laodicea first appeared among Thyatira (Catholics), Sardis (the near dead denominational churches) and Philadelphia (the Church of true believers), Laodicea was not the predominant church of that era. That is no longer true. By what we see taking place in Christianity today, there should be no question that Laodicea is now the predominant church type of our age. (At least that is the conclusion for those of us that believe that the Lord’s messages to the seven churches in Revelation are also prophetic to the seven visible church types on earth that exist sequentially within the Church Age.)

Laodicea is the final church age before Jesus comes for His Church. When Christ comes for His spiritual body He vomits this Laodicean Church out of His body into the tribulation. I am not saying that Laodicea was ever part of His body to start with, but only that this church type was identified with Christianity. After Jesus stomachs the lukewarm condition of this church, He spews them out implying that those identified with Laodicea have no place in His spiritual Body until they repent and see the true Light.

Listen to what Jesus said to those in Laodicea:

Revelation 3:17-22 (New King James Version (NKJV))

17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The instruction here is to repent. That means He wants those whom are identified with Laodicea to see they are still blind and that they need to come to Him for true spiritual riches.

Why has the Laodicean church age arrived?

We have had lukewarm denominational country club type churches for quite some time now, but they did not cross denominational lines and movements and become the predominant Christian identity type until late in the 20th century. The seeker friendly and the postmodern emergent churches had much to do with this, they are the fastest growing identities in Christianity today. They and other lukewarm Christian identify types have become the primary examples to the world of what Christianity is. For example, when Moslems speak of decadent Christianity they are really associating Christianity with those that have all the traits found in the Lord’s message to Laodicea. Worldly perceptions of Christianity are wrong because the world associates the modern Laodicean Christian identify religion with Christianity.

The key to identification of the age of Laodicea is that this church is lukewarm and spiritually blind yet she thinks she sees. Only when the gospel became so watered down that it no longer contained a message of salvation could Laodicea arrive in full force in the institutional churches. We see this happening today across denominational lines. Most members of churches today do not even know the plan of salvation. Many members even in evangelical churches do not know the Bible. They have never read it. Church Sunday schools just use the Bible as some tool for living the abundant life on earth. They quite often do not discern and apply the passages in proper context. More often, they just make passages fit their pre-canned topical lesson. Christian leaders today are twisting the word of God to conform to their own pet theories and few of their followers are any the wiser because of the biblical ignorance that prevails in Churchianity.

Laodicea can be identified with many modern Christian movements:

There is the seeker friendly purpose driven growth movement that has so watered down Christianity that the Jesus that shed His blood on the cross for man’s sin can hardly be found. They have largely replaced this Jesus with another Jesus who will give them self-esteem, a purpose driven life, and one who will take care of all their felt needs. They do not even have to acknowledge that they are wicked sinners in need of His saving grace to join this country club. All they have to do is understand that God created them for a purpose and to find their purpose in life. (Pharaoh found out his purpose in life but it did not save him.)

They teach people that are still dead in their sins that God has a purpose for them in the kingdom on earth that they are now trying to establish by their own efforts. This is not the gospel – it is a lie. It leads people to follow a counterfeit Jesus not found in the Bible or in Heaven. The kingdom they wish to establish will set the foundation for the one who will come in the place of Christ. He may even be called the vicar of Christ (Antichrist). These churches bring in more and more unsaved people into their assemblies who bring with them their worldly views and demonic pagan practices. This type of leaven is now inflating the whole loaf [church].

One of the fast growing Laodicean movements that has emerged for the young is the “Emergent Church” movement that redefines Christianity and replaces sound doctrine with doctrines of whatever works and pagan mysticism. Their Jesus is the Jesus made up in their own mind through their own mystical contemplative prayer. Through self contemplation and listing to inner voices in their brain they believe that they can conjure up God’s unique private revelation to them.

In the so-called “Spirit filled movements”, you now have dominionists running just about every important program. Those with “Kingdom Now” or similar theologies have ascended to dominate Christian TV and much of Christian radio. They open prophetic schools, have healing rallies, and hold large revivals. They are the backbone of ecumenical groups like “Promise Keepers” and their books dominate Christian bookstores. They, along with the purpose driven crowd and the emergent crowd, think that the Church is going to bring kingdom living on the earth before the physical coming of the King. Never mind, that no such concept is taught in the Bible.

In these kingdom teaching groups, the Bible is often either taken out of context or the meaning is just distorted to comply with their own pet theories. Many dumb down or do away with sound Bible teaching for the experiential. When they get tingly feeling or goose bumps, then God is leading them and then God has to be in it. If this “God” tells these leaders to ask their followers to laugh like hyenas or bark like dogs they will. After all, they believe their self-appointed anointed leaders cannot be led astray.

Most of these are dominionists and they tell their sheeple that premillennial theology is error because the Church is already in the promised kingdom on earth. They teach the Church just has to go in and possess the land. Since gullible sheeple in this movement believe they are in the kingdom on earth they think they can take possession of the land and put the whole world under Christianity and under biblical law. They are taught that Christians have become gods so now Christians need to learn how to be one. Christians should now speak new realities into existence like gods. I have news for them, Satan has other plans for this presumptuous crowd. He will be allowed to shake this whole house to its foundations because it is was all built on the presumptions and the narcissism of very unstable people. Only that which is built on the solid foundation of the living and written Word of God will stand in the end times.

The neo Evangelicals and Pentecostals alone do not have the numbers to make Laodicea even more identifiable than Thyatira (Catholics) or Sardis (the liberal denominational churches) in this generation. Therefore, it is obvious that many in Thyatira and Sardis would also have to identify with Laodicean attributes for this to become the Laodicean Church Age. We can see that this is happening today with the ecumenical movements of our time that attempts to unite Christianity on issues that have nothing to do with salvation and sound biblical doctrine. Meanwhile the sheeple are told that biblical doctrine that could actually unite believers in Godly truth is subjective, divisive, and narrow-minded.

Many now accept Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus and other pagan religions as people who also worship the Creator, but nothing could be further from the truth. The God of the Bible and Heaven has no part of any of these religions. All those who identify with Christianity but who unite with those denying the doctrines of Christianity have, like Laodicea, become lukewarm about the true Christian faith.

The facts are clear that Laodicea is now the church type that is identified with this generation, Jesus is coming soon. This is the final church age. During the Laodicean age Jesus will come and rapture His faithful Church to be with Him in Heaven while all the rest of the world will be tried in the fires of the tribulation on earth. There is only one Church type that Jesus promises to keep out of the great trial that is coming on all the earth and that church is Philadelphia. You can become part of this church type by acknowledging your sin and your need for salvation through the sacrifice that Jesus made for you on the cross and by trusting in the promises in His Word. Jesus will soon come to receive His own. These are those that live as if they believed the Christian faith.

Rev 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

The largest Christian movement of the 21st century is clearly the seeker friendly purpose driven explosion of churches. They are modeled on church growth teaching seminars offered for church leaders at Willow Creek Community Church at Chicago and Saddleback Church at Lake Forest California. They claim over 400,000 pastors and leaders have attended these church growth seminars. It is estimated that about 40,000 church pastors and their congregations have already bought into the seeker friendly purpose driven church growth movement model.

The latter-day Christian gurus

If you have been in a Christian bookstore lately, you might have noticed that half the books on the shelves were written by the same few authors. This is because the bookstores generally only stock what sells. Probably more than half of the sales in Christian bookstores today come from a dozen or so authors. One example is the book written by Rick Warren who is pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Life , has sold 30 million copies alone. If you look at most of the books that are selling in Christian book stores you will see one trend that says wonders. In one way or another most of the books are Christianized self-improvement or motivation books for living a more abundant life while in the flesh. The self-improvement gurus that write the books have crafted them to attract materialistic people who want more success in life.

The seeker-friendly church growth movement world view

Most of those attracted by these authors and the seeker friendly purpose driven churches share a worldview where evil on earth is conquered through the good will of men. The dominionist leaders pushing this agenda believe that the Church will bring about a Christian paradise on earth before Jesus returns.

Those in leadership who buy into this purpose driven seeker friendly church growth movement believe Christians need to make their churches so appealing that the whole world will want to be part of it. After all, their version of “Christianity” promises a purpose driven life for everyone.

Most of the leaders of this movement generally have or their methodology suggests a Preterist or Postmillennial theology. They teach or imply that the Church will make the world a paradise and only after that happens will Jesus return. Many leaders in this movement teach that all the negative prophetic judgment passages in Bible were fulfilled around 70 AD.

This is a paradox because many of the purpose driven churches are premillennial or were premillennial before they adopted this church growth movement model. Premillennialism teaches Jesus will come after judgment on the earth. It teaches that the tribulation judgments are still in the future and only after Jesus physically returns to deal with evil will the world become a paradise.

Let me clarify this: Many of the churches in the purpose driven church growth movement were premillennial before they bought into the purpose driven agenda. Many of the people in these congregations still think they are in a premillennial church because no one has told them differently. The way the local pastors in the movement deal with this paradox is they now downplay any teaching on Bible prophecy; they call teaching on any future Bible prophecy a distraction or a diversion. Of course, they were taught this concept by Rick Warren’s books or by the church growth seminars offered at Saddleback and Willow Creek.

People who attend these purpose driven churches need to understand that many of the leaders of this church growth movement believe the Church will become perfected before Jesus comes and this will be demonstrated through her converting the world to Christianity. The Church will be ruling on earth and all will be under biblical law. They believe the Church will bring the world back to the paradise like state it was in before the fall of man and only after this will Jesus come back physically. Therefore, in their theology, there is no pre-tribulation rapture, there is no great tribulation for the world, and there is no literal thousand-year reign of Jesus on the earth. There is no need for Jesus to physically return to restore the earth because the Church can do it all without His physical presence. Many of these leaders say Jesus will just be here in Spirit through His Church until all on earth is accomplished.

Conversely, If one believes the prophetic scriptures are to be fulfilled literally none of these concepts can be supported. Rick Warren and other leaders in the movement give the perception that with the right marketing strategy, anyone and everyone can be won to Christ and that is their major error. The Bible teaches that only those who the Holy Spirit draws can come to Christ and the gate to salvation is narrow and few will find it.

How seeker friendly purpose driven churches achieve growth

This seeker friendly purpose driven Church growth movement is founded on world corporation marketing strategies and pop psychology concepts that are known to be successful to reach large numbers of people. Most of the theology of Christianity that is less appealing to the world is shrouded so it will not be an offense to anyone. The theology of personal fulfillment that the movement presents on the surface appeals to broad groups of people. It attracts many in Pentecostalism that believe kingdom-now/dominion/reconstruction theology. The movement appeals to liberal Christians who believe that humanistic efforts will bring a paradise on earth. It appeals to Catholics because they have been taught a similar worldview by their church. It appeals to the holiness movements because the end conclusion of these movements is that the body of flesh can be brought into total submission before death. It even appeals to Messianic Jewish groups who wish to believe there is no future time of trouble coming to natural Israel. In addition, the movement appeals to secular humanists who believe we are all God’s children and there are no evil people but only misguided ones. It also appeals to those who have bought into the major pop psychology self-improvement concepts of our day. Therefore, it should be obvious why this movement attracts so many people.

The movement in reality has become a clearinghouse for all who believe in the basic goodness of man, for those who think all paths lead to God, for those who hold a theology that does not take the prophetic scriptures in any real literal sense, for those who do not know the scriptures, for those who pick and choose words of scripture out of context to make them say what they want them to say, (thus, the popularity of paraphrased versions of the Bible) and for those who think sins of the flesh are really just sickness and addictions.

In many ways, seeker friendly churches are a social replacement for those who attend or once attended Catholic and liberal mainline denominational churches. Like the liberal mainline churches, the seeker oriented teaching lacks any depth on Sunday so people out of mainline churches feel very comfortable attending their services They are especially attracted by the strong sense of community within these churches that are often missing in the mainline denominations. The seeker movement is therefore popular with those who want the social benefits that this type of church has to offer. However, many that attend these churches have never personally read through the Bible even once and do not have any personal relationship with the Savior that the Bible speaks of.

