Examples of Apostasy in the Christian church

by Matt Slick

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths," (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Following is a list of examples of unbiblical ideas and teaching.  Note: individual churches do not represent denominations.

  1. Crouch, Paul, the founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network
    • Paul is a little god. "He[God] doesn't even draw a distinction between himself and us... you know what else that settled in, then tonight? This hue and cry and controversy that has been spawned by the devil to try and bring dissension within the body of Christ that we are gods. I am a little god!...I have his name. I'm one with him. I'm in covenant relation. I am a little God! critics, begone!" ("Praise the Lord" program on TBN, July 7, 1986 as cited in Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraf, Hharvest House publishers, Eugene Oregon, 1993, page 379.)
  2. Copeland, Kenneth
    • "God spoke Adam into existence in authority with words (Genesis 1:26, 28). These words struck Adam's body in the face. His body and God were exactly the same size." (Holy Bible: Kenneth Copeland reference edition [Fort Worth, Texas: Kenneth Copeland ministries, 1991], 45, emphasis in original, as cited in Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraf, Harvest House publishers, Eugene Oregon, 1993, page 379.)
  3. Meyer, Joyce
    • Jesus stopped being the Son of God:  "He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands, at that point he couldn’t do nothing for himself anymore. He had become sin, he was no longer the Son of God. He was sin."(http://storage.carm.org/joycemeyer/joyce-meyer-Jesus-became-sin-stopped-being-son-of-God.mp3)
    • Jesus paid for our sins in hell:  "He became our sacrifice and died on the cross. He did not stay dead. He was in the grave three days. During that time he entered hell, where you and I deserve to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price there.” (The most important decision you'll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, May 1993, page 35)
  4. United Methodist Church
    • BE IT RESOLVED that the Greater New Jersey Anokay examplesnual Conference calls upon its bishop, no later than August 1, 2012, to call upon all churches in our Conference to designate a “Day of Prayer & Healing” for our denomination regarding the failure of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church to again acknowledge the deep division in our denomination over the status of LGBT persons, recognizing the pain and suffering that this failure has caused many faithful Christians and especially LGBT persons in our denomination...May we remember that the Table of Holy Communion has a place for everyone in our churches...especially our LGBT brothers and sisters in our midst, in our churches and communities." (https://carm.org/united-methodist-lgbt)
  5. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    • From http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe/Social-Issues/Social-Statements-in-Process/JTF-Human-Sexuality/Message-to-Rostered-Leaders.aspx  “A Message to Rostered Leaders from Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson, August 22, 2009 . . . Our assembly also adopted resolutions proposed by the Church Council based on those contained in a “Report and Recommendation on Ministry Policies.” The actions direct that changes be made to churchwide policy documents to make it possible for those in committed same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders in the ELCA . . . Resolution 2: RESOLVED, that the ELCA commit itself to finding a way for people in such publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous, same-gender relationships to serve as rostered leaders of this church. (Adopted 559-451) Resolution 4 . . . eliminated the prohibition of rostered service by members in publicly accountable, lifelong, monogamous same-gender relationships.”
  6. American Baptist Church invited married lesbian to speak
    • "An American Baptist College is defending its invitation to an openly lesbian United Church of Christ minister, asserting that Christians are making an “idol” of the Bible."1
          The Pres. of the College, Forest Harris said "It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people..."  And  "When people say [the Bible] is synonymous with God and the truth, we can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.”2
  7. Changing the Bible to suit gender-neutral wording.
    1. This has crept into the church periodically in the last 30 years. Due to pressure from the secular society, some Christian based Bible publishers are offering gender-neutral Bibles. This is sad. Is God's Word any less true because it is not gender-neutral? Should Christians change God's Word to suit the unbeliever? No and no.
  8. Metropolitan Community Church which openly approves of homosexuality.
  9. The Evangelical Lutheran Church (on homosexuality).
    1. "The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided Monday to undertake its first major study on whether to endorse the morality of homosexual relationships . . . The Rev. Ann Tiemeyer of Woodside, N.Y., said she supports greater acceptance of gay church members and clergy. "It is time to send a message that we are a welcoming church, in our clergy as well as our pews," she said," (Associated Press Online, 08/13/2001, Lutherans to Study Homosexuality).
