WHEN THE GREAT APOSTASY OCCURREDOctober 12 2007 at 11:07 PM
Response to RCC Apostasized?
IN OUR PAST DISCUSSION we saw that the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ and of the apostles about the early Christians’ apostasy or turning away from the faith is recorded in history. The question now is: “When? Could an exact date be given for when the Church was apostatized?”
According to the apostles, when did the apostasy begin?
In II Thessalonians 2:5-7, this is what Apostles Paul says:
“Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” (NKJV)
According to Apostle Paul even back then when the Christians were with him, the mystery of lawlessness was already at work. There was just someone back then restraining it. He would be revealed in His own season.
What is this mystery of lawlessness being referred to which was already at work even during the time of the apostles?
In II Thessalonians 2:3, this is what we could read:
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” (NKJV)
Apostle Paul instructed the early Christians that they let no one deceive them by any means. He foretold that a falling away would come once the man of sin, the son of perdition, has been revealed.
What is the equivalent of the falling away mentioned here?
In II Thessalonians 2:3, this is what we could read:
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition.” (New American Standard Version)
The falling away was also the apostasy. So, there would be an apostasy according to Apostle Paul. The one who would carry this out was the man of sin, the son of perdition.
Why was the apostasy not revealed right away?
In II Thessalonians 2:7-8, this is the pronouncement:
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawlessness one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.” (NASB)
Even in the time of Apostle Paul, he was already able to detect the movement towards apostasy. It was just waiting for the ones restraining it to be removed, and only then would the lawless one or man of sin be revealed.
The ones who restrained the apostasy were the apostles themselves:
“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” (Acts 20:29, 25, NKJV)
Apostle Paul warned that after his departure savage wolves would come in and not spare the flock. The departure that Apostle Paul was referring to was his death:
“As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life.” (II Tim. 4:6, TEV)
Therefore, after the death of the apostles, the men of sin would be revealed who would turn the early Christians away from the faith.
When did the seed of the false doctrines that turn away from the faith, which were brought into the Church, begin to grow according to the testimony of history?
In the “Story of the Christian Church,” written by Jesse Lyman Hurbut, on pg. 44, this is written:
“At the end of the first century the doctrines set forth by the Apostle Paul in the Epistle to the Romans were accepted throughout the church as the standards of the faith. The teachings of St. Peter and St. John in their epistles show a complete accord with the views of St. Paul. Heretical opinions were arising, and sects were forming, the germs of which had been noted and warned against by the apostles, but their full development came late.”
The doctrines that were taught by the apostles were firmly united and were the standards of the first Church’s faith. But when heretical opinions arose, sects formed, in fulfillment of the prophecy of the apostles.
What did the Church experience with the passing of the centuries?
In the same book, this is stated on page 6:
“As long as the church was Jewish in its membership, and even afterward while it was controlled by practical men of the Jewish type, such men of St. Peter and St. Paul, there was only a slight tendency toward abstract and speculative thinking. But when the church found its largest constituency among the Greeks of Asia Minor, all sorts of strange opinions and theories arose, and grew to power in the church. The Christians of the second and third centuries battled not only against a persecuting heathen world, but also against heresies and corrupt doctrines within their own fold.”
When the Church was composed of Jews only, and administered by the apostles Peter and Paul, it was still controlled. But when the Church found its largest constituency among the Greeks, all kinds of strange opinions and theories arose and grew to power in the Church.
Thus, in the second and third centuries, Christians battled not only against heresies and corrupt doctrines within their own fold.
WHEN THE FALSE DOCTRINES WERE INTRODUCED INTO THE CHURCH
Here are some of the wrong doctrines that arose in the Church after the death of the apostles, and when they appeared in it:
1. In the year 110, Ignatius of Antioch used the name “Catholic” and applied it as a name of the Church. (The Question Box, p. 132)
2. At the beginning of the second century CHRIST was DEIFIED or RECOGNIZED AS GOD. (Systematic Theology, p. 305)
3. In the second century the RELICS OF “SAINTS” began to be venerated. (The Question Box, p. 373)
In the year 300, PRIESTS were FORBIDDEN to MARRY (ibid., p. 313)
People were forced to accept the doctrine on the Trinity in the 6th century. (The Church of our Fathers, pp. 62-63)
The changes that took place in the first church, particularly in the teachings that it followed and when they were brought into the Church, are the DATES OF APOSTASY.
- Re: WHEN THE GREAT APOSTASY OCCURRED - Lulu on Oct 13, 10:14 AM
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