Apostasy in Church


Apostasy in Church

Part 1 – What makes an apostate?

You might have heard this word before: Apostasy. It’s basic meaning is to fall away from the truth. It is a kind of rejection even though someone knows the truth. I am talking about the truth of the Gospel of course. Therefore, an apostate is someone who has once believed and then rejected the truth of God. Let’s dive into this topic and see what we can learn.

Not Only in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament we see that the Lord warned Israel time and again not to fall away. However, we see that his people did commit the act of apostasy by worshipping strange gods but also because they didn’t trust Him. You might say that it was quit dumb after all the miraculous things they saw. But don’t be to hasty because we see it in New Testament times as well. The New Testament writers warned us regularly about falling away from the truth.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Many of us are looking forward to the second coming of Christ and with that we try to anticipate on the coming of the Antichrist as well—just do a quick search on the internet about the Antichrist and you’ll see that many are very interested in that topic. What we mostly seem to forget though, is the fact that the Bible actually teaches us that these thing wont happen before we will see the falling away of Christians—in other words: the great apostasy in the church. Yes, that has to happen first before the Antichrist will be revealed.

There are many other signs which precede the coming of the Antichrist but it might be smart to take a deep and hard look at ourselves.

1 Peter 4:17

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Instead of looking at the secular world it seems to me that we have to look in our own ‘house,’ because Peter just told us that judgement starts in the house of God.

What is Essential to be a Christian?

I can hear it already: “Oh yes, the modern day church is full of apostasy!” But we need to be careful and first read the Bible and then see what our churches are teaching. In other words, we first need to establish what biblical truth is before we can say someone or something has fallen away from it.

So, let’s look at some teachings from the Bible and see which of these are required for a real Christian and which are less essential.

First the requirements a Christian. I believe we cannot deny these teachings and be a Christian at the same time. I am particularly strong on these ones because they are clearly mentioned in the Bible.

  1. There is only one God (Exodus 20:1-3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8)
  2. Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14;8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4).
  3. Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21).
  4. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
  5. Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 5:1-5).

These primary teachings, are the baseline doctrines of Christianity. The Bible says that if someone denies them we can be sure that person isn’t a Christian. You might not believe me so let me give you some examples.

  1. If you deny Jesus is God, you are dead in your sins (John 8:24,58 cf. Exodus 3:14);
  2. if you deny Jesus’ physical resurrection, your faith is in vain (1 Cor. 15:14, cf. John 2:19-21);
  3. if you add works to salvation, you are not in Christ (Gal. 3:1-3; 5:1-4);
  4. if you preach a gospel opposite to what the apostles taught, you are accursed (Gal. 1:8-9, cf., 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

Again, when we talk about apostasy, we are talking about those who once held these teachings as true but now deny them. The word of God says that by doing so, they put themselves outside the house of God. No, I am not talking about unbelievers, I am talking about those who once were in, and now, because of them denying these essentials, are out.

Other Essentials

Now, I would like to argue that there are more requirements to call someone a Christian. However, these ‘other essentials’ have no clear reference in the Bible, the Bible does not mention them as clearly as it does with the first group. What this extra statements do is more or less explain that what a Christian believes. It basically makes the conventional standards or teachings more clear.

  1. God exists as a Trinity of persons; God is three persons in one: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  2. Virgin Birth of Jesus – relates to the incarnation of Christ as God and man.

As you might have noticed, these two doctrines explain more about who God is. The reason I call them ‘other essential,’ is the fact that the Bible doesn’t state that one will be lost when that person denies the Trinity or the virgin birth of Jesus. I actually believe that there are many saved souls who have no idea about the Trinity. Knowing about that specific teaching about God’s person isn’t required to get saved.

Still, we accept this teaching as a biblical truth, and as such I believe that a real Christian—someone who has received the Holy Spirit—can not just turn against this teaching. Why? Because God’s Spirit is a Spirit of truth and when someone has been trained in the Bible he or she will hold fast that what is true. Obviously, one can explore the topic during his or her studies, but to openly deny this truth is basically openly denying Christianity as it came to us through the apostles.

These ‘other essentials’ are important to the church, but the Bible isn’t condemning someone for not knowing these doctrines or for denying these doctrines. However, they are very important for our faith because they give a more in depth description of our God.

