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September 20, 2000

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Q/A Topics:
Apostasy?

QUESTION:
I have always thought that an apostate was one that never was saved and would eventually be lost. Seems like today I hear more about Christians being apostates and that they are saved. What is your teaching about this? I receive your e-mail and and find it very interesting.

ANSWER:
In 2Th2:3 it says, "...there first comes a falling away..." The expression "falling away" comes from the Greek "apostasia", meaning "falling away, defection". In its neuter form this word is "apostasion", meaning, "divorce, repudiation, bill of divorce". Possibly derived from "aphistemi".. "to stand off, to withdraw, to remove, to go away or depart or desert".

OK... you who insist on your protestant/reformed doctrine of 'once saved always saved' that was taught by those 'great men' you revere, are you getting an idea of that expression we have used in the past regarding this subject, of "JUMPING SHIP"? Salvation is -never- "lost". There is never a question as to "where" salvation might be. It never goes anywhere and 'disappears' from being able to be found. You cannot "lose" it. It is always firmly 'eternally secure' (Rom8:32-39) through the "name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" (Acts4:10-12).

The expression "falling away" in 2Th2:3 is a similar meaning as, "if he -DRAWS-BACK-, My soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Heb10:38-39)

On an -individual- sense we have spoken of this in the past. Those studies can be found at the website TopicSearch ('left' box) under "once saved always saved". An -individual- can "put his hand to the plow and LOOK BACK" (Lk9:62) Just like Lot's wife started to follow the angels out of Sodom, but stopped to look back, and was caught in the destruction and perished. Notice that it was not that she merely turned her head to 'look', but she "looked back -FROM-BEHIND- him" (Gen19:26). She was dragging her feet, lagging behind the others who were escaping, actually wishing to 'remain' in Sodom. She apparently liked it there, and didn't want to leave. So, God granted her wish, and destroyed her along with them.

In a corporate sense, this is where the "church" is today. Corporately, many of the denominations used to hold to the Gospel, taught it in their seminaries, and the pastors preached it from the pulpits. But they have been REJECTING it in more recent years. It used to be that certain churches, with certain denominational titles behind their names, you could pretty much count on, if you walked through their doors, you would hear God's Word taught during the various meetings and studies. But today, they are REJECTING doctrine. Scripture says to all be of "one mind and one judgment" (1Cor1:10) and to "come out from [the world] and be separated.." (2Cor6:17) but their primary theme is "unity" and tolerance. And in order to embrace these others, they have agreed to lay doctrine aside. Doctrine, to them, is a "wall" which must be torn down.

Yes...OF COURSE it's a WALL! It is -intended- to be a WALL. To keep the world out, and make a distinction between the holy and profane. (Lev22:15,32) To keep God's people HOLY. And again, "holy" does not mean swooning and 'feeling' all gushy inside, with an imagined -pagan- sun/moon-god 'halo' hovering over one's head. Holy means to "be separated". Quite often, being holy does not 'feel' very 'nice' at all! It is hard. It requires vigilance.

There used to be a distinction between the music of the world and that of the church. But little by little, musicians "snuck" the world's music in. You wonder if I know what I'm talking about, when I hint that there was some sort of sinister "plot"? DURING THE TIME I was in Bible school (1968), a particular musical touring group I was in, was -the- group which introduced to the school, and its parent church (Central Bible Church), the beginnings of the world. I still remember vividly the discussions of the music director with us ensemble singers as to how the conservative [read "stodgy"] pastor might accept the introduction of his 'thump-thump' bass into the church as we were to perform, there, the concert we were taking on tour. These were the days of "Peter Paul & Mary" and Smuthers Brothers with their guitars and "thumpity" bass. A slightly toned-down version of this is what 'we' introduced to the "church". It didn't take long at all, a mere 'couple' of years after I had left that school and was pursuing my music degree at state university, that they had gotten the drums in there, too. The introduction of it was -deliberate-. The discussion was of the heart and intent of "how can we slip it past them, without them kicking us out?" (You see, the director didn't know quite for sure, but what the pastor would come up during the performance and ask that the guitar and bass not be used) At the time, I was naive enough, and I loved the music, so it all seemed 'reasonable' enough to me. After all, that pastor didn't "know music" like we did. And, yes... we were one of the first major Bible schools to do this! As I understand it, at the time, the people from what was one of the most solid Bible schools in Alberta wrote to this school, -quite- concerned about the direction the school was going with its music. It was leaving the path its two founders had laid out for it, that "If it's Bible you want, you want M________" They have subsequently changed that slogan..! Now, today, this same school has been a major ring-leader of the Prayer Summit movement, which also is seeking for "revival" to spread across the nation. In today's terminology, "revival" is this charismatic "spirit-filling" and all the stuff that goes with it. "Doctrines of demons" (1Tm4:1)

[Editor's note: While I usually name the names of places, I don't when it involves places where -I- was, lest people add it to their list of pigeon-holing this ministry. As it is, many are frustrated that VW does not post a "statement of faith". But neither did Jesus. (Jn18:19-21) For any of you who happen to know of this school, from what has been said here, you will know which one it is. For the rest of you, please accept this explanation at face value. While I attended the school, mostly because of that former slogan, what gets proclaimed through VW does not come from it. I am guessing that the time I was there was the beginning of the process of it changing from what it was, to the apostate that it is now. Even then, had it not been for the music in which I was talented, I did not really 'fit in' there. Even though there were some professors who taught God's Word, the spirit of the place was shifting.]

