The Falling Away of Christians

A growing number of people are rejecting Christianity and embracing other faiths and spiritual practices. This development is unsurprising because the Bible said that this would transpire as we approach the end times. In this article, I’ll provide insight on the falling away from Christian faith that the Bible talks about.

The Falling Away

2 Thessalonians 2:3 references a “falling away” before the future coming of Christ:

“(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (5) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-7)

The Greek word for the term “falling away” is apostasia, which means “apostasy” or “defection from the truth”. The word apostasia is only used one other time in the New Testament; the Book of Acts in regards to the Jews forsaking the Law of Moses:

“And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.” (Acts 21:21)

It is hard to fully determine whether the “falling away” refers to the people of Israel or to Christians departing from the Bible and the Christian faith because of the lack of references where the word apostasia. However, it’s entirely possible that the “falling away” refers to Christians given that Paul warned Timothy that “some shall depart from the faith”:

“(1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3)

Why Some Christians Are Falling Away Now

One of the main reasons why some Christians are falling away from the faith is that many gateways to alternative religious practices exist. For instance, Harry Potter is a popular book series and movie franchise that appeals to many children and adults. I’ve seen a Harry Potter themed book that teaches kids how they can practice real magic and cast real spells so they can be like the characters in the Harry Potter series. An item like this book could easily turn an impressionable Christian into someone who is a practitioner of the occult as they seek to be like the characters in the Harry Potter series.

Another reason why many Christians are falling away from the faith is that they may feel that Christianity is outdated or feel the need to adhere to something more “modern”. This is not an unusual phenomenon. I remember watching a series on the Third Reich and the Occult where the narrator commented that many Europeans dropped their Christian beliefs and turned to alternative spiritual practices (like the occult) during the early twentieth century when there was great social and economic upheaval in Western Europe.

A third reason why some Christians are falling away from the faith is that they are turned off by the televangelists and mega-church leaders who exploit their followers to live an extravagant lifestyle. I’ve tried to reach out to people before and some have rejected what I have to say because I’m a Christian. One of the people who rejected me indicated that they had a negative view of Christians due to what they’ve seen from mega-church leaders and televangelists.

The Future

Things are going to get worse as we approach the end times and Christ’s coming. Christ warned in Matthew 24 that iniquity will become very prevalent and that love will grow cold:

“(10) And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (11) And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (12) And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:10-12)

Similarly, Peter warned that people shall walk after their own lusts and chide Christians for expecting Christ’s coming during the last days:

“(3) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, (4) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (5) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:” (2 Peter 3:3-5)

Therefore, do not be surprised if you continue to hear how fewer people are adhering to the Christian faith as time progresses.

If you want to dispute anything I wrote or want to share your own thoughts please leave a comment. If you would like to read more about the upcoming decline in faith, click this link for my article on faith during the future global crisis: Faith During a Future Time of Global Crisis

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Wayne Croley
Wayne Croley

Hi! I’ve studied and written about Bible prophecy since I was a teenager. My goal is to make Bible prophecy easy for you to understand while avoiding the sensationalism seen elsewhere. I am the author of several end time books, including Prophecy Proof Insights on the End Times, a comprehensive book about the end times. I hold an M.B.A. and degrees in Managerial Economics and Political Science.

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  1. I have experienced this firsthand in a couple ways. 1st, I was one who had fallen away, more of a prodigal I would say actually. God helped me find my way back to Him by always leaving me hints that He was still there, and one day I finally came back to my Shepherd, knowing he had left the 99 to bring me back. 2nd, I have a friend who grew up in a church like mine that was just down the street from my own church. His was not as conservative, but still of the same denomination. Anyway… we became good friends when we were working together as adults. We had a few things in common, which included our faith. He wasn’t living out his faith, and I was in my prodigal days, but I believed that he was saved, like me. Several years past and he had moved away for his job, but we still stayed in touch from time to time. A few more years went by and he started posting negative comments and memes on Facebook, mocking the Bible, God, Jesus, you name it. He had married his wife who completely rejected God, so while his complete falling away didn’t surprise me too much, it still saddened me and broke my heart.
    Today I was doing some research about falling away and read Hebrews 6:4-6. It saddened me even more to know that my friend has crucified Christ all over again and has put Him to shame on many occasions by mocking Him. In all the 20 years I stayed distant from God, never once did I crucify him again, nor put Him to shame again. I questioned many things in the Bible, but never once blasphemed my God. I still attended church every once in a while, my first wife was a Christian, although neither of us were as close to God as we should have been. I fell broken inside knowing that the hope I have that my friend would someday return to God, is now impossible. I still praise God for my return to Him and will accept that my friend appears to have either had the Holy Spirit taken from him, or he was never truly saved in the first place. Either way, I know I will never leave my God again as he never left me nor forsook me but brought me back. As for my friend, I pray God’s mercy be upon him. But if judgement must fall on him, God is just and righteous, darkness like this has to be judged.

  2. It’s way worse if it’s a deflection from the truth as you mentioned, the true faith is considered heretical. The mass majority are holding too and excepting the RCC doctrines of the trinity. It just started there , that’s another Jesus and gospel . Yet is considered Christianity . And it’s not . Thanks for allowing my post . I’m sure most will not agree with it .

  3. You recognize 1 Tim 4:1 for what  it is.  If Paul is also the writer of 2 Thess 2, why would he need to introduce another term in 1 Tim 4:1.. (2 Thess 2 being written before I Timothy..)