'Apostasy?' Series Disclaimer

Posted by Jeffrey K Radt ("JRed") | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010

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I hope that it goes without saying that your readership and participation here are always greatly appreciated (even when we agree to disagree).

While this humble online ministry (if it's even right to call it that) is His and His alone with me merely serving Him by managing it, I think it's safe to say that He's used (is using) Look Up Fellowship for many different reasons in this late and urgent hour of humanity. One of those reasons is to bring me closer to Him and to teach me more about Him, His ways, and His Word.

You might not realize it either, but all of you are a BIG PART of that process too because the "friendships" that have been created via the blogosphere have not only led to fellowship, but faith-building as well. So, for that I want to say thank you very much for your time and work in that regard.

However, to be completely blunt with you, I'm feeling like this blog should be giving you more. I'm feeling like I could be doing more -- so much more. More on that in a few moments.

Those of you who already read the previous post will know why I'm deciding to devote a separate stand alone entry to something like this.

Yes, it's another "disclaimer" of sorts, but this one's for a new series of Bible studies I'm feeling compelled to devote time to in this forum.

Rather than include a lengthy introductory note at the beginning of each and every future post in the series, I'll simply make a comment or two and include a link to this for those that want to know the "What?" and "Why?" of this new regular feature.

So, without further adieu, here's the introduction to the upcoming "Apostasy?" series (or my humble attempt to "do more" with this blog the the community of believers here)...

It's time to bring out the "big guns" today, which is to say that I'm going to refrain from speculative, sign-spotting exercises (those "Symbolism Studies") and stand on nothing but 100%, irrefutable truth instead.

See, one of the major end times prophecies to "get-lost-in-the-shuffle" amongst all the others is the one about what's called the "Apostasy", or "the falling away" from the faith.

Apostasy is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment, or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy "apostatizes" and is an "apostate" himself/herself. These terms have a definite negative implication in everyday use -- and for good reason too -- since often times it's a rejection of core beliefs, or the fundamental tenets of a particular faith.

The Greek noun "apostasia" ("rebellion, abandonment, state of apostasy, defection") is found only twice in the New Testament (Acts 21:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3). However, the concept of apostasy is found throughout Scripture.

Now, I know that there are some well-respected men and women of God (many who are no doubt much smarter than me) who suggest that this "falling away" is actually properly interpreted as being connected to a Rapture event. So be it. I don't want to turn this into a Rapture debate and discussion though. I believe there are more important "debates" for believers to be having with themselves and one another.

For instance, perhaps we should try to get it right when it comes to the basics, or the fundamentals of our shared faith, before we jump right to the eschatological differences of analysis and interpretation.

I mean, if we can't get a good grasp on the simple stuff in our minds (and please understand that I used the words "simple stuff" in reference to God's Word not in any derogatory way, but to simply point out our own spiritual ignorance about things we really shouldn't be ignorant of), then what business do we have taking on the weightier matters of end times Bible prophecy?

It's like enrolling in a Graduate level college course without passing the Bible 101 level course first. Please don't misunderstand me. I've been guilty of that (am still guilty of that) from time to time. These words are as much for me as they are for you.

With all of that in mind, let's return to the Apostasy for a moment. What I'd like to do is take the more straightforward and commonly accepted interpretation that the Apostasy is in reference to a "falling away" FROM THE FAITH, or an IGNORANCE AND REJECTION of sound Biblical doctrine, in the last days. That will be our foundation for these studies.

Besides, I think we'd all agree that throughout contemporary Christianity today (regardless of the denomination and sect) we sadly find far too many religious "believers", "leaders", and even "teachers" of His Word sorely misguided and misinterpreting the Scriptures for their own agenda, benefit and/or peace of mind, profit, or simply because they are unwittingly glorifying God in the sense that they are the precise fulfillment of His holy Word that says the following...

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

I don't suppose anyone reading this would argue with the fact that we are witnessing a fulfillment of those specific words on a mass scale within the Body of Christ. Sad, but true I'm afraid.

That leads me to entries like this one. For the past few months now, you've probably noticed a drastic shift in the kind of material that appears on this website. A lot of the time it's simply an old, random quote or two from a well known preacher who lived back in the day, but other times I will publish pieces on Biblical doctrine that challenge us to re-examine our entrenched positions.

Why? Simple really. I'll defer to another on this...