So...APOSTASY...? It is a pulling away, rejecting, jumping ship, withdrawing from, repudiating, divorcing that which had been embraced in the past. And in the case of the "divorce" definition, it is not merely a "leaving", like the prodigal son who eventually came to his senses and returned after backsliding, but it is making it "legal" by writing up the papers and getting them notorized. This is not the 'casual' sin which all Believers are guilty of from time to time (1Jn1:8), for which we have advocacy with the Father through Jesus Christ. (1Jn2:1) This is deliberate, purposeful, systematic, permanent MOVE. They DON'T WANT God's Word! They DON'T WANT Doctrine! And since we know that "the Word [is] God" (Jn1:1), that means, they DON'T WANT.. GOD!!

This is verified with Jesus' words. When you who truly -do- know the Lord experience the taunts and onsloughts of the apostates, Jesus said, "they will do these things to you because they have not known the Father nor Me." (Jn16:3) He would not have said such a thing if it didn't 'appear' that they were Believers. They claim to be Believers, but are not.

Thus, to the final point from your question... Apostates are NOT SAVED.

On an individual level, an apostate is one who -was- saved, but has turned his back on God. And when he thus "draws back", he can never more be saved -again-. (Heb6:6)

At the 'corporate' level, apostates are those organizations, denominations, assemblies and the people running them, that used to hold to God and His Word and Doctrine, but -now- don't. They are "uniting" everybody, throwing doctrine out the window in order to do so. While there may be -individuals- within these organizations who are saved, because they don't know enough to "come out of her, My people" (Rev18:4); and while some were brought into the organization -as- unregenerates due to the corporate apostasy, thus, they themselves may not be "apostate", but, simply never-been-saved to begin with; collectively, the people within the organizations are UNSAVED. The organization is "apostate"... By definition.

Just as the 'individual' apostate can never be saved again, the Scripture doesn't indicate that we can 'stay in' the corporate structure and change them, either. I used to try. And I know others who stay in the apostate churches, trying to "change" them. But it won't happen. Rather, they are set for being "spewed out" (Rev3:16) of God's mouth in His wrath, and Scripture calls the True Believers to "come out of her, My people" (Rev18:4)


FOLLOW-UP...

BECOMING 'unsaved' in an apostate situation?

QUESTION:
do I understand this right? Someone who is saved but stays in an apostate church-can become unsaved?

ANSWER:
The -act- of "staying" in an apostate church will not UNSAVE a person. A person's standing before God is not based on the 'organization' with which a person associates. It is an "individual" matter. "So then each one of us will give account concerning HIMSELF to God". (Rom14:12) As long as the individual heart remains true to God, he remains saved. But, if a person remains and 'learns from' the apostate organization... how long does it take for the person to become 'worn down', and then decide to "change" away from God, to embrace the apostate doctrine? God knows the heart.

There is the concept, Pr 16:3 "Roll your works on Jehovah, and your thoughts shall be established." And Pr 4:26 "Study the track of your feet, then all your ways will be established." When we are saved we have a "renewing of your mind" (Rom12:2) When Paul speaks of the struggle of living the Godly life within these bodies of flesh, he speaks of the "mind". (Rom7:25) When we pray and worship we do so with our spirit AND -mind-. If we place/leave ourselves in an apostate situation, at what point do our continual actions and acceptance of the doctrines that surround us become ingrained into our minds, and eventually the heart? That's a scary thing to consider, isn't it. No... works will not forfeit our salvation, just as works cannot save us in the first place. (Eph2:8-9, Tit3:5) But at what point does an individual's works ingrain themselves into the person to where his thoughts/mind become molded to match his works? ...where his prideful -heart- decides that he 'prefers' falsehood to God's Word? (Eze33:13)

In my case, I grew up within various apostate situations. It was all I knew. But God knew my heart, and brought me along, and showed me His Truth, and brought me "out of" it. Even though I was -in- it, I was never -of- it. I never "fit"... even as a child. There were always conflicts. When I was in the midst of the conflicts I did not understand them. I thought I was being attacked by "Christians". I did not yet realize that the whole lot was apostate. But I suspect the Lord was testing my heart, and giving me growth and strength; toughening and conditioning. You see, I did have God's Word "in my heart". (Ps119:11) And eventually, when it was His proper time, He gave me full understanding of what all that had been.

A person cannot always help the fact that they were 'placed into' an apostate situation, either from birth and childhood, or being in it and then becoming a Christian. But when a person comes to know and understand the truth, they -NEED- to come out of it. That's why God's Word says, "come out of her, My people" (Rev18:4) God knew that many people would find themselves in apostate situations. That's why He wrote, "come out from among them and be separated.." (2Cor6:17)

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Keeping the Law perfectly?

QUESTION:
do you practice-what you preach??--do you obey every jot & tittle??? have you overcome---sin??----how consistently do you keep the law?? after 30 years of SO MANY messages, from so many sources---i,ve dropped out!! the BOTTOM-LINE for me is what LORD JESUS SAID!!! without him=forget it!! just alot of talk!! do you know anyone, who keeps the commandment,s---perfectly--24/7????

ANSWER:
If anybody claims to, they would have to be better than Paul (Rom ch7), who did not count himself to be "already perfect" (Phil3:12) And furthermore, they would be lying hypocrites, not counting God's Word to be true when it says, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1Jn1:8) And let's take that last statement one step further...if a person claims to be "perfect" while in these bodies of corruption of flesh and blood (1Cor15:50), it says he is not saved. "Truth" is not "in" him. Jesus said, "I am the...truth..." (Jn14:6) They do not have Christ, and consequently, nor His Holy Spirit. One who does not have the Holy Spirit does not belong to God. (Rom8:9) And of course, if they make such a false claim, that claim is a "lie". They have broken #9 (Ex20:16)

And, if we were living perfect, why would we need the 'advocacy' of Jesus before the Father? (1Jn2:1) But we do...because we -do- sin from time to time...the dirt of the world clings to our feet, even though we are otherwise "clean every whit". (Jn13:10)

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