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By Brother B in March 2009
The deepening economic, political, and moral crisis we see in the United States today raises not only grave concern, but questions. How did our nation arrive at this point? What should the Church now do?
Scripture tells us how we got to this point.
2 Peter 2:20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
Although we usually apply this Scripture to individuals, it applies also to people groups and nations. When God’s people backslid in the Old Testament, their condition became worse than that of the nations around them who had not known God. Speaking to unfaithful Jerusalem in Ezekiel 16, God said:
“46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. 47 You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. 48 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done… 51 …You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done.”
We were once a God-fearing nation, but our faith has grown cold (Luke 18:8). Like Israel, we were specially favored by God with great prosperity. But like Israel, we have forgotten the One who blessed us. The “Christian” nation of America now only has an outward form of godliness without any power.
2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
A worst-case scenario
This is now clearly evident in the United States where in the name of “Christian” compassion and tolerance we condone if not accept practices such as homosexuality, abortion on demand, and the taking of illegal drugs. The acceptance of such practices at the founding of our nation over two hundred years ago would have been unthinkable. Significantly, Musl__m nations even today publicly condemn such practices as abominations.
Love, compassion, forgiveness and justice were taught by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago, and America was founded on such principles. But what is left now is an empty shell—merely a form of godliness which denies the power of the gospel to change enslaved sinners into holy saints who obey God’s will.
We hesitate to judge others for their sins because in Matthew 7 Jesus teaches:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
But we have forgotten that we are told to repent and to take the plank out of our own eye so that we can judge our brother righteously. The apostle Paul wrote moreover in 1 Corinthians 6:2 that we are to judge the world.
As a result, we are now left with Christianity without Christ and the cross. We now have Christianity without repentance and personal responsibility and Christianity without holiness. It is, essentially, Christianity without God. This is arguably the worse-case scenario on earth that can befall a people or society. Let’s look at the warning issued by Jesus Christ.
Luke 11:24 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”
America’s final condition is worse than the first—in some ways worse than that of pagan nations. We can now better understand why some Musl__ms see “Christian” America as the Great Satan worthy of death. Sexual immorality, abortion, and illegal drugs are not tolerated publicly in Musl__m countries. But in the United States such practices are, unthinkably, even flaunted by their proponents. By this measure Musl__m nations may seem righteous by comparison to the United States. This is a hard saying. But even Sodom and Samaria seemed comparatively righteous in God’s sight in light of Jerusalem’s sins (Ezekiel 16:51).
“Love and compassion and tolerance”
For the sake of not being harsh and judgmental, popular American culture now accepts immoral sexual practices, whether heterosexual or homosexual, as normal or an alternative lifestyle. For the sake of women’s “rights,” we allow them to abort their babies for any reason at all. For the sake of compassion to the unfortunate we offer public welfare and entitlements but without demanding responsibility and accountability from them. In their original form these qualities were “Christian” virtues. But now in mainstream America we have a form of godliness which is completely devoid of God.
Love, tolerance, and compassion without the gospel of Jesus Christ have now spawned the popular culture we see in America today. This culture has empowered—not unpredictably—a political movement which many are convinced is intent on plunging the United States into socialism and wealth redistribution. This is of course in the name of compassion, fairness and equality. Given the current imbalance of power in the 2009 United States Congress, this descent appears irresistible and may be irreversible. When Christ and repentance are removed from Christianity in a nation, the proverb about a dog returning to its vomit comes to pass.
It is a cycle that we see repeated in the Old Testament over and over in the history of Israel. Repentance and turning to God was following by blessing and prosperity, which in turn was followed by complacency and sin, and then finally, judgment. It is a cycle that historians tell us is repeated in secular history as well. America is near the end of such a cycle. But since we may very well be in the end times, this may be the final cycle.
Scripture speaks of an apostasy to take place in the end times before the return of Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs… (NIV)
The word “rebellion” is translated from the Greek word “apostasia” from which we get the word apostasy. Before the return of Christ there will be apostasy in the Church. This might be taking place even now.
Apostasy in the Church
The New Testament clearly teaches faith in Christ which should result in repentance from sin and dead works. We are taught to set our hope and our treasure in heaven. We are not to get entangled in the things of this life. We are to live lives of holiness and obedience in the fear of God.
