The Christian faith is often challenged by individuals who want to know how much of the world they can have and still call themselves a believer. I sincerely think that if our mindset is such, we had better carefully examine ourselves and our “salvation.” The following is a quotation by a celebrated Christian wordsmith who knew how to succinctly state profound truths:
“Worldly Christian? You may as well talk about a heavenly Devil.”
A prominent liberal and worldly successful pastor claims that we can have our best life now and wrote a book on this theme. The apostle Paul said: …….”if we live for this life alone most miserable are we of all men.” Note below how CHS blows holes into this apostate, lukewarm theology that is found no where in the Word of God:
“It is enough for the disciple that he be as His Master.” Matthew 10:25
No one will dispute this statement, for it would be unseemly for the servant to be exalted above his Master. When our Lord was on earth, what was the treatment He received? Were His claims acknowledged, His instructions followed, His perfections worshipped, by those whom He came to bless? No; “He was despised and rejected of men.” Outside the camp was His place: cross-bearing was His occupation. Did the world yield Him solace and rest? “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” This inhospitable country afforded Him no shelter: it cast Him out and crucified Him. Such—if you are a follower of Jesus, and maintain a consistent, Christ-like walk and conversation—you must expect to be the lot of that part of your spiritual life which, in its outward development, comes under the observation of men. They will treat it as they treated the Saviour—they will despise it. Dream not that worldlings will admire you, or that the more holy and the more Christ-like you are, the more peaceably people will act towards you. They prized not the polished gem, how should they value the jewel in the rough? “If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?” If we were more like Christ, we should be more hated by His enemies. It were a sad dishonour to a child of God to be the world’s favourite. It is a very ill omen to hear a wicked world clap its hands and shout “Well done” to the Christian man. He may begin to look to his character, and wonder whether he has not been doing wrong, when the unrighteous give him their approbation. Let us be true to our Master, and have no friendship with a blind and base world which scorns and rejects Him. Far be it from us to seek a crown of honour where our Lord found a coronet of thorn.
—Morning and Evening
21)wine- oinos/ There is a great discrepancy in belief of how much alcohol is in Biblical wine, and whether or not it is fermented. The school is still out with this question. Suffice it to say that Biblical wine is nothing like whiskey or even the 12-15% alcohol in the wine of today.
22)wine- paroinois/ The root of oinos is in #21 and #22. Paroinois has the meaning of one given to wine. Paul used this word when speaking to Timothy when he advised him (Timothy seems to have had a sensitive spirit and an easily upset stomach) that “….a little wine is good for the stomach.”
23)gleukos- wine/ The English word with a very similar meaning is “glucose.” In the English it means grape sugar, a sugar produced from grapes. Acts 2:13 uses this Greek word when suggesting that the participants in Pentacost were drunk with wine. Obviously, this word is more so associated with intoxication than oinos or paroinois. Strong’s Concordance describes it as “highly inebriating fermented wine. Fresh wine.”
24)anthropos- man/ The English word “anthropoid” refers to a “resemblance of man,” and we also derive “anthropology” from this Greek transliteration. The suffix “ology” always means the study of, hence anthropology is the study of man.
25)hamartia- sin/ This Greek word means sin, sinner, or an offense committed. The meaning is primarily “missing the mark,” and refers to any act that is contrary to the will and plan of God for our lives. Ouch!
26)alpha- the first or more dominant/ This is a universal term, referred to Christ in the scriptures as the beginning, or having no beginning. It also refers to a dominant male in a group of animals. The alpha male. It is the first letter of the Greek alphabet as well.
27)omega- the last/ The antithesis of alpha. Christ is also the Omega, meaning the end or having no end. The motion picture “Omega Man” referred to the last man left on the planet earth after nuclear exchanges wiped out the rest of the human race.
28)gethsemane- garden, oil press/ One immediately identifies this word with the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus often prayed with the disciples, and was betrayed there by Judas Iscariot. To this very day, there are olive trees in this very place, undoubtedly descendants from those in Jesus’ time. (I have seen them).
