- Always the “new Christians” have brought over into the church some of the habits of their unbaptized condition. Littell, Franklin Hamlin, From State Church to Pluralism: A Protestant Interpretation of Religion in American History (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1962), p. 82.
Our problems are those of newness, freshness, undisciplined energy, undirected dynamic. Id. at 83. The threats to the faith come from prophetic aberrations of the sort often found on second- and third-generation mission fields, from inspired prophets & cults which combine some Christian teachings w/tribal or cultural values. Id.
[I]n America too the “new Christians” either fell back in a short time into the old way of life or were gathered up in new prophetic cults which blended tribal wisdom w/selected or corrupted Christian teachings. Id. 85.
Positivism and Pietism. 95-97. By the end of the 19th century, the great revival churches had largely abandoned internal discipline, both theological & ethical, & accommodated themselves to the prevailing spirit & mores of the times. 95. In the North & West, the appeals of a vigorous economy & culture could scarcely be withstood.
- It was perhaps inevitable that, as “converts” remained unchanged in life, eventually even the verbal phase should be softened & accommodated to popular opinions. The perversion of evangelism can be illustrated in the career of the Rev. Sam P. Jones of GA. Early revivalism had not hesitated to deal w major issues in society, had proclaimed the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of life, had called upon men to repent, convert, and be healed. In the latter half of the 19th century, various professional evangelists introduced a new style of message; avoiding any offense to the ruling elements in the cities, their patrons, they concentrated on the “sins” of the workingmen: drinking, swearing, gambling, and joining unions. Nor was classical conversion stressed any more. Littell, Franklin Hamlin, From State Church to Pluralism: A Protestant Interpretation of Religion in American History (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1962), p. 125.
- Thus Sam P. Jones set the pace for the many “evangelists” to come who have eviscerated true evangelism, evangelism which convicts & converts & provides the foundation for a New Life in person & society. Those who were fighting the first efforts of workingmen to establish collective bargaining & job security found such “evangelists” useful tools. Id.
The deterioration of the Free Churches into culture-religion can be measured in various ways; one of the most striking is the decline in great preaching—i.e. proclamation of the Word that convicts & converts, that moves to repentance & to turning again to the Lord of nations & generations. Id. at 126.
- Accommodation to popular views and prejudices has muted biblical preaching. Id. at 127.
- We are not discussing at this point the validity of the tenets, but simply pointing out that in a secular society the churches are among the most secularized institutions. Id. at 128.
- Within the American churches, racialism is carried over from unbaptized society and measures the degree to which they have accommodated themselves to the prevailing culture. As the wife of a state Supreme Court justice in Arkansas put it,
My husband has been a Methodist all his life, but if it comes to choosing between being a Methodist and an American, he’ll be an American every time.
Littell at 134 citing Sessions, Robert Paul, “Are Southern Ministers Failing the South?”, 234 The Saturday Evening Post (1961), 19:82.
- Inadequately trained for membership, admitted without preparatory training, without the proper instruments of voluntary discipline, many members never have had the discontinuity between life in Christ and life in the world brought home to them. Here the ordinary members are less at fault than the leadership of the churches, who—though sworn to uphold the form of sound words and doctrine—neglect catechetical instruction and concentrate solely on the acquisition
Significantly, it has been the churches which were most successful in the great period of popular expansion which have had the greatest difficulty in coming to grips with the issue.
- These problems are greatest in the churches which have grown most—Baptist, Methodist, and Churches of Christ. 135.
- “In the most live theological circles in America, however, there is growing up the realization that the 19th century is at an end, & that it ended w/the rise of the most terrible apostasy & mass defections experienced by Christendom since Islam swept through & captured the ancient strongholds of Christianity in North Africa. 165. Totalitarianism arose not in Africa, Asia, North America, or the islands of the sea—where Christianity was spreading most rapidly; it appeared in the shadow of St. Peter’s, in the heartland of the Reformation, in Moscow (the “third Rome” of Eastern Orthodoxy). This was the tragedy of Christendom, that in her decline, she spawned the most monstrous ideologies & political religions.
