Great Apostasy

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The Great Apostasy refers to a radical corruption or total loss of the authentic and pure Christian faith and practice as taught by the original Twelve Apostles of Jesus and the New Testament. Apostasy differs entirely from Heresy.[1]

Total abandonment of belief

Apostasy a fide or perfidiæ is the complete and voluntary abandonment of the Christian religion by an individual, whether the apostate embraces another religion such as Paganism, Judaism, cults, or other belief, or merely makes profession of Naturalism, Rationalism, Atheism, Humanism, Agnosticism, Islam or any other non-Christian worldview. The heretic differs from the apostate in that he or she only denies one or more of the doctrines of revealed religion, not all of them, while claiming to be Christian, whereas the apostate denies the entire religion itself either implicitly or explicitly, a sin which has always been looked upon by adherents of the major world religions as one of the most grievous. The Christian who becomes apostate no longer claims to be a Christian, in thought, word and deed. In Catholicism, apostasy is a mortal sin.[2]

Past apostasy

Various Christian denominations and groups proclaim that the Great Apostasy is a fact of history. The common theme they advance is that the message of Christianity, taught by Jesus and his apostles, was lost sometime in the centuries following the death of the last of the apostles, and that the whole Church herself, the Bride of Christ, finally apostatized. Each denominational and non-denominational group is, in its own way, attempting to restore the original gospel.

The Orthodox Catholic Church

Non-Catholic opposition

While non-Catholic Christians range far and wide on their theology and practice, the one thing they all do agree on is their opposition to the Catholic Church, and their belief that the Catholic Church is solely responsible for 'corrupting' the 'authentic and pure' Christian faith by compromise with paganism. They also see the Orthodox churches as independently collaborating in the corruption of Christian doctrine by their early compromise with Greek philosophy and pagan mystery religions. They are seen as "preaching another Jesus, having a different spirit, accepting a different gospel" from the one they first accepted in the first century from the apostles (see 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

In many circles, this radical corruption of the Gospel by the forces of Catholicism is called 'The Great Apostasy' or 'a great apostasy' or just 'apostasy'. This teaching or warning regarding Catholic and Orthodox teachings is found in all Western non-Catholic denominations and groups, which includes Protestantism (both traditional and evangelical), as well as Mormonism, the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower), Seventh-day Adventist Churches, Baptists and various other groups. Many of these groups warn that anyone who accepts and holds to the doctrines of the Catholic Church are "separated from Christ",[3] and, along with all those who preach false doctrine,[4] he or she will be condemned to hell together with the Devil and his angels.[5]

Catholic apologists

Catholic apologists answer that many persons have individually apostatized, do apostatize, and will apostatize, even gathering followers to themselves, as Scripture has testified.[6] However, they also point out that every known secular and theological definition of "apostasy" specifies that it is the departure of an individual from a religion or belief system,[1][7] not a whole corporate departure en masse, and that the Bible nowhere says that the whole Church that Jesus founded ever will or ever can apostatize, and that such a falling away from Him is an impossibility, given the promises that He Himself has made,[8] together with the inspired apostolic doctrine that the Church itself is the "pillar and foundation of truth",[9] and given the commandment to "obey your leaders"[10] and "hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter",[11] and given the fact that "through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places",[12] and that "it is impossible for God to lie".[13] They emphasize that the whole Church cannot be charged with such a monumental act of explicit apostasy unless every single member of the whole Church agreed to abandon Christ and his teaching, renounced Christianity, denied that they are Christians, and all apostatized at the same time. The utter and complete repudiation of one's religion is apostasy. But no historical documentation of such an occurrence has ever been produced, the exact historical date of the occurrence is never given, and the names of the leaders of the great apostasy are not given. There has never been an ecumenical council which decreed that the whole Church shall embrace abandonment of Christ or declared his teaching to be false. That would be apostasy. In the history of Christianity all significant and influential names are known. All Ecumenical Councils and their debates and documents are records of fact. All the names of Popes and Bishops are known. All the names of the Protestant Reformers are known. All the names of heretics since the first century are known. But the exact historical date of actual implementation of the Great Apostasy is unknown, the date when all former Christian doctrines were to be condemned, removed and replaced with completely non-Christian teaching. There has never been a time in Christian history when the Catholic and Orthodox Churches claimed they are no longer Christian.[14] That would be apostasy. Those who teach that the monumentally catastrophic sin of the Great Apostasy is an historical fact do not agree when it occurred, and their apologists and proponents appear unable to offer any objective, externally verifiable evidence that it ever did.

The Ante-Nicene Fathers

Those who defend the assertion of historical fact for the Great Apostasy of the Catholic Church point out that all of the false doctrine and practice of Catholicism only gradually developed, with incremental, and cumulative, subtle deviations from the truth by a process of syncretism, beginning as early as the first century, which by the time of the Middle Ages had developed into a complete and total condition of apostasy with no truth or spiritual understanding remaining in it.[15] They see the development of the Great Apostasy as a pathological form of spiritual cancer which grew slowly over the centuries and spread until the whole body was entirely and terminally diseased. In the language of Isaiah 1:4-6

"Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and bleeding wounds; they are not pressed out, or bound up, or softened with oil."

They unhesitatingly submit that the Catholic Church only claims to have the name of Christian, as a terminally ill and actively dying man, on life-support and riddled with disease, in complete denial claims to be perfectly healthy. They see no good in the Catholic Church, only "doctrines of devils"[4][16]

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, of if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)

Every Catholic appeal to the writings of the Ante-Nicene Fathers as demonstrations of the apostolic origin and root of Catholic doctrine and dogma is rejected on the ground that those writings only clearly demonstrate how early the false and corrupt apostate doctrines of Catholicism began to develop in the Church—which only proves to those who reject Catholic doctrine and dogma that a great apostasy must have occurred. Catholic apologists see this as a logical fallacy. They protest that a great apostasy of the whole Church is rooted in one fundamental premise: that Jesus did not keep his promises.[8]

  • Churches professing Apostolic succession hold that the Ante-Nicene Fathers only articulate or express the original, authentic apostolic Christian doctrine that was faithfully handed on by word of mouth and guarded by the Holy Spirit in the full deposit of the faith handed on once and for all to the apostles of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:15 and 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:13-14 and 2:1-2, 14–15; 1 John 2:24; 2 John 9-11; Jude 3).
  • Churches professing the rule of sola scriptura hold that every doctrine in the Ante-Nicene Fathers not explicitly set forth in the Protestant canon of the inspired 66 books of the Holy Bible is a deviant attempt by the writers to corrupt the pure Christian Gospel of salvation by syncretistically introducing pagan beliefs and practices (1 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:7-8; 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Timothy 3:15-17 and 4:3-4; 2 Peter 3:17-18).