29)gabbatha- pavement, the knoll/ This Greek term refers to the pavement upon which Jesus was tried just prior to His crucifixion. We saw the pavement of this court during our trip to Israel. The spade of the archaeologist unearthed it, hundreds of feet below ground level.
30)golgotha- the skull, hill/ This is the hill upon which Jesus was crucified. It literally means skull, hence many theologians believe the hill was shaped resembling a skull. Golgotha (hill) is the same as “Calvary” in Latin. Calvary is the name of many Baptist churches today. Can you now better appreciate the following five point sermon on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ? Note the beautiful alliteration with all words commencing with the letter “G”: 1)Gethsemane 2)Gabbatha 3)Golgotha 4)Grave 5)Glory.
Many more to follow……………
“And ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” Acts 1:8
In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at His example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He is witnessing night and day; His mighty prayers are as vocal to God as His daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut His mouth; even before Pilate He witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly that there is no mistake in Him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom—not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface—but clear and transparent, so that your heart’s love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it. Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as like heaven-touched lips should do. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand.” Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind—in season and out of season witness for the Saviour, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with His Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.
—Morning and Evening
“Behold, he prayeth.” Acts 9:11
Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven. The moment Saul began to pray the Lord heard him. Here is comfort for the distressed but praying soul. Oftentimes a poor broken-hearted one bends his knee, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears; yet that groan has made all the harps of heaven thrill with music; that tear has been caught by God and treasured in the lachrymatory of heaven. “Thou puttest my tears into thy bottle,” implies that they are caught as they flow. The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High. He may only look up with misty eye; but “prayer is the falling of a tear.” Tears are the diamonds of heaven; sighs are a part of the music of Jehovah’s court, and are numbered with “the sublimest strains that reach the majesty on high.” Think not that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded. Jacob’s ladder is lofty, but our prayers shall lean upon the Angel of the covenant and so climb its starry rounds. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it. “He forgetteth not the cry of the humble.” True, He regards not high looks and lofty words; He cares not for the pomp and pageantry of kings; He listens not to the swell of martial music; He regards not the triumph and pride of man; but wherever there is a heart big with sorrow, or a lip quivering with agony, or a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open; He marks it down in the registry of His memory; He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there shall be a precious fragrance springing up therefrom.
“Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace.”
“Their prayer came up to His holy dwelling place, even unto heaven.” 2Chronicles 30:27
Prayer is the never-failing resort of the Christian in any case, in every plight. When you cannot use your sword you may take to the weapon of all-prayer. Your powder may be damp, your bow-string may be relaxed, but the weapon of all-prayer need never be out of order. Leviathan laughs at the javelin, but he trembles at prayer. Sword and spear need furbishing, but prayer never rusts, and when we think it most blunt it cuts the best. Prayer is an open door which none can shut. Devils may surround you on all sides, but the way upward is always open, and as long as that road is unobstructed, you will not fall into the enemy’s hand. We can never be taken by blockade, escalade, mine, or storm, so long as heavenly succours can come down to us by Jacob’s ladder to relieve us in the time of our necessities. Prayer is never out of season: in summer and in winter its merchandize is precious. Prayer gains audience with heaven in the dead of night, in the midst of business, in the heat of noonday, in the shades of evening. In every condition, whether of poverty, or sickness, or obscurity, or slander, or doubt, your covenant God will welcome your prayer and answer it from His holy place. Nor is prayer ever futile. True prayer is evermore true power. You may not always get what you ask, but you shall always have your real wants supplied. When God does not answer His children according to the letter, He does so according to the spirit. If thou askest for coarse meal, wilt thou be angered because He gives thee the finest flour? If thou seekest bodily health, shouldst thou complain if instead thereof He makes thy sickness turn to the healing of spiritual maladies? Is it not better to have the cross sanctified than removed? This evening, my soul, forget not to offer thy petition and request, for the Lord is ready to grant thee thy desires.
