Paul wrote to the church at Colossae: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception…according to the elementary principles of the world” (Colossians 2:8). As we look around the world at former Christian nations, it’s evident they didn’t heed Paul’s words. Places that were once strongholds of the Gospel are now secular and humanistic, atheistic and bearing all the consequences of their embrace of worldly philosophies.
In places like Denmark and Sweden, church attendance has diminished to mere low single-digit percentages of the population. Sundays in France and Germany find less than 10% of their citizens in church. For the United Kingdom, it’s barely between 10% and 15%. By comparison, 36% of American citizens claim to go to church at least once weekly. Not great, considering that 75% identify themselves as some kind of Christian. But don’t worry, it’s getting worse.
Although around 40% of teens are involved in church, when you look at their beliefs, it’s no wonder that 70%-90% of young adults drop out of church. Generally, they believe…
• …that there is no absolute moral truth.
• …that Christianity is about showing bad people how to live better.
• …that there is no way to tell which religion is true.
• …that Jesus is not the Son of the one true God.
• …by over half that Jesus did not rise from the dead!
With a generation of such Christians, Christian apologist Josh McDowell decided to write a book in 2006 called The Last Christian Generation. As liberal, secular, humanistic, materialistic, relativistic philosophies pervade our media and educational institutions, the natural outcome is a disregard for God, a rejection of the supernatural and an utter denial of—even downright contempt for—biblical Truth.
So, does that mean that we’re headed for a religion-free world? Will “progressive” philosophers, like the late Richard Rorty, actually have what they consider to be their version of utopia—a world where “no trace of divinity remained, either in the form of a divinized world or a divinized self”? A culture where there is “…no room for the notion that there are nonhuman forces to which human beings should be responsible”?
Well, that may be utopia to some, but most people have a spiritual void they want filled and an innate need to connect with a perceived higher power. Still, that doesn’t mean Christianity will be on the rise; not true Christianity anyway.
Having effectively had their minds turned against the Truth of God’s Word, those hungering for “spirituality” will turn to alternative expressions of religion, some perhaps under the guise of Christianity. In fact, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, we find that in the last days, not only will Antichrist appear on the scene, but there will be a massive turning away from biblical truth amongst so-called Christians, giving birth to the apostate church. The Bible makes it clear these things must happen before Christ’s return.
Along with the apostate church, there will be a worldwide religion (that will no doubt include the apostate church). It will likely be a conglomeration of what its leaders consider to be “the best” of known religions, combining their sacred texts into a patchwork of feel-good, man-centered, pseudo supernatural drivel.
Just look around a bit and you will find great candidates for this one-world religion of the last days in our backyard. For example, Michael Beckwith, founder and Spiritual Director of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, boasting a weekend attendance of over 9,000, and a million “friends” worldwide, describes part of their doctrine on their website:
“Agape’s teachings embrace a Reality the world’s scriptures and sacred texts endeavor to describe, even as they acknowledge the impossibility of such a task. Some call it God, Great Spirit, Hashem, or Allah, while others simply prefer to leave it nameless.” (“it”?? Really?!!)
USA Today quoted him as saying,
‘"We don't believe you are born into sin. We are born into blessings. While some seek salvation, we call it 'self-elevation,' says Beckwith, acknowledging that Christians might call this blasphemy.”
Putting oneself in the place of God; elevating oneself to savior status…yes, “blasphemy” is a good word!
Of course, Oprah sings his praises and PBS featured Dr. Beckwith in a special called “The Answer is You.” Oops, wrong answer. And what Christian pastor has been afforded a PBS special? You’re probably not going to see “The Answer is Jesus” on PBS any time soon. With stuff like this in place, the revealing of Antichrist can’t be far behind.
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the return of Christ] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness [Antichrist] is revealed, the son of destruction” —2 Thessalonians 2:3