Falling Away: Understanding the De-Converted

Originally posted to MySpace on:

July 1, 2007:

Though it may come as no surprise to hear of the falling away of Christians these days—from the average church-goer to the most distinguished of theologians and ministers (the elect)—into the hands of Atheism, Agnosticism, etc., I still find it heart wrenching when this trend captures the hearts of people I care for.

Ten years ago, a Christian friend fell away to Atheism after trying to put God in a logical box. Just recently, another friend fell away after reading scholarly (and other religious) accounts of the invalidation of the Bible and the invalidation of the words of Jesus written in the Four Gospels. Both friends informed me in separate times of the accounts of Christians, from the high ranks of ministry to the ones barely surfing church, who decided that Christianity is a sham and moved on to other beliefs.

I’ll admit that this phenomenon disturbed me, but it also piqued my curiosity. Why would so many who claimed to love God fall away? Didn’t they know that Satan is an expert in deception? Didn’t they know that it takes love and the Holy Spirit in their hearts to guard against such things? Of the “testimonies” that I read, they all seem to leave those parts out.

Earlier tonight, a friend of mine, well-learned in Gnosticism—a mystical movement that dominated the First Century, which was a great enemy of the rising threat of Christianity—informed me of the great movement of certain leaders to return it to prominence in our culture, an effort that started in the 1800s during the Age of Reason. Though the movement has been slow in the past, quietly unearthing ancient texts including one such Gospel of Thomas during its re-growth, it has steadily taken off in recent years in an effort to seduce Christians with “truth” through its forms of logic and reason. And some Christians, in an effort to know God better through human logic, have taken the bait.

Unfortunately, those who fall away through reason cannot be reasoned with. It takes the Holy Spirit to reach them. But I thought I’d at least share the biblical references that talk about the falling away, in case anyone doubts that this phenomenon is an end time prophesy predicted by a very real Jesus in the pages of a very true Word of God, two things of which Gnosticism is hell-bent on discrediting, for Jesus and the Word of God threatens its very power.

The majority of this text comes from 2 Thessalonians 2.

This is a quick sheet reference, but if you want to scour the whole network of related verses, copy and paste the link below:

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2THES%202&version=49;#fen-NASB-29665a

Please note that I directed cross-referencing focus from verse 3’s notation on “apostasy,” as that directly refers to the “falling away” of Christians from the faith. For everything else, I’d recommend visiting the above link.

Also note that the cross-references are divided by letter codes. A verse with a -letter- next to it refers to a reference in the main body (2 Thessalonians 2). A verse with a [letter] next to it refers to the reference directly linking to the -letter- verse. Lastly, a verse with a (letter) is a sub-reference to whatever verse it directly follows in the outline. It’ll make more sense when you actually look at it.

2 Thessalonians 2 (New American Standard Bible)
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

2 Thessalonians 2
Man of Lawlessness
1Now we request you, (A)brethren, with regard to the (B)coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our (C)gathering together to Him,

2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a (D)spirit or a (E)message or a (F)letter as if from us, to the effect that (G)the day of the Lord (H)has come.

3(I)Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the [a](J)apostasy comes first, and the (K)man of lawlessness is revealed, the (L)son of destruction,

4who opposes and exalts himself above (M)every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, (N)displaying himself as being God.

5Do you not remember that (O)while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?

6And you know (P)what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

7For (Q)the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only (R)he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

8Then that lawless one (S)will be revealed whom the Lord will slay (T)with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the (U)appearance of His coming;

9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of (V)Satan, with all power and (W)signs and false wonders,

10and with all the deception of wickedness for (X)those who perish, because they did not receive the love of (Y)the truth so as to be saved.

11For this reason (Z)God will send upon them a (AA)deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,

12in order that they all may be judged who (AB)did not believe the truth, but (AC)took pleasure in wickedness.

