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“The Great Apostacy”
by Art Sadlier   
December 1st, 2011

The church of the first half of the twentieth century was a strong church, not a perfect church, but a strong church. It was a church that was separated from the world and separated from error. It was a church that was deeply committed to Jesus Christ and to His Word. I am old enough to remember those great days. The number of such strong churches today has great diminished.

Paul warned us that the in last days there would be a departure from the faith, a falling away from the truth once professed. We call this departure from the faith “apostasy.” We know that all through the church age there have been those who have fallen away from the faith; however this departure from the truth is to be accelerated in the end of the age.

Over the last few years we have seen this apostasy virtually explode. The whole process began in the late 1940’s with the birth of New Evangelicalism under the leadership of Dr. Harold Ockenga.

Dr. Ockenga stated that:   

Neo-evangelicalism was born in 1948 in connection with a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. While reaffirming the theological view of fundamentalism, this address repudiated its ecclesiology and its social theory. The ringing call for a repudiation of separatism and the summons to social involvement (compromise) received a hearty response from many evangelicals... It differed from fundamentalism in its repudiation of separatism and its determination to engage itself in the theological dialogue of the day. It had new emphasis upon the application of the gospel to the sociological, political, and economic areas of life (a corruption of the gospel).”

New Evangelicalism began with a departure from God’s Word; it began with compromise, though it continued to preach much truth from God’s Word;  The seed of destruction was sown in the departure from separation, the departure from separation from the world and separation from Liberalism and its’ errors. The fact is that separation is the very essence of Christianity. The church is made up of the “called out ones.” Believers are called out of the world, called to be separate from the world, called to be separated unto Christ.

When a person rejects separation, that person rejects Christianity as delineated in the Word of God, even though they may continue to hold to much truth from God’s Word. Their lives will ultimately come undone.

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).

John 15:18-19, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” That is the essence of what it means to be a Christian.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

New Evangelicalism was born as a reaction against separation from the world and separation from apostate liberalism. It was born in compromise and from that moment onward New Evangelicalism has trod the slippery downhill road of apostasy.

We have watched as the apostasy of the Evangelical Church began slowly with seemingly small compromises. The Church Growth movement extended compromise in the 1960’s with the philosophy of pragmatism; anything that will fill the church is good. From that beginning the user friendly movement blossomed and brought the world into the church. Along with that came easy-believism which added multitudes of pseudo Christians to the church.

The music of the world, the methods of the world, the philosophy of the world and the entertainment of the world began to permeate the church. The tragic thing is that these evangelicals can’t recognize what they have done. 

They are Laodiceans, and they are blind to what Christ demands the church is to be. To the Laodiceans Jesus said, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”(Revelation 3:17). In their blindness they go right on playing church, waiting to be spewed out of the Lord’s mouth and be caught up in the coming world church.

In the last few years the next stage of the apostasy has begun. Today many churches have been affected with some degree of eastern mysticism involving contemplative meditation. This involves blanking the mind to allow God to speak to you. The problem is that such meditation is unbiblical and opens the soul to the entrance of demon spirits.

The following is a definition of contemplative meditation:

 [Contemplative Spirituality is a belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology. The premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all).

Common terms used for this movement are “spiritual formation,” “the silence,” “the stillness,” “ancient-wisdom,” “spiritual disciplines,” and many others.]

This apostasy is flooding into the evangelical church.

There are two accreditation organizations for Seminaries and Bible Collages, the Association of Theological Seminaries, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Both associations require schools that wish to be accredited to include Spiritual Formation within the school’s infrastructure. What does that mean for these 350 some seminaries and Bible colleges? It means that if they want to receive and maintain their accreditation, they are going to have to incorporate Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) into the lives of their students.

These seminaries and accredited Bible Colleges are the most dangerous places for Christians to be, from a biblical point of view. The enemy has come into the camp. These schools can only produce apostate pastors. The only source left to produce godly pastors is to be found among schools that have not sought accreditation and in church based bible schools that have not apostatized.

Our world is involved in a tremendous spiritual warfare today. The most intense aspect of that warfare is focused on the Church of Jesus Christ. One of the most effective ways of destroying the Church is to cut off the supply of godly pastors.

Today there are a great number of Christians who have no church in their town attend because of the penetration of new evangelicalism. Pragmatic Christianity, the purpose driven movement, and contemplative meditation have destroyed many churches.

I have come to hate New Evangelicalism with a passion because I have watched it destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. For sixty years I have watched this process unfold. The essence of New Evangelicalism is compromise, the abandonment of separation. That compromise has been a slow process, an inch at a time. Very few have contended those compromises and as a result the church is now miles from where it ought to be. The only way to stop New Evangelicalism is to separate from it. Separation is God’s remedy for apostasy.

There is a principle that seems to play out in the affairs of God’s people. “God’s blessing on your ministry is not an indication that God is pleased with all that is transpiring in your ministry.” You may have God’s blessing as you build a great church for His glory, or as you establish a great ministry, or as you establish a great missionary program. The fact is that if you do not teach and practice and inculcate the principle of separation into that ministry, it will sooner or later come undone. God’s blessing is not His approval on all that we are doing.

The life of Solomon is a classic example.

God’s blessing was upon Solomon’s rule though Solomon did not practice separation. Solomon married wives who were worshippers of false gods. Ultimately, Solomon’s rule brought the curse of God upon the nation of Israel and left it divided. What began well finished badly because the principle of separation was abandoned.

“....whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” God’s payday is not on Friday! Loss of separation will ultimately bring great loss of blessing.

God’s blessing on your life is not His approval on all that is going on in your life. The Lord may allow us to learn some very hard lessons at a very high price, perhaps even to the point of the loss of eternal rewards. He has given us His Word and His Spirit to reveal it and interpret it to us. Our responsibility is, with great desire, to discover the truth in His Word and to respond to that truth.

Remember our ministries and our lives greatly affect those around us, and even beyond that by extension, the lives of their families and associates.

I would respectfully exhort those churches that are still holding to the truth of God’s Word and to the plan and purpose of Christ for the church. Do not lose your zeal for Christ; do not lose your commitment to God’s Word; do not lose your passion for the lost; do not lose your commitment to propagate the gospel, do not lose your commitment to separation. It is possible to be orthodox and to be spiritually dead, to be sound in doctrine and spiritually dead.

Today, we have apostate Laodicea on the one hand and spiritually dead Ephesus on the other, neither is acceptable to the head of the church. The Lord said He would spew apostate Laodicea out of His mouth and that He would remove the candlestick of spiritually dead Ephesus.      

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