The Biblical view of history is that things are getting worse and worse with every passing day. Whether it is government, entertainment, education, or even church— according to the Lord, every facet of our existence is heading in the wrong direction.
Many years ago, the Apostle Paul wrote that “in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim.3:1). In describing these days, he said, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy… lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim.2:2,4-5). While it is clear to see how much that passage describes the sinful world we live in, it can be difficult for many to realize how it also describes the church in our day.
If you went back about 2,000 years ago and examined the early church, you would find small congregations of persecuted Christians scattered throughout the ancient world. These believers would be found praying, preaching the gospel, teaching the word of God, and giving to the Lord’s work, while, the whole time, being hunted down by both the Sanhedrin and the Roman government.
Why were they so persecuted, you might ask? Why were they crucified, fed to lions, and burnt alive? History tells us that the charge that was laid against those early Christians was Contra Mundum (i.e. “against the world”).
In other words, those Christians were different than the world. Their beliefs were different. Their appearance and demeanor were different. Their churches were different than the world’s temples, synagogues, mosques, and cathedrals. Their worship was different than the world’s worship. And, because they were different, the world hated them just as Christ had said it would (John 15:18-19).
The stark differences between Christian worship and worldly worship continued for centuries and, with it, the persecution continued as well. But, in these last days, we no longer see such a contrast. The surest evidence of this is the extreme lack of persecution that modern, American believers experience.
I know, occasionally a Christian business owner will get sued or a Christian celebrity will get criticized, but that is hardly persecution. Modern Christians have little in common with the Christians of days-gone-by, because they stood out from the world, whereas modern Christians have learned to blend-in with the world. We are truly living in the last days before the rapture, in which most Christians “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim.4:3).
For all these reasons, I am skeptical of the modern church. I’m skeptical of the watered-down gospel that is being preached today. I’m skeptical of the ones preaching it. I’m skeptical of the new “Bibles” that are being thrust upon Christians today. I’m wary of the worldly-sounding music that is being passed off as worship in most churches today. I’m wary of their “praise teams” and their “small groups”. I’m wary of the majority of what is going on in most churches today and YOU SHOULD BE TOO.
Is this meant to suggest that everything new is wrong? Certainly not! Electricity is new, but I’m thankful for churches that use it. Television is new, but I believe it can be a great way to reach people with the truth. I am by no means advocating that we drive horse-drawn wagons or use wood-burning stoves to cook all our food.
Thank God, there are some great songs being written today. There are some great preachers, giving forth God’s word, even in these last days. There are still some churches who are practicing Biblical Christianity, while apostasy is running rampant around us. But, they are all harder to find today than they were yesterday. If you’re going to be one of them, you had better be prepared to be different!
Just as the ancient world charged Christ’s followers with Contra Mundum, the world today will say you are “out of touch” and “irrelevant”. That’s alright! I, for one, plan on remaining “out of touch”.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1)
“My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change” (Prov.24:21)