The Apostate Laodicean Church of the End Times
by Steven Garren
"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to annoint your eyes so that you may see." Rev. 3:15-18.
One of the greatest signs of the last days Jesus spoke about is a departing of true faith by the Christian Church. Never has that been more apparent than today. Whether it is President George W. Bush worshipping in a Japanese Shinto shrine and hosting Islamic services in the White House, Billy Graham saying that Jews, Muslims, and pagans without a knowledge of Christ can still go to heaven, head of Trinity Broadcasting Network Paul Crouch saying that we are little gods, or the Pope kissing the Koran, and welcoming all religions as one, apostasy is rampant within the Church. This apostasy filters all the way down to even small churches. Leaders and teachers are a necessary part of the Church but when they consistently depart from the Word of God and refuse to repent of their error then they are no longer worthy of trust. Plus the fact that many of them are involved with homosexuality and adultery. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds." 2 Cor. 11:13-15. Jesus had harsh words of denunciation for the religious hypocrites of his day with their traditions and outward piety. It is no different today. Most of the Church leadership and membership are just playing Church. They have turned Christianity into churchianity. "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far way from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." Mk. 7:6-8.
The extent to which the devil has infiltrated the Church is staggering, as a thorough research will attest. Volumes have been written documenting the evidence. Christians today do not want to study the Word of God, be discerning, and face truth, lest their comfort zone be disturbed. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires." 2 Tim. 4:3. However the Bible tells us to expose the works of darkness, Eph. 5:11, and be discerning. "He who is spiritual judges all things..." 1 Cor. 2:15. "All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, and training in righteousness." 2 Tim. 3:16. In early 1963 communist goals for America were entered into the congressional record. Among those was to infiltrate churches and replace the true gospel with a social gospel. They have been abundantly succesful in this and most of their other goals, including getting Americans obsessed with sex, sports, and other entertainment. Communism by any other name is still communism, even though most Americans have been duped into believing it died with the fall of the Soviet Union.
The great majority of American churches have registered as 501(c)(3) corporations with the IRS for monetary benefits or out of ignorance. Instead of Christ being the head of their churches they have actually made the government the head. Although they still enjoy a large degree of freedom it is nevertheless limited by IRS directives. When federal legislation against so called hate crimes advances this freedom will likely disappear. Those few churches that still do preach the truth and remain as tax exempt corporations may one day have the government force them to compromise with the truth if they wish to retain the monetary benefits of being government registered. Recently the homosexual agenda has by it's political efforts made the Bible hate literature in Canada. A pastor in Sweden was recently sentenced to a month in prison for preaching against homosexuality. If the current trend continues it's only a matter of time before these things happen here plus much worse curtailing of outspoken Biblical truth by any church or individual. However apostate churches will likely continue functioning in their usual manner. A government that hates truth has nothing to fear from them.
Churches in general have become no more than social clubs giving people what makes them feel good. When Christians watch the same mind numbing TV shows, go to the same mind conditioning movies, and listen to the same loud drum thumping beat as unbelievers and call it Christian then something is dreadfully wrong. "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 Jn. 2:15. Poor, persecuted Christians overseas, uncorrupted by materialism, can easily recognize the apostasy in western Christianity. It is no wonder that Chinese Christians reportedly pray for persecution to come to America and purify the Church, and why when the new openess of the dissolusion of the Soviet Union occurred Russian leaders of the previously persecuted underground Church were very saddened with the arrival of so called "Christian rock" music from America, which they appropriately called "music from hell". They wondered how American Christians could be so much like the world. Music itself is not amoral as producers of decadent "Christian" music have led others to believe. No wonder Jesus called his people sheep, for they so easily wander into danger and become devoured by wolves in sheep's clothing. "...there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies..." 2 Pet. 2:1.
We are supposed to go out into the world and make disciples of others. Churches are for building up believers in truth and righteousness equiping them for personal evangelization. The Church was never intended to sink down to a worldly level to attract unbelievers. When the apostle Paul said he became all things to all men in order to save some he certainly didn't mean he adopted the standards of the world to do so. We are commanded to preach the gospel, the whole gospel, not weaken it down and sugar coat it for mass consumption. Such a perverted gospel only leads people to a false salvation. Does the modern Church consider the Holy Spirit so impotent that manmade formulas and seeker friendly programs are necessary to attract the lost?