“The warning that comes to America, that is declared to her by her ablest theologians, is that “Christendom” is no longer a viable concept, that the nineteenth-century continuum as split apart. Nevertheless, it is serious error—though a common one—to bracket the churches in America & the churches of Europe in a common destiny. True, the most serious challenge confronting the faith in America is also tribal religion, Protestant nativism, apostasy of the sort that many of the churches in Europe also have had to struggle with. The words of Professor Edmund Schlink on the condition of religion in pre-Hitler Germany might be transferred wo amendment or alteration to popular religion of the present in America:
“. . . people had grown accustomed to regard God primarily as the protector of ordered family life, a help in the education of children and a friend in the events of life such as leaving school, marriage and death. He had become the guarantor of national and civic security, in the midst of the insecurities of this world.”
- Littell, Franklin Hamlin, From State Church to Pluralism: A Protestant Interpretation of Religion in American History (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Company, 1962), pp. 165-66 citing Schlink, Edmund, “The Witness of the German Church Struggle,” in the Universal Church in God’s Design (London: SCM Press, 1948), p. 99.
Apostasy: 1st & last references are Lk. 18.8 and 2 Tim. 3.1-8.
Ernestly Contend,” The Berean Call, Jan. 2006
N1 p13 (“* * * for apostasy, there is no remedy but judgment. Isa 1.2-7, 24, 25; Heb. 6.4-8; 10.26-31. Noah, ‘a preacher of righteousness,’ is given 120 years, but he won no convert, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell (Jude 14, 15; Rev. 7.14”).
“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth.” Lk. 18.8b. N1 p1101 to Lk. 18.8b. The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth. (Cf. Rom. 1.5; 1 Cor. 16.13; 2 Cor . 13.5; Col. 1.23; 2.7; Tit. 1.13; Jude 3. See “Apostasy,” Above in Mar. of Lk. 18.8; 2 Tim. 3.1, note.)
Divine view of the national sinfulness and apostasy of Israel. Eze. 8-33.21.
The path of the Good soldier during apostasy. See Headnote to Nehemiah and 2 Tim. 2.
N1 to Ge. 6.4, p13 (* * * For apostasy there is no remedy but judgment (Isa. 1.2-7, 24, 25; Heb. 6.4-8; 10.26-31). Noah, “a preacher of righteousness, is given 120 years, but he won no convert, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell (Jude 14, 15; Gen. 7.11).)
N1 to Ge. 11.1, p18: “And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” (The history of Babel (“confusion”) strikingly parallels that of the professing Church. (1) Unity Ge 11:1 –the Apostolic Church Ac 4:32-33; (2) Ambition Ge 11:4 using worldly, not spiritual means Ge 11:3 ending in a man-made unity–the papacy; (3) the confusion of tongues Ge 11:7 –Protestantism, with its innumerable sects. See Isa 13:1, note.)
N1 to Ge. 12.8 p21 “Genesis 12:8 And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.” (* * * It is characteristic of all apostasy that Jeroboam chose this sacred place in which to erect an idol (1 Ki. 12. 28, 32. Cf 1 Ki. 13.1-5); and of divine judgment upon apostasy that God should decree the destruction of Bethel, despite its sacred memories (1 Ki. 13.1-5; 2 Ki. 23.15-17; Amos 3.14, 15). God never hesitates to cast aside that which no longer serves His purpose (Rev. 2.5; 3.16)).
“The book [of Judges] records seven apostasies, seven servitudes to seven heathen nations, seven deliverances. The spiritual parallel is found in the history of the professing church since the Apostles, in the rise of sects and the lost sense of the unity of the one body (1 Cor. 12.12, 13). See headnote to “Judges” in Scofield Bible p287.