These churches teach nothing that they think is negative, because they want the church to be a place where the unsaved seeker is comfortable and not threatened by any guise of religion. They generally do not tell seekers what denomination they are, and they come up with a name for the church that is appealing to the community that they are located in. The services are also shaped to appeal to the type of community that they are located in.

The services generally have contemporary music and skits led by professional quality singers and performers. This is followed by a short positive message from the pastor. There are no altar calls, or any type of soul searching or prayer that anyone might consider a threat to their present belief system. They generally do not teach on hell or sin or even why man needs a Savior at all, during their main Sunday service.

They claim that once a person becomes interested in their church they will come to smaller groups to find out essential truths of Christianity. This non-threatening environment makes it very easy for anyone to attend their services because it can be simply a spectator event where no commitment is required until one joins the church. As a result, large numbers feel free to attend on Sunday without making any commitment to Jesus or to the church. They claim that the numbers themselves will eventually bring some to Jesus and that is what the seeker sensitive church growth movement is all about. Numbers bring growth and some converts and if there is growth and converts, they say God has to be in it.

The seeker friendly church growth movement can be compared to Wal-Mart

When 40,000 churches are involved you cannot paint all the seeker oriented churches with one brush. However, we can make some generalizations for the movement as a whole. Obviously, some people are being led to Christ through the techniques they use but unless the Holy Spirit drew them first, they would not have come in regardless of the techniques used to get them into attendance. Further, if the Holy Spirit were drawing them to Jesus they would find Jesus in any biblical church or even outside of a formal church. The real question is not whether people are being saved, people will be saved until Jesus comes with or without this movement. The real questions to be answered are: Has the seeker movement caused more people to be saved than would have been saved without the movement and is the movement building up the saved that are already in the Body of Christ?

A study of demographics does not indicate that the percentage of Christians in the world is increasing. In fact, true Christianity is losing ground to pagan beliefs and Islam. So where are most of the people in the seeker friendly churches coming from? For the most part, the people they attract come from other churches or those that stopped attending any church for some reason. Some have never previously attended church but they are only a small minority of those who attend.

The seeker oriented church growth movement has many parallels to that of major world corporations. Wal-Mart is very popular in the world but the cheap products they offer meant the death of mom and pop businesses wherever they located. The seeker churches likewise have moved into high population growth areas and have become mega churches that have prevented smaller traditional churches from growing or from forming at all. The products offered in these churches on Sunday is a cheap version of the true gospel that our forefathers preached at the cost of their lives.

For Wal-Mart, the end result of cheap goods was the biggest corporation in the world and for the seeker-churches, the end result is the largest super-churches that follow the teachings of the board of director who lead the movement. In Wal-Mart, you can only find inoffensive products that the corporation buyers approve of and in the seeker sensitive purpose driven churches, you can only find a politically correct inoffensive message approved by the directors of the movement. Many of these churches do have a back room where you can find the real goods but they certainly do not display these goods on their shelves. You have to have a compulsion to come back after normal business hours to get the real goods.

One of the biggest dangers in this purpose driven church growth movement

Putting Christian theology in the hands of a few gurus can be dangerous. If their theology is wrong, thousands of churches and millions of Christians will have bought into bad teaching. With the smaller traditional Evangelical Protestant churches, you may have had some bad teachers but any error did not reach tens of millions of people. If these gurus are wrong, they can incorporate apostasy into the Evangelical church on a scale never seen before. There are some indications that this is already taking place. Their influence is so powerful that their books have now basically taken over the shelves of Christian bookstores and they now seriously influence the theology and the educational techniques of major evangelical denominations.

Some errors taught in the purpose driven church growth movement

Postmillennial and Amillennial Theology are error. There simply is no way that the Church will Christianize the world before the King comes back to rule it with a rod of iron. The Bible does not teach this Dominion Theology. Christianity is losing ground in the world and true Christianity is even losing ground with those who identify with Christianity due to many forms of apostasy in the church. Scripture does not teach that the world will be Christianized before Jesus returns. It teaches that the world is heading for destruction and that Jesus comes back physically or no flesh on earth would survive (Mat 24:22).

They are replacing the literal rule of Jesus with the Church and the literal role of Israel with the Church. This is Replacement Theology twice over and it sets the foundation for those who identify with Christianity to ride the Beast of Revelation (Rev 17:17). They rob the prophets of their prophecies with their Replacement Theology and they do not teach what God inspired the prophets to tell the world. The few seeker friendly churches that still do teach these scriptures interpret what the prophets wrote in such a way that this interpretation cannot be found in any plain reading of the words of the prophets.

Many of those who lead this movement have no clue that we are in the end-times because they took the prophecies that speak of it and say it all happened in 70 AD. Yet, almost all scholarship says the book of Revelation was written after 70 AD and the judgments within that book were never literally fulfilled. One sixth of the Bible is still unfulfilled prophecy and could not have been fulfilled in past times by any literal reading of the text. They rob God of all the future events He foretold by His prophets and replace them with a strange doctrine of western market driven Churchianity on earth. The Bible teaches that Jesus removes the true Church at the rapture, deals with evil people on earth in judgment, and only then comes back with His Church to rule and reign.

The Bible many of them use and quote is not really the Bible; it is a paraphrase of the Bible that in many cases corrupts the text according to the theology of the author. In The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, he uses whatever translation he can find to make the Bible say what he wants it to say. The paraphrased version he quotes from the most often, The Message, in the opinion of most biblical experts is one of the worst paraphrases of the Bible on the market. These Bible experts claim that The Message often twists the meaning to the opposite of what the most reliable translations of the Bible actually say and The Message often contains a very humanistic view. Dr. Rick Warren is a very highly educated man. He is quite aware that a paraphrase of scripture is not scripture, yet he claims to be quoting the Bible to support what he writes in his book but in truth he almost always quotes paraphrases. He knows the difference between paraphrases of scripture and real scripture. Apparently, he thinks the end justifies the means. Most of the seekers, and sadly even those who claim to be Christian, do not really know the Bible and just accept the paraphrases that Warren uses as gospel truth.

They teach messages directed at the seeker in their main Sunday service. Yet, in these messages they give the seeker no clue that mankind is sinful and can only be changed by a spiritual rebirth in Christ. In addition, Christians in their congregation who only find time to attend the seeker services are not fed what they need to grow. They become anorexic and no longer have any desire to eat God’s true word. These churches often become sanctuaries for unbelievers and biblically illiterate baby Christians. This movement provides for the needs of the flesh on many of their campuses. You often can find a nice lounge where you can get a Danish and a cappuccino but real spiritual nourishment hardly can be found. These churches are physically very rich and appealing but spiritually if one calls himself a Christian, attends a seeker-friendly service, and has no other function in the Body of Christ, he most likely can only be identified with Laodicea (Rev 3:16 ). This lukewarm church example found in Revelation is spewed out of the mouth of Jesus.

They seem to believe that Christianity must conform to the world for the message about Jesus to be heard. This doctrine is not taught in the Bible; on the contrary, the Bible teaches that Christians should not conform to the world. The Church was directed to tell the world the good news that Jesus took our sin and died in our place but that death could not hold the Creator of the universe. He rose to a new creation that we all can be part of if we place our trust in Him. The Church grafted into the commonwealth of Israel was not directed to change the fallen creation to conform to the teachings of the Bible. Those who think that the Church can dictate Biblical standards to a largely unsaved world led by Satan will help bring on themselves the predicted backlash and end-time persecution of the followers of Jesus that is predicted in the Bible.

Rick Warren, seems to preach a form of fatalism. Warren seems to teach that we are exactly like God wants us to be in the flesh and there is little we can do about it other than find out our purpose in life. I wonder how finding your purpose actually changes God’s purpose for anyone? Actually, a fatalist would say it does not; it just makes the person a more contented purpose driven person.

In fatalism, everything including evil was in God’s design from the beginning. Even the fall of man and the Devil was by God’s design. Therefore, that makes God ultimately responsible for evil. If you are now deformed through sin that corrupted the genes of your parents and you are born with two heads this was always the purpose of God for you from the beginning. The converse of fatalism would say, it was not the will of God for you to be born with two heads; this is the result of what sin in the world did to human genes but God even redeems people with two heads that believe in His son for salvation.

In fatalism, the fall of Satan and Adam was in God’s design from the beginning. The converse of fatalism says, “God knows all things”. He did not plan for Satan to fall or for Adam to sin but because He knows the future and all choices everyone will make, God made a plan to enter His creation and to provide the way to salvation for all those He knew would choose to follow His Son.

According to Rick Warren, if you read his book, that was because it was part of God’s design for you to read his book. If you take this to the logical conclusion, then what is said in the book is also God’s word for you. However, if there are errors in the teaching, was it also God’s design for you to believe them?

Leaders in the purpose driven movement teach other pastors to tell long standing church members to find another church if they do not like the seeker friendly oriented format. Some of the core members of the church have been told to leave and congregations have been split. The core of these purpose driven churches is eventually replaced with a core that only marches in lock step to the teachings of the pastor and the purpose driven gurus that they follow. When you stack the leadership in your church with people who only think like you and the gurus that you follow, you are very close to becoming a cult leader!

The members must tow the line and conform to the peer pressure or they are out of your church. Some have put in decades of service to their local church and now they are being told they are divorced from their church and no longer wanted.

Government and major corporations have now embraced a new concept called team management. Teams make all the decisions. If you disagree with the majority on the team and do not endorse its decision, you will soon find yourself looking for a new job. In the same vein, if a Christian disagrees with the leadership decisions in a purpose driven seeker friendly church he is told to find a new church. No change from within is possible when the deck is stacked with team players who listen only to the market driven gurus.

Even if this were not the case, majority decisions are often proven wrong. This whole team concept idea comes from Marxist socialism. Individualism is frowned upon and all decisions are made by indoctrinated teams that are given the mandate to know what is best for everyone in the community.

Thus, the answer to my questions earlier, “Has the seeker sensitive purpose driven church growth movement caused more people to be saved than would have been saved without the movement” and “is the movement building up the saved that are already in the Body of Christ?” can be answered. The seeker-friendly church and the services they offer certainly puts some people on a path to Christ but only the Holy Spirit leads people through the narrow gate to Christ. Thus, the seeker movement can’t take credit for salvation. God can call people to salvation by having the rocks cry out. They put some people on a path where some go through the door to find Christ but at what cost to the entire Body of Christ?  In my opinion, they are building on the house of God with mostly straw blown out of the world marketplace and the techniques of the movement will bring more harm then good to the overall body of Christ.

There is no doubt that the purpose driven movement has brought many social benefits to the community but at what cost to the true message of the cross and other churches that still try to teach the message of salvation on Sunday and the whole counsel of God? I simply cannot see the apostle Paul standing before millions of unsaved people on Sunday and not presenting them the message of salvation. Nor can I see Paul standing before many more millions of the saved during the week and teaching them psychology concepts that originated from doctrines of demons.

We will also find out in time that churches that model themselves after Saddleback and Willow Creek will not be able to provide all the weekly ministries that these two churches provide. What is working there in these two mega-churches to achieve growth is not a model that should or could be duplicated in smaller communities. Most will not have the qualified teachers nor will they have the population base to draw upon. For the most part, the smaller churches that use the seeker friendly model will only help bring about biblical illiteracy.

For all these reasons I have written about, I cannot endorse that a Christian join with most seeker sensitive purpose driven churches.

This seeker friendly purpose driven movement will further split the Evangelical churches

It should be obvious that many fundamental Bible churches will find this whole church growth movement with its seeker type services to be repugnant. If we do not have enough problems now, once again a movement is going to cause a schism within the evangelicals. In order to get unbelievers to attend, many are building on a foundation that was not laid by the prophets and apostles. Some have moved away from true biblical teaching. This movement will be rejected by many as a compromise with the world system and even heretical. Adapting pop psychology concepts and self-esteem workshops into the church will conflict with what God said in the Bible. Those who are biblically literate will of course rebel against such teaching. It has already begun. This schism would not be necessary if Christians were reading God’s word instead of the word of presumptuous guru’s. They also should not be measuring the value of the church by the numbers of the attendees.

Should we throw out the baby with the bath water?

