Apostasy and the Apostate Church

David Norczyk
5 min readFeb 18, 2024

The Apostle Paul opens his first pastoral epistle to Timothy with the warning, “…instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith (1 Tim 1:3–4).” Fruitless discussion ensues whenever anything other than sound teaching is presented (1 Tim 1:10). The result for many is a shipwrecked faith (1 Tim 1:19).

Those born again of God receive the Spirit of truth who grants each Christian the gift of faith in Christ, which comes by hearing the Word of Christ preached, as a revealed mystery from the Bible. True faith is rooted and grounded in the true knowledge of God in Christ. Therefore, the regenerate ones believe a corpus of knowledge known as “the Christian faith.”

Many people are exposed to the good things of the Holy Spirit and the Word of truth. Some even walk for a season, identifying themselves with Christ and His church. The Spirit warns the members of the body of Christ that some will apostatize, that is, fall away from “the Christian faith” (1 Tim 4:1; Heb 6:4–6).

Apostates from Christianity were never caused to be born again of the Spirit of Christ. They heard the Gospel call for all men everywhere to repent of their sinful rebellion and turn to Christ in faith unto salvation (Acts 17:30). Without God the Father drawing them to Christ (Jn 6:44), they will not come to Christ because they really do not belong to Christ who belongs to God (Jn 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23). These people give the appearance of godliness, but they deny its power preferring worldly ways and gains (2 Tim 3:5).

The natural man, posing as a spiritual man is common in the church; but there are also deceivers who rise up from among the deceived and lead many astray. The deceivers are actually savage wolves who do not think their blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is too much. They are agents of Satan, possessed by clever demons who twist the truth and promote error — the doctrine of demons.

Satan is the source behind the promulgation of lies (Jn 8:44). During His earthly ministry, Jesus confronted the Pharisees about their hypocrisy (Mt 23). Presenting themselves as holy law keepers, these religious conservatives were living lifestyles that did not match their preaching and teaching in Israel. They were lovers of money, lovers of themselves, and popular among the people.

When a deceiver benefits from his deception he hardens his heart all the more. Like an addict, he increases his perversion. When a branding iron makes its burning mark in flesh, it kills the nerve endings and numbness ensues. The human conscience of those with Satan’s mark of ownership upon them will no longer feel anything toward those they mislead. They have zero compassion on those they are leading into the pit.

At Ephesus, Paul named his opponents Hymenaeus, Alexander, Phygelus, Hermogenes, Demas, Philetus, another Hymenaeus and another Alexander, the coppersmith. These men were ensnared by the devil to do his will (2 Tim 2:26). Their heresies spread through the church like gangrene (1 Tim 1:10). Deceitful spirits gave these men their teaching content and inspired them with sensual gratification. The more perverse these men became, the more sex, money, power, and popularity they gleaned from their evil deeds.

Paul identified three of the abhorrent doctrines these men taught. First there was the forbidding of marriage (1 Tim 4:3). Second, they instructed others on abstinence from certain foods (1 Tim 4:3). Later some taught that the second coming of Christ had already happened (2 Tim 2:18).

When a false teacher adds something to the creedal faith, it is an error. When a false teacher directly opposes the teaching of the Spirit of truth, calling God “a liar” (1 Jn 5:10), it is blasphemy. These men were turned over to Satan (1 Tim 1:20). They were written off from the ranks of the deceived; and they were added to the ranks of reprobate mockers. They were considered antichrist because that is what they were in fact (1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 1:7).

Those who believe and know the truth are warned to avoid such men and women who are unprincipled and ungodly, following various lusts. Instead, those who have received the love of the truth are to give thanks to the Giver of every good and perfect gift (1 Tim 4:4; Jas 1:17), including that which is good for food and the blessings of marriage. As for the second advent of Christ, it is still in the future and the promise of God’s Word is that every eye will see Him on that day (Zech 12:10; Rev 1:7).

Finally, accepting good things from God — the God who made all good things — with much thanksgiving (1 Thess 5:16–18), encourages the child of God to know more of God and His goodness. True believers grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). We enjoy the doctrines of grace and the means of grace. The Word of God and prayer, along with our fellowship with the saints and partaking of the sacraments produces an increasing faith.

Sound teaching of sound doctrine, brought by the Holy Spirit, is the means by which we are sanctified (1 Tim 4:5; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21). The imperative to be holy as God is holy is being manifest in every Spirit-filled soul (1 Pet 1:15–16). Our inheritance is reserved for us in heaven (1 Pet 1:4); and the token of God’s love promises to never leaves us nor forsake us (2 Cor 5:5; Heb 13:5).

God’s irresistible grace is the Christian’s blessed assurance that He who began the good work of faith unto salvation will complete it in His time (Phil 1:6). We have God’s Word, His oath, His covenant backing the better promise which produces in us a better, blessed hope that He will preserve us to the end — that we may be presented holy and blameless in eternity and for eternity (Eph 1:4; 5:23; Col 1:22). There is no falling away from that good news for His beloved (1 Jn 5:10–12). He Himself is the anchor for our souls (Heb 6:19).

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

February 18, 2024

1 Timothy 4:1–5

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher