Flashes of Falling Away
By J. Dave Hunt
The subject of the last days inevitably raises the question of the signs which
mark this climactic period of history-a period which includes the Rapture of
the church to heaven, the Second Coming of Christ with His saints in power
and glory to rescue Israel and to destroy Antichrist, followed by His
thousand-year millennial reign from Jerusalem on the throne of His father
David. One immediately recalls the "signs" given by Christ in His Olivet
Discourse, which have been widely publicized in sermons, books, and videos:
"...wars and rumours; of wars ... nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes
... these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:6-8).
There is no denying that these specific "sorrows" have been both prominent
and accelerating since Israel, in 1948, became a nation in possession of the
land of her fathers again, in fulfillment of the specific promises God made to
His ancient people through His prophets more than 2000 years ago. Since that
remarkable rebirth of Israel, the intensity and frequency of these signs has
increased like the birthpangs of a woman approaching her time of delivery,
exactly as Christ foretold. There has, however, been such emphasis upon these oft-mentioned signs of the nearness of Christ's return that the first words of Christ's response have been largely overlooked and His solemn warning
And Jesus answered and said ... Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall
deceive many .... (Matthew 24:4,5).
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many .... (verse 11).
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible,
they shall deceive the very elect (verse 24).
It is essential to note that the very first sign (and thus the most important one) Jesus gave in response to His disciples' query
was religious deception: "take heed that no man
deceive you." It is significant, too, that His revelation of this primary sign was phrased as a warning: "take heed," or beware. He
repeated this sign two more times for emphasis
and explained the nature of the coming deception: it would involve false Christs, false prophets, and false signs and wonders.
Moreover, His repetition of the word "many" four
times indicates that this deception will not be hidden in a corner but will be a worldwide delusion deceiving multitudes.
A Solemn Warning for the Last Days
Paul uses similar language and issues a similar warning in refer
ring to the last days: "Let no man deceive you by any means A time of deception is coming, says Paul, so take care. But in echoing
Christ's warning about apostasy, Paul provides an added insight. lie
reveals that the spiritual deception to which Christ referred, though
it will of course involve rank unbelievers following false Christs and
false prophets, will infect the professing church, it will involve a
"falling away," or apostasy:
"for that day [of the Lord] shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin [Antichrist] be revealed, the
son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
While a true Christian cannot fall away, a false Christian can. Fall away from what? From the faith in Christ which he or she has
outwardly professed but without inward reality.
These apostates, however, will not leave the church and announce themselves as atheists. They will not convert to Buddhism or Hinduism. While there
are always some exceptions, it is important
to understand that the apostasy doesn't represent a massive defection from Christianity but a turning away from the truth within
the professing church.
Christ warns us in Matthew 24 not to be deceived by false Christs and false prophets and lying signs and wonders. Paul repeats the
warning, but with an added dimension: to
beware of being deceived into thinking that the apostasy won't come. It will. It must. Surely Paul would not speak in this manner
unless in the last days the popular view would
be to reject the idea of apostasy within the church. The grave danger will be that of following false prophets who, with their
signs and wonders, will seem to back up their false
teaching that revival, not apostasy, is the order of the day. Paul therefore says, "Don't let anyone deceive you with sweet talk
about revival: the apostasy must come or the day
of the Lord cannot begin."
A False "Signs and Wonders" Movement
That fact becomes clearer when we refer to other passages of Scripture. Christ's statement about false signs and wonders is
clarified as we are given further insights into the
nature of the apostasy. False signs and wonders will be an integral part of the apostasy. The departure from the truth will be
spearheaded by apparent miracle workers and the
delusion will be made possible by a prevailing emphasis upon experience over doctrine. Paul says, "For the time will come when they
will not endure sound doctrine" (2 Timothy
4:3). And Christ declares:
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy
name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:22, 23).
These apostates of whom Christ speaks did not lose their salvation, they were never saved ("I never knew you"). Yet they outwardly
appeared to be high-profile Christian
leaders apparently performing signs and wonders in the name of Christ. They didn't leave the church to become atheists or to join
some non-Christian religion. They remained in the church. They even called Jesus Lord-but without really knowing Him. Tragically, they seemed to think
that their ability to prophesy and to perform wonders proved that they belonged to Him. Clearly, doctrine is out and experience is in; and the
signs and wonders are so impressive that doctrine no longer matters.
Surely these of whom Christ speaks in Matthew 7 must be the same "false Christs and false prophets" to whom He refers in Matthew 24.
certainly sobering that the signs and wonders these false professors are able to perform are apparently so impressive that even the
might be deceived by them were they not given discernment by the Holy Spirit. We can only conclude that something more than mere
involved. These wonderworkers are backed by the power of Satan, whom they unwittingly serve in the name of the Lord.
Paul indicates as much when he gives us further insight into this great sign of the last days. After a solemn warning that in the
"perilous [extremely dangerous] times shall come," Paul makes this remarkable statement:
"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these [apostates] also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate
faith" (2 Timothy 3:8).
Jannes and Jambres weren't skeptics or atheists, they were the magicians in Pharaoh's court who, through the power of Satan,
duplicated (up to a
point) the miracles God did through Moses and Aaron. Paul is telling us clearly that the last days opposition to the truth will not
come so much
from atheists on the outside of the church (though they are always there) but from those within who are reprobate concerning the
depraved men who corrupt the truth. And they do so by performing apparent miracles in Christ's name which (when more than mere
actually by the power of Satan. In that way they deceive and lead many astraynot out of the church, but into false doctrine and
thus a false hope
within the church. Satan has no more effective tactic to damn souls!