I am not sure there is a baby in this bath water. If there is, it may turn out to be Rosemary’s baby called the “emergent church”. Yet, it is clear that the seeker oriented movement does get people interested in Christianity that would never step foot in a traditional church. This says volumes about the shortcomings of our traditional churches. The traditional churches do need to change. That is really why this movement has legs. Wooden churches that have become stuck on their old church traditions are only going to appeal to the traditional. Churches that modern generation will not attend are not going to reach anyone with the Gospel. Not that God ever intended for our church buildings to be the place to reach the lost world anyway.

The major problems in this purpose driven church growth movement is the worldview of the leaders, the adoption of satanic pop psychology concepts, and the teaching that lacks any meaningful message in their main service. All the style changes can be negotiated by the membership but please do not take the cross off of my church! The Bible truths should not be compromised. The full Bible should be taught in proper context. Not many are actually won to Christ by promises of a more abundant life here. It is a false promise anyway if your only talking about their physical prosperity. Some actually need to be saved through fear of the consequences of living in sin and the Hell they will inherit if they do not repent. Some need answers for the problems they correctly see are coming upon the world. Bible prophecy gives those answers.

Even Christians need to hear that God disciplines His children that will not obey. The gospel is not a positive feel good message to the body of flesh we live in. It promises persecution by the world for those who commit their lives to Christ, not a cappuccino and a Danish and a utopia on earth in this life. The true message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to save us from our sins should not be compromised because it is the foundation of our belief and if it offends some, so be it!

The message of salvation has always offended those who are willfully heading to destruction. However, the apostles and early fathers did not preach a watered down gospel to appeal to the masses. They preached a message that appealed to those who had spiritual ears to hear.

If I were in a church that has bought into this philosophy, especially if I were in the leadership, I would want to know what the pastor believes about the return of Jesus. I can assure you it is only one step from not teaching about Bible prophecy to teaching against those who teach about the imminent and soon return of Jesus with a pretribulation rapture. When you take away this theology from our generation, the main hope of the Church is in its own humanistic achievements. This is usually measured by human values like the numbers of members, services offered for the members, and the material possessions of the church.

It may not be to late to do something about it

There is a very good chance you already find yourself in a church that has bought into the seeker sensitive purpose driven church growth movement. I am not telling you to leave your church. You always can take that option but that should be your last resort. Here are some things you can do:

  • Pray for your leadership.
  • Be like the Bereans and check out everything from the scriptures (Act 17:10,11).
  • Find out about how your church operates. Know your church bylaws and try to change things from within by the rules of your type of church government.
  • Show up for membership meetings and if you have a vote make sure you are there to vote on issues of your church.
  • If your church has not already lost control of the leadership, make sure that the members of the church always retain the final vote over those placed in leadership positions in your church and the important decisions that are made by your elected or appointed committees.
  • Ask your leadership for real Bible studies using real Bible versions and vote against using quarterly magazines and the teaching of popular books in Sunday school and your mid-week service. Most books have some error, the Bible does not. In my experience, the study of the Bible will stay with you for life; the study of a book may aid you in understanding, but most of the concepts will soon be forgotten and the source of the ideas will be lost with the book. Also, some of the theories in the books simply will be wrong. The study of books can certainly take place in separate small group functions but to have the whole church take a course on someone’s book is usually a back door effort by the leadership to fundamentally change the congregation to conform to whatever is taught in the book. Be aware of that!
  • If you are in a church that contains mostly premillennial members, demand premillennial teaching and the teaching of the prophetic scriptures from the point of view of that theology. Remember, the leadership works for the church members. Once the leadership has the view that they are specially anointed and inspired by God and the membership must follow their teaching even if their teaching does not line up with God’s word, the church membership has lost control. The church is then being run by dictators and you must depart from it.
  • Hold your leadership accountable to teach the whole Bible. In membership meetings voice your concern that the salvation message needs to be preached on occasion even in seeker-friendly services. Do not compromise the faith by allowing anyone to take the true message of the cross out of the service and never be so accommodating to the world as to allow anyone to take the cross off of your building.
  • If your church now only has seeker oriented services, try to persuade the membership to have a more traditional service as well.
  • Encourage your church to have contemporary music but also ask them to have a church service that appeals to the traditionalists and older members.
  • Get into the core group of the church by taking an active part in most of its functions. As someone influenced the core to change the church to be more seeker or purpose driven oriented, you also can use your influence to steer the core to change your church to be more biblically oriented.
  • If your church is too far gone to change, and you make waves, they may ask you to leave or even persuade the members to vote you out (this has occurred). In that case, you have no other choice but to find like-minded people to fellowship with. In that event, become active in teaching others about the dangers or damage you have personally experienced from this movement.

 

I Need More Self-Esteem – You Need More Self-Esteem – We All Need More Self-Esteem:

The need for higher self-esteem is the mantra of our time. We are told that we all do not put enough value on ourselves. What psychologist would ever tell anyone that they need less self-esteem? Who would go to them for that kind of advice? The self-help books all agree; they say the main problem in the world is low self-esteem, and if we could bring everyone’s self-esteem up, most of the world’s problems would soon vanish.

Even religious leaders tell us that those with low self-esteem are the problem children of the world. Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church, wrote the most popular Christian self-help book in history. In his book, “The Purpose Driven Life”, Warren infers that if we find our purpose in life, we will esteem ourselves more highly and that is what God wants for us. The most powerful man in Christianity, Dr. James Dobson, is also the top pusher of self-esteem. The most watched TV preacher of all time is Robert Schuller. Who would deny that he teaches that people need more self-esteem? Another very popular TV example would be Kenneth Copeland who tells us that we are gods and we should realize it and act like it. What god has low self-esteem? There is no room for low self-esteem in the word-faith movement at all. Just ask Joyce Meyer.

The self-esteem pushers can even give us many examples of those they say had low self-esteem. They will tell us that people like Hitler did what they did because they had low self-esteem. They will tell us these people did not love themselves so how could they love others. Thus, those like Hitler spread this self-hate to the world. They can give many such examples using social misfits and psychopaths who truthfully had so much self-esteem that more likely than not they thought the world revolved around them.

Many even sell the world the goods that certain ethnic groups and nations are not achieving what they should because too many people in them have low self-esteem. They get away with saying these things without even being called prejudiced. On the other hand, if a man said that many in these ethnic groups and nations had no fear of the Lord and that this is the reason why they do not have their needs met, he would be labeled a religious radical and a racist.

The mantra of self-esteem is accepted by the trained intellectual pushers so now the world leadership will also force feed it to us as if it were gospel truth. Who is going to really question the gurus of self-esteem or try to find out where this philosophy actually originates? I guess it will have to come via me.

What is the truth about self-esteem?

For Christians all absolute truth is found in the Bible. Therefore, what does God have to say about self-esteem?

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.

Paul tells us to esteem others more than ourselves. Those that are seeking vain glory sounds to me like someone seeking more esteem for themselves in this life.

Rom 12:3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

In this passage, Paul says not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. In the first passage I quoted, Paul told us we should esteem others better than ourselves. Thus, the logical conclusion is that we would be better off thinking of ourselves as being of less worth than others. Paul indicates in later verses in this chapter in Romans that even the gifts we have were given to us for building up others in Christ.

1 Timothy 6 :7-12  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The Good Confession

11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

All we are to be concerned with are food and clothes. He says, the rest is a snare and that we should flee worldly desires. Instead of fleshly desires, he tells us we should follow after the fruits of the spirit. We are to achieve the eternal through doing works of faith. Works of faith means trusting in God to do works through us. How then does self-esteem fit this instruction for Christians? It does not.

Mar 8:34-36 34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

What does Jesus mean we should deny ourselves and follow Him? That implies that we should not be the object of importance. If we are not the object of importance and Jesus is, we are not esteeming self, we are esteeming Him.

Gal 5:25-26 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Again, Paul talks about not seeking after “vain glory” This sounds a little too much like those desiring more self-esteem to me.

These few scriptures that speak against elevating self are only the tip of the iceberg. The truth is that there is not a verse in scripture that indicates that man should be seeking more self-esteem or self-worth in the flesh. On the contrary, scripture indicates that man in the flesh is evil and worthless and a worm. Without God’s indwelling Spirit man is depraved and he has no worth. Scripture teaches us to esteem God, not ourselves, because we are not worthy of esteem outside of Christ. We esteem those in the body of Christ because they are part of the new creation of God that have been made worthy by the work of Jesus.

God does not esteem the unregenerate man of flesh, contrary to what some popular authors teach. You see, God actually can take his eyes off of you if you are dead in your sins and not one of His own. He can in spite of the claim made by Reverend Dr. Feel Good that “God cannot take his eyes off of you” and all other such drivel that is taught by those on the pop psychology higher self-esteem bandwagon.

The Bible makes it clear that we are all dead in our sins without Christ and that God shows no partiality to any man. The promise of salvation is to whomsoever will believe and esteem His Son. It is not to those who highly esteem themselves.

Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

An analysis of self-esteem

Let us look at what low self-esteem really is and is not so we can understand what this higher self-esteem we are told to seek by the psychologists really is. Paul said there is not a man alive who does not love his flesh and cherish it. Therefore, that should lay to rest for Christians any idea that anyone really hates himself. All humanity is born with a sense of high self-esteem that mankind can never live up to without Christ.

Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Consequently, since everyone loves themselves, there really is no low self-esteem in mankind. You might ask then, why do people kill themselves and get down on themselves? They do it for many selfish reasons. One prime reason is revenge. Many who kill themselves do it to get back at those who did not esteem them like they thought they should be esteemed. Thus, they must have thought of themselves pretty highly or they would not have cared. This loss of face in their own mind probably came through some real or perceived form of rejection from someone they highly esteemed. They simply could not face the thought that someone whose esteem mattered to them did not think as high of them as they felt they deserved. Many times, they kill themselves with the motive of making the targeted person or persons feel at fault and sorry for driving such a valuable person such as their self to self destruction. They wish to bring down the esteem of the people who did not value them and this is the only way they feel it can be achieved. These become frustrated and/or vindictive because they could not get the esteem they think they deserve or think they must have to continue to live as a member of the human race.

Another motivation for killing themselves might be they believe they are too good for this world and are worthy of a better life and they think death is the shortcut to the life they really deserve. No one with true low self-esteem would kill himself or herself over esteem because they would be quite content. Those with true low self-esteem would believe they are actually getting more in life then they believe they deserve.

Others kill themselves for other reasons, which have nothing to do with self-esteem at all. For example, the sick that are in chronic pain and those with chemical imbalances in their brain.

Those who get down on themselves also do not have low self-esteem. The opposite is true. They are not happy with themselves because they believe they deserve better than where they find themselves in life. This is because they have high esteem for themselves not low self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem would simply not care what others think of him or her. I have dogs with low self-esteem that just go on happy as a lark with no thought of what they could have been or what they should be. I also have a dog with high self-esteem. He likes to thrash the others to show them who is the head dog of the pack. If he ever lost his position I am sure he would be devastated and depressed.

There is the truth of the matter. Those seeking higher self-esteem are seeking to stay the head pack dog and if they do not get their way or if you stand in their way they will devour you. You heard of the cliché “it is a dog-eat-dog world”. Yes it is; because people desiring higher esteem for themselves make it that way. Those who do not get their high esteem and find themselves thrashed by bigger or more aggressive people go into depression or try to gain respect by violent means. Prime examples are intercity thugs and terrorists.

The desire for self-esteem is one of the root causes of depression. As proof, a direct correlation exists between this modern self-esteem craze and the huge rise in depression that has taken place in the developed world. This is less apparent in the third world because they are less likely to expect more of themselves than they can achieve. They generally do not read self help books.

Do not get me wrong – I am generalizing here about depression. Unrealized expectations is not the only cause of depression. There are many other causes. Some depression in the Christian is Godly because like Jeremiah, these people can see the end result of man’s evil. Some depression in Christians leads people to total dependence on God. This is good. There are chemical imbalances in the brain that also cause depression. Volumes have been written on causes for depression. My point is that some depression is caused by a person’s desire to be esteemed so highly that he cannot be satisfied.

