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Transitions

Source: Art Sadlier, Monday October 1st 2012

When Adam sinned and rebelled against God the seed of the entire human race was resident in Adam and partook of his fallen nature. The fact is, when Adam joined Satan in his rebellion against God, Adam’s divinely appointed governorship of the earth was transferred to Satan by the permissive will of God. Satan became the ruler of this world’s system.

Since that hour there has been an ongoing conflict between God and Satan to win the hearts of men and women. God intends to redeem man and restore him to a relationship with Himself and restore the kingdom of God on earth. At the same time Satan struggles to consolidate his ruler ship of the kingdom of this world by bringing men to worship himself instead of God.

God has introduced two programs to effect His redemption of man and to re-establish His Kingdom in this world of men and women.

The first program is the nation of Israel. The second is the Church of Jesus Christ. Because both of these programs were intended to replace Satan’s kingdom in this world, both these groups were commanded to separate themselves from this present evil world system.

Israel was called to be separate from the gentile peoples around them. They indicated they were strangers and pilgrims just passing through this world. They lived in tents apart from the peoples around them, they had a different worship system, diet, clothes and laws. They were the people of God and they were instructed to go to great lengths to indicate they were not a part of the world system.

Israel disobeyed the Lord with regard to His command to separate. The Lord describes this failure in 2 Kings 17:15, “And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.” Israel repeated this failure many times and each time it brought God’s judgment upon them.

The Church of Jesus Christ is also a group of called out ones. We are called out of this evil world system; called to be separated unto Christ. We are not to be identified with the world or the things of the world. We are not to love the world or the things of the world. In fact we are told in 1 John 2:15, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The love of the world marks a person as not being a true disciple.

Jesus warns us that the world will hate us because we are not of the world. John 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Separation is the cause of the world’s persecution of the believer.

Over the centuries of the long church age the followers of Christ understood that truth very well. Opposition, persecution and martyrdom were the constant experience of Christ’s disciples; multitudes laid down their lives in obedience to this requirement of the Lord. It was understood that a Christian was one who was separate from the world.

The basic characteristic of true Christianity is separation from the world and separation from apostasy. That includes among other things: the world’s music, the world’s lifestyles, the world’s entertainment and the world’s approval. Compromising Christianity is counterfeit Christianity. Separation will always bring the reproach of Christ, the new evangelical will not bear the reproach of Christ; he will compromise with the world.

At the midpoint of the twentieth century a transition took place. That transition has altered the professing church to the point that it would not now be recognizable to those believers who lived prior to that time. That transition was called new evangelicalism. I am old enough to remember the days prior to inception of new evangelicalism; the church was very different.

The man who first used the term and founded new evangelicalism defines it for us. Dr. Harold Ocenga said, “New evangelicalism was born in 1948 in connection with a convocation address which I gave in the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena. While reaffirming the theological view of fundamentalism, (this is what makes new evangelicalism so invasive and deceptive) this address repudiated its ecclesiology (separation from apostate churches) and its social theory [separation from the world]. The ringing call for a repudiation of separatism and the summons to social involvement received a hearty response from many evangelicals.” [Editor’s note in parenthesis].

New evangelicalism is simply the repudiation of the basic tenant of the church, separation from the world and from apostasy; these things are the bedrock of the practice of the church of Jesus Christ. New evangelicalism swept away this fundamental tenant of the church of Jesus Christ breaking down the barrier between the world and the church.

We have witnessed 60 years of new evangelicalism. When new evangelicalism took its divergent fork in the road in 1948, it was thought to be a slight course correction. Now many new evangelicals find themselves on a totally different road. Unless fundamentalists obey the Bible by separating from the world and disobedient brethren, we will find ourselves with them on a broad road, 

totally different than the one on which we set out. In fact that is already the situation in many churches that boast they are fundamentalists.

The deception of new evangelicalism is found in the fact that it has pretended to hold to the fundamentals of the faith. They claim the larger numbers they draw give validity to their denial of separation.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Long ago I ceased to count heads, truth is usually in the minority in this evil world.” “The battles of Scripture were always won by an obedient minority, not a diverse majority.”

John Ashbrook said, “Thousands of Churches have fallen to new evangelicalism while trying to be silent fundamentalists. At the same time the Bible believing Church was stolen by vocal new evangelicals.”

He also said, “The most dangerous deviation is the one closest to your own position. New evangelicalism sprang out of fundamentalism. It is a movement of brethren. The lie of new evangelicalism has deceived more fundamentalists than the siren of ecumenism.”

THE TRANSITIONS CONTINUED as new evangelicalism produced its natural fruit, the user-friendly church. The goal of the church was changed from redemption and sanctification to simply getting the crowds into the church and preaching an inoffensive gospel that would not keep the crowds from returning next week. Everybody jumped on board including many fundamentalists; it seemed so good to have the crowds. The true gospel was lost in the house of the Lord, and the church was filled with pseudo Christians.