See these logical fallacies: Confirmation bias, No true Scotsman, Black-swan fallacy, Cherry picking, Your theory does not work under my theory, so your theory must be wrong, Fallacy of invincible ignorance, Circular reasoning.

The very early Fathers who lived around the proposed time of the Great Apostasy include Clement, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, Irenaeus and others. Most of these men knew the apostles personally, and were personally taught by them, and their writings are well-documented and can easily be obtained. Many students of history have been shocked to discover that these men consistently teach identifiably Catholic doctrines. It is clear that these Fathers were not teaching either Mormon or Fundamentalist doctrines. This means that either they were part of the great apostasy which led to the Catholic Church, or that the theory of a Great Apostasy is false.

Compare the following three non-Catholic articles:

Compare the following orthodox catholic articles on apostolic tradition:

Apostolic Tradition: divergent interpretations

Orthodox and Catholic apologists define Apostolic Tradition as the traditional mode of interpretation of scriptural doctrine, preserving and expounding what God has revealed in the Bible, not a body of doctrines developed separately from the Bible. The understanding of the whole of the consistent Christian tradition of interpreting the Bible as consistently retained within the orthodox catholic Christian community (the sensus fidei)[17] is always appealed to when there is disagreement on the meaning of biblical texts: thus, "all Apostolic Tradition is rooted in Sacred Scripture". See the following articles:

Protestant Evangelical Christian apologists define Apostolic Tradition as a complete departure from scriptural doctrine: "the traditions of men". The principle of interpretation according to sola scriptura is appealed to for refuting all appeals to Apostolic Tradition: thus, "the Catholic and Orthodox doctrines rooted in Apostolic Tradition cannot be found in the Bible". See the following articles:

Compare Apostolic succession and Sensus plenior, also Proof text

Historical silence

There is no mention in any of the writings of the early Fathers of a great apostasy of the whole Church or any sort of battle for the faith on such a scale. They mention individual heretics and certain heretical movements which began years after the ascension of Christ and the day of Pentecost which grew and spread, but there is no mention of any sort of total apostasy. If it is assumed that the Church Fathers were part of the apostasy then it is likely that the Church Fathers would have mentioned their newly developed doctrine as a contrast in condemnation of the Christians who still stubbornly remained faithful to the older apostolic teachings! But there is no sign in the writings of the Church Fathers of such a controversy, nor are there any other writings which support the notion of a mass apostasy from the true faith. History is totally silent. History mentions other great splits and schisms within the Church (such as the Ebionites, Arianism, the Great Schism between the Orthodox and the Catholics in 1054, and the Protestant Reformation which began in 1517) but about this massive schism there is total silence.

Excommunicated heretics

However, this assertion of total silence is debatable from the standpoint of those who have been excommunicated. Those who put forth theological or religious opinions or doctrines maintained in opposition, or held to be contrary, to the 'catholic' or 'orthodox' doctrine of the Christian Church, were themselves not silent about what they regarded as a massive defection from the truth by the leading authorities and heads of the Christian Church. History knows them officially as those who were formally condemned by the Church and labelled as "heretics" for their teachings.[18] Each of them was excommunicated for teaching a "different gospel" (Galatians 1:6). Some of these claimed to be authentically proven prophets of God by signs and wonders and multitudes of followers. From their point of view, history is not silent about what they regarded as a great apostasy of the orthodox catholic Christian Church from the truth, and they were vocal about it in their public preaching and their writings. Likewise, orthodox catholic theologians were not silent about condemning them as heretical teachers of doctrines of devils. But without exception, all of those movements condemned as heretical by catholic orthodoxy within the first four centuries of Christian history have either withered or died out and become extinct.[19] They each strongly contradicted one or more New Testament teachings, even rejecting some of the protocanonical books of the Bible accepted by all Christians from the beginning of the church. Taken together they do not even represent a coherently unified theology of Christianity that could be called the one original apostolic Christian Gospel that the catholic orthodox Christian Church had apostatized from. The various doctrines and groups rejected by catholic orthodoxy even disagree with each other. Their own writings which survive to this day and can easily be obtained also demonstrate that not one of them represents or even resembles Mormon or Fundamentalist teachings. Conversely, Mormon and Fundamentalist Christian doctrines are not represented by any extant writings dated to the first four centuries of Christianity. This historical silence is taken by them as proof that the Great Apostasy from the truth of Evangelical Reformation Christianity must have occurred. See Circular reasoning and Proof by assertion.

"The faith which was once for all delivered to the saints"

Orthodox and Catholic apologists assert that it is unreasonable to assume that the earliest Fathers – those who were taught personally by the apostles – would teach heresies and that the truly faithful followers of the apostles' doctrines, who had their writings, and who knew the older generation of people who had personally heard them teach and preach, would have remained silent about such a massive paradigm shift in fundamental Church teachings.

Not one of the Ante-Nicene Fathers is accused by their contemporaries of introducing false doctrine or of abandoning "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

This doctrinal evidence in support of the traditions handed down from the apostles of the Lord directly refutes the Mormon assertion that the Great Apostasy occurred shortly before A.D. 200. The writings immediately after A.D. 100, such as the Epistles of Ignatius of Antioch and the others included in the Apostolic Fathers show a continuity with the New Testament writings before them and with the subsequent Ante-Nicene Fathers and Post-Nicene Fathers after them, which strongly dismisses the Mormon claim of a Total Apostasy.

The same kind of evidence also weighs heavily against the Fundamentalist position. Fundamentalists claim that the apostasy does not occur until roughly A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea when all of the 318 gathered bishops of Christianity in fear for their lives were completely intimidated and crushed into submission under the total domination of Emperor Constantine. To a large degree, Protestantism teaches that Constantine the Great merged paganism with Christianity, beginning with the Council of Nicaea, thereby seeking to bring unity and stability under his rule and to advance acceptance of and the power of his version of the Church as the official Imperial Roman State religion by all sectors of the empire.[20] But even here there is a complete continuity of teaching between the Ante-Nicene Fathers and the post-Nicene Fathers. There is no historical evidence that the Emperor Constantine had any decisive influence on the discussions, debates and decrees of the Council, made any threats, or did anything other than preside over the proceedings.[21] This strongly speaks against the Fundamentalist position. There is no evidence of a radically fundamental change in Church dogma. See Burden of proof and article on ''The Two Babylons''.