13(AD)But we should always give thanks to God for you, (AE)brethren beloved by the Lord, because (AF)God has chosen you [b]from the beginning (AG)for salvation (AH)through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

14It was for this He (AI)called you through (AJ)our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15So then, brethren, (AK)stand firm and (AL)hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether (AM)by word of mouth or (AN)by letter from us.

16(AO)Now may our Lord Jesus Christ (AP)Himself and God our Father, who has (AQ)loved us and given us eternal comfort and (AR)good hope by grace,

17(AS)comfort and (AT)strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

A. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 : 2 Thess 1:3
B. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 : 1 Thess 2:19
C. 2 Thessalonians 2:1 : Mark 13:27; 1 Thess 4:15-17
D. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 : 1 Cor 14:32; 1 John 4:1
E. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 : 1 Thess 5:2; 2 Thess 2:15
F. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 : 2 Thess 3:17
G. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 : 1 Cor 1:8
H. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 : 1 Cor 7:26
I. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : Eph 5:6
J. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : 1 Tim 4:1
K. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : Dan 7:25; 8:25; 11:36; 2 Thess 2:8; Rev 13:5-ff
L. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 : John 17:12
M. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 : 1 Cor 8:5
N. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 : Is 14:14; Ezek 28:2
O. 2 Thessalonians 2:5 : 1 Thess 3:4
P. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 : 2 Thess 2:7
Q. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 : Rev 17:5, 7
R. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 : 2 Thess 2:6
S. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 : Dan 7:25; 8:25; 11:36; 2 Thess 2:3; Rev 13:5-ff
T. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 : Is 11:4; Rev 2:16; 19:15
U. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 : 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13
V. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 : Matt 4:10
W. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 : Matt 24:24; John 4:48
X. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 : 1 Cor 1:18
Y. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 : 2 Thess 2:12, 13
Z. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 : 1 Kin 22:22; Rom 1:28
AA. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 : 1 Thess 2:3; 2 Tim 4:4
BB. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 : Rom 2:8
CC. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 : Rom 1:32; 1 Cor 13:6
DD. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 : 2 Thess 1:3
EE. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 : 1 Thess 1:4
FF. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 : Eph 1:4-ff
GG. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 : 1 Cor 1:21; 1 Thess 2:12; 5:9; 1 Pet 1:5
HH. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 : 1 Thess 4:7; 1 Pet 1:2
II. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 : 1 Thess 2:12
JJ. 2 Thessalonians 2:14 : 1 Thess 1:5
KK. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : 1 Cor 16:13
LL. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : 1 Cor 11:2; 2 Thess 3:6
MM. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : 2 Thess 2:2
NN. 2 Thessalonians 2:15 : 2 Thess 2:2
OO. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 : 1 Thess 3:11
PP. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 : 1 Thess 3:11
QQ. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 : John 3:16
RR. 2 Thessalonians 2:16 : Titus 3:7; 1 Pet 1:3
SS. 2 Thessalonians 2:17 : 1 Thess 3:2, 13
TT. 2 Thessalonians 2:17 : 2 Thess 3:3

Cross References:

-J- 1 Timothy 4
Apostasy
1But (A)the Spirit explicitly says that (B)in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to (C)deceitful spirits and (D)doctrines of demons,
A. 1 Timothy 4:1 : John 16:13; Acts 20:23; 21:11; 1 Cor 2:10
B. 1 Timothy 4:1 : 2 Thess 2:3-ff; 2 Tim 3:1; 2 Pet 3:3; Jude 18
C. 1 Timothy 4:1 : 1 John 4:6
D. 1 Timothy 4:1 : James 3:15

[A] John 16:13

13″But when He, (A)the Spirit of truth, comes, He will (B)guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

Cross references:
A. John 16:13 : John 14:17
B. John 16:13 : John 14:26

[A] 1 Corinthians 2:10

10[a](A)For to us God revealed them (B)through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the (C)depths of God.

