The Great Apostasia
By Jack Kinsella
According to some of the most recent polling information, America is undergoing an unprecedented religious transformation in this generation. It would appear that the fastest-growing religion in America (in term of percentage) is — and I’m not making this up — witchcraft!
The 2001 ARIS study found that Wicca’s adherents doubled in the 1990’s, and as of six years ago, was redoubling its numbers ever since.
Commented George Barna, of the Barna Group, a market research firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behavior of Americans, said following a study conducted by his group:
“There does not seem to be revival taking place in America. Whether that is measured by church attendance, born again status, or theological purity, the statistics simply do not reflect a surge of any noticeable proportions.”
Moreover, says Barna, “…evangelicals remain just 7% of the adult population. That number has not changed since the Barna Group began measuring the size of the evangelical public in 1994….less than one out of five born again adults (18%) meet the evangelical criteria.”
But self-identification as a Christian in this generation is as much political as it is spiritual. (For example, abortion is widely seen in America as an ‘evangelical’ political position held by exclusively by “America’s religious right).
The Barna Group divides America into five basic “faith segments”:
Non-Evangelical Born again Christians:
These are individuals who:
1. Say they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
2. That commitment is still important to them now.
3. They have confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.
4 They believe that, because of their confession and acceptance, they will spend eternity in Heaven.
However, they don’t meet one of the Evangelical criteria listed below.
These are individuals who meet the born again criteria and seven additional beliefs as well:
1. They consider their faith as very important.
2. They have a responsibility to evangelize others
3. Satan exists as a living entity.
4. Salvation is attained through God’s grace, not human effort or good works.
5. Jesus Christ lead a sinless life while on earth.
6. The Bible is accurate throughout
7. God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibeneficient, the Creator of the universe who is still ruling it today.
These are individuals who identify themselves as Christian, but do not meet any other element of Barna’s born-again criteria.
(I often refer to the members of this group as ‘cultural Christians’ — those who grew up in a Christian culture, enjoy Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, and hold to the view that, if God existed, He would probably be a Christian — IF He existed, that is.)
Members of other religions:
Those who identify themselves with other than Christian faiths.
Individuals who do not identify themselves with any religions. These are often Atheist or Agnostic in religious beliefs.
The United States is clearly going through an unprecedented change in religious practices. Large numbers of American adults are disaffiliating themselves from Christianity and from other organized religions.
The bitterly anti-Christian group, the “Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,” gleefully projected that, based on current figures, within another generation, non-Christians will outnumber Christians in America. If the Lord were to tarry, I’d have to conclude, based on the current trends, that they are probably right.
Among the latest Barna research findings is that 16 to 29 year olds exhibit a greater degree of criticism toward Christianity than did previous generations when they were at the same stage of life.
Further, it finds that negative views are crystallizing and intensifying among young non-Christians. The new study shows that only 3% of 16 – to 29-year-old non-Christians express favorable views of evangelicals.
“This means,” concludes the report, “that today s young non-Christians are eight times less likely to experience positive associations toward evangelicals than were non-Christians of the Boomer generation (25%).”
Among the negative attitudes expressed by 16 to 29 year olds about Christianity were that it is too judgmental (87%); hypocritical (85%); old fashioned (78%); too political (75%) and only 55% termed it a “religion they could respect.”
Barna summarizes the findings this way: “While Christianity remains the typical experience and most common faith in America, a fundamental recalibration is occurring within the spiritual allegiance of America s upcoming generations.”
It is clear that America is following Canada and Europe into the post-Christian era, but how does that relate to Bible prophecy?
Let’s begin by making a broad assumption. Although not every Jew lives in Israel, and not every Israeli is a Jew, Israel is the world’s representative Jewish nation. It is a secular state, but it is defined by its overwhelming Jewish character.
And while not every Christian is American and not every American is a Christian, America is, by the same criteria, the world’s representative Christian nation. It is a secular state, but it is also defined by its overwhelmingly Christian character.
At the moment, the world’s most Jewish nation is debating whether or not to surrender its Jewishness by dividing Jerusalem, allowing it to become the capital of an Arab state, and even surrendering sovereignty over its most sacred holy place, the Temple Mount, essentially exchanging the promises of God for Palestinian promises of peace.
On the other side of the globe, the world’s most Christian nation is debating its Christian character, with a majority of Christians having already surrendered their Christian values in exchange for secular America’s promise of peace.
In both cases, the more they surrender, the less peace they find.
The Prophet Jeremiah addressed this from Israel’s perspective, saying, “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:11)
The Apostle Paul made a similar prediction regarding the Church: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1st Thessalonians 5:3)
The one enduring theme of the last days is that of persecution of both Christians and Jews under the global government of antichrist. For most of the past two thousand years, when the Jews were being persecuted, it was at the hands of those who claimed they were avenging Christ.
From the Crusaders to the Spanish Inquisitors to the Nazis — even the godless Russians persecuted Christians in the Name of Christ as “Christ-killers.”
Suddenly, in this generation, the worm has turned. Christians and Jews find themselves allies in a global war in which they are indistinguishable from one another in the eyes of an enemy that hates them both, precisely as the Lord said it would be in the last days.
To the Church, He said; “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” (John 15:18)
To the Jews, He warned, “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)
The Islamic enemy believes it is his religious duty — or his service to his god — to annihilate Israel and to eliminate Christianity.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy that, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)
The Apostle John described the religion of the False Prophet as ‘having two horns like a lamb [symbolic of Christianity] but he spake as a dragon’ [symbolic of Satan]. (Revelation 13:11)
The Apostle Paul said that, before the antichrist would be revealed, there would first come a great ‘apostasia’ or ‘falling away’.
“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…” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3)
A prophetic sign is useless unless there is something against which it can be measured. One can argue that there have been apostate religions in every generation, for example.
But according to the Barna poll, while 70% of Americans still claim to be ‘Christian’, only 7 percent still believe in the old-fashioned Christian notion of salvation by grace through faith.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (1st Timothy 4:1-2)
So, if these are the latter times, one would expect the main topic of discussion in the world’s most Christian country would be Christian apostasy.
What does that tell you?