Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
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Apostasy in Protestant Churches

Rev. Angus Stewart


Today, as in the days of Elijah, Isaiah, and Jesus, much of that which is called "church" is dead or dying. Huge swathes of Protestantism are so spiritually blind that they do not see Rome as a false church. Apostatising clerics are busy undermining the gospel of Christ by ecumenical relations with Rome.

The heresy of free will condemned in the creeds of Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptist and Anglicans is preached in many pulpits. One would think that Martin Luther had never said that free will lay at the heart of the Reformation struggle.

Office-bearers swear to uphold church confessions that they do not believe or have not read. Sometimes they do not even own a copy. False teachers are, of course, no strange thing in instituted churches (II Peter 2:1) but the proliferation of women ministers, elders, deacons and missionaries is unprecedented in 2,000 years of the New Testament church. You can be absolutely sure that Jesus Christ did not call them to these offices (I Tim. 2:12).

Historic Protestantism teaches that true churches are identified by certain marks: (1) faithful, expository preaching; (2) proper observance of the two sacraments, including supervision by elders; (3) discipline of those who maintain false doctrines or live ungodly; (4) spiritual worship regulated by Scripture.

Most professing Christians today join or remain in churches for very different reasons: it is my nearest church; my family have always worshipped there; I chose this church because it has lots of youth activities. However, a Christian must be a member of a church for God’s sake and for no one else’s. This means he must seek God’s glory in a church where Christ is present in biblical preaching, sacraments, discipline and worship. Church membership for any other reason is idolatry.

No wonder much of the professing church is characterised by ignorance rather than the knowledge of God; apathy rather than zeal; worldliness rather than the communion of the saints; irreverence rather than the fear of God; entertainment rather than the message of Christ crucified.

At all this the heart of the believer grieves. What is happening the church? But it is "not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" (Rom. 9:6). Rather, "the election hath obtained [salvation] and the rest were blinded," for "God hath given them the spirit of slumber" (Rom. 11:6-7). The Most High uses false teachers and false doctrine to put people to sleep spiritually, and it is these blind and ignorant "watchmen," these "dumb dogs" that "cannot bark" (Isa. 56:10), who are most to blame.