N1 to Nu. 16.10, p188 “And he hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?” (The “gainsaying of Korah” was intrusion into the priest’s office (“no man taketh this honour unto himself,”) Heb 5:4. It was an attempt to create a priestly order without the divine authority Heb 5:10. The modern analogue is Nicolaitanism Re 2:6,15 the division of an equal brotherhood Mt 23:8 into “clergy” and “laity”; a vastly different thing from the due recognition of ministry-gifts # 1Co 12:4-31 Eph 4:8,11,12 or of elders and deacons 1Ti 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9)
N1 to Nu. 22.5, p196 “He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me:” (Balaam is the typical hireling prophet, seeking only to make a market of his gift. This is “the way of Balaam” 2 Pe. 2:15 and characterizes false teachers. The “error” of Balaam” Jude 1:11 was that he could see only the natural morality–a holy God, he reasoned, must curse such a people as Israel. Like all false teachers he was ignorant of the higher morality of vicarious atonement, by which God could be just and yet the justifier of believing sinners Ro 3:26. The “doctrine of Balaam” Re 2:14 refers to his teaching Balak to corrupt the people whom he could not curse Nu 31:16; 25:1-3; Jas 4:4. Spiritually, Balaamism in teaching never rises above natural reasonings; in practice, it is easy world-conformity. Scofield “Re 2:14”.)
“Nu. 25. The doctrine of Balaam” (Num. 31.16; Rev. 2.14; Jas 4.4).
De. 31.14 – 32.44: Jehovah warns Moses of the apostasy of Israel. (Cf. 1 Tim. 4.1-3; 2 Tim. 3.1-8; Jude 1-19). “vs. 20-21 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.”
Headnote to Judges. … The book records seven apostasies, seven servitudes to seven heathen nations, seven deliverances. The spiritual parallel is found in the history of the professing church since the Apostles, in the rise of sects and the lost sense of the unity of the one body (1Co 12:12-13). …
N2 to Jud. 2.18, p289 “* * * Not one of the chosen deliverers had anything whereof to glory in the flesh. Othniel was but the son of the younger brother of Caleb: Ehud was a left-handed man and an assassin; Shamgar, a rustic with an ox-goad; Deborah, a woman; Gideon, of an obscure family in the smallest tribe, etc. Each of the classes mentioned in 1 Cor. 1.27, 28 is illustrated among the judges.”
N1 to Jud., 17.13 p308 (“A striking illustration of all apostasy. With his entire departure from the revealed will of God concerning worship and priesthood, there is yet an exaltation of false priesthood. Saying, “Blessed be thou of Jehovah,” Micah’s mother makes an idol; and Micah expects the blessing of Jehovah because he has linked his idolatry to the ancient levitical order.”)
HEADNOTE TO NAHUM: “Nahum prophesied during the reign of Hezekiah, probably about one hundred and fifty years after Jonah. He has but one subject–the destruction of Nineveh. According to Diodorus Siculus, the city was destroyed nearly a century later, precisely as here predicted. The prophecy is one continuous strain which does not yield to analysis. The moral theme is: the holiness of Jehovah which must deal with sin in judgment.”
N1 to Na. 1.1, p952. “The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite.” (Nineveh stands in Scripture as the representative of apostate religious Gentiledom, as Babylon represents the confusion into which the Gentile political world-system has fallen Da 2:41-43, Cmt. on Isa 13:1, Under the preaching of Jonah, B.C. 862, the city and king had turned to God (Elohim), Jon 3:3-10 But in the time of Nahum, more than a century later, the city had wholly apostatized from God. It is this which distinguishes Nineveh from all the other ancient Gentile cities, and which makes her the suited symbol of the present religious Gentile world-system in the last day. Morally, Nineveh is described in Ro 1:21-23. The chief deity of apostate Nineveh was the bull-god, with the face of a man and the wings of a bird: “an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts.”
The message of Nahum, uttered about one hundred years before the destruction of Nineveh, is, therefore, not a call to repentance, but an unrelieved warning of judgment: “He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.” Na 1:9; see, also, Na 3:10. For there is no remedy for apostasy but utter judgment, and a new beginning. Cf. Isa 1:4-5,24-28; Heb 6:4-8; Pr 29:1. It is the way of God; apostasy is punished by catastrophic destruction. Of this the flood and the destruction of Nineveh are witnesses. The coming destruction of apostate Christendom is foreshadowed by these. (Cf) Da 2:34-35; Lu 17:26-27; Re 19:17-21. Margin: burden See note #1, Cmt. on Isa 13:1.) Remedy for Apostasy: “Ninevah stands in Scripture as the representative of apostate religious Gentiledom, as Babylon represents the confusion into which the Gentile political world-system has fallen (Dan. 2.41-43). See Isa. 13.1, note. Under the preaching of Jonah, B.C. 852, the city and king had turned to God (Elohim), Jon. 3.3-10. but in the time of Nahum, more than a century later, the city had wholly apostatized from God. It is this which distinguished Nineveh from all the other ancient Gentile cities, and which makes her the suited symbol of the present religious Gentile world-system in the last days. Morally, Nineveh is described in Rom. 1.21-23. The chief diety of apostate Nineveh was the bull-god, with the face of a man and the wings of a bird: “an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts.
