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2011 In Review

The Year In Prophecy- Part 2

By Ron Graff

Printable (PDF) Version of this report

Documentation for every aspect of this report may be found on the corresponding topic pages in Prophecy Central and Apologetics Central.

Scripture quotations are from the New International Version. Hypertext links to Scriptures are to the King James Version in the Blue Letter Bible.

Apostasy

2 Timothy 4:2-4


7 - APOSTASY OF THE CHURCH AND THE END TIMES REVIVAL

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. - 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Every year it seems that the American Church as a whole slides a little further away from God's ideal for it. This is painful to observe, but is not surprising since the Bible has predicted this would happen in the End Times. Apostasy means "falling away." The Church is gradually losing its holiness and power. But the good news is that the Lord will most likely also send a great revival to the vast remnant of committed Christians who are praying, and to their younger generation, which has not yet seen the full glory of Jesus and his Church.

First, let us soberly consider some of the problems of the Church today.

Ignorance and Complacency

Church attendance in America has been declining for years, following the pattern of the Church in Europe. Megachurches seem to be thriving, but they gain attendance at the expense of the smaller churches that cannot offer such impressive programs. In fairness, it should be noted that some of these very large churches do faithfully teach God's Word, but the majority are not willing to teach anything controversial, including sound Christian doctrine and prophecy, and the consequences of sinful behavior.

Pollster George Barna, who has been taking the pulse of the Church for more than 20 years, issued another disturbing report. He discovered that only four people were named by more than 1 out of 50 adults as a most significant Christian leader. The names were Billy Graham, the Pope, Barack Obama and Joel Osteen. And 41% of the people were not able to name even one individual whom they consider to be an influential Christian.

Barna's group found that 50% of Americans believe that all people are eventually saved or accepted by God no matter what they do. They also discovered that the majority of 18- to 29-year-old Christians are interested in science or the arts, but most of them struggle to see how the Bible relates to their life's calling.

Chuck Colson comments on another of Barna's findings. America is filled with people who are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to religion… that only 7 percent of those he surveyed say they believe in seven essential Christian doctrines, as listed in the National Association of Evangelicals' Statement of Faith. Colson writes this, "Okay, folks, we are experiencing a religious smorgasbord. Indeed, Barna says with just a hint of hyperbole that America may become a nation of '310 million people with 310 million religions.'"

Abortion

Toleration of Evil

Gradually giving in to the postmodern concept of toleration, many churches do not take a strong stand against moral issues like abortion and homosexuality.


Abortion

Abortion was "front and center" in the many Republican debates among potential Presidential candidates. Basically, all of the serious contenders were against abortion, though some had moderated their stance to become more acceptable to the "Religious Right." The corollary of this fact is that the majority of people who consider themselves Democrats may be church-goers, but it doesn't affect their view of the sanctity of life.

Homosexuality









Apostasy


Homosexuality

Teens and young adults have been leaving their churches for years. Many of them are rejecting the conservative politics of their fathers, perceiving that candidates are often hypocrites. They are influenced by postmodern thinking that posits a new concept of tolerance and leaves them with a dislike of controversy. Alex Mason of the Family Policy Network said, "They've bought into the lie that truth can be different for everyone, which often means they become unwilling to tell their homosexual friend that his behavior is immoral.

Unfortunately, many of these young people are being drawn into so called "emerging church" organizations and even some wavering Christian institutions of higher education that choose to ignore the Bible's clear teaching about homosexuality (Genesis 19:1-26; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9- 11; 1 Timothy 1:10). What church leaders need to do is not to present homosexuality as worse than other sins, but to show that, like other sins, it must be confessed and overcome by God's grace.

In May the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to approve a change to the church's constitution that will allow the denomination's 173 presbyteries to ordain persons without regard to sexual orientation.

Willow Creek Community Church known as the most influential church in America, has broken ties with Exodus International, the world's largest ministry that reaches out to homosexual. There is a disappointing trend in the Christian community, with churches and other groups shying away from controversial issues -- like homosexual outreach.

Several states now allow same-sex marriages. In California a popular initiative was passed three years ago to specify that marriage was between one man and one woman, but the courts called the law unconstitutional. Meanwhile California has become the first state requiring public school textbooks to include the accomplishments of lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transvestites (LGBT).

Ron's Blog - Rob Bell


Theological Confusion

During the year emerging church pastor Rob Bell released the book, Love Wins. It suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal - meaning that, as his book's subtitle puts it, "every person who ever lived" could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be. The book has met with fierce criticism from the Evangelical community, igniting a new holy war in Christian circles. and Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says Bell's book is "theologically disastrous."

Revival

Jonah 3


End Times Revival

God may send a wake-up call to our generation. The Book of Jonah tells the story of a "last chance" for the evil city of Nineveh. Jonah didn't even want to invite them to believe, but he was forced to preach there, and to his amazement, they experienced repentance and revival (Jonah 3).

Missions









The Call


Missions Christianity is the world's largest religion and it is still growing rapidly in developing countries. One of the exciting new developments in missions recently is an emphasis on the "4/14 Window." Luis Bush, who coined the expression 10/40 window to describe the geographical target of missions, now offers a free booklet that extols the advantages of paying attention to the 4/14 window. The new focus is on reaching the 1.2 billion children and young people with the Gospel during their most impressionable years.

