I switched career paths from what would have been a lucrative opportunity in IT to go to seminary. Now I am passionate about studying theology, apologetics and philosophy. The number one reason is that I truly believe God called me. I also think I know why I was… well, drafted.
It’s a war and “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. ” (2 Timothy 2:4, ESV)
I truly believe we are in the very last days prior to the return of Christ. There are many compelling evidences for this; the primary being Israel’s reestablishment as a nation after nearly 2000 years of Diaspora. The Bible warns us to expect widespread deception and a falling away from orthodoxy. For this reason, apologetics is now more important than ever.
In Matthew 24 Jesus characterizes the time leading up to his return as one of unprecedented deception and emphatically warns “See that no one leads you astray…”
Scripture is chock full of admonitions concerning the deceptive nature of the last days.
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. ” (2 Timothy 3:1, ESV)
“knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. ” (2 Peter 3:3, ESV)
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, …. ” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 a , ESV)
The word rebellion is rendered from ἀποστασία apostasia; defection, revolt:—apostasy(1), forsake(1). (New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek Dictionaries : 1998).
So is this occurring?
In the new American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) the percentage of people who call themselves “Christian” has dropped more than 11% in a generation. The report states “the challenge to Christianity … does not come from other religions but from a rejection of all forms of organized religion.” The percentage of Americans that claim no religion at all is 15%, up from 8% in 1990.
Back in 1994, Dr. William Lane Craig wrote concerning the trend toward postmodernism,
If the situation is not to degenerate further, it is imperative that we turn the whole intellectual climate of our culture back to a Christian worldview…our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith…The results of being in intellectual neutral extend far beyond oneself. If Christian laymen don’t become intellectually engaged, then we are in serious danger of losing our children, (William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 1994).
So here we are in 2010, was Dr Craig’s prediction correct? In a 2007 Barna study, it was observed that Americans ages 16 to 29 were far more skeptical and resistant to Christianity than the same age group ten years before. Only 16% have a positive view of Christianity. Dr Frank Turek says we have a 75% rate of attrition,
What about those who haven’t left the church? The 2008 Pew Forum research indicated “Americans are very open. In terms of various paths to heaven, the majority tell us that there is not just one way to heaven. 70% of Americans including 57% of ‘evangelical Protestants’ believe this, while 68% believe there is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their religions.”
Another revealing finding by the Pew Forum reflecting the dramatic postmodern turn is that 50% of Americans now say homosexuality should be accepted by society, while only 40% do not (“Massive Study Finds Most Americans Devout, Tolerant,” The Boston Globe, June 23, 2008). The recent decision by the Evangelical Lutheran Church to endorse openly homosexual pastors comes to mind.
In addition, Pew’s 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of 35,000 Americans also found a astonishing dismissal of orthodoxy: 70% said “many religions can lead to eternal life” and 68% said “there’s more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion.” Unfortunately for the majority Jesus really did not leave that option open to us.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. ” (Matthew 7:13–14, ESV)
This is spiritual warfare and the hour is late.