—Morning and Evening
Evening Verse November 1
“And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:39
Universal was the doom, neither rich nor poor escaped: the learned and the illiterate, the admired and the abhorred, the religious and the profane, the old and the young, all sank in one common ruin. Some had doubtless ridiculed the patriarch—where now their merry jests? Others had threatened him for his zeal which they counted madness—where now their boastings and hard speeches? The critic who judged the old man’s work is drowned in the same sea which covers his sneering companions. Those who spoke patronizingly of the good man’s fidelity to his convictions, but shared not in them, have sunk to rise no more, and the workers who for pay helped to build the wondrous ark, are all lost also. The flood swept them all away, and made no single exception. Even so, out of Christ, final destruction is sure to every man of woman born; no rank, possession, or character, shall suffice to save a single soul who has not believed in the Lord Jesus. My soul, behold this wide-spread judgment and tremble at it.
How marvellous the general apathy! they were all eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, till the awful morning dawned. There was not one wise man upon earth out of the ark. Folly duped the whole race, folly as to self-preservation—the most foolish of all follies. Folly in doubting the most true God—the most malignant of fooleries. Strange, my soul, is it not? All men are negligent of their souls till grace gives them reason, then they leave their madness and act like rational beings, but not till then.
All, blessed be God, were safe in the ark, no ruin entered there. From the huge elephant down to the tiny mouse all were safe. The timid hare was equally secure with the courageous lion, the helpless cony as safe as the laborious ox. All are safe in Jesus. My soul, art thou in Him?
—Morning and Evening
During the early years of World War II, the Nazis took control of all of the mainland of Europe. The German blitzkrieg rolled, and Great Britain was seen as the next to fall. Hence one of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s famous quotes was: “We will never surrender.” When told by pessimists of their immanent doom, he again quipped: “On the contrary, this will be our finest hour.” Nonetheless, due to the Nazi Messerschmitt fighters, Stuka dive bombers and ground bombers, it seemed as if the destruction of London and all of England was certain. The British were vastly outnumbered, and German air supremacy would initiate the planned ground invasion, named by the Germans as “Operation Sea Lion.” The British were in no position to withstand a ground attack and knew they had to stop the Germans in the air. Miraculously, the British held off the Germans with the help of God Almighty and the incredible courage of their vastly outnumbered fighter pilots. The fast and maneuverable Spitfire fighter plane was also a great asset to their air defense against the superior German Luftwaffe Air Force. Here is one of my favorite all time Winston Churchill quotations in reference to the fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF) who defended England in the Battle of Britain: “In the history of human conflict, never have so many owed so much to so few.”
Many cringe when they confront such Biblical words and teaching such as “predestination, His chosen and election.” The early church addressed “our lady elect” in the first verse of II John. Spurgeon had no problem understanding God’s elect either. Praise God he was just foolish enough to believe in the pure unadulterated Word of God. Man tries to reason what he cannot reason and therefore lacks faith in the Word. For instance, it does not seem fair to me for the foreman to pay employees the same salary when they started in the afternoon as those who started in the morning, as Jesus expounds on the Lord’s justice in a parable. But it is right and just by default because God ordained it. Amen and amen.
October 28 Morning Verse
“I have chosen you out of the world.” John 15:19
Here is distinguishing grace and discriminating regard; for some are made the special objects of divine affection. Do not be afraid to dwell upon this high doctrine of election. When your mind is most heavy and depressed, you will find it to be a bottle of richest cordial. Those who doubt the doctrines of grace, or who cast them into the shade, miss the richest clusters of Eshcol; they lose the wines on the lees well refined, the fat things full of marrow. There is no balm in Gilead comparable to it. If the honey in Jonathan’s wood when but touched enlightened the eyes, this is honey which will enlighten your heart to love and learn the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Eat, and fear not a surfeit; live upon this choice dainty, and fear not that it will be too delicate a diet. Meat from the King’s table will hurt none of His courtiers. Desire to have your mind enlarged, that you may comprehend more and more the eternal, everlasting, discriminating love of God. When you have mounted as high as election, tarry on its sister mount, the covenant of grace. Covenant engagements are the munitions of stupendous rock behind which we lie entrenched; covenant engagements with the surety, Christ Jesus, are the quiet resting-places of trembling spirits.
“His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the raging flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
This still is all my strength and stay.”
