Apostasy

The Days of Rebellion

The climate of human thought in the days leading up to the “Day of the Lord” is described in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:3) as a falling away in the old King James version. People will be falling away from something or many things perhaps. The word here is apostasia, from where we get our word apostasy, which we most often associated with a departure from biblical truth once known and understood, but now rejected and repudiated.

Comparing this text with others such as 2 Timothy 4:3 where Paul described a future time in which people will not endure sound doctrine and Revelation 3:14-19 where John records from his vision on Patmos the end of the Church age, where salt has lost its savor, and the people have gone about their business of “Churching” with no real need of the Lord who is standing outside of their closed-door (Revelation 3:20), knocking and desiring to enter and commune with them we get a clear picture of Christian apostasy.

But the full weight of the word apostasia should be considered beyond the departure from biblical truth, which is bearing out now in a world best described by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 5:20) where the world is abandoning every long-held and established standard and thought in a radical transformation of light into darkness and yet calling the darkness light. We are living in the midst of a time of abject rebellion, which is what apostasia means, with an angry world ripping things out by its roots and turning them upside down.

It is rebellion which marks the day, impacting every aspect of our societies. There is rebellion in the Church against biblical truth. There is rebellion in our political systems. There is rebellion in our social climate. Rebellion is everywhere, rising out of the early stages of national distress with perplexity as Luke describes it (Luke 21:25).

And out of this perplexity has arisen political leaders offering change, cutting across the grain of long-held beliefs and methodology, catching people by surprise. In the United States alone, both Obama and Trump have arisen seemingly out of nowhere on a platform of change and they have been gobbled up by perplexed people, clamoring for just that. There has been a loss of comfortability with people in the United States as well as the rest of the world as they watch this great unraveling of economic stability, sovereignty and security and they seem willing to try anything or anyone.

Brexit mentality has taken hold—a foothold has been established and more leaders will arise offering the hope of change and more referendums will occur on the ballot to consider breaking away from the globalist march. This is the climate which is ripe for the ultimate deception and is truly setting the stage for the arrival of the final world leader before our Lord returns to establish his kingdom.

And how ripe is the time? Consider these words of the first president of the United Nations General Assembly, Paul-Henri Spaak:

“We do not want another committee, we have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all the people and to lift us up out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and whether he be God or devil, we will receive him.”

False Gospel (so rampant in our day)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies in front of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee regarding President Barack Obama's announcement that he is sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan Dec. 2, 2009, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, U.S. Navy/Released)

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I came across a story on CNN.com today concerning the faith of Hillary Clinton. And while the author of the article goes to great lengths to explain how Hillary didn’t really mean what she said, I will simply let her words stand on their own.

False Gospel

We have seen it. We have heard it. We have read about it.

False gods and false paths to God are everywhere.

They are even prevalent among those who hang a “Christian” moniker around their neck or posted outside their meeting places.

While there have always been lies, distortions and attacks on the Word of God and the good news of Jesus Christ, the efforts by the enemy are in full head-on rampage mode today as we approach the end of the age. Time is certainly running out as far as Satan is concerned, for he wants as many people as he can get to be a part of his nearly unbridled seven-year rulership through the beast.

Scripture warns us again and again about the lies which will and are being perpetrated and the spiritual climate of our day. Paul warns us that there cannot be an infusion of grace and works in our salvation, for when that happens, grace ceases to be grace.

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

And we know that our salvation is not accomplished by our works:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5

It is not what we offer, what we do or what we can accomplish:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

But as the apostle Paul wrote we are redeemed by the grace of God by means of our faith in Jesus Christ. Anything to the contrary is a lie and deception of the highest order. It is of such importance that Paul stated as clearly as it could be stated that any so-called gospel which has been removed from the grace of Christ is not the gospel. It is a perversion and an abomination.

With shifting culture and social mores the label of abomination has been used and hashtagged with increasing frequency. But the greatest abomination in the church today is a gospel message which either tied up and strangled in legalism or lost in the diluted waters of progressive liberalism.

