Disfellowshipping: Apostasy, Sects & the Antichrist

Like unrepentant sinners, the Bible gives directive to Christians on how to deal with Apostasy, Sects and Antichrists, and tells us how to identify and define them.

In comparison to an unrepentant sinner of whom association should be avoided or limited with, we are given much firmer instructions when it comes to dealing with this class of sinner:

  • John 8:40-44: “But now you are seeking to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father.” They said to him: “We were not born from immorality; we have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I have not come of my own initiative, but that One sent me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? Because you cannot listen to my word. You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a murderer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie“.
  • Romans 16:17-18: “Now I urge you, brothers, to keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them. For men of that sort are slaves, not of our Lord Christ, but of their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattering speech they seduce the hearts of unsuspecting ones“.
  • Titus 3:10: “As for a man who promotes a sect, reject him after a first and a second admonition, knowing that such a man has deviated from the way and is sinning and is self-condemned”. 
  • 1 Corinthians 1:10-15, 28-30: “Now I urge you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you should all speak in agreement and that there should be no divisions among you, but that you may be completely united in the same mind and in the same line of thought. For some from the house of Chloʹe have informed me regarding you, my brothers, that there are dissensions among you. What I mean is this, that each one of you says: “I belong to Paul,” “But I to A·polʹlos,” “But I to Ceʹphas,” “But I to Christ.” Is the Christ divided? Paul was not executed on the stake for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crisʹpus and Gaʹius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name…. God chose the insignificant things of the world and the things looked down on, the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, so that no one might boast in the sight of God. But it is due to him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom.” 
  • 1 Timothy 6:3-5: If any man teaches another doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up with pride, not understanding anything, but having an unhealthy interest over questionings and debates about words. From these things spring envy, strife, abusive speeches, wicked suspicions, violent disputes about trifles on the part of men corrupted in mind and despoiled of the truth, thinking that godly devotion is a means of gain.
  • 1 John 2:18, 21-22,1 John 4:2: “Young children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from which fact we know that it is the last hour. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son… This is how you know that the inspired statement is from God: Every inspired statement that acknowledges Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God. But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world”.
  • 2 John 1:7-11: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Look out for yourselves, so that you do not lose the things we have worked to produce, but that you may obtain a full reward.  Everyone who pushes ahead and does not remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God. The one who does remain in this teaching is the one who has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your homes or say a welcome to him. For the one who welcomes him is a sharer in his wicked works“. 

We see that these words are far more stern than what is applied to mere unrepentant sinners. We are told to completely stay away from these kinds of people by all possible means, not even attempting to admonish them once knowing what they really are.

As mentioned, the kinds of people described can be broke down into; Apostates, Sectarians, and Antichrists:

Defining Apostates and Antichrists

The main difference between one who has fallen to sin and one who has become an apostate (traitor) or antichrist (opposer of the Anointed), is that the latter outright reject or attack Jesus.

These are those who know better, Christians or former Christians who purposely (as opposed to those who have lost their faith due to doubts or genuine disbelief) deny his existence, coming in the flesh or authority as Son of God. They oppose the Son Jesus and the Father Yehovah God, for their own selfish or Satanic ends. These ones seek to draw people away from Christ, from the Congregation, to deceive and destroy their faith entirely, to rip people away from the truth of Jesus the Anointed one and his Father Yehovah God. Such ones may draw people after themselves and their antichrist ideas, or into false religions which reject the Anointed one completely.

For them it is not enough to not believe, or no longer follow Christ, they are not content in keeping to themselves or letting Christians believe in and follow Jesus, but they actively seek to attack Jesus and those who follow him, be it through means of trying to maliciously discredit the Bible, persecute Christians, or by means of subtle tactics, slipping in false teachings not founded in scripture, to corrupt Christians in their sly manner of teaching.

They are not mere “athiests” or those innocently adhering to a different faith, but are militant antitheists, who go out of their way to cause trouble. Apostates are not merely those who point out what they feel are the false beliefs of certain Christians or churches based on their interpretations of the Bible (of whom such may even have righteous intents in comparison to an apostate), but they attack the Bible itself. They are true and pure haters of God and the Son.

Defining a Sect

Sectarians are ones who go beyond the mere subjective interpretation of matters retaining to the holy scriptures. They are man-made religions, corruptions of the faith, with high focus on paganised doctrines and worship of men.

They may blatantly promote false worship, pagan teachings not found in the Bible and attempt to merge it with Christianity, or they may be those who twist scriptural truths to their own ends through purposeful miscontexualising, or mistranslation. Sects also often create religious doctrines not founded in any Biblical truth at all, such ones are described in Revelation 22 to be “accursed”. 

An early example in the 1st century were the Gnostics, of whom some theorise is who John was partly referring to in his letters regarding the antichrist. The Gnostics were Christians who claimed that independent knowledge outside the scriptures mixed with pagan mysticism was the key to salvation, and that whilst the New Testament was true, the Torah (Old Testament), the very book that prophesied the coming of Jesus as our saviour, was a lie of Satan, and that ‘he’ created the physical universe, not God. The Gnostics held very similar views to Buddhists, and could be seen to be a “Christianised” variant of Buddhism, claiming Jesus did not die for our sins, but that he taught inner enlightenment was the key to everlasting life, as opposed to faith in his ransom sacrifice. 

Another example which is directly cited in scripture are Judeo-Christians, who claimed Christians still had to be circumcised and were restricted in what they could eat, some even claiming that Gentiles (non-Jews) could not be saved, but only true fleshly Israelites who were descendants of Abraham were to be saved, a belief even held by some extremist race-based or lineage-based sects today.

