“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” – Matthew 24:10- 11
American culture is following in Europe’s footsteps as society becomes more and more secular. In the past 20 years, the number of Americans identifying as non-religious and not believing in God or religion has reached over 23%, compared to only 8% in 1996. With this dramatic increase, it can be difficult for Western Christians to grasp that they are rapidly becoming the minority. As such, believers will face increased persecution which, in turn, will cause many to lose faith. This will be a sign of the End Times.
“Look out for false teachers and prophets (My Paraphrase),” Jesus warned, because false prophets will only fuel this trend through subtle manipulation of the truth. Many will argue that false teachers outside the church are easy to spot: Mohammed in Islam and Joseph Smith in the Mormon Church, for example. What’s more difficult to spot, however, are false teachers within the church.
There have always been teachers who have tried to manipulate the Word of God. Prosperity theology preachers abound, while some others teach the Gospel of feel-good greed – both deceptive and false. Many mainline protestant preachers have stopped believing that the Bible is the perfectly true and inspired Word of God, sending their churches down a dead end road. Other Christians and spiritual leaders pick and choose what Scriptures they like, discarding the ones they don’t, and thus watering down what the Bible says about topics like sexual purity. This trend began in the 1960’s in the US and will only continue as society walks further away from Biblical teaching and values – just like Europe.
So how will you respond? Will you recognize a watered down Gospel when you hear it? Commit to spending more time in God’s Word this week and ask Him for the wisdom to recognize false teachers – inside and outside the church. We must stay alert in these end times.
Have more questions about the End Times and recognizing the signs of which Jesus spoke? Key insights to these questions and more are available in Bryant’s latest book, The Stage is Set, available in paperback, Kindle, and CD at www.amazon.com or anywhere books or e-books are sold.