Proof from silence

Although the weight of historical silence about any great apostasy is not enough to prove that something did happen, based on the obvious differences between Catholic and Orthodox doctrine and Reformation principles of Christian belief,[22] this silence is a very serious problem for those who wish to advance this notion, that a massively fundamental change in doctrine and practice was so universally pervasive and acceptable to the whole Church that there was no one around (or left alive) to protest such an apostasy. Martin Luther famously declared, "I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other."[23] However, it is a matter of historical record that he has offered no evidence in support of this assertion in his writings and in his testimonies before Church and civil authorities, he cites no example of contradiction.[24] There is absolutely no evidence for a mass apostasy in any historical records. See the following links (note which writings were condemned as heretical, and the (approximate) date when they were condemned):

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.
Do the Councils of the Catholic Church Contradict Each Other? Kenneth Henderson (pintpipeandcross.wordpress.com)
Popes (badnewsaboutchristianity.com)
—from the anti-Christian site What is so Bad about Christianity? (badnewsaboutchristianity.com)
This site is an outstanding representation of apostate reasoning.

The Protestant position is firmly based on the fundamental claim that the Reformers, guided by the Holy Spirit of God, rediscovered the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ, and therefore every early Christian writing which supports Catholic doctrine is proof of the Great Apostasy because the doctrines represented in the early Christian writings conflict with Protestant doctrines: the fact that they contradict 16th century Protestant teaching and support ancient Catholic Orthodoxy is presented as demonstrable proof that the early Christian writings are certainly false. Critics dismiss this assertion as a blatant example of Circular reasoning. See Memory hole and Revisionism.

Future apostasy

In contrast to a Great Apostasy in the past, some see the Great Apostasy as a future event to come, which will afflict the church prior to the Parousia. However, many hold that it will take place only after the Rapture of the true church. See End Times. Others maintain that the Great Apostasy has already occurred with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. However, this is not accurate.

Polemics: misuse and abuse of "apostasy"

The word "Apostasy" and "Apostate" does not properly apply to anyone or to any church that (still) claims the name of Christian, however false their claim to be Christian might be:[25] they may be guilty of formal and material heresy, they may have rejected every traditional Christian doctrine, belief and practice in their teaching and preaching, they may be liars, they may be virtual atheists, but if they have been baptized and have not renounced the name of Christian they are not actually guilty of apostasy—even if some Christian commentators have ignorantly and improperly abused this word by falsely saying that such evident sinners are true "apostates".[26][1] They are certainly guilty of hypocrisy, perhaps even sacrilege, blasphemy and heresy, "holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people."[27] But they are not apostates.

Actual "apostasy" involves a baptized Christian who has afterward totally repudiated Christianity, renounced the Lord Jesus Christ,[28] and has utterly rejected as evil the name and identity of "Christian" together with every possible involvement with anything that could be called Christian doctrine and practice.[1] Apostates want nothing to do with Christianity.

The charge of apostasy

Historically, therefore, by the very definition of the word,[1] what is called "the Great Apostasy" of the Catholic Church actually never happened. The Catholic Church still claims to be fully Christian: one, holy, catholic and apostolic; and professes to this day the ancient Christian creedal formulas proclaiming Jesus Christ as "God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God". An apostate rejects this claim and renounces Christianity as a religion of lies, and denounces Jesus himself as a fraud.

Non-Catholic denominations, sects and groups who have cited what they consider as evidence against Catholicism would have been more accurate in charging the Catholic Church (wrongly or rightly) with adopting en masse "A Great Delusion"[29] in the form of "the Great Hypocrisy" or "the Great Heresy", or with committing "the Great Blasphemy"—instead of "the Great Apostasy". Even with every historical charge of hypocrisy, abuse, immorality, false doctrine and practices of superstition levelled against her, and against her popes, bishops, priests, deacons, religious orders, and laity—whether such charges are true or not—the Catholic Church has never actually committed the Great Apostasy, and is not an apostate religion.

According to a sola scriptura reading of 1 John 4:2 and 15, the Catholic and Orthodox churches are "of God", for they dogmatically assert that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and they publicly confess that Jesus is the Son of God. "...and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already." On this doctrinal basis according to the Bible alone they cannot be antichrist and they cannot be apostate.

Apart from doctrinal considerations, Catholic apologists are able to cite the following undeniable historical facts:

  • The catholic Church was not founded by men who disobeyed the authority of those who were over them in the Lord [that would be schism] (Hebrews 13:7 and 17; Titus 3:1-2; Romans 13:1-2; Matthew 18:17-18 and 16:19 and 23:1-4; 2 Peter 2:9-10; Jude 8)
  • The catholic Church was not founded by men who claimed the Holy Spirit had not remained with it and had not continually led it into all truth [that would be heresy] (John 14:16-17 and 16:13; Ephesians 2:18-22; Matthew 28:20)
  • The catholic Church was not founded by men who came out of one church to form another [that would be schism] (1 John 2:18-19; 2 Peter 2:1-3 and 3:16-17; Acts 20:29-30)
  • The catholic Church was not founded by men who taught another "Jesus", another tradition and another gospel different from the church they departed from [that would be heresy and schism] (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:3-4; Titus 3:9-10; Hebrews 13:8-9)
  • The catholic Church has never been led by men who deny that Jesus Christ is the Only-Begotten Son of God [that would be heresy] (John 6:66-69; Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:29; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 2:21; John 2:22; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 John 7; Jude 4)
    See Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, Athanasian Creed
  • The catholic Church has never been led by men who renounce or denounce apostolic Christianity as a false religion [that would be apostasy] (John 17:9-21; 1 Corinthians 1:7-9 and 12:4-11 and 28; Acts 20:28; 2 Timothy 1:14 and 2:2)
  • The catholic Church has never been led by men who refuse to be called Christian or claim they are not Christian [that would be apostasy], even while they were scandalous sinners (1 Timothy 1:12-17 and 2:7; 1 Corinthians 12:27-28; Romans 12:4-5; Colossians 2:19)
  • The catholic Church has been reviled as evil and hated for claiming to preach Christ and the truth of God (Luke 21:17 and 6:22-23; John 15:18-21 and 17:14; Acts 28:22; James 2:7)
  • The catholic Church has grown until it is the largest religion on earth and the largest Christian denomination (Daniel 2:34-35 and 44–45; Matthew 13:31 and 16:18; John 15:1-6; Revelation 21:24-26)
  • The catholic Church has an altar from which the Jews had no right to eat and from which Catholics claim to partake of the body and blood and divinity of the Lord (Hebrews 13:10; 1 Corinthians 10:16-18 and 11:23-30; 2 Peter 1:3-4; John 6:52-58)
  • The catholic Church condemns apostasy. (John 15:6; Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:23-31; Jude 5-25)


