The Restoration Principle

13 — We Need to Be Warned Against Apostasy (2)

“. . . lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

THE DEVIL IS ENDLESSLY CREATIVE IN SEEKING OUR DESTRUCTION. That is no cause for fear, of course, since the forces that are with us are more than those against us (2 Kings 6:15,16), but we must be alert and on our guard, “lest Satan should take advantage of us.”

In addition to the various ways the churches in Revelation 2–3 were being threatened, there is another danger — a huge one — that those churches certainly would have been warned against had it existed in their day. It’s a phenomenon that is so big and so much a part of the atmosphere we breathe that, at least in America, we hardly even notice it. I call it “generic Protestant evangelicalism.”

This is a plain-vanilla version of Protestant theology, the core beliefs that are acceptable to all Protestant denominations and “community churches.” My fear is two-fold. First, that more and more of my brothers and sisters are accepting this theology, which is often fundamentally unscriptural even in its stripped-down version. But second, that a growing number are doing what ecumenical Protestants have always done: accept all the churches in this realm as places where a person could serve the Lord faithfully.

What impression are we leaving with our kids? When most of what they hear in sermons, classes, and devo talks reflects favorably on Protestant denominational scholarship, with rarely so much as a caution, should we be surprised later if they choose to make the apostate world their spiritual home (arguing that “denominational churches teach God’s grace just like we do, only they do it better”)? Have they heard from us any biblical reasons not to make that shift?

We began by mentioning Satan’s creativeness in devising multiple ways to hurt us, but he is also crafty in concealing the point at which he is attacking at any given time. It has been a generation or two since the Lord’s people paid significant attention to the danger of apostasy, and this cannot have escaped our enemy’s notice. He surely sees how vulnerable we are when “falling away” has fallen out of fashion as a topic of concern. Frankly, this worries me.

“If we are correct and right in our Christian life at every point, but refuse to stand for the truth at a particular point where the battle rages — then we are traitors to Christ” (Martin Luther).

Gary Henry — +

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