GODíS ANSWER TO APOSTASY
THE MILITANT DEFENSE
OF THE FAITH
In his last will and testament recorded in II Tim. 4, the Apostle Paul gives Godís answer to apostasy: the continual, militant vigilant defense of the Faith. Paul declares, "For I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the Faith."
In a day when some believers are laying down their arms by compromise, silence (the worst form of compromise!), neglect and permissiveness, Paulís words need to be emphasized anew.
THE UNCHANGEABLENESS OF THE FAITH
The Faith for which Paul fought until his home going is composed of the doctrines, teachings, truths and actual words of the Holy Scriptures. According to Jude 3, these truths composed of their precise words can never be altered or changed. It is these truths-this Faith-for which believers are to earnestly contend.
Apostasy destroys the faith, new-evangelicalism dilutes the faith and pseudo-fundamentalism diminishes the faith. Until the day of his death, the Apostle Paul was vigilant and militant in his defense against those who would destroy, dilute and diminish that Faith.
THE DELINEATION OF APOSTASY
In I Tim. 4:1 apostasy is described as the "departure from the Faith," while in II Thess. 2:3 it is delineated as a "falling away." Implicit in these descriptions is the fact that apostasy is the result of a process. Apostasy is a departure and a falling away. Both of those actions involve a gradual process first of attitude.
The process of apostasy begins with an attitude of softness, of unbelief concerning spiritual standards, unconcern about Bible texts, and unscriptural associations, for these are the primary areas in which the battle for the Faith is occurring today.
THE ORIGINS OF APOSTASY
When a pastor or church decides that new-evangelicalism and apostasy are not really as dangerous as the Bible claims, that pastor or church is sowing the seeds of unbelief and the nature of apostasy which is unbelief. (Jude6)
One of the reasons why the Apostle Paul was so militant in his defense of the Faith is that he recognized that the process behind apostasy was often a brief and short process.
BRIEF TIME SPANS INVOLVED IN CHANGE
When I Tim. was written in approximately 65AD, Paul states that some had turned aside and made shipwreck of the Faith. (I Tim. 1:6, 1:19, 5:15) It should be noted that Paul not only delineated the nature of this apostasy (a "turning aside unto vain jangling"-1:6 and a turning "aside unto Satan"-5:15) but he also declared the names of these apostates-Hymeanaeus and Alexander-1:20.
When Paul wrote II Tim., approximately one year later, the "some" of I Tim. 1:6 had turned to "all." (II Tim. 1:15) Again Paul not only describes the nature of this departure, "a turning away" but also the names of the departers, Phygellus and Hermogenes.
When Paul wrote the Colossian epistle in approximately 64AD, he mentions several of his companions and fellow-servants in the Faith such as Luke, Epaphrus and Demas. (Col. 4:12-14). By the time he penned II Tim. just two yrs. later, Demas had forsaken him "having loved this present world. (II Tim. 4:10)
OLD HERESIES UNDER NEW NAMES
New-evangelicalism and Pseudo-fundamentalism are not new movements-they are as old as the Bible-Demas was a N.T. new-evangelical and Lot was an O.T. new-evangelical! New-evangelicalism is nothing less than the love of this present world and in both cases Lot and Demas ended up disassociating themselves from the uncompromising testimony of their militant brethren. Both are set forth as examples believers ought to avoid.
New-evangelicalism, in simple form, is compromise with the spirit of the world. Pseudo-fundamentalism is nothing less than compromise and worldliness in various stages of growth-the seed, bud, and blossoms of NE poisoning.
The problem is that the pseudo-fundamentalists, unlike the NE, would like to continue wearing the label "fundamentalist" while continuing their compromise. Therefore, the pseudo-fundamentalist must be exposed.
It is impossible to distinguish between apostates and the world-they are the same. NE is "the love of this present world;" the holding of hands with the apostate world. By minimizing the difference between those who "love this present world" and those who "hate evil." (Ps. 97:10) the pseudo-fundamentalist is indicating his preference, bent and inclination towards the world.
THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM: LACK
When a preeminent conservative preacher stated on his TV program that "fundamentalism had too often been plagued in the past by a spirit of militancy", and when he stated that he felt his mandate was to make fundamentalism respectable in the eyes of the world, he was following the course of Demas, not the apostle Paul.
The apostle Paul fought the Judaizers at Galatia, he fought the charismatics at Corinth, he fought the Gnostics at Colosee and he fought the apostates and compromisers in Asia. The battle is for the "faith which was once delivered unto the Saints." The apostle Paul fought for and "kept the faith" until he died. Let us do likewise. DJ
Also in this issue:
|Editorial Ė August-September 2008 The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.|