What about those with anxiety disorders – don’t they have them because they have low self-esteem?

We live in a world where all people are not equal. I already have said that those who have a problem with feeling inferior to someone else have it because they have high self-esteem, not low self-esteem. There is another fact of life that clouds the issue somewhat but also does not support the belief that higher self-esteem is needed. Some people are treated badly as children or persecuted by others through no fault of their own and they do suffer the effects. Using dogs as an example again, a dog that was beaten often by his owner because he liked to lay on a certain rug as a puppy will cower from people and avoid certain rugs for the rest of his life. This reaction really has little to do with self-esteem but it has everything to do with trust of humans and physiological reactions that have become established in the dog’s brain and body. This dog will never truly trust humans and will be afraid of certain rugs. I have one dog that has high self-esteem but he is scared to death of balloons. Why? Because I once tied one on his tail and it chased him wherever he moved. It was a situation that was out of his control; he could not cope with it.

Likewise, people who have been traumatized in this world will not trust those situations or people that remind them of the perpetrators or situations identified with the trauma. If it was an authority figure, these people will not trust those in positions of authority. Even when no one is traumatizing them any longer they may still overreact to people or situations just as the dog does. This is because it is not just wrong thinking or a self-worth view that is causing their overreaction. They actually have neural paths established in their brain that when triggered, change brain chemistry and send automatic responses to organs such as the adrenal glands in their body.

The only way to change this is to establish new neural paths of trust in the brain to override the old paths of distrust. However, if the distrust paths are deeply established in the brain, nothing can really help these people other than some kind of coping therapy, medication, or a miracle healing from God. These people have anxiety disorders which is a chronic brain disease. In the examples I used, the dog and the people would have a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is not correct or fair to say that low or high self-esteem caused the brain and physiological disorders in these people. This is why those who treat people with anxiety disorders with the concept that the patient has low self-esteem have never been proven successful. Yet, many still do it. They have never cured one patient with a chronic brain disorder by trying to raise the person’s self-esteem. Those who believe this can be done should try it with a Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s patient. The only success for those who have neural paths established and truly lack trust in people or certain situations will come from actually convincing these people that the people and the situations in the world are trustworthy. That is extremely hard to do in a fallen world where the worst sometimes happens and people continually prove that they are not trustworthy. It could be that the depressed and neurotic people of the world are saner than the blind optimists who think the world is just great and is heading toward utopia in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.

Wanting higher self-esteem correlates with the sin of pride

Again, let us look to the Bible for truth. Who was it that esteemed himself so much that he wanted to become like God and actually believes he deserves this position? The Bible makes it clear that this being is Lucifer and that his sin was pride. Hence, we now know who is at the root of this higher self-esteem mantra.

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they did it with the belief that they would become like God, knowing good and evil, because Satan told them they would. They were not satisfied with the state they were in; they wanted to be more than just human, they wanted to be like God. So mankind became just like the counterfeit god who gave them this suggestion. Since then nothing has changed with humankind. Even many of the modern psychological theories originate from someone who claims to have received them from their “spirit guide”. Should there be any wonder about who is the entity behind spirit guides?

High self-esteem and pride is very much the same thing. God does not have anything good to say about the pride of mankind. In fact, if I listed half of the scriptures to support this position, this article would be huge. The Bible tells us that pride was the sin of the Devil and that God hates the proud. Thanks to the high self-esteem of Satan and all who follow him in the world, the world that is esteeming itself over the will of God and is heading toward its ultimate destruction.

In the Bible, we also see a prime example of someone who was not highly esteemed in the flesh even though He was the Creator of the universe. He took no thought of himself in the flesh but only did what His Father told Him. In faith and obedience, He even went like a lowly lamb to the slaughter at the cross to pay for our sins (most of which come from the high esteem we have of ourselves).

Today, many in the world would say if Jesus had more self-esteem He would have taken Himself off the cross and showed the world His true self-worth. That is, “if he were truly the Son of God”. This is the way the world thinks. It is the way the world thinks now and it was the way the world thought at Calvary when many were taunting Jesus to reveal his divine nature by coming off the cross. Human nature has not changed and cannot change. Jesus said you must be born from above to change. If Jesus had done what they asked, there could have been no salvation for anyone. Thanks to the low self-esteem of our Lamb Savior while in the form of a man, we can now enter the new creation that He spoke into existence when His body of flesh was cut off from His old creation. You see, this condemned creation could not hold the God who can speak new creations into existence. Christians are members of this new creation that came upon us by our trusting in the work of God’s Son. Christians esteem Him and by doing so become highly esteemed in God’s sight. This is the esteem we need to value – not self-esteem.

Now, knowing all this, should Christian teachers be spouting a gospel of higher self-esteem even to the unsaved?  Or more important, should any true Christian be buying into what they are saying? Let’s face it, this self-esteem mantra is just worldly philosophy that should have no place in the Church or in Christian thought.

Most of the major Christian denominations have deviated from biblical Christianity in one way or another. It is not the purpose of this article to point a finger at any one group, or to tell true Christians to get out of their denomination or not to fellowship. I understand that this article will not win me any popularity contest but very few others are talking about the apostasy in the church institutions identified with Christianity and the false doctrines of men within these church institutions that now deviate from true biblical Christianity.

The one true Church of God is a spiritual body and it is interwoven in all Christian denominations.

I have noticed in my own experiences that there is at least a small core of true believers in just about every church in every denomination. That certainly does not mean that the doctrine of certain denominations actually leads people to Christian salvation – many teach a different gospel than what the Bible teaches. However, some in these denominations do find that salvation comes by God’s grace through faith (trust) in the risen Savior in spite of denominational heresy. I have at one time in my life been part of all the major groups listed below and I have first hand knowledge of what they practice (except the Orthodox Catholics).

My purpose is to expose the darkness so that the true light of the gospel of Christ will shine.

I do not believe that true Christians can significantly change the overwhelmingly apostate pseudo Christian agenda that is now prevails in most of our churches and intuitions’. What we can do however, is not be deceived by Satan’s devices and not support what is not biblical.

Who is a Christian?

There are over 2.2 billion people on the earth who identify themselves as Christians, but there are significantly fewer that are really part of the body of Christ.

Jesus said you can not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you are born of the Spirit. The new birth from the Holy Spirit occurs when a person truly believes that Jesus is the son of God and trusts in the finished work of Jesus on the cross to atone for their own sins and to justify them before God.

The scriptures say you are saved by faith, not by your own works, lest anyone should boast.

We cannot judge if a person who identifies with Christianity is really trusting in Christ or in their religion to save them. If they are trusting in their religion to save them they are no more part of the body of Christ than a Jew or Moslem or any other religion. Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus because we are one with Him spiritually. This relationship does not depend on having all correct theology but correct theology will result in more fruitful Christianity.

Religion is basically satanic.

All religion contains methods, rituals and practices for man to become righteous enough to ascend or evolve to God. All religion thus believes in the need for one to become self righteous. True Christianity is the complete opposite. True Christianity believes in God’s righteousness. Because of His righteousness, Jesus the creator, died for our sins and breached the gap between God and man. True Christianity believes God provides a free gift of eternal life to anyone who trusts in Him (has faith) that God is graceful and sent His Son to save those who believe in God’s righteousness to save all that trust in His own begotten Savior.

Apostate Christianity (departure from true biblical Christianity) in its final analysis cannot be distinguished from any other religion in the world in its quest for God. No wonder apostate Christianity will be willing to join with all the other religions of the world (the End Time One World Church). These pseudo Christians think they are Christian just because it is part of their culture and because they believe in a higher power. Even demons believe in a higher power. Apostate Christianity has no evidence of a Holy Spirit changed life because they were never born of the Spirit.
Some in religious training were taught that Jesus died for their sins and that they are saved or justified, but in their lives there is no evidence by works of the Spirit. Do they really have Jesus or do they only have knowledge about Him? Do they have Churchianity or Christianity?

Those that trust in their own good works to save themselves are self deceived and still in their sins. If there ever was a religion that could allow man to fellowship with God it was Judaism but the requirement was to keep all of God’s law. The laws of Judaism did not achieve salvation because in man’s fallen state he could never keep the whole law. Man’s righteousness and good works can never bring about eternal life with God because man always falls short of the required perfection necessary to dwell in the presence of a Holy God. Yet Judaism did not fail because through the tribe of Judah a Savior from God was born.

True Christianity

Jesus being born a man but being also God perfectly fulfilled the law. He Himself had no sin but He obediently paid the price for the curse on man because of sin. Sin brought into the world by Adam’s disobedience was paid for by God’s own Lamb sacrifice for all sin. At the cross Jesus took the curse upon Himself, for it is written “cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree” (Gal 3:13). Death could not hold the righteous kinsman redeemer of man and Creator of all. He died but rose to begin a new creation and in doing so condemned the old fallen creation to its eternal destruction. Those who trust Him are born again into this new new creation of believers called the “Body of Christ”. After we are born into this new creation, God no longer sees us as the sinners that we were but He sees us as the paid for “bride of His Son in one body with Him”. (The scripture says in marriage the two shall become one flesh – Paul used this as the example of Christ and the Church – Ephesians 5:31 – 32.)

“True Christianity is then believing that God’s promise to provide a Savior was fulfilled in His Son Jesus.” This promise of a Savior and Messiah to restore man’s fellowship with God is integrated throughout all scripture.

What do the large Christian denominations now confess?

Unfortunately, Most of the large Christian denomination leadership has become infiltrated by the elite of Satan and much of the institutional church has fallen away from the true faith and have followed doctrines of men. Some have a different Jesus then the Jesus of scripture. After the rapture of the faithful Christians the apostate church will go on without skipping a beat into the fires of the tribulation. In the following paragraphs I give my reasons for saying there is now apostasy in the church throughout the major institutional churches that identify with Christianity.

The Roman Catholic Church.

The membership of this church is more than half of all that are identified as Christianity (over one billion people) but the majority of Catholics baptized into the denomination do not even regularly practice their religion. Additionally, many Catholics know little about their own beliefs or they ignore the doctrine. Many integrate it with native pagan religions.

This denomination teaches that you are saved by grace, faith and works of merit. God’s grace is something you must earn by keeping the church sacraments, traditions and rituals and by doing good works. The priests of the church are successors of the apostles and have all of Christ’s authority on earth. The priests are grace dispensers and the church is infallible. If you accumulate enough merit you will go to heaven. Otherwise you will have to go through the fires of purgatory or to hell. The writings of the church fathers and the traditions of the church have equal weight with the holy scriptures. The members of this church are in the process of being saved by their works of merit.

Problems:

Many of the Catholic church’s traditions and practices are contrary to scripture proving that this church is far from being infallible. Satan with his wolves in sheep’s clothing has infiltrated this church and corrupted it. The Catholic Church has become like the corrupted Judaism that Jesus condemned. It is largely a church of Pharisees and of blind ritual — a church of idolatry, rote prayer, and traditions of men. To rid most of Christianity of apostasy we first would have to go to the root of that apostasy and purge out most of the doctrines that have infiltrated the Catholic Church.

The seven sacraments:

The seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church are rituals for grace. The church believes that the ritual itself will dispense grace from God. It appears that the church puts the cart before the horse. No spiritual grace comes from ritual, but power from the Holy Spirit is given to those who listen to God and obey Him.

  • The sacrament of the baptism of infants is not scriptural or logical. The ritual of baptism is for identifying believers with the death and resurrection of Jesus. Babies do not believe. True baptism is dying with Christ and by faith being born into a new creation called the “body of Christ”.
  • The sacrament of the Eucharist should be a memorial and remembrance of Christ’s broken body and shed blood for us. There is no place in scripture that says we are to offer Christ’s body on the altar daily or that the bread and the wine actually becomes the body of Jesus, and by putting these elements in your stomach you will receive Him into your body and get grace from Him.
  • The Sacrament of contrition and penance is contrary to scripture. The scriptures say that Jesus is the only  intermediator between God and man. The doctrine that you can have your sins forgiven by confession to a priest who then intermediates and gives absolution if you do the penance he dictates, abolishes what Jesus did for us on the cross for all sin. Who is sinless enough to intermediate for us with God except Jesus, and which sin did Jesus not pay for?
  • This church teaches that the sacrament of confirmation is where you get the power of the Holy Spirit. The scriptures however, teach that you get the Holy Spirit when you believe and you get power to do His will when you earnestly pray for it.
  • Marriage is a union between two people. There is no reason given in scripture for it to be a Church sacrament or for the ceremony to be performed by a priest or clergy — not that the practice of getting married by the elder of any church is wrong.
  • The ordination of a special priesthood is contrary to New Testament scripture. The scripture teaches that all in Christ are kings and priests.
  • The sacrament of Extreme Unction indicates that the dying get some special grace by having a priest say some ritualistic prayers over them. This is a distortion of the true biblical practices of elders praying over the sick.