“The message of Nahum, uttered about one hundred years before the destruction of Nineveh, is, therefore, not a call to repentance, but an unrelieved warning of judgment: ‘He will make an utter end: affliction will not rise up the second time.’ Nahum 1.9; 3.10. For there is no remedy for apostasy but utter judgment, and a new beginning. Cf. Isa. 1.4, 5, 24-28; Heb. 6.4-8; Prov. 29.1. It is the way of God; apostasy is punished by catastrophic destruction. Of this the flood and the destruction of Nineveh are witnesses. The coming destruction of apostate Christendom is foreshadowed by these. (Cf. Dan. 2.34, 35; Lk. 17.26, 27; Rev. 19.17-21.)
N2 to Na. 1.2, p952. “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.” (The great ethical lesson of Nahum is that the character of God makes Him not only “slow to anger,” and “a stronghold to them that trust Him,” but also one who “will not at all acquit the wicked.” He can be “just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” Ro 3:26 but only because His holy law has been vindicated in the cross.)
Na. 3.19 “There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?”
Headnote to Habakkuk. “It seems most probable that Habakkuk prophesied in the latter years of Josiah. Of the prophet himself nothing is known. To him the character of Jehovah was revealed in terms of the highest spirituality. He alone of the prophets was more concerned that the holiness of Jehovah should be vindicated than that Israel should escape chastisement. Written just upon the eve of the captivity, Habakkuk was God’s testimony to Himself as against both idolatry and pantheism.
“The book is in five parts: I. Habakkuk’s perplexity in view of the sins of Israel and the silence of God, 1.1-4. Historically this was the time of Jehovah’s forbearance because of Josiah’s repentance (2Ki 22.18-20). II. The answer of Jehovah to the prophet’s perplexity. 1.5-11. III. The prophet, thus answered, utters the testimony to Jehovah, 1.12-17; but he will watch for further answers, 2.1. IV. To the watching prophet comes the response of the “vision,” 2.20. V. All ends in Habakkuk’s sublime Psalm of the Kingdom.
“As a whole the Book of Habakkuk raise and answers the question of God’s consistency with Himself in view of permitted evil. The prophet thought that the holiness of God forbade him to go on with evil Israel. The answer of Jehovah announces a Chaldean invasion (Hab 1:6), and a world- wide dispersion Hab 1:5). But Jehovah is not mere wrath; “He delighteth in mercy” (Mic 7:18), and introduces into His answers to the perplexed prophet the great promises, Mic 1:5; 2:3-4,13,13. Margin: burden See note #1, Cmt. on Isa 13:1.”
Zeph. 1 is a good description of the total judgment that is the only remedy for apostasy. Zeph. 1.1.-2.3. Part I. the coming judgment on Judah a picture of the future day of the LORD.
[N1 to Zech. 5.6, p 969 “. . . In the vision of the ephah local and prophetic elements are to be distinguished. The elements are: an ephah or measure; a woman in the ephah; a sealing weight upon the mouth of the ephah confining the woman, and the stork-winged women whose only function is to bear the ephah and woman away into Babylonia (Shinar). The thing thus symbolized was “through all the land” (v.6).
Symbolically, a “measure” (or “cup”) stands for something which has come to the full, so that God must judge it 2Sa 8:2; Jer 51:13; Hab 3:6-7; Mt 7:2; 23:32. A woman, in the bad ethical sense, is always a symbol of that which, religiously, is out of its place. The “woman” in Mt 13:33 is dealing with doctrine, a sphere forbidden to her 1Ti 2:12. In Thyatira a woman is suffered to teach Re 2:20. The Babylon phase of the apostate church is symbolized by an unchaste woman, sodden with the greed and luxury of commercialism. Re 17:1-6; 18:3,11-20.