Epistle to the Hebrews: Apostasy: major Biblical commentaries

The Epistle to the Hebrews is an empassioned treatise on the superiority of Christianity compared to Judaism, of the Gospel of Christ compared to the Law of Moses. All major biblical scholars and expositors over the centuries concur in their understanding that the leading object of the author of this work is to guard those to whom it was addressed against the deadly danger of provoking the wrath of the Lord by apostasy from Christianity, by falling away from Christ and turning back to Judaism.[30]

See the following representative direct quotes in italics from multiple expository commentaries on apostasy from Christ, verse by verse, in Hebrews (explicitly mentioned 387 times):[31]

  • 1:1 —mentioned twice
he warns them of the danger of apostasy, to which Jewish converts were tempted, when they saw Christians persecuted, while Judaism was tolerated by the Roman authorities


  • 2:1 —mentioned 3 times
the great guilt of disobeying, neglecting, or apostatizing
  • 2:2 —mentioned once
the neglecters of this salvation in general, and apostates, or back-sliders, in particular
  • 2:3 —mentioned twice
so to neglect them as to end in apostacy
  • 2:10 —mentioned once
An answer to the Jews, and Hebrew Christians, whosoever, through impatience at the delay in the promised advent of Christ's glory, were in danger of apostasy, stumbling at Christ crucified.
  • 2:15 —mentioned once
He writes throughout as one who never forgets their need of sympathetic help, and who knows well the power of the motives, the allurements and the threats, employed to lead them into apostasy.


  • 3:1 —mentioned twice
The purpose of the writer in this passage, as in the whole Epistle, is to encourage his readers in their allegiance to Christ and to save them from apostacy by exhibiting Christ as the final mediator.
  • 3:2 —mentioned 3 times
urges on them the necessity of considering "his fidelity" in order to keep "them" from the danger of apostasy. A leading object of this Epistle was to preserve those whom he had addressed from apostatizing from God amidst the temptations and trials to which they were exposed.
  • 3:3 —mentioned once
Eagerly as the writer is pressing forwards to develop his original and central conception of Christ as our Eternal High Priest, he yet has to pause to prove His superiority over Moses, because the Jews had begun to elevate Moses into a position of almost supernatural grandeur which would have its effect on the imaginations of wavering and almost apostatising converts.
  • 3:6 —mentioned twice
A leading object of this Epistle is to guard those to whom it was addressed against the danger of apostasy.
  • 3:7 —mentioned 3 times
We should regard the solemn warnings in the Old Testament against sin, and against the danger of apostasy, as addressed by the Holy Spirit to us. They are as applicable to us as they were to those to whom they were at first addressed; and we need all the influence of such appeals, to keep us from apostasy as much as they did.
  • 3:9 —mentioned once
a discontented quarrel with, and scrutiny of, Christ the Redeemer, that if he would not serve their lust, they would deny him, and apostatize from him, and return to Egypt; notwithstanding their having sufficient proof of him, yet they would contend with him
  • 3:12 —mentioned 30 times
The very point the writer wishes to make is just this: Remember that to apostatize from Christ in whom you have found God, is to apostatize from God.
  • 3:13 —mentioned 6 times
to exhort; which, as a private duty, is an earnest, frequent calling on, stirring up, or persuading, encouraging to perseverance in the Christian religion, and to put away all heart evil, especially unbelief, which traineth to apostacy
  • 3:15 —mentioned once
To-day, if you will believe what God speaketh to you by him, and hath recorded in his word concerning his being the Messiah, and render not yourselves deaf to God’s voice, or obdurate through unbelief, as your forefathers did, when their unbelief and hardness of heart imbittered God’s Spirit against them, because acting in it against their solemn vows and engagements to him, so as to apostatize from him.
  • 3:16 —mentioned 4 times
The writer would say, "My warning against apostasy is not superfluous or irrelevant: for, consider: who were they that provoked God?
  • 3:17 —mentioned once
τοῖς ἁμαρτήσασιν] those that had sinned, namely, by unbelief and apostasy from God.
  • 3:18 —mentioned 3 times
To prevent these Hebrews falling, the Spirit repeats the direful oath of God to apostates in the wilderness


  • 4:1 —mentioned once
he proceeds to describe the case of hardened and defiant apostates
  • 4:11 —mentioned twice
The particle en may be read, into, and then it implies, lest any of you prove rebels and apostates.
  • 4:13 —mentioned 3 times
No thought of unbelief or disobedience escapes His eye: the first beginnings of apostasy are manifest before Him.
  • 4:14 —mentioned 3 times
This is the drift and scope of the Epistle - to show that Christians should hold fast their profession, and not apostatize.


  • 5:11 —mentioned once
and with warning admonition points out that those who have already had experience of the rich blessing of Christianity, and nevertheless apostatize from the same, let slip beyond the possibility of recall the Christian salvation
  • 5:12 —mentioned once
This agrees well with the general strain of the Epistle, which is to preserve them from the danger of apostasy.


