We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
The Great Apostasy
The New Testament is full of warnings that at the end of this age there will
be a great apostasy or falling away from the truth affecting the Christian
Church. Jesus himself warned that in the last days there will be 'false
messiahs and false prophets' who will deceive many (Matthew 24). Paul warned
that 'evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being
deceived' (2 Timothy 3.13), and that the day of the Lord (the return of the
Messiah Jesus) will be preceded by an apostasy in the church and the
revelation of the man of sin or Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2.3).
The process of apostasy began in the early days of Christianity:
"As you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now have many
antichrists come .... They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if
they had been of us they would have continued with us; but they went out
that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us." 1 John
This passage signifies that though there is one antichrist who is coming at
the end of this age, there are many who have the spirit of antichrist which
may be manifested in many different forms. Although this spirit 'comes out
from us' (i.e. originates within Christianity and may continue to call
itself Christian) it is marked by a fundamental denial of the basics of the
Christian faith. This is why so many things have been done in the name of
Jesus which deny everything He stands for. The main characteristic of this
spirit is a denial of the central truth of the faith: that Jesus is the
promised Messiah, fully man and fully God, whose sacrificial death and
resurrection is sufficient to bring forgiveness of sins and eternal life to
all who believe:
"By this you know the Spirit of God; Every spirit that confesses that Jesus
Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not
confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is
the spirit of antichrist which you have heard was coming and is now already
in the world." 1 John 4.2-3
"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be
false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in damnable heresies, even
denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of
truth will be blasphemed." 2 Peter 2 1-2
The New Testament is absolutely clear that our redemption is gained solely
on the merit of the finished work of Messiah Jesus:
"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ
died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that
he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." 1 Corinthians
Therefore any form of Christianity which denies this is a form of apostasy.
The apostasy, which the writers of the New Testament recognised as taking
place in their time, gathered momentum in the following centuries. By the
'Dark Ages' in Medieval Europe it had almost completely taken over the
professing Christian Church.
The Reformation brought a degree of light and recovery of truth back into
Christianity and led to the evangelical awakenings of the 18th and 19th
centuries which resulted in the Gospel being spread world wide, the original
command of the Lord Jesus and the major condition of his return (Matthew
However as we come to the end of the 20th century we see the process of
apostasy in the church gathering momentum at an astonishing speed, leading
to the fulfilment of the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2 and the revelation of
Antichrist. Bearing in mind that the essence of this apostasy is the denial
of the finished work of Christ as sufficient for our redemption, let us look
at three ways in which this apostasy is now invading the church.
1 The New Age / Inter Faith / Feminist route
This denies that Jesus was any more than one of many 'gurus' who teach us
how to discover 'god' within ourselves. In our previous edition we looked at
this teaching in more detail (copies available on request). An example of
how this way of thinking fits in with the apostasy we describe above was
given in an article in Newsweek 'The Search for the Sacred' (28/11/94):
"2000 Protestant and Catholic churchwomen from 27 nations gathered in
Minneapolis to sacralize female sexuality. During a communion service of
milk and honey they prayed to 'Sophia' a feminine image used to personify
wisdom. Jesus was never invoked. But his death in atonement for the sins of
man was dismissed by one theologian as the grotesque product of the male
imagination. I don't think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood
dripping," said the Rev. Dolores Williams who teaches at Union Theological
Seminary in New York.
2 The Ecumenical Route
Ecumenism has now gone beyond the liberal and high churches. On 29th March
1994 leading evangelicals and Catholics signed a joint declaration,
"Evangelicals and Catholics together: The Christian Mission in the 3rd
Millennium. This document urges evangelicals and Roman Catholics who have
worked together in opposing abortion and pornography to 'finally accept each
other as Christians .. and to stop proselytization of each other's flocks.'
The document is being translated into Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and
Russian for circulation throughout Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Despite the well meaning words of working together for common causes this
document could be used to prevent evangelicals from preaching the Gospel in
Roman Catholic countries. It will contribute to the trend of supposed
evangelical leaders backing off from making a stand for the Gospel. In
recent months we have seen the Archbishop of Canterbury commending the
Communist government of China and criticising missionary work there. Chuck
Colson, one of the evangelical signatories of this document, has said that
he and others had become 'distressed by the clashes arising from the growth
of evangelical Protestantism in traditionally Catholic countries.'
