“Francis Chan sadly is apostatizing before our eyes. He hasn’t just begun. He isn’t in the kiddie pool. He is in the deep end, swimming with sharks, coyly denying that they’re sharks in the first place, and saying the water’s fine.”
(Elizabeth Prata – The End Time) Apostasy is defined as ‘a defection or revolt’. It is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy in religion (or who apostatizes) is known as an apostate. In Christianity, it is important to remember that apostates never really were saved. 1 John 2:19 says,
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
Apostasy is a process. No one wakes up one day and says “Gee, I hate Jesus and I’m not going to church anymore.” The first part of apostasy is a (usually slow) drifting away of the key doctrines of the faith. That’s the beginning. With that comes an eventual abandonment of the things of God and an attraction to the world and to the false teachers of the world. Unless a drastic repentance occurs this slide will grow and grow. Demas apostatized, we don’t know if he ever corrected course.
The second part of the process is the final abandonment of Christianity. Apostasy is in fact a process that progressively reveals the truth of one’s inner self, that one was never saved at all. Judas is the example here. He enacted a total repudiation of Jesus and what He stands for. Judas’s apostasy was hidden from even his close intimates, the disciples, until the very end. But it was there all along.
Apostasy begins with sinfulness. Sometimes it’s corrected by repentance, sometimes not. If not, it’s the first slide toward apostasy. An example of how apostasy is born of sinfulness might be that a woman wants to live with a man in sexual sin. Someone from church approaches her about her sin, and she rejects it as sin, perhaps saying that “The Bible never explicitly addresses this,” or “Only Paul wrote about that, not Jesus”. They present an excuse that in some way rejects the authority of the word of God. They might be approached about it again, and reject again, saying, “The Bible never says we have to gather for church, I’m going to worship at home.” Then after a while they don’t worship at all. They hang around with like-minded people who affirm their sin, they sin some more, and eventually they abandon the faith totally.