How sad indeed when churches refuse to give their members spiritual food but wildly go after any Hollywood entertainment labeled Christian. The Church is in pitiful condition when it relies on unrighteous Hollywood for help to teach and evangelize. Mel Gibson's movie The Passion was certainly a lucrative blockbuster hit but it was essentially an emotionally assaulting portrayal of a false Jesus primarily from the occultic visions of Catholic mystic nun Anne Emmerich who had never read the Bible at all. The inaccuracies in the movie were numerous, not to mention the number of unrepentant porn stars acting in it. Gibson has stated that he believes people of other faiths can enter heaven too. So Mel does not believe the words of Christ himself as being the only way to heaven. Yet many, many churches have followed him like a pied piper. That which is sacred should never be used as a form of entertainment. Play acting is hypocrisy. Indeed the word hypocrite means actor. Maybe that's why so many churches embraced the movie so enthusiastically. "Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold here is the Christ,' or 'There He is,' do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to misleed, if possible, even the elect. So if they say to you, 'Behold, He is in the wilderness,' do not go out, or, 'Behold He is in the inner rooms,' do not believe them." Mat. 24:23-24,26. Certainly God can use the most unlikely means to draw the lost to himself but the end does not justify the means. The Bible never encourages Christians to promote what is false and deceptive. Satan is very good at taking what is true and mixing in a few lies to deceive. God has apparently never endorsed play acting as a viable means of evangelization, as history will attest of it's failures. Even more repulsive has been the merchandising of Christianity with this movie in the form of numerous trinkets such as coffee mugs, T-shirts, key chains, crucifixion nails, etc. The merchandising of religion was the one thing that made Jesus angry, as he drove the moneychangers from the temple.
Where in the Bible is it written we Christians are called to a life of comfort? History itself teaches just the opposite. From the early Church on down through the ages the true Christian life has been one of sacrifice and suffering. God is more interested in transforming our character than in providing for our earthly comfort. "For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake." 1 Phil. 1:29. We are called to worship, obedience, and service, no matter what the cost to us. "Indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Tim. 3:12. There were more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than all previous history combined. God is not some cosmic spiritual teddy bear just to cling to when we feel bad. This world is engaged in a great spiritual war and God wants participating warriors, not spectators. "Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything to stand firm." Eph. 6:13. "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perserverance; perserverance, character; and character, hope." Rom. 5:3-4. Yet in spite of hardships, there is great peace and joy to be had within one's spirit. "Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor has entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for those that love him." 1 Cor. 2:9. "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Rom. 14:17.
Christianity is not an insurance policy against hell so we can live for self. It is an intimate relationship with the living, personal God that demands separation from the world's lifestyle of sin and self gratification. The grace of God is a wonderful gift, not a license to sin as many Christians seem to believe. How much time do you you spend in fellowship with Christ daily? The more you love someone the more time you want to spend with them. Is that not so? Do you bear any scars for being a Christian? The world hated Jesus and he said it would hate his followers too. America has thus far been spared severe persecution of Christians but a truly righteous Christian will find that there is a degree of persecution even here.
Apparently at best most Christians in America want to be fed a continuous diet of "milk" rather than growing up to "meat." Hardly anyone preaches about the realities of an eternal hell anymore, nor spiritual discernment, nor any deep subject that requires a real commitment. Pastors give their flocks what they want lest they lose members and income. God is not only a God of love, but of justice, and wrath against unrepentant sinners. American Christians prefer warm fuzzy feelings and entertainment to spiritual truths. "...don't tell us the truth; tell us nice things; tell us lies. Forget all this gloom..." Isa. 30:10-11. For decades there has been a gradual slide into liberalism and apostasy and so today we have this pluralistic culture where anyone can pick and choose what he wants to believe and what kind of Jesus one wants to follow. Absolute truth is politically incorrect. Well, this world was created by Jesus Christ and he will have the last word. "For not even the Father judges anyone, but he has given all judgement to the Son." Jn. 5:22. "For it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.' So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. "Rom. 14:11-12.
I used to believe that Christians could not be greatly deceived but evidently I was wrong. However most that profess Christianity are not true Christians. God has always only had a remnant of true believers for himself. Jesus said there would only be a few saved. "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." Mat. 7:14. Hell will be full of deceived people who thought they were Christians but were only deluding themselves. Over centuries past much of the organized church has mixed or replaced pure Biblical truth with manmade doctrines and multitudes have fallen for their lies. In these end times it is reaching a climax. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Prov. 14:12. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?' And I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.' Mat. 7:21-23. This is surely one of the most frightening truths in the Bible, to think that many will have sincerely believed they were serving God but in reality were not. That is one reason why Biblical exposition is so much needed in today's churches.
