A Tale of Two Churches

Paul once prophesied that a day would come when many lose faith and apostatize. In refuting the idea that the Lord’s return had already occurred, Paul said this: “No one is to deceive you in any way! For it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction . . .” (2 The. 2:3).

I have written about the Antichrist—the “man of lawlessness”—here, but the first part of the verse is the topic at hand. Paul clearly said that, before the end, the “apostasy” would take place. This term (apostasia) is used just twice in all the NT, and it refers to a “defection” or “revolt.” Acts 21:21 is the only other time it’s used, where it refers to leaving the customs of the Mosaic Law. Likewise, the apostasy Paul is referring to is a defection from the Christian faith: a “falling away” of the church.

Jesus spoke about this, saying: “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people” (Mt. 24:10-11). It is also echoed in a text like 2 Timothy 4:3: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” In my last article, I discussed some of what these “itching ears” are being taught.

There will be a time when many fall from the faith and the church splits into two groups: the Bride of Christ and the apostate church. In fact, I believe we are seeing this play out right in front of us. Certainly, false teachings and apostasy have always existed but both have picked up a speed of late rivaled only by light itself.

The late archbishop, Fulton Sheen, described the apostate church with stunning accuracy more than seventy years ago. In his 1948 “Signs of the Times” sermon, he said this about the church that would be governed by the Antichrist and established through Satan:

“He will set up a counter-Church which will be the ape of the Church, because he the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. In desperate need of God, whom he nevertheless refuses to adore, modern man in his loneliness and frustration will hunger more and more for membership in a community that will give him enlargement of purpose, but at the cost of losing himself in some vague collectivity.”

I invite everyone to take a moment to truly reflect upon this statement. It’s both powerful and prescient.  

The final phrase stood out to me, in particular: “ . . . enlargement of purpose, but at the cost of losing himself in some vague collectivity.” This almost flawlessly epitomizes the members of the apostate church. They are part of something, but also nothing.

This is not about those who loosely claim to be “religious” or would say, if specifically asked, that they “believe in god.” Such people carry no spiritual weight and are not even thought to. Rather, the apostate church is about those who outwardly carry the banner of Christianity and seek to be its representatives.

This is a church full of people, many of whom are actively involved in local congregations (if not functioning as pillars). These are pastors, youth pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers, vestry members, communications coordinators, and a host of other roles. They set up websites and perform online ministries. They lead small groups and arrange gatherings. This church is rich in congregants who are eager to “do church together” and invite others to join in. They sing songs and pray lengthy prayers. They offer a wealth of ways that one can worship God and participate in fellowship. Their lives revolve around Wednesday nights, Sunday mornings, and unscripted times when the need arises. They are nothing if not dedicated.

But I am reminded of God’s message to Israel, as recorded in Amos 5:21: “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.”

All the things listed above are true and yet, somehow, this church is bereft of power. It’s vapid and empty; truly hollow. It’s the luscious fruit that turns to mush when you take hold of it; deceptively rotten. There is shine but no substance. It is a lamp that bears no light—a heap of salt without flavor. Their spiritual roots go no deeper than their deepities. This church boasts a nebulous concept of love, at the expense of its ability to seek justice. It teaches people to be “nice” but never to be courageous. It favors agreement over clarity and comfort over truth. It fears death but despises life. Secular experts are its prophets and apostles. Its priests wear lab coats and create deceptive models. It values knowledge over wisdom, possessing little of the former and none of the latter.

This church’s members have Jesus on their lips but Caesar in their hearts and minds.

I could go on, but we cannot allow these poetic descriptions—though realistic—to detract from the point. The apostate church is not some abstraction or a cautionary tale of what may “someday” come to be.

Make no mistake about it: the apostate church is here.

