APOSTASY; APOSTATE (a-pos’-ta-si), (a-pos’-tat) (the apostasia, “a standing away from”): i.e. a falling away, a withdrawal, a defection. In the Greek original, to express abandonment of the faith. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
A common mistake made by many today is that they focus solely on the spiritual corruption and moral degradation that is taking place outside the walls of the church. If we have learned anything over the past twenty-five years or so, it is that there has been equal corruption and degradation right inside the four walls of the American church. Mainstream media takes great joy in regularly unearthing and publishing the dirt, scandals, and secret sin of modern-day church leaders and pastors everywhere. Every time massive hypocrisy in the church surfaces, it is embraced by secular media and ignored by Christian media. Who among us hasn’t cringed when we read another exposé in the headlines? Stop for just one minute and think of all the shocking disgraces in the church that we have been forced to digest over the last few years.
Divorces. Adultery. Greed. Drug abuse. Homosexuality. Assaults. Embezzlement. Fornication. Affairs. Bankruptcy. The list goes on and on.
The Apostle Paul predicted the great apostasy of Christianity in 2 Thessalonians and Jesus also foretold of it as recorded in Matthew. The prior apostasy of the angels is met with a scathing rebuke in the book of Jude. Additionally, Paul writes, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” 1 Timothy 4:1-2 – KJV. We also read in 2 Peter 3:17, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.”
This “forsaking Jehovah,” which is so very prevalent today, was spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 15:7-9: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
Every single time a minister, or anyone for that matter, disengages their heart from God while keeping their mouth engaged with only hollow words, they open the door for apostasy. Turn on many of the major religious television networks and you will see apostasy in all its glory. Spend some time reading the bestselling inspirational books, and you will discover most of them are chock full of apostasy. This recurring sin of God’s chosen people is all around us; all we have to do is look.
So how did we get here? Some causes of apostasy include persecution (Matthew 24:9); false teachers (24:11); temptation (Luke 8:13); worldliness (2 Timothy 4:4); defective knowledge of Christ (1 John 2:19); moral lapse (Hebrews 6:4-6); forsaking worship and spiritual living (10:25-31); and unbelief (3:12). I would note that the majority of America’s church leaders have all but ignored the topic of “worldliness”. In fact, in many of today’s spirit-filled churches you will discover that there is actually an emphasis on walking, talking, looking, and acting like the world. It has proven to be a grave error allowing the kingdom of darkness to dictate the course of the Kingdom of God! The entire value system of many faith-based churches has been massively altered as a result of this world’s influences upon it. A great company of preachers now pursues a distorted vision, one of “successful ministry.” When a minister allows their measure of success to be determined by the world’s standard rather than the Bible’s standard, we are in deep trouble.
The Danger of Double Standards
It would be wrong to dissect the topic of apostasy without discussing the issue of hypocrisy. There is much “abandonment of the faith” in the pulpits and congregations of churches today, but this apostasy is rarely dealt with as a result of hypocrisy. The dictionary defines hypocrisy as, “The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess, or falseness.” This is how we have come to have preachers condemning sexual sin while at the same time participating in those same sexual sins. This is why pastors preach that Christ is the only way to Heaven to their church congregations, but to the national audience they state there are other ways to eternal life. Another example of this type of hypocrisy is celebrity preachers on national television pleading with their viewers to send in their “best gift” or their “last dollar” or their “whatever” in order to get blessed or healed or debt free while at the exact same time those identical preachers live a life of obscene excess. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not be so.
Contrary to popular belief, this church age does not end in massive, worldwide revival. It ends with a remnant. It ends with a narrow gate. It ends with a “little flock.” It ends with a straight and narrow path. It ends with a little door. It ends with an escape. In truth, it ends with the statement, “few are they that find it.” It ends with much apostasy.
Fortunately, there are some ministers that are willing to stand upon the wall and cry out to those who will hear. The prophets of old, as well as modern-day prophets, foresaw that the day would come in which remnant preachers would rise up and take their rightful place in the midst of the filth and wickedness of this present darkness. Those prophets, along with Christ, also saw these same remnant preachers taking a stand against an ever-growing apostate church; a church that has demonstrated a revolt against its own leader.