What Is Apostasy? Bible Verses Describing Apostasy

What Is Apostasy? Bible Verses Describing Apostasy November 20, 2017

The Bible says a lot about apostasy, even in the Old Testament, so what Bible verses give us the best definition of apostasy?

Secret Infiltrators

One sign or evidence of apostasy is that it comes in under cover. It is sometimes cloaked within a biblical doctrine, but subtle differences can have huge implications. The Apostle Paul wrote that apostate teachings were already entering the church, “because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you” (Gal 2:4-5). Of course, this “slavery” is referring to the Jews who were trying to convince believers that they must keep the law. Even though we shouldn’t be lawbreakers, keeping the law is not how we’re saved. We must uphold the law, but this was not the law that the Jews were insisting on. Rather than referring to the Ten Commandments, the Jews were insisting that the Gentile believers must be circumcised, and be put under the Mosaic Law, so Paul asks them, “how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years” (Gal 4:9-10). Apparently the Jews insisted they keep the Jewish feast days and Sabbaths, which were only shadows of the fulfillment in Christ, so they wanted to make the Mosaic Law part of the requirement of being saved, however God is concerned with the circumcision that takes place in the heart (Deut 30:6; Jer 4:4), and not on the outside.

Unsound Doctrine

The Apostle Paul was already dealing with false teachers in his day, and near the time of his departure from this life, he warned Timothy that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4). I believe that time has come, but it was still a problem, even when Jude wrote his epistle. He wrote, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:3-4). First of all, the faith that Jude refers to, has already been delivered, meaning it’s completed, and just as this is in the past tense, so it what the author of Hebrews writes; “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb 1:1-2). God has already spoken, and most clearly through Jesus Christ, and the faith has already been delivered, once and for all, and the reason that Jude had to contend for the faith is because others were still delivering it, but these “deliveries” were not the faith that was once delivered. It was another, but false, gospel.  There’s no need for more truth, is there? Is the Bible sufficient for us and efficient for all? If we believe we are still receiving new revelations from God, or that we need new revelation from God, we’re saying, “Sorry God…your Word is good, but it’s just not enough.” By proclaiming new revelation from God, there is a danger of adding too or taking away from God’s Word. The implications of receiving new revelation from God is that they presume to speak for God, but that’s clearly adding to what God may not have said at all, or been just the opposite of God’s will, and therein lies danger (Deut 4:2; Prov 30:6; Rev 22:18-19).


Evil for Good

Just a few decades ago, what society considered acceptable on TV, is now almost called evil, and what was then called evil (like public nudity on TV), is now considered acceptable, and for some, even called “good,” however, God’s ways are not our ways. King Solomon wrote, “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD” (Prov 17:15), including those things done by those who will not inherit the kingdom (1 Cor 6:9; Rev 21:8), but now even, “both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the Lord” (Jer 23:11), but the day of His judgment is coming. Isaiah the Prophet wrote, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20)! This shouldn’t surprise as, as Paul had written that “the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (1 Tim 4:1-2), and how that has come true. Jesus saw this coming too when he said “false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matt 24:24-25).


Apostasy can be defined as abandonment or defiance of what was previously held to be true and practiced, and choosing to rebel against those same beliefs and practices, but also, renouncing or disassociating oneself from a particular religion or certain religious beliefs. Those who do such things are considered apostate, however, this should not make them our enemy. We should pray for them, but also expose their false teachings if they’re contrary to the gospel that Jesus Christ brought (Mark 1:14-15), so a last bit of advice from the Apostle Paul in recognizing apostasy is, “even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8-9). If someone claims Jesus is not God, Mary was not a virgin at Jesus’ birth, or that we are not saved by grace alone but also by works (Eph 2:8-9), then you’ve got another gospel, which is no gospel at all. The Apostle Peter warned us that “false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed” (2 Pet2:1-2). Yes, many, not a few.

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    “We should pray for them, but also expose their false teachings”

    Ok…go ahead…show how any other absurd ridiculous religious “beliefs” are false and your absurd ridiculous “beliefs” are true…..waiting until “Hell” freezes over for that! LOL

  • Maltnothops

    From the perspective of the other Jews, Paul was the apostate. The other Jews were the evangelists.

    What you see depends upon where you stand.

  • With over 30,000 denominations in the world today, and many of these thinking other churches are apostate because they have deviated from “sound doctrine”, yet many others labelled “apostate” think that they have the true “doctrine” and the first lot are apostate. It is just a “babel of tongues”. Most of these think that they are the true interpreters of the bible, yet they contradict one another.

    • pud

      No problem! Burn them!! Only “MY” doctrine is the right doctrine! LOL Truth is, they are ALL INSANE.