This slide into apostasy results in lack of discernment politically too. How else can you explain the fact that among President Bush's greatest supporters are Christians, totally oblivious to his completely rotten spiritual fruit, his support of homosexuals and abortion, his gutting of the Constitution putting in tyrannical laws that rival those of Nazi Germany, etc. Don't Christians realize that you don't judge a man's character by what he says but by what he does? "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" Lk. 6:46. Bush may indeed read the Bible but Satan uses scripture too. It was under Bush and Ashcroft that the Indianapolis Baptist Temple Church was siezed by 85 armed federal marshals and 70 local policemen. Bush publically opposed Judge Roy Moore's stand with the Ten Comandments display in Alabama. Later Bush rewarded Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor's removal of Moore from office with a federal judgeship appointment. Bush continues funding abortion activists not only in America but overseas as well. He also has appointed homosexuals to government positions more so than Bill Clinton. Christians in Iraq had a degree of freedom under Saddam Hussein but thanks to Bush's new Islamic government Christians are now fleeing the country because of persecution. These are just a few examples of the real George W. Bush. He has said he reads the Bible daily, but he confessed to the New York Times, "I don't necessarily believe every single word is literally true." That is quite obvious by his actions. The facts are available for anyone to see, but it makes many Christians uncomfortable to face the truth so they just ignore it. True Christians that support evil men will one day stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ and give an account. Ignorance is no excuse. Indeed the works of some Christians are built with perishable materials that will be burned up and they will suffer great loss. Those that are truly born again will still enter heaven, but as one escaping through the flames. (1 Cor. 3:11-15)
John Kerry and the democratic party are no better. The issues are actually not political but right and wrong, but the Church seems to have totally lost it's bearings in that regard. There is no legitimate two party system in America anymore for the Republican and Democratic parties both are just two arms of the same satanic beast system taking America forward to the New World Order of the coming antichrist. If Christians genuinely want to try to save America the only way to do it is at the grassroots level one heart at a time. It is foremost a spiritual battle. There are no political saviors. "...the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men." Dan. 4:17.
Whether Bush or Kerry is the lesser of two evils is a moot point. Evil is still evil and Christians have no business supporting any evil. Even Hitler professed faith in Jesus Christ. Churches wholeheartedly supported him for his great contributions to Germany, pastors praising him as a wonderful example of Christ likeness. Just as Hitler staged a phony "war against communism" to gain unprecedented power and then invade sovereign nations, George Bush has done much the same thing with his phony "war against terrorism," both men doing it in the name of God. The atrocities committed by the Bush administration against innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq ought to make Christians in America weap. Wicked leaders know that when citizens live in fear they can be led down any path. Even when the truth was inescapable for German Christians most refused to speak out against their evil government, preferring instead to preserve their lives and life of comfort instead. Of the 14 defining characteristics of a fascist state America matches almost every one perfectly. Will Americans continue blindly following the same path to ruin?
It is time for Christians to quit putting men like Bush, Graham, the Pope or others on a pedestal to idolize, and worship God only! "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." Ps. 118:8. The idolization of men will always end in disappointment. 'Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind..." Jer.17:5. But sadly most people believe what they want they want to, even with mountains of evidence to the contrary. "For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false." 2 Thes. 2:11. Like the Bereans, in Acts 17, who searched the scriptures daily for truth to be sure what they were being told was true the Church needs more people like that, and who also search for the truth in news events rather than believing everything they are told by mass media propaganda. "My people perish for lack of knowledge." Hos. 4:6. "...be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Mat. 10:16. "...see to it that no one misleeds you." Mat. 24:4.
Christians need to be like the early Church and commit all to Christ. "In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine..." Tit. 2:7. American Christians have lost sight of the fact that HOLINESS is the number one attribute of God and he expects his people to be HOLY, a separate, peculiar people. "...you shall be HOLY, for I am HOLY." 1 Pet. 1:16. Even though we fall short in this life holiness should be our daily goal. America truly does need severe persecution of believers to separate the chaff from the wheat in the Church and to transform babies into mature believers. "So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not serve him." Mal. 3:18.
And America deserves harsh judgement for it's mountainous sins, nearly 50 million killed from abortion alone, not to mention multitudes of other unspeakable evils here, and committed around the world by our government. Unless God delays very much longer that day of judgement is soon coming for America has turned it's back on the one true living God who has blessed it so much. God's patience will not last forever. "Now the end is upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways and bring all your abominations upon you." Ezek. 7:3. Even though the devil had his influence America was nevertheless founded as a Christian nation and blessed like no other has been but the righteous have allowed the pagan and wicked to take over and rule. "...from everyone who has been given much, much will be required..." Lk.12:48. In many ways America is already under the beginnings of judgement but the people are too blind to notice. While these and other verses of judgement may not have been given directly for America the principle remains the same, that nations who forget God will suffer the consequences.