It exists all around us. If you wish to see it, simply read the latest article of your mainstream Christian publication, or listen to its biggest voices take to radio or television. Hear them tout the Covid vaccine gospel, stating that “Jesus would advocate” for them, that they are a “gift from God,” and even that the aborted children used in the creation and/or testing of the vaccines are comparable to Jesus giving his life for the world. Learn how they have opened their doors as vaccination centers and rallied members to go out into their communities, not proselytizing for Jesus but seeking souls for the likes of Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates. Watch them partner with secular groups to desecrate one of the world’s most famous statues of Jesus, projecting upon it the words “Vaccine Saves” rather than “Jesus Saves.” Observe their outer mask that says nothing of Christ but simply reads, “vaccinated.” At the same time, they condemn the “conspiracy theorists” who raise serious concerns about the origins of the virus, our possible role with it, how it has been reported, and what agenda may really be pushing the narrative.

[All this, as deaths and injuries from the injections are proving to be a serious problem. The issues with reporting the cases and deaths have been known from the onset, and the overall story has never added up. I discuss these things throughout this blog, especially within its endnotes. Please check this out, you will find it interesting]

Watch them unabashedly support the abomination of God’s marriage covenant. See them ignore the many who were murdered, maimed, or financially destroyed by the “peaceful protests” of 2020, while echoing false narratives about events that literally pale in comparison. Watch them blissfully ignore the incalculable death and despair brought about by the lockdown measures our governments have thrust upon the world. So long as we “crush the virus”—and the lockdowns have done no such thing—the collateral damage is irrelevant. Observe them as they promote globalist health agendas and a one world religion. Read their scientific doctrines about how God’s glorious act of creating humanity was accomplished through evolutionary processes that neither directly involve God nor could even have anticipated our existence.[1]

More to the point, see how their “Christian perspectives” align with those from the secular world on virtually every consequential matter.

Maybe that’s the ultimate indictment. The apostate church is nearly indistinguishable from the rest of the world because it’s just like the rest of the world. Ironically, its religious zeal has caused it to merge with a community that despises God and worships Caesar. But there certainly is an “enlargement of purpose” in this “vague collectivity.” They have joined the masses—become one with the world—at the expense of losing their Christian identities.

As Jesus put it: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul” (Mk. 8:36)?

The good news is that the true church, the Bride of Christ (or the remnant), cannot fall. It will not be overtaken. It cannot be destroyed by the media, corrupt politicians, optional Christianity subscribers, the spiritual forces of evil, or anything else in the cosmos. Many will (and are) defecting from true faith but this act is resulting in the purification of the Body of Christ. The church is being pruned, and the dead branches will be bundled and burned.

When Jesus returns, he will indeed find faith on earth. It will not come from the non-believing world or the apostate church that mirrors it. Jesus will find faith in his beautiful Bride, the glorious and holy church that has no spots, wrinkles, or blemishes (Eph. 5:27).

While the apostate church will be awaiting its destruction, the true Bride will be anxiously awaiting the return of the Bridegroom. The marriage supper of the Lamb will certainly occur, and blessed are those who are invited to it.

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Looking for a new book to read? Check out my books below:

God Made the Aliens: Making Sense of Extraterrestrial Contact

Spiritual Things: Exploring our Connection to God, the Angels, and the Heavenly Realm

Missing Verses: 15 Beliefs the Bible Doesn’t Teach

The Death Myth: Uncovering what the Bible Really Says about the Afterlife

Footnotes


[1] As one of countless possible examples, consider evolutionary creationist, Kenneth Miller. In his book, Finding Darwin’s God (272), he said: “mankind’s appearance on this planet was not pre-ordained”, and that we are, “an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.” If you’re wondering how that squares with God directly creating man in His image and as the pinnacle of Creation, it doesn’t.

Author: Brian M. Rossiter

I am a Christian teacher, author, and lecturer. Most importantly, I am a truth-seeker. My research has led me to both believe in and defend the veracity of the Bible, evaluating my own personal views in light of its teachings along the way. In addition to my blogs, I have written several books: "The Death Myth," "God Made the Aliens," "Spiritual Things," and most recently, "Missing Verses: 15 Beliefs the Bible Doesn't Teach." My hope in these endeavors is to give skeptics reasons to believe, to strengthen the faith of those who already do, and to challenge each of us to truly evaluate our own worldviews.

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