Missing Elements in Our Discussions about Apostasy


The first thing we ought to consider is that apostates are self-deceived. Years before a man or woman apostacizes, he or she would probably be shocked to hear what their future holds. This is to say, while there are always some “wolves in sheep’s clothing” within the church—people who know they hate God but pretend to love him—apostates generally deceive themselves before they deceive others. There is a time in their lives in which they are convinced they are truly saved. They live like Christians because they believe they are Christians. This being the case, we don’t need to think that those who have fallen away knew they were unsaved all along. Rather, we believed they were saved because they believed they were saved and even provided some evidence of it. This puts the call on each of us to ensure that we are not self-deceived but that we have genuinely come to Christ in repentance and faith. Their apostasy provides us the crucial opportunity to examine our own hearts before the Lord.

Second, apostasy should not surprise us. We should expect that a certain number of people will fall away—even people who showed convincing evidence of salvation, who displayed what seemed to be Christian character, and who held positions of prominence. This is not the same as saying we should expect that any particular individual will fall away. But it should not surprise us that some people are self-deceived and, therefore, deceive us. It does not necessarily mean that we, as the wider church, have done anything wrong or failed to carry out any duty. If the Apostle Paul lost some of his disciples to apostasy, which he did, it should not surprise us if we lose some of ours. It still shocks us, of course, when when learn it is this man or that woman. But in big picture, we have to expect that while many will endure, there will be some who fall away, and even some who have written good books or composed good songs or preached good sermons. These recent examples are certainly not the first in the history of Christianity and will unfortunately not be the last.

Third, trajectories matter. It is rare that people apostacize all of a sudden. Rather, there will almost always have been a long trajectory away from genuine Christian faith and practice and toward distinctly unChristian faith and practice. I expect that those who knew these men well, those who saw their lives up close, could tell of a slow drift rather than a sudden deconversion. We are all people of trajectories who wittingly or unwittingly, deliberately or carelessly, point ourselves along the narrow way that leads to salvation or the broad way that leads to destruction. This demonstrates the importance of having people in our lives who will confront and redirect us not just when we’ve gone past the point of no return, but at the point we begin to go astray, even by small degrees. This also demonstrates the importance of having a vital relationship with God and a sensitivity to his Spirit as he examines, confronts, and assures us. “Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2).
Comment: good read

No comments:

Post a Comment

Any anonymous comments with links will be rejected. Please do not comment off-topic