24 April 2014

What "Apostasy" Is


Meaning and definition of Apostasy according to the Bible

THE DICTIONARY DEFINES “apostasy” as “the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance” (Microsoft Encarta Dictionary). Thus, Apostasy is a defection, a falling away from what one believed in, as apostasy from one’s religion, creed, or politics. Hence, one becomes an "apostate" as soon as he departs from his former belief, whatever it was. What undergoes change is not the person nor his nature but his beliefs.


The Bible also has a definition for “apostasy.” The Lord Jesus mentioned the following in Matthew 24:9-11:

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,  11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (NIV)

These words of the Lord Jesus Christ, “will turn away from the faith” were also mentioned by Apostle Paul in I Timothy 4:1:

“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” (NLT)

“Turning away from the true faith” is synonymous with “apostasy”:

“But the Spirit speaks expressly, that in latter times some shall APOSTATISE from the faith, giving their mind to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons.” (Darby Bible)

What other translations rendered as “turning away from the faith” is rendered by other translations as “apostasy.” Aside from “turning away from the true faith,” the Bible also used the following words referring to “apostasy”:

“depart from faith” (KJV)
“abandon the faith” (NIV)
“fall away from the faith” (NASB)
“desert the Christian faith” (God’s Word)
“turned away from the faith” (Bible basic English)
“renounce the faith” (NRSV)

Thus, according to the Bible, “apostasy” means “turning away (departing, abandoning, falling away, deserting and renouncing) from the faith.”


Who is an apostate? When an individual, groups or organizations being considered as apostatized? How one becomes an apostate? Let us read what is written I Timothy 4:1:

“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” (New Living Translation)

According to Apostle Paul, “some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” Thus, an “apostate” turned away from the true faith by following “deceptive spirits and teachings that came from  demons.” Hence, “apostasy” is following the teachings of the demons, instead of following the teachings of God or upholding the true faith.

The “true faith” is what the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles taught. Where could we find the truth taught by the Lord Jesus and His Apostles? Which can teach us the truth? This is what apostle Paul said in II Timothy 3:16-17:

“And you remember that ever since you were a child, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed.” (TEV)

Not all the things done by Christ and the Apostles were written (cf. Jn. 20:30-31). In fact there were some things that God did not want to be written (cf. Dan. 12:4; Rev. 10:4). The Apostles wrote down what they witnessed (cf. 1 Jn. 1:1-4). All such writings were inspired by God and should be used for doctrine, correction, instruction, and they make man perfect (cf. II Tim. 3:16-17). What were written are enough and nothing should be added to them nor subtracted from them (cf. Rev. 22:18-19) for what are written were written so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing we might have eternal life through His name (cf. Jn. 20:30-31). Apostle Paul adds that we must not go beyond what is written:

 “Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, "Do not go beyond what is written." Then you will not take pride in one man over against another.” (I Corinthians 4:6 NIV)

Thus, departing from the true faith is departing from what the Bible teaches through going beyond what is written. Hence, apostasy is going beyond what is written in the Bible.

The Bible explicitly says that worships and services rendered to God but if based on the teachings of men are fruitless and vain:

“They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:9 NIV)

The Bible doesn’t approve that men established their own way, rules and doctines:

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.” (Romans 10:2-3 NIV)

Thus, apostasy is also creating or establishing theor own rules or doctrines, or upholding man-made coctines or teachings. Moreover, apostasy is also changing the gospel of Christ or the doctrine writen in the Bible:

“I am surprised at you! In no time at all you are deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ, and are accepting another gospel. Actually, there is no ‘other gospel,’ but I say this because there are some people who are upsetting you and trying to change the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell!” (Galatians 1:6-8 TEV)

Apostle Paul mentioned it in Acts 20:30 as “distorting the truth”:

“Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:30 NIV)

Apostle Paul said, “there is no other gospel,” but a “distortion of the gospel.” Also, this is what Apostle Peter tells us regarding apostasy:

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.  In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (II Peter 2:1-3 NIV)

Apostasy according to Apostle Pdeter is “bringing the way of truth to dusrepute” through “made up stories.”

Hence, an apostate is (1) those that followed the erroneous doctrines (doctrines of demons); (2) went beyond what is written (taught doctrines not in the Bible or upholding unbiblical doctrines); (3) invented, established or created their own (man-made doctrines), (4) believed in made up stories (traditions), and (5) changed or distorted the doctrines written in the Bible. Apostle Paul said, “if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel that is different from the one we preached to you, may he be condemned to hell!.”

Thus, apostasy took place in the first century Church Of Christ when doctrines taught by Christ and the apostles were changed and distorted, and when they brought inside the Church and uphold the doctrines of demon, unbiblical doctrines, man-made doctrines and made up stories.


The first nation of God was the ancient Israel. According to Apostle Paul:

“The people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises.” (Romans 9:4 NIV)

However, the Bible explicitly tells that Israelites was apostatized:

“I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands,  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.” (Daniel 9:4-5 NIV)

Did Israel ceased to exist? No, they continued to exist until our time. Thus, in terms of existence, from Moses to our time, Israel can boast a 3,500 years continuous history, longer than the 2,000 years existence of the Roman Catholic Church. But did they remained God’s nation? No, they were replaced by the first century Church Of Christ:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Peter 2:9-10 NIV)

From the establishment of the Church Of Christ in the first century, Israel ceased to be God’s nation. Take note that the organization remained, and what ceased is not their existence of Israel, but their being God’s nation. Why they were replaced? The Prophet Daniel said, “we turned away from your commands and laws.”

Thus, apostasy took placed in ancient Israel not because the organization was dissolved or ceased to exist, but because the organization changed their doctrines and abandoned the commandments of God, hence, they ceased  being God’s nation.

Therefore, the apostasy of the first century Church Of Chrost menationed by the Bible does not mean that the Church will not continue to exist. The Church or the organization remained, but she was transformed from being the true Church to an apostatized church. So, although the church continued for 2,000 years, but as we know it, not as the Church Of Christ, but as the Roman Catholic Church.

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