by Mark S. Watson
Peddlers and petty merchants have weaned their way into the church, and into the “Christian” mainstream. Many of these unsaved men own large chains of “Christian” book stores, they own the song rights to the songs of “Christian” artists, they own the rights to entire versions of the Bible, and sell their “Christian” trinkets to “Christian” masses who are working very hard to please the plastic Jesus they have created in their own minds. The believers carefully ignore the precepts of Christ to not love the world. These men and women flock to “Christian” evangelists who entertain them for an hour or so and then they run out and live exactly like people who make no Christian profession.
Today, divorce rates are almost as high in the Church as they are in the world. Alcoholism is also high. “Christian” church members justify the use of illegal drugs in their lives and have their ‘live-in’ relationships. They are slothful at work and cheat and steal from their employers and employees alike. They lie and cheat to get promotions and take their “Christian” brothers to court, all the while saying “Praise the Lord!” bringing dishonor to the church as a whole and Christ in particular. At a time when real Christians are suffering under tremendous burdens in other parts of the world, and increasingly in our own country, these self-deceived minions go about in the flesh completely contrary to the laws of God, fully convinced in their own minds that they are among the “saved.”
The sheep (God’s Flock), who are not rooted and grounded in the word of God, will in all likelihood be led astray. These are the times which the apostle Paul warned when men would not endure sound doctrine but will gather to themselves teachers to their own liking, having itching ears. This is true today, in the churches (visible organizations, not Christ’s true church) today, the move is on to bring all, or as many churches as possible to syncretisize and join the ecumenical movement. Unfortunately, this is being done on some rather dubious theological ground. Many of the leaders of the ecumenical movement have openly acknowledged their agenda to form a single body of faith in which all of “Christendom” can join.
Many of these leaders are also quietly seeking out leaders of eastern religions in order to be more tolerant and inclusive. These are extremely important issues for the church to deal with, because any such association of Christianity with religions who deny the full message of Jesus Christ and him crucified without omissions, or unscriptural additions, is indeed an engraved invitation to disaster. One way this sort of trend has been allowed to continue is because the church today seems far more interested in modern psychological methods of personal problem solving than with depending on the power of God through Jesus Christ.
A cursory look at most church programs should bear witness, whether it is drug dependency classes or overeaters anonymous or even various marriage seminars which are more readily founded in modern psychology than on sound (instead of just peripherally applicable) Biblical doctrine. These activities are moving towards the edges of the real purpose of the church. This does not mean meaningful groups or classes that deal with these issues are not important, they truly are. The dangers here is that these groups too often propose problem solving methodologies that are not rooted in Christ or his revealed Word. Far too often these groups turn into self-centered problem solving instead of Christ centered solutions.
“See to it that no man takes you captive through philosophy or vain deceits according to the traditions of men and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
This is the subtle danger when the church moves in this direction. While it may be certain most of these programs will pay at least passing lip service to the gospel, are the teachings themselves firmly rooted in Christ and his gospel? Another Danger lurking in the Church pews is that of lukewarmness and self-satisfaction. This includes a smugness that secretly despises Christ’s’ prophetic Word. It denies one-fourth of the Bible (those passages which deal with prophecy and the last things) and scoffs at the imminent physical return of Jesus Christ to this Earth to destroy the works of darkness as being not “in vogue” or too “negative” or perhaps too “alarmist.” They rely on human reasoning rather than the Word of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit. What these professing Christians fail to realize is that the Scriptures clearly state;
“In the last days shall come scoffers walking after their own lusts saying where is the promise of his coming, for ever since the fathers fell asleep things have continued as they were since the beginning of creation” (2Pet 3:3-5).
These are last day apostate's whether they perform miracles, speak in tongues or cast out demons (see Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus gave us clear indications as to what things to look for so that we may not be ignorant of the times or the seasons, but may be sober, watchful and vigilant in our faith.