If Jesus undertook to bring me to glory, and if the Father promised that He would give me to the Son to be a part of the infinite reward of the travail of His soul; then, my soul, till God Himself shall be unfaithful, till Jesus shall cease to be the truth, thou art safe. When David danced before the ark, he told Michal that election made him do so. Come, my soul, exult before the God of grace and leap for joy of heart.
I found an excellent website by Dr. David Reagan that gives one an understanding of what is going on in the Christian Church today. Seeing and hearing firsthand the ideas that many are teaching about Christianity, I can hardly believe my eyes and ears! This article will make sense of Christendom and the Church today, the Emerging Church movement, apostasy and theology, and end times prophecy. I find that the best theologians today are nondescript, unknown rank and file men who are not afraid to call a spade a spade and teach the truth with boldness, unction and clarity. By the way, Reagan tells about the theology of apostate Norman Vincent Peale, and how he mentored Robert Schuller who ended up even worse than Peale. Do you know who Robert Schuller taught extensively in California? Rick Warren. I hope you find this to be enlightening:
Articles – Prophecy – Signs
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Apostasy in the Church
How it is accelerating and how it relates to the return of Jesus.
by Dr. David R. Reagan
Apostasy in the Church
(Note: This article is a highly abridged version of a chapter from Dr. David Reagan’s new book, Living for Christ in the End Times.)
The Bible clearly prophesies that the Church of the end times will be characterized by apostasy. Paul said that the Antichrist will not be revealed until “the apostasy comes first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Jesus prophesied that “many will fall away” and “most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:10, 12).
In the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3, the Apostle John records seven letters of Jesus to seven churches in the area of modern day Turkey. Among other things, these letters present a panoramic prophetic survey of the Church in history. The last of the churches mentioned, the one that represents the Church of the end times, is the church at Laodicea. It is pictured as a church that is neither hot (healing) nor cold (refreshing), but rather is lukewarm or tepid (Revelation 3:15-16). In short, it is a church that is apathetic. Jesus also pictures it as a worldly church enamored with its wealth (Revelation 3:17). The Lord is so dissatisfied with this church that He declares, “Because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
Clues from the Apostle Paul
Paul supplies us with some strong clues as to why the end times Church will be weak, vacillating, and full of apostasy. One of those clues can be found in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 which says that “the time will come when they [Christians] will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”
Another clue is located in Paul’s famous prophecy about end time society, the one in 2 Timothy 3. After describing in graphic detail how society will fall apart in the end times, Paul adds that the basic reason will be due to people “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). There will be no lack of religion, says Paul, but people will deny the true power that is able to transform society for the good, producing peace, righteousness and justice.
What is that power? First and foremost it is the power of the blood of Jesus. It is also the power that comes from accepting the Bible as the infallible Word of God. It is the power of believing in a Creator God with whom all things are possible. And certainly it includes a belief in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today, these essential beliefs, which constitute the power of Christianity, are being subjected to an unparalleled assault from within the Church itself. The Bible says that in the end times people will mock the promise of the Lord’s return (2 Peter 3:3-4). What is so shocking is that most of the mockery is coming from within the Church!
The Root of Apostasy
How have we reached this crisis point in the Church? It is rooted in the German School of Higher Criticism which invaded this country big-time in the 1920’s. According to the “scientific approach” of this school of skeptics, the Bible is not the revealed Word of God. Rather, it is Man’s search for God, and therefore it is filled with myth, legend and superstition.
Today this viewpoint dominates the seminaries of America. The Bible is studied not to be believed and obeyed but to be analyzed, dissected, and criticized. The result is that the Scriptures have lost their authority.
John Spong, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey, has written books in which he denies the virgin birth, denies the miracles of Jesus, denies the resurrection, denies the Second Coming, and argues that Paul and Timothy were homosexual lovers. Bishop Spong has become so enamored with other religions that he has announced he will no longer witness to those caught up in the spiritual darkness of pagan faiths!1
Similar apostate thoughts were mouthed by Norman Vincent Peale in 1984 on the Phil Donahue program. Peale announced, “It’s not necessary to be born-again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine… I’ve been to Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere.”
Phil Donahue was so shocked that he actually came to the defense of Christianity. “But you’re a Christian minister,” he retorted, “and you’re suppose to tell me that Christ is the way and the truth and the life, aren’t you?”
