Various churches of different denominations around a lake

Apostasy in the church and false doctrines of men

By Don Koenig

The reason for this article

Most of the major Christian denominations have deviated from biblical Christianity in one way or another. It is not the purpose of this article to point a finger at any one group, or to tell true Christians to get out of their denomination or not to fellowship. I understand that this article will not win me any popularity contest but very few others are talking about the apostasy in the church institutions identified with Christianity and the false doctrines of men within these church institutions that now deviate from true biblical Christianity.

The one true Church of God is interwoven in all Christian denominations. I have noticed in my own experiences that there is at least a small core of believers in just about every church in every denomination. I have at one time in my life been part of all the major groups listed below and I have first hand knowledge of what they practice (except the Orthodox Catholics).

My purpose is to expose the darkness so that the true light of the gospel of Christ will shine. I do not believe that true Christians can significantly change an overwhelmingly apostate carnal Christian church. What we can do however, is not be deceived by Satan's devices or support what is not of God in our churches.

Who is a Christian?

There are two billion people on the earth who identify themselves as Christians, but there are significantly fewer that are really part of the body of Christ.

Jesus said you can not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you are born of the Spirit. The new birth from the Holy Spirit occurs when a person truly believes that Jesus is the son of God and trusts in the finished work of Jesus on the cross to atone for their own sins and to justify them before God.

The scriptures say you are saved by faith, not by your own works, lest anyone should boast.

We cannot judge if a person who identifies with Christianity is really trusting in Christ or in their religion to save them. If they are trusting in their religion to save them they are no more part of the body of Christ than a Jew or Moslem or any other religion.

Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus. This relationship does not depend on having all the correct theology but correct theology will result in more fruitful Christianity.

Religion is basically satanic.

All religion contains methods, rituals and practices for man to become righteous enough to ascend or evolve to God. All religion thus believes in the need for one to become self righteous. True Christianity is the complete opposite. True Christianity believes in God's righteousness. Because of His righteousness, Jesus the creator, died for our sins and breached the gap between God and man. True Christianity believes God provides a free gift of eternal life to anyone who trusts in Him (has faith) that God is graceful and sent His Son to save those who believe in His righteousness.

Apostate Christianity (departure from true biblical Christianity) in its final analysis cannot be distinguished from any other religion in the world in its quest for God. No wonder apostate Christianity will be willing to join with all the other religions of the world. These nominal Christians think they are Christian just because it is part of their culture and because they believe in a higher power. Even demons believe in a higher power. Apostate Christianity has nothing to do with a born again experience with the evidence of a Holy Spirit changed life.

Some in religious training were taught that Jesus died for their sins and that they are saved or justified, but
in their lives there is no evidence by works of the Spirit. Do they really have Jesus or do they only have head knowledge about Him? Do they have Churchianity or Christianity?

Those that trust in their own good works to save them are self deceived and still in their sins. If there ever was a religion that could allow man to fellowship with God it was Judaism but the requirement was to keep all of God's law. The laws of Judaism did not achieve salvation because in man's fallen state he could never keep the whole law. Man's righteousness and good works can never bring about eternal life with God because man always falls short of the required perfection necessary to dwell in the presence of a Holy God. Yet Judaism did not fail because through the tribe of Judah a Savior from God was born.

True Christianity

Jesus being born a man but being also God perfectly fulfilled the law. He Himself had no sin but He obediently paid the price for the curse on man under God's perfect law. Atonement for sin brought into the world by Adam's disobedience was paid for by the obedience of God's Lamb by death on the cross. At the cross He took the curse upon Himself for it is written "cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree" (Gal 3:13). Death could not hold the Creator and He rose to begin a new creation and in doing so condemned the old fallen creation to its eternal destruction. Those who trust Him are born again into this new new creation of believers called the "Body of Christ". After we are born into this new creation, God no longer sees us as the sinners we were but He sees us as the sinless "body and bride of Christ". (The scripture says in marriage the two shall become one flesh - Paul used this as the example of Christ and the Church - Eph 5: 31- 32.)

"True Christianity is then believing that God's promise to provide a Savior was fulfilled in His Son Jesus." This promise of a Savior and Messiah to restore man's fellowship with God is integrated throughout all scripture.


What do the large Christian denominations now confess?

Unfortunately, Most of the large Christian denomination leadership has become infiltrated by the elite of Satan and much of the institutional church has fallen away from the true faith and have followed doctrines of men. Some have a different Jesus then the Jesus of scripture. After the rapture of the faithful Christians the apostate church will go on without skipping a beat. In the following paragraphs I give my reasons for saying there is now apostasy in the church throughout the major institutional churches that identify with Christianity.

The Roman Catholic Church.

