The times we are living in are quite dangerous for the genuine members of the Body of Christ as we enter what may be the end of this age of God’s grace. Before us is the shiny lure of false unity in postevangelicalism, which is the logical outgrowth of the seeker sensitive Church Growth Movement with the Purpose Driven Church; the misplaced mysticism of the Emergent Church and then, there’s the Word Faith Church of greed all now converging upon the broad ecumenical road that leads right back to religious bondage rooted in apostate Roman Catholicism. The discerning Christian had best get back to a prayerful study of God’s infallible and inerrant Word in the Bible, for the time has arrived when we must heed the warning of the Spirit to Come Out From Among Them Now.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:17-18, KJV)
A Very Dangerous Time Of False Unity
Apprising Ministries is all about allowing Jesus to be Lord of this little work, which He has raised up. After all, we must remember it was Christ Who said — But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself (John 12:32). Men and women, as His Christians we needn’t be made to feel ashamed about what we believe by those who have rejected God and are trying to find solace in their emerging skepticism; even when they are professing Christians. The old Scottish preacher Henry Drummond was right on target when he said, “[Jesus] built no church [buildings], wrote no book, left no money, and erected no monuments, yet show me ten square miles in the whole earth without Christianity where the life of man and the purity of women are respected and I will give up Christianity.”
Brother Drummond had nothing to worry about; the positive impact of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ upon His earth is beyond question. However, as I’ve pointed out on many occasions, almost everyone who is listening to the Spirit feels that we are nearing the end of something; as I said, possibly even this Age of Grace itself. These days it seems that virtually every true Christian you meet will talk about how we feel that Jesus will be coming back “soon.” There isn’t any real reason why we should feel any other way; and I might add, there was an air of expectation just prior to His first advent.
With this in mind then, we turn in our Bibles to 2 Timothy 4, verse 1. It is the job of a pastor to keep his congregation aware of the issues facing the Church, as well as to prepare them for the times in which we live. This is contained within the pastoral command — In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who will judge the living and the dead, and in the view of His appearing and His Kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. And we also need to remember the very nanosecond that God the Father says to God the Son, “Go and get Your Church,” this world will be thrown into a season of turmoil such as it has never seen.
However, just prior to that—in other words, maybe right now—the Bible tells us — This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1). That was from the King James Version, which here anyway, best captures the original Greek of this particular verse of Holy Scripture. The NIV reads — terrible times — but that really isn’t anywhere near strong enough wording to convey these ominous days dead ahead. The truth is, as bad as things may seem right now—as the old saying goes: “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” The New International Bible Commentary brings out that the “expression [perilous] times contains within it the thought ‘of threat, of menace, of danger’…”
(1489, bold theirs)
But Can A Bad Root Produce Good Fruit?
When we pause to reflect on what I’ve just said, it’s true that nearly all of us who would consider ourselves blood-bought Christians have been talking about these issues. As such, the fact that these things are on all of our minds means that I’m certainly not being an alarmist by bringing them to your attention here in an article like this. There are some who would feel: “Well this isn’t what we’re used to hearing from the pulpit or on the Internet.” And no doubt this is true, and some of what I’ve been teaching here is simply designed to correct misunderstandings concerning proper Christian doctrine, while the rest relates directly to these perilous times.
A quick example; it is incredulous to me that in the mainstream evangelical community there is now a growing move in preparation to accept The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) into at least some forms of religious fellowship as I discuss in Mormon Church Is Now Christian. Can you imagine anything so ridiculous? Well, now you don’t even have to imagine it, as soon you will be able to pick up Christianity Today and read all about evangelical Protestants extending the right hand of fellowship to non-Christian cultists. Any chance this will play right into the mass of confusion regarding the subject of Christianity that Satan has already sent slithering into the sordid society of contemporary America—currently drowning in his philosophy of relativism?
It does seem incredible, but it is also deathly true. If you’d like to read more about what’s at stake concerning the LDS Church I recommend to your attention my article Mormon Church: Deity of Christ. Indeed Ephesians 4:15 tells us we should be speaking the truth in love, but for the love of the Lord, the very next chapter of Ephesians clearly tells the true Christian — Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them… Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them (vv. 6-7,11). I would venture to guess that this will be a bit difficult to do when the sheep have their arms around wolves and are calling the wolf, “brother.”
