Greetings brothers and sisters in the Lord, what you are going to be reading is my perspective of the Christian Church through the years to the current day, and the various attacks on the ‘truth’ of the Gospel. In the day of which we live today it is very complicated. The term ‘truth’ is more a relative view than that of being an absolute. What happened to ‘truth’ and where is the Church heading in a world of “live and let live” mentality.
The Christian Church, when it began some 2,000 years ago, stood for absolutes and lived it in their everyday lives. The message was of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah to come, the work of which He died for the sins of the world and that all those who would come and follow Him would be set free both in this world and the one to come. The early Church was not perfect, but they knew the message of the gospel and showed by example in their daily lives what Christ had done for them. The message spread all over and many upon many were coming to Christ. The Church had opposition and many were killed for their faith. There were many who claimed to believe in Jesus but taught heretical teachings. The Apostles wrote epistles or letters, to believers in various places, warning about false teachers and prophets who were really not of Christ, but in fact messengers of Satan. (Acts 20:28-31, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 2 Peter 2-3, 1 John 2:20-27&4:1-3)
The Church lost a lot of it’s fire and commitment when Constantine in the 300’s made Christianity a law for people to believe in, thus bringing in paganism and slowly corrupting many things within the body of Christ. The Church lost it’s passion for saving souls. They assumed that all were born “Christians” because of the laws at that time. Throughout the years that was the ‘norm’ of Christianity and with the rise of the Roman Catholic Church from 400 AD -1500’s those who opposed the traditions of the Church were killed. There were those, at times, who would take a stand, but in the end their lives were taken. It was not until the 1500’s that something really started to take place and bring a reformation to the body of Christ. On the one side you have the Roman Catholic Church, which in their official dogmas stated if one opposed their teachings such as rejecting infant baptism, communion being the literal flesh and blood of Christ each time it is celebrated or the stand of non-violence, they were in turn killed because they were being “heretics”. These people were known as ‘Anabaptists’ who believed that a baby could not chose to accept Christ and therefore being water baptized was not truly Biblical since the Scriptures teach first to believe and then to be baptized. Anabaptists, also, for the most part, opposed being in the military or in wars which would take another person’s life because of what the Scriptures teach in the New Testament, and the example of Jesus’ life and teachings on loving your neighbor. Throughout the New Testament writings the Apostles were submissive, self sacrificing and non-violent. The belief of Anabaptists was that there is no true warrant for Christians to be a part of the military or take another persons life. They did not believe that the Lord’s Supper became literal flesh and blood when communion was done week after week, but that it was a symbol of what Christ did in remembrance of His death and resurrection and His coming again as Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 11:23-27. On another side were those who came out of the Catholic Church and took a stand against many of the dogmas of the Catholic Church. They stated that these were false or inaccurate teachings. These were known as the Protestants who rejected a works based salvation, and believed it was by faith alone in Christ that we are truly saved. Many Protestants were divided on the infant baptism and adult baptism. They also could not agree on whether or not the Lord’s Supper was to be a symbol or literal flesh and blood when observed. Many of the Protestants continued to be in the military and even at times would kill others who opposed them.
From the 1500’s until now there have been dramatic changes in the body of Christ. The Reformation in the 1500’s – 1700’s played a big part with the Christian Church today with its freedom to believe as one desires. Many people died giving their lives for what they believed in and it did not have a huge effect at first, but over the years it has been recognized that the Reformation opened the doors for the Church to spread out. No longer is the body of Christ subject to the powers of the Roman Catholic Church. From the 1700’s – 1900’s the Church had many splits and many different sects arose all around the world. The number of denominations around the world is overwhelming. With the Reformation, the body of Christ has become more eager oppose the heretical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately the body of Christ is more divided than ever because of this. Just like the early Church in the book of Acts they were all of one mind and served together. But as they were growing larger, there arose divisions which caused many splits within the body of Christ and many heretical teachings. (Acts 1-2, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Galatians 1:6-9&3-1-3, Colossians 2:1-18)
Outside of the Church from the 1700’s to now the opposition has tremendously grown and continues to everyday. In the 1800’s opposition came against the Bible not truly being the Word of God or there being a Creator, but what took place is a mere catastrophic event known as the “big bang theory” or Evolution. Within the 1800’s Charles Darwin the major voice of the Evolution theory. He was able to present his views and he became very well known because of what he “discovered. Even to this day he is the major founder of the theory of Evolution. Others have played their part and took what Darwin said and expounded upon it with more and more opposition to there being a Creator God. The age of Atheism is tremendous all around the world and Atheism is a very complex issue. An atheist is one who denies the existence of a God and most of the time they also believe in Evolution. Atheists also take a “realist” point of view in that they believe “unless I can see it, touch it, smell it, hear it or feel it, it does not exist”. In a world where ‘truth’ is relative how does one defend or proclaim the Word of God to those who deny the substance within it?
