I listened as a man "deconstructed" his Christian faith for nearly 1 million podcast subscribers, saying, "I have jumped ship," taking his wife and children with him "into the waters." A local pastor resigned following his own deconstruction of the faith.
What prior generations called "a crisis of faith," this generation terms "deconstruction," stemming from hard faith questions that seem to have no answers (or perhaps the answers are too hard to bear). The Bible calls it abandoning, falling away or departing from the faith (Matt. 24:10) and it is one of the signs Jesus said we would see prior to His return.
The signs are not only prominent today, but converging, and can be disheartening and hard to watch as they unfold. With the advance of technology, the great falling away prophesied in the Bible is escalating like never before, as those jumping ship do so online in front of hundreds of their closest "friends." How many jump into the waters with them?
Not Just Any Faith
God told us the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10), so we know this will happen. And 1 Timothy 4:1 says, "Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." It doesn't say that some will depart from a faith, or faith in general, but from the faith. Faith in Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says, "Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For that Day will not come unless a falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction." That day, the day of Christ's return, will not happen until there is a falling away first, then the revealing of the man of sin—the Antichrist.
We see those on public platforms departing from the faith, but how many in church pews fall away on a daily basis that we never hear about? It is estimated that between 26-42 million people raised in Christian homes will disaffiliate from Christianity by 2050. People have been abandoning the faith from the beginning of Christianity. Paul talked about those who "shipwrecked their faith." This isn't new, but it is growing and unlike anything my grandparents would have understood.
With technology, we are the generation that is seeing this great "falling away." In 2018 and 2019, Pew Research found that 65% of Americans described themselves as Christian, a 12% decline over the past decade. People who describe themselves as Christian are often those who answer a survey thinking, "Well, I'm not Muslim, Hindu or Jewish, so I'm Christian!" The nones—the religiously unaffiliated category—went from 17% in 2009 to 26% in 2019.
Why Are They Falling Away?
There are several reasons for the falling away, but let's just focus on one: "... some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their consciences seared with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1-2). There's no soft peddling here. The Bible says some will depart from the faith because they listen to liars whose consciences are seared (Jesus calls them false prophets in Matthew 24:11 and says they'll lead many astray). John calls them antichrists: "Little children, it is the last hour. As you have heard that the antichrist will come, even now there are many antichrists. By this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us" (1 John 2:18-19).
The antichrists were proof that it was "the last hour." If John was in the last hour, then we must be in the last milliseconds before Christ's return! The antichrists "went out from us." Out from who? The church. But these people aren't teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They teach what the Bible calls another Jesus, a different gospel, a different spirit (2 Cor. 11:4). Satan's main tactic is deception, denying the Bible, making Jesus "a good guy" and emptying sacred truths of their meaning. The ones who "went out from us" are good at this.
A Teaching of Demons
Some will fall away from the faith because they will devote themselves to "seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." What a chilling verse! A teacher of a doctrine of demons must look demonic or ghoulish, right? But that's not how deception works; it's slick. It looks and sounds so pleasant, you won't know you're being deceived. False teachers look normal, beautiful and handsome with the right words to say to itching ears (2 Tim. 4:3). No one ever says, "I think I'm being deceived" when they're being deceived because "Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor. 11:14-15). Satan masquerades as an angel of light and his servants as servants of righteousness, so when we are being deceived by pastors, priests, authors, radio hosts, celebrities and so on, it's a lovely experience. It doesn't feel dark or deceptive; it feels so good, so right. Our questions are answered in a way that doesn't offend or hurt our feelings.
The falling away (or deconstruction) will continue, but as Pastor Darren Tyler says, "The problem with deconstruction is that it more closely resembles a demolition, but without a remodel, without reconstruction. God's not afraid of your questions and He understands your doubts." If this has been your journey, I pray you'll start your reconstruction with God, using the sword of the Spirit as your weapon against deception.
Things are looking up!
Falling away is one sign that Jesus gave us (Matt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) to watch for as we step closer to what He calls the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), saying, "When these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28). In a world that seems to be falling away in a downward spiral, Jesus tells us that things are actually looking up! Maranatha!
Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, with more than 3 million books in print. Several of her books have been adapted for the screen, including CBS' The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing. A longtime student of Bible prophecy, she is passionate about speaking and teaching, revealing the hope of Scripture and what it has to say about current headlines. Her favorite title is Mom and she lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her family. Donna's next book, The Time of Jacob's Trouble, will be available March 17, 2020.
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