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The Great Falling Away! by Milton Green
Many Christians believe we are living in a time of one of the greatest revivals in the history of the Church. Evangelism reports from around the world seem to substantiate this claim. Manifestations of supernatural gifts, signs and wonders are commonplace in a large percentage of churches. They are widely proclaimed as being from the Lord and proof that God is well pleased with the Church today. Ministries are expanding into mass media evangelism which spans the globe. Evangelistic and charismatic groups are experiencing tremendous numerical growth as new buildings can be seen springing up and spreading out in almost every direction. All of these things would seem to refute the remote possibility that we are now living in the time of the great falling away of the Church: a falling away from true faith and the life-style which God demands of His people and which is taught in scripture. Instead, multitudes of church members say they are eagerly anticipating the return of Christ through a secret rapture which will whisk them out of every trial and tribulation which is obviously coming upon the world. However, when close investigation is made of the personal lives of the church members, we find little difference between most of their life-styles and those of the people in the world. Divorce, adultery, homosexuality, gossip, unforgiveness, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, and factions are as prevalent in the churches today as they are in the world.
Almost any pastor or church leader you talk to privately will admit that down inside he knows something is desperately wrong. Many people wander from church to church looking for something they know they are missing. The message of "peace and safety" being preached cannot put an end to their inner turmoil. They discern the spiritual emptiness in religious traditions and often fall prey to cults and sects that draw them away from Jesus Christ and the Word of God altogether. Others are looking for the true body of Christ which they know is supposed to be "holy and blameless." People easily become disillusioned when they see in the Church what they see in the world. Churches have turned to recreation and entertainment in an attempt to hold the people, becoming more and more like the world. Rather than select a pastor on the basis of his spiritual maturity and understanding, they choose a man based on his fund-raising ability and his charismatic personality to attract people in order to increase the size of the congregation and "build the church." Counseling ministries flourish as the message proclaimed by the churches is not sufficient to meet the needs of the spiritually hungry and desperate people. Many pastors, looking for answers, have investigated other denominations and groups (sometimes secretly for fear of being labeled disloyal to their denomination), only to be disappointed to find the other groups have similar spiritual problems. In the midst of this day of people searching for answers, we should recognize that we are now experiencing what the Lord promised would come. "'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord God, 'when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord. And people will stagger (in spiritual darkness) from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.'" Amos 8:11, 12. While this famine continues, the Lord has begun to awaken His sheep and reveal to them the essential truths from His Word that have been overlooked and ignored. God did not find it necessary to cooperate with the requirements of religious systems in order to reveal His truths in the time of Jesus. That has not changed. God has begun restoring the power and truth of the gospel today. This is the day that will see the glory and power of God coming to earth into His Church which will be "holy and blameless."