Sectarians also especially may claim special “divine titles” which makes them unquestionable and places them above the scrutiny of their brothers, encouraging a form of worship to men. They may claim to speak on God’s or Jesus’ behalf, declaring themselves as prophets or chosen ones of God without divine proof. They may pose themselves to be the sole saviours of mankind, that ‘they’ and their subjective Biblical interpretations, man-made laws and opinions beyond the inspired scriptural doctrines must be obeyed to attain salvation.

This is why Hebrews 13:7,17 and Philippians 3:17-19 tells us to be cautious when obeying and following Christians who take the lead, we must observe and test if they are being true Christians and only teach the inspired doctrines, and are not enforcing their own man-made doctrines. As Paul stated in 1 Corinthians, we are not “baptised in the name of men”, but we are all unified in Jesus alone. Thus no Christian’s opinion is above the opinion of another’s, no uninspired man can claim authority to declare what is official doctrine or interpretation, neither can they command absolute submission from the flock of God.

“Unification” and being of the “same line of thought” in Jesus is not to be confused with “enforced uniformity”, but is a harmony of willing agreement amongst Christians.

A sect is the opposite of unity, it seeks to enforce its own personal ideas upon the subjects of the Congregation, which in turn is what creates strife, divisions, factions and loyalty to men amongst brothers over loyalty to Jesus alone.

(More can be found on this subject in my other article “What is a Congregation Elder?”):

Identifying & Dealing with

Of these specifically selfish, egotistical, lying, or viciously opposing individuals, we are instructed to keep completely away from, to neither “greet” or “warmly welcome” them as we pass by, nor invite them into our homes (both our personal homes, and houses of worship), or entertain their teachings.

The word used to not “greet” or “welcome” in this case is the Greek term; “chairó”, which means “to rejoice in” or “be glad in”. Thus this is not referring to a casual every day greeting, such as the word “aspazomai” (the word Jesus used at Matthew 4:47) but rather, “chairó” refers to a refusal to “approve of” or “welcome” these ones, not having warm associations or engagements with them.

This is not to say of course that we go out of our way to treat them with malice or hatred, or give them the cold shoulder if they were in genuine need (such as a medical emergency, or were dying in a ditch in want of food and shelter) for that would not be the conduct of a loving Christian. Nevertheless, we are commanded to completely avoid them at all costs or be regarded as sharers or encouragers of their wicked works.

Unlike fallen Christians who succumb to a life of sin, these ones cannot be reasoned with nor admonished, for they are not just guilty of unrepentance or worldliness, but have chosen outright war with God and are dangerous, hence we avoid their company entirely. The statement from Jesus at Matthew 7:6: “Do not give what is holy to dogs nor throw your pearls before swine, so that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open”, echoes this sentiment.

It is important to bare in mind, these individuals are ones with purposeful and evil intent, as the scriptures describe them as “puffed up”, “deceivers” and “seducers”.

We must all try to remember that we live in an era where Christians no longer receive the miraculous gifts of the holy spirt (such as healing, resurrecting, angelic visits, prophecy, etc) to prove they are the chosen ones of God and Christ.

Those who denied the Apostles of the 1st century and went out of their way to spread doctrines and interpretations contrary to those God-chosen ones were easily labelled as apostates and antichrists for going against the clear manifestation of holy spirit; a sign of God’s approval, just as the Jews did so with Jesus. But such is not the circumstance we are in today. Therefore, determining if one is rejecting Jesus, or is twisting scripture to suit their own ends and those of Satan’s, or if an individual is genuine of heart and non-malicious in their works, is a much more delicate subject today, which should be addressed with serious thought and consideration, based upon the principles found in the scriptures.

We should not see an honest hearted God-loving Christian who has a different subjective interpretation of a scriptural doctrine or the meaning of a scripture (for no one of us is directly inspired by God today and can claim our interpretations as objective divine truth) as an apostate, sectarian, or antichrist, for they are not being “deceptive”, nor do they attempt to make their name for themselves greater than their fellow Christians or Christ’s, but rather we are to treat them as a Christian brother, a truth seeker, acting in accord of the spirit of the Beroeans, of whom Paul commended (Acts 17:10-11).

Likewise, one who becomes weak in faith, or one who no longer believes in Jesus or Yehovah due to honest hearted disbelief (e.g; one who has become an atheist due to being persuaded/deceived by the world that the Bible is not of God) is not to be automatically assumed or labelled to be apostate or antichrist, for they have merely become a victim of the world, robbed of their faith and belief in the Anointed one. Thus mercy, understanding and admonishment must be extended to them, not condemnation (John 9:41, 2 Corinthians 4:4 Luke 17:5, Acts 9:1-19, 1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1:22-23). 

Rather, genuine apostates, antichrists and sectarians are those who are knowingly deceptive and malicious in their mission to twist the scriptures to their own end, to destroy the faith of Christians, attempting to split the Congregation, poisoning the loving relationships between brothers, and seek to draw people away from being disciples of the Anointed and worshippers of his Father Yehovah, and after themselves as their own disciples (1 Corinthians 1:12-13).

They know and believe the truth, but like Satan and his demons, the biggest antichrists of all, reject or warp it (John 8:44, James 2:19). Thus, only once evidence has become abundant in proving a person is a purposeful apostate or antichrist, such ones should be avoided at all possibility. 

Published by Proselytiser of Jah

Christian Restorationist

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