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“The Great Apostasy”
by Art Sadlier   
November 1st, 2009

The word “Apostasy” means departure from, removal from, the moving away from a previously held position, a departure from the truth of God’s Word to which one once held.

Apostasy began in Paul’s day; he referred to it in Acts 20:29, 30. The apostasy which began in Paul’s day has grown exponentially down over the long church age. Today we have the great monolithic structure of Christendom which has departed from the truth of Scripture, although it still claims to be the Church of Jesus Christ.

In 2 Thess. 2:1 Paul talks about the rapture of the church. In verse 2, he refers to a rumor that claims that the rapture has already taken place and that the Day of the Lord, (Day of Christ) has begun. In verse 3, Paul says that is not so, he then teaches that two things must happen before the Day of the Lord, (tribulation period) begins.

First: the Antichrist must be revealed.  The Antichrist will be revealed by his signature on the seven year peace treaty. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” Daniel 9:27.  This peace treaty will reveal the man who signs it to be the Antichrist. It will initiate the tribulation period.

Second: the great apostasy must take place. In verse 3, these two events are as presented as taking place simultaneously.  Paul, in these verses, relates three things as happening in the same time frame.

1.  The Rapture of the church

2.  The great apostasy

3.  The revelation of Antichrist by the signing of the peace treaty.

There is a massive structure today known as Christendom. There are 1.7 billion people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.  We know that the overwhelming majority of these people are not born again Christians despite their profession of faith. Today there is ample evidence that an overwhelming majority of Evangelicals are Christians in name only, they are unregenerate.

When the trumpet sounds and the Bride of Christ is caught up to be with her Lord all that is unregenerate in Christendom will remain on earth to enter into the tribulation period and the Great Apostasy will take place. Those who claimed to be followers of Christ will receive a false christ (Antichrist) and by doing so will turn away from following the true Christ. Today we are witnessing the stage being set for that coming apostasy.

!       In many fundamental, evangelical churches, experience is given equal authority with the Word of God, that’s Apostasy.

!       Humanistic programs have replaced that which God’s Word calls for, that’s Apostasy.

!       A false gospel is being declared, “Just receive Christ as your Saviour”, leaving out repentance, the whole context of the gospel, that’s Apostasy.

!       The teaching of humanistic psychology, even though the prefix “Christian” has been added is a departure from the teaching of God’s Word, that’s Apostasy.

!       The acceptance of groups which in their beliefs and teachings deny the gospel, that’s Apost.asy

The seeker-sensitive church-growth movement has pushed experientialism (and its close kin, pragmatism) into overdrive through the power of marketing. Sound doctrine is necessarily left by the wayside while churches cater to the “felt needs” of consumers who are targeted as potential Christians.

T.A. McMahon says, “Conviction of sin doesn’t feel good, nor does it sell well. The wishful thinking of a purpose-driven church that would attract the lost by turning to the world’s methods has become a Titanic that has ignored warnings and jettisoned its compass of the doctrine of Christ. While the orchestra searches for a contemporary chorus replacement for ‘Nearer My God to Thee’, the vessel is sinking into the depths of compromise while dispensing temporal lifejackets to save the world from its problems.”

The removal of the Body of Christ from the world is near at hand, as unregenerate Christendom steams toward total Apostasy.

At a recent conference entitled, the “Rethink Conference”, the following press release was issued.

“The overall view at the Rethink Conference … is that Christianity, as we have known it, has run its course and must be replaced. Co-hosted by Erwin McManus and Robert Schuller, the conference declared that a paradigm shift is now underway. Speakers insisted that Christianity must be re-thought and re-invented if the name of Jesus Christ is going to survive here on planet earth.”

A new Newsweek/Belief Net Poll shows that 68% of those who call themselves Evangelicals and claim to be “Born Again” now reject Jesus’ words in John 14:6.  The question was, “Can a good person who isn’t of your faith go to heaven or attain Salvation?”  Among Evangelicals 68% said “Yes”.  That is a turning away from the truth, called Apostasy. I think we can safely conclude that at least 68% of Evangelicals are unregenerate.

Fifteen years ago a group of Evangelical leaders entered into an agreement with Catholic leaders, called ECT, Evangelicals & Catholics together. The agreement basically called for Evangelicals and Catholics to co-operate in evangelism, neither group would seek to evangelize the other because, basically, they said, they held the same gospel. The signing of that document influenced many other evangelicals to accept Catholics as brothers in Christ.

On December 7, 2007, Pope Benedict issued an encyclical in which he calls into question modern Christianity. The document titled, "Saved by Hope", is allegedly a deeply theological exploration of Christian hope which states: "In the sufferings and misery of daily life, Christianity provides the faithful with a ‘Journey of Hope’ to the Kingdom of God. The pope also criticized the focus of modern Christianity, saying that its focus on individual salvation had ignored Jesus' message, that true Christian hope involves salvation for all. (See Ephesians 2:8, 9).

This is a blatant and total denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is Rome's theology of the Dark Ages. Rome has never changed. She is the enemy of the Gospel and the souls of men.

It needs to be understood that what the pope says in his encyclicals supersedes scripture, so you can set your Bible aside. The real concern is that evangelicals, in their acceptance of Catholics as brothers in Christ, are on the road to apostasy.

Roger Oakland said, “It is amazing to see the progress made in the past few years as the vast majority of churches that were once evangelical move towards an ecumenical unity with Rome. There was a time when evangelical Christians were sensitive to what makes Roman Catholicism, Roman Catholicism. Not so today. The Emerging Church Movement, along with the idea that Christian unity must happen at any cost, has opened the door for a global ecumenical movement that has no biblical boundaries.”
To me personally, the greatest tragedy of the hour is the growing Apostasy among Evangelicals. I weep over those who are slipping into this tragic condition, which will result in the perdition of their souls. Apostasy reveals the insincerity of the profession of faith. I believe the root cause of it all is New Evangelicalism, the subtle compromise of the teaching of God’s Word about separation from compromisers

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