Last week it was Josh Harris. This week it’s Marty Sampson. Next week it could be another high profile Christian, or it could be someone you know personally. But someone somewhere will turn away from the faith, openly declaring that he or she no longer believes Christian teaching.
A number of solid believers have used blogs and podcasts to comment on these two most recent cases of apostasy, and they’ve all made some valuable points. Indeed, Scripture addresses the topic quite forcefully, particularly in the book of Hebrews. The author of that book wrote it as a response to professing Christians who reverted back to Judaism, warning them against neglecting their salvation. So the Word of God definitely sets a precedent for talking about apostasy. Therefore I appreciate the willingness of people to use current events to discuss the matter.
I worry, though, about this issue becoming too dominate in our thinking. In a perverse sort of way, it seems to be the popular topic in evangelical circles. And I can’t help wondering whether or not Satan is using it to distract us from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Look again at this familiar passage from Philippians:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~~Philippians 4:8 (ESV)
This verse isn’t a poetic exhortation to Positive Thinking. Paul wrote it from a Roman prison as he waited for a possible death sentence. He certainly didn’t write it to discourage Christians from facing harsh realities! In this very letter he lays out details of his suffering, squarely stating that part of following Christ entails sharing in His sufferings (Philippians 3:10). And in other letters, he anguished over the apostasy of even his trusted companions (most notably 2 Timothy 4:10).
Philippians 4:8 doesn’t mean living in a state of denial about the hardships of life. When people we love and respect announce that they’ve rejected the Lord they’d once claimed to love, of course our hearts shatter. But even in that devastating grief, we must train our eyes back to what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.
We must fix our eyes on Jesus.
It’s easier to pay attention to the latest Twitter controversy than to keep our minds on the Lord, admittedly. And apostasy is so deliciously scandalous, don’t you know. But if we focus too much energy on analyzing Josh Harris and Marty Sampson, could we possibly be ignoring the Lord Himself? Might we be guilty of a more subtle form of apostasy?
Ladies, let’s remember why apostasy is such a dreadful state. Anything that draws our minds away from our wonderful Savior — including hot topics on the Internet — must be a distant second to loving and adoring Him.