However it has become distorted the result is the same—an abomination worthy for the apostle Paul to leverage his own hashtag #anathema or #accursed.

For by grace are you saved through faith…believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…for there is no other name under heaven given to the human race whereby we must be saved.

Nothing more and nothing less.

And yet…

Before I go, I would like to share with you a video of a CNN interview between Rick Sanchez and Dr. Dwight Hopkins, Professor of Theology at The University of Chicago Divinity School and an ordained American Baptist minister. At the time of the interview, Dr. Hopkins was according to Rick a member “in good standing” with the Trinity United Church of Christ. By virtue of the fact that Rick Sanchez is conducting the interview tells you that this video is about seven or eight years old.

While the focus of the interview is the inflammatory rhetoric by the former lead pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, it is to the point of what Dr. Hopkins says about the gospel that I want you to pay close attention to 6 minutes and 25 seconds into the video, where Dr. Hopkins makes this outlandish and outrageous claim that there is only one passage in the Bible where “Jesus says these are the criteria to get into Heaven.”

This is an abomination of the gospel.

According to Dr. Hopkins, an ordained minister “in good standing” at the United Church of Christ in Chicago and a Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School:

“…there is only one passage in the Bible where Jesus says “these are the criteria to get into Heaven” and that’s in Matthew 25 verses 31 and follow…Luke 14 is one and Matthew 25 and 31 and the only criteria Jesus lays out is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give shelter to those who are homeless and visit me in prison.

If that is what Dr. Hopkins believes is the gospel, he is not saved because you cannot be saved by works no matter what the professor says. And if this is the gospel his Church believes in, they are in serious trouble.

It is important to note that this is the Church President Obama attended for many years. Put aside for a minute all the explosive rhetoric of Jeremiah Wright, and think about what these people believe about the gospel.

It is a travesty. It is an abomination.

Rollin Miller

On Your Mark…Get Set Part 2

1280x720 Track Getting Ready to Run (The Race - Nexus Script)

He reigned as king for 31 years.

It’s hard to imagine that he began his reign when he was only eight years old. He was a special young man…a special boy.

But it wasn’t just his young age that set him apart, for wisdom followed closely with the steps of his life and most importantly he loved God and honored him. The bible tells us that he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his great-great-great…grandfather, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.

His name was Josiah.

The bible tells us that both his father and grandfather followed not after the true God as did Josiah. Manasseh, his grandfather was particularly wicked, doing that which was evil in God’s eyes, building up the high places of pagan worship which Josiah’s grandfather Hezekiah had destroyed. Manasseh built altars to Baal and established groves, used for the worship of the stars, moon and sun, even building such altars within the house of the Lord God. The bible also tells us that Manasseh offered human sacrifices to Baal, offering a son to be burned in the fire while he utilized evil enchantments and engaged with familiar spirits and wizards, kindling God’s anger against the practices of his people.

After 18 years of ruling, we are told that Hilkiah the high priest of God found a scroll—a book of the law in the temple, giving it to a scribe by the name of Shaphan who brought it before the king and read the words therein. And when Josiah heard it, we witness a man who loved and served the Lord, for the words cut him deeply—his hands tearing his clothes as God’s penetrated his heart. Calling his men to him, he told them that God was angry, for their fathers had not listened to the Word of God and had not done that which was right in the eyes of God. Josiah then sent them on a mission to inquire of the Lord, which they did by seeking out Huldah the prophetess.

When they found the prophetess, they gathered around and I would imagine, listened with astonishment to the pronouncement of God’s anger kindled against their people. For they had turned away from the true God, and embraced with unbridled enthusiasm false pagan gods of stone and wood. But despite their idolatry, not everything was doom and gloom, for they also heard words of grace and mercy associated with a man—their king, Josiah.  Josiah, who with a tender heart towards God, savaged his clothes and wept when he realized the depth of the nation’s sins against the holy God.

Every anguishing word by the young king was heard by the LORD who held back his hand, bestowing mercy upon Josiah and his people.

