“Beware lest anyone makes a captive of you, through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
The “anyone” referred to here is, of course, those under the influence of the spirit of anti-Christ, whose task it is to deceive those who belong to Christ. We live in an era when we can see the extent to which this warning has been ignored. Modern western Christianity has become a philosophy, rather than a living relationship with a Living God. It is ruled by the vain, who are so unlike the One they claim to serve, as to be almost laughable; except that it gives occasion for tears, not laughter.
Churches are organised and operated on worldly principles of marketing, hype, personality projection, market share, entertainment and the like. The focus is on building the business by keeping the customers happy. If this means fiddling around a bit with the word so that the customers keep coming along, that’s OK.
This type of Christianity is fleshly only, and it attracts those who are circumcised in the flesh only; that is, they have not been circumcised with “the circumcision made without hands in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ” (Colossians 2:11). The circumcision of Christ is of the heart, not in the flesh, and occurs when the natural man of the flesh is put off, and the new man, the one being created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the truth is put on (Ephesians 4:24).
Christianity is no longer listening to Christ; it seeks to be friends with the world and, to a great extent, the churches are becoming arms of government in the provision of social service; provided, of course, that they are willing to adopt the world’s views as to anti-discrimination in employment etc. The revenue flow into churches as a result of this government-funded activity keeps many of them going. They have compromised with the world and against God. It is precisely what Paul was warning against.