In II Thessalonians there is a brief synopsis of some of the major events that are to occur before the rapture of the Church. In the 2nd Chapter, verse 3 states:
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition… NKJV
This Scripture says that prior to the rapture of the church and the man of sin being revealed, who is also referred to as the anti-Christ, there would be a falling away. This falling away would seem to refer to the separation of the church from what have been its responsibilities and loyalties to the missions that God has prescribed and ordained for us.
As the enemy would have it, the church seems to be paying less attention to heeding this warning as we enter the end times. At the same time the church is moving more and more toward fulfilling this prophecy. In doing so, the Christian church body has been steadily drifting further from its roots and from its original mission. Churches in the past were defined by their ministry missions, which often came from the direction of the Holy Spirit. As we move further toward the end of the age, instead of God-assigned missions by the leading of the Holy Spirit, churches are operating increasingly under the authority of the pastors’ personal “visions”.
The problem with this movement it that the pastor’s “vision” is often a camouflage term for what is essentially a typical “business plan” for the church. But this creates a major conflict because the Holy Spirit will not operate subordinate to a church business plan. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has withdrawn from more and more churches, leaving them to operate as little more than Christian-flavored social businesses whose primary missions seem to be to increase membership, prosperity and prestige within the church community.
To further compound this reason for the church’s regression, churches have become largely dependent on increasing support from our governments in supporting their existence and prosperity. For example, the 501(c)3 non-profit tax exemption by the government, which the churches relish and depend on, is essentially the government’s bribery to the church to suppress their speaking out against immorality and degradation of Christian values in our culture. The government uses the threat of canceling this tax exemption as a means of controlling influences of the church relating to the social and political agendas that are contrary to God’s Word. As a result, church leaders more and more are caving in to this pressure and compromising the fundamentals of Christianity.
Another warning for the church appears in the 5th Chapter of Matthew, where it states:
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. NKJV
Since the church is ordained to be the salt of the earth, as it has receded from its mission this represents a loss of its saltiness, which is a loss of its power within the community and against the increasing destruction of Christian values in our society. As a result, the church is increasingly being thrown out and trampled underfoot, especially by the encroaching efforts of our government. Laws are being passed regularly that are not only contrary to God’s Word, but that are taking away our freedom to speak against sin. As the church leaders try to ignore this trend, they are, by virtue of their failure to speak out, compromising God’s Laws and are thereby complicit.
The result of this is a trend toward secular Christianity, a term which actually is an oxymoron. There is literally no such thing as a secular Christian. God’s Word is clear that friendship with the world and its ways is enmity with God.
Many ministers are contributing to this problem by refusing to speak out against or even teach about the causes of the falling away of the church. Therefore, many ministers are preaching “The Gospel of Convenience”, instead of adhering to God’s agenda.
But the truth is America is in rebellion against God and God will respond accordingly, as He did with Israel as shown in Scripture. And it’s extremely dangerous for a Christian to be on the wrong side of a spiritual war—the side opposite God’s Word. America’s rebellion against God is moving increasingly toward restricting our ability to worship according to God’s Word. But freedom to worship should be the Christian’s highest priority and this should motivate Christians to press for their ministries to pray and speak out against what is causing a deterioration of our Christian values in our nation.
Blindly following the leadership of pastors who seem to place a higher priority on complicity with the world’s system than with God’s Word is not an acceptable excuse to God. The 4th Chapter of Ephesians, 14th verse, cautions us:
14 …that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting… NKJV
As Christians, our responsibility is to worship God according to His Word, regardless of what we’re being taught from the pulpit. In the 2nd Chapter of Colossians, 8th verse, it states:
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. NKJV
This means we are each responsible to God for our decisions to resist the influences of the world’s system. Since we are a part of the church, the falling away of the church means we may each be contributing to the receding of the Christian values within our society. If so, we cannot hide behind or use as an excuse what we are being taught, or more specifically what we are not being taught, by our leaders.