Footnotes:
a. 1 Corinthians 2:10 One early ms reads But

Cross references:
A. 1 Corinthians 2:10 : Matt 11:25; 13:11; 16:17; Gal 1:12; Eph 3:3, 5
B. 1 Corinthians 2:10 : John 14:26
C. 1 Corinthians 2:10 : Rom 11:33-ff

(C) Romans 11:33-36

33Oh, the depth of (A)the riches both of the (B)wisdom and knowledge of God! (C)How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

34For (D)WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR?

35Or (E)WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?

36For (F)from Him and through Him and to Him are all things (G)To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

[B] 2 Timothy 3
“Difficult Times Will Come”
1But realize this, that (A)in the last days difficult times will come.

Cross references:
A. 2 Timothy 3:1 : 1 Tim 4:1

[B] 2 Peter 3:3

The Coming Day of the Lord
3(A)Know this first of all, that (B)in the last days (C)mockers will come with their mocking, (D)following after their own lusts,

Cross references:
A2 Peter 3:3 : 2 Pet 1:20
B. 2 Peter 3:3 : 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 1:2
C. 2 Peter 3:3 : Jude 18
D. 2 Peter 3:3 : 2 Pet 2:10

[B] Jude 1:18

18that they were saying to you, “(A)In the last time there will be mockers, (B)following after their own ungodly lusts.”

Cross references:
A. Jude 1:18 : Acts 20:29; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1; 4:3; 2 Pet 3:3
B. Jude 1:18 : Jude 4, 16

[C] 1 John 4:6
6(A)We are from God; (B)he who knows God listens to us; (C)he who is not from God does not listen to us By this we know (D)the spirit of truth and (E)the spirit of error.

Cross references:
A. 1 John 4:6 : John 8:23; 1 John 4:4
B. 1 John 4:6 : John 8:47; 10:3-ff; 18:37
C. 1 John 4:6 : 1 Cor 14:37
D. 1 John 4:6 : John 14:17
E. 1 John 4:6 : 1 Tim 4:1

(A) John 8:23

23And He was saying to them, “(A)You are from below, I am from above; (B)you are of this world, (C)I am not of this world.

Cross references:
A. John 8:23 : John 3:31
B. John 8:23 : 1 John 4:5
C. John 8:23 : John 17:14, 16

(A) 1 John 4:4

4You are from God, (A)little children, and (B)have overcome them; because (C)greater is He who is in you than (D)he who is in the world.

Cross references:
A. 1 John 4:4 : 1 John 2:1
B. 1 John 4:4 : 1 John 2:13
C. 1 John 4:4 : Rom 8:31; 1 John 3:20
D. 1 John 4:4 : John 12:31

(B) John 8:47

47″(A)He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

Cross references:
A. John 8:47 : 1 John 4:6

(B) John 10:3-42

(too long to reference here, refer to it at bottom)

(B) John 18:37

37Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “(A)You say correctly that I am a king For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, (B)to testify to the truth (C)Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Cross references:
A. John 18:37 : Matt 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 22:70; 23:3
B. John 18:37 : John 1:14; 3:32; 8:14
C. John 18:37 : John 8:47; 1 John 4:6

(C) 1 Corinthians 14:37
37(A)If anyone thinks he is a prophet or (B)spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you (C)are the Lord’s commandment.

Cross references:
E. 1 Corinthians 14:37 : 2 Cor 10:7
F. 1 Corinthians 14:37 : 1 Cor 2:15
G. 1 Corinthians 14:37 : 1 John 4:6

(D) John 14:17

17that is (A)the Spirit of truth, (B)whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

Cross references:
A. John 14:17 : John 15:26; 16:13; 1 John 4:6; 5:7
B. John 14:17 : 1 Cor 2:14

(E) 1 Timothy 4:1

(see above)

[D] James 3:15

15This wisdom is not that which comes down (A)from above, but is (B)earthly, (C)natural, (D)demonic.