That change has been absolutely profound and pervasive. I think that there is not church in North America that has not been insidiously impacted to a greater or lesser degree by the philosophy of new evangelicalism. Many who would refute new evangelicalism are nevertheless unknowingly compromised by it.

THE TRANSITIONS CONTINUED with Rick Warren’s purpose driven movement. He excelled in bringing the world into the church. His was the ultimate expression of the user-friendly approach. He also introduced into evangelicalism an ecumenical endeavour with the new goal of uniting all the churches and religions of the world for world peace. His influence is very widespread. He has claimed that he has 500,000 pastors and religious leaders in his purpose driven program.

THE TRANSITIONS CONTINUED as to this point the effort had been to bring the world into the church, the emergent church has now come on the scene to bring the church into the world.

One writer says, “The emerging church is a movement that is said to be a new way to do Christianity, a way that is supposed to reach out to the postmodern generation in a more relevant way than traditional Christianity. In reality, the emerging church, which is really a merging church, is a full-scale ecumenical effort to unite all religions against biblical Christianity by using mystical practices to accomplish this. In the emerging church, doctrine becomes unimportant while unity at all costs becomes the most important thing.”

Today the infrastructure of the great world-wide harlot church is being laid. It will be a totally different Christianity. Christianity has to change to accommodate the influx of the various religions and the new age philosophy that will bring the entire world under its roof.

What we have been witnessing is the transition from the church of Philadelphia to the church of Laodicea. Laodicea is an apostate church that will be spewed out of the Lord’s mouth and into the tribulation period.

Along with these transitions we have witnessed a growing apostasy in the professing church of Christ. Much of this apostasy is based on the lie that all truth is “God’s truth.” This is a springboard for twisting God’s Word. For example: principles that may work in business are not equal to the truths of God’s Word, but nevertheless they have been incorporated into the program of the church. On the coattails of the lie, that “all truth is God’s truth” came the new way to do church.

Warren B. Smith, in his excellent book entitled, “A Wonderful Deception” deals with this deception and the growing apostasy in the church. The following quotations are from his book:

Rick Warren’s associate, Richard Abanes wrote: [ Rick Warren feels, as I do, that a person does not have to be a Christian in order to make an astute observation, or say something that is true. All “truth” (wherever it may be found) is God’s truth. For example, a true observation about about the way people think or feel is a true observation – no matter who says it. So if I quote something that is true in order to make a point, then it really doesn’t matter who said it, whether it be a Buddhist, an atheist, or a space alien!

Pastor Dr. Harry Ironside warned about the deceptive notion that “all truth is God’s truth,” when he wrote, Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.]

Smith continues: [Jesus Christ is lord. His name is above all names (Philippians 2:9). He is not the “Jesus” of the “The Shack” and He is not the “Jesus” of the New Age/ New Spirituality. Most assuredly, He is not the “quantum Christ” of a deceived world and an apostate church.

The apostle Paul describes the simplicity of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3). According to many of today’s spiritual and religious leaders, it has taken humanity 2000 years to finally “get it.” They say we need quantum physics, cellular biologists, Ph.D. mathematicians, New Age channelers, and emerging postmodern preachers to finally understand what Jesus was trying to tell us back in the first century. No, this is not the simplicity that Paul was describing. This is the deceptive work of our adversary as he tries to transform the creation into the Creator and co-opt God’s creation to himself.

Unfortunately, many of today’s pastors have forgotten that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and that we are able to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). As a result the church is now catapulting into great spiritual deception.

For those who still rightly divide and depend on the Word of God, the Bible warns that the coming deception will be so great that most of the world will be deceived (Revelation 13:13-14). Jesus warned that His way is not the broad way but the “narrow way” of continuing in His Word (John 8:31). And it is His way that leads to eternal life.]

Warren B. Smith adds: [Sadly, Christian leaders today are in absolute denial about the New Age/New Spirituality that is accelerating its reach into the world and into the church. These leaders are telling us we need not be concerned about spiritual deception - or Antichrist and they have all but forgotten the devices of the adversary. They say all the world needs to do is follow their lead, and engage in their P.E.A.C.E. Plans, and be a part of a New Reformation that will change the world.

In an online update of Reinventing Jesus Christ, I relayed a conversation my wife and I had not long after our conversion. We talked about the ultimate spiritual deception described in the Bible - the great “falling away” of the church and the coming of Antichrist. We agreed that for someone like Antichrist to be credible in the world, he would need a majority of the people who call themselves Christians to believe that he is Christ. If he could get enough Christians - especially influential Christian leaders – to follow him, he could then discredit and marginalize those who oppose him. But to get people who call themselves Christians to believe he is Christ, he would first have to successfully redefine Christianity. To do that he would have to introduce non-Christian teachings and practices into the church, while at the same time make them to appear Christian. His obvious goal would be to convert undiscerning and unsuspecting believers into a more eastern and mystical, New Age “Christianity.” While invoking the name of “God” and “Christ,” he would actually turn the Bible upside down – just as we have seen in our New Age teachings.

