Until I attended JW meetings, I had never thought or heard about apostasy. I therefore wasn’t clear how one became an apostate. I have heard it mentioned often at JW meetings and knew it wasn’t something you wanted to be, just by the way it is said. However, I did not have a true understanding of what the word actually means.
I started out by looking up the word in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (EB) which reads:
EB: “Apostasy, the total rejection of Christianity by a baptized person who, having at one time professed the Christian faith, publicly rejects it. … It is distinguished from heresy, which is limited to the rejection of one or more Christian doctrines by one who maintains an overall adherence to Jesus Christ.
In the Merriam-Webster dictionary is a more detailed description of apostasy. It states that the word is “Middle English apostasie, borrowed from Anglo-French, borrowed from Late Latin apostasia, borrowed from Greek apostasia which means “defection, revolt, (Septuagint) rebellion against God”.
These explanations are helpful, but I wanted more background. I therefore went to the 2001 Translation, An American English Bible (AEB), based on the Greek Septuagint.
AEB points out that the Greek word apostasis literally means, ‘turn away from (apo)’ a ‘standing or state (stasis),’ and that the Bible term ‘apostasy’ doesn’t refer to some disagreement over doctrine, and that the word is misapplied by some modern religious groups.
To strengthen its view, AEB quotes Acts 17:10, 11. Quoting from the New World Translation, we read: “But they have heard it rumored about you that you have been teaching all the Jews among the nations an apostasy from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to follow the customary practices.”
AEB: “Notice that Paul wasn’t accused of being an apostate for teaching a wrong doctrine. Rather, they were accusing him of teaching a ‘turning from’ or an apostasy from the Law of Moses.
Therefore, his teachings weren’t what they were calling ‘apostate.’ Rather, it was the act of ‘turning from’ the Law of Moses that they were calling ‘an apostasy.’
So, a correct modern use of the word ‘apostasy’ would refer to a person turning from a moral Christian way of life, not to some disagreement over the meaning of a Bible verse.”
AEB further goes on to quote Acts 17:10, 11 which highlights how important it is to examine the Scriptures:
“Immediately by night the brothers sent both Paul and Silas to Beroea. On arriving, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they accepted the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:10, 11 NWT)
“But they have heard it rumored about you that you have been teaching all the Jews among the nations an apostasy from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or to follow the customary practices.” (Acts 21:21)
“Let no one lead you astray in any way, because it will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness gets revealed, the son of destruction.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NWT)
Based on the foregoing, a correct modern use of the word ‘apostasy’ should refer to a person turning from a moral Christian way of life, not to some disagreement over the meaning of a Bible verse.”
The old saying, “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but words will never hurt me”, isn’t quite true. Words do hurt. I don’t know if this clarification of apostasy helps to relieve the guilt some may feel; but for me to know that while Jehovah’s Witnesses may be taught to call me an apostate, I am not one from Jehovah God’s point of view.