A. James 3:15 : James 1:17
B. James 3:15 : 1 Cor 2:6; 3:19
C. James 3:15 : 2 Cor 1:12; Jude 19
D. James 3:15 : 2 Thess 2:9; 1 Tim 4:1; Rev 2:24

(A) James 1:17

17Every good thing given and every perfect gift is (A)from above, coming down from (B)the Father of lights, (C)with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

(B) 1 Corinthians 2:6

6Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are (A)mature; a wisdom, however, not of (B)this age nor of the rulers of (C)this age, who are (D)passing away;

(B) 1 Corinthians 3:19

19For (A)the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God For it is written, “He is (B)THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”;

-(A) 1 Corinthians 1:20

20(A)Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of (B)this age? Has not God (C)made foolish the wisdom of (D)the world?

-(B) Job 5:13

13″He (A)captures the wise by their own shrewdness,
And the advice of the cunning is quickly thwarted.

(C) 2 Corinthians 1:12

Paul’s Integrity

12For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of (A)our conscience, that in holiness and (B)godly sincerity, (C)not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

(C) Jude 1:19

19These are the ones who cause divisions, (A)worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

(D) 2 Thessalonians 2:9
9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of (A)Satan, with all power and (B)signs and false wonders,

Cross references:
A. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 : Matt 4:10
B. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 : Matt 24:24; John 4:48

(B) Matthew 24:24

24″For false Christs and (A)false prophets will arise and will show great (B)signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even (C)the elect.

Cross references:
A. Matthew 24:24 : Matt 7:15; 24:11
B. Matthew 24:24 : John 4:48; 2 Thess 2:9
C. Matthew 24:24 : Matt 22:14; 24:22, 31; Luke 18:7

-(A) Matthew 7:15

A Tree and Its Fruit
15″Beware of the (A)false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are (B)ravenous wolves.

-(A) Matthew 24:11

11″Many (A)false prophets will arise and will mislead many.

-(B) John 4:48

48So Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see (A)signs and (B)wonders, you simply will not believe.”

(D) Revelation 2:24

24’But I say to you, the rest who are in (A)Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the (B)deep things of Satan, as they call them–I (C)place no other burden on you.

Cross references:
A. Revelation 2:24 : Rev 2:18
B. Revelation 2:24 : 1 Cor 2:10
C. Revelation 2:24 : Acts 15:28

From [C] (B)

John 10:3-42

3″To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear (A)his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and (B)leads them out.

4″When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know (C)his voice.

5″A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know (D)the voice of strangers.”

6This (E)figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.

7So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am (F)the door of the sheep.

8″All who came before Me are (G)thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9″(H)I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

10″The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they (I)may have life, and have it abundantly.

11″(J)I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd (K)lays down His life for the sheep.

12″He who is a hired hand, and not a (L)shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

13″He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

14″(M)I am the good shepherd, and (N)I know My own and My own know Me,

15even as (O)the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and (P)I lay down My life for the sheep.

16″I have (Q)other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become (R)one flock with (S)one shepherd.

17″For this reason the Father loves Me, because I (T)lay down My life so that I may take it again.

18″(U)No one has taken it away from Me, but I (V)lay it down on My own initiative I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again (W)This commandment I received from My Father.”

19(X)A division occurred again among the Jews because of these words.

20Many of them were saying, “He (Y)has a demon and (Z)is insane. Why do you listen to Him?”

21Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one (AA)demon-possessed (AB)A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”
Jesus Asserts His Deity
22At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem;

23it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of (AC)Solomon.

24(AD)The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us (AE)plainly.”

25Jesus answered them, “(AF)I told you, and you do not believe; (AG)the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.

26″But you do not believe because (AH)you are not of My sheep.

27″My sheep (AI)hear My voice, and (AJ)I know them, and they follow Me;

28and I give (AK)eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and (AL)no one will snatch them out of My hand.

29″[a]My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

30″(AM)I and the Father are one.”

31The Jews (AN)picked up stones again to stone Him.

32Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?”

