Post Mortem

Apostasy in churches

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/15/2020 12:27:41 PM IST

 From Olivet our Lord Savior beheld the storms about to fall upon apostolic church; and penetrating deeper into the future, His eye discerned the fierce wasting tempest that were to beat upon His followers in the coming ages of darkness and persecution. In a few brief utterances awful significance He foretold the portion which the ruler of the world would mete out to the church of God. The followers of Christ must tread the same path of humiliation, reproach and suffering which their master trod. The enmity that burst forth against the world 

The history of the early church testified to the fulfillment of the Savior word. The power of earth and hell arrayed themselves against Christ in the person of His followers. Paganism foresaw that should the gospel triumph, her temples and altars would be swept away; therefore she summoned her forces to destroy Christianity. The fires of persecution were kindled. Christians were stripped of their possessions and driven from their homes. They endured a great fight of affliction. Great numbers sealed their testimony with their blood. Nobles and slaves, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, were alike slain without mercy. The persecution beginning under Nero about the time of martyrdom of Apostle Paul continued with great fury for centuries. Christians were falsely accused of most dreaded crimes and declared to be the cause of great calamities—famine, pestilence and earthquakes. Great numbers were thrown to wild beast or burnt alive in the amphitheatre. Some were crucified; others were covered with the skin of animals and thrown into the arena to be torn by lions. Their punishments were often made the chief entertainment at public fetes. Vast multitude assembled to enjoy the sight and greeted their dying agony with laughter and applause.

Under the fierce persecution, these witnesses for Jesus kept their faith unsullied. Though deprived of every comfort, shut away from light of the sun, making their homes in the dark but friendly bosom of the earth, they uttered no complaint. With words of faith, patience and hope, they encouraged one another to endure privation and distress. The loss of every earthly blessing could not force them to renounce their belief in Christ. Trials and persecution were but steps bringing them nearer their rest and reward.

In vain were Satan’s efforts to destroy the church of Christ by violence. The great controversy in which the disciple of Jesus yielded up their lives did not cause when these faithful standard bearer felt at their post. By defeat they conquered. God’s workmen were slain but His work went steadily forward. The gospel continues to spread and the numbers of its adherent increased. It penetrated into the regions that were inaccessible even to the eagles of Rome. Their living example and dying testimony were constant witness for the truth; and where least expected, the subject Satan leaving his service and enlisting made the banner of Christ. Satan therefore laid his plan to war more successfully against the government of God by planting his banner in Christian church. If the followers of Christ could be deceived and led to displease God, then their strength, fortitude and firmness would fail, and they would fall an easy prey. The great adversary now endeavored to gain by artifice what he had failed to secure by force. Persecution ceased, and in its stead were substituted the dangerous allurement of temporal prosperity and worldly honor. Idolaters were led to receive a part of the Christian faith, while they rejected other essential truth they professed to accept Jesus as the son of God and to believe in His death and resurrection but they had no conviction of sin and felt no need of repentance or a change of heart. Thus, as long as persecution continued, the church remained comparatively pure. But as it ceased, converts were added who were less sincere and devoted; and the way was open for Satan to obtain a foothold.

Today, even our modern churches are not free from these vices of allurement devised by dark force as materialism has crept into every worship places. Our church today are making merchandise of the grace of God. The table of money changers are set up beside the altar, and the air resounding with the shouts of donation acquired by embezzling the state exchequer. Those corrupt donors who deserve to be put behind the bars are most respected lot in the society and often get the opportunity to defile the sacred pulpit. Under the plea of raising fund for erection of magnificent church, indulgence for sin are publicly offered for sale. By the price of crime a church is to be built for God’s worship – the cornerstone laid with the wages of iniquity. Professed Christians yearly expend immense sum upon useless and pernicious indulgence, while souls are perishing for the word of life. God is robbed in tithes and offerings, while they consume upon the altar of destroying lust more than they give to relieve the poor or for the support of the gospel. I f all who professed to be followers of Christ were truly sanctified, their means, instead of being spent for needless and even hurtful indulgence, would be turned into the Lord’s treasury, and Christians would set an example of temperance, self- denial and self–sacrifice. They would be the light of the world.

How many professed Christians are enfeebling their power in the pursuit of gain or worship of fashion; how many are debasing their godlike manhood by gluttony and by forbidden pleasure. All the church, instead of rebuking too often encourages the evil by appealing to appetite, to desire for gain to replenish her treasury, while love for Christ is too feeble to supply. Were Jesus to enter the church of today and behold the feasting and unholy traffic there conducted in the name of religion, would He not drive out those desecrators, as He  banished the money changers from the temple?

The outward splendor, pomp and ceremony that only make the longing of the sin-sick soul is an evidence of inward corruption. Brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure elevated thoughts. The pomp and ceremony of the present day church worship has seductive bewitching power by which many are deceived. Though in the different form idolatry exist in the church world today as verily as it existed among the ancient Israel I the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians—the god of polished fashionable circle, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institution is little better than Baal, the sun god of Phoenicia. Thousands who pride themselves upon the wisdom regard it as an evidence of weakness to place implicit confidence in the Bible; they think it a proof of superior talent and learning to cavil at the scripture and to spiritualize and explain away their most important truth.

Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by gratifying the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to the word of God, little interest in the testimony of saints. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attraction for them. The converts do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before they are born again. Religion has become the sports of the infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of the principles.. The power of the gospel has well-nigh departed from the church. Tours, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thought of God. Land and goods and worldly occupations engross the minds, and things of the eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice. Wake up from the spiritual slumber.

Dr. Kakheto Zhimomi, Chekiye village, Dimapur


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