Peale replied, “Christ is one of the ways. God is everywhere.”2
Look again at Peale’s incredible statement: “It’s not necessary to be born-again.” What did Jesus say? “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Who are we to believe?
Schuller’s Apostate Gospel
Peale’s leading disciple, Robert Schuller, has outdone his teacher with the development of his “gospel of possibility thinking.” In his book, Self Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller states that the leaders of the Reformation Movement made a mistake in centering their theology around God instead of Man!3
Schuller teaches that the essence of Man’s problem is low self-esteem.4 The Bible teaches it is pride. Schuller says that when Jesus referred in John 7:38 to “rivers of living water” flowing out of believers, He was speaking of self-esteem.5 The very next verse says He was speaking of the Holy Spirit. Schuller argues that sin is anything that robs us of our “divine dignity” (our “divine dignity”?).6 The Bible says sin is rebellion against God.
The Response of Christendom
Schuller’s book calling for a “new reformation” caused a firestorm of controversy. The Evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, invited readers to give their opinions of the book, and many people wrote in to denounce it. One writer referred to Schuller as “a modern-day apostle of humanism.”7
The letters continued to pour in for weeks, and they were so critical that Dr. Schuller decided to respond to them. In a long letter published in the October 5, 1984 issue of Christianity Today, he made an incredible comment that has haunted him to this day:8 “I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth, and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.”
As a writer for Time put it in an article in 1985, “For Schuller, an acknowledgment of self-worth, more than a confession of sinfulness, is the path to God.”9
Further Evidence of Schuller’s Apostasy
In an appearance on the Phil Donahue show in 1980, Schuller tried, incredibly, to portray Jesus as an egotist! Here’s what he said:10 “The Cross sanctifies the ego trip. That’s very significant. In other words, Jesus had an ego. He said, ‘I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men to me.'” Wow! What an ego trip He was on!
What blatant blasphemy — to accuse the One who was the very essence of humility of being an egotist!
Schuller gave a speech at the headquarters of the Unity Church in Lees Summit, Missouri and shared with their pastors his church growth principles. This is a cult that denies the deity of Jesus and which teaches reincarnation! He also dedicated a new Unity Temple in Warren, Michigan, in spite of warnings from a local Baptist pastor not to do so because of the errors of this cult.11
In a recent speech honoring an Islamic spiritual leader named Alfred Mohammed, Schuller said that if he were to come back in 100 years and find his descendants to be Muslims, it wouldn’t bother him!12
An Apostate Seminar
Another modern day apostate is Robert Funk, a New Testament scholar at the University of Montana. He is the founder of the notorious Jesus Seminar which began operating in 1985. The avowed purpose of the Seminar was “to renew the quest for the historical Jesus.”13 The Seminar conducted this quest in a very unusual way. Meeting twice a year for six years, the group voted on each of the sayings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. They voted by dropping colored beads in a box. A black bead meant Jesus definitely did not make the statement in question. A gray bead meant He did not say it, but it might have represented His thinking. A pink bead meant He probably said something like this, but not in the words recorded. A red bead meant He definitely made the statement.14
As you can see, the very approach expressed contempt for the veracity of the Gospel accounts. What a spectacle this must have been to the Lord as He watched these so-called scholars vote on passages from His Word. “Professing to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).
The final product of the Seminar, published in 1993, was a blasphemy of God’s Word. It was titled, The Five Gospels.15 The title comes from the fact that the Seminar decided to grant the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas equal standing with the four traditional Gospels.
Only fifteen sayings of Jesus made it into The Five Gospels in red! In Matthew’s account of the Lord’s Prayer, the only words that made it in red were, “Our Father.” Only one saying in the entire book of Mark was colored red. It is the statement of Jesus in Mark 12:17 where He told His disciples to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Likewise, only one statement from the Gospel of John qualified for the red coloring: “A prophet has no honor in his own country” (John 4:44).
The chilling thing to keep in mind is that the men who produced this spiritual pornography are professors at seminaries across America. They are the ones who are training the current generation of pastors and teachers.
Apostasy in the Denominations
The apostasy is not confined to the seminaries. It is pervasive. It can be found in all denominations. Consider the following examples.