33The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for (AO)blasphemy; and because You, being a man, (AP)make Yourself out to be God.”

34Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in (AQ)your (AR)Law, ‘(AS)I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?

35″If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken),

36do you say of Him, whom the Father (AT)sanctified and (AU)sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘(AV)I am the Son of God’?

37″(AW)If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;

38but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe (AX)the works, so that you may know and understand that (AY)the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

39Therefore (AZ)they were seeking again to seize Him, and (BA)He eluded their grasp.

40And He went away (BB)again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was first baptizing, and He was staying there.

41Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no (BC)sign, yet (BD)everything John said about this man was true.”

42(BE)Many believed in Him there.

Footnotes:
a. John 10:29 One early ms reads What My Father has given Me is greater than all

Cross references:
A. John 10:3 : John 10:4, 16, 27
B. John 10:3 : John 10:9
C. John 10:4 : John 10:5, 16, 27
D. John 10:5 : John 10:4, 16, 27
E. John 10:6 : John 16:25, 29; 2 Pet 2:22
F. John 10:7 : John 10:1, 9
G. John 10:8 : Jer 23:1; Ezek 34:2-ff; John 10:1
H. John 10:9 : John 10:1, 9
I. John 10:10 : John 5:40
J. John 10:11 : Is 40:11; Ezek 34:11-16, 23; John 10:14; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 5:4; Rev 7:17
K. John 10:11 : John 10:15, 17, 18; 15:13; 1 John 3:16
L. John 10:12 : John 10:2
M. John 10:14 : John 10:11
N. John 10:14 : John 10:27
O. John 10:15 : Matt 11:27; Luke 10:22
P. John 10:15 : John 10:11, 17, 18
Q. John 10:16 : Is 56:8
R. John 10:16 : John 11:52; 17:20; Eph 2:13-18; 1 Pet 2:25
S. John 10:16 : Ezek 34:23; 37:24
T. John 10:17 : John 10:11, 15, 18
U. John 10:18 : Matt 26:53; John 2:19; 5:26
V. John 10:18 : John 10:11, 15, 17
W. John 10:18 : John 14:31; 15:10; Phil 2:8; Heb 5:8
X. John 10:19 : John 7:43; 9:16
Y. John 10:20 : John 7:20
Z. John 10:20 : Mark 3:21
AA. John 10:21 : Matt 4:24
BB. John 10:21 : Ex 4:11; John 9:32
CC. John 10:23 : Acts 3:11; 5:12
DD. John 10:24 : John 1:19; 10:31, 33
EE. John 10:24 : Luke 22:67; John 16:25
FF. John 10:25 : John 8:56, 58
GG. John 10:25 : John 5:36; 10:38
HH. John 10:26 : John 8:47
II. John 10:27 : John 10:4, 16
JJ. John 10:27 : John 10:14
KK. John 10:28 : John 17:2; 1 John 2:25; 5:11
LL. John 10:28 : John 6:37, 39
MM. John 10:30 : John 17:21-ff
NN. John 10:31 : John 8:59
OO. John 10:33 : Lev 24:16
PP. John 10:33 : John 5:18
QQ. John 10:34 : John 8:17
RR. John 10:34 : John 12:34; 15:25; Rom 3:19; 1 Cor 14:21
SS. John 10:34 : Ps 82:6
TT. John 10:36 : Jer 1:5; John 6:69
UU. John 10:36 : John 3:17
VV. John 10:36 : John 5:17; 10:30
WW. John 10:37 : John 10:25; 15:24
XX. John 10:38 : John 10:25; 14:11
YY. John 10:38 : John 14:10, 20; 17:21, 23
ZZ. John 10:39 : John 7:30
AAA. John 10:39 : Luke 4:30; John 8:59
BBB. John 10:40 : John 1:28
CCC. John 10:41 : John 2:11
DDD. John 10:41 : John 1:27, 30, 34; 3:27-30
EEE. John 10:42 : John 7:31

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