When one travels to Europe today, they can see numerous majestic ancient cathedrals with towering steeples reaching to the heavens, yet pews and chairs within those walls remain relatively empty of physical bodies.
In the 1890’s, William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army was asked, “What are the chief dangers confronting the church going into the 20th century?” He answered, “In answering your inquiry I feel the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.”
Entering the 21st century, one can see that William Booth’s concerns for the church are a present reality. Cathedrals in Europe, with their vaulted ceilings, have replaced worship with circus training practicing trapeze acts. Churches in America, in some instances, fail to preach the message of the cross that adorns their steeples. Easy believism has replaced the Gospel message of grace imputed to the humble and truly repentant. And for many, reverent worship has given way to the heart throbbing beat of loud music accompanied with a plethora of latest technological light and video presentations. It is no longer “Elvis on velvet”…..but avitar thinking where people make their own enhancing image of themselves.
Jesus, when speaking of the time preceding His return asked this question: “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) This implies that the world itself will be slipping into a cauldron of apostasy , a falling away from the faith of which previous generations had so intensely clung.
Is the church of the 21st century this to whom Christ is addressing in Revelation 3:10? “And to the angel (messenger) of the church in Philadelphia write,……because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”
Jesus went on to say, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”