  • 6:1 —mentioned 8 times
indeed, the connection between immaturity of apprehension of Christian truth and the danger of apostasy is a thought present throughout the Epistle.
  • 6:2 —mentioned twice
Nor does it prove that any one who is made a new creature in Christ, ever becomes a final apostate from him.
  • 6:3 —mentioned twice
We should ourselves beware, and caution others, of every approach near to a gulf so awful as apostacy
  • 6:4 —mentioned 18 times
I shall endeavor, as well as I may be able, to state the true meaning of the passage by an examination of the words and phrases in detail, observing here, in general, that it seems to me that it refers to true Christians; that the object is to keep them from apostasy, and that it teaches that if they should apostatize, it would be impossible to renew them again or to save them.
  • 6:5 —mentioned twice
the falling away here mentioned, is an open and avowed renouncing of Christ, from enmity of heart against him, his cause, and people, by men approving in their minds the deeds of his murderers, and all this after they have received the knowledge of the truth, and tasted some of its comforts.
...and caution others, of every approach near to a gulf so awful as apostacy; yet in doing this we should keep close to the word of God, and be careful not to wound and terrify the weak, or discourage the fallen and penitent.
  • 6:6 —mentioned 35 times
The word rendered "fall away" means properly "to fall near by anyone;" "to fall in with or meet;" and thus to fall aside from, to swerve or deviate from; and here means undoubtedly to "apostatize from," and implies an entire renunciation of Christianity, or a going back to a state of Judaism, paganism, or sin.
  • 6:7 —mentioned 9 times
The design is to show that a Christian who makes proper use of the means of growing in grace which God bestows upon him, and who does not apostatize, meets with the divine favor and approbation.
  • 6:8 —mentioned 11 times
the end of briers and thorns is the fire, they are to be burnt up by it; and this will be the final issue with apostates, to be destroyed by a Christ whom they have rejected, with eternal fire
  • 6:9 —mentioned 13 times
The most fruitful Christians need to be warned against possible barrenness and apostasy.
  • 6:10 —mentioned once
the things that accompany salvation, are better things than ever any dissembler or apostate enjoyed.
  • 6:12 —mentioned once
By diligent and strenuous effort only could they secure themselves from the danger of apostasy.
  • 6:15 —mentioned once
It would furnish ample encouragement to the Christians to whom he wrote, to persevere in their course, and to avoid the dangers of apostasy.
  • 6:20 —mentioned 5 times
To illustrate this fact, was the object for which this discussion was introduced, and which had been interrupted by the remarks occurring in this chapter on the danger of apostasy.


  • 7:2 —mentioned once
Melchisedec is a sample of how God preserves, amidst general apostasy, an elect remnant.
  • 7:12 —mentioned once
For when Christ, the gospel High Priest, had in his person and work perfected all of it in heaven, he roots out that order of priesthood, abolisheth the law, scatters the people which would cleave to it; demolisheth the temple and city to which he confined the administration, so as all designs and endeavours of Jews, or of apostate Christhins, to repair, or to restore it, have been ineffectual to this day.


  • 8:9 —mentioned once
these unbelieving Hebrews, under that administration of the covenant, continued not faithful to it, as by their own word and consent they bound themselves to it, but apostatized from God and his truth
  • 8:10 —mentioned once
The evidence of this letter itself shows that, whilst the writer regarded it as a distinctive characteristic of the gospel, that by it men’s wills were stamped with a delight in the law of God, and a transcript thereof, he still regarded these wills as unstable, as capable of losing the sharp lettering, of having the writing of God obliterated, and still regarded it as possible that there should be apostasy and departure.


  • 9:27 —mentioned once
It was according to God’s decreed and published statute of men’s but once dying; for God the Supreme Lord, Governor, and Judge of them, set, constituted, and appointed by an unalterable and irrevocable decree, as Lawgiver, and sentence, as Judge, to all of the sinful human race, the corrupt seed of apostate Adam, their grand representative, whom God threatened with this penalty upon his sinning and transgressing his law
  • 9:28 —mentioned once
What a sin then was it, and what a folly, to look back with apostatising glances at the shadows of a petty Levitism while Christ the Mediator of a New, of a better, of a final Dispensation—Christ whose blood had a real and no mere symbolic efficacy had died once for all, and Alone for all, as the sinless Son of God to obtain for us an eternal redemption, and to return for our salvation as the Everlasting Victor over sin and death!


  • 10:1 —mentioned once
Wherefore we ought to draw near the Holiest in firm faith and love; fearful of the awful results of apostasy; looking for the recompense to be given at Christ's coming.
with earnest exhortation, encouragement to perseverance alternating with solemn warning against apostasy.
It is evident that those whom he wrote were suffering persecution Hebrews 12, and that there was great danger that they would apostatize.
  • 10:25 —mentioned 14 times
In the neglect of public worship the writer saw the dangerous germ of apostasy.
  • 10:26 —mentioned 27 times
“As the apostle, in the former part of the epistle, had proved that the sacrifices of the law were all abolished, and that the only sacrifice for sin remaining was the sacrifice of Christ, it followed that apostates, who wilfully renounced the benefit of that sacrifice, had no sacrifice for sin whatever remaining to them.”
  • 10:27 —mentioned 6 times
All that is left for willing apostates when they have turned their backs on the sole means of grace is “some fearful expectance of a judgment.”
  • 10:28 —mentioned 14 times
Apostasy from the Mosaic law itself is punishable with death; how much greater thus must be the punishment of him who, by apostasy from Christ, has treated with contumely the Son of God, of whose redeeming benefits he has already had experience!
  • 10:29 —mentioned 30 times
the person, the apostate himself, who was sanctified or separated from others by a visible profession of religion; having given himself up to a church, to walk with it in the ordinances of the Gospel; and having submitted to baptism, and partook of the Lord's supper, and drank of the cup, "the blood of the New Testament", or "covenant": though he did not spiritually discern the body and blood of Christ in the ordinance, but counted the bread and wine, the symbols of them, as common things
...ὁ καταπατήσας] who has trodden under foot, as though it were a contemptible, useless thing.
  • 10:30 —mentioned 9 times
If any should apostatize in the manner here referred to by the apostle, they would, says he, be guilty of great and unparalleled wickedness, and would have the certainty that they must meet the wrath of God.
  • 10:31 —mentioned 5 times
The sin here mentioned is a total and final falling away, when men, with a full and fixed will and resolution, despise and reject Christ, the only Saviour; despise and resist the Spirit, the only Sanctifier; and despise and renounce the gospel, the only way of salvation, and the words of eternal life.
...The punishment of these apostates is further aggravated from the inflicter of it, the knowledge of which should make them tremble; the thoughts of it might affect them, as the hand-writing on the wall did Belshazzar, Daniel 5:6.
  • 10:32 —mentioned 5 times
at the time when the apostle wrote this Epistle they were suffering some severe trials, in which they were in great danger of apostatizing from their religion.
denieth all degrees of apostacy, from secret undervaluing to an utter renouncing, not to slight, despise, or reject; they had endured already so much as might steel and fortify them against what remained, and implieth the bold, resolute, and courageous retention, Ephesians 6:10,16, of the boldness of their confession of the Christian faith.
the apostates, on the other hand, shall be overtaken by destruction.
  • 10:38 —mentioned 7 times
the apostle urges on them the importance of perseverance, and the guilt and danger of apostasy from the Christian faith.
  • 10:39 —mentioned 12 times
What could be a more effectual means than the assurance that if a Christian should apostatize "he must inevitably perish forever?"