With the reading of the scroll and the utterances of a prophet, that which was hidden was brought to light. What was once unknown was made known. And with the glaring truth in his hands, Josiah responded, and he did so quickly. His response was direct and thorough, but it was not rash or hasty. God had spoken, and the manner of Josiah’s actions was completely one-sided—God’s side.

His actions came without townhall meetings. There were no discussions among the elders or the rest of the people. There was no sweeping the matter under the rug, no reevaluation of God’s word through a distorted prism of the day’s social normalcy. There was no compromise. Instead, Josiah gathered he people together and read to them the words of the scroll which they had found and while everyone listened in hushed silence, Josiah made a covenant to God and the people entered into the covenant with him—a covenant of obedience to God’s word. Once the covenant was made, the king took action.

Throughout the land altars to false gods were razed and the groves were burned. Every carved and molten image was destroyed and the great altars of Baal, Ashtoreth, Chemosh and Milcom were broken apart. The priests of these high places were slaughtered on the very altars they worshiped, their bones burned along with the remains of the priests who went before them. And then Josiah turned his attention to the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, ordering a purging of every vessel and utensil used in idolatrous worship. They were taken and burned in the fields of Kidron and their ashes removed and taken to Bethel.

Can you imagine that things had gotten so bad in Judah that the worship of the sun and moon, the hosts of heaven and even Baal was happening in the temple of God?

These wicked practices were known to occur, tolerated my many and encouraged by others. Such evil practices had been in place for a very long time. What at first was resisted, soon was tolerated. What became tolerated was later accepted. What was righteous, good and acceptable to God was shoved away, put out of discussions and eventually thought, as nearly every vestige of God’s truth was done away with. That which was wrong became right. That which was unacceptable became acceptable. That which was evil, became good—in the sight of men.

But then—a scroll was found and the truth was read. The hidden thing was revealed. Hearts were stricken at the words of the living God. Conviction overwhelmed the king and the people and they acted.

But what does any of this have to do with you and with me?

Well let us begin by saying as a redeemed child of God, your very body is a temple of God.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself. 1 Corinthians 6:19 NLT

With all of the demands that people make about their rights and privileges to set their own course and make their own decisions, it is easy to get caught up in all the dialogue and forget that we who are born again are not our own—we were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). For someone living a compromised life in this world, it is easy to slip away and lose sight of who and what we are in Christ.

In the opening pages of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians church he asks them a pointed question:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 NET

Do you not know this? Are you ignorant of this fact? Have you not known or have you forgotten who you are and your identity?

Has this truth become hidden to you?

And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:16 NLT

In up coming posts, we will be talking a lot about identity. But for now, let me just say that your identity—how you see and understand yourself drastically affects your life and threatens or empowers any opportunity for you to run the race that God desires of you. An improper identity establishes inhibiting weights which are more like ship anchors, buried deeply in our hearts and minds.

Too often, people are unaware of the weights in their lives. Many were established so long ago they have long since passed into the fog of forgetfulness. Other things were not your fault but have nonetheless established deep-rooted strongholds. Links and layers of deception have been planted over the years, whether by outright rebellion or by the insidious preying actions upon you as a victim. Idolatrous mindsets have displaced God in multitudes of places. Every compromise which has displaced God, replacing him with your own desires and decisions—in other words, you are sitting in place of God on the throne of your life, calling the shots—establishes a high place of idolatry—a stronghold. And it is upon those strongholds that future thoughts are now being filtered, perpetuating the problem and strengthening the anchors of deception in their lives.

People will never be free from these weights—these idolatrous strongholds unless the hidden is first made known. But then, after the light is brought into the darkest of places shining its glaring beam on the problems, each of us must act as Josiah acted. Altar after altar must be destroyed, the bones and groves burned, and a thorough purging of the temple—your own temple of the living God, must occur!

The bible speaks of a great delusion which will come upon the earth in the last days. It speaks of the final church of the age existing in ignorance of their spiritual bankruptcy and neediness. That which should be known to them is hidden. But their strongholds—their weights are keeping them from running the race.

I hope that you will come back as we begin to walk through the temple, looking behind every curtain and every door.

