Skip to content

Apostasy, There’s Nothing New About It (Part 1)

Apostasy, Faith
Apostasy, There’s Nothing New About It by Dr. John Neufeld | Back to the Bible Canada

A great many of us have been thinking about apostasy lately, that is when a person renounces their faith. First, Josh Harris renounced his faith.  And now, more recently, Hillsong songwriter Marty Sampson has renounced his. Both cases are interesting.  In the case of Josh Harris, I suspect there is still more to hear.  My sense is that the explanation of his apostasy will yet become quite plain.  And in the case of Marty Sampson, I am overwhelmed with how little he understood about the faith in the first place.

So much has already been written about both Harris and Sampson, I do not wish to rehash it here.  But, even so, I think there is something to add:

First, the idea of apostasy is hardly a new one.  Consider the book of Hebrews.  Some of these believers were thinking of abandoning their faith and going back to Judaism.  The entire book of Hebrews is written to address the threat of apostasy.  Or consider Paul’s words, recorded in 2 Timothy 4:10.  “For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.”  Jesus’ parable of the 4 soils in Matthew 13 is a parable about apostasy.  It should hardly surprise us that apostasy is occurring in our day.

Second, the reasons for apostasy are varied.  Hebrews 2:3 warns about neglecting so great a salvation.  Hebrews 10:26 tells us that if we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received a knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sin remains.  Romans 8:13 warns that if we live according to the flesh, we will die.  Galatians 1:6 speaks of those who turn to a different gospel.  1 Timothy 4:1 says; “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”  2 Timothy 4:4 speaks about those who pay attention to teachers that tickle the ears of the hearers, rather than teach the whole counsel of God.  2 Peter 3:3 speaks of those who follow their own lusts and become mockers.  All that to say, there are many reasons for apostasy.

And so, it is important to insist that there is no promise that if we only changed the way we do things, apostasy would cease.  Clearly, the Bible gives us no such promise.

And yet, it is important that we teach the faith in its fullness.  Paul’s assurance that he is not guilty of the blood of any is premised on his insistence that he did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26-27).  It becomes imperative that we do not present either a so-called “positive gospel”, or a “negative gospel”, but a gospel that is faithful to the biblical text.  Rooting the faith, not in current trends, but in the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) is a necessary antidote to the apostasy of the day in which we live.

Hence, the greatest challenge of the church is that she be completely and thoroughly Christian.

More articles

Why Trust the Bible (Part 2)

By Wesley Huff | August 13, 2020

A couple of years ago I gave a presentation at the University of Toronto on the topic of the Bible. The title of the talk…

Read More
4 Keys to Friendship - Phil Callaway | Laugh Again

4 Keys to Friendship

By Phil Callaway | August 13, 2020

A friend has this on her voicemail; “I’m not available right now, but thanks for your call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a…

Read More
One Hot Number - Laugh Again with Phil Callaway

One Hot Number

By Phil Callaway | August 6, 2020

Nothing makes me laugh quite like little kids. I was speaking at a Chinese church and a boy said to me, “What did the duck…

Read More

Making the Most out of Online Church

By Carl Barnhill | August 6, 2020

Creating an Online Community with Your Congregation The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed churches into an Online Worship Experience where many haven’t had one before. You…

Read More