As the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is drawing near, the love of many is waxing cold. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is sketching the bleak picture of what we see happening in Christianity in general today.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
“3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”
PLANTING OF NEW CHURCHES
Charisma News published an article on 9 December 2015, in which they mentioned that the number of new churches were remarkably on the increase. They also gave a few reasons why newly planted churches are more successful than the older, existing churches in attracting people who previously did not attend church. One of the key reasons given is the fact that new churches offers sports leagues, social gatherings and children’s special events.
It could be assumed that many of these churches are hunting heads, rather than souls.
A quote from the article reads that “Healthy new churches have an outward focus from day one, communicating every month that the goal is to be a multiplying church,”
Makes me wonder what the condition of the flock is.
“Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23)
In an article published by the website Patheos on 26 October 2013, these shocking facts were provided:
– Of the 250,000 Protestant churches in America, 200,000 were either stagnant (with no growth) or declining.
– 4,000 churches are closing their doors every single year.
– 3,500 people leave the church every single day.
– Since 1950, there are 1/3rd fewer churches in the U.S.
Many Protestant churches have now also become more open to a form of worldly entertainment, world music and “lighter versions” of the gospel. Mainly due to external pressures, some even became more tolerant of immoral behaviour and sin, such as marrying homosexual couples.
They do this, mainly to avoid further decline in their shrinking head counts.
According to an article, published by Pew Research Centre on 18 May 2015,
in recent years, the share of Americans who identified with mainline Protestantism has been shrinking significantly. In 2014 the headcount for adults dropped by 5 million, from 41 million in 2007 to 36 million. Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study also found that only 14.7% of U.S. adults were affiliated with the mainline Protestant tradition – a sharp decline from 18.1% in 2007. Mainline Protestants have declined at a faster rate than any other major Christian group, including Catholics and evangelical Protestants.
Generational replacement appears to be playing a significant role. While older generations die out, the young Americans rising into adulthood are significantly less likely to identify with mainline denominations. For every convert to mainline Protestantism, about 1.7 people have left the mainline tradition behind. Only 37% of Millennials who were raised in the mainline tradition still identify with mainline Protestantism.
CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT AND PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES
Subsequent to one of John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conferences, The Christian Post published an article on 23 October 2013, in which the following facts about the Pentecostals / Charismatics were provided:
1. While Islam has gone from zero in 610 AD to 1.6 billion in 2013 (1,403 years), Pentecostalism were well on their way to a billion, from zero in 1906 (107 years).
2. Pentecostalism began in 1905 (although there were pre-shocks for centuries) in the multi-ethnic Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, Calif.
3. Pentecostals were the leaders in the ordination of women.
4. Most of the U.S. mainline denominations and also Roman Catholics have large Charismatic minorities.
Pentecostals says they are growing because “the Spirit is moving in a powerful way”. It makes perfect sense from a sociological perspective as they constantly emphasize spiritual practice and engagement (while deeper truths of the Bible are often neglected). That helps making it a faith of “seeing is believing” which draws many who of the unchurched.
And then, most importantly, the majority is also attracted by all the of the blessings they claim and the promises of prosperity.
A CALL FOR REVIVAL
In both the Reformed and the Pentecostal / Charismatic camps, we often hear a cry for revival.
Although nothing is impossible with God, on face value chances for another corporate Reformed revival seems slim, based on the the facts provided. For this reason, many Sheppards are shifting their focus from a corporate revival, to a revival within their own churches and in the personal lives of their flock.
From the Pentecostal / Charismatic perspective, so-called corporate revivals are much easier to achieve. Due to their superficial doctrines, their worldliness and their “feel good” experiences, talks of corporate revival are normally welcomed and accepted with great excitement by the majority of its members.
SOME RECENT “REVIVALS”
STEVE HILL AND THE BROWNSVILLE REVIVAL
The revival began on Father’s Day when an evangelist named Steve Hill was unexpectedly invited to speak. It was somewhat unusual for a senior pastor, such as John Kilpatrick, to give up his pulpit on such a holiday.
The preacher shared a powerful encounter he had with the Lord and asked for all who wanted a fresh encounter to come forward. There were 1800 people in attendance that morning. More than half responded to the call.
Steve quickly began working his way through the crowd laying hands on all. Many fell to the ground as if a great weight was laid upon them.
John Kilpatrick had never seen such manifestations in his church. There seemed to be a strong gust of air swirling around the floor. The air moved about his legs like the water of a swift flowing river. He then heard a sound coming from somewhere in the room. It rumbled and roared like wind being blown across a microphone. It was coming from behind the stage. He was overwhelmed.
Whole groups of people began to be swept right off their feet. All day long, the sanctuary was filled with the sounds of hundreds of worshipers laughing and singing along with cries of intercessors groaning and weeping.
Steve Hill was invited back every week and this continued for five amazing years. As word of the revival spread, more and more people began to arrive from all across the nation and then the world. In all, 3.5 million people would come through the doors of the church.
