Sunday, March 4, 2018



It seems that as the West has become more modernized and affluent, it has less use for the Christian faith. In a TEDS Talk, David Voas lays out the evidence for the gradual but “unstoppable decay” of Christianity.

Using several charts, he detailed the slow but sure decline of Christianity in the USA, Canada, and New Zealand from around 1910 to 1990, arguing that it will not come back. Voas offered some reasons for the corrosive effects of modernity, including the growth in multiculturalism and material security. (It is also worthy of the note that the decline of Christianity is negatively correlated with the precipitous growth in the incidence of depression.)

Interestingly, Voas’ statistics parallel the Biblical prophecies. Paul prophesied that:

·       …in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)

It seems evident that in the midst of our comfort and affluence, these “fruit” are becoming more apparent. How will these changes impact the Church? Jesus’ prophecies weren’t reassuring:

·       “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:9-12; 10:21-22; 13:20-21)

This will be a time of the rejection of the Biblical faith (2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1), which stands in opposition to the loosened morals of the day, and intense persecution, as almost the entire Book of Revelation affirms. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explained the various reasons that some will reject the Biblical faith:

·       The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4:14-20)

What determines whether they remain and leave? Their response to what is sown (the Word of God, Scripture)! If they abandon the Word of God, they abandon God. If they embrace this Word, they embrace God and bear His fruit.

All this will happen according to the will of God, but why will He allow this persecution and apostasy?

Wondering how I might finish this essay, I took a break to drip some coffee. In my clumsiness, I spilt the spent grounds on the kitchen floor and had to clean them. However, in doing this, I cleaned the floor, which desperately needing cleaning.

Was it a good thing that I split the grounds? In retrospect, I would have to answer “yes.” Is it a good thing that God will allow the horrid persecution and the falling-away from the faith? He promises that He will shake the heavens and the earth to remove those “things” that can be shaken loose from His Kingdom (Hebrews 12:25-29; Hagai 2:6). He will separate those faithful to His Word from those who are not (John 15:7-14).

I delight in the Word of God. However, I am grieved by this very consistent and plain warning. Even though this is the will of God, I am deeply troubled by the prospect of this great apostasy. May it open our hearts of compassion towards the lost so that we will cry out for their souls!

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