Apostates

by Mike Ratliff

12 “If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that 13 some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’ (whom you have not known), 14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. If it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. (Deuteronomy 13:12-15 NASB)

1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession; 2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house. 3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. 7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, 8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, 9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. 10 “THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS'; 11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'” 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:1-13 NASB)

It must have been about four or five years ago that I was in a discussion on this blog after I had written a piece about some of the confusing things coming from the ministry of Dr. John Piper and others. I made the comment to one of my friends that I thought that Dr. Piper needed to show the fruits of repentance for some of the things he had said and done or he would eventually be considered an apostate. Someone not in that conversation (a bottom feeder or troll??) jumped all over that statement and condemned me for calling Dr. Piper an apostate which he refused to consider because (according to him) an apostate is one who drops all pretense of Christianity and walks away from his faith. Using that reasoning those who continue to claim to be Christians even though they preach heresies such as Modalism (T.D. Jakes for instance) or deny the necessity of the Atonement and Justification by Faith alone and the reality of Hell (Rob Bell for instance) or those who insist on Christianity that is forever changing according to whatever society demands or wants (pragmatism) and insist that doctrine is not needed, but works is what God wants (Rick Warren for instance) are Christians along with the Roman Catholics, Mormans, and anyone else who claims that they are. Of course then there are those fellas (Steven Furtick, and James MacDonald for instance) who are all about erecting “cool” idolatrous worship which is really all about themselves and they sell this product to other wannabe preacherboys who want to be rich and famous like them. Do you see the common denominator in all this? Is any of what these people do about God and his glory? Is it about the edification of the Body of Christ through the genuine worship of God for his glory alone? No, it is about making money and becoming famous while fleecing the sheep who have been duped into thinking its all about the gospel. Have you noticed that these people never talk about the gospel without talking about money?

Where do apostates come from? According to God’s Word, some are revealed through persecution (Matthew 24:9-10; Luke 8:13). Notice these are not genuine Christians who went bad. No, they were never genuine to begin with. In 2 Timothy 4:10, for instance, Paul talks about Demas who forsook him because of his love for this present world. Demas had a worldly spirit. Apostates are more worldly-minded than they are concerned for the glory of God. In 1 John 2:19 the Apostle John makes it clear that Apostates were never genuine believers and their departure, whether that is to walk away from the faith or into a false form of Christianity (same thing), reveals their disingenuousness.

However, let us be clear. Genuine believers do not become Apostates. Here are some passages for your meditation.

18 Our heart has not turned back, And our steps have not deviated from Your way, 19 Yet You have crushed us in a place of jackals And covered us with the shadow of death. (Psalm 44:18-19 NASB)

9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. (Hebrews 6:9 NASB)

39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39 NASB)

On the other hand, an Apostate is impossible to restore.

4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6 NASB)

Even our Lord Jesus had disciples who professed to follow him, but apostatized.

65 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” 66 As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. (John 6:65-66 NASB)

In the latter days (now?) Apostates will abound.

9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Matthew 24:9-13 NASB)

3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB)

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1-3 NASB)

Apostates are not simply those who walk away from Christianity and become irreligious or become a Muslim or Hindu or whatever. No, an Apostate can remain in an organized so-called “Christian Church” and be very religious and remain quite active in the “ministry” of deceiving as many people as he or she can. I mentioned it earlier in this post. Money is one of the motivating factors. There is also fame and celebrity. All of that feeds the ego of these people whose ministry is the source of their idolatrous ministry to themselves.

Now for a bit of confession on my part…I wrote a couple of books back in 2004-2005. In fact, I wrote four books and had two of them published. However, my motive for doing that was not pure. I thought it was, but after I went through several months of the marketing process I realized what a reality gap there was between where God wanted each of us to be focused in our daily lives, which is not in self-promotion, but in worship and service of our Lord. To become successful the way my publisher wanted would have meant becoming exactly the opposite of what I was writing about in my books. I chucked it and teamed up with Ken Silva when he offered me the opportunity to do so. More importantly, this path is one I knew to be the right one because it was one of humility with no opportunity of ever becoming accepted by the world and what is popular in what is accepted as “mainstream” Christianity. No, when I go into a church setting and people find out who I am and what I do, I am usually ostracized in one way or another. In any case, I run into Christian writers on occasion who are all about getting known by commenting on my blog and making sure no one says anything bad about them, et cetera. I notice the same reaction from that very same group of people I sort of listed in my introduction. Is that a coincidence?

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Apostates

  1. Could you expand a little on what you mean when you say that getting published meant selling out? Selling out and compromising is obviously bad. However, Christ has called us to let our lights shine before men, and not hide them under a bushel or in a corner. I’ve never been down that road, but I would think that publishing a major book and thereby confronting the worldly “Christian” system head-on would be far more effective than posting in what you describe as a rather obscure blog. What made you decide to abandon your efforts and retreat here?

  2. Genuine believers bear good fruit and persevere to the end. They recognize all they have in Christ, and are content that it is more than enough, regardless of all else. It’s the only way to explain the life of Paul and two thousand years of persecution to the true church. Great words friend. God bless.