Don’t we remember that our Lord Jesus clearly told us to:
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Notice particularly the b part of verse 17 a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Why do you suppose Jesus said this? Was it to exercise His lungs? I think not. He’s trying to tell us that groups, which would begin with the rotten root of false teachings and false prophets, will never bear good fruit. Among contemporary examples would be the Seventh-day Adventist Church—whose root extends back to two false prophets— William Miller, and Ellen G. White, who was clearly exposed as a plagiarist. Another would be The Worldwide Church of God. This is a group which began its existence as a non-Christian cult, but which is now considered “orthodox” by most due to some reformation away from many of its satanic origins with Herbert W. Armstrong.
And then there is the emerging church that actually began with Leadership Network asking universalist Doug Pagitt to assemble other youth ministers—the vast majority of which were semi-pelagian, neo-orthodox and denied the doctrines of grace—into what was called the TerraNova Project. What we’re getting at here is that even though these groups may now have things to commend them, Christ has already warned His Church that a bad tree—which these groups undoubtedly were/are—cannot bear good fruit. It doesn’t matter what they do now. The truth is that every true Christian involved with these organizations/movements should immediately come out from among them.
Read God’s Word For Yourself
And so, currently—because of the terrific lack of judgment shown by more and more of our evangelical leaders—there is a ton of confusion in the Church today over much of what you will see covered here through the teaching ministry of AM. “Awaken—it’s morning!” Now, you’re probably going to find this hard to believe, being as shy as I am, but I will tell you bluntly two major reasons how travesties such as the Mormon debacle and the seeker sensitive Purpose Driven Church—along with its ugly stepsister the Emergent Church—with their “Mary had a little Lamb” philoso-theologies—have been allowed to fester within our Lord’s House.
The first reason has led right into, and is directly responsible for, the second problem. First is our nearly unforgivable lack of attention to discerning exactly what the Bible itself says about the many complex issues the Church is facing today. And the other problem is that quite unfortunately people have just become lazy about reading the Bible for themselves, and instead they are foolishly making themselves dependent upon others to tell them what to believe through reading books about the Bible with by still others. Tozer saw this over 50 years ago:
That so-called Bible religion in our times is suffering rapid decline is so evident as to need no proof, but just what has brought about this decline is not so easy to discover. I can only say that I have observed one significant lack among evangelical Christians which might turn out to be the real cause of most of our spiritual troubles. Of course, if that were true, then the supplying of that lack would be our most critical need.
The great deficiency to which I refer is the lack of spiritual discernment, especially among our leaders. How there can be so much Bible knowledge and so little insight, so little moral penetration, is one of the enigmas of the religious world today….
If not the greatest need, then surely one of the greatest is for the appearance of Christian leaders with prophetic vision. We desperately need seers who can see through the mist. Unless they come soon, it will be too late for this generation. And if they do come, we will no doubt crucify a few of them in the name of our worldly orthodoxy. But the cross is always the harbinger of the resurrection.
(We Travel an Appointed Way, 111-112)
What happened as the inevitable result was that so-called best-selling authors—like ol’ smilin’ Joel Osteen—became the popular teachers within the Church. And even Osteen himself recently said that Mormons are Christians as I pointed in Joel Osteen Blesses The Mormon Church. The truth is that the whole professing Body of Christ has been adversely affected, and increasingly large sections of it have even been corrupted over time. That’s how so much of the evangelical—what is considered the middle of the road—Christian camp has drifted so far from what the Bible actually says.
The only way that the Church of Jesus Christ could possibly have drifted so far from what the Church in the New Testament was doing is to stop reading God’s Word for itself. Because if you actually open it up and make the time read the Scriptures, there is simply no way on God’s earth you could ever reconcile much of what passes for Christianity with what you would read in the Bible. It just can’t be done—with a slide-rule, a crowbar and a whole library of dictionaries—it just doesn’t measure up.
As a result we are now left with one of two choices. We who are His Church—the Bride of Christ—can remain in our lives of compromise with the world system in order to live in peace with them. We could simply continue to play “church” and just keep on going through the motions of saying we worship God in this country, and the possibility exists that He might allow it for a season. We can continue to do things “the way they’ve always been done”; but, the devastating result of this type of thinking is the pitifully pathetic mess we now find today within so much of the evangelical camp. Meanwhile the sky continues to grow ever more red as this apostasy spreads like a spiritual cancer.
