5/18/2021 4:18:37 PM
Consequences of Apostasy
Four years ago Hank Hanegraaff, known as the Bible Answer Man, was chrismated into the Orthodox Church. According to Orthodox teachings, Chrismation is the mystery by which a person is granted the gift of the Holy Spirit through the anointing of Holy Chrism. How could a man who spent so many years helping Christians identify various counterfeits now make the most foolish decision to join a counterfeit form of Christianity? Like its former protagonist, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox also teach a false and fatal gospel of salvation by sacraments and works. They are both to be accursed for teaching a gospel contrary to the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9).
The Orthodox people do not believe or proclaim the one-time, all-sufficient, unrepeatable sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ for the finished work of redemption. Instead, their priests continue to offer what they believe is the physical body and blood of Jesus Christ everyday on an altar. This Eucharistic sin-offering not only blasphemes Christ, but also rejects His victory cry, "It is finished" (John 19:30). By continuing their sacerdotal priesthood, the Orthodox also reject Jesus as the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). In the Orthodox Church forgiveness of sin and salvation can only come through its priests and its sacraments.
Throughout the New Testament, we are warned that there will be false converts, false teachers, and apostates in the church. We cannot judge anyone's heart, but we must be fruit inspectors (Mat. 7:15-20). Only God knows if Hanegraaff is a true or a false convert. However, it is inconceivable that a true Christian would exchange a relationship with the One Mediator for a religion that offers ungodly mediators. Hanegraaff's departure is not unprecedented. "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19).
The last days will be marked by widespread deception and growing apostasy. We are living in a church age where many people are choosing to follow persuasive personalities rather than the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. These undiscerning people need to be warned that there are eternal consequences for those who follow the teachings of men without testing them with the supreme authority of God's Word. The only way false teachers can succeed is when professing Christians put up with them (2 Cor. 11:4). May God give us the courage and boldness to contend earnestly for the faith that was signed, sealed, and delivered 2000 years ago (Jude 3).