      • The reason that we don’t get burnt for heresy today is that those who would apply the death penalty for heresy lack the political power. Not so, in the days of Evangelical hero, John Calvin. Servetus was burnt at the stake in Geneva for denying the Trinity. It wasn’t just the Catholics who were burning people at the stake. In Calvin’s Geneva 34 witches were also burnt at the stake all in a few years. The theocracy of Geneva was pure tyranny, all in the name of true evangelical Christianity.

  • Tree Kangaroo

    It’s such a pity that so many “evangelicals” at the present are exactly where the mainline/liberal churches were 40 years ago, condoning what God condemns. Evangelicalism is alive and growing in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, not so well in the US.

    • TK, Unfortunately you are correct.
      The American “church” has for the most part become post-modern and apostate.

      The real Bride Church is alive in they country areas you mention.
      See: Open Doors USA and International
      Download their World Watch List

    • What do you mean, “condoning what God condemns”?

  • Thanks for posting this Jack. Perhaps these of the 3As are the very most dangerous to those who cannot discern.
    Certainly unfamiliarity of Bible Verses may fool them and their followers.
    The Bible must be read in its entirely with the Holy Spirit’s Guidance.
    There is no picking and choosing one from column A one from column B cherry picking.

  • Decerning the Apostates

    5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart

  • What Are Warning Signs Of Falling Into Apostasy?
    June 23, 2017 by Jack Wellman
    How can you avoid falling into apostasy?
    What are some of the warning signs you or others might be falling for doctrinal error or heresy?
    What is Apostasy?


    For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…
    Romans 1:21-22

    Satan has led many quasi-religious groups to unite around a mixture of religious teachings and then brand honest Christian believers as bigots for clinging to salvation in Christ alone. An outgrowth of the postmodern era in which we live is that many people no longer believe in absolute truth. A natural extension of this lack of absolutes is the widely held view that there is good in every religion and all roads lead to heaven. Individuals can then pick and choose the elements they like from various faiths and mix them all together. This is true syncretism. Chuck Colson refers to its impact on our faith as “salad-bar Christianity!”

    Satan is delighted when people believe and expound upon his lies. He does not want anyone to know the truth and come to a personal relationship with Jesus who is the truth, the way and the life (John 14:6). Jesus is the only way.


    One man reportedly traveled the world to find one name for God that would be universal and bring all people together. Instantly the word love came to his mind. He later wrote, “Give God the universal name of ‘Love’ and we will create a golden cord to tie together the truths of all the religions of the world.” But love is not God’s name. It is His nature. And God expressed it most fully when He sent His Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). Only when we accept Christ’s sacrifice for us will we really know the love of the one true God that can bind people together.

    In the late 2000s, an interfaith group of 10,000 people met at the Vatican in Rome (which has happened numerous times since). The group included the Pope, the Dalai Lama and Muslim Imam W. D. Mohammed. An outspoken Hindu woman was quoted as saying, “It was refreshing to note that the idea that all religions have universal truths, and are merely different paths to the same goal, was accepted as a given from the outset by all delegates, without a single dissenting voice.”

    The same delegates also endorsed a general condemnation of “aggressive” proselytizing. This is the prevailing thinking of our day and age. Satan will do all he can to cause this thinking to invade the church and individual Christian thinking and action.

    The end result of syncretism in free societies will be anti-conversion laws and a prohibition of Christian witnessing. Ironically, the euphemism for this law will probably be called “religious freedom.”

    • Well, what religion fosters is the “God Delusion”. It doesn’t matter whether it is ecumenical religion or conservative evangelical religion or any other. The only sane one among those you mention is the Dalai Lama. I think he might be an atheist.


    Today I will guard carefully against the deceptions of Satan that lead to syncretism.
    Prayer Lord, help me to fix my eyes on you and your Word today so that I will not stumble.

  • A Keeper as far as Scripture tree should someone try to justify their twisting religion of the New World Order (See Open Doors)

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am 1the way, and 2the truth, and 3the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    14:6 – Heb. 9:8; 10:20; [ Eph. 2:18 ]
    14:6 – ch. 1:14, 17 ; [ 1 John 5:20 ]
    14:6 – See ch. 11:25
    John 14:6 ESV

    8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that 1the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing
    9:8 – ch. 10:20; [ John 14:6 ]
    Hebrews 9:8 ESV

    20 by 1the new and living way that he opened for us through 2the curtain, that is, through his flesh,
    10:20 – ch. 9:8 ; [ John 10:9 ; 14:6 ]
    10:20 – ch. 9:3
    Hebrews 10:20 ESV

    18 For 1through him we both have 2access in 3one Spirit to the Father.
    2:18 – [ John 14:6 ]
    2:18 – ch. 3:12; [ John 10:7, 9 ]; See Rom. 5:2
    2:18 – ch. 4:4 ; 1 Cor. 12:13 ; [ John 4:23 ]
    Ephesians 2:18 ESV

  • “It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. (Deuteronomy 8:19)

    The dangers of “ecumenism” and the NWO Church of the United Nations and the World Council of Churches.
    What is the World Council of Churches (WCC)?