When interest in the churches begins to centre round the visual and the sensual it is commonly a sign of impending apostasy. By ‘sensual’ I mean that which appeals to the senses of man (sight, smell, hearing), as opposed to ‘spirit’, that is, the capacity that belongs to those born of the Spirit of God. Hence the antithesis, ‘sensual, having not the Spirit’ (Jude 19). ‘Sensual’ is also translated ‘natural’ or ‘worldly’; the meaning is the same. It does not take regeneration to give the sensual or the aesthetic a religious appeal to the natural man or woman.

In the Old Testament the people of God were in measure taught by their senses as God imposed the form of worship. As a check against any misuse of that means of teaching no additions to or subtractions from it were allowed. But with the finished work of Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, a momentous change took place. The church was raised to the higher privilege of worship in ‘spirit and truth’ (John 4:24). She belongs to the ‘Jerusalem which is above’ (Gal. 4:26).

That which appeals to the senses of man is what I pray to be able to attack and counter in this series. Unfortunately, the natural byproduct of living in a "politically correct" world is that Christians can become casualties caught in the crossfire between the earthly and the spiritual.

It means that Christians can become victims themselves; succumbing to emotional arguments (the kinds of thought patterns and philosophies that appeal to the senses) rather than grounding themselves in the rock solid Word of God.

We've all been guilty of that too to some extent, right? But that doesn't mean we should ever compromise. Give the devil an inch and he'll eventually become your ruler! When satisfying the "natural" becomes acceptable in churches -- in Christendom -- the spiritual will not long remain.

It's like W. H. Griffith Thomas, writing on "Spiritual Worship", once put down on paper for us...

It is the universal experience of Christian people that the more the senses are attracted, fascinated, and occupied, the less room there is for the action of the soul.

See, our senses are the real enemy here and especially these days of "instant gratification" and "over stimulation" everywhere we turn. Don't you agree?

Remember, when satisfying the natural becomes acceptable, the spiritual will not long remain. This is why we're seeing so much apostasy in Christianity these days. This is why I have felt moved to examine myself (2 Corinthians 13:5) more than ever before and then share such experiences with all of you even if it's not the experience itself, but the Biblical truth discovered within the midst of that experience that's most important.

"Fine Jeff, but what kind of content will these 'Apostasy Studies' focus on?" No, it's never the kind of material that would be regarded as being "blasphemy" or "heresy" (although I'm sure that there are some brothers and sisters in Christ out there who will love nothing more than to charge me with such) because I'm not attacking or even forcing us to question the fundamental tenets of our faith that we share.

Instead, I'm simply going to share with all of you the topics that the Holy Spirit has led me to lately in what I perceive to be His intensifying desire to answer my prayer "Please help me become the Christian you want me to be! Please help me to become the husband, father, son, brother, son-in-law, brother-in-law, friend, man that you want me to be! Please help me to become more like Your Son Jesus Christ!" in such a way that it becomes obvious to others that our Lord is receiving all the glory, honor, and praise while I'm growing closer to Jesus and maturing in my faith with each passing day.

Again, these types of columns will be COMPLETELY Biblical and rooted in the Word. There will be no giving of "my opinion" or "private interpretation" let alone subjective speculation in these types of Bible studies. The Word says what it says. Plus, I will always make EVERY SINGLE EFFORT to back anything up with direct references to the Scriptures, and those specific passages and verses that are forcing me to re-examine things and to take the position that I do.

As for the subject matter? Again, anything goes! That is, anything and everything that the Holy Spirit is leading me to study in God's Word that flies in the face of "Easy Believism" is the kind of material that you'll encounter in these types of entries.

For some, these types of studies won't be easy or even popular. That's fine. It's not a popularity contest anyway. It's about the truth and only the truth, and we all know that "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32), right? I also know for a fact that they will all be "controversial" only -- and only -- because of the Apostasy that has infected the Body of Christ like a cancer. Yet, everything that will be presented in this series is Biblical truth.

Ok, so what's the point to all of this then? Am I intentionally trying to cause division and strife within the Body of Christ? Gosh no! God forbid! No, I'm simply concerned with my own "spiritual bankruptcy" (fed by my lack of Bible study and the other Apostates all around me) and don't want to live with that knowledge of myself any longer. I want to feed on His Word more so than I have to this point in my life and draw closer and closer to Him as much as is humanly possible. Does that make me a little nuts? Sure, perhaps. But I'd rather be a fool for Christ than to be wise by the world's standards. I'm also reminded of Galatians 1:10.

Does that mean that I am some kind of "authority", and that "it's my way or no way!" in these parts from here on out? Absolutely not. Acts 17:11 still most certainly applies and it will until the Lord decides that He doesn't want me doing this sort of thing any longer.