Rollin Miller

Departing from the Truth

1280x720 Black With Sad Man Face (They went out from us 1 John 2 19)

It’s been just over five years since my wife and I left Las Vegas and at least an additional four since I last saw the man I once held in high regard. His was the voice of reason and well measured thoughtfulness. His was one of the first voices I turned to after dragging myself home with a broken and repentant heart after years in the world’s pig pen. His was a voice to which I clung to every word, eagerly awaiting his next thought and wondering how it would tie in with his previous ones. His was a voice broken in the struggles of his earlier life and proclaiming the joy unspeakable in a new life in Christ.

But now—how could I imagine? How is it possible?

Now, his familiar voice was gone as he fled the light of God’s truth down the dark alley of deception. There in the increasing darkness of shadow echoed the voice of this man as it slithered and hissed its way from the earliest of days of innocence when the human race was but two—your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.

This man who was once my pastor was gone! He was swept overboard and is drowning the tempest of his soul, turning against nearly everything he has ever taught. From proclaiming the truth of God’s Word to carrying Satan’s bucket, spewing forth ridiculous and heretical nonsense, and doing so with the same vigor he once had in the pulpit. His newfound revelation is nothing new at all, as ancient as the birth of sin itself, and the light of his newfound revelation is a completely different wavelength than God’s light.

Again I ask, how can this be?

It is not as if he had fallen into deception early in walk with God. He was a solid bible teacher. And yet, he finds himself on the other side of the moon spiritually speaking, embracing the twisted lies of the new age and eastern mysticism, denying the fundamentals of the cross or that people are born with a fallen nature. Jesus who he once held up in praise and adoration was no longer someone to worship, but someone to see as our equal, the firstborn of many brethren. My heart weeps when he writes that he regrets ever having told his children that they were born in sin and needed a Savior.

O, my Lord, how can this be?

I am deeply concerned for him and for the ramifications of his actions, not only regarding himself but the ripple effect on some of those close to his spiritual implosion.

But most of all, I am concerned for his very soul for he is a poster child in my small world of the end of the age apostasy. As he swims in the same cesspool of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and other progressives of the emergent church I cannot help but reminded of the words in 1 John 2:19 knowing that this man whom I love as my former pastor has departed from us and it is highly probable that he was never truly of us in Christ.

He bears the mark of apostasy, declaring that we are all divine—all gods. He now denies the fallen state of man and eternal damnation for those who rejects Jesus Christ. He claims quite frankly that “I don’t believe Jesus wants to be worshiped as someone above us but that he came to reveal our equality with him.” Believing the same serpent lie that Eve did in the garden, his viewpoint of the world’s problems, all of the sin and wickedness will be properly addressed whenever everyone on earth begins to see and believe that we are all divine. When that happens we will be free from judging ourselves and judging others. He recently wrote, “I was a Christian for many years…raised a Catholic and later became a non-denomination pastor. I no longer identify myself as a Christian.”

Of course, central to his fundamental reversal is that he no longer holds the Word of God to be fully God-breathed and inerrant, believing instead that, “some scripture is from God and some is from man.”

These sobering words in 1 John 2:19 are made even more so with the words of the preceding verse where it states who “they” are—even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

To think that this man whom I listened to preach again and again and again could one day turn his beliefs upside down, denying the sinful nature of fallen man and believing that we are all divine—well it would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. That he doesn’t think Jesus is to be worshiped but considered our equal—words cannot describe the pain I am experiencing and the fear that I have for this man’s eternal future.

He has become the closest and most personal example in my life—ringing the bells that the end of the age is at hand and the redemption of our Lord draws nigh.

Rollin Miller

My Lord, much of what I feel cannot be formulated into words and I am thankful for the intercession of the Holy Spirit in my prayer life. I lift up my former pastor and with a heart grieved I cry unto you and ask that the light of your truth would cut through the veil of darkness which has come over him. I thank you Lord that I have known him and that I have the privilege of petitioning you on his behalf. And I thank you Lord as the evidence of the world around us tells us plainly that the day of your return is soon. Maranatha!