However if we believe that our redemption is solely through the sacrifice of
Jesus, we have to preach the Gospel to Roman Catholics for Roman Catholic
doctrine denies this:
"For it is the liturgy (sacramental rituals) through which, especially in
the divine service of the Eucharist, the work of our redemption is
accomplished. Vatican II.
"Christ's death earned 'satisfactions and merits' which have been deposited
into a 'Treasury' to which have been added the prayers of the Blessed Virgin
Mary and the prayers and good works of all the saints... From most ancient
times in the Church good works were also offered to God for the salvation of
sinners. Vatican II, Flannery's edition Vol.I
"The Mass is truly a propitionary sacrifice by which the Lord is appeased
and pardons wrongdoings and sins... The priest is indispensable since he
alone by his power can change the elements of bread and wine into the body
and blood of Christ... The more often the sacrifice of the Mass is offered
the more benefit is conferred.
This is another means by which it is denied that the sacrifice of the Lord
Jesus at Calvary is sufficient for our salvation. Evangelicals who have made
an alliance with Roman Catholicism and no longer call for Roman Catholics
who have come to know the Lord to leave the Catholic Church are joining
hands with those who 'deny the Lord who bought them' and are undoing the
work of the Reformation.
(Information from 'The Berean Call' May 1994, reprinted in 'Mainstream'
3 The 'Word of Faith' route
Perhaps the most insidious denial of the Lord is one which is currently
affecting much of the charismatic and pentecostal movements. In the 1950s
American preacher Kenneth Hagin plagiarised the teaching of E.W. Kenyon, an
earlier preacher whose roots lay in the 'Unity Church' in Boston, a centre
of unbiblical doctrines including Christian Science and Theosophy. Hagin
influenced Kenneth Copeland who in turn influenced Rodney Howard-Browne, the
prime mover in the so-called 'Toronto Blessing' which is now sweeping the
charismatic churches. Most of the people who are claiming that revival is
coming to the church through this movement do not realise that at the core
of its teaching is a denial of the sufficiency of the cross of Christ.
Kenyon taught that the most important part of our redemption was not what
happened at the cross but what happened in the three days between the
crucifixion and the resurrection. According to Kenyon, Jesus died two deaths
on the cross; the first spiritual, the second physical. The physical death
of Christ was but the beginning of his redemptive work, not its end. After
his physical death Jesus endured spiritual death and suffering in hell,
where he was separated from God and took on a mortal and sinful nature.
There he was 'born again' and defeated Satan and emerged from hell to be
Kenneth Copeland puts it like this: "Jesus went into hell to free mankind
from the penalty of Adam's high treason. When His blood poured out did not
atone Jesus spent three horrible days and nights in the bowels of the earth
getting back for you and me our rights with God.
From this bizarre and unscriptural teaching the 'faith' teachers make a
quantum leap to say that believers can be identified with Christ to the
extent that they become as much incarnations of God as Christ was. Hagin
maintains that in the new birth God imparts 'His very nature, substance, and
being into our human spirits.' Hence Hagin maintains that 'every born again
man is an incarnation' and that 'the believer is as much an incarnation as
Jesus of Nazareth.' This is in fact a Christianised version of the New Age
heresy that we can become as God.
All of this is a totally heretical teaching that is affecting more and more
of the charismatic movement. It has all the marks of the apostasy described
in 2 Peter 2. It denies the Lord who bought us (verse 1-2); its leaders
exploit gullible Christians financially with deceptive words (verses 3,
14-16); they make promises of financial prosperity, and health and a great
revival coming as a result of following their teaching, promises which are
never fulfilled (verse 18-19). For further information on this subject send
for our leaflet 'Whatever happened to the charismatic movement?'
Information in this section from 'A Different Gospel' by D.R. McConnell and
'Beyond Seduction' by Dave Hunt.
Through this brief survey we see the Enemy, Satan, attacking and undermining
the foundations of Christianity on all fronts. In each case he promises that
something great will happen as a result of the programme he is offering. In
each case the opposite in fact takes place. Satan knows that his time is
short and that the only people who have the answer to the catastrophe that
is coming on the world are those who believe the Gospel. If he can
neutralise and corrupt all of Christianity there will be no resistance left
to the Antichrist system he is seeking to bring on the world.
However all his schemes will fail and any victory he wins will be a
temporary and illusory one. The true Lord Jesus, the Messiah and Saviour of
the world, who defeated Satan once and for all at the cross, is returning in
power and glory to deliver all who trust in Him and to destroy the
Antichrist world system.
Meanwhile let us "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil walks about
like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith,
knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world."
1 Peter 5.8-9