I hate to sound like a broken record here, but I'm just trying to motivate others to AT LEAST TRY to be Bereans like we're supposed to because the cold, hard truth is that many of us think we have it all figured out when, in reality, we've barely scratched the surface! Oh yeah, where "disagreements" arise in any ensuing "debate" you have my word that I will always try to interact in a Christian manner with the Beatitudes fresh in my mind.

By the way, it also doesn't mean that Look Up Fellowship will no longer report on the signs of the times, engage in those topics typically ignored by mainstream Christianity though equally important, or that we'll no longer share any Symbolism Studies with you. God willing, we'll continue to do that just the same. But there needs to be the proper balance here especially as we quickly approach the prophesied beginning of the end.

The Apostasy is a tell-tale sign that we're close to the start of Daniel's 70th Week. However, that doesn't mean that we somehow ignore our responsibility -- no, our calling as the elect -- to refrain from developing our relationship with Jesus Christ, from studying His Word thoroughly so that we know it as best as we possibly can, and from sharing the wisdom and discernment imparted to us with as many people as we can (those with "ears to hear and eyes to see" Proverbs 20:12).

We know that Scripture nourishes human understanding. The Holy Bible uses an organic metaphor to describe God's intention. It likens God's Word to water that nourishes a seed enabling it to sprout and grow. This is a "living metaphor". It compares the process of growth in nature with the process of growing in faith and understanding. It shows us that a mature faith is not static -- it grows!

2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

Those are my reasons for doing this. So, I hope you will join me in this pursuit of the only truth that matters. I hope that you will continue reading the next study in this series.

Thank you for taking the time to work your way through that.

I'm looking forward to this new series because I'm anxious to see where the Lord takes me.

I pray you'll join us.

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Comments Posted (5)

Dear Jeff,
I will be looking forward to your studies. It is not so much as this sounds 'exciting' but needed in the
Body. A dear friend reminded me months ago of JESUS's Words," The Words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life; the flesh counts for nothing". What can I say but Amen!!! And when I am battling something I try to remember those Words. I would like to warn all, that as you draw closer to the LORD and put off the things of the flesh, you will come against much opposition from those most dear to you. JESUS was very clear when HE told us that unless we were willing to leave all (family, spouses,friends, career, whatever we trust in, and even our own lives)that we would not be worthy of HIM or to be HIS disciple. Hard Words to choke down. But one can not do it without the measure of grace the HE measures out. Looking forward to your studies and for JESUS to be revealed in you life and our own.
Peace,
Deirdre

Funny, everytime I have had an issue with you (and I have only commented once or twice and I was never one of your nasty commenters :) you shortly addressed it.
I just want to add, I am sooooo glad you are doing this. While it is exciting to exercise our brains, it is atrophying our spirits. At least for me. This has come to a head as I was chasing every teaching I could find, every "watcher" I could find, even secular sites and web botts etc. But it was then that God said to me "When is it going to be just you and me".

I mean really, if all I ever did was be a good parent and spouse and neigbor and read my Bible..instead of constantly chasing every trail and freaking out about what is being done by statans minions...would I still miss out on His return? No, but I would live in peace and assurance and could CLEARLY hear the Holy Spirit...instead of looking for Him to speak to me through the computer.

Jeff, I'm excited and looking forward to this upcoming study. I'm sending you an email on some thoughts (bible verses) revealed to me on this subject. Yahweh compels me to share with you first and I'm ok with that.

Thanks guys! I echo all of your sentiments.

Plus, someone (sorry, I forgot who it was!) just sent me an email with the following link to a powerful message titled "Sound Doctrine Rejected In These Last Days" by Alan Yuko...

https://www.heaven77.50webs.com/soundd03.html

"It is interesting how people who have given themselves over to liberal doctrines and compromise react in an angry manner to sound Biblical doctrine. To these people: Obedience is legalism and sound doctrine is separating and divisive. Trying to obey and walk with the Lord is a foreign concept (too narrow!). Rejecting the evils of the world is unloving and narrow-minded. Withdrawing from false teachers is nothing more than condemning people who are different. A person who holds fast to sound Biblical doctrine is considered very intolerant to other viewpoints."

That's timely, isn't it? Confirmation that this is exactly the direction I need to be heading more often I think.

In Christ,
Jeff ("JRed")

Have you considered the alternative meaning of apostasy as in "to be gathered up"? About six months ago my Bible study was in the midst of 2 Thessalonians we spent a great amount of time with this. I was curious to read your take on this point of view. The more I study the Bible and the more I learn, I find that going back through scripture a second time (or third, or fouth...) there is even more to "digest". Just wondering about your thoughts...