    2. "The church currently allows homosexual clergy if they practice celibacy," (New Bishop for Evangelical Lutherans,  ELCA, Associated Press Online, 10/06/2001).
      1. Note: if a person acknowledges that homosexuality is a sin and is in a state of repentance but still has those tendencies, then this would not disqualify him from being a minister. However, if he were a homosexual who is not practicing but also believes that it is okay and not a sin, then that would disqualify him from being a minister.
  10. The Evangelical Lutheran Church (on evolution).
    1. The ELCA doesn't have an official position on creation vs. evolution, but we subscribe to the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation, so we believe God created the universe and all that is therein, only not necessarily in six 24-hour days, and that he may actually have used evolution in the process of creation. (http://www.elca.org/co/faq/evolution.html)
  11. The Episcopal Church (woman bishop to oust conservative priest).
    1. "An Episcopal Church committee has backed efforts by Washington's acting Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon to oust a conservative priest. A nine-member panel of clergy and laity said Dixon followed church law when she rejected the decision of the Christ Church vestry to hire the Rev. Samuel Edwards and ordered him to leave by May 25. Edwards refused, and continues to conduct services and occupy the rectory," (Religion News in Brief, Associated Press Online, 09/27/2001).
  12. The Mennonite Church (on homosexuality).
    1. "After nearly two decades of negotiation, the nation's two largest Mennonite denominations overwhelmingly approved a merger Thursday that creates the 125,000-member Mennonite Church USA . . . . Many delegates expressed mixed feelings about the new membership guidelines, under which the church will not recognize same-sex marriages. Individual congregations and regional conferences will decide whether homosexuals will be allowed as members, (Two Mennonite Groups Approve Merger,  NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jul 05, 2001, AP Online via COMTEX).
  13. The Presbyterian Church United States of America (on homosexuality).
    1. "In a closely watched case, the highest court of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) refused to rule Tuesday on whether a homosexual man is eligible to serve as a church elder. The court said the dispute surrounding Wayne Osborne had become moot because the First Presbyterian Church of Stamford, Conn., had installed another group of elders," (Presbyterian Court Sidesteps Ruling, Ky., Dec 04, 2001, AP Online via COMTEX).
  14. The United Church of Christ (on homosexuality).
    1. "The United Church of Christ set up a $500,000 scholarship fund for gay and lesbian seminarians Friday and urged wider acceptance of homosexuals by other denominations," (United Church Makes Gay Scholarship, CLEVELAND, Jun 16, 2000, AP Online via COMTEX).
  15. The United Methodist Church (on homosexuality).
    1. "The supreme court of the United Methodist Church was asked Thursday to reconsider the denomination's ban on gay clergy," (Church court of United Methodists asked to decide on gay clergy ban, NASHVILLE, Tennessee, Oct 25, 2001, AP WorldStream via COMTEX).


In contemporary culture, homosexuality is gaining ground and acceptance. This should never bleed over into the Christian church. The fact that homosexuality is even in question in some denominations is a definite sign of apostasy since homosexuality clearly contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture that homosexuality is a sin: "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God," (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Unfortunately, too many denominations are listening to the false gospel of the world and becoming secularized. They need to repent and stand on God's Word, whether it is popular or not.

There is a need within the Christian church to inform the body of Christ about the essentials of the Christian faith both doctrinally and morally. As the Christian church becomes more seduced by the comforts of secularism, there's all the more need for those of us within the Christian faith to stand firm on the faith, to stand firm in the foundation that was laid by Jesus and the apostles. We are to defend the Christian faith and take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). We are supposed to convert the world by making disciples of every nation (Matthew 28:18-20). But, what seems to be happening in far too many cases is that secularism is converting the Christian and the visible church is appearing more and more secular and less and less biblical.

Therefore, there is a necessity, even an obligation to establish with the Christian faith is and in so doing, expose the false teachings that are apostate and lead to further apostasy.

  • 1. http://christiannews.net/2015/03/12/american-baptist-college-defends-invite-to-lesbian-speaker-says-christians-make-idol-of-bible/
  • 2. ibid.
About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.