The cult of Mary

A large sect in this church teaches that Mary is co-Redeemer and that she was without sin. The scripture says that there is salvation in no other name than Christ Jesus. The scriptures also say that all have sinned. That includes Mary. Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest of all born of women. Why did He not say His mother was if she was without sin? When the natural mother of Jesus and His brothers (yes, Jesus had brothers according to scripture) thought He went crazy and wanted to talk to Him, Jesus said His mother and brothers are those that do the will of His Father. Mary is not the mother of God, she is the mother of the natural body that God incarnated. Mary is not the mother of the Church. She had to believe to be saved and had to receive the Holy Spirit and become a member of the “body of Christ” like everyone else. How can Mary be the mother of a membership that includes herself?

The idea that Mary is interceding for the Christians and appearing to many and giving statements to people that are often contrary to the scriptures is an insult to Mary. The bottom line of these apparitions at the very least is a message of salvation by works which will save no one. Furthermore, many Catholics are now into witchcraft and things forbidden in the Bible because they believe in these lies. Much of what is being said by apparitions attributed to Mary parallels pagan new age teachings and doctrine of demons. Those into Mariology like to reduce the God of the Universe to a child on Mary’s knee but He is a consuming fire and the only intermediator between God and man.

Saying the Rosary with its fifty “Hail Mary’s” is rote prayer to someone other than God. This is idolatry! Jesus said to pray to the Father. If He wanted people to pray to his earthly mother He would have said so. Furthermore, how in the world could anyone really believe that Mary would want to hear the same prayer over and over and over again? Do people think that she or they get power from their chanting? This is witchcraft! Even common sense should tell them that no one wants to hear the same thing over and over again. I am sure the real Mary of the Bible would tell the people who chant these prayers to please shut up.

Many times the real reasons for the rote prayer is not even addressed in the prayer service. For example, when Catholics pray “Hail Mary’s” in front of abortion clinics. Their ritualistic chanting leaves the body of Christ open to much ridicule by unbelievers and all of these rote “prayers” are nothing but a counterfeit substitution for real prayer to God about the real situation that is needing Christian prayer. The scripture tells us not to say rote prayers as the heathen do that think they will be heard for their many words. We are told that God knows what we need before we ask. Our requests should be like a child toward his Father. Try saying the same thing fifty or more times to your earthly father or mother daily and note their response to you.

The “queen of heaven” was worshiped in ancient Babylon. She also had a child in her arms. This was not Mary and Jesus but were demon gods. God did not have anything good to say about the people who worshiped her. Obviously some Catholics have used the blessed name of Mary of scripture to incorporate pagan Babylonian practices and beliefs into the Church.

The doctrine of purgatory

The doctrine of purgatory is an insult to Jesus and the finished work that He did on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. If we sin, He is faithful to forgive us our sins if we confess them to Him. Scripture says that there is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Jesus either paid for all sins past, present, and future or He paid for none of them. Scripture teaches no other doctrine.

A few of the many other heresies:

  • In much of the third world Catholicism has been integrated with pagan witchcraft and no major correction is coming from Rome. Yet the Vatican rails against Christians that teach the truth about such things.
  • The scapular is worn by some Catholics who believe that salvation or grace can be earned from something they hang around their neck.
  • Expecting spiritual power by using holy water, medals, holy pictures, and objects blessed by a priest is simply belief in the occult. It simply is witchcraft.
  • Many Catholic churches allow gambling and drinking on the church premises to raise funds.
  • The Pope as the vicar of Christ is not scriptural and many Popes have been anti-Christ. Peter was not the first Pope. The first real Pope was Leo 1st about 400 years later. Peter was an apostle to the Jews. Paul was the apostle to the gentiles from which most post first century Christianity descended.
  • The former Pope called Moslems brothers, kissed the Koran and said that Moslems are on a path to God. He had a close friendship with the top leader of Eastern Pagan religion and said they were on the same path. He told Catholics that salvation of the earth comes through Mary. Further, he warned Catholics about the dangers of Christian evangelicals that teach the Bible. He welcomed non believers in Christ as brothers but did not rescind the one hundred anathema’s made by the Catholic Church against all Protestant believers. (In catholic theology the anathema’s mean that all Protestants will go to Hell. The anathema’s came from a infallible papal decree so it can never be rescinded. Thus, the only hope of salvation for Protestants within the Catholic theology is for Protestants to return to the Catholic Church). This is not Christian leadership it is the type of anti-Christ leadership that Paul warned true Christians to beware of but this church wants to declare this Pope a saint. The latest popes are apparently no wiser about salvation theology. They seems to think that all people of good will are saved and many religions like Islam worship the same God as Christians even though Islam doctrine says that God has no Son. Some Catholics are now calling the latest pope an anti-pope because some of his views conflict with the views of other infallible popes. Oh, the joy of blind Religion!
  • The Catholic Church has a wretched history and continues countless heretical teachings. Read “The Women Rides the Beast” by Dave Hunt for detailed information on the history and practices of this church in apostasy.

The bottom line about Roman Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church as an institution is mostly apostate. Only each individual Catholic can truly know if they are trusting in Jesus as He is define in the Bible for their salvation or if they are just trusting in a false hope of following Catholic doctrine to save them. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are convoluted and their doctrine of salvation is contrary to the clear teaching of New Testament teaching. The majority that claim to be Catholics do not even practice Catholicism.

Some in this church have found the path to salvation and have been born of the Holy Spirit but many of these are not producing the fruit that they should. The good works they think they do in many cases are nothing more than empty rituals and practices contrary to God’s will. Many are building on the house of God with straw. After the rapture of true believers, what is left of the Roman Catholic Church will become the head of the great harlot religious system (Revelation 17) that will bring in the Antichrist and his false prophet. The majority of this church (Thyatira in the book of Revelation) will be tried by fire in the great tribulation (the real purgatory for Catholics).

Commendations:

+ Catholic charities + They helped to preserve the scriptures + Church discipline + Strong community orientation + Social Programs + Hates abortion + Teaches against the faithless practice of birth control + They still teach some of the essential doctrines of the faith + Strong school system that still teaches moral absolutes + Believes scriptures are God inspired

The Orthodox Catholic Churches

These churches have about one hundred fifty million followers.

This church is much the same as the Roman Catholics although some of the Roman Catholic heresies are not taught. However, they have added heresies of their own. They teach that members are saved by the teachings and traditions of the church, by the sacraments of the church, and through praying to icons. The essential doctrine of being saved by faith is not taught. This institutional church is mostly apostate and the church in general has done few good works on the earth. I doubt if there is a significant number of true Christians within the Orthodox Catholic Church.

I believe this is Jesus’ message to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic Church.

Rev 2:18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass: 19 I know thy works, and thy love and faith and ministry and patience, and that thy last works are more than the first. 20 But I have this against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time that she should repent; and she willeth not to repent of her fornication. 22 Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of her works. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto each one of you according to your works. 24 But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan, as they are wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden. 25 Nevertheless that which ye have, hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations: 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father: 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

The Protestants

Besides the Roman and Orthodox Catholics there are around 900 million other people living in the world that say they are Christian. Most of these call themselves Protestants, although a minority of those that might also be number with the Protestants are cults that deny certain essential doctrines of the Christian faith. The majority of all Protestants are in old mainline liberal and reformed denominations, or they identify with Baptists, other evangelical denominations, Pentecostals, Charismatics, or independent Bible and community churches. The biggest cults of Christianity are the Mormons and the Latter Day Saints.
The overwhelming majority of the people in the liberal Protestant denominations have never had a born again experience nor do their lives reflect that God is indwelling them. Most of them do not regularly fellowship with other believers or attend services. Many that do attend services are Sunday Christians. There is no fellowship with Jesus or each other outside the formal church service.
For the most part their Christianity is cultural and the relationship they have with God is superficial. Many believe in humanism, socialism, evolution and the basic goodness of man rather than the worldview and truths that the scriptures teach. Few people in the liberal denominations know the essentials of their own faith. Many believe that all religions lead to God.
(Within the Protestants there are about five hundred million Evangelical and Pentecostal Protestants that have for the most part kept the true faith. The things listed in the paragraph below should not apply to them. I write about their own unique problems in a later paragraph.)

Problems:

  • Most believe that people are saved into the church through infant baptism, contrary to scripture
  • Some believe that people are saved by the ritual of baptism
  • Many have retained much of the heretical doctrines of the Catholics
  • Most lord the clergy over the laity
  • Some do away with the inspiration and infallibility of scripture
  • Some put men under the authority of women contrary to scriptures
  • Some condone abortion, all condone birth control
  • Many have no salvation message and preach only a social gospel
  • Too many churches put a picture of a Norwegian on their wall and call him Jesus
  • Many think they are Christians because that is their tradition and culture
  • Some think that Christianity is just one of many ways to God
  • Some churches teach humanism instead of the teachings of Christ
  • Some teach a message of materialism
  • Some do not believe that Jesus was God
  • Some think that Christ is a consciousness and Jesus will not return physically (unity)
  • Some teach that man is a perfect spirit and all we see is an illusion (Christian Science)
  • Some Christian identity cults make Jesus a lesser God – Mormons and Jehovah witnesses
  • Most are a-millennial and do not teach the imminent return of Christ
  • Some teach doctrines of satanic psychology as truth
  • Some are state supported churches that are spiritually dead
  • Most churches have no discipline or accountability for their membership
  • Some teach that the Church has replaced Israel and allegorize or spiritualize prophetic scripture
  • Some let flagrant sinners lead the flock

Commendations: + Some are community orientated + Some have Christian education + Many still believe in the infallibility of scripture + Most still confess most of the essential doctrines of the faith + Some support missionaries + Some have good youth and social programs I believe the message from Jesus to these churches is:

Rev 3:1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead. 2 Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have {1} found no works of thine perfected before my God. {1) Many ancient authorities read not found thy works} 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and didst hear; and keep it, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 But thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. 5 He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

Rev 3:14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

The non Pentecostal Evangelicals

Many of the non Pentecostal Evangelicals have had a true born again experience and those that really believe are part of the one true Church. Some of the following problems may not qualify as true apostasy from the faith but they deviate from the truths of true biblical Christianity because they add doctrines of men or legalism.