An Inside Job!
Other Scriptures confirm those above. Jude, for instance, said that we must "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the
saints" (Jude 3). Contend against whom? Not primarily against godless enemies outside the church but against those within: "For
certain men crept in unawares" (verse 4). Crept in where? Obviously, inside the church. That is where the problem lies in the last
Paul confirms Jude. Addressing the Ephesian elders, Paul said, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter
in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them"
The spiritual deception of which Christ warned would be rampant within the church. Some of those very Ephesian elders whom Paul had
hand-picked, trained, and ordained would turn out to be apostates and hear Christ's damning words, "Depart from me!"
In confirmation of all of the above, Christ warned His disciples
that "the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will thin k that he
doeth God service" (John 16:2). This is a most remarkable
prophecy. Obviously Christ is not referring to persecution by atheists. He did not have in mind the slaughter of Christians by the Caesars or by Mao or Stalin or Hitler, for they did not believe they were serving God thereby. Of course, when the Jews killed the early Christians, they thought they were serving God; and so did the Roman Catholics when they slaughtered the true Christians before
and after the Reformation-, and so did the Muslims when they killed
Christians. But none of these killings was the complete fulfillment
of Christ's prophecy.
That word "whosoever" is the key. Neither the pharisees nor the popes were alone in killing Christians. Others were pursuing them to
at the same time. But Christ is saying that a time is coming when whosoever, in other words, everyone who kills Christians will
think he is serving
God. That can only mean that a world religion to which everyone must belong is coming, a religion that will seek to exterminate
true Christians in
the name of God. John saw the same scene in the future:
And it was given unto him [Antichrist] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them....
And I beheld another beast ... he exerciseth all the power of the first beast ... and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein
to worship the first beast.... And he had power to ... cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:7-15).
Not Revival, But Apostasy
Even more solemn is an added dimension to Paul's declaration concerning the coming apostasy. Whereas Christ warned of deception,
Paul said it is essential: "for that day [of
the Lord] shall not come except there come a falling away [apostasy] first." This statement, as we have noted, is preceded by the
strange warning, "Let no man deceive you ......
Clearly Paul, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, anticipated the very delusion we find in our day: the rejection of the biblical
teaching concerning apostasy and the insistence that
we are in the midst of or at least are building up to the "greatest revival in the history of the church." Such is the prevailing
teaching today among charismatics and even
noncharismatics. The promise of revival will be a deception, he warns, so beware. Instead of a great revival in the last days
directly preceding the Rapture, there will be a great
apostasy---a falling away from the faith.
Christ refers again to this falling away more subtly when He raises the question, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find [the]
faith on the earth" (Luke 18:8)? While the
definite article is not included in most translations, it is obviously implied here and is found in other exhortations, such as in
Jude. Christ is not referring to just any "faith" but to
"the faith which was once [for all] delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3) and for which we are to "earnestly contend." This is the
faith from which great numbers (seemingly even
the vast majority) will fall away.
One of the greatest contributors to the falling away we are seeing today is the false view of faith promoted by the so-called "faith
teachers" of the "faith movement," also known
as the "positive confession movement." They promote a "faith" largely devoid of moral and doctrinal content and which promises that
whatever one truly believes and
confesses with one's lips will come to pass. This self-centered heresy is deadly.
Today's False "Faith"
That we must earnestly contend for the faith against those who have crept into the church implies that the battle is not so much
faith against no faith, but rather true faith against false faith. And that is precisely what we see today. Even the world is into
"faith" and "spirituality." Articles in leading
medical journals cite studies showing that those who have any "religious faith" are more likely to recover from illness.
Christianity Today recently ran a major article naively
promoting these studies as though they were supportive of the truth.'
Multitudes of Christians imagine that faith is believing that what they are praying for will occur, and that if they truly believe,
they will have whatever they ask. Obviously, if
things happen because one believes they will happen, then one does not need God. This is mind power, not "faith in God" as Christ
taught. It is faith in faith, which Kenneth
Hagin teaches, calling it "the law of faith. 112
This delusion comes from Eastern mysticism and is found not only in all the Mind Science cults (Science of Mind, Christian Science,
Unity, et al.) but in the Positive Thinking of
Norman Vincent Peale, the Possibility Thinking of Robert Schuller, and in the Positive Confession teaching of Kenneth Hagin,
Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, David Yonggi
Cho, and others. No one expressed it more clearly than Ernest Holmes, founder of the Church of Religious Science:
Man, by thinking, can bring into his experience whatsoever he desires... [i.e., as little gods we each create our own world].
We are co-partners with the Infinite ... a Universal Creative Mind which receives the impress of our thought and acts upon it.
Norman Vincent Peale borrowed the phrase "Positive Thinking" from Charles Fillmore (founder of Unity)5 and credited Ernest Holmes
with making him into a positive thinker.'
Said Peale, "Positive thinking is just another term for faith."' On the contrary, atheists can be positive thinkers. Peale claimed
that man's empowerment could be realized by
visualizing God as "energy" ("God is energy," said Peale) and inhaling this energy and visualizing it permeate one's being.'
If faith in faith or in some "higher power" is all one needs, as Alcoholics Anonymous and the various Twelve-Step Programs in
churches teach (there are over 500 participants a week in Bill Hybel's Willow
Creek Community Church') then there is no true faith. "God" is no more than a
placebo that triggers some inner power to heal. Indeed, Peale declared that in
prayer we commune not with the God who created us but with "the great
factor within oneself, the deep subconscious mind.
