The Bible is very specific that in the last days the Church will be characterized by apostasy. The apostle Paul unveiled to the Thessalonians that the Antichrist can only be revealed after the falling away or apostasy,
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
Prior to his Death and Resurrection the Lord Jesus prophesied about the end times,
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
The rise of iniquity and cold love will be the catalyst for apostasy to set within the church. In fact if you read the seven letters addressed to the seven pastors of the seven churches in Revelation you will glean that widespread apathy, indifference, greed, false doctrines, hedonism, worldliness and impassivity would be prevalent in the apostate church. The question needs to be asked, Why would there be a rise of iniquity and cold love within the church? Paul's wisdom to his protégé Timothy is well placed to answer this,
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
2 Timothy 4:1-4
When the Church stopped teaching fundamental doctrines and the educational system became the indoctrination of secularism and liberalism, it was the perfect storm to create the most gullible, rebellious and dumbest generation. If you were to talk to the average believer today and ask them to defend the faith they would not be able to do so because in the last 50 years the Church has been raised on pablum rather than the strong meat of doctrines. I remember as a teenager when people began saying, 'We don't need doctrine, we just need a move of the Spirit.' which was an ignorant statement because the Holy Spirit and the Word go together.
When the Church stopped teaching fundamental doctrines and the educational system became the indoctrination of secularism and liberalism, it was the perfect storm to create the most gullible, rebellious and dumbest generation.
When the Church moved away from fundamental doctrine it became an institution of ineptitude. Sadly there are things done within the Church which are so stupid but because people lack theology and doctrine they allow such frivolity. Paul admonished the Romans of such, 'Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.' (Romans 16,17,18) Paul went on further to open our eyes in his exposé of the end times,
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2 Timothy 3:1-6
Perilous times will come because men will be hedonistic, egotistic and sadistic. I want you to notice these words of Paul, 'Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.; from such turn away. In other words, man and government will feel they can legislate morality without God. Pluralism of religions and philosophies will be acceptable to the denial of Christianity as the true transforming power
What power will they deny? Allow me to list ten forms for you:
- The reality of a Creator and his creation
- The infallibility of the Bible
- The Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
- The Incarnation
- The Blood of Jesus
- The Resurrection
- The deity of Jesus Christ
- The power of the Holy Spirit
- The Rapture and Second Coming of Jesus Christ
- Heaven, hell and judgment
These mentioned above are fundamentals and non negotiables in Christianity but have been under attack from so-called enlightened individuals and institutions deriving their roots in the German School of Higher Criticism. According to the New World Encyclopedia, 'Higher criticism treats the Bible as a text created by human beings at a particular historical time and for various human motives, in contrast with the treatment of the Bible as the inerrant word of God.' This ethos have permeated our seminaries, universities and churches.
To be continued