It is personally disheartening to hear and read of the unbiblical beliefs Billy Graham has embraced in recent years, since decades ago he had such a positive influence on my life. But Graham's slide into apostasy started long ago and it has been fully documented. Paul Crouch's TBN has so many false prophets and teachers on TV it is disgraceful to true Christianity, some of it being a disgusting spectacle of demonic activity rather than the alleged manisfestation of the Holy Spirit. George Bush's hypocrisy is so overtly apparent how can any genuine Christian fail to see it? After almost a full term as President most Christians continue to enthusiastically support Bush despite tons of evidence of his pathological lying and other unregenerate behavior. No man can serve both God and Lucifer yet Bush continues his membership with the satanic Skull and Bones secret society. It would be fitting irony if Bush was used as the catalyst to discredit fundamental Christianity and bring widespread persecution of Christians to America. It is abundantly clear that persecution of believers as those in China and other countries endure would be the greatest gift God could give to the American Church now since the opportunity to repent has been repeatedly rejected.
Catholicism began incorporating pagan customs and corrupt doctrines into the Church many centuries ago, Protestanism following suit also in similar ways later. Now Protestantism is gradually rejoining back with Rome in many ways paving the way for the coming one world religion of the New World Order of the antichrist in which all religions will be incorporated together in global unity. God is abundantly warning all who will watch and listen to his signs of end time prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes. "...in the last days difficult times will come. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, ...unholy, unloving, ...without self control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, ...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying it's power. Have nothing to do with them. Evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." 2 Tim. 3:1-5, 13. The Church has always had to deal with false doctrine but never before with such cancerous growth accompanied by so many other signs of the end.
When the Bible alone is not the foundation for spiritual truth it opens the door for all kinds of error. It warns of adding to or subtracting from it. Relying on so called hidden books of the Bible and other extrabiblical writings, visions, revelations, or prophesy is a sure way to end up being deceived if they are considered inspired as the Bible is. False teachers also love taking scripture out of context and using it to develop false doctrine. The wildly popular prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles, for example, was never meant to be taken out of context and used as a magical formula for obtaining our hearts desires, no matter how righteous our goals are. "But when you pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do." Mat.6:7. How much better it would be to focus on the pattern of how Christ taught us to pray. (Mat. 6:8-15). It is wise to be wary of anything in Christianity that becomes wildly popular.
These words have not been written to condemn, but in an attempt to awaken true believers from slumber and deception, and call unbelievers to a saving, life changing, eternal faith in the only one and true Saviour, Jesus Christ. I know what it's like to be deceived, having been a victim of spiritual deception myself in the past, of false Christian doctrines. My prayer is that God's people would open their eyes, study the Word regularly, and pray for discernment about the perilous times we are in. Do not let emotion or religious tradition cloud your mind. Be like a Berean and examine the evidence yourself. "And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Jn. 8:32. "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." Col. 2:8.
If Christians cannot even discern basic issues what hope is there for them when much greater deception comes as prophesied? Christians need to be prepared since nobody can be absolutely certain of the timing of Christ's coming to take his bride, the Church, home to heaven. God's wrath is being prepared for an unbelieving world but true believers have no reason to fear. "For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Phil. 1:21. The coming of our Lord is nearer than ever but we are to occupy until he comes. If you happen to be in one of the few remaining churches where absolute truth is coveted, be very, very grateful and support your pastor. Like the Philadelphian Church described in Revelation there are still a few churches like that, which Christ promises to keep from the "hour of trial" that is going to come upon the whole world. But always remember that the true Church does not consist of buildings but comprises all true believers in Christ.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."
As Patrick Henry said: "We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth...for my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
Footnote: A few astute readers may wonder why I use modern Bible versions. I have thoroughly researched the KJV only movement and personally found it filled with errors, distracting from more important issues, unnecessarily devisive, and riddled with hypocrisy. I find that using a variety of translations is a valuable aid in understanding God's Word more thoroughly along with good conservative commentaries and an exhaustive concordance such as Strong's, which is based on the KJV. However there are some inferior translations and even some getting genuinely perverted so it pays to be cautious. Neither the KJV nor any other version is without some translational error. Interestingly many cults and false teachers favor the KJV exclusively. In a land overflowing with Bibles perhaps if KJV only advocates could live for awhile in the shoes of poor, bibleless, Christians overseas they would have a more realistic view. Not to mention the fact that the Bible has been translated into a multitude of other languages. Many Christians overseas are so spiritually hungry for any portion of almost any version of God's Word it ought to shame many Christians in America and a few other rich countries where the KJV only movement is primarily confined.
Revised July, 2004