The Major Sign is Here Today
Differing insights into last days apostasy are given throughout the Bible. A
major factor accompanying the departure from the faith will be "giving heed
to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1). Through the
occult teaching that one can visualize Jesus and carry on a conversation with
Him, a legion of seducing spirits has been loosed in the church. Richard
Foster tells us that through visualization "Jesus Christ will actually come to
you."" Calvin Miller, in an Inter Varsity book, teaches the same," as do the
inner heaters and many Christian psychologists. Of course, it is not Jesus
they see and converse with, but a demon masquerading as "Jesus." Yet even
when the deception ought to be obvious, leading Christians embrace and
In her eighteenth book, Lonely No More, best-selling Christian author and
leader Karen Mains provides a clear example of a seducing spirit and its
doctrines of devils. A popular speaker at women's conferences, Karen, at the
time that book was published, was a "chairperson of the trustee board for
Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship/USA." She tells how at Cenacle, a Catholic
contemplative center, using visualization for contact, her alleged "male-self"
from her dreams turns into an "idiot-child sitting at a table." Fully awake, she
sees its "totally bald" head "lolled to one side...
drooling emaciated and malnourished a little skeleton of a
ragamuffin..............[with] sad, huge eyes Under the guidance of her
"spiritual director" (a Jungian Catholic nun), Karen is convinced
that this visualized "idiot child" which has now come alive to her is,
in fact, the "Christ child" within, that part of herself "that is Christ"
and has been attempting to woo her!
Paul presents yet another characteristic of the apostasy: "For men shall be
lovers of their own selves" (2 Timothy 3:2). This false teaching is rampant in
the church today through Christian psychology. It came from a godless
psychologist named Erich Fromm
who called "belief in God ... a childish illusion."" He claimed that when Christ
said, "Love your neighbor as yourself," He meant that we must learn to love
ourselves before we can love our neighbors or God. In fact, the church had
always interpreted that verse to mean that we love ourselves too much and
need to give some of that love to our neighbors, not that we don't love
Robert Schuller promoted that false view in his book, Self-Love, the Dynamic
Force of Success. From there the lie spread throughout the church. The
exploding new men's movement, Promise Keepers, has been foremost in
promoting this and other delusions of Christian psychology. A newsletter
Many Christian single men have fought the battle to build their own self-
worth, self-esteem, and self-love. They have learned that it is impossible to
have a healthy relationship with others while having an unhealthy
relationship with one's self. Jesus recognized this when He challenged us to
love our neighbor as we would love ourself (Mark 12:31).
Yes, some people say, "I hate myself!" How do we reconcile that statement,
earnestly uttered, with the biblical declaration, "No man ever yet hated his
own flesh" (Ephesians 5:29)? What that person actually hates may be his
appearance, clothes, job, salary, the way people look down upon or mistreat
him, etc. But he doesn't hate himself. If he did, he would be glad he was
homely, had poor clothes, low income, and was abused by others. The fact
that he complains about these things proves that he loves himself, exactly as
the Bible says. He needs to give some of that love to his neighbor, not learn
to love himself more.
It was surely not a "negative self-image" that was Lucifer's downfall but a
very "positive" one. More than 200 years ago, William Law expressed what
Christians had always understood:
Self-love, self-esteem, and self-seeking are the essence and the life of pride;
and the Devil, the father of pride, is never absent from these passions, nor
without an influence in them ......
The last-days apostasy will also be characterized by a rejection of the
church's Rapture to heaven: "There shall come in the last days scoffers ...
saying, Where is the promise of his coming?"
(2 Peter 3:3,4). The apostasy involves claiming that revival rather than the Rapture is imminent and denying that apostasy must
come. Again, these days are upon us, and we
need not quote the many Christian leaders who ridicule belief in the Rapture, calling it an escape theory. Their books and tapes
are readily available.
How is such a departure from the faith possible, and how can it gather momentum in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ under the
umbrella of revival and a great prayer and
fasting movement? Simply because, at the heart of the apostasy is a rejection of the primacy of sound doctrine: "For the time will
come when they will not endure sound
doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:3). And here again this day is upon us with a vengeance, as we will now document.
A False "Church Growth/Signs and Wonders" Movement
Yes, the Bible definitely predicts a last-days signs and wonders movement. That is clear from the verses to which we have referred.
However, Scripture tells us that this signs and
wonders movement will not be of God but of Satan. It will be a delusion that will deceive many. The topic on everyone's lips and
mind today is revival. It comes as a shock to
many to learn that the word revival does not occur even once in the entire King James Bible. The hope of revival that excites so
many today is not even a biblical concept.
Unfortunately, lack of space prevents us from elaborating.
In his new book, Confronting the Powers, Fuller Theological Seminary professor C. Peter Wagner seeks to explain and biblically
justify the false revival now being promoted.
Wagner calls John Wimber "my mentor."" He introduces to readers terms that were unknown only a few years ago: territorial spirits,
spiritual mapping, Spiritual Warfare
Network, A.D. 2000 Movement, ground-level spiritual warfare, occult-level spiritual warfare, strategic-level spiritual warfare,
cosmic-level spiritual warfare, praise marches,
prayerwalking, prayer journeys, prayer expeditions, praying through windows, etc. Wagner says that these new concepts and practices
(of which Jesus, Paul, and the early
church knew nothing) hold the key to spiritual breakthrough and worldwide revival."
