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As new Believers in the late 1970s, my wife Susie and I were digging through myriads of Scripture trying to get a handle on who we were and where we were going in our new and exciting spiritual journey. The Bible was alive and Scripture seemed to leap off the pages and into our hearts. As is common in the Deep South, we were saved in a very legalistic, Independent Baptist Church (men on the left and women on the right!). Every Sunday a rather large preacher would yell at us for an hour or so. But despite the emphasis on rules, we learned a great deal of Biblical doctrine based on a literal hermeneutic (i.e. “word-for-word” literal translation), and eventually grew in our understanding of God’s Word and moved on to a more grace-oriented church.
But it was during those first couple of years in that small Baptist church that my love for Bible prophecy was nurtured. That pastor LOVED Bible prophecy. Each week he would purposely include something about the Rapture or Second Coming in his sermon, regardless of the passage. The Bible was fun to study and Bible prophecy was exciting! Every prophetic verse he explained seemed to fit together like pieces of a giant puzzle . . . except one. I never could figure out how the “apostasy” fit in to the last days. How in the world could the church, which was growing by leaps and bounds around the world, “fall away from the faith”?
As radio and TV were exploding with large amounts of Christian programming by excellent teachers, the true Believers’ doctrine being taught around the world seemed to be getting stronger, not weaker. Programs that were obviously outside of Biblical parameters were eventually exposed as frauds. So I simply couldn’t make any sense out of the verse that said the church would be “falling away” from sound doctrine as the day of the Rapture approached.
Through the years, the apostasy prophecy problem lurked in the back of my mind, occasionally brought up by someone who had the same questions I had as new Believer. And with the addition of the Internet, it was really, really getting hard to make a credible defense. I was left to sheepishly defend it with “God’s ways are not our ways” types of verses.
Now I have to say, when you work in a ministry for some 14 years, you do miss a lot of what’s going on in the outside world. Inside our ministry, every day seems to be spent dealing with the most pressing problem and little time is available to sit back and observe subtle shifts and movements within the Body of Christ. So you can imagine my surprise to wake up one day and realize that there is now an extremely large number of Christians teaching and believing such things as the Battle of Armageddon already happened in 70 AD!
Having been to Israel 29 times, I am appalled that someone would teach that Israel’s not important in God’s unfolding world today. And when someone says it’s just a coincidence that the Jews are back in their homeland, I have to assume they aren’t reading Romans 9-11.
Many churches are teaching that self-sanctification is possible; that someone doing certain things, or not doing certain things, will make them closer to God and/or more acceptable to Him. Isn’t that why Jesus died on the cross? Are they just ignoring Galatians 3:1-3?
And how many people are mindlessly embracing the idea that we have to “repackage the gospel” or we won’t reach anyone for Christ? So much for the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a dead-to-Christ infidel. Do they really believe that God needs us to accomplish His plan for the ages?
Preaching about hell, sin, repentance, blood on the altar and rapture are fast becoming taboo. Seems many prefer to sugar coat the truth to make the message more palatable. Again, do we need to tinker with Biblical truth to help God get the job done? Where in the Bible does it say we must water down truth in order to reach people? The Bible says conviction by God’s Word brings repentance!
Doing a little research I found there are over 40,000 evangelical churches in America integrating some form of these new man-based doctrines. Good grief, you rarely can get 10 churches on the same page, much less a thousand. But 40,000?!
What’s going on here? As churches allow more and more doctrinal prostitution in order to fill pews (as if success is based on how many people attend the church), we are, in fact, gravitating toward apostasy and the One World Church. Some things are deceptively and subtly being slipped into the church. Others are not so subtle, even blatant. But all things are moving as
if a giant hand were orchestrating the overall movement. If it’s the work of Satan, and my guess is that it is, this is the biggest fulfillment of Bible prophecy since Israel became a nation again in 1948!
To combat doctrinal error eroding our churches, at a recent Steeling the Mind Bible Conference we had one of our best speakers, Mike Gendron, outline what a local church should look like based solely on the Word of God. We titled it The Bible-Driven Church. It’s an eye-opener to say the least. We highly recommend you get this DVD and pass it around.