The gospel we hear today does not emphasize these things. In order to keep the people happy and coming, we feed them with promises of God’s earthly comfort, blessing, and provision and how to obtain and keep them. It is not that such promises are unscriptural, but that they are today grossly overemphasized. The diet we are fed today now centers on what God can do for us here on earth, and not on what His people can do for Him in loving obedience. Such a sugary diet has left God’s people sick and malnourished.
Some churches are little more than nurseries for believers whose spiritual development has been arrested at the equivalent of a three-year-old. They can run and fall and scream and cry. They are good at eating and drinking and sleeping and throwing temper tantrums. They are known to rebel and challenge the authority of their parents. But they are otherwise helpless and must depend on their parents to provide everything for them.
Perhaps not coincidentally, this very same trait is mirrored in the predominant political culture in America which now trumpets what government can do for us from cradle to grave. We have forgotten what President John F. Kennedy said in his 1960 inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Could what is now taking place politically in the United States be related to the apostasy in the Church?
We spend effort assuring believers of God’s unconditional love and of their salvation by grace through faith. But we fail to teach them that there is no security in sin. We fail to emphasize that saving faith must result in obedience to God. We hesitate to quote Hebrews 12:14 which warns us that “without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” To keep the people coming we have turned God’s grace into a license to do as we please (Romans 6:15) to maximize our personal happiness and comfort on earth.
In certain church circles, moreover, Christians are engaging in unscriptural practices involving angels, ecstatic worship, necromancy, and seeking after supernatural manifestations not supported by Scripture. Such manifestations are not from God but from another source. They are further evidence of the apostasy.
We see how America and the Church have arrived at this point. What should the Church now do?
What we should do now
We should turn our primary attention away from our own personal concerns and toward obeying Christ’s commands found in Scripture. We must believe his promise that if we first seek His kingdom and His righteousness, all these other things will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33).
We must repent of our lukewarmness and live in holiness. We should turn our primary focus away from our personal needs to the Great Commission. This mandate must be fulfilled before the Second Coming of Christ and we may well be in the days preceding his return now. The primary end time enemy of the Church is the spirit of Isl–m. This spirit is particularly strong, and with the tremendous wealth behind it Isl–m is now advancing irresistibly around the world. How did this come about?
It was God Himself who answered Abraham’s prayer for his son Ishmael and promised to bless and multiply him (Genesis 17:20). Ishmael, of course, would become the father of the Isl–mic peoples. And it was ultimately God who was behind the vast oil deposits to be discovered under the desert sands in the Middle East which He gave to the sons of Ishmael to inhabit. It is primarily that wealth which is now bankrolling the spread of Isl–m worldwide. It is now feared that the United Kingdom and Europe will eventually succumb to Isl–m in mere decades. Isl–m has a similar plan for America as well.
How is it possible that our loving heavenly Father could allow this, or even be behind it?
When Israel backslid and was unfaithful to God in the Old Testament, He raised up pagan enemy nations to punish and teach them. It is the same today. America and the west, all once “Christian” nations, have proven to be unfaithful to God. All that remains after their fling with Christianity is a thin veneer of godliness. Is it possible that the Lord foresaw this apostasy and has raised up the spirit of Isl–m in these last days in order to teach and lead His people to repentance? As with the Israelites whose fathers had earlier crossed the Jordan River into Canaan, did the Lord leave Isl–m to test us and to teach warfare to those who have not had previous battle experience? (Judges 3:1-2)
There is also an element of historical payback here. The imperialists of modern history, all European “Christian” nations, used God’s earthly favor primarily to conquer and exploit the wealth and peoples of Third World pagan nations. Now the pagans, especially the Musl__ms and the Chinese Communists, are appearing on the world stage with fury.
We must now repent of our apostasy and self-centeredness. We must study God’s commands and obey them. We must learn that obedience is not a dirty word. Quite the contrary, Jesus said that obeying His Father’s command leads to eternal life (John 12:50). Listening to preaching today, we are left with the strong but mistaken impression that obedience to the Lord’s commands is optional.
The Lord is now restoring the spirit and power of Elijah to His people through which they can preach the gospel with great power to all creation and make disciples of all nations. Then Christ will return and the end will come. We are now in “the days of Elijah” as prophesied in Malachi 4.
Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”