The membership of this church is more than half of all that are identified as Christianity (over one billion people) but the majority of Catholics baptized into the denomination do not even regularly practice their religion. Additionally, many Catholics know little about their own beliefs or they ignore the doctrine. Many integrate it with native pagan religions.

This denomination teaches that you are saved by grace, faith and works of merit. God's grace is something you must earn by keeping the church sacraments, traditions and rituals and by doing good works. The priests of the church are successors of the apostles and have all of Christ's authority on earth. The priests are grace dispensers and the church is infallible. If you accumulate enough merit you will go to heaven. Otherwise you will have to go through the fires of purgatory or to hell. The writings of the church fathers and the traditions of the church have equal weight with the holy scriptures. The members of this church are in the process of being saved by their works of merit.

Problems:

Many of the church's traditions and practices are contrary to scripture proving that this church is far from being infallible. Satan with his wolves in sheep's clothing has infiltrated this church and corrupted it. The Catholic Church has become like the corrupted Judaism that Jesus condemned. It is largely a church of Pharisees and of blind ritual -- a church of idolatry, rote prayer, and traditions of men. To rid most of Christianity of apostasy in the Church we first would have to go to the root of apostasy and purge out most of the doctrines that have infiltrated the Catholic Church.

The seven sacraments

The seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church are rituals for grace. The church believes that the ritual itself will dispense grace from God. It appears that the church puts the cart before the horse. No spiritual grace come from ritual, but power from the Holy Spirit is given to those who listen to God and obey Him.

The cult of Mary

A large sect in this church teaches that Mary is co-Redeemer and that she was without sin. The scripture says that there is salvation in no other name than Christ Jesus. The scriptures also say that all have sinned including Mary. Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest of all born of women. Why did He not say His mother was if she was without sin? When the natural mother of Jesus and His brothers (yes, Jesus had brothers according to scripture) thought He went crazy and wanted to talk to Him, Jesus said His mother and brothers are those that do the will of His Father. Mary is not the mother of God, she is the mother of the natural body that God incarnated. Mary is not the mother of the Church. She had to believe to be saved and had to receive the Holy Spirit and become a member of the "body of Christ" like everyone else. How can Mary be the mother of a membership that includes herself?

The idea that Mary is interceding for the Christians and appearing to many and giving statements to people that are often contrary to the scriptures is an insult to Mary. The bottom line of these apparitions at the very least is a message of salvation by works which will save no one. Furthermore, many Catholics are now into witchcraft and things forbidden in the Bible because they believe in these lies. Much of what is being said by apparitions attributed to Mary parallels pagan new age teachings and doctrine of demons. Those into Mariology like to reduce the God of the Universe to a child on Mary's knee but He is a consuming fire and the only intermediator. between God and man.

Saying the Rosary with its "Hail Mary's" is rote prayer to someone other than God. This is idolatry! Jesus said to pray to the Father. If He wanted people to pray to his earthly mother He would have said so. Furthermore, how in the world could anyone really believe that Mary would want to hear the same prayer over and over and over again? Do people think that she or they get power from their chanting? This is witchcraft! Even common sense should tell them that no one wants to hear the same thing over and over again. I am sure the real Mary of the Bible would tell the people who chant these prayers to please shut up.

Many times the real reasons for the rote prayer is not even addressed in the prayer service. For example, when Catholics pray "Hail Mary's" in front of abortion clinics. Their ritualistic chanting leaves the body of Christ open to much ridicule by unbelievers and all of this is a counterfeit substitution for real prayer to God about the real situation that is needing prayer. The scripture tells us not to say rote prayers as the heathen do that think they will be heard for their many words. We are told that God knows what we need before we ask. Our requests should be like a child toward his Father. Try saying the same thing fifty or more times to your earthly father or mother daily and note their response to you.

The "queen of heaven" was worshiped in ancient Babylon. She also had a child in her arms. This was not Mary and Jesus but they were demon gods. God did not have anything good to say about the people who worshiped her (see reference). Obviously some Catholics have used the blessed name of Mary of scripture to incorporate pagan Babylonian practices and beliefs into the Church.

The doctrine of purgatory

The doctrine of purgatory is an insult to Jesus and the finished work that He did on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. If we sin He is faithful to forgive us our sins if we confess them to Him. Scripture says that there is now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus. Jesus either paid for all sins past, present, and future or He paid for none of them. Scripture teaches no other doctrine.

