Signs of the Times

Apostasy

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Apostasy
Matthew 24:12 Further Study
1 Timothy 4:1-3 Further Study
2 Timothy 3:1-8 Further Study
2 Timothy 4:2-4 Further Study
2 Thessalonians 2:3
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Revelation 3:14-22 Further Study

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See more recent stories: since Jan. 1, 2011


Six Megathemes Emerge from Barna Group Research in 2010

Dec. 13, 2010 - George Barna and his organization have identified six major trends in the Church in America, and they are mostly negative. Here are the categories:
1. The Christian Church is becoming less theologically literate.
2. Christians are becoming more ingrown and less outreach-oriented.
3. Growing numbers of people are less interested in spiritual principles and more desirous of learning pragmatic solutions for life.
4. Among Christians, interest in participating in community action is escalating.
5. The postmodern insistence on tolerance is winning over the Christian Church.
6. The influence of Christianity on culture and individual lives is largely invisible.
Barna advises Christians to live sincere, fruitful lives in an effort to reverse this trend, and he encourages leaders to revisit their criteria for "success" and how to achieve it.
Source: Barna Group

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The Leavers: Young Doubters Exit the Church

Nov. 20, 2010 - Drew Dyck, author of Generation Ex-Christian, gives the results of several polls and studies that show that there is a major exodus from Christianity among 18- to 29-year-olds. They give a variety of reasons for their defection, but most of them cite negative experiences with other church people.
The Barna Group estimates that 80 percent of those reared in the church will be "disengaged" by the time they are 29.
Dyck also explains that this generation of doubters is less likely than the young adults of previous times to return to the Church because the prevailing culture is post-Christian. Appeals to rational thinking are no longer persuasive to many of them. Alternative forms of spirituality, like Wicca, appeal to a significant minority of these ex-Christians.

The best response to this serious problem is to find ways of re-establishing good relationships with these young adults. The church has well-developed programs to help people with addictions, but "precious little for Christians struggling with the faith."

Source: Christianity Today


A Sign of the Times: Repent!

Nov. 18, 2010 - Chuck Colson complains that we tend to blame the government and the economy for our malaise, but the real problem is the apostasy of believers. He says that members of Christ's Church should be more concerned about our own spiritual condition. He reminds us of the message to the luke-warm church of Laodicea (Revelation 3), and says,
What are we to do? Exactly what Jesus told the church of Laodicea: Be earnest and REPENT! Change our minds—which is what the Greek word for repent means...
Source: Crosswalk

Church college teaches sex-in-dorm etiquette

Nov. 7, 2010 - Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., claims to be "a church-related, liberal arts college firmly rooted in its Swedish and Lutheran heritage. However, freshman orientation includes information on proper sex-etiqutte in the dorms and other highly questionable practices.
Source: WorldNetDaily

U.S. pastor reconsiders cancelling Koran burning after 'lied to' by N.Y. imam

Sept. 10, 2010 - After an appeal from President Obama to cancel plans to burn the Koran and a personal call from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Florida pastor Terry Jones says he was also promised that the New York mosque would be moved. Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida supposedly told Jones that the mosque would be moved, but hours later the leader of the New York mosque denied such an agreement.
"Given what we are now hearing, we are forced to rethink our decision," Jones said. "So as of right now, we are not canceling the event, but we are suspending it."
Source: Haaretz

Defiant: Radical Pastor Plans Quran Burning Despite Criticisms

Sept. 9, 2010 - Terry Jones is pastor of a Gainesville, Florida church of about 50 followers that plans to burn copies of the Quran (Koran) in a bonfire Saturday to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11. His plan has been criticized by fellow-pastors and Christian leaders, as well as government officials.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warned that,

"images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the plan "outrageous," and David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said that the pastor may have the legal right to do this but it but, "It's not right."

The Vatican called the idea of burning copies of the Quran "outrageous and grave."