  3. This verse is pertinent too:
    1 Timothy 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

  4. Mike, those type men remind me of what Nathanal wasn’t.

    John 1:47
    Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

    guile
       [gahyl]

    noun
    insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity.

    These men are seeking a goal of fame, fortune and the best seats at the table of other men.

  5. Welcome back to interweb, my brother. Excellent post, though many who prefer to not think about their faith will either not understand or continue to accuse you of hate.

    Hold fast to the Truth of the Word of God, for the glory of God and the good of His people.

    The saints of the living God who are in the swamp known as Houston salute you in the Lord.

  6. @ Johnathan Cooper
    The very fact that one can instantly interact with the author as you have done makes this “rather obscure blog” a much better avenue for the readers, wouldn’t you agree?
    With regards to the motives…The Narrow Way is about Jesus as preeminent, while the “broad road to destruction” is about man’s preeminence. The crowds follow Him for what He can DO for THEM…The disciples/bride follow Him for Who He Is!
    When the sermon topic is man’s increase the premise is flesh based. When the sermon topic is Christ and His increase with man’s decrease then you are in the heavenlys! Pretty simple yardstick I think.

  7. Pingback: Additional Reading on Apostasy « Possessing the Treasure

  8. Was your problem with marketing the fact that the publisher wanted to promote you, the person, and you were uncomfortable with that? Were you looking for a more anonymous method of ministering? I’m asking because I’ve never heard anyone make that particular argument before. I’ve heard some people disavow the publishing world because publishers wanted them to water down their theology, but that doesn’t seem to have happened to you.

    That being said, I have nothing against blogs. I am glad your blog exists and I enjoy reading it. I would just think that you would want to reach as many people as possible – the apostles went to where the people were, after all – and a book, made available in a bookstore, seems like it would be able to reach more people than a blog. I am glad that I found this blog, but it was not easy to find and I don’t know anyone else personally who reads it.

    I have noticed that Christian bookstores these days seem to be wastelands of poor theology. I just wish there were more wise, theologically-sound people out there writing books to counteract all the heretical garbage that I see. I hate to see wise people leave that market and cede it to heretics.

  9. Jonathan, the “marketing” demanded by the publisher was one of presenting to the world someone that I am not. Also, it was part of their “process” to be Politically Correct and positive along the lines of those you mention in that wasteland of bad theology in the Christian Bookstores. The moment I began taking those hard stands, drawing the lines in the sand and not moving, that disqualified me from their marketing strategy. Think of if like the Purpose Driven or Seeker Sensitive paradigm that was designed to grow the church according to a marketing strategies, but it did not enlarge the church at all, but decimated it. Those who remained in those mega-churches are spiritual midgets or dunces with worldly minds and perceptions while the genuine church is quite small and still focused on God on His Throne and eternity. How does that fit a publishing company’s marketing strategy? They don’t get it because they are part of the world. There are some good Christian publishers, but they are very few. Some call themselves Christian, but they are only in it for the money and they publish heresy along side of good stuff. John MacArthur has his own which is a pretty good deal if you can do it. In any case, I think God used that whole process to get me into what I do now. I became visible enough to get involved in the Discernment ministry I have now and I am very content with being right where God would have me.

  10. Amen Mike, and well said Brent – “insidious cunning in attaining a goal; crafty or artful deception; duplicity”
    That really sums it up!

  11. Mike, I might add that years ago when T.D. Jakes 1st appeared at Hillsong’s conference in Australia, as an Aussie myself, I felt compelled to contact Hillsong Sydney to voice my shock at their decision – and I quoted many of T.D. Jakes own words that were contrary to scripture on the various issues. After many letters and emails from “staff of higher staff”, I finally received an email from a staff member of Brian Houston’s office, which basically stated “thank you for my concern, but to TRUST Brian Houston and Hillsong’s decision” – as they know what they are doing to further God’s kingdom…. hmmmmmmmmm……..

  12. Thanks Sandra and I am not surprised by Brian Houston’s response or whoever it was on his staff who sent that to you and no, I do not trust that he knows what he is doing…

  13. Wow Mike I’m so glad that when it came down to the glitz and glamor, success and money or your loyalty to Jesus, you chose Jesus and your faith in him is gen~u~ ine

    I thought of this verse when I think of what you said. “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates”-Psalm 11:5

    The LORD examined you Mike and you made the right choice because he loves you so much…

    Praise His holy name for Holy is the Lord.

  14. Mike, I read from Paul Henebury’s blog that ER2 and Code Orange are just two examples in which today’s evangelicals are a far cry (big downgrade) from yesterday’s evangelicals. John Piper doesn’t really compare with the likes of Charles Spurgeon, J.C. Ryles, and even D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I strongly suggest you read his link even though you may differ a lot theologically from him:

    http://drreluctant.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/james-macdonald-resignation-d-phillips/

    Also do you have comment on the Reformed scholar Michael Sudduth’s sudden announcement to convert into Hare Krishna?

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