I am fascinated when I compare the first century Christian church with what we see in America these days. As any organization grows from a small to a larger institution there is what experts refer to as “missional drift” that can occur. “Missional drift” refers to how when an organization grows, it often loses focus on its early purpose and foundation and slowly begins to look less and less like what it did in the beginning.

The first century Christian church knew what it stood for—that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Messiah, and that men must die to their flesh and pick up their cross and follow Jesus. They fully knew this would probably cause them to be persecuted or killed for this radical belief, but they didn’t care—Jesus and His salvation message meant everything to them.

Fast forward two thousand years and look at what Christianity in our nation stands for these days. No doubt there is a strong remnant remaining true to the original message of the early church, but a growing segment of Christianity seems to have drifted into narcissism, looking at Jesus as a means to happiness in this life. Jesus has become our “ticket” to health, wealth and prosperity.

The early church knew that Jesus died for them, and they had no problem dying for Him. These days the thought of picking up our cross daily or being willing to die for Jesus is a foreign concept to many Christians. Jesus has become our ticket to happiness, not the focus of any sacrifice we might be called to make.

The early church had no problem calling out sin and challenging one another to walk in holiness. Today, sin is regularly tolerated, and sadly in some denominations is even encouraged. When the Gnostics or Judaizers shared teachings that contradicted the gospel, they were rebuked strongly by the church. Last week, our president, who claims to be a born-again believer, endorsed homosexual marriage claiming that he reached this decision after a lot of prayer. Where is the outcry from our Christian leaders? Largely they have been silent either out of fear of taking an unpopular stance with their congregation and followers or because they really have no problem with the president’s decision.

The Bible tells us that in the final days evil would be seen as good, and good seen as evil; that false teachers would tickle the ears of lukewarm believers, and that there would be a great falling away from the true faith. If we take a step back and look at American Christianity and ourselves individually, I think we will see just how far we have drifted from the original church in the Book of Acts.

There is time to correct this severe drift. If we repent of our ways and ask God’s forgiveness, we may yet avoid slipping into complete apostasy. But the ringing silence by the church to our president’s declaration of homosexual marriage as righteous is a chilling sign, just like we were largely silent when abortion was legalized in 1973. How much longer will God be patient with us before He turns us over to the depravity of our hearts? God is patient, but not tolerant. And I, for one, think we are rapidly running out of time.