The Spiritual Source Of Apostasy And Its Cure

Apostates will often give an ostensible intellectual reason for their apostasy but, in my experience, the root cause is rarely intellectual. It is typically spiritual. Experienced pastors have seen it many times. A person seems to growing in the Lord, sometimes for a considerable period, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, that person renounce the faith and walks away from the church and family. Often times such a person is involved in gross immorality. They are saying one thing with their mouth and another with their actions. Perhaps it is not sexual immorality but idolatry? Perhaps the person loves their career more than anything else? Jesus says, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed” (John 3:18–20; ESV). Perhaps it is that they think that they have committed an unpardonable sin. If so, that is a tragedy—Jesus freely forgives sinners every day. Perhaps it is, however, that people love darkness rather than light. Perhaps they were playing at Christianity and enjoyed the attention and affirmation but they found more of what they wanted in an adulterous relationship? The affair will end and then what? Whatever the case, please do not assume that apostates must have solid intellectual reasons for their decision. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9; AV). Dear apostate. I hope and pray that come to regret your choice. Should the Lord be so gracious as to cause you to regret it, Jesus the Savior of sinners will receive you warmly when you come home (Luke 15:11–32).

©R. Scott Clark. All Rights Reserved.


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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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