The local application of Zechariah’s ninth vision is, therefore, evident. The Jews then in the land had been in captivity in Babylon. Outwardly they had put away idolatry, but they had learned in Babylon that insatiate greed of gain Ne 5:1-9; Mal 3:8 that intense commercial spirit which had been foreign to Israel as a pastoral people, but which was thenceforward to characterize them through the ages. These things were out of place in God’s people and land. Symbolically He judged them as belonging to Babylon and sent them there to build a temple–they could have no part in His. The “woman” was to be “set there upon her own base” (Zec 5:11). It was Jehovah’s moral judgment upon Babylonism in His own land and people.
Prophetically, the application to the Babylon of the Revelation is obvious. The professing Gentile church at that time condoning every iniquity of the rich, doctrinally a mere “confusion,” as the name indicates, and corrupted to the core by commercialism, wealth, and luxury, falls under the judgment of God. (Rev. 18).”]
N3, 4 p1016 to Mt. 13.33 “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” (That interpretation of the parable of the Leaven (Mt 13:33) which makes (with variation as to details) the leaven to be the Gospel, introduced into the world (“three measures of meal”) by the church, and working subtly until the world is converted (“till the whole was leavened”) is open to fatal objection: (1) it does violence to the unvarying symbolical meaning of leaven, and especially to the meaning fixed by our Lord Himself. Mt 16:6-12; Mr 8:15 See “Leaven,” Ge 19:3. Cmt. on Mt 13:33. (2) The implication of a converted world in this age (“till the whole was leavened”), is explicitly contradicted by our Lord’s interpretation of the parables of the Wheat and Tares, and of the Net. Our Lord presents a picture of a partly converted kingdom in an unconverted world; of good fish and bad in the very kingdom-net itself. (3) The method of the extension of the kingdom is given in the first parable. It is by sowing seed, not by mingling leaven. The symbols have, in Scripture, a meaning fixed by inspired usage. Leaven is the principle of corruption working subtly; is invariably used in a bad sense (see “Leaven,” Cmt. on Ge 19:3), and is defined by our Lord as evil doctrine. Mt 16:11-12; Mr 8:15. Meal, on the contrary, was used in one of the sweet-savour offerings Le 2:1-3. and was food for the priests Le 6:15-17. A woman, in the bad ethical sense, always symbolizes something out of place, religiously, Cmt. on Zec 5:6. In Thyatira it was a woman teaching (cf). Re 2:20; 17:1-6. Interpreting the parable by these familiar symbols, it constitutes a warning that the true doctrine, given for nourishment of the children of the kingdom Mt 4:4; 1Ti 4:6; 1Pe 2:2 would be mingled with corrupt and corrupting false doctrine, and that officially, by the apostate church itself 1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 2:17; 4:3-4; 2Pe 2:1-3.
N4 Leaven Summary: (1) Leaven, as a symbolic or typical substance, is always mentioned in the O.T. in an evil sense Ge 19:3, Cmt. on Ge 19:3. (2) The use of the word in the N.T. explains its symbolic meaning. It is “malice and wickedness,” as contrasted with “sincerity and truth” 1Co 5:6-8, it is evil doctrine Mt 16:12 in its three-fold form of Pharisasism, Sadduceeism, Herodianism Mt 16:6; Mr 8:15. The leaven of the Pharisees was externalism in religion. Mt 23:14,16,23-28, of the Sadducees, scepticism as to the supernatural and as to the Scriptures Mt 22:23,29, of the Herodians, worldliness–a Herod party amongst the Jews Mt 22:16-21 Mr 3:6. (3) The use of the word in Mt 13:33 is congruous with its universal meaning.)
N1(2) p1115 to John 1.16: “* * * The predicted end of the testing of man under grace is the apostasy of the professing church (See ‘Apostasy,’ 2 Tim. 3.1-8, note, ie N1 p1280), and the resultant apocalyptic judgments.”
The 7 stages of Gentile world apostasy. Rom. 1.21-23. The result of Gentile world apostasy. Rom. 1.24-32.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Acts 20.17-31. Paul calls the Ephesian elders and tells them to feed the flock of God because “grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
N1 p1272 (the apostasy of the professing church arranged in the order of events leading up to the coming of the Lord.).
