The Bible Definition of Apostasy and the Apostate Church!

(Ver 1.4)  In reading wall posts on Facebook and Christian blogs on the internet I have discovered a popular common theme on many of them.  It appears that there are a tremendous number of self-righteous people who think they are the only true church and everyone else is just promoting or following a false god.  That sounds like a very smug and an arrogant attitude that proves to me that they do not know Christ or have the love of God in them.  My Bible tells me that if you do not have the love of God for your brother that you can see, how then can you possibly have any love for your God that you have never seen (1 John 4:20)?   My Bible also says that if you have the Spirit of God in you then He is the one that teaches you to love your brother (1 Thes  4:9).   Therefore, loving your brother is more than a suggestion; it actually appears to be a requirement for your salvation based upon the words of Jesus in John 13:34.  These verses imply that if NO Love is present then NO God is present either.  If no God is present then you are just walking in darkness and Satan controls your life and your destiny.  Love is a predominate subject found in the New Testament and people want to treat it with disdain to ignore it like it is not important or relevant to me.  Many of these blogs like to take the woman in Revelation 17 called the whore of Babylon and call her the “apostate church”.  So far I have not heard ANY of them give us any scriptural backing for their statement of beliefs.  Without scriptural backing it is obviously just some man’s opinion and what is commonly called a private interpretation of the scriptures (2 Peter 1:20) which is not allowed.  That is a very shaky foundation to build your house of religious theology cards upon, if you ask me.  What we need to do is to look to the Bible and seek the answers from God’s word and see what God thinks about the subject of apostasy.  That is what I will do today.  Jesus gives us a clear example and it exemplifies God’s definition of what an apostate Christian is in the book of Luke.

Luk 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

We can see Jesus talking about a Pharisee in this verse who obviously thinks very highly of himself.  Also notice that according to Jesus this proud man is praying to hiimself and not to God.  God does not even acknowledge his words at all.  Did you see that?   This Pharisee claims that he is not like other men.  He is thankful that he is not an extortioner, or an unjust man who cheats others,  or even an adulterer who cheats on his marriage covenant.  This man looks at others and judges his own state of righteousness by what is observed in the visible lives of the others around him.  This man is beginning to sound like a lot of the internet bloggers that I have read recently.  One of the key words in this verse is the Greek word translated as “adulterer” and it has the following Greek definition from the Strong’s:


Perhaps a primary word; a (male) paramour; figuratively apostate: – adulterer.

If you understand this word it means someone who is married, but who commits adultery on their spouse.  It is a word for a man who is unfaithful to his wife or for a wife that is unfaithful to her husband.  We have all seen a lot of examples of this type of behavior in the media in the past few months.  Really famous people with beautiful and famous wives and they choose to sleep around and be unfaithful not being satisified with what they have.  That is the meaning of this word.  But, it also says it is a figurative definition for someone who is called an “apostate”.  Does that sound familiar?

This Pharisee man was calling someone else an apostate man just like those on the internet are doing today.  Isn’t that interesting?  Here is the Pharisee praying loudly so that everyone can hear him and telling us how great he was and how he was so much better than the publican who was standing nearby.  You can clearly see that this Pharisee was exalting himself above all others.  He thought himself to be better than the others, smarter than the others, the one that had all knowledge of the truth and everyone else was just ignorant fools.  Jesus continued in his discourse in this chapter 18 of Luke and told us about the publican and how that he humbled himself and asked God to be merciful to him a sinner.  Clearly there is a major difference between these two contrasted attitudes.  One man was very proud and one man was very humble.  Which one of these two men got the attention of God and was justfied?  Let’s read and find out, here is the conclusion that Jesus derives from these two men’s words of prayer:

