Georgia megachurch pastor and televangelist Michael Youssef fears that the tendency today among some Christian leaders to water down the Gospel to make it “palatable” for today’s culture could be a sign of the “great apostasy before the return of Christ.”
Youssef, the 71-year-old founder of Leading The Way television ministry and pastor of the 3,000-member Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, issued sharp words of warning in his new book released Tuesday.
Not only does Youssef question what he considers to be heresies spewed by prominent left-leaning Christian thinkers who are trying to make the Bible more relevant in today’s political environment, but he also pulled from his own experiences growing up under the Arab Socialist Union in Egypt to warn about the dangers of socialism as he sees more young people embrace socialist ideals through their support of 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I feel and sense in my spirit, as well as experientially, I am seeing more and more evangelical pastors who are turning their back on the faith,” Youssef told The Christian Post in an interview about his new book, Saving Christianity?: The Danger in Undermining our Faith and What You Can Do About It
“And while sometimes when the news comes out and shocks everybody, in reality, those little baby steps have been taken for many years. I want to warn the young pastors and the people in the pews to be aware of these little foxes that can destroy the vine. Be aware of the little things that water down the Gospel, modify the Gospel, and make it palatable to our culture [or else they are] going to end up like our friend, Rob Bell, in Michigan.”
Youssef, who has authored over 40 books and whose programs are broadcast in 26 languages worldwide, explained to CP that he felt inspired to write Saving Christianity? after seeing too many evangelical pastors — such as Bell — renounce their evangelical beliefs and compromise biblical truths related to sinful behavior over the years.
In the last year, headlines were made as other influential figures such as Maryland megachurch pastor and author of the 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris, announced he was falling away from his faith. Harris has also openly embraced LGBT advocacy.
While the debate over the issue of sexual sin has been had in many mainline denominations, Youssef believes that a similar debate is coming for evangelical churches and leaders.
Saving Christianity? highlights a number of former evangelicals who have gained prominence by criticizing conservative evangelical theology. Among many mentioned in the book are the late Rachel Held Evans and Brian McLaren.
Among those who have given up on conservative evangelical beliefs, Youssef said there seems to be a common theme of wanting to be loving and accepting of everybody no matter what their sins might be.
“[Y]ou have to go and change the Bible in order to make that acceptance of sin possible,” Youssef said. “And so they basically bring down on the authenticity and the infallibility of the Word of God.”
Youssef recalled his own time serving as an Episcopal priest in the 1980s. The Episcopal Church had for years debated the affirmation of homosexuality and in 2015 voted to formally approve same-sex marriages in the denomination.
“I fought those battles in the mainline denominations. And so, it’s almost like ‘Groundhog Day’ for me,” Youssef explained, referencing the 1993 Bill Murray movie. “You know, this is deja vu all over again. I’m seeing it now in the evangelical church. And that makes me wonder: Are we really experiencing what the Bible talks about as the Great Apostasy before the return of Christ?”
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SOURCE: Christianity Today, Samuel Smith