According to the apostle Paul, one of the characteristics of the apostate church would be a pervasive indulgence in misplaced desire. This willingness to pursue carnal passions would carry many people out of the realm of Truth and into the dark regions of Deception. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,” he earnestly warned; “but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
If there is one common denominator amongst apostate Christians it is their insistence upon having Christianity on their own terms. But no matter how they may deceive themselves, God clearly sees the machinations of their hearts. They are living for what the world offers while maintaining a façade of godliness. In order to reconcile the two, they simply create “a different gospel.”
Consider, for instance, the following Internet blog making the case that God’s overriding desire for His people during their time on earth is to prosper them materially. After disparaging “the whole forsaking self rubbish theology” and the “damaging theology of suffering,” the writer goes on to misappropriate God’s promise to the Jewish people (“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”) found in Jeremiah 29:11 and to make today’s Christian its primary recipient:
These are fabulous words. [But look at verse 10:]
“For thus says the LORD, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.”
What should we do while we wait? The answer is to be found in verses 4 to 9…
So while you wait for your promises, here are EXAMPLE of what you could be doing:
- Build houses
- Settle down
- Plant gardens and eat what they produce
- Marry and have sons and daughters;
- Then find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage
- Seek the peace and prosperity of the city in which you live
If you ever needed to see what God says you should be doing while you’re waiting for your destiny, there it is.
The issue is not so much the convoluted theology this man is offering, but the overwhelming support found in the 59 comments about it. The following examples are representative of most of the others:
- “This is awesome. Just what I was looking for!”
- “This blog was what I needed in a way that only God knows. Giving hope and something to look forward to along the way.”
- “This spoke to me powerfully today! This was a great revelation to me, that God can bring prosperity anywhere I am. Praise God!”
- “This is the powerful word of God that comes in time to heal us and comfort us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. Thank You JESUS!!!!!”
- “This is an incredible website. I’m going through a phase in my life where I feel very empty everyday. My main goal is to become an actress. I’ve had some opportunities and I prayed along the way. I really feel that God gives me power, and takes me to places that I’ve never been.”
It seems rather obvious that these people are searching for the type of teaching that reinforces their self-indulgent lifestyles. But isn’t this exactly what Jesus predicted when He said, “It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”? (Luke 17:28-29) Our Savior was predicting a prevailing mindset that would be wholly engrossed in Earth life and indifferent to His dire warnings of judgment associated with His impending return.
Like missiles of Truth shot through the ages, the alarm is sounded repeatedly to End Time Christians not to allow themselves to be deceived (e.g. Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Undoubtedly, this deception will take many forms, but one of the most prominent will surely be the notion that a person can be in love with the things of this world and still maintain a viable relationship to Christ.
Alas, for a large segment of today’s Church, such warnings go unheeded. These deceived souls are determined to shut their ears to the Truth in favor of teachings that give them “just what they are looking for.”
That is the apostasy.