So, we are at the point in this series where we see that there really is an ‘ANTICHRIST PLAN.’ There are human forces working to bring an Antichrist Figure to power. As insane as it seems it is true. And it is a detailed plan….still capable of movement and adjustment – but nonetheless very real. Theirs is a plan of layered deception and we are living in the midst of it. We have stumbled on the plans of men. Will this deception work? The Scriptures say that many indeed will fall in that day. Jesus showed a vision of the future to John in which “all the world marveled and followed the beast.” (Revelation 13:3) Paul warned Christians throughout the ages in his letter to the Church in Thessalonica. The rise of the Antichrist will come through “the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.” But that “unrighteous deception” will only work on “those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth.” And who will perish? Paul gives us the test; – “that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
Western culture at large has long been preparing for this deception. Satan has certainly employed the popular culture toward this end. The notion of sin died over time, with the movement that began in the decade of the 60’s dealing it some of its most fatal blows. The Beatles embraced Eastern Mysticism and the youth culture of the day followed, wading into the morass of relative morality. Sex, drugs and Rock-n-Roll became the motto of a confused generation. Drugs moved from the fringes of society and settled into the mainstream to stay. Free love took its toll. Over time it resulted in the precipitous weakening of the family unit. We are left with the fallout of millions of fatherless children with all the attendant problems of poverty and delinquency and rising crime rates, drug addiction, alcoholism, and kids growing up without a knowledge of God. All of this resulted in an explosion of self-love. Paul could have been writing in our time. “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2Tim 3:1-4)
Deception! Self-love! That is the nature of the age in which we live. The world has long been being prepared for the coming of the Man of Sin. Now the Church is fast falling into that thought pattern. We have seen earlier, how the very core values of the Faith are being denied. God’s law is routinely set-aside in matters of homosexuality and abortion and even the necessity of Christ for Salvation. Find something you object to in the Word and you will be able to find some sect of Christianity that will put its stamp of approval on your objection. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2Timothy 4:3-4) That time is come!
We do not have the space to fully explore, but there is a movement arising called the Emergent Church, that compromises the very nature of Truth itself. In John 14:6, Jesus claimed to be Truth itself and the only way to the Father. This new theology instead effectively sets aside those claims and adopted instead the philosophy of something called Post-Modernism; – the notion that everyone can create their own truth. Armed with that systematized uncertainty, the leaders of this movement are fast abandoning the truth claims of the Gospel in favor of a squishy kind of all-embracing notion that espouses everything and nothing. One leader, John Armstrong writes: “If there is a foundation in Christian theology…it is not found in the Church, Scripture, tradition or culture.”[i] [Then where, pray tell dearest John, can it be found?]
The idea of all this is to paper-over doctrinal differences in the name of some kind of hyper-tolerance. Instead of looking to God’s Word for Truth; – we are to look instead inside ourselves, – or to the little voices in our heads; – or even to other religious traditions. This is the kind of fuzzy thinking that can lead someone viewed as conservative as the late Pope John Paul II to lead a prayer service where Hindus and animists and voodoo priests and sundry prayed together with Catholics and other mainline Christian denominations. The apostasy that has crept in to the movement is, – in a nut shell, – this: All ways, are in some way, – ways to God. For it is not what we believe that saves us, but rather how we behave. Listen to the words of Brian McLaren, another leader of the Emergent Church Movement. “I don’t hope all Buddhists will become Christians, I do hope all who feel so called will become Buddhist followers of Jesus…I do hope all who feel so called will become Jewish or Hindu followers of Jesus…Ultimately, I hope that Jesus will save Buddhism, Islam and every other religion.”[ii] This is a direct rejection of Christ’s call to repent – from sin of all sort, including the worship of false idols and gods. It demeans and cheapens the work of the Cross. It is grace without surrender. And the only meaningful sin becomes intolerance against our fellow man.
That’s just how the way is prepared. The Church has adapted the way of the world; – putting only a thin veneer of spirituality on it to cover its nakedness. You don’t even have to give up your sin. 2 Timothy 3:5 describes it as “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
[i] John MacArthur, The Truth War, Thomas Neslon, 2007, pg 20
[ii] Brian McLaren, quoted from his book A Generous Orthodoxy, in: John MacArthur, The Truth War, Thomas Neslon, 2007, pg 34-35