N1 p1276. Summary of the visible church. The passages under this head (1 Cor. 10.32; 1 Tim. 3.15 refer to that visible body of professed believers called, collectively, “the Church,” of which history takes account as such, though it exists under many names and divisions based upon differences in doctrine or in government. Within, for the most part, this historical “Church” has existed the true Church, “which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1.22, 23; Heb. 12.23, note), like the believing Remnant within Israel (Rom. 11.5, note). The predicted future of the visible church is apostasy (Lk. 18.8; 2 Tim. 3.1-8); of the true church, glory (Mt. 13.36-43; Rom. 8.18-23; 1 Thes. 4.14-17).
Headnote to 2 Tim. “II Tim.; II Peter; Jude; 2d & 3d John have to do with the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension.” (See notes at beginning of 2 Tim.) The key phrases in 2 Tim. Are “All they which are in Asia be turned away from me” (1.150; and, “A good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2.3). The Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian, but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul (see Introduction, p. 1189). This was the proof that the apostasy had set in in its first for, legalism.” The natural divisions are four: I. The Apostle’s greeting, 1.1-18. II. The pathway of an approved servant in a day of apostasy, 2.1-26. III Apostasy and the Word, 3.1-17. Iv. A faithful servant and his faithful Lord.” See chapter 7 of Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave to see the parallel between the modernistic “church” which trusts human reason, but certainly not the Bible, to be the sole dependable source of divine revelation.
N1 p1279 to II Timothy 1.12: “2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” “The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy are: (1) Faith 2Ti 1:5. (2) the Spirit 2Ti 1:6-7. (3) the word of God 2Ti 1:13; 3:1-17; 4:3-4. (4) the grace of Christ 2Ti 2:1. (5) separation from vessels unto dishonour 2Ti 2:4,20-21. (6) the Lord’s sure reward 2Ti 4:7-8. (7) the Lord’s faithfulness and power 2Ti 2:13,19.”
N1 p1280 (Summary of Apostasy: Apostasy, “falling away,” is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 John 4.1-3; Phil. 3.18; 2 Pet. 2.1). Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Acts 19.1-6), or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Tim. 2.25, 26), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Tim. 4.3, 4. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (3.5). Apostate teachers are described in 2 Tim. 4.3; 2 Pet. 2.1-19; Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16. Apostasy in the church, as in Israel (Isa. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7), is irremediable, and awaits judgment (2 Thes. 2.10-12; 2 Pet. 2.17, 21; Jude 11-15; Rev. 3.14-16). See chapter 7 of Seven Men Who Rule the World From the Grave to see the parallel between the modernistic “church” which trusts human reason, but certainly not the Bible, to be the sole dependable source of divine revelation.
2 Thes. 2.3-12. For the day of Christ shall not come except there come except there come a falling away first (apostasy of the professing church), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; * * *.
The Asian churches had not disbanded nor had they ceased to call themselves Christian, but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Intro to 2 Tim in Scofield Bible. This was the proof that already the apostasy had set in its first form, legalism. Id.
See introductory note to 2 Pet in the Scofield Bible: “As in 2nd Timothy and 2nd Peter, the writers are aware that martyrdom is near (2 Tim. 4.6. 2 Peter 1.14 and John 21.18, 19); both are singularly sustained and joyful; and to both it is given to foresee the apostasy in which the history of the professing church will end. Paul finds that apostasy in its last stage when the laity have become infected (2 Tim. 3.1-5; 4.3, 4); Peter traces the origin of apostasy to false teachers (2 Pet. 2.1-3, 15-19). In Peter false teachers deny redemption truth (2.1); we shall find in First John a deeper truth–denial of the truth concerning Christ’s person (1 John 4.1-5). In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. But in none of the Epistles dealing with apostasy is the tone one of dejection or pessimism. God & His promises are still the resource of the believer.”
