The great falling away from God and the church


“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.” - (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Even the most casual observer of American culture can conclude that the number of people who believe in the one, true God has been declining rapidly. We can observe that fewer and fewer of our family, friends, and neighbors attend church, or even consider it a priority at all. Even casual references to God have become more infrequent in everyday conversations and have been removed almost entirely from the public square. The secularist cancel culture mob has even began to target politicians and others for using the phrase "our thoughts and prayers are with you" when expressing condolences after a tragedy. Recent surveys underscore the accuracy of Scripture's prophetic descriptions of the last days by quantifying the scope of the decline. The following articles cover the findings of how many Americans believe in God, how many churches have been closing, and how few people believe that the Bible is actually the Word of God. Particularly alarming are the rates at which these surveys have changed in the past decade. The slippery slope has become a downhill ski ramp, and then people wonder why mass shootings, drug use, violence, and other societal ills are growing at such a rapid pace.
But be not dismayed. There is also a silver lining to this. Notice in the passage above that they hold to a form of godliness, but deny its power. For far too long American culture has been saturated by "a form of godliness" that has denied God's power. This is what we often refer to as "cultural Christianity," which is actually a misnomer because it is not Christianity at all. Cultural Christianity is a form of godliness that makes people feel comfortable and good about themselves through religious works. The pressures of an increasingly secular culture that is actually hostile to Christ has made cultural Christianity unpopular. Cultural Christians actually fear man rather than God (Prov. 29:25), so they no longer find any benefit in going to church or professing biblical Christianity because it actually harms their status with the world instead of elevating it. In other words, attending church or professing faith is not looked upon favorably by the dominant culture and such expressions of faith are no longer considered part of what makes one a "good person." The western world has redefined what it means to be a "good person," and biblical Christianity is not it. So, the good side of this is that cultural Christians and other false converts drop out of the churches because they are not willing to endure persecution and ridicule for the sake of something they do not truly embrace at the heart level (1 John 2:18-19). Cultural Christians quickly fall back when the world embraces sexual perversions, greed, worship of creation, and political solutions to our problems. When cultural Christians fall away, the true church remains and is purified. In fact, so much of this is happening that entire churches are closing, which is actually a good thing when they are apostate, as fewer people will be deceived by the bad doctrine they've been teaching. So, we can look at these developments as God the Father answering God the Son's prayer to keep the church pure and unified in truth (John 17:20-21).

Do not be discouraged. This is how the Lord said it would be. Pray for the gospel to shine as the distinction between the world and the church grows greater.
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