The Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostle Paul that there would be a falling away from the truth by an apostacy. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrine of devils” (I Tim. 4:1). The phrase, “latter times,” in Greek (husteros Kairos) means later times or a little later on, not far out in the future. That is, false teachers were to arise within the church. The point being made here is that the church and the faithful believer will have to be constantly on guard against false teaching.
This falling away or Greek word, aphistemi, means apostatize from the faith (pistis) conviction of a religious truth, will forsake or turn away from the truth as revealed by the apostles and by inspired men.
The cause of this falling away will be by the deceitful (planois – leading astray) working of Satan, and they will claim these lies as the truth. This passage is not dealing with the philosophies taught by unbelievers in the world but is talking about false teachers within the church itself.
The Spirit has spoken clearly (rhetos), that is, in specific terms, in plain words, distinctly, so that there can be no question about what is being said. God is warning the church that some preachers, elders, teachers will turn away from the truth!
Who could have imagined that churches of Christ would be fighting some of the battles that we are forced to fight today concerning the truth of God’s word. Many preachers, elders, teachers in the Lord’s church are turning away from the truth. This includes accepting the sinner’s prayer, accepting women deacons and preachers, joint worship services with denominational bodies, preaching doctrine of grace alone, defending instrumental music in worship, denying that the Bible provides a pattern for worship.
I write an article each week to challenge these false beliefs and to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The faith here refers to things that we believe, refers to the body of truth which was given to Christians through the apostles and inspired writers, which “was once for all delivered” means God’s truth has been completely revealed. In other words, we must not add to the truth or take away from the truth. The truth in God’s word has been fully delivered, and it will not change.
The false beliefs have been fully refuted in articles by me on our church’s website (www.churchofchristatelkins.org - under Blogs and articles, Wise Words from the Elders). There are more than 200 articles dealing with such subjects as: Contempt for the Truth (11-20-16); Transgenderism (5-28--17); What Has Happened to Preaching (10-25-15); Gender Inclusive Movement (1-17-16); Does Truth Matter (9-25-16); Worship However You Feel (4-26-15); Day to Observe the Lord’s Supper (8-31-14); Challenging the New Hermeneutic (1-11-15); Kind of Music Authorized in Worship (9-7-14);
A Manmade Trojan Horse (Hermeneutics) (11-18-18); Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (10-14-18); Hands that Shed Innocent Blood (Abortion) (10-28-18); Evil Agenda of the Globalists (11-19-17); Where is Heaven Going to Be? (some teach earth) (9-28-18); Homosexual Agenda (10-18-15).
As the church faces the threat from within, it is important to keep in mind that in every generation some sort of assaults have been made on the faith, and the attacks will continue to be made. The bottom line is Christ’s everlasting kingdom will continue to stand until the end of time. We must continue to fight the good fight of faith lest we and many others in our generation have their faith overthrown. There is simply no saving knowledge of truth apart from the practice of truth (I John 2:3-4).