  • 11:25 —mentioned 3 times
By ἁμαρτία is meant apostasy from God, by the abandoning of the communion with the people of God.
The word ἐπειράσ θησαν if genuine, may possibly have been suggested by alliteration, and by thought of the temptations to apostatize prominent in the account both of Eleazar and of the seven sons
in the strong effort to tempt the last and youngest of the seven brother-martyrs to apostatise in 2 Maccabees 7.
This, therefore, accords entirely with the argument which the apostle is pursuing - which is, to show that the Christians whom he addressed should not apostatize from their religion.


  • 12:1 —mentioned twice
sin in general, with, however, special reference to "apostasy," against which he had already warned them, as one to which they might gradually be seduced; the besetting sin of the Hebrews, UNBELIEF.
  • 12:4 —mentioned 7 times
The apostle exhorts them to strive manfully and perseveringly against sin in every form, and especially against the sin of apostasy.
lest being lame or halting in their minds between Judaism and Christianity, because of the violent persecution of them by their infidel brethren, they should be turned aside out of God’s way, erring, and deviating from the truth of the gospel; but that they be restored to it, so as no sufferings upon that account, under God’s hand, might make them suppress the truth, or expose them to apostacy, or to walk as stumbling-blocks to others, and wounding their own souls
  • 12:15 —mentioned 8 times
the apostasy to which the Hebrew Christians were tempted is compared with the sin committed by those who by idolatry fell away from God’s ancient covenant; and as one idol-worshipper in a community might bring into it a root of bitter poison, so one apostate from the Christian faith would bring trouble and defilement on the Church.
  • 12:17 —mentioned 5 times
This passage, therefore, is in accordance with the doctrine more than once stated before in this Epistle, that if a Christian should really apostatize it would be impossible that he should be saved
  • 12:18 —mentioned 6 times
As if he had said, Take heed of apostatizing from Christianity to Judaism again, because of the great privileges you enjoy by the gospel above what your fathers enjoyed by the law: which privileges contain a strong reason why you should attend to these exhortations and cautions
how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostacy
See that you do not refuse Him who speaketh from heaven, with infinite tenderness and love; for how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostacy, while he so graciously beseeches them to be reconciled, and to receive his everlasting favour!
For in Deuteronomy 9:19 Moses, after the apostasy of Israel in worshipping the Golden Calf, said, “I was afraid (LXX. καὶ ἔκφοβός εἰμι) of the anger and hot displeasure of the Lord,” and in Acts 7:32 we find the words “becoming a-tremble” (ἔντρομος γενόμενος) to express the fear of Moses on seeing the Burning Bush [32]
  • 12:22 —mentioned 4 times
apostasy from this religion could not be less terrible in its consequences than apostasy from the religion of Moses.
the aim of the writer, to warn the readers against laxity of morals, and consequently against apostasy from Christianity
how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostacy
  • 12:25 —mentioned 3 times
he warns them against falling away again from Christianity through laxity of morals (comp. also Hebrews 12:28 f.), in pointing out, similarly as Hebrews 2:2 ff., Hebrews 10:28 ff., that if the Israelites in old time incurred punishment by disobedience to the O. T. revelation of God, an incomparably severer judgment would overtake those Christians who should turn back again from the N. T. revelation of God.
The meaning is, that the introduction of the gospel was a much more solemn and momentous thing than the giving of the Law - and that, therefore, it was much more fearful and dangerous to apostatize from it.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaketh from heaven, with infinite tenderness and love; for how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostacy, while he so graciously beseeches them to be reconciled, and to receive his everlasting favour! God's dealing with men under the gospel, in a way of grace, assures us, that he will deal with the despisers of the gospel, in a way of judgment.
the apostle brought the same instance of vengeance to the remembrance of the Hebrews, that they might be deterred from apostacy, disobedience, and all irreverence in the worship of God: who, though he appears so full of mercy in the gospel, is as much determined to punish the rebellious as ever.
an anthropomorphic way of expressing His hatred of apostasy and idolatry.


  • 13:4 —mentioned once
a good, moral use of the marriage bed, the natural and lawful use of the wife by the husband, and of the husband by the wife, according to the law of God; which is so far from being unclean, filthy, and inconsistent with the purity of Christ, as papists, apostates from the faith, assert [33]
The Jews spoke of them as “Nazarenes,” “Epicureans,” “heretics,” “followers of the thing,” and especially “apostates,” “traitors,” and “renegades.”
Suffer the word of exhortation - Referring to the arguments and counsels in this whole Epistle, which is in fact a practical exhortation to perseverance in adhering to the Christian religion amidst all the temptations which existed to apostasy.

Hebrews 6:4-6: the crucifying of Christ again

Apostasy View

Hebrews 6:4-6 is a direct reference to apostasy, a "falling away" or abandoning of Christ. The word παραπεσόντας parapesontas in verse 6 is translated as both "fall away" and "apostatize". It derives from the basic Greek word παραπίπτω "parapiptõ" (KJV "fall" Strong's number 3895): "to fall aside, that is (figuratively) to apostatize."

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, 5 And have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. KJV (boldface emphasis added)
Evangelicals and fundamentalists understand verse 6 as a direct reference to the sacrifice of the Mass, "seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh". But Catholics and Orthodox understand Hebrews 6:4-6 as a direct reference to the sin of apostasy, and see it as directly related to Hebrews 10: 23-31.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,[34] and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. KJV

Alternate Interpretation

Hebrews 6:6 is in the middle of a passage bookmarked by Melchizedek in Hebrews 5:10 through Hebrews 7:1 with everything in between as one progressive thought. The author of Hebrews began to explain the individual priesthood to the Hebrew Christians represented by Melchizedek but realized in Hebrews 5:11 that they had regressed in their faith and pointed out that they were now studying how to become born again to the point that they were even attempting to become born again a second time. As individual priests before God, Christians are supposed to confess their sins to God and not to seek to become born again a second time as the Hebrew Christians were doing.

