PART I – THE GREAT EUROPEAN APOSTASY
Thought patterns are changing! Mindsets are being altered. That which was undeniably true for one generation, is questioned by the next, and the object of ridicule to the third. The picture that the Bible presents of the coming Antichrist and his reign is one of complete control; – a single world religion, populations with hand-stamped bar codes to buy and sell, the lock-step worship of the beast – the ultimate in ‘Big Brotherism’. Coming on the heels of crisis, the Antichrist will take the world by storm through the charm of his personality and perceived wisdom to solve the ‘unsolvable’. In a moment, after 6,000 years of conflict, humanity, (Arab & Jew, Indian & Pakistani), will turn to this “man of peace”. But methinks that that’s not quite the way that its going to happen.
Now it is true, that the rise of the Antichrist, the “Man of Sin” will follow the worldwide confusion that will ensue after the rapture of the Church. Still, change of such magnitude cannot come without psychological and cultural preparation. As the Law and the Prophets were the necessary condition to prepare the way for Jesus’ first coming to 1st century Palestine, so too the Devil is preparing the way for the ascendance of the Pretender who will inhabit the world scene for 7 awful years. It is all a part of a general conditioning that has been in the works for centuries and going on visibly in earnest for the last half-century or so. It has manifested itself in an all out assault on Christian-based Western Culture. John Loeffler of Konia House describes it as an ongoing process in which “atheistic humanism yields to socialistic pantheism”.[i] That is something much more akin to the prophesied religion of the Tribulation. Its most visible by-product is two-fold. The first is an acceptance of all things, – ultra-hyper TOLERANCE. The second is an animus toward all things Christian. The wonder is that this was able to manifest itself in the West, whose foundations once rested so firmly on the shared values of the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Just such a sea change was predicted in the Scriptures. 2Thessalonians 2:3 tells us, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of Perdition.” Yes its true! The culture of the West is under unrelenting assault by the ‘Great Deception’: And for the most part it is laying down in abject surrender to that assault. Growing numbers of people have fallen prey to the notion that there is no absolute truth. Now, building their lives on nothing, they are liable to fall for any determined attack, many times not even recognizing the danger. Two areas in which this is occurring is in the Great European Apostasy and the False Revival occurring in segments of the Western Church. Each is succumbing to the attack warned of in 1Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49)
Believe it or not, in Brussels Belgium, a city of cathedrals, ‘Mohammed’ is now the most popular name for a baby boy. In London, the haunt of Wesley, a mega-mosque there can hold 40,000 followers of Islam.[ii] In Mother Russia, home of great Christian writers such as Dostoyevsky, the average woman may have up to four abortions as 2/3 of Russian pregnancies are terminated.[iii] The face of Europe is changing. The Old Europe is secularized, focused as it is on consumption, and sex and personal pleasure. A New Europe is emerging; – increasingly Islamic and opposed to the old ways. It is becoming apparent that Europe lacks the moral will to resist the inroads of this strong new-Islamic culture. The new generations have been conditioned and convinced that Western Culture is of little value. Without a moral center of gravity, they just don’t care enough to try to preserve the best of the culture that remains.
One of the greatest symptoms is the anemic state of the Christian Faith. Christianity is fast dying all across the Continent. A look at the primary countries of Western Europe, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium, shows that just since the 1970’s, Church attendance has dropped from 40% to 20% of the population.[iv] Other studies show that in Europe as a whole, church attendance has fallen even farther. In England many of the great cathedrals stand nearly empty on a Sunday morning. In France, only about 5% of the population takes their faith seriously enough to bother showing up on a weekly basis. The faith that remains is dubious at best. Twenty percent of Anglican priests do not believe in the Resurrection. A full 40% reject the virgin birth. The study, Fragmented Faith, predicts that a full 300 pastors from the Church of England doubt the very existence of God.[v] Christianity is become irrelevant.
Yet while the Christian Faith is dying, a nebulous form of spirituality is emerging. As Dale Hurd of CBN News puts it, “belief in God is actually very high.” But it is a New Age faith that emerges with its neo-pagan tendencies, self-imposed standards of right and wrong and confusing moral relativism. God is being stripped of His very Godliness. The fundamentals of the Gospel message are routinely rejected. American Evangelicalism is mocked and ridiculed.[vi] The resultant lack of moral compass has opened the door to the Islamification of the culture.