2 Tim 2.1-26. The pathway of an approved servant in the day of apostasy.
2 Tim 3.1-17Apostasy & the Word..
Headnote to Titus. WRITER The Apostle Paul (1.1)
DATE Practically the same with First Timothy
THEME Titus has much in common with First Timothy. Both Epistles are concerned with the due order of the churches. The distinction is that in First Timothy sound doctrine is more prominent 1Ti 1:3-10 in Titus the divine order for the local churches Tit 1:5. The permanent use of these Epistles lies in this twofold application, on the one hand to churches grown careless as to the truth of God, on the other, to churches careless as to the order of God’s house. The importance of this order is made solemnly emphatic in that the tests by which true elders and deacons may be known are repeated 1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:6-9. There are two divisions: I. The qualifications and functions of elders, 1.1-16. II. The pastoral work of the true elder, 2.1-3, 15.
2 Pet. 2.1-22: “1 But there were false prophets also among the people [in 1.18-21 Peter spoke of inspired prophecy], even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies * * *. For if God spared not the angels that sinned * * * And spared not the old world but saved Noah * * * And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow * * * And delivered Just Lot * * *.”
1 John2.18-28: The children warned against apostates who deny the true deity of Christ. The children warned against false teachers, the marks of false teachers (false doctrine of Christ’s person, the world marks of false teachers). 1 John 4.1-6.
2 John gives the essentials of the personal walk of the believer in a day when “many deceivers are entered into the world.” (v7).
3 John conditions the personal responsibility in a day of apostasy of the believer as a member of the local church. The key phrase is “truth.” In 3 John, a church had allowed Diotrephes to exercise an authority common enough in latter ages, but wholly new in the primitive churches. Diotrephes had rejected the apostolic letters and authority. It appears also that he had refused the ministry of visiting brethren (v10), and cast out those who received them. Historically this letter marks the beginning of that clerical and priestly assumption over the churches in which the primitive church order disappeared. This Epistle reveals, as well, the believer’s resource in such a day. No longer writing as an apostle, but as an elder, John addresses this letter, not to the church as such, but to a faithful man in the church for the comfort and encouragement of those who were standing fast in the primitive simplicity.
Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church, and the cause and course described. As in 2 Tim. And 2 Pet., the apostasy is treated as having already set in. “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (V4).
Headnote to 2 Pe., p1317: “THEME Second Peter and Second Timothy have much in common. In both, the writers are aware that martyrdom is near (2Ti 4:6; 2Pe 1:14 with Joh 21:18-19); both are singularly sustained and joyful; both foresee the apostasy in which the history of the professing church will end. Paul finds that apostasy in its last stage when the so-called laity Cmt. on Re 2:6, have become infected (2Ti 3:1-5; 4:3-4); Peter traces the origin of the apostasy to false teachers (2Pe 2:1-3,15-19). In Peter the false teachers deny redemption truth (2Pe 2:1); we shall find in First John a deeper depth–denial of the truth concerning Christ’s person (1Jo 4:1-5). In Jude all phases of the apostasy are seen. But in none of these Epistles is the tone one of dejection or pessimism. God and His promises are still the resource of the believer.
“The Epistle is in four divisions: I. The great Christian virtues, 1.1-14 II. The Scriptures exalted, 1.15-21 III. Warnings concerning apostate teachers, 2.1-22 IV. The second coming of Christ and the day of Jehovah, 3.1-18. Margin: righteousness Cmt. on Ro 3:21. Margin: Saviour Cmt. on Ro 1:16.”
1 Jn. 2.18-28. The children warned against apostates who deny the true deity of Christ.
1 Jn. 4.1 Parenthetic: The children warned against false teachers.
1 Jn. 4.1-6 The marks of false teachers. (a) The false doctrine of Christ’s person (vs. 2-4). (b) The world-marks of false teachers (vs. 5-6)
Headnote to 2 Jn., p1326. “THEME: Second John gives the essentials of the personal walk of the believer in a day when “many deceivers are entered into the world” (2Jo 1:7). The key phrase is “the truth,” by which John means the body of revealed truth, the Scriptures. The Bible as the only authority for doctrine and life, is the believer’s resource in a time of declension and apostasy.
“The Epistle in three divisions: I. The pathway of truth and love, vs. 1-6 II. The peril of unscriptural ways, vs. 7-11 III. Superscription, vs. 12, 13.”
2 Jn. 7-11 “7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
Headnote to 3 Jn., p1327. “WRITER. The Apostle John.
“DATE. Probably about A.D. 90.
