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“The Present Apostasy”
by Art Sadlier   
March 1st, 2008

All down through the ages, the failure of the Professing Church to maintain a clear witness to the truth has caused those who love the truth to seek to perpetuate a witness outside the religious establishment. The departure from the truths of God's Word within an organized body of professing Christians, demands reaffirmation of the truth in newly established churches.

It has been a continually repeated tendency for the visible church to drift from sound doctrine to false doctrine. Apostasy grows subtly until those who long for a pure church remove and begin again in new assemblies of God's people.

The great characteristic of apostasy is always deception. Apostasy itself is not ignorance or lack of instruction, apostates are deliberate rejecters of divinely given truth. Nevertheless, those who through ignorance of God's Word, are deceived by apostates, are greatly injured by apostasy and they in turn help to spread apostasy which greatly harms others and dishonors God.

It is also true that every generation must fight its own battles, the war is never won! The issues of apostasy change with each generation. Just when the battle seems to be won, Satan shifts gears and deceives God's people in some new apostasy, carrying away great crowds with him into some new defection from God's Word.

The great issue of apostasy in this present hour is an issue that perhaps has never been raised in past generations. The issue of apostasy in these last days is incredibly deceptive, just as our Lord said it would be in Mathew 24:5.

The subtle deception of the present day is the departure from what God's Word teaches the church is to be, what the church is to do, and how it is to do it. It seems to be an insignificant issue and yet it is nothing less than the total reversal of God's plan for the church, it is the total destruction of the church.

It casts aside God's plan and purpose and brings the unsaved into the fellowship of the church. It brings in the world's music, casts away the church's song. It brings in the world's methods and ignores God's methods. It waters down the teaching of the Word of God to make the carnal and unregenerate comfortable. It fails to ground believers in sound doctrine by the faithful teaching of the whole counsel of God. It preaches easy believism and reaps a harvest of psuedo christians.

It is a disaster, it is a calamity, it is the total destruction of the church. The numbers they attract are deceptive and cloud discernment.

The word "Church" is the greek word, "Ekklesia", it means "called out ones". The Church of Jesus Christ is a group of born-again believers who are called out of the world to worship and serve Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church.

Paul said in 2 Cor. 6:14, "Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers." He continued in vs. 17, "Therefore come out from among them, and be ye separate." The writer to the Hebrews emphasized this same principle of separation for the church in Heb. 13:13, "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach."

The church is not to bring the world into the fellowship of the church, to do so, is to change the church in the very essence of what Christ calls it to be.

In Acts 5: the pattern of holiness and purity was set for the church, when the Lord took the lives of Ananias and Sapphira for lying and hypocracy. As a result those outside the church knew that they were not to identify with the church unless they were saved.

Acts 5:13 says, "And of the rest durst no man join himself to them:" In essence they were saying they are a separated group, don't join them unless you become one of them. The verse concludes with, "but the people magnified them". They stood in awe of what God was doing in the midst of those believers, but they dared not try to join with them.

It is the greatest of apostasy to turn this truth around, and change the very purpose and nature of the church. It is apostasy to bring the world into the church and to destroy the separation of the church.

The Church Growth Movement started this process, the User-Friendly and the Purpose Driven Church brought this apostasy to full fruition.

I believe that at this point we are to do what Jude instructed us to do, "Earnestly contend for the faith." We must declare that this is apostasy and call others to separate from it. Apostasy spreads rapidly, the only way to stop apostasy is to isolate it.

When the church offers the world programs and entertainment, and the music of the world, and the world's methods, it is simply offering the world more of what it already has. The church has lost her purpose and has been changed to the very core of her being. The church that does this has sold her birth-right and is no longer the Church of Jesus Christ.

It is time for God's people to be counted. The time is past when we can let others do all the contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.

It is time to recognize that New Evangelicalism is the real issue. In New Evangelicalism, believers will not take a stand against apostasy, they will not rebuke apostasy, they will not separate from apostasy. The attitude is, that because it is fellow believers who are involved in the User Friendly, Purpose Driven scenario, they will not separate from them. In fact their toleration actually results in an endorsement.

It is in that climate that we have watched apostasy grow in the Evangelical Church, over the last 50 years.

Paul said, "Now we COMMAND you, brethren in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every BROTHER that walketh DISORDERLY (out of step), and not after the TRADITION (teaching) which ye received of us," 11 Thess. 3:6.

In Romans 16:17 Paul said, "Now I beseech you brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine (teachings) which you have learned; and AVOID them." It is the User Friendly PARADIGM that has brought a DIVISION (discord) into the church about what God's Word teaches the church is to be, and do, and how it is to do it.

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