Similarly, and in agreement with Wagner and Wimber, Christian TV and radio and best-selling books persuasively argue that we are in
the midst of the greatest revival of
Christianity in the history of the
world. This revival is claimed to be characterized by power: power to prophesy, to speak in tongues, to heal the sick, to confront
evil spirits, and even to raise the dead.
Enthusiasts point to plenty of apparent evidence of the vaunted "revival" spreading rapidly throughout the world from such places
as the former Toronto Vineyard, the
Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, Benny Hinn's church in Orlando, Florida, and his huge televised crusades, to
mention a few centers of this delusion.
To justify the unbiblical physical manifestations accompanying this movement (hysterical laughing, weird twitchings and contortions,
animal noises and mannerisms, etc.) John
Wimber says that God is greater than His Word. He waves the Bible and declares that when the Holy Spirit moves, He doesn't go by
this book. There is a mad thirst for power
and its supposed manifestations. One can view numerous videos from the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola where hundreds
surge forward at an altar call--without the
gospel having been preached. People come from all over the world to "get it," meaning the physical manifestations of supposed Holy
Nicky Gumbel, the curate of Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) Anglican Church in England, tells how he was swept into this new "move of
the Spirit." Gumbel testifies that he felt
"something like 10,000 volts" of electricity going through his body when Wimber prayed for him. Prayed for what? For power. (The
Brownsville revival began when evangelist
Steve Hill, having just come from HTB, related his experiences there.) Said Gumbel approvingly on a teaching tape:
The American [Wimber] ... just said, 'More power....' It was the only thing he ever prayed. I can't remember him ever praying
anything else ......
But Isn't Apostasy Old News?
Someone will say that apostasy had already begun in Paul's day or at least shortly after his death. That is true. Jude testified
that when he wrote his short epistle the apostates
had already entered into the church. The Roman Catholic Church, certainly, has been in apostasy for 1500 years. There is, however,
something new about the apostasy we are
now seeing which points to the final fulfillment of biblical prophecies in our day.
It is generally believed that the Roman Catholic Church was the only
representation of Christianity on earth prior to the Reformation. Even today's
evangelical leaders echo the lie of Roman Catholic apologists that, since the
Roman Catholic Church was the only church prior to the sixteenth century,
then if it was in apostasy, Christ's promise that the gates of hell would not
prevail against His church failed. The truth, however, is that an evangelical
church comprised of millions of true believers always existed and was always
persecuted by Rome. Martin Luther himself said:
We are not the first to declare the papacy to be the kingdom of Antichrist,
since for many years before us so many and such great men (whose number
is large and whose memory is eternal) have undertaken to express the same
thing so clearly and plainly."
Who were these to whom Luther referred? We have a letter dated 1429 (100
years before the Reformation) from Pope Martin V commanding the King of
Poland to exterminate the Hussites. Jan Hus had been martyred in 1415. But
for 1000 years before that there were the Vaudois, Albigenses, Waldenses,
and other similar groups of evangelical Christians. These simple believers
were the object of repeated crusades (larger and more numerous than those
fought for the "Holy Land") in which the popes offered "the remission of all
sins to everyone who should slay a heretic.""
Tragically, the false accusations made by the inquisitors to justify their
slaughter of the "heretics" are still found in encyclopedias to deceive the
unwary today. For the truth, one must look to other sources, such as John
Fox's Book of Martyrs, The Martyr's Mirror (published in 1631), Samuel
Morland's The History of the Evangelical Churches of Piedmont (published
in 1648), or to other books written nearer to the time. Even Halley's Pocket
Bible Handbook tells the truth.
And here we confront a disturbing example of the new ecumenical
characteristic of the last days apostasy. The Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association (BGEA) acquired the printing rights to Halley's Pocket Bible
Handbook and printed a special Billy Graham Crusade edition of it in 1962,
1964, and 1969. In so doing, they deleted dozens of pages of vital historical
facts concerning the evil of some of the popes and of Rome's persecution
and slaughter of Christians. Truth was sacrificed on the altar of ecumenism in
order not to offend Rome, and readers were robbed of indispensable information.
The following is a sample of facts carefully presented by Halley, which the
Graham organization eliminated from its special edition:
[The Albigenses] preached against the immoralities of the [Catholic]
priesthood, pilgrimages, worship of saints and images ... opposed the claims
of the Church of Rome; made great use of the Scriptures .... By 1167 they
embraced possibly a majority of the population of South France .... In 1208 a
crusade was ordered by Pope Innocent 111; a bloody war of extermination
followed, scarcely paralleled in history; town after town was put to the sword
and the inhabitants murdered without distinction of age or sex ... within 100
years the Albigenses were utterly rooted out.
[Two centuries later] between 1540 and 1570 no fewer than 900,000
Protestants were put to death in the Pope's war for the extermination of the
Waldenses. Think of monks and priests directing, with heartless cruelty and
inhuman brutality, the work of torturing and burning alive innocent men and
women, and doing it in the name of Christ, by the direct order of the "Vicar of
... on the night of August 24, 1572, 70,000 Huguenots, including most of their
leaders, were massacred [St. Bartholemew's massacre]. Some 200,000 [more]
perished as martyrs... land] 500,000 fled to Protestant countries .23
To carefully suppress such essential information not only robbed readers
but dishonored the martyrs and the Lord for whom they died. The courage of
the martyrs, who gave their lives for Christ rather than to deny His Word,
puts to shame those who hid that truth from a generation which desperately
needs to know it!