In just the last half century, the Muslim population of Western Europe has grown from a quarter million to 20 million. While the native European birth rate is not enough to even replace the current population, Muslim communities are growing through both births and immigration. Their numbers in Europe are expected to double in just the next 20 years.[vii] President Houari Boumedienne, of Algeria predicted as much back in the 1970’s. “One day millions of men will leave the southern hemisphere of this planet to burst into the northern one. But not as friends. Because they will burst in to conquer, and they will conquer by populating it with their children.”[viii] That is just what is happening now. The world witnessed the fruit of this demographic revolution in the car burning riots that recently afflicted France.
We saw the other side of the coin in the next round of French riots. There was a class of young Frenchmen, rioting for the right ‘not to be fired’; – a form of “eternal security” guaranteed by the state. It was the ultimate economic expression of the malaise that has afflicted the new Europe. The native population is no longer concerned with achievement but rather with selfish personal fulfillment. Throughout the Continent, and as witnessed by the falling births and skyrocketing abortions, – personal pleasure has become divorced from child bearing. The result is a population decline further resulting in shortages of labor, consumers, and taxpayers to pay for the growing public safety net. As social commentator Mark Steyn points out: “Dwindling populations have always signaled cultural decline”.[ix]
However the current condition of Europe is more than the result of an unhappy confluence of sociological conditions. Bat Yeor lays out the causes in his seminal work: Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis. There was an actual agreement forged between the European Economic Community, (precursor to the EU), and the Arab nations. Following the OPEC oil crisis of 1973, the Europeans agreed to accept Arab immigrants in increasing numbers. In exchange OPEC would keep the oil flowing to Europe. This may have been the “30 pieces of silver” that will ultimately destroy the Continent. At one meeting held in Venice in 1977, the Europeans agreed to “the diffusion of the Arabic language” and the affirming of “the superiority of Arab culture”. This was a triumph for the European Left which already loathed the culture into which they had been born. Immigrant Arabs were guaranteed religious and political freedom in Western Europe. Meanwhile the Islamic oppression of Western minorities in Arab countries continued not only unabated, – but also un-addressed.[x]
The fact is, Post-War Europe has turned into a Post-Christian Europe, yielding almost unimaginable cultural changes. First Humanism replaced the True God. That ideal now gives way to an all-tolerant neo-pagan New Ageism. Ed Vitagliano, writing in the Asia Times breaks it down. “Europe’s abandonment of its religious roots and the moral code” led to a plunge in birthrates that is fed by “abortion, birth control, acceptance of gay marriage and casual sex”.[xi] It is the drive for self-fulfillment that now drives not only European, but all of Western culture. The Apostle Paul put it this way in 2Timothy 3:1-5: “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.” Deny it as we might, Man remains a spiritual being. Europe without God has created a moral vacuum. Without the moral will to resist, Islam is poised to fill that vacuum. Europe’s striving for the ultimate in personal liberty and complete freedom from all “religious” restraint, may just result in their total surrender to the fetters of radical Islam. It is that surrender, that outward “form of godliness” that will produce the conditions necessary for the rise and acceptance of the Antichrist. Next let’s look at the spiritual aspects of this falling away that is afflicting so much of the professing church
[i] John Loeffler, The Antichrist Doesn’t Wear Tights, Koinia House
[ii] Brendan Bernhard, The Fallaci Code, Review of Oriana Fallaci’s The Force of Reason, The Big Picture, March 15, 2006
[iii] Ed Vitagliano, Europe’s Chastisement…, Asia Times, April 12, 2006
[iv] Ed Vitagliano, Europe’s Chastisement…, Asia Times, April 12, 2006
[v] The study Fragmented Faith?, as quoted by Ruth Gledhill, Clergy who don’t believe in God, The London Times, July 4, 2005
[vi] Dale Hurd, Europe Forsakes Christianity for Islam, CBN
[vii] Ed Vitagliano, Europe’s Chastisement…, Asia Times, April 12, 2006
[viii] Quote from Oriana Fllaci’s The Force of Reason, as reported by Brendan Bernhard, The Fallaci Code, Review of Oriana Fallaci’s The Force of Reason, The Big Picture, March 15, 2006
[ix] Ed Vitagliano, Europe’s Chastisement…, Asia Times, April 12, 2006
[x] The Fallaci Code, Review of Oriana Fallaci’s The Force of Reason, The Big Picture, March 15, 2006
[xi] Ed Vitagliano, Europe’s Chastisement…, Asia Times, April 12, 2006