Comments on 1 John 2:19

Second Edition

Apostasy

Christians are 'free' to be in the Christian World and Rest

in Christ in any Non-threatening Christ-centered Environment

Religious bigotry, conceit, and self-comfort can drive a twisted and perfectly reasonable-sounding interpretation of a passage or verse in the Bible and 1 John 2:19 is a classic example and a favorite verse that has served ulterior purposes against dissenters down through the past twenty centuries of world Christianity.

Whenever individuals and groups of people have found cause to protest what they see as a belief, practice or policy that does not add up they have been accused of "parting the ways" as if the Bible predicted this and the group they leave has the pleasure of believing the Apostle John said as much twenty centuries ago. 

But that is not the case and this is not the truth!


John 14:6 and 2 Corinthians 13:5 would really be a proper starting place for Christians and not the particular claims of any one church, denomination, or sect!  A whole movement can claim to be "as close as you can get to the New Testament church" and that could be a bald-faced lie upon examination and scrutiny of their doctrinal claims and practices.

We could give critical examples, to begin with:  How many mediators between God and man does the New Testament advocate or endorse?  Is it one only (Jesus)?  Or is it Jesus and the Virgin Mary?  Or does one not have a mediator at all, but must hope for the trickle-down benefits of a so-called elitist group within a particular sect?  These questions lay bare the lie that a church that names itself something actually exactly matches Christianity as it is presented in the New Testament.

Does a church that claims to be exactly the New Testament Church forbid what God allows (Ephesians 5:18-19 cf. Acts 16:25-34; Revelation 14:2)?  Does a church that claims to be the original still enforce the Sabbath day which the Apostles loosed (Romans 14:5 cf. Colossians 2:16)?  Or does a church forbid water baptism as a meaningful expression of faith in Christ (Galatians 3:27; Titus 3:5 cf. 1 Peter 3:21)?

Does the group promote activity, excitement, and growth by heralding false predictions (Deuteronomy 18:15-22; Jeremiah 14:14 cf. 1 John 4:1)?

Going a step further: What book in the current canon would the truest church of all exclude from the New Testament if it only had the power?  Would it be the book that imprecates anyone who adds or TAKES AWAY (i.e., the Book of Revelation)?  Then how "close" is that Church to being truest of all and the closest one can get to being a New Testament Church?

Finding out what a Church recognizes and what it does not can also be revealing: Recognition can reveal the age of the church, but finding things unrecognizable can be a tell-tell red flag that betrays the Church's youth and novelty.

Does it perceive who Babylon the Great is or has it contrived a suspect based purely on circumstantial evidence—evidence that does not hold up under closer inspection?

Does it agree with early Christian eschatology or is that a 'throw-away' concept it has no time for?

Does it understand the straightforward implications of plain prophecies like Daniel 2 and 7 four kingdoms or does it have trouble accepting a conclusion and closure on those two critical prophecies?

Does the truest church of all have the Scripture canon the Christian People had for the first sixteen centuries of their existence or do they make all kinds of excuses why something that was there for so long was not really supposed to be in the Bible in the first place?

What 1 John 2:19 is Talking About

First John 2:19 is not talking up Catholicism, Orthodoxy, or any other form of Christianity.  Its real context is an apostasy of Jewish Christians away from the first century Church back into militant nationalist Judaism.  This was a big problem in the early Church because Judaism was naturally and Scripturally a religio-political concept from its very beginning.  As far back as the time of Moses mandatory conscription (or exemption) was a fact of life for every able male Israelite (Numbers 1:3 and Deuteronomy 20).   But for first-century Jewish Christians to fall back into Judaism meant their likely involvement with a brewing upcoming "holy war" with the Roman Empire (which false prophecies said the Jews would certainly win - Revelation 13:4).  Christians falling away into Judaism would also reject the sacrifice of Jesus and return to the animal sacrificial system and expose themselves to the very real danger of being trapped in the Holy City during the upcoming siege of the city in which a brutal civil war, sacrilege, and other misfortunes would claim their lives (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 cf. The Wars of the Jews 6.9.4:426-429).

False teachers and false prophets of the late Second Temple period were eager for Jews to abandon the claims of Christ and join ranks with them in their efforts against Roman rule in the Holy Landbut this, according to our Lord and his Apostles, would lead to certain destruction (*Luke 21:24; Philippians 3:19; 2 Timothy 3:9 cf. 2 Peter 2:1).  The realities of 1 John 2:19 have nothing to do with the dangers of leaving any particular church today, actually, but a real situation in antiquity that had real-life consequences in no long time.

If one has not forsaken Jesus, the Son of God as his or her Savior; not abandoned him as your God and Lord; has not repudiated him as your only way to the Father through the Holy Spirit, you can rest assured that any organizational claims on you are really meaningless.  We are free to associate with any Christians of like mind without also having to believe what is clearly unsubstantiated by the Holy Bible.  And this is a freedom from legalism and exactitude and a genuine latitude that all Christians should recognize they now have.

Apostasy credit: dreamstime.com.