Christianity Isn’t Accomplishing What God Intended

Dear Wake Up Family:

On a chilly October morning about 500 years ago, a young monk named Martin Luther nailed a document to the door of the old Wittenberg church that ignited one of the most significant religious movements in history: the Protestant Reformation. These reformers were protesting anything unscriptural—anything contrary to God’s word. Sadly now, 500 years later, Protestantism has almost ceased to protest anything. Rather, it’s rapidly assimilating to a secular world’s beliefs, teachings, and practices. And I dare say that most of the regression has occurred over the last 50 years.

Paul Craig Roberts wrote in his latest article that, “In the entirety of the Western World the belief system has been destroyed. The destruction of essential beliefs has been going on since the 1960s when university students began their chant ‘Western Civilization has to go.’ Well, it is gone. All that remains of America is an insane government with nuclear weapons.”

The United States of America was founded on Christian principles and has predominantly been the country to which people have fled to escape religious persecution and government tyranny. Today, however, it is a troubled country where Christianity is losing ground in spiritual effectiveness, the opposite of what God intended.

Sure, if one is willing to imbibe a watered-down gospel filled with worldly notions, then American Christianity is thriving. But its future looks quite bleak for those who want to embrace biblical truth. And the farther we slip away from God, the worse it will get.

Around 2,750 years ago, Isaiah wrote, “Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.” (Isaiah 59:14–15) This reads as if he’s describing the West today.

Protestantism has watered Scripture down to a modernistic social gospel to make worldly life acceptable and comfortable rather than preparing people for the coming of Jesus. The plain teachings in God’s word have been laid aside and are no longer taught as the Bible teaches them. For example, in the New English Translation of the Bible, thirty-three texts mention the subject of gender, declaring there are only two: male and female. Four verses state that homosexuality is a sin. And one verse specifically denounces cross-dressing. The Bible says, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor should a man dress up in women’s clothing, for anyone who does this is offensive to the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5 NET)

Yet, in this country, these perversions are glamorized and favored. And if you dare state the biblical view on any of these matters, you will be castigated, shamed, sued, and perhaps lose your liberty. How can such things be normalized in a moral nation (or church), much less embraced? The Christian Church has two objectives: Soul-winning (preaching justification) and soul-building (teaching sanctification). But churches today have disconnected the gospel from the necessity of sanctification.

What happened? The short answer is that Christianity is wandering away from Bible truth.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul instructed him to: “Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 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. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.” (2 Timothy 4:2–4)

He, through inspiration, was allowed to look to our day and see what lay ahead. So what is the definition of truth Paul mentioned? John 17:17 says the biblical definition of truth is, “Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” Jesus defined it more boldly when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

It is crucial that we turn to God’s word and make it the counsel of our life, that we make Jesus our example, and let the Holy Spirit’s power enable us to live in conformity to God’s word.

Notice the call of God in this text: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, “No, that’s not the road we want!” I posted watchmen over you who said, “Listen for the sound of the alarm.” But you replied, “No! We won’t pay attention!” ’ ” (Jeremiah 6:16–17)

Jeremiah is saying, “Get back to the clear-cut way Jesus would have us walk. Only then will we find rest.”

In 1 Timothy 3:15, God tells us His church is to be the protector of Bible truth. “So that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.” The word ‘foundation’ comes from the Greek word meaning to be a stable support. The church is to be the pillar and sturdy supporter of Bible truth. God entrusted His truth to the church. And the invisible church has been God’s chosen people in every age.

The earliest church mentioned in the Bible that I can find is in Acts 7:37–38, where Stephen refers to the time of Moses in the desert. “Moses himself told the people of Israel, ‘God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people.’ Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God’s people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai. And there Moses received life-giving words to pass on to us.”

However, as time went by, apostasy crept in. Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah recount the details of that apostasy. People and priests desired to be like the Heathen living around them. They compromised. They began to let the teachings, thoughts, beliefs, and practices of Heathen people come into the church. This created periods of backsliding, revival, and reformation, resulting in the truth of God’s word being laid aside for traditions men conjured from their own imaginations. Does this sound familiar?

Jesus, in His day, was aware of this problem and brought light to it when He said, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.” (Matthew 15:3, 9)

Jesus found it impossible to reform the church of His day. And the first thing He did when He began His ministry was to be baptized. This was a public declaration that he was parting with the church in which he had grown up. He was setting aside all He had been taught that wasn’t true. Jesus then instituted a new church and organized a new gospel to be spread by his followers. This gospel—Jesus’ teachings, life, death, resurrection, mediation, and His coming again—should be at the very heart of Christianity today. Is it?

Paul said, “When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1–5)

The rejection of Bible truth given to the apostles followed a gradual but steady path. Constantine, the first Christian Emperor of Rome, introduced terrible compromises to Christianity, bringing paganism into the early church. Describing the severity of it, J.C. Woodhouse writes in his book Annotations on the Apocalypse:

“As the stream of Christianity flowed farther from its pure fountain it became more and more corrupt; as centuries advanced, ignorance and superstition increased ; and unauthorized mortifications and penances, rigorous fastings, vows of celibacy, monkish retirement and austerities, stylitism, the jargon and repetition of prayers not understood, tales of purgatory, pious frauds, and the worship of saints, relics, and images, took the place of pure and simple Christianity : till at length, the book of God being laid aside for legendary tales, and the ‘traditions of men.’ ”

So according to history, we find during this period that error was ushered into the church, and one teaching of Jesus after another was laid aside and replaced by manmade doctrines. Having laid aside God’s word, the church became the official determiner of right and wrong, truth and error. Finally, the church made the decree that no one could study God’s word under penalty of death.

Some 50 million people lost their lives during the Dark Ages. Even so, some were still determined to study God’s word and follow it. Today, we too should be searching for truth. It doesn’t matter what instrument God uses to deliver it to us. All we should care about is that it is founded on a plain “Thus saith the Lord”.

From the dark time of the Protestant Reformation, God led a few individuals back to a fuller understanding of truth. A reformation of the same sort is needed today. Christianity needs to straighten up and fly right.* It is becoming impotent. Political persecution is coming. How can we resist the Devil’s sophistry when we can’t even resist man’s foolishness?

Mercifully, God has always prepared truth-loving individuals for the work He wants done. So no matter how severe the forecast, hold fast to what the Bible says, “Look to God’s instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.” (Isaiah 8:20)


* An American idiom which means “improve one’s behavior and perform better.”


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply