Why So Many False Teachers within Christianity?
- Friday, June 30, 2006
Christians are in the news quite a bit these days. In this particular case, the evangelical world is drawing attention from a number of onlookers by virtue of the release of a new video game. According to Yahoo News, "Left Behind: Eternal Forces casts the player as a director of God's Earthly militia, left behind in the Rapture to roam the streets of New York, battling Satan's minions and shooting unbelievers." Jack Thompson noted: 'It's absurd. You can be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn't hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away the Christians.'"
"Greg Bauman of Left Behind Games explains: 'Left Behind: Eternal Forces will help readers get a sense of the conflict and chaos of the time period portrayed in Left Behind and live out how they would defend themselves and their faith from the Antichrist and his Global Peace Keeping Forces... Goat-footed demons reportedly emerge from UN peacekeeping humvees. One reviewer noted: 'The only way to accomplish anything positive in the game is to 'convert' nonbelievers into faithful believers, and the only alternative to this is outright killing them.'"
Sadly, this or something similar is the prevailing view in church today concerning the last days, antichrist, and related events. However, the notion that such a game will give participants a sense of what it will be like after a pre-tribulation rapture falls into the category of false teaching. Further, sometimes actual heresy is taught and embraced in the church which leads to a question that has been put to me many times. Simply speaking, if Christianity is true, why are there so many false teachers and churches within Christianity? Let us offer four suggestions in response to that question.
First, the existence of false teachers and churches within the larger context of Christianity is a characteristic of the last days. Few would argue that we are in the last days now. Yet, we have been in the last days for two-thousand years. In 1 John 2:18, we read, "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time." John was writing to his contemporaries and noted that they were in the last days already.
People tend to look at the situation in the Middle East or the moral decline in America and conclude that we are in the last days. John says that many antichrists are in the world and that is how we know we are in the last days. Our Lord Jesus Himself said, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you are not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in different places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:5-8). Those things have been going on for two-thousand years. The Lord Jesus could return tonight, or, He could delay another two-thousand years, and yet, we are still in the last days.
The point is that some conceive of the last days as the final days or final few years just prior to the rapture. In so doing, they tend to develop an escape or fortress mentality and simply wait for Christ's coming. The problem is that we have been given a commission to take the gospel to the nations until Jesus comes again, not until we think He's coming again.
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