Slipping Into Apostasy – A Warning From Church History

How did the church go from 1st century Apostolic teaching all the way to completely rejecting the Gospel? Let’s see where things went wrong and what we can learn from them today.

Hello, dear ones, I hope this post finds you all doing well! I’m very excited to be dropping a new episode on the podcast today. As Reformation Day fast approaches I thought it would be helpful to look back through Church History at the moments that led to the need for reform. How did the church go from 1st century Apostolic teaching all the way to completely rejecting the Gospel? Let’s see where things went wrong and what we can learn from them today.

John-Calvin-Quote
John-Calvin-Quote

Don’t forget to stick around for the fun blooper real at the end, and check out the links I’ve added in the timestamped outline below. Also, if you didn’t get a chance to see last weeks MEGA list, I’m going to link to it here. Great news, y’all, Tulips & Honey Hub is now officially available on Amazon’s new Podcasting app! You can, of course, listen across all major podcasting platforms such as PodbeaniTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayiHeart RadioStitcher, and in video form on Youtube. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

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TS 00:04:15 – Patristic Fathers

TS 00:14:45 – Apologists

Links to the Early Church Heresies:

Part 1: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/historical-church-series-the-early-heretics-introduction/

Part 2: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/historical-church-series-the-early-heretics-judaizers/

Part 3: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/24/historical-church-series-the-early-heretics-christian-gnosticism/

Part 4: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/historical-church-series-early-church-heretics-marcion-of-sinope/

Part 5: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/historical-church-series-early-church-heretics-docetism-and-ebionism/

Part 6:https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/21/historical-church-series-early-church-heretics-montanus-the-spiritual-drunkard/

Part 7: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/29/historical-church-series-early-church-herestics-arius-of-alexandria/

PART 8: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/historical-church-series-early-church-heretics-a-catch-up-course/

PART 9: https://biblicalbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/historical-church-series-early-church-heretics-pelagius/

TS 00:21:00 – Constantine and the 3rd Century

TS 00:22:30 – Council of Nicaea

TS 00:24:45 – 4th and 5th Century

TS 00:36:00 – 6th and 7th Century

TS 00:40:30 – 8th and 9th Century

TS 00:42:00 –  The Great Schism

TS 00:43:00 – The Crusades

TS 00:48:00 – 12th and 13th Century Scholars

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Twisted Tuesday – The Lukewarm Christian

Recently, dear ones, there has been some shocking, and some not so shocking public apostasy. This is something that we see from time to time, when there are big names. Unfortunately, most of us know someone who made a profession of faith and has left the church. They don’t make the news, but they keep us awake at night. No one is going to write articles when their marriages fall apart, or when they reveal the sin that they now cling to, but we will spend many hours on our knees before the Lord in prayer for them. It always leads to a discussion of losing our salvation, which leads to the dreaded fear of Lukewarm Christianity.

I’m not going to be addressing the possibility of losing our salvation today, because it’s not a possibility. Those who went out from us were never really of us. If you think people can’t be in the church for years and years, pretending to be believers, fooling many, then I have some surprising news for you, my friend. I did it. I spoke fluent Christianese, I dressed the part, I acted the part, I even managed to fool my own family. I wasn’t fooling God, nor was I fooling myself. I knew there was a chasm between my wretched heart and the thrice holy Gods Celestial City that was deeper and wider than infinity. I wanted to earn it, so long as I didn’t have to give up my sin. The Lord was gracious to save me, and I’ll never understand why. Only that Scripture tells me that not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called. If I had walked away from church before God saved me, I would not have been a believer but a false convert leaving.

This brings us to the actual twisting of Scripture that I’ve noticed lately. The idea that we must somehow fan the flames of our love for God to avoid the slippery slope of apostasy, which somehow begins with being lukewarm. The verse that’s being twisted is Revelation 3:14-18, the lukewarm church in Laodicea. They were neither hot nor cold, and they were going to be spewed out. So, the idea I’ve seen is that you go from being a believer on fire for God, hot, to being pretty use to the grace of God, lukewarm, to abandoning the faith that can’t hold your attention, cold. What’s one to do to avoid this? Easy. Conferences, retreats, alter-calls, laying on of hands, experiences that become more and more outrageous. Bark like a dog, laugh uncontrollably, roll around on the ground. Whatever it takes to stay on fire for the Lord.

