For many years, my concern for the Church has been deepening, as I have witnessed changing trends and the gradual loss of influence in our culture. While statistics show that a whopping 77% of Evangelical Christians believe that we are living in what the Bible calls “the last days”, this seems to have little effect upon the daily lives of most believers. Apparently, we have become so entangled in the world and accustomed to our modern idea of what church is, that we cannot even recognize the seriousness of our plight. Many experts have already determined that the Church in the Western world has been in serious decline for some time. At this point, I assume that you are either aware of this, or can easily confirm these facts.
What passes for “success” in most churches in America today, for example, usually revolves around maintaining a nice building, having a charismatic preacher, dynamic music and worship to entertain the congregation, and targeted church programs to cater to the churchgoers. The most important, Biblical aspects of Christian discipleship and the real mission of the Church are often left by the wayside in pursuit of gaining and retaining members. The result of this type of focus has done little to offset the ever-declining trends in American culture. And in reality, there is little doubt that the Church of Jesus Christ is losing the culture wars!
In spite of some positive examples of growth or effective ministry, there is little evidence to demonstrate that the Church is alert or preparing for the return of Jesus. Beyond creed and verbal confession, the realities of what is happening in our unraveling, chaotic world seem to impact the daily lives of most Christians very little. This type of disconnect is truly alarming when the core teachings of Jesus and the Apostles about the end times are so clear!
Part of the reason for this decline has been the gradual erosion of our values and standards, combined with deception in the Church caused by an unhealthy dose of unbiblical, deceptive false teachings. This includes a pervasive acceptance of teachings like an unbalanced interpretation of Bible prophecy, the pretribulation rapture, Dispensationalism, and modern Zionism. These teachings have caused most of the Body of Christ to be quite deceived and ill-prepared as we approach the last days.
More specifically, these teachings have deluded many believers into a comfort zone where there is little sense of urgency of our true calling together at this critical point in history. We are content to give verbal lip service to the second coming of Christ, yet these teachings have seemingly relieved us of our personal responsibilities. Instead, many believe that God will secretly snatch us away before any real tribulation or persecution, and then He will proceed with the unfolding of His plans for the end times, which will focus on Israel and judgment upon the rest of the world.
Is it not possible, and even likely, that we have been lured into this position by the great mastermind of evil? As our world tears itself apart and catapults toward self-destruction, God has called the Church to be a clear testimony and a shining light in these darkest times! Many of us need to really study our Bibles afresh with an open mind and heart. There, I believe, we will find the truth and regain a sense of our true calling and purpose as we approach the end times.
I firmly believe that God will fully accomplish His eternal plans, and this includes the cleansing and preparation of the Church as the Bride of Christ. With that in mind, I have determined to be part of the solution, by doing my part to alert, awaken, and prepare His Body for the times that lie ahead.