Not all churches have gone by the wayside. Sadly, many have - both Catholic and Protestant alike. You can basically boil it down to three main points. First, sound Biblical doctrine is abandoned. Second, the false church will emphasize sensuality and our experience as a means to reach God. Lastly, the move towards ecumenism and a one-world religion. Watch this six-minute video and/or read the points below for yourself.
- Scripture is no longer the golden standard.
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ is being replaced by secular methods promoting church growth and a social gospel.
- Little or no teaching on the Second Advent. An apostate church will rigorously deny the pre-tribulation rapture and the seven years of hell on earth (Daniel's 70th week) that must precede Jesus' triumphal return with his army of saints.
- The idea of a literal millennial reign of Christ is similarly rejected.
- Replacement Theology - The idea that the church has replaced Israel and that the Jews, Israel and the city of Jerusalem play no future role in Bible prophecy.
- The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is said to have been fulfilled (Preterism and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D.) or is to be considered allegorical.
- An experiential and mystical form of Christianity is promoted.
- Seeking present day relevance purely for the sake of relevance is a sure sign of apostasy.
- The desire to go back in church history (called 'ancient-future' or 'vintage Christianity') to learn what experiences were effective in attracting new Christians.
- Images and sensual experiences are promoted as keys to knowing God.
- Experiences include icons, candles, incense, liturgy, labyrinths, prayer stations and an overemphasis on sacraments.
- An emphasis on ecumenism pointing to unity with the Roman Catholic church.
- Communion is considered more than a symbol and that Jesus becomes present in the wafer and the wine. Do we need to crucify Christ over and over again just so we can share communion? I think not!
- An apostate church will buy into the PC lie that there are many ways to God. See John 14:6 for reference.
- Those who question such activities are reprimanded and asked to leave. Elders are given short thrift.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. I do however consider it to be an excellent guideline. Now if your church lights the occasional candle and doesn't preach about the coming tribulation as often as it should doesn't mean you're in an apostate church. No church is perfect! Consistent study of the Bible in private will remedy any theological shortcomings. If you do notice a significant number of the points mentioned above in your place of worship I'd get out of there as quickly as possible. Why should Satan work hard when the likes of Rick Warren do his dirty work for him? Be vigilant and may you rest in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.