Problems:

  • Many Evangelicals place too much emphasis on self reliance instead of relying on the Holy Spirit
  • Success seminars are taught on some church properties as if they were biblical doctrine
  • Many have introduced psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies in their counseling programs and replaced Godly counsel with satanic theories
  • Some who call themselves evangelicals still embrace the mainline theology that the Church fulfills the promises that were given to natural Israel without condition. They say there is no future Kingdom on earth from Jerusalem contrary to many scripture passages that say there is a restoration on earth for natural Israel.
  • Some have little or no church discipline
  • Some have occult-like inner healing and birthing seminars
  • Some compromise essentials of the Christian faith for unity among denominations
  • Many pastors job-shop for materialistic or prestigious positions or run away from problems and divorce the flock they were called to serve
  • Many flocks divorce the elder of their church over petty squabbles
  • The secondary leadership in the church too often is picked because of their position in the community or the size of their bank account
  • Some worship the idol of money and care more about their building programs than evangelism of the lost
  • Many churches put a picture of a Norwegian on the wall and call him Jesus
  • Most large churches have a country club mentality. They have wonderful fellowship and they have many programs for those in the club but they do little about improving the community they live in either spiritually or physically
  • Most have now replaced real Bible study with study of quarterly magazines about Bible passages and applications for living
  • Many preach that all who drink any alcoholic beverages are sinning. Some even will not allow into their membership or will remove from their membership those who profess to use alcohol. They ignore or spin many scriptures about the use of wine. Some just need to stop repeating doctrines that they swallowed from legalistic teachers and study the context of all the passages themselves. Alcohol abuse is a sin but the Church needs to be truthful and credible and should not unduly put its members on guilt trips. They should not label people as sinners who in faith are generally practicing something that in moderation actually could be a benefit to their health
  • Some have created lists of actions of the flesh that they say are sinful such as drinking, smoking, dancing, watching movies or TV, or even listening to certain Christian music. Some do not even allow musical instruments in church but these same churches ignore actions of the flesh like gluttony, gossip, and judging everyone as sinners who have the greater faith to believe that God does not abide by their list of man made forbidden activities
  • Many, to be all inclusive and to reach non-believers, have made their worship service on Sunday to be a time to entertainment rather than a time to feed the flock and worship God
  • Some apply the tithe system of government for Israel to the Church. They teach that Christians are required to tithe to their church as if this is New Testament truth. It is not! There is not a word about tithing in New Testament instruction to the Church but there is teaching about cheerful free will giving. If pastors still insist on teaching people to tithe as Israel did, they also should know that Israel had three tithes and following that example will require your members to give about 23 percent of their increase not 10 percent. (Good luck!)
  • Many do not fully understand that the Christians are the temple of God. Their building is a building, it is not a holy sanctuary. The people who make up the Church are the holy sanctuary. There is no special grace for those who come to the front of the building to pray. God’s sanctuary is in His people and He is not any more present in the front of any building or near the preacher. Where is the popular altar call even found in the Bible?
  • Many have now bought into the seeker-friendy church growth movement. They knowingly or unknowingly use paraphrases of the Bible that sometimes twists scripture. They do not teach a salvation message on Sunday. The leadership in general sees the Church ruling on earth before the return of Christ and they tell their people that studying future Bible prophecy is a distraction
  • Many are embracing the Emergent or Emerging Church movement. This movement is redefining the Bible and leading many into mysticism.
  • Some have a few of the same problems as the Pentecostals listed in the next section.

Commendations:
+ Strong Christian education + Some discipleship + Some evangelism + A good grasp on the doctrine of salvation + Most keep the essential doctrines of the faith + Strong missionary support + Belief in the infallibility of God’s word + Mostly Bible centered services + Some community orientation/home fellowship groups + Charity

The Pentecostals

Pentecostals are usually included in the numbers of the Evangelicals but on some doctrines of faith and practice their are huge differences so I will include them separately here. Most of the Pentecostals and Charismatics have confessed Jesus as Lord and are born of the Spirit. Pentecostals seem to live out their faith in the flesh the most, but too often there is a lack of discipline and accountability in their churches. It has given rise to quite a bit of deviant Christianity. Some of their beliefs and practices have separated them from other true Christians. Some of it is heretical or cultic such as the Oneness and Holiness doctrines, Some of it is occult and parallels new age teaching. One problem with Pentecostals seems to be a lack of biblical knowledge and proper exegesis of certain scriptures that the Pentecostals like to empathize. However, the main problem is that nobody in these churches will dare challenge any Pentecostal leader that is over them. They can be very much under bondage to their leaders. They will blindly follow self-anointed teachers claiming direct messages from God and they will follow their every new whim of doctrine as if it came from God. They are also taught to believe in direct revelation from God outside of the scriptures. Thus, so called subjective spiritual experiences leave them wide open to all sorts of deceptions.

A few decades ago most of the Pentecostals/Charismatics split into four camps. One camp stayed with true biblical Christianity (i.e., the Calvary Chapels), another camp went on to experience-based belief and have gone off into a ever descending spiral of more and more error and even doctrine of demons (i.e. the Vineyard Movement). The third camp call themselves “Word Churches” they have “embraced name it and claim it” theology among other New Age concepts. The forth camp is those who have bought into Kingdom now/Reconstruction/Dominion theology that does away with premillennial beliefs about Christ’s return and replaces it with Dominion Theology where the church rules on earth before Christ returns (i.e., The New Apostolic Reformation), In some of these churches the camps overlap and it gets really hard to sort it all out.

Problems:

  • Most confuse being filled with the Spirit for service, with Spirit baptism and teach people that they get the Holy Spirit in a separate experience after conversion, as if you can separate Jesus and the Holy Spirit (there is one God)
  • Many have back rooms where by emotional effort, peer pressure, and trying to speak in tongues they try to get you the Holy Ghost
  • Many say the only initial evidence of being born of the spirit is speaking in tongues and say other Christians that haven’t had this experience are not born of the Spirit. By this doctrine they divide the body of Christ and by saying that non Pentecostal Evangelical Christians do not have the Holy Spirit they insult the Holy Spirit that is obviously working through all born again believers
  • Many appoint new converts and the unproved to positions of leadership contrary to scripture and many of these cause great ruin to the Church
  • In many churches there is little accountability and the leadership often goes astray
  • Many are ritualistic. Even though most of the members came out of ritualistic churches like Catholicism and Liberal Protestantism they have incorporated new rituals back into the Church. Some of these new rituals are praying and singing in tongues during the service, anointing everything with oil to get rid of evil spirits, raising of hands as the only correct position of worship, slaying in the spirit, casting out demons, healing lines, etc
  • Many have rejected the priesthood of Catholicism but then embraced a new special priesthood who claim to be God’s anointed
  • Some claim to be prophets and make prophetic statements but their prophecies do not come true, yet they are still embraced as prophets by the leadership and most members, contrary to the explicit definition of a true prophet in scripture.
  • Too many in this movement go to the traveling circus clowns like Benny Hinn to find phony healing instead of asking for the spiritual elders of the Church to pray for them so God will do His will in their lives for His glory
  • Some think you can become a prophet by self appointment and self will. They also think you can learn how to be a prophet by going to a prophetic school
  • Too many of the leaders are con artists and buffoons who fleece the sheep and open the body of Christ to unnecessary ridicule
  • Too many of the leaders are hypnotists or loud mouth bully control freaks that coerce the church into altered states of reality and emotionalism
  • Too many confessed conversions are by coercion, peer pressure, and emotionalism. Many are pressured to do what the leaders ask and soon fall away because their coerced conversion was not genuine
  • Too many of the leaders twist the meanings of scripture to support a pet or even deviant doctrine
  • Some teach that emotional experience is just as reliable as scripture
  • Some teach name it and claim it and positive confession — “if you believe it you will receive it”
  • Some teach that we are now gods and we have God-like power in our words. They assert that we can speak things into existence
  • Some teach spiritual laws and that God is subject to them and thus make God someone to be manipulated by following some set formula designed by men
  • Some teach that faith is believing in belief. They teach you will receive what you believe (faith in faith)
  • Some claim healing that never happened, hoping that this confession will really bring it about. Others proclaim hearsay about healing from others as gospel truth
  • Some deny the triune nature of God taught throughout scripture
  • Some teach that the King James translation is the only inerrant version (errors and all). They teach that the King James Bible is the only correct translation and that other honest translations of scripture are Satanic
  • Some add to “salvation by faith” the false doctrine of “being saved by works of obedience”
  • Some say the ritual of water baptism by immersion with a preacher saying the words “I baptize you into the name of Jesus Christ” is required for salvation and say all those baptized by sprinkling or baptized into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not saved
  • Some believe that doctrines taught by their denomination are essential for salvation and thus rule out all other Christians as even being Christian
  • Some take an obscure scripture and make it a doctrine (like handling snakes)
  • Some claim to cast demons out of true Christians
  • Some allow women to be pastors and to rule over men contrary to scripture
  • Some make railing accusations against Satan for sins of the flesh and don’t take personal responsibility for sin in their life
  • Some now follow teaching that every disaster in the US is linked to Israel. As if God allows tit-for-tat disasters to come on the US for every dealing with unbelieving Israel. Even in the ancient history of Israel when God brought judgment on the enemies of Israel it was first spoken of by the prophets and the judgments came in God’s own timing. If one follows this thinking to its logical conclusion, all the disasters in the world are related to Israel and current events and not to a fallen world. Otherwise, why single out the US who really is Israel’s best friend? These teachers search long and hard after every disaster and can always find some obscure link to a dealing the US had with the state of Israel. They are especially busy in the fall when it is hurricane season. This teaching is not credible and it opens Christian Zionism up to much ridicule
  • Some Pentecostals still follow the teachings of those who claim that there are hidden equal distance codes in the Bible even after this theory has been disproved. Some of these are even using their perceived hidden codes as a crystal ball to predict the future.
  • Some embrace Kingdom now/Reconstruction/Dominion theology, which does away with the restoration of natural Israel and the literal reading of unfulfilled prophetic scripture and replaces it with a strange doctrine that is not taught in the Bible. They say the Church will rule on earth before Jesus can return.
  • Some are continually claiming new biblical revelation or prophecy. The book stores are full of Pentecostal conjectures that never come true.
  • Most Pentecostals also have many of the same man-made and legalistic problems listed under the non Pentecostal Evangelicals

Commendations:
+ Enthusiastic worship + Strong desire to live out the Christian life + Strong Evangelism + Many still expect the literal fulfillment of prophetic scriptures + Missionary support + Some Christian education + Some discipleship + All believe that original scripture is without error + Most keep the essential doctrines of the faith+ + Some home fellowships + Charity.

Having said the good the bad and the ugly there are many fruitful Christians in the Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches. Here is what I believe is the Lord’s message to these people:

Rev 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth: 8 I know thy works (behold, I have {1} set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name. {1) Gr given} 9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and {1} worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. {1) The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a creature, or to the Creator.} 10 Because thou didst keep the word of my {1} patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of {2} trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole {3} world, to {4} try them that dwell upon the earth. {1) Or stedfastness 2) Or temptation 3) Gr inhabited earth 4) Or tempt} 11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown. 12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the {1} temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name. {1) Or sanctuary} 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the {1} temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name. {1) Or sanctuary} 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

Conclusion on apostasy in the Church

The scripture says that there will be a great falling away from the true faith in the last days. It says men will not endure sound doctrine but will have itching ears and will heap to themselves teachers that will fulfill their own lusts. We are in those days where many in the church are following doctrines of men rather than the Bible. There are about two billion people who identify with Christianity on the earth today but how many are truly the bride of Christ? Jesus asked, when He returns will He find faith on the earth? The answer for most of the world is no. For those who identify with Christianity it is yes and no. Many calling themselves Christians today have only empty religion and not real faith in the Savior.

My best guess is a tithe (ten percent) of those who identify with Christianity are actually born of the Spirit and will go at the time of the rapture (It could be more — only God knows). If my guess is correct the ninety percent of psudeo Christians that stay will hardly miss them. Those that stay will remain in the apostate harlot church (Rev 17) and experience the great tribulation where they will have a choice to follow Jesus and lose their lives or follow Satan and lose their soul.

A superficial look at statistics would lead to the conclusion that the church in America is thriving. As recently as 1991, almost half of the adults reached by telephone reported that they had attended a religious service within the last week. In surveys done between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, about 95% of adult Americans stated that they believe in God, about 90% claimed that they pray, about 80% agreed that Jesus was God or the Son of God, and about 70% accepted the Bible as the word of God. It would appear that Christianity still has a strong hold on American society. But the appearance is misleading. A deeper look at statistics reveals that the influence of Christianity is rapidly declining and in danger of disappearing altogether.

Fading influence of the Bible

Although Americans retain a token respect for the Bible, a diminishing minority regard it as a guidebook for life.

  1. The finding in the late 70s that about 70% endorsed the Bible as the word of God may seem like a sign of healthy fundamentalism. But the comparable measure after World War II was 86%.
  2. In 1963, an amazing 65% still believed that the Bible is literally true. Ten years later, the same measure had dropped to less than 40%, and has remained low ever since.
  3. In 1990, less than 40% defined sin as “going against God’s will,” going against the Bible,” or “violating the Ten Commandments”.
  4. In the same survey, only 13% stated that they believe in all Ten Commandments. (The unpopularity of the Sabbath law is the main reason for the surprisingly low figure.) Only 40% stated that they believe in at least five.