A few of the many other heresies:

  • In much of the third world Catholicism has been integrated with pagan witchcraft and no major correction is coming from Rome. Yet the Vatican rails against those who teach true Christianity to those doing such things.
  • The scapular is worn by some Catholics who believe that salvation can come from something they hang around their neck.
  • Expecting power by using Holy water, medals, holy pictures and objects blessed by a priest is simply belief in the occult. It simply is witchcraft.
  • Many Catholic churches allow gambling and drinking on the church premises to raise funds.
  • The Pope as the vicar of Christ is not scriptural and many Popes have been anti-Christ. Peter was not the first Pope. The first real Pope was Leo 1st about 400 years later. Peter was an apostle to the Jews. Paul was the apostle to the gentiles from which most post first century Christianity descended.
  • The former Pope called Moslems brothers, kissed the Koran and said that Moslems are on a path to God. He had a close friendship with the top leader of Eastern Pagan religion and said they were on the same path. He told Catholics that salvation of the earth comes through Mary. Further, he warned Catholics about the dangers of Christian evangelicals that teach the Bible. He welcomed non believers in Christ as brothers but did not rescind the one hundred anathema's made by the Catholic Church against all Protestant believers. (In catholic theology the anathema's mean all Protestants will go to Hell. The anathema's came from a infallible papal decree so it can never be rescinded. Thus, the only hope of salvation for Protestants within the Catholic theology is for Protestants to return to the Catholic Church). This is not Christian leadership it is the type of anti-Christ leadership that Paul warned true Christians to beware of but this church wants to declare this Pope a saint. The present pope is apparently is no wiser about salvation theology he seems to think that all people of good will are saved and many religions like Islam worship the same God as Christians even though Islam doctrine says that God has no Son. Some Catholics are now calling him an anti-pope because some of his views conflict with the views of other infallible popes. Oh, the Joy of blind Religion!
  • The Catholic Church has a wretched history and continues countless heretical teachings. Read "The Women Rides the Beast" by Dave Hunt for detailed information on the history and practices of this church in apostasy.


The bottom line about Roman Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church as an institution is mostly apostate. Only each individual Catholic can truly know if they are trusting in Jesus as He is define in the Bible for their salvation or if they are just trusting in a false hope of following Catholic doctrine to save them. The doctrines of the Catholic Church are convoluted and their doctrine of salvation is contrary to the clear teaching of New Testament teaching. The majority that claim to be Catholics do not even practice Catholicism.

Some in this church have found the path to salvation and have been born of the Holy Spirit but many of these are not producing the fruit that they should. The good works they think they do in many cases are nothing more than empty rituals and practices contrary to God's will. Many are building on the house of God with straw. After the rapture of true believers, what is left of the Roman Catholic Church will become the head of the great harlot religious system that will bring in the Antichrist and his false prophet. The majority of this church (Thyatira in the book of Revelation) will be tried by fire in the great tribulation (the real purgatory for Catholics).

Commendations:

+ Catholic charities
+ They preserved the scriptures
+ Church discipline
+ Strong community orientation
+ Social Programs
+ Hates abortion
+ Teaches against the faithless practice of birth control
+ They still teach some of the essential doctrines of the faith
+ Strong school system that still teaches moral absolutes
+ Believes scriptures are God inspired

The Orthodox Catholic Churches

These churches have about one hundred fifty million followers.

This church is much the same as the Roman Catholics although some of the Roman Catholic heresies are not taught. However, they have added heresies of their own. They teach that members are saved by the teachings and traditions of the church, by the sacraments of the church, and through praying to icons. The essential doctrine of being saved by faith is not taught. This institutional church is mostly apostate and the church in general has done few good works on the earth. I doubt if there is a significant number of true Christians within the Orthodox Catholic Church.

I believe this is Jesus' message to the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Catholic Church.

Rev 2:18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass:
19 I know thy works, and thy love and faith and ministry and patience, and that thy last works are more than the first.
20 But I have this against thee, that thou sufferest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.
21 And I gave her time that she should repent; and she willeth not to repent of her fornication.
22 Behold, I cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of her works.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto each one of you according to your works.
24 But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan, as they are wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden.
25 Nevertheless that which ye have, hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and he that keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the nations:
27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to shivers; as I also have received of my Father:
28 and I will give him the morning star.
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

for additional references check my scripture references and see: "all the letters of Paul in the New Testament"


The Protestants

There are about eight hundred million others that say they are Christians. Most of these call themselves Protestants, although some of those labeled as Protestants are demonic cults. The majority of all Protestants are in old mainline liberal and reformed denominations or they are in evangelical Baptist, Pentecostal and independent Bible churches..

The overwhelming majority of the people in the liberal Protestant denominations
have never had a born again experience nor do their lives reflect that God is indwelling them. Most of them do not regularly fellowship with other believers or attend services. Many that do attend services are Sunday Christians. There is no fellowship with Jesus or each other outside the formal church service.

For the most part their Christianity is cultural and the relationship they have with God is superficial. Many believe in humanism, socialism, evolution and the basic goodness of man rather than the truths the scriptures teach.
Few people in the liberal denominations know the essentials of their own faith. Many believe that all religions lead to God.