Down through the centuries, though the major visible church with its
headquarters in Rome was deep in apostasy, there were millions who gave
no allegiance to Rome. They sought to follow the New Testament and remain
pure. Then came the Reformation. As a result, most of these groups were
gradually absorbed into and disappeared among the so-called Protestants.
And now the Protestants are turning back to Rome, and the apostasy, for the
first time in history, is becoming worldwide!
Trashing the Reformation
One of the most significant events in the history of Christianity in nearly 500
years took place March 29, 1994. Leading evangelicals and Catholics signed a
joint declaration, Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian
Mission in the Third Millennium (ECT). The document says . we [Evangelicals and Catholics] thank God for the discovery of one another as brothers and sisters
in Christ. That statement overturns the Reformation! Evangelicals have endorsed and joined Rome's longstanding apostasy! The March 30 New York Times news
release said in part:
They toiled together in the movements against abortion and pornography,
and now leading Catholics and evangelicals are asking their flocks for a
remarkable leap of faith: to finally accept each other as Christians. In what's
being called a historic declaration, evangelicals including Pat Robertson and
Charles Colson joined with conservative Roman Catholic leaders today in ...
urging Catholics and evangelicals ... to stop aggressive proselytization of
each other's flocks.
John White, president of Geneva College and former president of the
National Association of Evangelicals, said the statement represents a
"triumphalistic moment" in American religious life after centuries of
Other evangelical endorsers include the heads of the Home Mission Board
and Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the
nation's largest Protestant denomination, and Bill Bright, founder of Campus
Crusade for Christ ... Mark Noll of Wheaton University ... Os Guinness, Jesse
Miranda (Assemblies of God), Richard Mouw (President, Fuller Seminary),
J.1. Packer and Herbert Schlossberg.
Robert Simonds, Southern California chairman of the National Association of
Evangelicals, "applauded the declaration" and said he hoped it would bring
"increased cooperation between evangelicals and Catholics Amazingly, the document claims that all Catholics hold the same faith as evangelicals. That idea would be a shock both to the martyrs and those who burned them at the stake
for what were recognized at that time as such vast differences in belief that
the faithful were willing to die for them!
Rome has neither changed its beliefs nor rescinded its more than 100
anathemas damning those who accept the biblical gospel. Nevertheless, Billy
Graham has said, "I've found that my beliefs are essentially the same as those
of orthodox Roman Catholics."" Upon receiving an honorary doctorate at
Belmont Abbey (a Jesuit college), Graham said, "The gospel that built this
school and the gospel that brings me here tonight is still the way of
salvation"" an unthinkable statement in light of Rome's undeniably false
gospel of works, ritual, purgatory, indulgences, prayers to the saints, and the
perpetual sacrifice of Christ in the mass. In justification of burning the
martyrs, the highest Roman Catholic authority states:
If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law [Roman Catholic rituals]
are not necessary for salvation but ... that without them ... men obtain from
God through faith alone the grace of justification ... let him be anathema.
If anyone says that in the mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God
... let him be anathema.
If anyone says that the sacrifice of the mass is ... a mere commemoration of
the sacrifice consummated on the cross but not a propitiatory one ... and not
to be offered for ... the dead, for sins ... let him be anathema.
The last words of Hugh Latimer, martyred for rejecting the mass, ring in our
consciences. Bound back-to-back to the stake with Nicholas Ridley, Latimer,
England's most effective gospel preacher at that time, was heard to exclaim as
the flames engulfed them: "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the
man. We shall this day, by God's grace, light such a candle in England as I
pray shall never be put out." Today's apostasy is determined to extinguish
that "candle," though the evangelical leaders doing so would not have
known the gospel but for the faithfulness of such martyrs!
Such is the heritage of today's evangelicals, which this document (ECT) now
rejects. We are asked to believe that the Reformers were deluded, that like all
active Catholics today they were saved but didn't know it. The tens of
millions of Catholics who since then have received Christ by faith alone and left the Catholic Church have also been deceived. The whole evangelical church of today is equally deluded about what it means to be a Christian. Colson, Robertson, Brightetal., have revised both history and the gospel of our salvation!
The Return to Rome
Pope Paul VI said to Sri Chinmoy, a Hindu leader, "Your gospel and my
gospel are the same." And now evangelical leaders are saying to Rome,
"Your gospel and our gospel are the same." Billy Graham has recommended
a biography of Pope Paul VI which encouraged "devotion to Mary, the
Saints, worship of the wafer at the Mass, and trust in the sacraments for
salvation." He called the book "a classic in devotion."" Having visited Pope
John Paul 11 several times, Graham calls him "the world's greatest
evangelist"" and says that any differences in their theology "are not
important as far as personal salvation is concerned. 1130 Tell that to the
millions who died at the hands of Rome because of very real differences that
Graham now denies!
On the Phil Donahue Show, Billy Graham praised the Pope as "a moral and
spiritual leader" that the American people could look up to and said, "Thank
God, I've got somebody to quote now with some real authority. 1131
The move back to Rome has been underway for many years under the
leadership of Billy Graham and his magazine, Christianity Today. Senior
editor, Kenneth Kantzer, in a CT editorial, honored Pope John Paul 11 as
"the successor of Saint Peter" whom "God has called ... to forge a united
church... [whose] priority to the Christian message ... endear[s] him to the
hearts of evangelicals."" Apparently the martyrs died for a semantic
misunderstanding which has lately been clarified!