Non-Essentials but Important

Now it gets tricky, because now we are going to see what is actually non-essential to our teachings in church. Most, if not all battles in church are about these teachings. I will divide them again in two groups. The first group seems to be backed up by Scripture better than the second group. We are talking about the following teachings:

  1. Inerrancy or faultlessness of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16)
  2. Faithfulness in marriage in heterosexual relationships (1 Cor. 6:9)
  3. The disapproval of homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-27)
  4. Only men in position eldership and pastorate (1 Tim. 2:12-13; 3:15; Titus 1:5-7)

These non-Essentials are clear teachings. However, the Bible doesn’t directly teach that one will be lost by not recognising these teaching. Having said that! The last two are a bit difficult.

You see, the Bible does teach that there will be no place for homosexuality in God’s kingdom. So, while this behaviour is being condemned, having these feelings but not acting accordingly, is not. Also, approving homosexuality, or even approval of ordaining practising homophiles as pastors seems not to not affect the salvation of the approver. Still, allowing this to happen in church is definitely a sign of apostasy.

Then, the ‘only men’ teaching is another difficult topic. Approving the ordination of a lady in the role of pastor or elder seems not to affect your salvation. This teaching can be debated because Scripture seems to make exceptions throughout history. Also, these texts are subject to various interpretations. In some cases I would say that allowing women to be elders or pastors can be a sign of apostasy. It doesn’t necessary mean that there is a development of apostasy as long as it isn’t done out of some kind of feministic ideology.

Not Apostasy

Finally, we come to a list of which I would you can either agree or disagree. It doesn’t really matter as long as you do them, or not, to worship the Lord.

  1. Predestination, election, and free will.

    • We can have some heated discussion about this topic. We can even think the other party is missing out on so much knowledge. But in the end you will not loose your personal salvation by believing one of these teachings. I agree that it might influence your attitude towards other teachings. It might even influence you in a negative sense, but God didn’t say you would go to hell for believing in free will.
  2. Going to church on Friday, Saturday or Sunday;
  3. Whether the Holy Spirit still empowers people with spiritual gifts or not;
  4. How we worship. Either with no instruments or or with an organ, drums and guitar;
    • I have been in groups were they sing solemnly without instruments, but I recognised a true worshipping heart in the singing. Worship should be directed to God. In other words, if the music and singing start to be a goal in itself we need to be careful. We already have to many groups who claim to be the global leaders concerning worship. But many of their songs are more people centred than God centred.
  5. How about baptism? How old does someone need to be to be baptist? People sometimes hold to the bar and bat mitzvah ages for boys and girls. When a Jewish child turns 13 (in some group 12 for a girl), he or she has all the rights and obligations of a Jewish adult. Let’s discuss this but don’t condemn each-other over this topic.
  6. How about Pre-tribulation rapture, mid-tribulation rapture, post-tribulation rapture. Or premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism?
    • Do you think that someone will be sent to hell for believing these teachings wrongly? It might be of influence how you look at other topics in the Bible, or how you read other texts, but it doesn’t make you more saved than your brother or sister who believes it to be different.
  7. And finally, how often you have communion doesn’t really matter either, does it?
    • I mean, when Jesus said ‘regularly’, or ‘as often,’ He didn’t say daily, weekly, monthly. He said to do it to remember Him. Sadly enough, there are brothers and sisters out there who probably do not want to have communion with someone who disagrees with them on some of these non-essential teachings. That is sad and unnecessary.


This last group of teachings are also the teachings that causes the most schisms in our denominations. People are slamming each-other over the heads with their explanations of the rapture, the way we do communion, or spiritual gifts. Sometimes, the debates get really emotional, and instead of bowing our heads and seeking the presence of God, we decide to ignore each-other and start our own group. Because, our own group knows best!


To avoid this video from getting to long, I’ll stop here. I know, it is a bit of an awkward moment because some of you might wonder how we can detect apostasy or at least the beginning of apostasy in church. I will dive into that topic next time.

For now, I would like thank you for watching or reading. I love to read your thoughts about this topic as well. Let me know in the comments of the video or article below. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video or on my website.

I very much appreciate your prayers and support! Please take a look in the description of this video to find out how you can help me. Also, I’ll place a link there to both the Dutch and English transcripts of this video.

God bless you, thank you for watching and we see each other in the next video!

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