Our Faith is in crisis and has been since the time of the Apostles as evident from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (II Thess. 2:7)
The Faith that was once delivered to the Saints (Jude 1:3) is hidden under layers of lies, traditions, paganism, false teachings, and laziness. The enemy is cunning and completely deceptive, having successfully deceived the whole world. (Rev. 12:9)
Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God should shine unto them.” (II Cor. 4:4)
The truths are right in front of our faces…right in the pages of our Bibles. (IICor. 4:4).
So how do we know whether we are Christians? What are the character traits? What are the defining requirements? Is it reasonable to conclude that all 2 Billion self-professing christians around this globe, under the 38,000 christian denominations are all true christians?
According to Wikipedia, a Christian is defined as someone who adheres to christianity. Christianity is a monotheistic religion based upon the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ are embodied in the canonical gospels and other New Testament writings.
What are ecumenical creeds you ask?
According to Wikipedia, the ecumenical creeds consist of some 4-individual creeds that ultimately shaped and defined the western church. Ultimately, these creeds were accepted by most mainstream Christian denominations in the western church, especially in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches.
- Nicene Creed
- Apostle’s Creed
- Chalcedonian Creed
- Athanasian Creed
It is clear that the definition of Christianity developed or changed over the course of several centuries. Many Ecumenical scholars instruct that the christian faith developed over the centuries as a result of progressive revelation. And as each creed and synod marker was met, forced adherence was perpetuated throughout the Roman Empire. Before long, the original form and constitution of the Faith became obscured by these manmade doctrines and traditions. Ultimately, the original truth was purposely tucked away in obscurity and the original teachings were deemed heretical.
The distortion of our Faith began as early as the first century. The Apostle Paul spoke of it in his epistle to the Thessalonian Church:
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. (II Thess. 2:7)
Strangely enough, the very words of the Apostle to the Gentiles were ultimately hijacked and used to formulate much of the foundation of the westernized Christianity that we have today. The Apostle Peter saw this happen with his very own eyes and ears and reported:
And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (II Pet. 3:15,16)
- The blindness of Satan prohibits the seeing of obvious truths, spiritual warfare, and the deep mysteries of Yahovah (Michael Rood–“The Mystery of Iniquity). Reference again II Corinthians 4:4.
Responsibility is a rare commodity in our so-called enlightened society.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian Church: “Wherefore my beloved as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (2:12)
We are living in a time that the Apostle Paul described to Timothy as:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
As Paul was writing this heartfelt letter to Timothy, he realized that his time was at hand and he would ultimately be put to death. He continued:
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Tim. 4:3-8)
If we profess to be followers of the Messiah, we effectively forfeit any ownership over our lives:
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God’s. (I Cor. 6:20)
Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. (I Cor. 7:23)
Today, Christianity is in crisis. According to the Barna Group (www.Barna.org)
- 15% of individuals who attend church rank their relationship with Yahoveh as their top priority in life.
- The whole notion of personal holiness has slipped out of the consciousness of the vast majority of Christians. In fact, most Christians cannot articulate what it means to be “Holy” and 2/3 of professing Christians believe that it is not important to be holy.
- There is a growing movement in Christianity called the Revolutionaries in the United States that distinguish themselves from the base group of “born again Christians.” These folks are placing emphasis on deeds, beliefs, and self views of higher levels of community service, financial contributions, daily Bible study, personal quiet times, family, Bible studies, daily worship, spiritual mentoring and evangelism. Out of this is emerging a notable increase in Home-based churches.
The bottom line to this Barna study is that most American Christians are not devoted to their faith as they’d like to be–or for that matter as they know they should be.
Traditionalists do not interpret the concepts of freedom and grace correctly. The freedom we enjoy as Christians refers to the ability to live holy lives devoid of sin and to have true relationships with the Father; to be free from sickness; to prosper spiritually and physically; to live fulfilled and effective lives that confound non-believers.