There is no way a professional athlete could be successful if she was convinced that her team was destined to lose. There is no way a soldier in the army could be successful if he was convinced the enemy was going to triumph. Yet many Christians labor under a similar mindset, convinced that the world will only get worse before Jesus returns, convinced that Satan will win the coming battles before the coming of the Lord.
Not only is that attitude unhealthy and self-defeating. It is also unbiblical.
Allow me, then, to confront three paralyzing theological mindsets.
The first mindset sees every spiritual and moral setback as evidence that we are living in the final apostasy prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24. There He said, “And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matt. 24:10-12).
Like clockwork, as soon as a new, heretical teaching begins to spread, or as soon as a Christian denomination denies a fundamental doctrine, or as soon as a prominent leader falls, believers begin to say, “This is it! This is the falling away Jesus spoke of! This is the last great apostasy!”
This kind of thinking results in an attitude of resignation, of throwing in the towel, of getting into the bunker mentality where we hunker down among the faithful few until Jesus comes and rescues us. There is nothing biblical about that way of thinking.
Even if we agree that Matthew 24:10-12 applies to the end of the age (rather than to the time before the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.; some would argue it applies to both periods of time), what makes us so sure that the current defection we are witnessing is that defection?