Archive Section II
WAS THERE REALLY AN APOSTACY?
Mormon Claims Examined
by Steve R.
Comment by NCCG
Many movements today are based on the premise that true Christianity disappeared soon after the passing of the first-century apostles.. These movements then claim to be divine restorations of true or full Christianity to the earth. Such groups include certain heretical forms of Pentecostalism (e.g., the United Pentecostal Church) as well as groups commonly called "cults" by evangelicals, such as the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, and Unity.
The New Testament does indeed warn about apostasy. However, what it says about this subject makes it clear that historic Christian orthodoxy is not apostate. The main New Testament marks of apostasy may be summed up in four points:
In short, the Biblical criteria of apostasy fit the cults, but they do not fit historic Christianity. The whole premise of all
of the cults, of an apostasy and need for restoration, is unbiblical.
- 1. Apostates will cause a division or form separate sects (Acts 20:29-30; Romans 16:17-18; 1 John 2:19). While apostasy may take root in certain churches, it will never completely overtake the institutional church (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:3) The idea that the whole church as a visible community of faith would become apostate is unbiblical. Thus, sects that radically differ from historic Christianity on the essentials are the true apostates.
- 2. Apostates will deny the full humanity or deity of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:8-9; 1 John 2:22-23; 4:1-3). While the New Testament warns about refusing the highest honor to Jesus Christ (John 5:23; 8:24, 28), it never suggests that heretics or apostates will err by exalting Jesus too highly -- which is impossible (Ephesians 1:21-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 1:18). The orthodox church by exalting Jesus Christ as Almighty God does not fit the Biblical criteria of
apostasy, while the cults that demote Him to a secondary deity do fit those criteria.
- 3. Apostates will often be led by supposed prophets or apostles (Matthew 24:24; 2 Corinthians 11:3). By contrast, the New Testament never warns that a lack of apostles or apostolic-type authority in the church would be a sign of apostasy or a problem at all. To the contrary, the later New Testament books tell us to look back to the teachings of the apostles of the past as the standard of Christian truth (2 Peter 3:2; Jude 17). Thus, the lack of apostles (as Mormons
claim to have) or an apostolic-type Governing Body (as Jehovah's Witnesses claim to have) is no evidence of apostasy.
- 4. Apostates may be led astray by seeming miracles (Matthew 24:11, 24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). There is no warning about a lack of supernatural manifestations being evidence of an apostasy. Thus, the fact that mainstream Christianity since the second century has placed little emphasis on experiencing miracles does not make it apostate.
Although NCCG does not endorse every point in this article the main points are valid since apostacy is largely an inner process. A man may be in a perfectly organised Church structured in exactly the same way as the New Testament (with the offices of apostle and prophet, even) and yet be an apostate because he is denying some fundamental doctrine like the deity of Christ, or has no love in his heart, or believes that he will be saved by his works.
It is sufficient to note that Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself prophesied that the Church he set up whilst in mortality would never be overwhelmed by the Gates of Hades, implying that it would survive in some form, even if underground. Thus the need for the Mormon-type legalistic "Restoration" is not required and the very thought is to make null and void the Word of the Son of God. In short, such the doctrine of a priestly "restoration" doctrine is anti-Christ.
This page was created on 12 June 2000
Updated on 10 March 2001
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