(Within the Protestants there are about four hundred million Evangelical and Pentecostal Protestants that have for the most part kept the true faith. The things listed in the paragraph below should not apply to them. I write about their own unique problems in a later paragraph.)

Problems:

Commendations:
+
Some are community orientated
+ Some have Christian education
+ Many still believe in the infallibility of scripture
+ Most still confess most of the essential doctrines of the faith
+ Some support missionaries
+ Some have good youth and social programs

I believe the message from Jesus to these churches is:

Rev 3:1 ¶ And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead.
2 Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die: for I have {1} found no works of thine perfected before my God. {1) Many ancient authorities read not found thy works}
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and didst hear; and keep it, and repent.
If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4 But thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

Rev 3:14¶ And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
17
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eyesalve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see.
19
As many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.


The non Pentecostal Evangelicals

Many of the non Pentecostal Evangelicals have had a true born again experience and those that really believe are part of the one true Church. Some of the following problems may not qualify as true apostasy from the faith but they deviate from the truths of true biblical Christianity because they add doctrines of men or legalism.

Problems:

Commendations:

+ Strong Christian education
+ Some discipleship
+ Some evangelism
+ A good grasp on the doctrine of salvation
+ Most keep the essential doctrines of the faith
+ Strong missionary support
+ Belief in the infallibility of God's word
+ Mostly Bible centered services
+ Some community orientation/home fellowship groups
+ Charity


The Pentecostals


Pentecostals are usually included in the numbers of the Evangelicals but on some doctrines of faith and practice their are huge differences so I will include them separately here. Most of the Pentecostals and Charismatics have confessed Jesus as Lord and are born of the Spirit. Of all these groups, Pentecostals live out their faith in the flesh the most, but too often there is a
lack of discipline and accountability in their churches. It has given rise to quite a bit of deviant Christianity. Some of their beliefs and practices have separated them from other true Christians and has limited their growth. Some of it is occult and parallels new age teaching. The main problem with Pentecostals seems to be a lack of biblical discernment, because many have become incredibly gullible to every new whim of doctrine.

A few decades ago most of the Charismatics split into four camps. One camp stayed with true biblical Christianity, the other camp went on to
experience-based belief and have gone off into a ever descending spiral of more and more error and even doctrine of demons. The third camp calls themselves "Word Churches" they have "embraced name it and claim it" theology. The forth camp is those who have bought into Kingdom now/Reconstruction/Dominion theology that does away with premillennial beliefs, and the literal reading of unfulfilled prophetic scripture and replaces it with the theology that the Church will rule on earth before Jesus returns. In some of these churches, the camps overlap and it gets really hard to sort it all out.

Problems:

Commendations:

+ Enthusiastic worship
+ Strong desire to live out the Christian life
+ Strong Evangelism
+ Most still expect the literal fulfillment of prophetic scriptures
+ Missionary support
+ Some Christian education
+ Some discipleship
+ All believe that original scripture is without error
+ Most keep the essential doctrines of the faith
+ Most services are Bible centered
+ Some home fellowships
+ Charity

Having said the good the bad and the ugly there are many fruitful Christians in the Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches. Here is what I believe is the Lord's message to these people:

Rev 3:7 ¶ And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth and none openeth:
8 I know thy works (behold, I have {1} set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name. {1) Gr given}
9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and {1} worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. {1) The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a creature, or to the Creator.}
10 Because thou didst keep the word of my
{1} patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of {2} trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole {3} world, to {4} try them that dwell upon the earth. {1) Or stedfastness 2) Or temptation 3) Gr inhabited earth 4) Or tempt}
11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no one take thy crown.
12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the {1} temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name. {1) Or sanctuary}
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

12 He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the {1} temple of my God, and he shall go out thence no more: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and mine own new name. {1) Or sanctuary}
13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

Conclusion on apostasy in the Church

The scripture says that there will be a great falling away from the true faith in the last days. It says men will not endure sound doctrine but will have itching ears and will heap to themselves teachers that will fulfill their own lusts. We are in those days where many in the church are following doctrines of men rather than the Bible. There are almost two billion people who identify with Christianity on the earth today but how many are truly the bride of Christ? Jesus asked, when He returns will He find faith on the earth? The answer for most of the world is no. For those who identify with Christianity it is yes and no. Many today have only empty religion and not real faith in the Savior.

My best guess is a tithe (ten percent) of those who identify with Christianity are actually born of the Spirit and will go at the time of the rapture. (It could be more -- only God knows.) If my guess is correct the ninety percent of carnal Christians that stay will hardly miss them. Those that stay will remain in the apostate harlot church (Rev 17) and experience the great tribulation where they will have a choice to follow Jesus and lose their lives or follow Satan and lose their soul.

Selected References:

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