If this is indeed the work of God, we have no right to question it. What I do however find interesting, is that there are no examples recorded in the Bible where God operated in such ways in the early churches.
This heavily marketed and Scripture-denying event was held on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Saturday, July 16. A million people gathered for the purported purpose to pray for Jesus to “reset” the country and their lives.
“Together 2016 is about laying aside what divides us to lift up Jesus who unites us,” organizer Nick Hall of PULSE told Christian News Network. “We are coming together in historic unity to pray for a reset for our nation.
They met at the obelisk [The Washington Monument]. Definitely there is a symbolic reason for that. The Ouroboros logo used also meant something. Many occult symbols are also be seen in videos of the event, such as the “all seeing eye.”
Supporters of the event include The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and American Bible Society.
The stream of celebrity evangelical “leaders,” pastors and musicians across the stage was essentially a who’s who of heresy. The real Jesus would not have bellowed out a repentance-free message of love, hope, and personal fulfillment.
Noteworthy, the grand apostate of the Tiber, Pope Francis. Francis delivered a gospel-void invitation to unite together as a means of combatting what he called youthful “restlessness.”During this ecumenical event, a false unity was created between Catholics and Christians. The one world religion is advancing.
Promotion of Pelagian empowerment wasn’t merely limited to Francis the apostate. Others gave similar appeals for listeners to prompt God to save, to reset, and to act based on their decisions.
The event was replete with appeals to a false Jesus, offered by the biggest names in evangelical Christendom, and thoroughly void of a presentation of the authentic Gospel of Jesus.
The event was scheduled to run from 9 am to 9 pm. God, however, had other plans. By about 4 pm EST, authorities brought the rally to an early end due to the frequency of heat-related illnesses incurred by those in attendance. Over 400 people had to be treated.
IT’S TIME – ANGUS BUCHAN
This ecumenical even took place in South Africa on 22 April 2017. More than a million citizens from all over the country, comprising of all Christian denominations (and Catholics), attended the event just outside of a city called Bloemfontein. A call was made by the well-known evangelist and “prophet” Angus Buchan, after he “received word from God,” instructing him so organize such a prayer meeting. Many prophecies also went out just before and on that day. One of these prophecies: “My glory will spread across South Africa, Africa, and will then continue to flow to cover the whole earth”
The billboards however gave the impression that this event was more about the man than about God. Angus insisted in a rather arrogant way that one million people would physically have be at the venue and he refused the live broadcast thereof. When some churches proposed that meetings should also be held in other cities and towns on the same day, that wasn’t good enough for Angus, whose name is often linked to his ties with the NAR movement.
In a typical Pentecostal / Charismatic manner, promises were also made before the event, that the sick and the disabled would have stand up out of their chairs being healed. To date I haven’t heard of any people who got healed, although I can’t confirm that such healings didn’t take place.
When a whirlwind came up near the end of the meeting, Angus said that it was a sign that God was present. Isn’t God omnipresent, irrespective of such an event? I guess this could have been expected as a “seeing is believing” approach is always followed where Pentecostals and Charismatics are involved.
Since these prophecies went out, gruesome farm murders continues, a few small towns were basically destroyed, South Africa was economically downgraded to “junk” status and many lives were either ruined or lost after severe wildfires spread over a beautiful part of the country. Doesn’t the Bible teach that a prophet has not been appointed by God, once a prophecy does not come to pass?
THE “FINAL” REVIVAL
Sadly, the fallen away in Christianity has even passed the fable stage mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
The Roman Catholic Pope, Francis is working very hard to bring about unity of Biblical proportion.
He has made great progress in his negotiations with denominations such as the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Anglicans, many evangelicals, and even the Russian Orthodox Church. This false unity goes beyond the ecumenical level between the various Christians denominations and Catholics. It is also aimed at an interfaith level, including religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and others.
He and the Roman Catholic Church adopted the position that all of these religions are leading to the Father and that all serves the same God, though in different ways. They have abandoned the true Gospel of Christ.
As a Futurist also believing in Premillennialism, I am strongly convinced that Pope Francis is the false prophet in Revelation 13. He is obviously preparing the way for the Antichrist, who will be ruling the world during the 7 year tribulation (Daniel’s 70th week / Time of Jacob’s trouble).
I am further convinced that the Roman Catholic Church would serve as the foundation or platform from where the Great Harlot – Antichrist system, also called the Whore of Babylon, would emerge. This system will consist of three “pillars” namely a one world government, one world economy and a one world religion (Revelation 17 and 18). As is, the Roman Catholic Vatican and the pope have always been involved in all of these areas, worldwide.
Though I am no prophet, my prediction would be that the world would not see another great revival, other than the “Final revival” which would celebrate the coming of the false messiah – the Antichrist.
There are witness of great numbers of Muslims currently been converted to Christianity, like never before. Are we not moving much closer to the fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25)?
I implore anyone who reads this article to take heed of Isaiah 55:6
“6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near”
(Author – GH Woest)