What is an Apostasy?
Some easy minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by some clever man and good nature brother who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself, but for our part we have put a lock on our door, and threw away the key. For under the disguise of Bother Fellowship and Brother Friendship, there are those who aim at robbing the Master. These preachers must not be mistaken friends, but enemies of the cross of Christ. There is no use of sugar coating and buttering up with polite terms of expression – where Christ (or his doctrinal truth) is not received, He is not received at all. Those who know and love the truth of God cannot have fellowship with those who is diametrically opposed thereto, and there can be no reason why we should pretend that we have such fellowship, (if so, we are only fooling ourselves). The bible says “Come out from among them”. I have felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation.
To pursue unity at expense of truth is treason to the Lord Jesus. To tamper with His doctrine would be to drift into compromise which some would not admit, but later be forced to justify, by yielding to be a creature of circumstances, they allow another spirit to lead them wither the would not: But when they wake up and find themselves in the undesirable compromise position, they have not always the power to break away from it.
The New Testament not teaches the necessity of contending for the faith, but it also exhorts us to separate ourselves from those who deny the faith. There is not need for any child of God to be in ignorance as to his stand and his position before God and man. The word of God is clear as to His instructions. See Jude 3, 2 John 9-11.
Now let us notice where we have come. When those who claim to be God’s people turn aside from the word of God, this is far more heinous in the sight of God than the worst case of adultery in marriage, for it destroys the reality of the great central bride and bride groom relationship. Of course we must treat men as human being, while we have discourse with them day by day, we must treat them as made in the image of God, even if they are actively in rebellion against God, and we must let them know that we love them as individuals. But this does not mean that we should forget that apostasy must be named apostasy, there is to be no toning down concerning what it is - spiritual adultery. As I said, in our generation we tend to tone down the word adultery in divorce cases, for we do not much like that word. Far more in the religious realm do we tone down the term spiritual adultery i.e. apostasy, but in doing this we are grievously wrong, because the Bible’s perspective should be our own, and this is the way God speaks of it and looks upon it, and so this is the way God’s people are called to look upon it.
This spirit of apostasy is worse, much worse, than physical adultery. It is also much worse; let me say, than the Jews following their idols! This modern apostasy is far worse than this, for it turns against greater light, against greater blessing. This spirit of apostasy is worse than the Jews following the false god Molech of old.
Do you know the facts concerning Molech? Molech, whose idol was in the valley of Hinnon, was a heathen god whom the Jews were constantly warned against following this idol. What kind of god was Molech? He was the god of the sacrifice of new born babies. This was the central act of his worship: The first born of every woman’s body had to be sacrificed to Molech. According to one tradition, there was an opening at the back of the brazen idol, and after a fire was made within it, each parent had to come and with his own hands place his first born child in the white hot, outstretched hands of Molech. According to this tradition the parent was not allowed to show emotion, and drums were beaten so that the baby’s cries would not be heard as the baby died in the hands of Molech. And there, I would say stand many in our day, many are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. A worse than Molech is men who were supposedly the men of God stood by while the saints were eaten up by the spirit of apostasy. And then we are told not to cry out, show no emotion, keep silence.
As I write at this time some of you bear yourselves the marks of the things from the background from which you come. All of us have been marked by this apostasy, in some way, to some extent, because of compromise and religious traditions. Every scar we have, every tear cried, every saint affected, cannot be separated from the fact that the church so called has turned away and become unfaithful. God’s people are in the hands of Molech and we are supposed to stand silently by and hear their cries and cover up our ears from the loudly beating drums of a profitless discussion? I tell you, NO. We are to weep and to act.
The Silence in Heaven
What is the silence? Entire absence of sound; having no sound; (obscurity); without light or distinctness; dark; not easily understood; to darken or dim; (oblivion); the act of forgetting; forgetfulness; State of being forgotten; make silent; cause to cease firing. The restrain from the exercise of any function, especially preaching.
What is a Apostasy?
The Falling away from a set standard. The departing from the faith, i.e. the doctrine and teaching of Christ. A Turning away from the truth.
