“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.”(Ezekiel 33:7-9)
I’m a self-appointed observer, not a God-appointed watchman, so it’s not really my job to warn my countrymen of an approaching enemy. I limit my efforts to periodically drawing comparisons between current events and Bible Prophecy. I do this to demonstrate the validity of Scripture in the hope that those who read my articles will attach more significance to God’s Word as a guide for their daily living and will also read my more traditional Bible Studies.
Others have a more specific calling, like Hal Lindsey, who recently abandoned the world’s most popular biblically based TV news report rather than submit to network censorship where Islam is concerned. He’s taken a lot of heat for his stance, considered by some in the Christian Community to be excessively narrow and “unloving.”
In his most recent editorial, “The Enemy Within” Hal in effect revealed that he is a God-appointed watchman. Then he explained in detail the extensive foothold radical Islam has gained in the US in recent years in yet another clear wake up call to the rest of us. From the response to date, I wonder if anyone’s listening. Both within and outside the church majority opinion seems to lie somewhere between treading lightly for fear of offending Moslem sensitivity at one end to obvious fawning over followers of the so-called “religion of peace” at the other.
Nobody likes bad news, even when it’s true. A whole gaggle of “prophets” denied Jeremiah’s warning that judgment was coming to Israel, even as they stood on the city walls and watched the Babylonians get ready to burn Jerusalemto the ground.
And how about Hitler’s run-up to WW2? Bad enough that the politicians were blindly following their cowardly appeasement policies, but where was the Christian majority? The world finally learned that denial isn’t a workable strategy when you’re dealing with a spiritually driven enemy, but by then it cost 50 million casualties to stop Hitler. Are we about to discover this again? Bad news may be unpleasant but it’s necessary, and we better pay attention. Fore warned is fore armed, after all. And remember, the penalty for not learning from history is that you have to repeat it.
If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another …
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1Timothy 4:1)
As serious as the situation with radical Islam is, in a spiritual sense a threat just as dangerous as our “head-in-the-sand” response to Islam has materialized before our very eyes. As I look at the current state of what passes for Christianity today, I’m convinced that Paul was really using his letter to Timothy to warn us, not him.
To me, much of the “seeker friendly” movement has abandoned the fundamentals of our faith in an effort to attract everyone while offending no one, turning Sunday services into up-tempo variety shows and mistaking attendance figures and bank deposits for evangelistic success. The greatest obstacle to gaining the truth is the assumption that you already have it.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (John 6:53-55)
He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:59-61,66)
He was talking about communion, the ceremony that memorializes the giving of his life for the remission of sin. But not everyone could accept this, and many turned away. I venture to say that many in the seeker friendly church today would be similarly offended if they ever heard a real salvation message with an altar call and were told that it’s the only path to eternal life.
To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (Rev. 3:14-17)
Since several leaders of the seeker friendly movement also advocate reconstructionism, they must believe that the lukewarm gospel they preach is necessary to achieve their “convert-the-world” goals, watering down the message to a point where no one could object to it. This even though the Lord has never equated church attendance with salvation. The re-emergence of the Laodicean church in the world is a sign of the nearness of the end, and the seeker-friendly movement seems to fit the description.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
It’s said that as many as 175,000 new believers are born-again every day, mostly in China India and Africa, while in the US, church “growth” is more a function of migration than anything else. And are these 175,000 third world converts responding to the construction of huge campuses in their towns, and the arrival of professional musicians and cast members to entertain them? No. They meet secretly in barns, caves and forests, often without professional leadership of any kind, and respond to signs and wonders as the Holy Spirit moves powerfully among them. Where are the miracles in the seeker friendly church? Or are they practicing a form of godliness while denying its power?
… Or Another
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
One of the great myths in the church today is the “inclusivism” taught in some liberal denominations. It claims there are many roads to eternal life and as long as people are sincere in their beliefs, no matter who they worship as God, they’ll find their way to salvation. This attitude has propelled all sorts of pagan and even Satanic cults into the mainstream of religious thought, all in the name of unity. (Lately pagan environmentalists are being joined by reconstructionistChurch leaders in an effort to fight global warming. Reconstructionists have to save the earth for Jesus.)
But Jesus said, Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”. (Matt 7:13-14) I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. (John 10:9) I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Sounds pretty exclusive to me.
Back To The (Near) Future
In recent articles I’ve pointed out the similarities between Islamic prophecies of the Mahdi, or Moslem Messiah, and Biblical prophecies of the anti-Christ. I’ve shown how the President of Iran is trying to goad the world into war to hasten his Mahdi’s return, believing that by doing so he’ll be ushering in an era of worldwide peace under Islamic rule. Given the UN’s track record, odds are he’ll succeed, at least at the war part.
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. (Rev. 13:8)
The Mahdi / anti-Christ’s ‘ arrival will be a time of great excitement, with people everywhere believing that the savior of the world has come to bring the peace they’ve longed for. They’ll all marvel at the power and presence of their pseudo savior. Among them will be countless thousands, who although they regularly attended seeker-friendly services, never heard a clear gospel message or an invitation to confess and be saved. They’ll be joined by the cults and the inclusivists who believe that at the end of the day sincerity is all that matters. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.(Romans 1:21)
While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thes. 5:3)
But alas, all too soon they’ll realize he’s an imposter and they’re stuck in the deadliest period of time in history, a time that half of them won’t survive. A few will wonder what ever became of you, their narrow-minded exclusivist Christian friend. They’ll recall little bits of the gospel you tried to teach them, and start rummaging through their stuff for that New Testament you forced on them. Because of what you told them, they’ll be able to figure out how to ask the Lord to save them before they miss their last chance.
You did take time to tell them before you disappeared, didn’t you? I mean, you wouldn’t keep something this important to yourself, would you?