Within the last few hundred years the rise of the Cults has grown at unbelievable numbers. The Jehovah’s Witnesses who believe there is no literal place of eternal punishment for those who die in their sins, reject the Deity of Christ, the Tri-Unity of God and the message of eternal life by faith in Christ alone have grown to over 6 million members from the 1870’s up to now. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which started in 1830 with the teachings of Joseph Smith claiming to be the latter day prophet whom God has called to bring about restoration has grown to over 12 million members. The beliefs of the Latter-Day Saints have taken many by surprise because of their “Christian” terminology, thus many un-informed people have joined this group believing that they are just another Christian denomination. Other groups that have played an influence on the Christian Church within the last few hundred years are: Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Scientists, The Moonies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Worldwide Church of God and Boston Church of Christ. Islam is the fastest growing religion worldwide and rejects Jesus Christ as the Son of God, does not believe Jesus is the Savior of all mankind or that He truly died upon the cross and rose again. When the theology of Christianity and Islam are compared, the God of Islam is not the God of the Bible. Islam now has over1 billion members worldwide and they have doubled their size from 1980. That means they have grown by 500,000,000 within last 20 years.
Within the last 100 years the body of Christ has accepted certain groups as being Christian, but they truly are not. The Faith Movement teachers who teach a wealth and prosperity doctrine, a life without being sick or one of the most blasphemous is that Jesus Christ did not pay for the sins of the world on the cross. Such faith teachers as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Frederick Price, Joyce Meyers, Marlin Hickey and others teach that Jesus did not pay the full price for the sins of the world on the cross, but that He needed to go to hell, suffer for three days and three nights and on the third day be the first born again man from the pit of hell. They teach Jesus did not just die physically, but spiritually. For that was needed for our atonement, therefore Jesus became literal sin on the cross and took on the nature of Satan. Another group that is being accepted in the body of Christ as Christians are the Oneness Pentecostals, known as United Pentecostal Church International. They have only been around for over 50 years, but they have grown to over 2.5 million. They teach that Jesus Christ is literally God the Father and that Jesus, when he went back to heaven, became the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit. They define the view of God as follows: God was the Father in creation, the Son in redemption, the Spirit in regeneration, three modes of one God. They out right deny the Tri-Unity of God and say that doctrine is man made and false. A couple of known Oneness Pentecostals are T. D. Jakes and Tommy Tenney. The Toronto Blessing, known as the Holy Spirit revival, is going on in many places around the world and is accepted as being Christian, in faith and practice. This movement places a major emphasis on what is called “slain in the spirit” which is when a person receives an anointing from the Holy Spirit and they are either unconscious or conscious lying on the ground or at times laughing tremendously. There is also the issue of the Holy Spirit coming upon people and causing the people to run around in the Church screaming, dancing uncontrollably and at times speaking a language that resembles some kind of animal. These movements are accepted in many aspects of Christianity, such as on television, radio, as well as their books and tapes and videos being sold in Christian Bookstores. The Christian Church is at the stage of what I call “whatever feels good to me must be right”.
Why have I shared all this information with you? I will tell you my heart breaks for the body of Christ and how we are so divided. There are too many things that are being tolerated in reference to issues pertaining to doctrine and issues of Christian integrity. The early Church had to deal with the Roman government and opposition from the religious Jews, as well as sharing the Gospel with the Gentiles and they pressed on and turned the world upside down. They started with 120 and grew day to day, and within those years the Gospel of Christ was proclaimed and making a significant difference all around the world. Where is the Church today? How is the Church dealing with those who oppose the message of ‘truth’ and the Word of God by teaching Evolution, or there is no God, truth is relative, Cults, false teachers that have risen within the Church that are teaching heresies and rejecting Biblical foundations. There is a need now more than ever for those in the body of Christ to rise up in their lives to not only believe, but to live it daily more and more and to take a stand against the many oppositions against the Church and heresies within. The Bible instructs us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and to follow Jesus. (Matthew 16:24) The Bible instructs us to be living examples to a lost world and lead them to Christ. (Matthew 5:13-16, Matthew 28:19-20) The Bible informs us that Christians will be persecuted for their faith in Christ. (John 15) The book of Acts gives the clear picture of a people who were not scholars, theologians, or super-humans, but people driven to serve Christ and share the message and live out their faith for others to see. As Christians we are to lead people to Christ, disciple them in the ways of the Lord and to come against the false teachings of the world with the Word of Truth. (Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:15-26&4:2-5, Jude 1:3) Those of you who call yourselves Christians, are you living the faith in word and deeds and setting an example for others to follow? Are you being diligent in your own life in studying the Word of God and for those who have families are you fellowshipping together through studying the Bible?
The Church has been through a lot in the last 2,000 years and each day the Lord’s return gets closer and until He comes what are we doing in our Christian lives that is going to make a difference for eternity? I have shared a lot of things from my heart, and things about the Church throughout the years. What I have shared is not “thus saith the Lord” nor is it an absolute, but my thoughts and concerns for the body of Christ. My heart is to serve the Lord, to help others in the Christian walk, to encourage them to live lives that reflect Biblical Christianity and to warn Christians of things to be careful of. My hope is that something from this will provoke you to consider the times we live in, to serve Christ more and more in your lives, to share it with others more and more, and to know the Scriptures for what they say not what others pervert them to say. May God richly bless all of you and your families. If you have any questions or comments about what I have written here you are more than welcome to share.