Heresy and Apostasy: 3 Principles in Defending the Truth

Heresy and apostasy are widespread in Christendom. The devil has always tried to twist the Word of God into a lie. Satan manipulated Eve into sinning by creating doubt against the Word of God (Genesis 3:1.) Nowadays, there’s so much false doctrine, teachers, and preachers around us that ordinary Christians get sucked into heresy and apostasy.

Heresy introduces new doctrines to divide believers and form new groups (sects, denominations, cults). In contrast, apostasy is moving from one doctrinal position to another. One doctrine has been abandoned in favor of another. More specifically, it is a renouncing of the truth to embrace false doctrine.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Jude 1:3

In this regard, the Bible commands that we must earnestly contend for the faith. Christians must take seriously the spread of heresy and apostasy. We must realize its effects on the church and the work of evangelism. Many people are being led to Hell because of heresy and apostasy.

The Word of God must be our only source of sound doctrine, not the word of men.

Many Christians base their doctrine on what man says. They agree on everything the preacher says without checking the Bible. As a result, they end up with a doctrine that contradicts the Word of God.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1

Just because a person is a pastor or a preacher does not mean he will faithfully preach the Word of God. Some pastors and preachers are apostates and seek to divide churches with their false doctrine. In his epistle, John teaches us that we must test those who preach the Word of God.

The standard that we use in testing preachers is the Bible. It’s not bad for congregants to compare a preacher’s preaching to what the Bible says. Those who compare the preaching to what the Bible says is considered noble in the scriptures (Acts 17:11.) A church that is watchful against false doctrine helps its preacher be accountable for his preaching.

Mark and avoid apostates and heretics.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Romans 16:17

The Bible teaches us to mark and avoid those who divide the church with false doctrine. Mainly because they are enemies of the truth, and their motivation is their selfish desires, not for the benefit of the church (Acts 20:29-30.) They want to draw away disciples after them and exploit them.

A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;

Titus 3:10

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 1:6-7

Heresy often leads to apostasy. That’s why the church, especially the shepherd, must be aware of the doctrine of those who join in membership. The Apostle Paul addressed the apostasy that had taken place in the Galatian church. They were infiltrated by a heretic who teaches works-based salvation. As a result, some of the members were deceived into believing a false gospel.

When you continue to fellowship with known heretics and apostates, you’re implying that you approve of their false doctrine. Also, instead of the apostates realizing their mistake, they continue their false doctrine since they think you’re not taking it seriously.

Persistent proclamation of biblical truth is one of the best ways to avoid heresy and apostasy.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:1

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

1 John 2:18

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 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.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15

Many false teachers teach false doctrines, create false churches, and make false converts. Others infiltrate churches and create division with their damnable heresies. These are all agents of the devil to destroy the church and bring more people to Hell.

With so much falsehood going around churches, including social media, It is the church’s responsibility, especially the pastor, to be persistent in preaching sound doctrine. Because when sound doctrine is preached, false doctrine is exposed.

A good illustration is that of a jeweler who studies and familiarizes himself with genuine jewelry. They don’t have to study fake jewelry since they already know what authentic jewelry is like. The same is true regarding doctrine; pastors and church members need to study sound doctrine, and they will learn how to determine what false doctrine is.

Therefore, Paul commands the elders of the Ephesian churches to feed the flock of God. Immerse the church with the whole counsel of God to expose the false teachers who attempt to bring heresy and apostasy.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Acts 20:27-29

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