Yep it’s Friday and we made it through another week. This time though as I was digging around in the Pyro archives I came across this excerpt from Johnny Mac’s The Truth War that was originally posted by Phil Johnson 12/27/07. Enjoy!
A Short History of Apostasy
Another Excerpt from The Truth War
posted by Phil Johnson
Truth has never been established by majority opinion, and it is in no way unusual that in our generation only a relatively small remnant still believe the Bible is inerrantly truthful. Here's proof:
Again and again in the Old Testament,
During Jeremiah's lifetime, the size of the faithful remnant was probably smaller still. Almost everyone in
Throughout Old Testament history, the problem of apostasy was pervasive, and times of widespread faithfulness in the nation, such as the sweeping revival described in Nehemiah 8, were exceptional and mostly short-lived. Nehemiah's revival quickly gave way to a watered-down and halfhearted form of religion (see Nehemiah 13). Spiritual lukewarmness dominated
It is no surprise, then, that the word apostasia appears several times in the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament that predates Christ by a couple of hundred years). In Joshua 22:22, for example, apostasy is characterized as "rebellion [and] treachery" against "the LORD God of gods." Jeremiah 2:19 likewise employs the word apostasia to describe the backslidings of those who utterly forsook the Lord. That same verse defines the essence of all apostasy: " 'The fear of Me is not in you,' says the Lord GOD of hosts."
So apostasy, appalling and dismal though it is, has been an ever-present reality throughout all of redemptive history. Many people who know the truth reject it anyway, and thus it has always been. In that respect, the times in which we live are by no means extraordinary.
Even Jesus' ministry provides a startling picture of real-life apostasy. John 6 records how large crowds showed up wherever he went while He was performing miracles. But they turned away en masse when He began to proclaim truth they did not want to hear. In most cases, it appears, their rejection of Christ was nothing less than final and irremediable apostasy. Near the end of that long, tragic chapter, verse 66 says this: "From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more."
Jesus' teaching made the truth starkly clear. These people, who evidently saw the truth plainly and understood Jesus' teaching perfectly well, turned away anyway. In fact, the utter clarity of the truth was the very thing that drove them away. When they saw the truth for what it was, they simply hated it. It was too demanding, too unpopular, too inconvenient, too much of a threat to their own agenda, and too much of a rebuke to their sin. Remember, "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
So that is how the New Testament era began. Scripture also teaches that apostasy will be widespread at the end of the age. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus gave an extended description of the last days, including this: "Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many" (Matthew 24:11). Peter likewise prophesied that "scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?'" (2 Peter 3:3-4). In 1 Timothy 4:1þ2, the apostle Paul says, "the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." As a matter of fact, one of the major turning points at the end of this age will be a worldwide renunciation of the truth and a wholesale rejection of Christ, known as "the falling away"(apostasia), according to 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
So apostasy is a fact of all history, and there is never any kind of armistice in the Truth War. Our generation is certainly no exception to that rule. Some of the greatest threats to truth today come from within the visible church. Apostates are there in vast abundance—teaching lies, popularizing gross falsehoods, reinventing essential doctrines, and even redefining truth itself. They seem to be everywhere in the evangelical culture today, making merchandise of the gospel.
Originally Posted by Phil Johnson 12/27/07