Blog Note. … “ For the time will come whent they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
… “ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
… “ For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 7).
… “ Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4). End of note.
Many believers will fall away (1 Timothy 4:1-3) / Spiritual apostasy (Revelation 3:14-22).
Once the very cradle of Christian civilization, Europe has embraced a secular future, and the residual memory of the Christian tradition is fading fast. The statistics documenting European secularization are now impossible to ignore. Ireland, still one of the least secular nations in Western Europe, has seen church attendance fall by at least 25 percent over the last three decades. Ireland is predominantly Roman Catholic, of course, but the paper reports, “Not one priest will be ordained this year in Dublin.” On the Protestant side, the picture is not much better. Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands, once the cradles of the Reformation, are now prime examples of Europe’s secular shape. Throughout the European continent, Islam is the only religion growing in the number of adherents.
According to the Center for the Study on Global Christianity, at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in suburban Boston, the decline in Christian influence “is most evident in France, Sweden and the Netherlands, where church attendance is less than ten percent in some areas.” USA Today‘s cover story on the decline of Christianity in Western Europe raises the question of America’s future. In many ways, America seems to be following the European example, though several years behind. Yet the pace of moral transformation in the United States may indicate that America is fast catching up with the European model of secularization. In what the Orthodox Christian Network calls an “alarming trend,” The Wall Street Journal featured a page one article – Europe’s Empty Churches Go on Sale, as the number of attendees has diminished over many years. “The closing of Europe’s churches reflects the rapid weakening of the (Christian) faith in Europe, a phenomenon that is painful to both worshipers and others who see religion as a unifying factor in a disparate society.” By example, the Netherlands is projected to close 2/3 of its Roman Catholic churches in the next decade.
The closing of Europe’s churches is a result of flagging faith and empty pews, but it is mostly Christians who are losing their faith. Several other religions have not experienced the same decline. Orthodox Judaism has remained relatively steady and primarily because of immigration, Islam has actually grown. European countries in general have seen substantial declines, but it is the Netherlands leading the way. The Catholic Church predicts that two-thirds of its churches will be retired from holy service within a decade and 700 Protestant churches are expected to be decommissioned within four years. In the United States, Americans who answer “none” when asked for their religious affiliation are the fastest growing “religious” group in the United States. About two-thirds of them say they are former believers. Americans raised in Christian households are turning away from the religion of their parents. Every denomination in the U.S. is losing both affiliation and church attendance. In some ways the country is a half-generation behind the declining rate of Christianity in other western countries like the U.K., Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, and the Netherlands. In those what were once churches are now art galleries, cafes and pubs.
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