The many reasons for the Bible slipping to the margins of American consciousness include these:

  1. Bible ownership has drastically declined.
  2. The language is changing, making the traditional versions inaccessible to today’s reader.
  3. Literacy is declining, with the result that people read less and what they read is less challenging. For many, the Bible has become hard reading.
  4. The Bible has been banished from public schools, and is ignored or mocked in the mass media. Even to post the Ten Commandments in a public place has been forbidden.
  5. The Bible receives little attention in the home. As long ago as the late 70s, only 17% of American parents stated that they had read the Bible with their children during the last week. If false affirmatives could have been sifted out, the true percentage would have been much lower. The percentage today would be lower still.

Fading influence of the church

Despite the rosy statistic cited earlier—that half of the Americans interviewed in 1991 reported that they had gone to a religious service in the last week—a full picture of the evidence shows that church attendance is falling catastrophically.

  1. Researchers have determined that about half of those who say they went to a service are lying. Actual church attendance is about half the figure gleaned by telephone surveys.
  2. By 1996, the same kind of telephone survey found that only 37% of adults reported going to a service in the last week.
  3. With few exceptions, almost all denominations are losing members. Practically the only religious assemblies registering growth in recent years have been mega-churches.
  4. In confidential interviews, 27% say that they go to church regularly, but 58% say that they went regularly as a child. The drop is greatest among Jews (12% and 31%) and virtually the same for Catholics (41% and 78%) and Protestants (34% and 67%).

The proportion of the population saying that religion is important in their lives declined from 75% in 1952 to 70% in 1965 and then even more to 53% in 1978. No doubt the percentage has fallen further in the last thirty years.

Fading influence of the Christian world view

The weakening allegiance to a Christian world view is evident in many ways.

  1. As we have already shown, many bodies of organized Christianity have repudiated orthodox theology.
  2. Some statistics suggest that popular religious opinions are still fairly orthodox. But these statistics belie the truth.
    1. Although 90-95% of Americans say they believe in God, most of them have a faith that can only be described as extremely shallow.
      1. After World War II, 87% of those questioned said that they were absolutely certain of God’s existence . By 1964, the portion with no doubts had fallen to 77% of the population, and by 1981, to 62%.
      2. In 1990, six out of seven said that it is okay not to believe in God.
    2. The consensus that Jesus is God is also misleading. Many fewer now believe that it is necessary to accept Jesus in order to be saved. In 1964, a bare majority, 51%, still believed that Jesus is the only way. But the same measure slumped to 38% by 1981. Since then, the measure must have slumped further.
    3. Twenty years ago, 70% identified the Bible as the word of God, but about three sevenths of these also said that it contains mistakes .
    4. Belief in an afterlife remains prevalent. In 1990, 82% agreed that there is an afterlife including heaven and hell . But only 4% expected to go to hell, and 45% also believed in ghosts .
    5. Almost a fourth of the populace accepts the occult to some degree. A full 31% believe that some people have magical powers, 28% believe in witchcraft, 24% in black magic, 20% in voodoo .
  3. A survey in 1990 looked at opinions on leading public issues. On no issue did a majority feel that they needed religious guidance to the right answer. On almost all issues, a majority did not even know what position their religion took .
  4. Perhaps the most dramatic proof that America is forsaking its Christian heritage emerges from the history of how the law views Christianity. In 1892, the Supreme Court ruled that “our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian” . Today, the Supreme Court has gone so far in enforcing separation of church and state that, in the opinion of former Chief Justice Rehnquist, it has become antireligious. In a dissenting opinion, he said that “the tone of the Court’s opinion . . . bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life.

This series of articles are designed to inform the Church where apostasy has infiltrated the “true church”,  “what Christians need to look for” and; how “this new age of secularism within the church today is leading to the  “One World Church of tomorrow”. Nevertheless, the fact that there is a darker side in Christianity is not an excuse for anyone to accept the errors of those who water down and dumb down Christian doctrine and paganize Christianity with “New Age” concepts that lead most of Christianity down the path to Laodicea (lukewarm Christianity).

Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for political revolt or defection. And just like in the first century, apostasy threatens the Body of Christ today.

The church of today is crippled with apostasy. I believe, of the 2.2 billion persons claiming to be Christian, a mere 10% may be actual followers of Christ and the True Church. The others, the remaining 90%, are following false teachers; “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; 2 Timothy 3:5. People of today are the 7th Church, the Church John spoke of in Revelations; and, noted to be the Church of Laodicea. The Church of whom is neither Hot not Cold, but lukewarm. One must ask themselves “how does Liberalism, Political Correctness, heresy and all forms of godliness enter the Church without being challenged?” Through being lukewarm.

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the church of Jesus Christ is sick with apostasy, debilitating every missionary work, every Christian school, every witness through the media, and every local assembly of believers. The apostasy that now fills the whole church germinated in about 1800. Since then, it has steadily grown and spread, with corrupting effects that can be clearly seen in two ways.

  1. Christianity has fragmented into ideological camps, all of which to some degree reject Biblical faith and practice.
  2. Western society as a whole, once composed of nations that prided themselves on their allegiance to the Christian religion, has become thoroughly secularized.

The sorry state of the contemporary church exactly reproduces all the prophetic pictures of the church in the Last Days, on the eve of Christ’s return. According to prophecy, it would be a church riddled with corruption and crippled by apostasy.

Liberalism

Before the eighteenth century, no one who considered himself a Christian doubted that the Bible is true, and in European society there were few who were willing to say that they were not Christians. But in the eighteenth century, the educated elite began to drift away from Christianity toward alternative world views conceived by speculative philosophy. The most popular of these was deism. Its core belief was that God created the universe as a self-perpetuating machine, operating according to natural laws discoverable by science. This new world view denied the supernatural, as well as God’s continuing involvement in human affairs. In the early nineteenth century, doubt in the supernatural and in Biblical history began to infect organized Christianity. The Unitarians, prominent in New England, went so far as to reject the full deity of Christ. Under the influence of the movement in literature and art known as romanticism, many of them believed that God is a mystic oversoul transcending nature yet intimately in union with it. That conception of God was called transcendentalism. After the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species in the 1860s, important segments of the church accepted his ideas and abandoned belief in the literal truth of the Scriptures. Then emerged a new form of theology known as liberalism. Its basic tenets were these:

  1. Although the Bible offers spiritual and ethical insights, it is only a collection of human writings. Many of them must be classified as folk tales or legends with no historical value.
  2. Jesus may have been divine in the sense that we are all divine, but He was not uniquely God. Nor did He exist before His birth. Nor was He born of a virgin. Nor did He rise bodily from the grave.
  3. The purpose of life is not personal salvation from sin, but salvation of society from the evils of poverty, ignorance, and injustice.

In some of its manifestations, liberalism came close to denying God completely, except as a human thought.

By the early 1900s, liberalism had gained control of all the Protestant seminaries and had won over many pastors, missionaries, denominational overseers, and college officials. Although the average churchgoer was still fairly conservative, his leaders were working feverishly to bring his views up to date. But liberalism had an unexpected effect. The average churchgoer had enough sense to recognize that if liberalism is right, why go to church? By midcentury it became obvious that the mainline churches where liberalism was dominant were losing people. So, liberals in religious professions began looking for a more appealing theology that would still accommodate their unbelief. The new theology that they created is known as neo-orthodoxy.

Neo-orthodoxy

Since World War II, neo-orthodoxy has supplanted liberalism as the dominant outlook of mainline churches, although out-and-out liberalism retains many adherents, both Protestant and Catholic. The fathers of neo-orthodoxy include Karl Barth (called by Billy Graham one of the two greatest theologians of our time, the other being Pope John the 23rd), Rudolph Bultmann, Emil Brunner, and Reinhold Niebuhr. The essence of neo-orthodoxy is its claim that the Bible contains existential rather than factual truth. That is, the Bible affords the religious man a valuable, time-honored framework for conceptualizing and describing his own personal encounters with God (however he conceives of Him). Neo-orthodoxy permits a worshiper to mouth hymns and creeds that he does not really believe. Thus today, if you visit a typical Methodist or Lutheran church, you hear liturgies that seem to exalt Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet when you meet the ministers privately, they will (if they are honest) confess their unbelief that the historical Jesus was anything more than a man. How do they justify their public affirmations of orthodox faith? They regard the language of orthodoxy as simply a vehicle for attaining a satisfying religious experience. Subjective experience rather than objective truth is, in their view, the foundation of religion.

Evangelicalism and neoevangelicalism

At the turn of the century, the advances of liberalism alarmed true Christians and stirred them to action. They began to cooperate with each other in efforts to keep existing church organizations from going liberal. Around the time of World War I, a series of books called The Fundamentals appeared, defending at length the essential doctrines of Christianity. These books were so influential that the new movement which had arisen to protest liberalism took its name from them, calling itself fundamentalism. In the 1920s and 30s, fundamentalists failed to oust liberals from control of the mainline denominations. In consequence, fundamentalism itself divided into two camps. One warmly embraced the principle of ecclesiastical separation—the principle that a local assembly of believers must separate itself from apostate Christian organizations. The other took a less enthusiastic stance in favor of this principle.

  • The first camp left mainline denominations and began forming their own institutions, including schools, mission boards, and parachurch associations. From them came the GARB, the Bible Baptists, the Bible Presbyterians, the IFCA, and other groups, as well as many strictly independent churches.
  • The second camp included many who continued the battle of trying to purify the mainline denominations, many (especially among the Southern Baptists) who did not feel that liberalism threatened their own denomination, and many who formed new churches but who maintained dialogue and cooperation with more liberal elements in the church.

In time, largely as a result of patronizing the same religious media, the second camp coalesced into a distinct movement known as evangelicalism. This movement has retained its cohesion even as it has forsaken its original identity and evolved into something more modern, tainted with apostasy.

Its chief error today is an emphasis on positives to the neglect of negatives. Although an evangelical church may faithfully teach the basic doctrines of Christianity—the Trinity, the authority of the Bible, salvation by faith, and so on—it gives everything a wrong slant. It says much about the love of God, but very little about the judgment of God or God’s hatred of sin. It speaks often of heaven, but seldom of hell. Its members hear much about getting to heaven through a commitment to Christ or through being born again, but very little about repentance. They listen often to promises that the Christian life will make them happy, but seldom to warnings about the difficulties and demands of the Christian life. Rather than burden them with negative rules and standards, their pastor tells them that they have liberty to live as they please, so long as they do not break an explicit command of Scripture. As a result, they never escape a worldly lifestyle, because many modern vices were unknown in Bible times and the Bible says nothing against them. In the 1950s a small group of Christian intellectuals spearheaded a new movement that became known as neo-evangelicalism. At the outset, the chief distinctive of this movement was its desire to engage learned unbelievers in dialogue, seeking not only witness, but also an adjustment of Christian language, traditions, and tenets to bring them into agreement with the established results of scientific and academic inquiry. Neo-evangelicalism quickly gained the upper hand at institutions like Fuller Theological Seminary and Wheaton College. By now, its influence has been felt everywhere in evangelicalism, yet some clear differences between the older movement and its spin-off remain.

  1. Most evangelicals are politically conservative, whereas many neoevangelicals follow trendy liberal causes. They tend to be pacifistic, to favor strong governmental action against social problems, and to support advances in minority rights, including the rights of women and homosexuals.
  2. Evangelicals hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, whereas neo-evangelicals reject inerrancy or else deny that the Creation accounts and other portions are meant to be taken literally.
  3. Evangelicals still oppose practices like drinking and smoking, and perhaps even rock dancing. Neo-evangelicals have no such scruples, although they look on smoking as unhealthy and inadvisable, and they endorse moderation in drinking.
  4. Evangelicals avoid fellowship with people in the liberal or neo-orthodox realm, whereas neo-evangelicals willingly interact and fellowship with anyone except a fundamentalist.

