The Plague and Power of Counterfeit Christianity in the World

Counterfeit Christianity

The Plague and Power of Counterfeit Christianity in the World

Let’s Not Believe All the Statistics!

Richard Hollerman

Has it ever occurred to you how much damage occurs when a professing “Christian” church, denomination, or religious organization purports to be a genuine part of Christ’s body in the world today? There are billions of people on earth who assume that a given church actually represents God’s people and thereby they reject Christianity completely. In reality, they are rejecting a caricature or a counterfeit “Christianity” and fail to directly consider the real way of Christ displayed in the Scriptures!

On the other hand, we must remember the fact that vast numbers of people who claim to be Christians just assume that their claim is genuine. They think that they are Christians, they have been told by their pastor or priest that they are Christians, and they have been assured by their spiritual leader that they are prepared for heaven after death. But are they, really?

The confusion that prevails on this subject may be illustrated in multiple ways. For example, this morning I was noticing an article entitled, “Under Big Brother’s Eye,” found in the May 13, 2017, issue of World Magazine. The article tells of the latest form of government persecution in China. The subtitle says, “The Chinese government escalates tensions with Christians by installing government cameras at churches,” an article by June Cheng. Along with the opening paragraphs is a large, full-page picture of a devoted Chinese woman reading a book, presumably a prayer book. It is labeled, “Parishioners attend a prayer vigil at Lower Dafei Catholic Church in Zhejlang province.” Is this really Christianity? Yet it may be the only “Christianity” that millions upon millions of Chinese know! When the government persecutes these people, they assume that they are restricting Christianity, but it must be far, far from true Christianity! People are greatly confused—not only in China but around the world!

The Condition around the World

Think of the condition in various nations of the world. Consider, for example, the country of Iran. The latest census says that the population is 75 million people. Of these, 0.51 percent are thought to be “Christians” (384,000 people). Another count gives 254,000 “Christians.” Of this number, 150,000 are Armenian Orthodox. Probably the Iranian government assumes that these are Christians, but as we look into the beliefs and practices of this group, we must conclude that they are far from true followers of Jesus who practice what the early believers did. Further thousands of people belong to other groups, such as the Assyrian Church of the East, the Catholic Church, and others. (See Operation World, Seventh Edition, 2010.) Thus, very few of the half of one percent are true Christians!

Now notice the nation of Greece. Out of a population of 11 million, the stated number of Christians is about 91 percent, or 10,228,000. However, of this number, 10,271,000 are part of the Greek Orthodox faith! (Further, 40,000 are registered as Protestant, some 0.36 percent of the population.) Yet the government assumes that these Orthodox people are Christians—and evidently much of the world would think the same! However, when one looks into the beliefs and practices of this Orthodox denomination, we must conclude that it is far, far removed from New Testament faith and practice.

Let’s look at the huge nation of Russia. There are about 140,366,000 people in the country with some 93,905,000 (66.9 percent) claiming to be Christians and 26,880,000 (19.15 percent) labeled as “non-religious.” Of the total number of people considered “Christian,” there are 89,860,000 members of the Russian Orthodox Church! (Interestingly, some 17,545,000 (12.5 percent) are Muslims! But what does the Russian government and the world say about the professing Christians in this Communist country? They surely assume that members of this large Orthodox majority are Christians! Yet they regularly persecute and restrict Protestants! They are very different from the early followers of Christ as described in the New Testament!

You may wonder about a European country like France. The population of 62,636,000 people are considered to be 61 percent Christian (38,296,000 people)—along with 16,304,000 “non-religious” (26 percent) and 6,576,000 (10.5 percent) Muslims! About 1.91 percent are considered Protestant (with 100 different denominations). Probably most French people and the world would think that the 61 percent labeled “Christian,” are actually Christian! Can we begin to see how misleading and deceptive these categories really are! Evidently if there are any true Christians, they would be numbered among the conglomeration of 1.91 percent of the population.

Let’s now go to Israel, with a population of 7,285,000 people. Of this number, 5,492,000 are Jewish (75 percent), 1,216,000 (16 percent) are Muslims, 277,560 (3.81 percent) are non-religious, and a mere 148,615 (2 percent) are “Christian.” Of the professing Christians, 42,604 are Catholic, 23,750 are Greek Orthodox, and 6,000 are “Messianic Assemblies.” Apparently the number of true Christians is miniscule! There is an incredibly small number of Christians in this nation.

One more example will suffice. Consider Japan. With a population of 127 million, some 88 million (69 percent) are Buddhist, 30 million (24 percent) are “Other,” Some six million (5 percent) are non-religious, and 1,966,000 (1.54 percent) are “Christian.” Of the ones labeled as Christian, this is broken down as follows: Catholic Church, 358,000; Jehovah’s Witnesses, 212,000; United Church of Christ, 130,000; Spirit of Jesus Church, 75,000; Mormons, 100,000; Holy Catholic Church, 28,000. Once again, we see the wrong assumptions. Most people would consider that some two million people (out of 127 million population) are “Christians,” but we can see that nearly all are not genuine followers of Jesus Christ, obedient to Him and His word in all things. Nearly all of them are counterfeits and fail to be true Christians!