In his 1977 crusade on the campus of Notre Dame University, Graham's
invitation certainly confused the gospel: "Many of you want to come
tonight and reconfirm your confirmation. You want to reconfirm the decision
that you made when you joined the church." He made a similar appeal for
people to "reconfirm their confirmation" at his Milwaukee crusade in August
1978. In Milwaukee, 3500 names of those who went forward were turned
33 to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. At Billy Graham's Vancouver,
British Columbia crusade in October 1984, David Cline, vice chairman of the
organizing committee, had this to say: "If Catholics step forward there will
be no attempt to convert them and their names will be given to the
Catholic church nearest them." (Emphasis added.)
Says Graham, "We're delighted that the Roman Catholic Church now
cooperates with us wherever we go." That cooperation involved about 400
Catholic "counselors" in Graham's midSeptember, 1990, crusade at Nassau
Coliseum, Long Island. The local Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office
exulted that the crusade would "provide opportunities for Catholics who
attend to be reconnected to their parishes via Catholic Bible study. 1131
England's Cardinal Hume wrote a letter thanking Billy for sending him 2100
converts from his 1989 London crusade and for helping them renew their
Roman Catholic faith . As long ago as his 1952 Pittsburgh crusade, Graham
told newspaper reporter William McElwain:
"Many of the people who have reached a decision for Christ at our meetings
have joined the Catholic church and we have received commendations from
Catholic publications for the revived interest in their church following one of
We thank God that Billy Graham has preached the gospel and souls have
been saved. Unfortunately, however, he has also done much to undermine
that gospel. Of course, Graham, the BGEA, and Christianity Today have not
been alone in bringing evangelicals back to Rome. Paul and Jan Crouch and
TBN are at the forefront of this move. Crouch believes in the apparitions of
Mary and even that Mary has appeared to him and Jan. He recently said:
"In the 1980s, David Duplessis, father of modern Pentecostalism, visited
Medjugorie ... and concluded what he experienced was ... a revival, the likes
of which he had given up seeing in his lifetime, and he spotted no 'bad fruit.'
The heavenly apparitions, concluded the great Charismatic leader, were 'of
God"' (emphasis in original)."
Also leading the march back to Rome are Pat Robertson's Christian
Coalition, Charisma magazine, Promise Keepers (which has a Roman
Catholic on its board, uses a Catholic evangelist at its meetings, just revised
its statement of faith to satisfy Catholics, and cooperates closely with
Rome), and others. John Wimber, head of the Vineyard Movement, from
which Promise Keepers came, has called the Pope "a born-again evangelical... [who] is preaching the gospel as
clearly as anybody is preaching it in the world today. 11411
Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ have worked closely with Catholics
for years and have welcomed a number of them on staff. So have John
Wimber and the Vineyard churches he founded.
Former Vineyard pastor John Goodwin tells of being present when Wimber
addressed about 5000 people. Says Goodwin:
John Wimber actively promotes the reunification of the Protestants and the
Catholics. I was there at a seminar, a pastors' conference in Anaheim. The
archbishop of the archdiocese was attending, sitting up in front with his
robes on .... John asked him to stand up and said to him, "I want to apologize
to you on behalf of all Protestants for leaving the Catholic Church and for the
things we've said about you and the Church."
When Pope John Paul 11 designated the last decade of this century for
"world evangelization," John Wimber, head of the Vineyard churches,
exclaimed, "This is one of the greatest things that has ever happened in the
history of the Church ... I am thrilled with the Pope and glad that he is calling the Church to this goal, to this work.""
An article titled "YWAM Builds Bridges to Catholics" makes it clear that
YWAM (Youth With A Mission) works with Catholics as well as Christians
here in the U.S. and overseas. It shows a picture of Billy Graham meeting with
the Pope and states that "Beginning in 1978, YWAM workers in Austria
began to cooperate with Catholics there .... In 1984, YWAM adopted a policy
allowing staff to work with Catholics .... YWAM has installed a Catholic, Rob
Clarke, as director of its discipleship training school in Dublin .... YWAM's
missionaries are not aiming to lure Catholics out of their churches... [but]
helping to establish Christ-centered evangelistic Catholic communities.
The Leaders of Apostasy
The Scriptures to which we have referred clearly indicate that the last-days
apostasy will come from within the church and will be led by false Christs and
false prophets who will compromise the
gospel and God's Word and rely upon outward manifestations and apparent
miracles. Again, this is precisely what we see today.
Examples of those who have preached a false gospel and crept into the
church unawares in our day are legion. Space limits us to a few. At the top of
the list one finds Norman Vincent Peale. His books have sold many millions of
copies. The most shocking thing about Peale is his acceptance by the
evangelical church. Millions of those who call themselves born-again
Christians and attend evangelical churches read his books and find nothing
wrong with them. He has been praised by Billy Graham and other evangelical
leaders. Though he died recently, his books, magazines, and tapes continue
to infect the church.
In 1984, on the Phil Donahue program, Peale said: "It's not necessary to be
born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a
Shinto shrine ... I've been to Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere."
Shocked, Phil Donahue responded, "But you're a Christian minister; you're
supposed to tell me that Christ is the way and the truth and the life, aren't
you?" Peale replied, "Christ is one of the ways. God is everywhere.""
Peale was the keynote speaker at Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball's
85th birthday celebration in 1980. He called the
Mormon leaders "men of God [who] are doing God's work by their fruits ye shall know them Because Kimball was "so deeply spiritual," Peale asked him, "Will you bless me?""