Another exciting example of church growth in the world of missions is the new ministry of Multiplication Networks, an organization that mobilizes local Christians in various countries to literally plant hundreds of new churches.


The Call Lou Engle and his associates mobilize tens of thousands of Christians - mostly young people to fast and pray for repentance for our national sins and revival in these days.

Jesus



Apologetics Central


Shroud of Turin

After years of skepticism and a tentative verdict that the famous Shroud of Turin dated from the medieval period, and therefore could not have been the cloth that wrapped the body of Christ, a new set of experiments have shown that it is most likely authentic after all. The basic conclusion of the recent study is that the technology that would have been needed to produce the shroud only partially exists today, and certainly would not have been available in the medieval period. Furthermore, we still do not understand what could have produced the image on the cloth, lending credence to the belief that it was caused by radiation at Christ's resurrection. This might be a powerful reminder to our generation that the story of Jesus is true!

Creation and the Flood


Noah's Ark Found?

Another great proof to a doubting age that the Bible is true might come in the form of discoveries about Noah's Ark. A team of explorers led by Daniel McGivern has used satellite imagery and ground penetrating radar technology to identify what they believe is the remains of Noah's Ark near the top of Mount Arafat in Turkey.

"The mountain is treeless. The mountain is volcanic with gases. There is no conceivable way that you could have an object that big on a mountain," McGivern said.

This is not the first time people have thought they have found the Ark. But if it is validated it would become the greatest tourist attraction on earth and a last-days encouragement for people to believe the Bible

Islam


Muslims Have Dreams of Jesus

The greatest mission field is the Islamic world with more than a billion people, who, for the most part, have not heard the Gospel of Jesus. In most Islamic countries it is illegal or very difficult to witness to these people. Amazingly, there are hundreds of stories now being told of Muslims who have had dreams or visions of Jesus. The Bible is full of dreams and visions of great prophetic importance. The Apostle Paul had a vision of Jesus on the Damascus Road, and was instantly converted. We expect more divine intervention to bring Muslims to Christ.

Joel 2:28-29

"And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days." - Joel 2:28-29

Economic Issues








6 - ECONOMIC MALAISE

Economic trends have a strong influence in shaping the development of national and international affairs. Prophecy students are expecting the emergence of an End Times world government which will not necessarily be led by the United States. The troubled world economy will make people willing to accept the control of a governmental system or even a benevolent dictator who appears to have the ideas and influence to improve the situation.

World-wide economic problems

The economy started in the doldrums this year, and like the old saying, "If it weren't for bad news there wouldn't be any news at all."

The economic situation was made even worse by the "Arab Spring" protests and the fighting and instability that came from it. CNN reported that the protests were creating a toxic financial environment, with businesses and banks closed, fuel supplies disrupted, and investors afraid to help.

Runaway debt in the United States

Irresponsible government spending has increased our debt to nearly $15 TRILLION dollars. Financial experts say that it is not possible to repay that debt without giving in to hyperinflation. For the first time in memory our national credit rating has dropped to an unfavorable level.

The stock market gyrates wildly, adding to the confusion about how serious the recession or depression is in our country. The home market is still depressed. The middle class is becoming poorer while the rich get richer.

Confidence in government is at an all-time low, and it is no wonder when a March report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals hundreds of billions of dollars in waste. And as far as we can see, no remedy has been made by Congress.

In one day (August 5, 2011) the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 512.76 points, or 4.31 percent... The last time the Dow dropped more than 500 points in a single session was in Dec. 2008.

Revived Roman Empire


Financial Crisis in Europe

Bad economic news in the U.S. also affects the rest of the world, and vice-versa. We are caught in a downward spiral. In September The president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick commented on the situation, saying that the world's economy "is in a danger zone."

The situation is affecting the unity of the European Union and the viability of the Euro.

New World Order


Push toward Global Governance

If any one issue in the world today could cause people to be willing to accept a political messiah, it would be our economic plight. Nevertheless it was shocking to read reports in October's New York Times that the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace proposed an overhaul of the world's financial systems, and a supranational authority to oversee the global economy. It claimed that the marketplace has run amok because of a lack of democratic and ethical principles.

It is interesting that a 2009 Time Magazine article had featured a similar story entitled, "The Vatican's Radical Ideas on Financial Reform." The story said that Pope Benedict XVI had issued an encyclical Caritas in Veritate, in which he argued that there is "an urgent need of a true world political authority" to address problems of economic inequality both within and between countries.

Revelation 13:15-18

Economic Issues

The Book of Revelation tells us that the coming evil world dictator, "The Beast," will assume complete financial control of the world at the mid-point of the Tribulation.

15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. - Revelation 13:15-18

Of course, the economy may get better or worse in the future, but it is certainly not difficult to imagine a time when a supposedly benevolent dictator would be given such power if he just had the plan to fix the economy.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

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Last Updated: 1/6/12

Documentation, Scriptural references and illustrations
may be found in the various sections of
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Copyright © 2011 by Ron Graff.
Permission granted to use in churches or post on other websites as long it is printed or posted in its entirety.