In 1997, on the eve of Lent, the Right Reverend Alan Smithson, the Bishop of Jarrow (Anglican Church in England), held a press conference in London. He announced that it was traditional for Christians to give up something during the forty days of Lent. He then dramatically announced that he had decided to give up Bible reading! He went on to explain that he was going to devote his time during Lent to reading the Koran, because he felt like the Muslim scriptures would make him “more understanding, more compassionate, and more fully human.”16
R. Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer University, a school heavily supported by the Georgia Baptist Convention, “denies the infallibility of the Bible, the unique power and authority of God, the validity of the Gospel’s account of the life and teachings of Jesus, the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, and the uniqueness of Christ as the only Savior.”17
In 1997 the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church sponsored a meeting in Kansas City that attracted 4,000 participants from all over the world. Called, “Global Gathering III,” the conference featured a parade of speakers who attacked the fundamentals of the Christian faith. One speaker declared that the crucifixion of Jesus reveals an “abusive Heavenly Father who is not fit for Christian worship.” The speaker urged instead that the Church revere all the world’s children as little messiahs equal to Jesus.18
Apostasy in Local Churches
The spreading cancer of apostasy in the Church is not confined to theologians and church conferences. It can be found at the grass roots level, in local churches.
Consider, for example, The Episcopal New Church Center in Walkersville, Maryland. This church hired a public relations firm to develop a print and television advertising campaign. One of the first ads in this campaign carried a banner headline that read, “To Hell With Church!” It showed a man thinking, “If I want to feel guilty, I’ll eat some cheese fries.” Another ad in the series showed a painting of Christ nailed on the Cross. Scrawled over the painting were the words, “Of course people with pierced body parts are welcome in our church.”19
The Maryland church really went wacky when it moved to producing TV ads. They hired a fellow known for the kinky cartoons he produces for Saturday Night Live. His first ad for the church opened with a father and son tossing a baseball to each other in the front yard.
“Guess what, Timmy?” the father asks. “Tomorrow your mother and I are going to take you to church.” The father continues, “Not only will you be able to learn about the wages of sin and eternal damnation, but you can play fun games like ‘Bible Sword Drill’ and sing inspirational songs like ‘Kumbaya’ and ‘I’ve Got Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart.'”
Dejected by this prospect, little Timmy walks into the middle of the road and holds up his hands in surrender as a semi-truck blows its horn and bears down on him.20
Not only apostate, but sick.
The big move at the grass roots level these days is interfaith worship services. I’m not talking about inter-denominational — rather, the emphasis is on inter-faith. Christians are inviting Muslims, Jews, Hindus, American Indian practitioners of “native religion,” and others to join in worshiping “the one true god, regardless of the name you may give to him or her.”
Pope John Paul II got caught up in this inter-faith fad in 1986 when he invited the leaders of the world’s religions to come to Assisi, Italy to join him in praying for world peace.21 One hundred sixty representatives came, including the Dali Lama (who considers himself to be a god). Each representative prayed to his own god at the Pope’s request! Did the Pope believe their gods were real? Or did he believe that they were all praying to the same god, but under different names?
Englishman William Booth (1829-1912), who founded the Salvation Army, was a man with a great zeal for the Lord and a passion for lost souls. He was also a man of vision. On the eve of the 20th Century when Christendom was caught up in euphoria about how the Church would soon take the world for Christ, Booth predicted that the Gospel would not fare well in the new century. Specifically, he prophesied that by the end of the 20th Century, much of the Church would be preaching:22
•Christianity without Christ
•Forgiveness without repentance
•Salvation without regeneration
•Heaven without Hell
That’s exactly where we are today. Because of it, as we begin the 21st Century, Christians are faced with unparalleled challenges from the decay of society and the apostatizing of the Church. Increasingly, many are going to give up hope. Some will express this hopelessness by withdrawing from society and assuming a siege mentality. Others will throw in the towel and adopt the attitude, “If you can’t lick them, join them.”
Considering the magnitude of the challenge, is there any hope for triumphant Christian living? And if so, how then shall we live?