“THEME: The aged Apostle had written to a church which allowed one Diotrephes to exercise an authority common enough in later ages, but wholly new in the primitive churches. Diotrephes had rejected the apostolic letters and authority. It appears also that he had refused the ministry of the visiting brethren (3Jo 1:10), and cast out those that had received them. Historically, this letter marks the beginning of that clerical and priestly assumption over the churches in which the primitive church order disappeared. This Epistle reveals, as well, the believer’s resource in such a day. No longer writing as an apostle, but as an elder, John addresses this letter, not to the church as such, but to a faithful man in the church for the comfort and encouragement of those who were standing fast in the primitive simplicity. Second John conditions the personal walk of the Christian in a day of apostasy; Third John the personal responsibility in such a day of the believer as a member of the local church. The key-phrase is “the truth” (see 2 John, Introduction).
“There are three divisions: I. Personal greetings, vs. 1-4 II. Instructions concerning ministering brethren, vs. 5-8 III. The apostate leader and the good Demetrius, vs. 9-14.”
Headnote to Jude, p1328. “WRITER: Jude, the brother of James (Jude 1:1)
“DATE: Probably A.D. 66
“THEME: It is not so much Jude who speaks, as the constraining Spirit (Jude 1:3) and the theme is, “Contending for the faith” (Lu 18:8), Cmt. on Lu 18:8. In this brief letter the apostasy (Cmt. on 2Th 2:3) of the professing church is predicted, and the cause and course described. As in Second Timothy and Second Peter the apostasy is treated as having already set in.
“The Epistle is in five divisions: I. Introduction vs. 1, 2 II. Occasion of the Epistle, vs. 3, 4 III. Apostasy is possible, vs. 5-7 IV. Apostate teachers described, vs. 8-19 V. The saints assured and comforted, vs. 20-25.
N3, 1, 2 to Jude 11, p1328 & 1329 “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” (“Cain (cf) Ge 4:1 type of the religious natural man, who believes in a God, and in “religion,” but after his own will, and who rejects redemption by blood. Compelled as a teacher of religion to explain atonement, the apostate teacher explains it away.
“1. Balaam, the “error” of Balaam must be distinguished from his “way” Cmt. on 2Pe 2:15 and his “doctrine” Cmt. on Re 2:14. The “error” of Balaam was that, reasoning from natural morality and seeing the evil in Israel, he supposed a righteous God must curse them. He was blind to the higher morality of the Cross, through which God maintains and enforces the authority and awful sanctions of His law, so that He can be just and the justifier of a believing sinner. The “reward” of Jude 1:11 may not be money, but popularity, or applause.
“2 Core. See Nu 16. The sin of Korah was denial of the authority of Moses as God’s chosen spokesman, and intrusion into the priest’s office.”
N1 to Re. 18.1, p1346 [In Rev. 18 we see the last form of apostate Christendom] Babylon, “confusion,” is repeatedly used by the prophets in a symbolic sense (see Isa. 13.1, note). Two “Babylons” are to be distinguished in the Revelation: ecclesiastical Babylon, which is apostate Christendom, headed up under the Papacy: and political Babylon, which is the Beast’s confederated empire, the last form of Gentile world-dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is “the great whore” (Rev. 17.1), and is destroyed by political Babylon (Rev. 17.15-18), that the beast may be the alone object of worship (2 Thes. 2.3,4; Rev. 13.15). The power of political Babylon is destroyed by the return of the Lord in glory. (See “Armageddon,” Rev. 16.14; 19.17) The notion of a literal Babylon to be rebuilt on the site of ancient Babylon is in conflict with Isa. 13.19-22. But the language of Rev. 18 (e.g. vs. 10, 16, 18) seems beyond question to identify “Babylon,” the “city” of luxury and traffic, with “Babylon” the ecclesiastical centre, viz. Rome. The very kings who hate ecclesiastical Babylon deplore the destruction of commercial Babylon.
N1 to Rev. 19.19, p1349 “* * *. The day of the LORD is preceded by seven signs: * * * (3) the insensibility of the professing church (2 Thes. 2.3); (4) the apostasy of the professing church, then become ‘Laodicea’ (2 Thes. 2.3); the rapture of the true church (1 Thes. 4.17); * * *.”