We do this with our marriages, as well, beloved. Find superficial ways to reignite passion, so that your spouse doesn’t get bored with you and leave. Go back to how it was when you first met, date them as if they were you’re “crush”. Go on romantic vacations, have more children, have more experiences together. This is not how marriages endure, this is not how marriages flourish. Rather then going backwards, rather than being shallow, the lifelong marriages show that the husband and wife went deeper and deeper, growing in their understanding of one another. The more I grow to know my husband the more I love him, the more I love him the more I want to know him. I don’t need the butterflies, or the thrill of the first date, to endear me to my husband. Butterflies do not hold families together when crisis hit.

Likewise, growing in sanctification in the Lord means going deeper in our understanding of who God is. Does the believer when they are first saved fully understand their wretchedness? Gods righteousness? Adoption? Justification? Eternity? Do we immediately know all of God’s attributes? No, my friends, we go deeper and deeper into the knowledge of the Godhead, and in so doing see ourselves more and more as sinners. That leads us to deeper praise and thanksgiving for salvation, which leads us to want a greater knowledge of the King who bought us. The more we know of God, the more we want to know of God. Enduring love, as imperfect and marred by sin a sit might be, belongs to the believer not because of experiences, but because of the One with whom we have to do. While we have seasons of God gifted strength, greater prayer life, Scriptural study, and also seasons of spiritual drought, we do not need fear Lukewarmness.

Unless you who read this are a false convert, in which case, being neither hot nor cold, you might just slip off into apostasy. Apostasy, in that situation, is not the greatest concern, salvation through faith in Christ alone is the desperate cry of my heart for you. Can you say that you have grown in sanctification? Can you say that you hate your sin, and desire to be rid of it? Can you say that your heart longs for fellowship, study in Gods Word, prayer before His throne? If not, if the greatest desire of your heart is to be seen as righteous and praised for your piety, and to hide the sinful thoughts you love to linger on, then you must repent and put your faith in Christ. No amount of works will vault you over the infinite chasm into eternity with God. Either your sins were paid for on the cross by Christ, and you’ve received His imputed righteousness, or you will yourself pay the price for a life lived in sin for all eternity. With that in mind, flee from the wrath to come! If this is not the case, my dear reader, if you have already repented, if you hate your sin and love the one who saved you, do not fear the curse of the lukewarm, or the apostasy, because He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. Only, pray that the Lord will grow your love for Him, pray that God will help you to understand Him more, and to see yourself in the light of His righteousness. As always, beloved brethren, be good Berean’s and study to show yourselves approved.

Places We Ought Not Go

Usually, on Thursday I like to review books for you all, dear ones. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book I’m working on in time for this. However, I did catch a very interesting two-part interview that I felt warranted a special post. This isn’t necessarily a review of the interview, but more like a warning and an opening up of dialogue on the topic. Many of you are older in the faith than I am, which blesses me more than I could say in a thousand posts! When topics like this come along, they make me very nervous. I have a tendency to get a little off balance when something reminds me of my childhood. You’re steadfast corrections, sometimes in comments, other times in your own posts, edify me greatly! With that in mind, today I’d like to talk about the dark side of ’spirituality’.

Let me give you some background as to why this topic makes me so uncomfortable. Just before the last chapter are links to the aforementioned two-part interview. This is an Apologia connected broadcast, as you’ll see Jeff Durbin involved in the first part. They are interviewing a man who was saved out of the New Age movement, and I praise God for that! Here is a young man who was making a lot of money, at a young age, who was so struck by his own sin that he repented and put his faith in Christ alone. He then repented publically and called his many hundreds of thousands of followers to leave the New Age movement. These are very encouraging things to hear! That being said, it was the most difficult two hours I’ve spent in a long time. It cost me no small amount of sleep as well, with the flood of horrid childhood memories that seemed to be endless, bringing me repeatedly to prayer. The things he describes in his interview sound an awful lot like what I grew up hearing.

At this point, some of you may be wondering why I would bring these interviews to you in a post when they were clearly so disturbing. Hang in there with me, dear ones, I promise I’ll get to that. I’ve mentioned before that I was raised in a pagan, Wiccan, household. There were oils, crystals, books on spells, being spiritually awakened, leaving the body, and the likes, all over our shelves. I knew more, as a child, about astral-projection than I did about math. Our house was a dark, and frightening home, as full of fear as it was New Age items. There’s no such thing as a ’good’ witch or good magic, its all against God, and it all has the same consequences. As a result, even early into our teens, my sister and I would bring a blanket and pillow into our mother’s room to sleep on the floor by her, just to stem the fear. I don’t want to get into the details, the world has a strange fixation on this topic that I hate to feed. This is where the balance is hard for me, should I even be discussing these things? Lost people are being drawn into this world, as believers we need to understand enough to help, and to reach them with the Good News. That’s as far as I could go in my suggestion to learn more about this topic.

So, now you know what we’re talking about, and why I find it such a difficult topic to discuss. I’d like to offer a less detailed, and disturbing, alternative to the interview. This is for anyone who is uncomfortable with the topic, or hearing the details of such. This is something we need to be able to address, but if you’re not directly witnessing to those deep into the New Age occult then this will dip your toes in enough to make you aware. It will also help you to know what the Bible has to say, and how to answer those who believe in aliens. There’s not a difference in how these things play out, whether it’s ghost hunting, aliens, or the occult. It’s all coming from and leading to the same place. Here is that less detailed, but still very thorough video.

When I say less detailed, I mean they don’t go into descriptions of the varies areas of practice within the New Age community. Whether it’s taking drugs to channel aliens, or to channel spirits, the groups are all aiming in the same direction. These people are all, like the young man in the interview below explains, searching for that secret knowledge. That gnostic pride in knowing what those ’mindless’ Christians don’t know. Most were raised in homes where the name of God was at least spoken of respectfully. The generations since postmodernism mixed with New Age through mass media and influencers like Oprah, have no idea how dangerous this is. They didn’t grow up in it, they want something more exciting then church, and no amount of fog or guitar solos will change that. Now pragmatic ’churches’ are quickly adopting New Age language, aided by hotbeds of heresy like Bethel. That’s not new, my friends, it’s just becoming more popular.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=quhgfEUq834

How do I know it’s not new? I don’t think I’ve spent much time discussing the church where my mother was converted. We were both baptized there. Shortly after, they began to adopt the New Age language. Freshly free from the chains on witchcraft, this did a lot more than making my mother uncomfortable. She mentioned it, it was brushed off. She warned the leaders, that was ignored. She finally told the pastor she had been a Wiccan for years, that these phrases weren’t harmless, that the church should have nothing to do with that darkness. We were told to leave. She spent several years after that learning everything she could, so that she could warn other churches about the same dangers. After a while, the weight of it all, on top of major health issues, stopped her. I feel for her, everyone wants to hear about the haunting, terrifying nights, no one wants to hear the warning behind the story.

This brings me to why I felt the need to share this interview with you. We need to be warned ourselves, there are things we should not watch, places we ought not go as new creations in Christ, and phrases that should not be mixed with Biblical language. We need to be clear, we need to be separate, and we need to be vigilant. Our children have full access to this wicked information at the touch of a button. The world has an obsession with spiritual powers in heavenly places, not God, not our Savior, but the darkness, the frightening, the mysterious. We need to be able to warn our families, our churches, and the lost. Again, if you’re sensitive to the details, or uncomfortable at all, please don’t watch these. While this subject is very important, the video above shares the same rebuttal in a different fashion, without the explanations into the frightening New Age practices and their consequences. If, on the other hand, you have friends or family involved in these practices and want to witness to them, these two videos will be a great aid. Either way, whether you listen or not, we need to warn against these things entering our churches. A great resource for that is Justin Peters Ministry, he deals with the subtle, and not so subtle, ways this is seeping into the church. Paul Flinn also does a great job here, again addressing the influence New Age has on the church. The two links below are the best explanation and discussion on what the New Age is and how we can reach those lost in it.

Please, again, be warned that there are some details in these interviews that are disturbing. At the very end of the second one the young man gives an encouragement to those sharing the Gospel with someone lost in this movement. He tells us not to think those we talk to are unaware of their state before God. Though the lost may say they don’t believe, or don’t care, they truly know. They suppress that truth in unrighteousness. I found that to be very helpful. I hope this post was balanced enough to encourage, and edify my brothers and sisters in Christ. If you have stumbled onto this post and you are, yourself, in the New Age movement please listen to these interviews. Know that God has given only one way for salvation and that is through the Son. As always, beloved brethren, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.