Est considéré comme apostat, toute personne, qui n’adhère pas aux enseignements du GB, même si elle n’en fait pas l’apologie auprès d’autres chrétiens, mais choisit de s’éloigner de l’organisation, par souci d’intégrité morale et spirituelle. J’aimerais savoir à quel moment précis, lorsque les membres du GB se réunissent et que certains remettent en question « une vérité vieille » selon leur terminologie, de l’esclave fidèle et avisé, pour la remplacer par « une vérité neuve » passent, de ce qu’ils appellent pour les autres « apostasie » à « compréhension affinée », en ce qui les concerne ? Mais comme le double langage n’a plus de secret… Read more »
Hi Just Wondering. Let me respond (with good intent) to the last two paragraphs of your comment. 1) As for the last paragraph, it is only natural that you will be accused of apostasy by the Organization or some R&F. After all, Jesus was accused even of blasphemy by the Pharisees. But it just means you’re on the right side. You wrote: >So, my only possible reply to a JW that might accuse me of being an apostate is this: “No, I’m not. You are.”< I don’t think there is a need to respond in the same tone. The answer… Read more »
Hi Just Wondering, thank you for your response. Ad 1 – Agree, it’s up to you, you know yourself. I don’t approve of them either. I’m only trying to have a factual conversation with them. Ad 2 – Agree with your view of 144000 administering on Earth and with partaking. But if we are to see God face-to-face, we will need a spiritual body, perhaps like Jesus after resurrection (He ate fish, but the locked door was not an obstacle) – 1 Cor 15:44; 1 John 3:2. Finally – Agree, and I consider 1 Cor 15:52 – either the dead… Read more »
Vous dites : “Mais si nous voulons voir Dieu face à face, nous aurons besoin d’un corps spirituel, peut-être comme Jésus après la résurrection…” Job 33 : 26 dit : “Il adresse à Dieu sa prière; et Dieu lui est propice, Lui laisse voir sa face avec joie, Et lui rend son innocence. (Segond) ” Il suppliera +Dieu, et Dieu l’aura pour agreable; et il verra sa face avec des chants de triomphe, et Dieu rendra à l’homme sa justice.” (Darby) Mêmes traduction pour TMN, Jérusalem, Sacy Etc… Le verbe “raah” employé ici est VOIR. Ce verset parle bien du… Read more »
Got to be careful with that. You calling me an apostate would be a little premature. There is a difference between false christs and false anointed ones. I can believe that some may indeed go to heaven, but based on what little the Scriptures do tell us, there is still much debate on what it means and how it works out. One clear thing is that, from what we understand, being anointed purely means having a different hope for the future. All the debate aside, I find it more interesting to consider what it means for us today: nothing. Looking… Read more »
No worries, I didn’t take it personal, but could’ve chosen my wording a bit more carefully. My apologies. I have to remind myself regularly, you see, that such people may act out of their own good faith. I think most of us have been misled at some point, and it would be a good call for compassion while there’s still time. I do, however, have a harder stance toward the governing body. They should know better and if they do, it is all the more worse for them. According to James 3:1 they would get stricter judgment, so some well… Read more »
One of my favourites on this subject is Revelation 2:2, where Jesus gives commendation for “putting to the test” those who say they are apostles.
You can only put men and ideas to the test by hearing them and allowing time to observe what they are. However, among my fellow Witnesses I find that most immediately reject anything that doesn’t sound in line with the tradition(s).
Traditions can be nice and useful, but also extremely dangerous once they get priority over common sense and an open mind.
I can see what you mean. Reminds me of James 3:17, that the wisdom from above is first of all pure (or: chaste), then peaceable. Pureness, or chasteness, has indeed everything to do with keeping one’s integrity with regards to the truth. Peace (loyalty) is a close second to that, whether within organisations or between individuals, and it cannot be maintained if someone (grossly) deviates from the truth.
Taking verse 18 along with it, one may wonder if either loyalty or integrity can really exist without the other.
An Apostate is anyone who takes
A POSition That’s Against The Establishment (APOSTATE) !
At least that is the view of established churches, including JW. Org.
Yes, I understand that now. Thanks Leonardo.
Update: I found your text, it is in Acts 21:21. See here for list of bible translations of this verse: https://studybible.info/compare/Acts%2021:21 And this to see translations or meaning of the word “apostacy”: https://studybible.info/strongs/G646 ————————————– Anyway, apostacy can be applied to anyone who leaves a group or organisation (political, religious, other) because that person cannot agree with the mandatory behaviours, teachings or rules of that organisation. It says nothing about the behaviours of the so-called apostate other than that he/she stopped their support and left the organisation. The people in that organisation will in most cases speak negatively of that so-called… Read more »
Thank you, Menrov. I will definitely check out the URL you provided also. It makes sense. So it really means you are an apostate to that particular organization and not an apostate to God, our Father or Jesus.
Dear Elpida, you are not apostate from Christ, you are Jesus’ Witness (Acts 1:8).