    Thanks to Lighthouse for this alert – Lighthouse Trails Research
    Evangelical/Ecumenical Leaders Together in “The Gathering” Raises Serious Questions

    • I wouldn’t be worried about the WCC. It is dwindling in power and influence among the churches. But you should be far more concerned about the rise and influence of the New Apostolic Reformation and its supporters. It is growing exponentially. It is a Pentecostal and Charismatic movement with links to the theology of the now defunct “Latter rain” movement of the 40’s and 50’s.

    • The New Apostolic Reformation think that God has restored latter day apostles. It’s all delusional. Wasn’t an apostle supposed to be a witness to the resurrection of Jesus? None of these guys have witnessed any resurrection. Wasn’t an apostle supposed to be a worker of miracles? There are no miracles being performed by Wagner, Cain, Joyner, Mc Elroy or any other so-called apostle or anyone else. This is Charismatic cultism designed to deceive the so-called faithful. The deception of NAR leaders is what the bible calls “lying signs and wonders”.

      And these Charismatic cultists think that they are getting new revelation from God for the so-called “last days”. And imagine so -called apostles have to pay an annual fee. Where in the NT does it have any apostle pay an annual fee?

  • Why Are So Many Christians Silent: The Insider Movement in America

  • Man – The Dwelling Place of God
    by A. W. Tozer
    Chapter 29 – How to Try the Spirits [Go to the link for more]

    “…THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’ssouls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us…”

  • search results for ” another gospel ”
    2 Corinthians 11:4 ESV
    Galatians 1:7 ESV
    2 Corinthians 11:13 ESV
    Galatians 1:6 ESV
    Revelation 2:2 ESV
    Galatians 2:4 ESV
    Galatians 6:12 ESV
    Philippians 1:15 ESV
    Philippians 3:18 ESV
    Titus 1:10 ESV
    Titus 1:12 ESV
    >>> False Prophets and Teachers
    2 Peter 2:1 ESV
    >>> Test the Spirits
    1 John 4:1 ESV
    Philippians 3:2 ESV
    2 Corinthians 11:14-15 ESV

  • How do we test spirits? … do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether
    they are … we can test the spirits and know if something is of God

    What does it mean to test the spirits? – gotquestions.org
    Question: “What does it mean to test the spirits?”
    Answer: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether
    they are from God, for many …

    Test the Spirits to See Whether They Are of God | Desiring God
    The Test of the Spirit’s … do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they … to the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. If we stand
    with …

    How to Test the Spirits – Grace to You
    How to Test the Spirits. … do not believer every spirit, but test the … So the first test that we learn from John in regard to how we can test the spirits is …

    A Christian Theological Test| Christian doctrine test
    Following are 20 basic Christian Doctrine questions. All you need to do … you can take a little theological test. … then you are not a Christian. Do you know …

    Testing the Spirits
    1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world at this time.…
    Berean Study Bible · Download

  • VOLUME 22 – NUMBER 1 (April 1999)

    Banner Organization Media Spotlight
    By Albert James Dager

  • Assorted Popular teachers influence in the world and the Church

  • Beware of the “christmas” movie aimed at children called “The Star” Apostasy and “spiritualism”

    The “church” of Oprah
    Oprah Winfrey pt.1The Universe According to Oprah- pt.1 The promotion of New Age spirituality on Prime Time TV.
    pt.2 “The Secret”- Making the Universe Obey YOU- The power and ideas behind the Secret-Using Religious Science and metaphysical methods to to make the universe obey.
    pt.3 The Real secret behind the Secret- Is there more that meets the eye in these mind science practices?
    pt.4 the Secret God wants you to know

    • The book called “The Secret” applies New Thought metaphysics to modern Spirituality. Some Charismatic cults have absorbed New Thought metaphysics into their Christian theology. e.g. Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin Jr, Jerry Savelle, Joel and Victoria Osteen, Jesse Duplantis, Crefflo Dollar, Marilyn Hickey and her daughter, Benny Hinn, Maurice Cerrullo, and Joyce Myer among others.

  • The New World Order “church” (NWO)
    Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan & UN Goals – Part 1 of 3

  • Well Jack, I agree with you on false prophets, lying signs and wonders being performed in the modern Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. I am not labelling all Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians with ‘apostasy’. But some Pentecostal and Charismatic pastors have been visiting hypnotists (google it) and using their techniques to control the minds of their congregations.