(Note: Dr. Reagan proceeds to respond to these questions in his new book by presenting ten chapters of down-to-earth guidelines for living as a victorious overcomer in these end times.)
1.John Shelby Spong, Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture (San Francisco, California: Harper, 1992). Another revealing book by Bishop Spong is Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile (San Francisco, California: Harper, 1999). A good summary of Bishop Spong’s views can be found on the Internet in his “Call for a New Reformation,”
2.Dave Hunt, “Revival or Apostasy,” The Berean Call, October 1997, p. 2.
3.Robert Schuller, Self Esteem: The New Reformation, (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1982), p. 39. An insightful review of Schuller’s writings can be found in an article by Joseph P. Gudel entitled “A New Reformation?” It was published in Passport Magazine, January-February 1988. It is available on the Internet at
There are other excellent summaries of Schuller’s thought that can be found on the Internet. One is an article by David W. Cloud entitled “Evangelicals and Modernist Robert Schuller” (http://cnview.com/on_ line_resources/evangelicals_and_modernist_robert_schuller.htm).
Another good analysis is entitled, “The God of the Bible Versus the God of Multi-level Marketing: Positive Thinking,” (http://www.users.fast.net/~gospeltruth/positive.htm).
5.Ibid. p. 80.
6.Ibid. p. 14.
7.Hugh Cantelon, “More on Schuller,” (letter to the editor), Christianity Today, October 19, 1984, p. 11.
8.Robert Schuller, “Dr. Schuller Comments,” (letter to the editor), Christianity Today, October 5, 1984, pp. 12-13.
9.Richard Stengel, “Apostle of Sunny Thoughts,” Time, March 18, 1985, p. 70.
10.The Phil Donahue Show, transcript 08120, August 12, 1980, p. 10.
11.Rick Miesel, p. 5. Schuller’s support of the Unity Church is also documented in an article by Dave Hunt published in the CIB Bulletin, January 1988. In a letter to the author, dated January 24, 2000, Dave Hunt states that he has a tape recording of the speech that Schuller delivered to the Unity pastors about church growth principles.
12.Dave Hunt, “What’s Happening to the Faith?” The Berean Call, May 1998, p. 1.
14.In April 1996, Time featured the Jesus Seminar on its cover under the title “The Search for Jesus.” The cover article presented a comprehensive survey of the seminar’s organization, methodology, and conclusions. See David Van Biema, “The Gospel Truth? — The iconoclastic and provocative Jesus Seminar argues that not much of the New Testament can be trusted. If so, what are Christians to believe?” Time, April 8, 1996.
15.Robert W. Funk and Roy W. Hoover, The Five Gospels (San Francisco, California: Harper, reprint edition, 1997). A good review of this book can be found in an article by D. A. Carson entitled “Five Gospels, No Christ.” The article appeared in Christianity Today, April 25, 1994, pp. 30-33.
16.”Bishop gives up Bible for Lent” unsigned article, Daily Mail, London, England, February 14, 1997, p. 31.
17.Dave Hunt, “What’s Happening to the Faith?” The Berean Call, May 1998, p. 1. Dr. Godsey’s views can be found in the book, When We Talk About God, Let’s Be Honest, (Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing Co., 1996). The Georgia Baptist Convention adopted a resolution of censure in November 1996 in which it asked the trustees of Mercer University to consider whether Dr. Godsey should be continued as president of the institution. The trustees voted to affirm his presidency.
18.Mark Tooley, “Church Gathering Features Radical Speakers,” AFA Journal, June 1997, p.19.
19.John Kirkpatrick, “Ads fish for churchgoers with irreverent approach,” Dallas Morning News, April 18, 1998, p. 1F.
20.Ibid., p. 11F.
21.Richard N. Ostling, “A Summit for Peace in Assisi,” Time, November 10, 1986, pp. 78-79.
22.Joseph Revell, “The Salvation Army Revisited,” Report from the Wall, (an Internet daily devotional message sent from email@example.com), December 18, 1998, p. 2.
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William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said the following famous quote involving apostasy in the church around 1900. He was referring to the coming century, i.e. our lifetime:
“In the twentieth century our faith would feature a Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, and heaven without hell.”