Hebrews 6:6 Fallen away: Greek word is parapipto which is a compound of para (near or immediately next to; where English word parallel comes from) and pipto (to stumble or fall down) which could be translated as fallen beside or we could say stumble beside the Christian path. Parapipto (a verb) is used once in the Bible but the noun paraptoma (3900) is used often. Some examples: Galatians 6:1; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:7 & 2:1; Romans 11:11 (stumbled first then fell). In the NASB it is translated as trespass(es) and transgression(s)

John 13:9-11 Peter wanted a second bath. Since Peter is immature at this point, Jesus provides a gentle explanation that once you are bathed (believe in Jesus Christ) you only need your feet washed. Priests in old testament bathed at home and then washed their feet at the temple. Foot washing represents God cleansing us from our sins while we are in the world. 2 Peter 1:9 Tells us that you can forget that you've been purged from old sins or forget you've been born again.

When Moses was at the waste place of Horeb, God commanded Moses to strike the rock with his rod of judgment (Exodus 17:5-6). Later at the sacred place of Kadesh, Moses was commanded to speak to the rock with Aaron's rod which had budded but instead took Aaron's rod and struck the rock a second time (Numbers 20:9 & 17:10). In the former, striking the rock represented Jesus on the cross bearing our judgment to provide salvation. In the latter, speaking to the rock with Aaron's rod represents our priestly duties of confessing our sins post salvation (1 John 1:9). Striking the rock the second time caused God to not be hallowed (Numbers 20:12) and was sufficient to bar Moses from entering the promised land. To amplify, Hebrews 3:7-11, 15, 4:3 & 4:7 quote from Psalms 95:7-11 which speaks about the Meribah incident.

In John 11:21, 32 Martha and Mary said exactly the same things to Jesus but received entirely different responses. Martha was the busy body who did not want to study God's word and did not know much about God and even wanted to leave when Jesus was explaining things to her. Mary was the spiritually mature sister who used to sit at the feet of Jesus and therefore Jesus had higher expectations of her and therefore wept when Jesus saw the hopelessness of the people and the lack of spiritual witness by Mary.

The Corinthian church had always been immature and therefore had lower expectations so we do not see words such as this in the letters to the Corinthians. The Hebrews had higher expectations since they had been mature and are therefore rebuked sharply for their attempts to become born again a second time.

Hebrews 10:26 can be understood by the word "We" or we Hebrews who have been relying on the laws and sacrifices for generations. If we Hebrews continue to rely on the laws and sacrifices after we have heard of Jesus Christ, then there is no more sacrifice.

Further information

See
interlinear text of Hebrews 6:6
multiple translations of Hebrews 6:6
multiple commentaries on Hebrews 6:6
Strong's number 3895 παραπίπτω parapiptó: to fall in, into or away, to fail
the basic text analysis of Hebrews 6:6 —παραπεσόντας "having fallen away" (from God)
100 Bible verses about Apostasy

