However, regardless of one’s interpretation of who the “man of sin” is, there is no doubt about Paul’s prediction that before this man comes, there will be a great “falling away first.” By “a falling away,” Paul was clearly referring to a state or condition of “apostasy.” Paul is saying that before the “man of sin” (whoever he is) will be able to seduce and deceive humanity, the church will fall into apostasy.
By definition, apostasy is the condition of those who once (in some degree) embraced the truth, but have now abandoned or forsaken it. Obviously, this applies only to professing Christians. Infidels, agnostics, and unbelievers have no profession from which to apostatize.
I am personally convinced that, by and large, the churches of America (regardless of denomination) are in a state of apostasy. And as such, offer little or no resistance to the men of sin who seek to seduce and deceive our people.
When a professing Christian President can openly acknowledge his belief in universalism and attack the supreme doctrine of Christianity, that Jesus Christ is the Creator-God become flesh, and there is not an uproar of protestation and denunciation from pulpits all over the country, the church is in a state of apostasy. And that is exactly what has taken place.
With the above understanding and because President Bush claims to be a Christian, his statements should be regarded by Christians everywhere as an admission of apostasy and an attack upon the fundamental doctrine of Christ. Yet, there has been no reaction. No admonishments. No calls for repentance. No warnings to Christians to reject such heresy. No protestations whatsoever. Why? There is only one answer: the church itself is in a state of apostasy!
I will say it plainly: today’s pastors and Christians seem to display more loyalty and devotion to George W. Bush than they do to the Lord Jesus Christ. This stands in stark contrast to Christians throughout Church history.
Has the reader ever wondered why the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire? After all, the Roman Empire prided itself in being one of the most tolerant and pluralistic of all societies. People were free to worship any god they chose. There was complete freedom of religion throughout the Empire. An old maxim said that there were as many gods in Rome as there were people. Why, then, were Christians singled out for persecution?
The reason Christians were persecuted while people of other beliefs were not was not because they worshipped Jesus Christ. Obviously, Jewish leaders persecuted the early Christians because of their hatred of Jesus, which was due to the fact that He claimed to be their Messiah and Savior--a claim they vehemently rejected. However, the Roman Empire’s persecution of Christians was for an entirely different matter.
Rome persecuted Christians because they believed that Jesus Christ was the ONLY God. Under Roman law, Caesar was a god, equal to any other god. Therefore, to be a good Roman, one had to worship Caesar. If one chose to worship another deity, it was fine. As long as he also bowed to Caesar. This was something the early Christians could not and would not do.
You see, from the very beginning of Church history, Christians believed that Jesus Christ was not a way, He was THE way; not a truth, but THE truth; not a god, but THE God. And for this declaration, for this conviction, and for this belief, early Christians were persecuted, imprisoned, and fed to hungry lions.
Yet today, the Church of Jesus Christ sits silent and still when the President of the United States, himself a professing Christian, publicly denies the central doctrine of Christ and embraces the pagan doctrine of universalism. Again, there is only one explanation: the Church is in a state of apostasy.
Of course, as apostasy spreads throughout the country, the men of sin will increase in strength and number. They will aggressively seek to seduce and deceive the people--something they are already doing. Furthermore, our Lord already instructed us as to what would happen when such a condition occurs. He told us that when “the salt have lost his savour . . . it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matt. 5:13)
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