Perhaps Peale, who was a 33' Mason (more than 1 million Southern Baptists
and many of their clergy are Masons), favored Mormonism because it is so
much like Masonry. Each state in the U.S. has a Supreme Grand Lodge of
Freemasonry and most Grand Lodges publish a Monitor for the guidance of
members in the official doctrines and practices. Consider the following from
the Kentucky Monitor:
The three really great rituals of the human race are the Prajapati ritual of
ancient Hinduism, the Mass of the Christian [Roman Catholic] Church, and
the Third Degree of Masonry.
Together they testify to the profoundest insight of the human soul: that God
becomes man that man may become God!"
Next on the list of leaders of today's apostasy comes Robert Schuller, to whom President Clinton, in his January 1997 Inaugural
address, referred as "one of America's best-known
pastors." Schuller calls Peale "the man who has impacted and influenced my thinking and my theology and my life more than any other
living person...."" Schuller, through his
Hour of Power, has the largest television audience of any Christian program, reportedly going into 20 million homes." As pastor of
the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove,
California, Schuller has said, "It was Dr. [Norman Vincent] Peale who got me to go to Los Angeles ... and it was [Billy] Graham who
first got me to go on TV.""
Schuller preaches what he unashamedly calls a "man-centered theology," though theology is the study of God. He perverts "Thou shalt
have no other gods before me," to mean,
"Believe in the God who believes in you! "-though the Bible warns, "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man" (Jeremiah 17:5). He
says it's destructive of the gospel to call anyone a
sinner, and declares:
That's what sets me apart from fundamentalists, who are trying to convert everybody to believe how they believe .... We know the
things the major faiths can agree on. We try to
focus on those without offending those with different viewpoints, or without compromising the integrity of my own Christian commitment.
Of course, the major faiths don't even agree on God, and certainly not on the gospel that saves-so Schuller can have little to say
of any substance. He has said, "When we built
this church [the Crystal Cathedral], our aim was to construct such a building that it would stand for centuries. 1151 Obviously he
does not entertain the hope of the imminent
Rapture of the church as did the early Christians. Schuller went to Rome to get the Pope's approval of a drawing of the Crystal
Cathedral, saying he wouldn't have dared to build
it without first getting the "Holy Father's apostolic blessings."
John Wimber, of course, is another key figure in the apostasy. He gave us numerous false prophets in Kansas City and elsewhere and
the "praise and worship" movement with
its rock beat, shallow words, and hypnotic repetition. The Toronto laughing revival has spread mainly through the Vineyards.
Promise Keepers is also a Vineyard movement and
was begun largely to fulfill Vineyard
prophecies about stadiums being filled to overflowing with people excited about Jesus, and accompanying miracles.
The Toronto Vineyard church, which became the center of the laughing revival, has been removed by John Wimber from the Fellowship of
Vineyard Churches. This action has
been mistakenly taken as a sign that Wimber is maturing and rejecting some of the excesses that he once embraced. In fact, Wimber
wrote the foreword to the book on "Holy
Laughter" by Jon Arnott, head pastor of the now disfellowshipped Toronto Vineyard. Toronto was disfellowshipped not for "holy
laughter," but for trying to find specific verses
in the Bible to explain the animal noises.
Many other Vineyard churches, such as the St. Louis Vineyard Christian Fellowship, continue their involvement in "holy laughter."
Its pastor, Randy Clark, brought the laughing
revival to Toronto. Clark "got it" from Rodney Howard-Browne at Kenneth Hagin Jr.'s Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa and continues to
promote this movement worldwide.
Moreover, Clark was attracted to Howard-Browne because "people shaking, falling, laughing" reminded him of what he had seen "years
earlier in the Vineyard revivals.""
Apostasy and "Progress in Religion"
One of the more notable leaders in the apostasy is John Marks Templeton, a wealthy Wall Street money manager. His beliefs are so
contrary to biblical teaching that it is
astonishing how he could have "crept in unawares." Templeton's beliefs are expressed clearly in his many writings. He is an
evolutionist and a pantheist ("God is billions of stars
in the Milky Way .... Time and space and energy are all part of God ... God is five billion people on Earth ... God is untold
billions of beings on planets of millions of other stars""
He is a universalist and occultist who rejects Christ as the only Savior, claims that heaven and hell are states of mind we create
here on earth, that truth is relative, and that
Christianity is no longer relevant. Yet this man is highly acclaimed in evangelical circles. He was on the Board of Princeton
Theological Seminary" and for fifteen years was on the
Board of Managers of the American Bible Society," in spite of his rejection of the Bible as God's Word. Norman Vincent Peale called
Templeton "the greatest layman of the
Christian Church in our time,"" an amazing tribute to an antiChristian!
Templeton's 1994 book, Discovering The Laws of Life, is pure occultism. Instead of warning against it, Christianity Today devoted
the entire back cover of its April 24, 1994 issue to an ad
promoting it. Headlined "WILL INSPIRE MILLIONS OF READERS," the ad contained the endorsements of Norman Vincent Peale (who also
wrote the foreword), Robert Schuller, Billy Graham,
and two prominent Catholic New Age leaders, Theodore M. Hesburgh (former president of Notre Dame University) and J. Peter Grace
(head of the Knights of Malta, sworn to defend the pope).
Here are sample quotes from the book:
The basic principles for leading a "sublime life"... may be derived from any religious tradition-Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and
others as well as Christian....