The entire Letter to the Hebrews constitutes a flawlessly-reasoned and impassioned argument against committing apostasy.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Sources defining and discussing the standard meaning of apostasy:
    Merriam-Webster - apostasy (merriam-webster.com)
    Dictionary.com apostasy (dictionary.com)
    TheFreeDictionary.com apostasy (thefreedictionary.com)
    Merriam-Webster - apostate (merriam-webster.com)
    Dictionary.com apostate (dictionary.com)
    Your Dictionary: Apostasy (yourdictionary.com)
    Wikipedia - apostasy (wikipedia.org)
    Wikipedia - Apostasy in Judaism (Wikipedia.org)
    Wikipedia - Apostasy in Islam (Wikipedia.org)
    PewResearchCenter Which countries still outlaw apostasy and blasphemy? by Angelina E. Theodorou (pewreasearch.org)
    Apologetics Index: Apostasy (apologeticsindex.org) includes apostasy from cults and cultic responses to those who have apostatized from their ranks
    Mormon Think: apostasy (mormonthink.com) Article discussing phenomenon of apostasy from the ranks of the Latter-Day Saints, and how the LDS Church defines "apostasy".
    Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Apostasy. Mark W. Karlberg (biblestudytools.com)
    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Apostasy; Apostate. Dwight M. Pratt (biblestudytools.com)
    Catholic Encyclopedia: Apostasy (newadvent.org) This article defines multiple meanings of apostasy.
    (The meaning relevant to this Conservapedia article is Apostasy Fide or Perfidiae, complete departure from the Christian faith.)
  2. Catholic Essentials: Apostasy (catholicessentials.net)
  3. Galatians 5:4
  4. 4.0 4.1 1 Timothy 4:1-5
  5. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10
  6. Acts 20:28-31; 1 John 2:18-19
  7. 1 John 2:19
  8. 8.0 8.1 Matthew 16:18; 18:15-20; 28:20; John 14:16-17, 23, 26; 16:7, 12-14; 17:9-23
  9. 1 Timothy 3:15
  10. Hebrews 18:17 and 7; Romans 13:1-2
  11. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 reference to "oral tradition" and "scripture"
  12. Ephesians 3:10
  13. Hebrews 6:18
  14. See Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed and Athanasian Creed
  15. Where and when did the Catholicism begin? by John Oakes (evidenceforchristianity.org)
  16. Compare Mark 3:28-30; John 10:37-38; see also Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
  17. Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church (2014) International Theological Commission (vatican.va)
    Vatican theologians: don't confuse sensus fidelium with majority opinion Catholic Herald (catholicherald.co.uk)
    Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, Georges Florovsky, Emeritus Professor of Eastern Church History, Harvard University (Bulgarian-orthodox-church.org) pdf
  18. OrthodoxWiki: "Heresy" (orthodoxwiki.org) This site gives a list by name of the early individuals and movements condemned as heretical by the orthodox catholic Church.
  19. See Jesus' warning in John 15:4-6. Compare the "stone" of Daniel 2:34, 44-45 and the "stone" of Matthew 16:18-19.
    A partial list of early heretical movements which have become extinct or remain "withered" and insignificant today includes the following:
    Circumcisers,
    Judaizers,
    Ebionites,
    Docetism,
    Simonianism,
    Gnosticism,
    Nicolaitanism,
    Marcionism,
    Messalianism,
    Sethians,
    Valentinianism,
    Basilideanism,
    Barchaisanitism,
    Montanism,
    Sabellianism,
    Arianism,
    Pelagianism,
    Semi-Pelagianism,
    Manicheanism,
    Paulicianism.
  20. First Council of Nicaea - 325 A.D. The Canons of the Council are listed.
    Compare the claim that false doctrine was introduced in them.
    See the anti-Catholic Wikipedia article Great Apostasy
  21. See articles: The primary witness to the proceedings was the church historian Eusebius, who covers the events in his Life of Constantine. There were also other witnesses, from the following century, three important church histories which pick up from where Eusebius left off and which all, at or near the beginning, cover the events of Nicaea. These are by Socrates, Sozomen and Theodoret. From these records we find that whenever appeal was made to the emperor by some of the members of the Council for a decision, Constantine deferred to their knowledge of theology, and always referred their concerns to the representatives of the Council for their consensus and determination of the matter. His major concern was unity. Their major concern was a correct interpretation of the true meaning of the words of Scripture, according to the traditions of the apostles (Apostolic Tradition).
  22. See Logical fallacies: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and manufacturing facts from a theory.
  23. Statement to The Imperial Diet ('Assembly') of Worms (Germany), May 1521, presided over by Emperor Charles V. At the diet Luther was asked if he would retract his teachings condemned by the Pope (to include his 95 Theses). After a day's meditation he refused. He declared, "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen."
  24. See Logical fallacy: Proof by assertion. Do an online search for "Martin Luther's evidence that popes and councils have contradicted each other".
  25. For example, those whom Paul called "false brethren, false apostles". Compare Galatians 2:4; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15.
  26. The word "apostasy" is often deliberately abused and misused as a blanket term for any or all perceived deviations from Christian truth, especially violations of particular denominational and sectarian principles and standards of conduct and belief, principles and standards which others call heretical and intolerant. Polemical attacks by any one fundamentalist Christian group against any or all other groups or denominations invariably include charges of apostasy. See examples of improper usage of "apostasy" and "apostate" in the following articles: These three writers along with many others have redefined failures to practice the faith, deliberate refusal to practice the faith or participate in public worship or witness to Christ, along with actual sins of spiritual indifference, sloth, superstition, hypocrisy, scandal, crime, blasphemy, sacrilege and heresy as terms equal to and synonymous with apostasy. They are not. In very many instances the meaning of apostasy has been eisegetically read into scriptures that say nothing about apostasy—which is the absolute repudiation of one's faith—but are instead scriptures about hesitation, spiritual cowardice in the face of opposition, doubt, error, disbelief, and rebellious disobedience. People who have not yet gone so far as to publicly renounce their faith entirely are thus judged to be crypto-apostates who will sooner or later commit open apostasy. Such a careless blurring of the distinction between sin, heresy and apostasy seems to be based on an overly-zealous, very broad interpretation of James 1:14-15: "but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death." Many Christians have been taught that sin is sin, and there is no difference. All apostates are going to hell. However, 1 John 5:16-17 sets forth a clear distinction between kinds and degrees of sin: "If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal [deadly] sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal [deadly]. There is a sin which is mortal [deadly]; I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal [deadly]." See Jesus' own word to Pilate in John 19:11 "...he who delivered me to you has the greater sin." This is the scriptural basis for the Catholic distinction between venial and mortal sins. See especially Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10.
    Compare the standard definitions of apostasy in footnote [1].
    See also Seven Deadly Sins and Excommunication.
  27. 2 Timothy 3:5 (see verses 1-9)
  28. Hebrews 6:4-8
  29. Compare KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 "Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion".
  30. See Topical Bible "provocation" (of God) at https://biblehub.com/topical/p/provocation.htm
  31. See general index to multiple commentaries on every verse in Hebrews at biblehub.com site at http://biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/ —For each of the 82 verses linked here the key word search on-page is: "aposta"—apostasy, apostacy, apostate, apostates, apostatize, apostatizing.
    For an amplified understanding of the broader meaning of "apostasy" see also Topical Bible "apostasy" at https://biblehub.com/topical/a/apostasy.htm and Topical Bible "apostacy" at http://biblehub.net/searchtopical.php?q=apostacy
  32. See Deuteronomy 9:19 and Hebrews 12:21; also Exodus 3:6 and 34:8.
  33. "papists, apostates from the faith"—see calumny and libel. As demonstrated in this article by the actual definition of "apostasy", the Catholic Church is not apostate and Catholics are not apostates from the faith. The papist Catholic Church, in its official teaching, has always taken a positive view of the marriage bed and of sexuality in marriage. Marital intercourse, says the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2362), is “noble and honorable,” established by God so that “spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit.”—Marital Sexuality (foryourmarriage.org).
    According to the papist Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) paragraphs 1601–1617 marriage "is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring", and in paragraphs 2331–2400 the conjugal sexual relation between spouses "preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man's exalted vocation to parenthood."
  34. "unholy thing", meaning "ordinary", nothing sacred, Strong's number 2839, "κοινός" kǒinǒs, "common, profane, defiled, unclean, unholy". Catholics interpret Hebrews 10:29 as referring to rejection of rhe real presence of Christ in the sacrifice of the Mass as blasphemy—see The Bible and Transubstantiation in Roman Catholic theology

See also

Pythagoras
Aristotle
Plotinus
Mystery religion
Bogomil: Bogomilism
Antichrist
Holy Spirit
Council of Jerusalem
Apostolic succession
Infant baptism
Historical-grammatical method (Literal hermeneutic)
Essay: Water baptism cannot save, the Church cannot save, Born again by faith alone
"Catholic Heresies and Traditions Adopted and Perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church in the Course of 1600 Years"
Burning at the stake, Biblical pretext for
Pope
Syncretism
Idolatry
Icon
Iconoclasm
Marcion
Heresy
Apostolic Fathers
Ante-Nicene Fathers
Gnosticism
Neo-Gnosticism
Arius
Julian the Apostate
Saint Augustine
Ecumenical council
Council of Nicaea
Monophysite
Monothelites
Pelagianism
St. Thomas Aquinas
Tradition
Cathar
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Shroud of Turin
Council of Trent
''The Two Babylons''
Essay:Reasons the Catholic Church is Unbiblical
Slander
Cafeteria Christian
Cafeteria Catholic
Second Vatican Council
Society of St. Pius X
Ignorance
Prejudice
Hypocrisy
Polemic
Cult
The Da Vinci Code
Specious reasoning
Propaganda

External links

This sermon transcript is an outstandingly clear representation, based almost entirely on an anti-sacramental Evangelical Christian interpretation of Hebrews 8 and 10, of the claim that a Great Apostasy must have occurred in the first and second centuries of Christianity, first perpetrated by a unanimous doctrinal conspiracy among the earliest Church Fathers which was passively accepted by all the heads and leaders of the churches without comment, criticism or protest, in silence, and then perpetuated through the centuries by Church Councils and enforced by threats of damnation to hell.