What produces a Apostasy?
The Mystery of Iniquity, sin and carnality
What is the mystery of iniquity?
Iniquity is the elements of rebellion, lawlessness, and corruption working unseen in the midst. The mystery of this iniquity is how this element of rebellion, lawlessness, and corruption could go unseen and detected for long periods of time, and there yet appear a people professing to be the people of God.
Therefore there is a necessity of this message. Heb. 2:1-4; 1 Cor. 10:11,12; 1 Tim 4:1-6. The Apostle Paul thought it part of his duty, as he made it a part of his preaching and teaching, to forewarn his new converts of the grand apostasy that would infect the church, even while he was at Thessalonica. From these verses it appears that the man of sin was not yet come, or the season of his manifestation. But the mystery however was indeed working; the seeds of corruption had already been sown, but they were not grown up to maturity.
These seeds of corruption, which later would lead to the general apostasy was a mystery. Why? It was yet hidden, it was covered. It would not dare show or reveal itself. Because of that which (Hindeth or withholdeth), or that which stood in the way. But there would come a time when the levee would break, and the flood would come, .i.e. the wicked one would be revealed. It would manifest itself to the extent of who it was and what it was.
What was in the way? What hindered the mystery of iniquity from being fully revealed in Paul’s day? The fact that the ministry fought and cried out against it. 2 Tim. 4:3-7. See also Acts 20:17-32. In the Church at Ephesus, Timothy was the pastor. In A.D. 66 Paul wrote Timothy a charge and warned him of the apostasy. 1 Tim. 4:1,2 16; 2 Tim. 4:1-5.
In A. D. 96, after the death of Timothy, the apostasy had set in this church at Ephesus. Rev. 2:1-7, says “They left their first love”. How? Because of the mystery of iniquity abounded. Their love an allegiance to Christ they had lost, because of abounding iniquity and corruption. From the outside it could not be seen according to their works, but Jesus saw their hearts. The outward apostasy always follow a inward one first Rev. 2:1-4. Their hearts fell away from God and the doctrine first and then they left the visible standard second.
In Rev. 6:1-6, shows the battle against the spirit of apostasy and how it worked in the midst of the church.
Where is this first seen, i.e. “the mystery of iniquity”, Answer, where there is compromise in the least.
Since the local church was designed to exhibit concretely the spiritual body of Christ, none but the saved and those who hold a true standard could be properly recognized as the church. It was not God’s will that there should be sinner as (recognize members) in the congregation of the righteous. Psalms 1:5
The churches of God of that age were filled with multitude of nominal professors, while error and heresies were gradually creeping in. Nor was this condition limited to one locality; it was universal. The church of that day plunged into darkness and gloom of spiritual night.
A Clean, pure local church was the divine standard. It is evident that such could never be obtained and maintained except by the power of the Holy Spirit, who discerned evil and prompted its elimination.
Peter discerned the condition of the two false members in the church at Jerusalem and removed that blemish. He also exposed the hypocrisy of Simon at Samaria, and Paul pointed out the evil affection in the church at Corinth and directed its removal.
A practical question is, How far could such a congregation lapse into an abnormal state and still be a church of God?
As long as the Spirit of God is in the ascendancy, so that the people of God as a body manifest the power of God, and are the truth of God are filled with the Spirit of God, and are actually used by the Spirit in performing the works of God. They are the Church of God. But whenever another spirit gains the ascendancy and these spiritual characteristic are lost to view, then is brought to pass the saying “I will spue thee out of my mouth”. Beyond that time they may continue their formal services, singing hymns, saying prayers, making speeches, but the real message of God describing their conditions is, “Thou hast a name the liveth”, and are dead” Rev. 3:1. such dead congregations are no longer a part of the true church and are unworthy of the recognition of a spiritual congregation and the fellowship of the saint standing for the truth.
The Means of Apostasy
The means of apostasy is by false teachers from without. These teachers are called wolves. They enter in slyly and deceive. They are found also within 2 Pet. 2:1-22. These false teachers are more dangerous and usually work greater havoc.