Luk 18:14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

So Jesus claims that the publican went away being justified by God, because he had humbled himself before God.  The implication is clear that the Pharisee was put down and called an idiot by God.  The Pharisee man that thought he was righteous and so much better than the others around him was deemed by God to be the lowly one.  The man that actually humbled himself was the ONLY one that God raised up.  So who was right?  Obviously it was not the Pharisee!  Therefore,  who is Jesus calling the “apostate”?  Obviously it was not the Publican that was called an apostate by the Pharisee!   Did you notice that Jesus did not agree with anything that the Pharisee said?  The Pharisee called the Publican the apostate and Jesus reverses this decision.  This lesson from Jesus teaches me that just because someone believes something is right or even true that does not necessarily make it right or true in the eyes of God.  I do not believe that the Pharissee thought he was wrong.  I beleive the Pharisee honestly believed he was better than the Pulican.  However that was not the correct attitude to take, was it?  This is a very clear Biblical example of what is occurring on Facebook and many of the blogs that I have found all over the internet.  They exalt themselves and their religious faith, church or denomination to be the ultimate true church that is far wiser, knowledgeable or better than everyone else.  Everyone else in their eyes are labeled as the false religious deceived ones.  Everyone of these websites call themselves the “true church” and all the others the “apostate church” simply because they teach something different than they believe is the truth.  Who exactly died and made them God?  Do they know everything just because they think they know everything?  If they are NOT God then they actually know very little of the whole truth like everyone else in the church.  Even Paul said that he saw through a glass darkly (1 Cor 13:12).  Therefore, no one sees everything in the Bible clearly and no one today is greater than Paul who wrote 2/3 of the N.T.   These types of Christians teach the Bible from their ignorance of the Bible just like I do, but yet they still feel like they are superior to everyone.  That is exactly a Pharisee type of attitude and God’s response to it would be the exact same today as Jesus gave us in this example in Luke 18.

The dictionary gives us some definitions of the word Apostate.  I guess it would not hurt to review this information and see if it matches the Bible definition.

  • deserter: a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc.
  • not faithful to religion or party or cause

So we can see a lot of similarities between these words and the Bible definition of an “adulterer”.   An adulterer is someone who is unfaithful to their spouse.  An apostate is someone that is unfaithful to their religion.  They are quite similar definitions.  So what is the problem?  We have a large group of people on the internet that call themselves Christians but sound like “Pharisees” while doing it and I do not think they have all the answers either.  I do not think they they are God that knows everything.  Who are they to judge another ignorant Christian believer?  That is an example of an idiotic foolish Pharisee type of behavior and it is clearly a very dangerous attitude to exhibit, if you ask me.  You see Saul went around and persecuted the early church of Jesus Christ as one of these religious Pharisees that thought he was so right and what happened to him?  Jesus appeared to him and personally asked him, “Saul why are you persecuting me!”.  Jesus took the persecution of the Pharisee Saul very personally, didn’t He?   So who are these Pharisees on the internet that are persecuting Christianity, thinking they are the true church and no one else is saved?  I’ll tell you who they are, they are fools in the grasp of Satan’s control like Saul.  Pawns of darkness that are soon to be sacrificed in their dangerous religious chess game.  They walk after their own religious mindsets and exalt themselves much too highly.  Their end will not be a good one!

Here are two more Hebrew words found in the Old Testament that give us further light on the definition of “apostate”.   We can learn a lot by studying the Bible, if you want the truth you should be looking for it in the Bible.


From H7725; apostate, that is, idolatrous: – backsliding, frowardly, turn away


From H7725; apostate, that is, heathenish or (actually) heathen: – backsliding.