What about the Vast Majority of those Considered “Christians”?

We’ve examined a few of the over 200 nations of the world in our discussion above. We have discovered that most of those claiming to be “Christians” in these countries are not genuine Christians, regardless of their religious connections and outlook.

Let’s notice a recent report from the Pew Research organization:

“As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth,” the Pew report says. “Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent of the global population.”

Those numbers are predicted to shift in the coming decades, as the world’s population rises to 9.3 billion by the middle of this century. In that time, Pew projects, Islam will grow by 73 percent while Christianity will grow by 35 percent — resulting in 2.8 billion Muslims and 2.9 billion Christians worldwide.

(npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/ 2015/04/02/397042004/ muslim-population- will-surpass- christians-this-century-pew-says)

When people read a report like this, they assume that 2.2 billion people on the earth are Christians. Yet we have noticed that very, very few of them are true followers of Jesus Christ. Most are religious or are professing “Christians” because of family background, or convenience, or some other reason—but they have hardly a minimum conception of what living for Jesus really is. They simply don’t obey Jesus Christ or the Scriptures. Yet Jesus asks, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:36). To be a true Christian is to follow Jesus the Lord!

What are Some Implications to this Misunderstanding?

This confusion is not to be taken lightly. It has vast implications for the spiritual condition of hundreds of millions of people and their eternal destiny! Here are a few comments that can be made:

First, probably the two billion people who claim to be Christians assume that they truly are Christians! They were born into a “Christian” family, they may have gone to a church that claims to be Christian, and their pastors or priests have reminded them that they are Christians. Therefore, they assume that they are.

Second, if any of these people read their Bibles or listen to it read to them, they assume that Biblical passages referring to Christians apply to them! They surely think that when Jesus says something or Paul writes something, that this applies to them, personally. After all, they have been told that they are Christians by their pastors and priests and family members. And who are we to question these religious leaders?

Third, assuming that they are Christians, they also think that the promises of Scripture apply to them. When they go to a funeral, they assume that the pastor or priest is correct in assuring them that these loved ones are going to a better place—heaven! Probably few sit and wonder, “I wonder if this person really went to heaven?” Further, they must not ponder the weighty thought, “I wonder if I am really a Christian and whether my religion is wrong?”

Fourth, since they give great allegiance to their religious leader (of whatever name), they must not question the legitimacy of their claim that their followers are true Christians and “safe” on earth and can claim the prospect of eternity with God!

Fifth, when they see statistics that report that some 2.2 billion professing “Christians” dwell on the earth, they probably conclude that a large number of them—perhaps most—are right with God and can expect a place in heaven.

Sixth, the bottom line is that Satan has “blinded” their minds and convinced them that all is well spiritually (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). Their spiritual or religious leaders must discourage them from questioning their standing before God and their prospect of heaven after death.

Seventh, surely most of these professing “Christians” would have little interest in “testing” themselves to see if they are in the faith, or following Paul’s command, “Examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Since they mistakenly think that they are spiritually secure, they would have little interest in questioning their own standing before the Lord and their relationship with God.

Now is the Time to Open Our Eyes to Reality!

We could draw a number of conclusions to our earlier examination of this subject, but the point we wish to make is this: Let’s open our eyes to what is right and wrong. Let’s see reality as it exists and not just assume that everything is well. Let’s realize that our time on earth is utterly brief and now is the only time we have to change our course. Some people vainly think that there will be a “second chance” after death when one can correct any mistakes they make while on earth in this life. This is a vain hope. It is a deadly one!

Let’s open our eyes to the fact that nearly all of those whom researchers or pollsters claim to be Christian are not really Christian! When you see statistics in a book, a newspaper, or a magazine, really ask yourself if the report is biased and based on wrong assumptions. When you hear something from the pulpit or from a classroom lectern, ask yourself if it is accurate and trustworthy. When your friend, neighbor, or relative says, “I belong to …… Church and am a Christian,” don’t just accept this without question. Yes, they may think that they have been saved or born again or are right with God, but be aware of the fact that very few of those claiming to be Christians are truly Christian!

It is time that we open our eyes and mind to the truth that Jesus declared: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Was our Lord telling us the truth? Indeed He was! Most people are on the “broad way” that leads to destruction, and few are on the “narrow way” that leads to eternal life! Most people are confused and deluded spiritually!

If this applies to you, we encourage you to be willing to examine yourself carefully and look at your beliefs and lifestyle. Compare the Scriptures with your own experience and see if you are actually saved from sin (Ephesians 2:8-9), if you have been born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5), and if you are walking in the light of God and His Word (1 John 1:7). The world is almost always wrong—and this includes the religious world—but God is never wrong and His Word abides forever! (1 Peter 1:23-25). Let’s believe it and follow it—regardless of deceiving statistics and statements!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.