Source: NewsMax
US President Obama condemns plans to burn the Koran - BBC
Without Gentleness or Respect: International Burn a Koran Day - Chuck Colson - Crosswalk
'Muslims to burn US flags in protest of Koran burnings' - Jerusalem Post
The Little Church That Shouldn't - Ron's Blog

Influential Pastor Warns of Socialism, Departure from God

July 4, 2010 - Dr. Charles Stanley told his church and television audiences that there is a tide of socialism and anti-Israeli sentiment threatening the nation.
One of the most disastrous decisions we [our nation] are going to make, and you can mark it down, when we turn our back on Israel, we will not escape the judgment. We will not. And that is exactly the tone we are hearing out of Washington.
Source: Christian Post
View the video, "Turning the Tide" - In Touch
Classic message: Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats? - Charles Haddon Spurgeon - Crossroads

Gay Is Okay: Polls Show Positive Media Portrayal Worked

Jun. 17, 2010 - Chuck Colson laments that a new survey by the Gallup organization indicates that, for the first time a majority of Americans (53 percent) believe that gay and lesbian relationships are morally acceptable, while only 43 percent think these relationships morally wrong.
This is a dramatic change from the beginning of the millennium. In 2001, only 40 percent of those surveyed called same-sex relationships "morally acceptable" while 53 percent called them "morally wrong."
Colson warns that this will be a wakeup call for believers. He says the tide has turned against Christians in the culture because we haven't been doing our job in the church.
Source: Crosswalk

Lawmakers push appeal of Prayer Day

Apr. 21, 2010 -
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers Wednesday denounced a federal judge's recent ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional and said they were calling on President Obama to aggressively appeal the decision.
Source: Washington Times

Public outraged over Westboro Baptist Church trial and make donations to Albert Snyder

Mar. 31, 2010 - In 2006 the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, picketed the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. They brought signs that read "God hates fags" and "God hates the USA." to the funeral. The church pickets many funerals and other events across the country. The serviceman's father sued the church for inflicting emotional distress and won a large settlement. But the verdict was overturned in appeals court, and the father was ordered to pay $16,510.80 to Fred Phelps to pay for his defense expenses. The case will go to the Supreme Court.
Source: Examiner - Salt Lake City
God Hates Fags - Westboro Baptist Church
Unholy Christianity - Ron's Blog

Michigan Christian Militia Group Appears in Federal Court

Mar. 30, 2010 - Police officers have now arrested nine members of the Hutaree Christian militia group. The militia members are accused of plotting to kill law enforcement officers in an act of defiance against the US government.
Source: Voice of America
Militia arrests timed to prevent violence, official says - CNN
Unholy Christianity - Ron's Blog

Sports Fanatics: How Christians have succumbed to the sports culture—and what might be done about it.

Jan. 30, 2010 - Shirl James Hoffman starts this article with shameful examples of sports fanaticism, pointing out that Americans are consuming sports on an unprecedented scale, and evangelicals are leading the way in adapting their personal and church agendas to this fascination.
Less than a century ago, major segments of the evangelical community considered sports a cancer on the spiritual life; today their denominational progeny lead the parade to stadiums.

Sports can be used to spread the Gospel. Publicity surrounding recent Super Bowls have highlighted the faith of coaches and players, like Kurt Warner. But sports can bring out the worst in people as well, leading to scandals and corruption.

The narcissistic and materialistic culture of professional sports is the antithesis of Christian virtues such as servanthood, generosity, and self-subordination.

Hoffman calls for wisdom on the part of evangelical church leaders in three key areas:

Development of a proper “sports theology,”
Practice of ethical values in our exercise of sports.
Consideration of how to use sport’s potential for spiritual encouragement and outreach.
Source: Christianity Today
Editor's Note: This article is posted under opposite topics - Apostasy and Revival. Like most powerful influences in life, sports can be a good or a bad influence, depending on how it is used.

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Last Updated: 5/13/2011
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