The great apostasy... or not?

I’ve been reading The Apostasy That Wasn’t. Very useful to me personally, but it’s thrown up something with my husband. When I tried to explain the basic idea to him he didn’t understand what I was talking about, and insisted he’d never thought of the church having faced a great apostasy, and that he understood all the many denominations merely different expressions of the same faith. He said it was arrogant of the Older churches like Orthodox and Catholic to say that they had the fullness of truth.

I was floored, tbh, I don’t know how to answer that.

It is a liberal argument. Since to a liberal, truth is subjective, or at least relative to the individual; no one is in a position to say their truth is superior to anyone else’s truth.

However, to a Catholic, truth is objective and knowable. Therefore there is a truth that exists outside of individual perceptions of it. Therefore it is NOT arrogant to say that the Catholic Church has the fullness of Truth.

Ask him if he believes there is such a thing as objective truth? If not…you have no basis for dialog, but if so then you can recommend he make a study of historical Christianity, which will objectively show a substantial difference between what the ECF believed and taught as opposed to the majority of modern n-C teaching and preaching.

Keep us posted.

As others have stated, there is no point in having a discussion if you can’t agree on any definitions of terms. And there is where the “great apostasy” has reared it’s ugly head.
Today, particularly in the USA, folks largely believe that “truth” is whatever they want it to be at the moment, based mainly upon their feelings (which of course are completely subjective). I spent a fair amount of time during the last few years on a "Christian forum site’ that was largely populated with Protestants of the evangelical and fundie bent.
The one common factor that struck me was the complete and utter disregard for facts, scriptural or otherwise, and the emphasis on personal interpretations of practically everything. A perfect example being the advice to “find a church and pastor that pleases you” (as opposed to molding yourself to eternal truths).

The sad thing was that they are apostate, and are clueless about it.

Is any Christian truly apostate per the Catholic Church’s definition?

Hmmm… I think I would actually agree with him, at least in part. Though it is certainly not arrogant to claim you are correct in your teachings (so the fullness of truth thing is okay), much of the time, members of Catholic Church proclaim all other doctrines to not be “truly Christian,” a fact that at once confuses and irritates me. (Though I am also confused by those who claim Catholics are not Christians; the arguments on both sides have troubled me greatly.)

I hold that finding a living church that meets spiritual needs and is alive is infinitely better than a dead church that has correct doctrine on all matters (and by this I refer to doctrine that is NOT needed for salvation). In the book of Revelation, arguably the greatest criticism levied against the churches is that of being lukewarm. It says quite clearly: “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” *Nothing *good was said of this church. No criticism of doctrine was made, but neither were any praises offered for having it right. Thus, I hold that your husband is correct, in part. Suppose I were to seek out a church and find two churches – one completely accurate in all doctrine, but spiritually dead and lifeless, and the other wrong, to my understanding, in a doctrine that is not essential for salvation, but nevertheless spiritually alive and deeply in love with God. I would chose the second, despite my agreement with the first. It is not because I care only for emotionalism and ignore what I judge to be true; it is because only in the second church will I be able to grow and mature as a Christian around faithful believers. The consideration of a living Faith trumps minor doctrinal disagreements, like when we should baptize, how we should organize the church leadership, when communion should take place, whether or not we should circumcise, etc.

Perhaps another option should be considered: stay with the first church and set their hearts afire with the Gospel. Catholics, like many Christian denominations, tend to consider what’s good for their individual spiritual growth when we should all remember Christ didn’t tell us take care of ourselves but to take care of others. If we were His instrument of evangelization and walked away from caring for others, we failed Christ. Something to ponder. God bless.

It’s a silly argument, because the definition of truth is irrelevant if we are not living the truth of the gospel, by loving God with all our heart, mind, and soul and by loving our neighbors. Most of us have the first part down, but far fewer the second, and if we are not living the gospel, we cannot claim to know what truth is, or we have chosen to ignore it.

Hi, and thanks for the replies. He is no liberal, very much a conservative believer, heavily committed to serving our church and living out his faith. I guess I just never thought that he had such a wishy washy view of truth claims. He worries that to go any further down the road of who has the fullness of truth will take him away from where he believes God has called him to be, in our local church body.

I assume you are referring to the book by Rod Bennett. Has your husband read it or are you trying to paraphrase from it? Why not let Rod answer it for you? He has done a lot of work on the subject putting things into perspective and I personally am looking for the followup rebuttals to this book to get a different perspective.


It’s a very important as it speaks to Authority. As an earlier post pointed out it is a liberal mindset that he seems to be holding to. I understand he may not consider himself liberal but the idea is a liberal one. Ask him if denominations that support contraception, homosexual unions or even abortion are expressing the same faith. Did Jesus establish a visible Church or and invisible church.

You should read Bennett’s first book Four Witness’s as that speaks more to the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ.

By this kind of reasoning, it’s arrogant for me to say that I know my own name, because my parents told me what it was. Perfect strangers who were born twenty years after me – they have much more right to tell me my name than the parents who gave me both life and my name.

If you believe that Jesus Christ became man to save us, and to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and if you believe that He wasn’t a big fat liar and did not leave us orphaned of help, then obviously He wasn’t going to set up a situation where the fullness of truth would be hidden from us until Bob the Preacher or Annie the Super-theologian could tell us about it in the year 2015. And indeed, Jesus says that one of the main things that the Holy Spirit will do is to remind us of what Jesus already said and did.

If you believe that God is basically in the business of becoming a human and dying and rising, just in order to leave us as clueless as before He came, then obviously you wouldn’t be interested in anything chronologically close to the source.

(Although if you are interested in the development of doctrine, then Bob and Annie do have a part to play, and hopefully the Holy Spirit is helping 'em out with thinking as well as remembering.)

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