There is a better choice however. We could—and I would say we must—determine to return wholeheartedly to God and ask Him to forgive us for our abysmal lack of faith. Men and women, we need to repent immediately from this kind of dead “churchianity.” If the true Church of Jesus Christ has any hope at all in really reaching people for our Lord in this so-called postmodern culture here in the United States, then we had best ground ourselves once more in the true understanding of these essential issues of the Christian faith.
Beloved, the sad fact is that we who would claim to be Christian are having trouble understanding what the mission of the Church is. So much of what is called church today is nothing but man-centered pandering to the flesh in a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 3:2 — men will be lovers of self. And if those of us who are called by God don’t know what we are doing then how in the world do we would ever expect people trapped within false religious systems like secular humanism and the non-Christian cult of Mormonism, to name a couple of examples, to become born again dedicated followers of Christ Jesus?
The Christian Church Must Return To Our First Love
You remember Revelation 2 and the historic church at Ephesus, which had its lampstand—representing their right to minister for Christ—removed because they drifted away from their first love. Men and women, we must now face the sad fact that here in this country the Church of our Lord has long since forsaken our first love. So we must return and look carefully at these Scriptures—for this is what the Lord says:
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:4-7)
As I have talked to other pastors and ministers, there is a real feeling that things have now grown so bad in America that we who teach God’s Word have no choice but to come to the realization that we now living in a pagan nation. The Church in this foreign mission field must face the fact that we are living among a people hostile to Christianity, and further, they are also actively living lifestyles that are almost the exact opposite of the way God would have them live. The rampant sexual immorality in this nation alone should be enough for any Christian to see how depraved they have become. However, to an alarmingly large extent, what has been happening is that all the while the Christian has been slowly and systematically desensitized to sin; not a little unlike the frog in the kettle analogy.
Things today are so far away from any Biblical standard—and in virtually every area of our society—that the undiscerning among Christ’s people have simply gotten “used” to this type of lifestyle. For example, the average Christian has been regularly listening to secular music, and has had the world’s immoral value system preached to them on a consistent basis. I even tried a while back to lovingly point this out to Christian apologist Richard Abanes who tells us he enjoys listening to Green Day, a “pop-punk” band as it were. The very fact that he was willing to make a defense for punk music itself, a most despicable form of anti-society anti-music, speaks volumes for the rotting fruit of the purpose driven life he has been taught by pastor Rick Warren at Saddleback Church.
And then, in conjunction with the above, what has also been happening is that Christians are watching way too much secular television—with the same relentless indoctrination going on from this dubious source as well. Do we really have such a lack of respect for the Bible and the enemy of men’s souls to think that the Devil sleeps as his time grows short? And further, as the immature Christian then falls into friendships (be aware of the danger of undiscerning “friendship evangelism”) with unbelievers the situation is amplified further. The distressing fact here in America today is that the average Christian is developing exactly the same habits—and is actually living a lifestyle which is nearly identical to the one now “enjoyed” by unbelievers. They go to work, they come home, flip on the TV—just the same as the non-Christian—except possibly they might watch a few different programs. The “Christian” witness of today is actually a kind of quasi-cleaner version of the typical secular lifestyle.
Let’s Get Back To The Apostles’ Teachings
The previous reference in Revelation 2:5 about doing the things you did at first is to return to the example of the early Church in the New Testament. In Acts 2:42 the Bible says – They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. You can literally turn there if you want to—I’m not kidding—it’s really in God’s Word! Well, let’s ask ourselves: What does this mean? First — They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. This doctrine would be found in what we would now call the New Testament—as the apostles’ teaching has been written down for us. And since these men were also using the Old Testament to teach from, this would now include the entire Bible.
So let’s stop and think about this for a moment: Do you think that God expected the early Church to do what He has said in Holy Scripture, but somehow Christ Jesus–the Lord–Who is the same yesterday and today and forever (see–Hebrews 13:8; Malachi 3:6) excuses us from this now? You know, it wouldn’t hurt to meditate upon that question in your prayer and Bible study time with Jesus this week. As His Church, why don’t we seriously begin to ask the Master what He thinks about all this romancing non-Christian cults, insipid interspiritual such as Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell and the Seeds of Compassion Event and the welcoming the fruit of false prophets into His Church? I tell you in the Lord, if we don’t stop this lunacy in the Lord’s Name, God the Holy Spirit will continue to grieve, and ultimately He will remove the lampstand of the American Christian Church.
Of this you may be sure…that is, if our Lord hasn’t already done so…