Neo-fundamentalism and cultic fundamentalism

The segment of the church left behind as evangelicals drifted toward more liberal positions kept the name “fundamentalist.” But purity and unity within fundamentalism did not long survive all the divisive currents in the modern church. As late as the 1960s, all fundamentalists could still assemble and feel that they shared a common identity. But then the fracturing process began. By the 1980s, two new movements had appeared, both weighed down by apostate tendencies. One of these has been called neofundamentalism. The other I will call cultic fundamentalism. “Neo-fundamentalism” was originally a label that fundamentalist opponents of Jerry Falwell pinned on his political action movement, known as the Moral Majority. The label is useful to signify churches and groups that have emerged from fundamentalism and acquired the following characteristics, now evident in many with no connection to Jerry Falwell:

  1. They prefer modern translations of the Bible.
  2. In 1950, Time Magazine, reporting on the revival at Wheaton College, spoke of it as bearing “the stamp of its strict fundamentalist heritage: no movies, smoking, card-playing, dancing or drinking,” and it said derisively of the readers of Christian Life, a popular Christian magazine in those days, “Drinking, smoking, dancing, card-playing and movies they consider the Devil’s traps” (1). These five prohibitions were for many years universally upheld by Bible-believing Christians. Christian institutions enforced them, and pastors denounced the forbidden practices as sin. Modern neo-fundamentalists may not openly reject the traditional standards of separation, but they increasingly feel that insisting upon them is legalistic.
  3. They have adopted popular styles in sacred music.
  4. They tend to be involved in politics, and in politics they do not hesitate to make alliances with religious groups that are non-fundamentalist or even unorthodox, like the Mormons.

Evangelical churches display many of the same characteristics. So, it appears that except for their history, neo-fundamentalist churches are becoming indistinguishable from evangelical churches.

The mark of cultic fundamentalism is its exaltation of one leader to spiritual supremacy. At least two fairly large cults have emerged in the last twenty years, and more seem to be in the making. The first is the cult associated with Jack Hyles and Peter Ruckman. The second is the Bill Gothard cult. The evolving distinctives of the first have clearly heretical tendencies.

  1. Hyles and Ruckman teach that the King James translation of the Bible was given by inspiration.
  2. Both men curry the adoration and total submission of their followers.
  3. Both men are tolerant of divorce.
  4. Both men promote ideas that verge on the bizarre (see the articles cited below).

The Gothard cult appeals to a different class of people, but is no less cultic in its suppression of individual soul liberty. The leader has drawn his followers into a way of life that restricts their contact with people outside his control and binds them to his leadership for every decision they make. What they believe, how they eat, how they manage their practical affairs, how they relate to each other, and what they teach their children—all require attention to his teachings, some of which are clearly unbiblical. For example, he opposes (or at least many of his followers believe that he opposes) adoption, giving as his reason that a child of immoral parents will inherit their moral weakness. Excellent critiques of these cults from an orthodox perspective are available on the Web. By following the links, you will see informative articles on Bill Gothard, Peter Ruckman, and Jack Hyles. I do not agree with every position taken, but the articles do well in exposing how far these men have strayed from a sound Christianity.

Partial conclusion

Each wind of apostasy that has swept across Christendom has blown people away from moorings in sound faith and practice. Few churches remain that approximate what they should be, according to God’s design laid out in the New Testament. Those that still hold fast to their fundamentalist heritage find themselves under tremendous pressure to move either toward evangelical compromise or cultic authoritarianism, rigidity, and superstition. Will any survive as living churches? God is testing His people, to see whether any will love Him rather than the world, though it offers them an easy religion, without sacrifice or self-denial.

“homosexuality and same sex marriage:” [see full post “God have mercy on your church” at Chastisement 2013:]

Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for political revolt or defection. And just like in the first century, apostasy threatens the Body of Christ today.

The Bible warns about people like Arius (c. A.D. 250 – 336), a Christian priest from Alexandria, Egypt, who was trained at Antioch in the early fourth century. About A.D. 318, Arius accused Bishop Alexander of Alexandria of subscribing to Sabellianism, a false teaching which asserted that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were merely roles or modes assumed by God at various times. Arius was determined to emphasize the oneness of God; however, he went too far in his teaching of God’s nature. Arius denied the Trinity and introduced what appeared on the surface to be an inconsequential difference between the Father and Son.

Arius argued that Jesus was not homoousios (of the same essence) as the Father, but was rather homoiousios (of similar essence). Only one Greek letter – the iota (i) – separated the two. Arius described his position in this manner: “The Father existed before the Son. There was a time when the Son did not exist. Therefore, the Son was created by the Father. Therefore, although the Son was the highest of all creatures, he was not of the essence of God.”

Arius was very clever and did his best to get the people on his side, even going so far as to compose little songs that taught his theology, which he tried to teach to everyone who would listen. His winsome nature and revered position as a preacher and one who lived in denial of himself contributed also to his cause.

With respect to apostasy, it is critical that all Christians understand two important things: (1) how to recognize apostasy and apostate teachers, and (2) why apostate teaching is so deadly.

The Forms of Apostasy
To fully identify and combat apostasy, it is important that Christians understand its various forms and the traits that characterize its doctrines and teachers. As to the forms of apostasy, there are two main types: (1) a falling away from key and true doctrines of the Bible into heretical teachings that proclaim to be “the real” Christian doctrine, and (2) a complete renunciation of the Christian faith, which results in a full abandonment of Christ.

Arius represents the first form of apostasy—a denial of key Christian truths (such as the divinity of Christ) that begins a downhill slide into a full departure from the faith, which is the second form of apostasy. It is important to understand that the second form almost always begins with the first. A heretical belief becomes a heretical teaching that splinters and grows until it pollutes all aspects of a person’s faith, and then the end goal of Satan is accomplished, which is a complete falling away from Christianity.

A recent example of this process is a 2010 study done by prominent atheist Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola called “Preachers Who Are Not Believers.” Dennett and LaScola’s work chronicles five different preachers who over time were presented with and accepted heretical teachings about Christianity and now have completely fallen away from the faith and are either pantheists or clandestine atheists. One of the most disturbing truths highlighted in the study is that these preachers maintain their position as pastors of Christian churches with their congregations being unaware of their leader’s true spiritual state.

The dangers of apostasy were warned about in the book of Jude, which serves as a handbook for understanding the characteristics of apostates like those chronicled in Dennett and LaScola’s study. Jude’s words are every bit as relevant for us today as they were when he penned them in the first century, so it is important we carefully read and understand them.

The Characteristics of Apostasy and Apostates
Jude was the half-brother of Jesus and a leader in the early church. In his New Testament letter, he outlines how to recognize apostasy and strongly urges those in the body of Christ to contend earnestly for the faith (vs. 3). The Greek word translated “contend earnestly” is a compound verb from which we get the word “agonize.” It is in the present infinitive form, which means that the struggle will be continuous. In other words, Jude is telling us that there will be a constant fight against false teaching and that Christians should take it so seriously that we “agonize” over the fight in which we are engaged. Moreover, Jude makes it clear that every Christian is called to this fight, not just church leaders, so it is critical that all believers sharpen their discernment skills so that they can recognize and prevent apostasy in their midst.

After urging his readers to contend earnestly for the faith, Jude highlights the reason: “For 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” (vs. 4). In this one verse, Jude provides Christians with three traits of apostasy and apostate teachers.

First, Jude says that apostasy can be subtle. Jude uses the word “crept” (found in no other book of the Bible) to describe the apostate’s entry into the church. In extra-biblical Greek, the term describes the cunning craftiness of a lawyer who, through clever argumentation, infiltrates the minds of courtroom officials and corrupts their thinking. The word literally means “slip in sideways; come in stealthily; sneak in; hard to detect.” In other words, Jude says it is rare that apostasy begins in an overt and easily detectable manner. Instead, it looks a lot like Arius’ preaching in which, in a nonchalant manner, only a single letter differentiates his doctrine from the real teaching of the Christian faith.

Describing this aspect of apostasy and its underlying danger, A. W. Tozer wrote, “So skilled is error at imitating truth, that the two are constantly being mistaken for each another. It takes a sharp eye these days to know which brother is Cain and which is Abel.” The apostle Paul also speaks to the outwardly pleasing behavior of apostates and their teaching when he says, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). In other words, do not look for apostates to appear bad on the outside or speak dramatic words of heresy at the outset of their teaching. Rather than denying truth outright, apostates will twist it to fit their own agenda, but as pastor R. C. Lensky has noted, “The worst forms of wickedness consist in perversions of the truth.”

Second, Jude describes the apostates as “ungodly” and as those who use God’s grace as a license to commit unrighteous acts. Beginning with “ungodly,” Jude describes eighteen unflattering traits of apostates so his readers can more easily identify them. Jude says the apostates are ungodly (vs. 4), morally perverted (vs. 4), denying Christ (vs. 4), ones who defile the flesh (vs. 8), rebellious (vs. 8), people who revile angels (vs. 8), who are ignorant about God (vs. 8), those who proclaim false visions (vs. 10), self-destructive (vs. 10), grumblers (vs. 16), fault finders (vs. 16), self-satisfying (vs. 16), people who use arrogant words and false flattery (vs. 16), mockers of God (vs. 18), those who cause divisions (vs. 19), worldly minded (vs. 19), and finally (and not surprisingly), devoid of the Spirit/unsaved (vs. 19).

Third, Jude says apostates “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” How do apostates do this? Paul tells us in his letter to Titus, “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:15-16, emphasis added). Through their unrighteous behavior, the apostates show their true selves. Unlike an apostate, a true believer is someone who has been delivered from sin to righteousness in Christ. With Paul, they ask the apostates who promote licentious behavior, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)

But the apostates’ false teaching also shows their true nature. Peter says, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves” (2 Peter 2:1). Another aspect of true believers is that they have been delivered out of spiritual darkness into light (Ephesians 5:8) and therefore will not deny core truths of Scripture like Arius did with the divinity of Jesus.

Ultimately, the sign of an apostate is that he eventually falls away and departs from the truth of God’s Word and His righteousness. The apostle John signifies this is a mark of a false believer: “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

Ideas Have Consequences
That God takes apostasy and false teaching seriously is evidenced by the fact that every New Testament book except Philemon contains warnings about false teaching. Why is this? Simply because ideas have consequences. Right thinking and its fruit produces goodness, whereas wrong thinking and its accompanying action results in undesired penalties. As an example, the Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s were the product of the nihilistic worldview of Jean Paul Sartre and his teaching. The Khmer Rouge’s leader Pol Pot lived out Sartre’s philosophy toward the people in a clear and frightening way, which was articulated in this manner: “To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.”

It should be remembered that Satan did not come to the first couple in the Garden with an external armament or supernatural weapon; instead, he came to them with an idea. And it was that idea that condemned them and the rest of humankind, with the only remedy being the sacrificial death of God’s Son.

The great tragedy is, whether knowingly or unknowingly, the apostate teacher dooms his unsuspecting followers. One of the most frightening verses in all of Scripture comes from the lips of Jesus. Speaking to His disciples about the religious leaders of His day, He said, “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14, emphasis added). This verse is alarming because Jesus affirms that it is not only the false teachers that go to destruction, but their disciples also follow them. Christian philosopher Soren Kierkegaard put it this way: “For it has never yet been known to fail that one fool, when he goes astray, takes several others with him.”

Conclusion
In A.D. 325, the Council of Nicea convened primarily to take up the issue of Arius and his teaching. Much to Arius’s dismay, the end result was his excommunication and a statement in the Nicene Creed that affirmed Christ’s divinity: “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father.”

Arius may have died centuries ago, but his spiritual children are still with us to this day in the form of cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who deny Christ’s true essence and person. Sadly, until Christ returns and every last spiritual enemy has been removed, tares such as these will be present among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30). In fact, Scripture says apostasy will only get worse as Christ’s return approaches. “At that time [the latter days] many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another” (Matthew 24:10). Paul echoes Jesus in his inspired writings as well. The apostle told the Thessalonians that a great falling away would precede Christ’s second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and that the end times would be characterized by tribulation and hollow religious charlatans: “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be . . . holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-2,5).

It is critical, now more than ever, that every believer pray for discernment, combat apostasy, and contend earnestly for the faith that has once and for all been delivered to the saints.