Thursday, July 10, 2008

RELIGIOUS BELIEF IN AMERICA AND THE COMING APOSTASY


No one should be surprised that in a country founded upon the principles of individual liberties, tolerance for a diversity of religious traditions would find fertile soil. What may come as a surprise to some is the extent to which Americans now embrace a faith without dogmatism.[1] Just as moral absolutes have fallen by the wayside in the land of the free, so have theological absolutes. This is the finding of a recent survey of 35,000 adults conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. In the words of Rice University sociologist D. Michael Lindsay: “Religion in America is 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep.” Paul’s words to Timothy ring more clearly today than when they were first written: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). The faith Paul spoke of was the body of Christian truth, including the gospel of Christ, revealed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16) to holy men of God (2 Peter 1:21). As predicted, the body of Christian truth has come under persistent satanic attack throughout the course of church history.

What is most startling about the findings of the Pew Forum survey is the degree to which Americans now dismiss even the fundamental teachings of their own brand of Christianity. Fifty-seven percent of evangelicals now deny Christ’s claim that He is the only Savior and way to eternal life (John 14:6), and twenty-five percent of Catholics and Protestants surveyed expressed doubts about the existence of God. It is no wonder that the Democratic presidential nominee, Barak Obama, can say out of one side of his mouth, “I’m rooted in the Christian tradition,” while out of the other side of his mouth come the words, “I believe there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.” The truth is that Barak Obama may be connected to the religious inclusivists of our day, but he is not connected in any way with the teachings of the historic creeds that define the Christian faith. His view, like that of many other Americans, demands a radically new interpretation of Scripture[2] that disdains dogmatism and presents “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4) and “another gospel” (Galatians 1:6). I cite the example of Barak Obama’s version of Christianity only because the media refuses to question him on the particulars of what he believess and because he is representative of an all-embracing religious pluralism that dominates America’s spiritual landscape.

What does this all mean? It means that we are living in days of great apostasy and religious deception. It means that the label Christian has lost its real meaning. We read in the first history book of the Christian church: “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). The word Christian was originally used as a term of derision to identify the early disciples of Christ. A disciple is, by definition, someone who follows the teachings of his master; he doesn’t redefine them. In this case the master teacher was Jesus, the One who was God manifest in the flesh, the one and only Savior crucified on the cross for sinners, raised from the dead on the third day, and coming again to rule and reign over all the earth. Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Savior, the only path to eternal life. This is the central truth of the Christian faith in its undiluted form. Christianity in America has become a spiritually diluted, toxic brew. Roger Oldham of the Southern Baptist Convention is right on target in his analysis of religion in America: “If by tolerance we mean we’re willing to engage or embrace a multitude of ways to salvation, that is no longer evangelical belief.”

To where does all this lead? The answer to this question is found in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, in which he spoke of a time when the greatest religious deception of all time would be inaugurated, culminating in the revelation of the antichrist: “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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Know for certain that not only America, but all the nations of the world are well on their way to accepting the ultimate deception. Much more could be said about the climate of religious tolerance in our country, but even worse is the climate of tolerance to which the professing church has succumbed. This has been thoroughly documented in exposés of pseudo-Christian cults and popular movements such as the Signs and Wonders movement, the Emergent Church movement,[3] and the Ecumenical movement, which seeks unification with Roman Catholicism. It can also be seen in Rick Warren’s Global Peace Plan, which he calls “a new reformation,” while others label it as nothing more than the New Age blueprint. A Bible-loving Christian must be a discerning Christian.

What should Christians do? Brethren, no one knows the day of Lord’s appearing, but one generation of Christians will be end-time pilgrims. We know for a fact that every day brings us closer to that reality. As America continues in its unprecedented acceptance of religious pluralism under the influence of satanic deception, and as the professing church slides more and more toward apostasy, the true believer must stand firm in the truth, pray without ceasing, and be about his Master’s business before “the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). Do not grow weary, do not grow complacent, and above all, do not give in to the spirits of the age who promote ungodly living and spiritual lies.


In His Holy Name,

Pastor Tom



[1] A clearly defined set of beliefs.
[2] An interpretation that allows for homosexual marriage and a woman’s right to murder her
unborn child.
[3] The Emergent church embraces mystical practices and redefines Christianity in a post-
modern context.

1 comment:

tomws said...

Keep on spreading the truth, Pastor Tom. The apostates don't want to hear it, but our job is to tell it anyway.