We can see a clear pattern from both of these words.  They imply someone that was right with God, but has now become unfaithful.  The term “backsliding” is even used.  This term speaks about someone that has fallen into sin.  Someone who is dominated by old habits that they were delivered from.  They clearly speak of someone who does wrong after knowing right.  So how is this the “apostate” church that is portrayed on the internet?  From what I can tell the “apostate” church to these Pharisees are just the people who do not believe exactly like they do.  If they find someone that believes anything differently than they do they claim them to be in error, rather than studying the Bible with humility to see if it could be possibly them that is in error.  That is an example of a Pharisee attitude.  You see there are no perfect men or women in the world today.  There are no men or women who know everything or can do everything without committing a sin or even keep from making a little simple mistake sometimes.   Your attitude will either make you a Pharisee or a Publican.  What I believe is that we need more “Publican” Christians and a lot less “Pharisee” Christians in the world today.  Of course calling a Christian a Pharisee Christian is an oxymoronic term that really does not exist.  What I did was to contrast two groups and put symbolic titles upon them for you to see and understand where you are today.  Can you choose to change?  Will you judge yourself and make the determination which kind of Christian you are today?

Rom 14:13  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

The Greek word translated in this verse as “stumbling block” is G4348.  According to Strong’s, it can be defined as “an occasion for apostasy”.  This word has a Greek root word that is G4350.  This Greek root word means to strike at or to surge against as water.  Both of those are describing precisely what the Pharisee was doing to the Publican.  The pharisee was striking down the Publican with his harsh erroneous words causing an occasion for apostasy.   So we can see how judging others is a factor in causing others to stumble and fall away.  The body of Christ should be attempting to help others and not to put them down or pull them apart from the body.  In this verse in Romans, God is speaking directly to the church and telling them not to stand in judgment of fellow Christians.  We can see that becoming a stumbling block will only cause the one who is causing the other to fall to be judged by God.  Read these words of Jesus found in Matthew very carefully:

Mat 18:6  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

To offend a believer in Christ and call them the apostate church in error is an act of grave consequences in the eyes of Jesus.  Jesus clearly told us that it would be better for that man to have been cast into the sea with a mill stone around his neck than what is about to happen to them for what they have done to another.  That sounds very serious to me.  God is taking note of who you offend and who you call an apostate today.  If you are wrong, the consequences will be extremely severe, is that really worth it to call anyone an apostate when you are not God and do not know their heart?

Wake up and realize that only God is God, you do not know everything and you do not understand most of what is in the Bible.  If you think you do you make yourself out to be God and exalt yourself beyond your own ability.  The Publican was humble enough to just call himself a sinner and to cry out to God for His mercy.  If you learn to do this, you can change from a Pharisee and become a Publican who was justified in the eyes of God.  Paul did it and you can too.  Learn from Paul’s example, and you will be very glad that you did.  Thanks so much for studying the Bible with me and share this message with a friend on Facebook that is saying someone is an Apostate to possibly help them turn into a true Publican.  God Bless!

About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on March 19, 2010, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Another common misconception is who is a brother or sister? or who is a Child of God?

    Many think “all people” are Gods Children. This is a lie of the devil. It is a believers inheritance through Christ that makes them a brother or a sister in Christ.

    “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12

    Those who do not follow Christ are not our brothers and sisters and we should never judge them. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” 1 Cor. 5:12

    For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

    Careful calling those people unbelievers because they point out false religions. There are many false religions out there. There are many Lukewarm Churches as well who need called out. Many now support Homosexuality, Abortion etc


  2. Thank you for this entry. This happens in all religions. From one religion to the next and from individuals in the same religion. It is a sad thing to see those that claim to follow Christ belittle their neighbors.


  3. Stumbled on to your blog, read the article above, and just wanted to thank you for bringing those points out. Glad someone finally said it. Don’t know why no one else seems to see it, or it just raises the awareness that there has been a falling away just like the bible states that there will be. My wife and I were discussing apostasy this morning, and I thought about the scripture in Revelation that talks about Jesus stating “depart from me ye workers of iniquity for I never knew you. They had cast out demons in His name, healed the sick, fed the hungry, basically what they thought was their religious practices in Christ name, but Christ did not know who they were. Apostates. Thanks for letting me share with you. Think I might be back.


    • Awesome comment. Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible and to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing more from you. Also if you are on Facebook, send me a friend request. Ron Agapegeek in Charloote NC.


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