[A]stronauts travel[ed] into outer space... [and] did not bring back any evidence of heaven. And whereas drills had penetrated the
earth, they'd found oil, not hell, in the depths ... spiritual theorists
are inclined to conceive of [heaven and hell] as states of mind....
Through our choices and attitudes we create our own heaven or hell right here on earth ... the only place we can find heaven is in
our own hearts ....
Our innate goodness is an essential fact of our existence ... of God within us.
Be honest. Be true. Love all parts of yourself ... the godhood within you ... is in a state of becoming perfect."
Templeton and his neo-pagan views were first introduced to the church in 1986 by Robert Schuller. Schuller's Possibilities magazine
put Templeton's picture on its front cover, and its major article
was an interview with Templeton. In it he expressed his Unity/Religious Science/New Age beliefs: "Your spiritual principles attract
prosperity to you ... material success ... comes ... from being in
tune with the infinite .... The Christ spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not ... nothing exists
except God. These heresies were enthusiastically promoted by Schuller
to his vast audience of readers.
Templeton's writings are readily available in any bookstore, thus any Christian leader can know his beliefs. Nevertheless, this
man is accepted in the church and is embraced and praised by Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and Bill Bright, among others. Each of
them has been the recipient of the annual Templeton Prize for
Progress in Religion. It is larger than the Nobel Prize. What Templeton means by "progress in religion" and what he intended by
establishing the prize should prevent any evangelical from accepting
it. The "progress in religion" he envisions is clearly toward Antichrist's world religion:
The doctrinal formulations of Christianity have changed and will change from age to age .... Christians think God appeared in Jesus
of Nazareth two thousand years ago for our salvation and
education. But we should not take it to mean that ... progress stopped ... that Jesus was the end of change .... To say that God
cannot reveal Himself again in a decisive way [through other
Messiahs] ... seems sacrilegious ......
As the religious forms of traditional Judaism and Christianity are losing their powers to inform the contemporary mind, the West
desperately needs religious geniuses who can create new imaginal
"Theologians ... must begin to explore the vast unseen
dimensions of our evolving universe
I am hoping we can develop a body of knowledge about God that doesn't rely on ancient revelations or scripture [such as the Bible!]
... that is scientific ... and is not disputed because of divisions
between religions or churches or ancient scripture or liturgy....
The next stage of human divine progress on the evolutionary scale needs ... geniuses of the spirit, blazing trails for the rest of
us to follow. To encourage progress of this kind, we have established
the Templeton Foundation Prizes for Progress in Religion."
In keeping with his idea of "progress" in religion, Templeton suggests, "Maybe one of the attributes of God is change. 1162 That is
indeed true of his "god," but the God of the Bible declares, "for I
am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6). The very idea of "progress in religion" denies the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christianity
is not a religion, nor is it subject to progressive development. Nor does
Christianity maintain a friendly, ecumenical relationship with the world's religions, but opposes all of them as devices of Satan. Every true Christian, by the very tenets of his faith, must be uncompromisingly
opposed to Templeton's neo-pagan beliefs and the prize he offers.
It would be clearly dishonest for anyone to accept the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion who was not in complete sympathy with its purpose and the beliefs behind it. The very reception of the prize by any individual constitutes an endorsement of all that the prize represents in the mind of its founder. Try to imagine Elijah accepting an ecumenical prize from the prophets of Baal, or
Paul from the pagan leaders of his day!
Yet Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and Campus Crusade for
Christ founder Bill Bright not only accepted the prize but praised
the prize and the man behind it. Upon accepting it at the first news
conference, Colson said, "I salute Sir John for establishing this
award and doing it in such a generous way His acceptance
speech was made at the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions in
Chicago. The meeting was opened with a Muslim prayer and closed
with a Buddhist prayer. Tragically, Colson never gave the gospel to
the robed religious leaders on the platform behind him and their
followers filling the large auditorium. Bill Bright was even more
effusive in his acceptance speech at a Catholic Church in Rome:
The prestigious Templeton Prize, to me, because of the nature of its objective, is greater than any other prize that could be given
for any purpose.
So I am deeply humbled and greatly honored to be the recipient of this 1996 magnificent Templeton Prize. I would like to thank and
commend Sir John Templeton for establishing this
More examples could be given to prove that the prophecies of
Christ, of Paul, of Peter, and of Jude concerning the last days apostasy are coming to pass in our day. We have not named names in
denigrate anyone, but to show the extent of the delusion. It would hardly do to say in general terms that ecumenism and apostasy
promoted by Christian leaders without concrete evidence identifying them.
Furthermore, we have avoided naming the leaders of the more obvious heresies within the charismatic movement such as Kenneth Hagin,
Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price (who say we are
little gods and create reality with our minds), Morris Cerullo (who says that when you look at Morris Cerullo you look at God),
Yonggi Cho (who
says we must visualize to have faith), and so many others. Several authors have pointed out their errors and the fact that they are
playing a large
part in the apostasy and false revival.
We have taken our examples from among those who are more highly regarded in evangelical circles in general and whose influence is
among mainstream evangelicals. That will be the last bastion of true faith to fall. We have not had space to show from the
Scriptures why the
apostasy must come, but it should be clear that its coming is essential in preparing the world for the Antichrist.
Neither do we desire to engender discouragement. Our Lord's desire is that we should not be ignorant of Satan's devices and should
arm ourselves well against them. Then we can face the end times, of which we are assuredly a part, with confidence and with hope.