Passivity at the Hands of Antichrist

By David Sheldon

The cultural spiritual life of American Evangelicalism is silently being overpowered by passiveness. Many people now have the uncanny ability to sit under supposed pastors, teachers, and shepherds as they lead God's flock into double-talk and compromised witness. The compromise is subtle with the appearance of Christianity, but it inevitably refuses to suffer for the Christ Jesus of the gospel in any and every cultural context. This lack of witness, believe it or not, is by and large manifested in church settings. The mind-set of church attendees is to love and be patient with sinners. This latitudinal effort has eliminated the call to repentance. Yes, grace is emphasized. But without zeroing in on the only faith that saves, faith toward Jesus Christ who is the definition of God's love, it is ultimately futile. It's as though God gives a "group hug" instead of personally taking someone through the turnstile of repentance because of His great love for them. Romans 2:4 says, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" Accordingly, this passiveness refuses to believe the necessity of suffering for Jesus Christ and His gospel. After all, why should suffering for Christ be needed or even considered important in this "Christian" nation? Everyone who has the name of Jesus on their lips must be a Biblically based Christian, right? Well, if one thinks they are obeying God, yet refuses to be a part of the standard that God sets up, the Holy Scriptures, they will slowly and pathologically succumb to the enemies of Christianity, being taken captive from within its' own walls. Not defending the whole truth, they passively give in to the lie/lies being propagated. They justify it by saying, "I didn't do anything." Herein lies the problem.

What is passivity's stronghold? It could be personal rebellion, or it could be we have not yet learned/experienced the deceptive ways of Satan. Those who don't discern that there is something greater going on will get sucked into further delusion. God knows how to send delusion to those who do not actually love the truth. Would a loving God actually do that? Yes, 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says, "For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false." The vast majority of evangelical pulpits have also succumbed to this passiveness, allowing deluding spirits to flood in. Yes, God is allowing deluding spirits to invade, across the board, the churches in the west. It is evident by the tolerance of false doctrine and communion with heretics. Unfortunately, most pastors are not attending to this corporate reality due to what I will term "bubble church." In "bubble church," it is up to each individual to figure out what they believe in their own head. Many times in "bubble church" there are doctrinal statements that hold to orthodox beliefs, yet they are never publicly articulated or fought for. Elders will let things go unnoticed and unattended within their denomination because, after all, there are bills to be paid and we wouldn't want to disrupt our "bubble church" ways. Of course, we don't visibly see anything wrong at "bubble church." How could all of these nice people in a nice church be disobeying? The disobedience is in abandoning the battle against the world, the flesh and the devil and assuming all is at "peace." The shepherd's of "bubble church" dare not call her to take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. They all too well know the only sound to which she will give her ear. It is the "sound of the carefree multitudes" (Ezekiel 23:42). She has given herself over to the world's idols while still giving the impression she is faithful to Christ. Important matters are "graciously" swept under the rug by leaderships' passivity. But, God's judgments are coming upon the world at the end of this present evil age from which "bubble church" will not protect. Remember, God's judgments begin in His own house: I Peter 4:17 "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"

So, how is it possible for "Christianity" to be filled with the spirit of antichrist? The "spirit of antichrist" is that which pretends fidelity to Christ and yet does not keep His Word. I John 2:4-5 says, "The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him." This spirit was obvious and present within the New Testament Apostolic Church. Yet, this very "Christianity" is predicted for the end of this present evil age by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2. In verses 3-4, it says, "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." What is the temple that the lawless one enters? The word "temple"='naos' is used by Paul in Corinthians when he is talking about the church, that is the visible church upon the earth. Said church is where the man of sin, the Antichrist, is revealed during the midst of said church's "apostasy." (This New Testament text tells where, that is in what context, the Antichrist is first revealed.) It was 3 ½ centuries ago that Thomas Manton, the great Puritan writer wrote concerning 2 Thess 2:

"What is the mystery of iniquity? I answer- The design of usurping Christ's kingdom, and his dignities and prerogatives over the church, to countenance the kingdom of sin and darkness, under the mask of piety and religion. Surely it is something, quite contrary to the gospel, which is the 'mystery of godliness.' I Timothy 3:16. So that this mystery is such a course and state design as doth frustrate the true end and purpose of the gospel, and yet carried on under a pretence of advancing and promoting it."

What is the will of this man of lawlessness, this mystery of iniquity? He places himself in the final apostasy of the visible church, and by stealth, preaches/teaches a different gospel and a different Christ as if it were the true. His followers in the church succumb to him! They inwardly despise the true gospel and settle for the fake. God will finally remove His restraint and allow the real and final Antichrist to take charge and take over – for the purpose of final judgment. The false church will be the church that grows exponentially as a harlot upon the earth, in bed with the beast. (Revelation 17)

So, if the antichrist is first revealed in a visible Christian apostasy, there is great likelihood that the false prophet may first appear in that setting as well. Revelation 13 says of the false prophet that "he had two horns like a lamb" implying that he seems innocuous in his manner and appearance, but not in speech. He ultimately speaks as a devil, a double-talking angel of light. He performs signs one of which is "to call fire down out of heaven in the presence of men." This sign/act could be performed as a mighty pyro-technician or as the sheepish but bold claim of being passionate (fire) for God before men. Thus, he is a great and un-critiqued example. He is as an angel of light, empowered by Satan to exert a deluding influence over vast number of people both non-Christians and apostate Christians toward the beast.

There are probably now more actual Christians in China than the United States. They are, for the most, primarily persecuted by their government. The saints in the west have a different kind of persecution – first a suffering at the hands of a fake Christianity followed by actual persecution at the hands of the Antichrist as he takes his role as world leader.

Wake up true saints of Jesus Christ in the west! For saints, if you are not currently a part of the solution, which is the eyes of our hearts being opened to God's truths, you have by default become part of the problem. Often times our battle is against fake Christianity. It will gain the upper hand over us unless we walk in the victory that is in Jesus Christ through actual fidelity to Him and obedience to His Word.

Copyright©, 2011, David Sheldon. Edited by Kerri Sheldon. All rights reserved.
Can be copied in its entirety for personal use or to be distributed, but not for profit.

Theological Studies
Contemporary Concerns
Deception in the Visible Church