By Heresies or false doctrines, (teaching and beliefs). These heresies are pernicious doctrines, perverse things, used to draw away disciples, lead people off into error.
But note: “The truth never divides God’s People”.
When heresies are taught the resulting fact is the flock is scattered and divided by false teachers who teach false doctrine.
The Nature of Apostasy
The very nature of this spirit of apostasy brings about the loss of entire holiness. This is predicted in 2 Tim. 3:1-9. this experience is seen very much today by worldliness, vanity, covetousness, and many other sins prevalent among professed Christians today, because of this there is a loss of true holy living and consecration. Next follows the departure from the doctrine.
Locating the Apostasy
The chief object of every prediction concerning the apostasy is to locate it. And the apostasy is not only confined to Roman Catholicism, Protestantism and other forms of backslidden Christianity. We can see the marks where ever sin is allowed, where ever false doctrine is taught, wherever man rule is dominant and wherever human systems of church government is in force, there is apostasy. Also wherever the spirit of worldliness is prevailing, there you will find also the spirit of apostasy working.
The Need of Restoration
The term reformation signifies “the act of reforming or the state of being reformed, change from worse to better; correction or amendment of life, manner or of anything vicious or corrupt.
The term restoration signifies “An act of restoring or the condition of being restored, a bringing back to a former position or condition; REINSTATEMENT, <the restoration of peace>, RESTITUTION, a restoring to an unimpaired or improved condition. <The restoration of a painting> or <the replacing of missing teeth or crowns>.
In its application to the religion of Christ, restoration means the act of restoring, the bringing back to a former state, and the correction of all abuses and corrupt practices that have become associated with His church. The elimination of all unworthy, foreign elements. In other words, it implies restoration, a return to the practices and ideals of the Apostolic Church of God.
The very need of restoration is based in the apostasy. The fact of apostasy requires a restoration. We cannot believe that God intends for his work to retrograde and never be recovered. The very redemption of man causes us to believe likewise in redemption for the church. The apostasy is a historical fact. Since it has already occurred it is now time for restoration.
If we inquire concerning the limits of true restoration work we see at once that, if there is to be a true restoration, such a movement must restore in its fundamental aspects Apostolic Christianity – its doctrines, its principles, its ordinances, its regenerating and sanctifying powers. Its spiritual life, its holiness, its purity, the gifts of the Spirit, and the unity of believers. So looking at existing conditions we assume of course, that during the past ages there has been a departure from this standard.
The need of restoration is found in present conditions. Present conditions in the church are not ideal. The earnest efforts of leaders in the church are not ideal. The earnest efforts of leaders to find a basis of union proves the dissatisfaction felt in present conditions. Present conditions do not properly represent the original pattern. A restoration is needed to restore the purity; power and unity that properly belong to the church.
A definite return is needed. Not one of progression for the continual development of present conditions can ever bring restoration. There must be a discovery of fundamental errors and a forsaking of them. There must be a return to primitive truth, a trip “back to the blessed old bible” and the very return of truth will effect restoration.
The lines of Restoration
The rejection of erroneous doctrines, and any doctrine failing the scriptural test, however venerated, must be rejected and discarded. There must be a rejection of human creeds and traditions; these contain a mixture of truth and error that circumscribes one’s belief, thus hindering a progress in truth. They likewise effectively separate God’s people.
The Marks of Apostasy
What are the declining manifestations of a once spirit filled congregation? No congregation backslides overnight. There is a starting point, and the final fall may be a long way off. But the eyes anointed by the Spirit of God will be able to discern and see the condition even though it may not fully be seen outwardly, for apostasy is a spirit that works unseen at first.
The declining effects and fall are as follows;
The Rejection of the New Testament standard of Biblical Eldership (
Pastoral Pre-eminence (One Pastor Rule)
Man Rule Spirit (The lost of Holy Ghost Government and Leadership)
Divisions and Schisms
Other Various Issues
Please Note: He who begins in the least way to compromise is in danger of final apostasy. As one murderer in the house is more to be dreaded then ten outside. So it is “a little leaven, leavened the whole lump”.
See also these Editorial