For this end-time, world-wide deception to take place, Christianity would have to become a more “positive” New Age “Christianity.” This emerging New Age Christianity would have “a form of godliness” but it would actually deny the true faith (2 Timothy 3:5). This New Age Christianity/New Spirituality would use Christian terminology, while being under the spell of “another Jesus,” “another spirit,” and “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4).

This New Age/New Gospel/New Spirituality would be the ultimate deception.

It would be what the real Jesus warned His followers to watch for.

Warren B. Smith concludes: [So where is this ever-expanding Purpose Driven movement heading, and how will it get there? I believe with all of my heart that Rick Warren and his colleagues are being used to lead the church into a New Spirituality for a New Age. Whether they consciously realize this or not is beside the point. The fact is that they are doing it, and it has become a mockery of those who came before them and who rightly divided the Word of God – men and women who willingly died for their faith rather compromise themselves with the world.

As we have discussed transitions we believe that there are two transitions yet remaining.

The first of these two coming transitions will be:

THE TRANSITION FROM CHRISTIANITY TO THE HARLOT Revelation 17

(John does not call it a church because it is not a church.)

After the bride of Christ is raptured, everything that remains under the banner of Christendom will be unregenerate professing Christianity. Under that banner will come unregenerate Laodicean / Evangelicalism. Added to that will be all of professing Christianity and all of the false religions of the world plus the New Age movement. These will have a leader who will inspire and unite them and lead them into a union with the world’s political leader, Antichrist. They will be occupied with consolidating a world government, a world economy and a world religion.

THE TRANSITION TO THE WORSHIP OF ANTICHRIST AND ULTIMATELY SATAN

The final transition will come at the Mid-tribulation point. At that point there will be two new unveilings. Antichrist will be revealed a second time. The first time he was revealed at the beginning of the tribulation period as a benevolent, charismatic, wise leader who brings peace to the world.

His second revelation comes at the Mid-tribulation point. He is here revealed as a beast which causes all to be killed who will not submit to him and take his mark.

We also have two revelations of a second man; this man is revealed at the beginning of the tribulation period as the world’s new religious leader. He miraculously brings all of the religions of the world under one roof; he does what today is absolutely impossible. It seems that Contemplative/Mysticism will be the common denominator between Evangelicalism, Mainline Christianity, Catholicism and the Religions of the world and it will bring in the secular world through the involvement of the New Age movement.

This man also has a second revelation or unveiling. At the mid-tribulation point he is revealed as the second beast. He performs wonders and miracles to persuade the world to worship the first beast, Antichrist. He betrays the harlot and destroys her (Revelation 17:16-17). We read about him and his power to cause the whole world to worship Antichrist in Revelation13:11-17.

This last transition (referred to above) is the focal point of Satan’s program:

The Transition to replace all worship and all religion with the religion and worship of Satan

As we approach the soon coming rapture of the bride of Christ, I tremble for the multiplied millions of new evangelicals who are resting in what may be a false security of salvation. I think one of the most frightening verses in the scriptures is Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

What a tragic moment that will be for the many who are deceived about their salvation and disowned by the Lord.

A parallel verse is found in Revelation 3:16, “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.” This is spoken to the last-days church of Laodicea which is represented by evangelicalism.

To take away assurance of salvation from the unsaved is a good thing; it leaves him with the possibility of being saved, meanwhile, the true believer has the witness of the Spirit within.

Believer, be encouraged and remember that you are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. You are surrounded by multiplied millions of believers who have gone before you, a multitude who have loved Jesus, who have worshipped Him and served Him. This great host, who have sung His praises and obeyed His Word, have paid a price for living lives separated from the evil world some were martyred. Let us walk in their footsteps.

If you are to wear the crown you must bear the cross. Remember there is a robe of white, a harp, a crown, and a home in heaven awaiting the true child of the King.

Contemplative/Mysticism is falling like a blanket upon the Evangelical church. Except for a few voices crying in the wilderness, there is virtually no resistance. Those who consider themselves fundamentalists need to beware.

When a boat takes on water the water shifts in the hull and the boat begins to list to one side. If the boat continues to take on water the list becomes greater and greater until the tipping point is reached. When that happens all hope is lost and the ship is doomed to sink. Our society has been taking on the water of sin and wickedness for some time now.

I am convinced that we have reached the tipping point and all hope is now gone.

Our society is going down; the Day of the Lord is near at hand. We can’t save the ship, but we can rescue some of the passengers.

Some think that if America had a change of presidents the problems could be solved. Obama is not the cause, he is the consequence. The issue is that our society has rebelled against God and against God’s Word and against God’s will. We have worshipped the gods of materialism, pleasure, lust and the pride of life. Our society has mocked the Word of God at every turn. The issue is the wrath of God on the unrighteousness of men. Hearts have become hardened and the line of God’s patience has been crossed.

“And they said, there is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart” (Jeremiah 18:12).