For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Timothy was encouraged by Paul by at least two letters, and had been given apostolic authority to deal with issues in the church at Ephesus - many related to doctrinal errors especially a false gospel (A doctrine Paul defines in 1 Timothy).
These two letters remind us that apostasy does and will occur in churches, as Paul had warned the Ephesian church some years earlier:
Know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert (Acts 20:29, 30 ESV)
This message is about how apostasy occurs and how it enters the church
Before beginning this, the message examines the fundamental truths about Christianity.
Apostasy is the departure from the fundamental truth or the moving away from such truth. Its origin means defection and often is used in the context of "relinquishing of a religious belief".
Heresy is the deliberate choice of another position, noting that heresy need not be apostasy, as Mr Foxe demonstrates in the Foxe's Book of Martyrs.
Since apostasy has to do with departure from the fundamental truth, we need to define the fundamentals of Christianity.
Axiomatic statements cannot be subdivided any more – they form the ground or foundation from which all other assertions can be drawn. The most basic attribute of an axiom is that it is self evident.
The following are fundamental truths believed by fundamental evangelical Christians, but not an exclusive list of all truths.
The basis of doctrine is the Bible, which is not primarily a relationship to men and movements, but rather a relationship to the Word of God.
At issue is the absolute authority of the Scriptures over all that we believe and practice.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
Our relationship with men and movements is the resulting outcome of the kind of relationship we have with the Word of God. (One can tell a man by his company).
A true believer will separate on the basis of any kind of denial of that which is clearly taught. Uniting in common cause with apostasy can only cause grief and certainly cannot nor can glorify God.
One issue we need to deal with is separating out what is fundamental, from what is trivial. The fundamental need to be preserved at all costs
Paul warns the Galatians thus:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one [God] who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6,7 9 NIV)
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 1 Timothy 1:3,4 (NKJV)
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8 NKJV)
The consequence of preaching a false doctrine is being accused or anathema.
Taking the scheme of David C Innes (see Sermonaudio.com website for some of his work) doctrine and so-called doctrines can be divided into four categories. Essentially these define the beliefs and practices by a Christian or the local church. Note that categories 2 - 4 may overlap and hence maturity needs to be used to decide on the triviality or otherwise of an issue; thus the need for mature elders in an assembly (one of the reason Paul writes to Timothy).
These are clear statements in the Bible which provide the truth - and there is no interpretation needed, although they must be applied in context. These include the most basic statements defining the gospel commands or statements:
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! Deuteronomy 6:4 (NKJV)
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus 1 Timothy 2:5 (NKJV)
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)
'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31 (NKJV)
Sometimes the Bible gives a lot of evidence through narrative or statements but not a direct quotable quote. For instance Scripture does not say the trinity is made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. However, the text is implicit that this is what the trinity is. Psalm 2 illustrates the three in action. Sometimes logic needs to be applied, for instance, the plain interpretation of Revelation is to take the order of events as given with the time frames specified (days are literal days) - this is both sensible and logical and was how the author intended the Book to be read. Other passages of Scripture such as Daniel also illustrates that this approach, hence we can draw conclusive statements about the millennial reign.
Some items under this heading may overlap with group 2 or 4 but often can be culturally defined, rather than biblically defined. Often speculation occurs because the source is not the Bible, but some other starting place, such as a guru, or some prominent personality.
These have no place in church discussion or used for the purpose of deciding right from wrong or determining the truth or otherwise of doctrine. It may however influence the flavour of how things are done - coffee is offered before or after the meeting, may extend to application of the standard of dress, style of preaching (use of electronic projection or notes) etc.
Apostasy in the evangelical church is a process of "gradualism".
For instance if the banning of the word "blood" and "virgin" in music sang in our churches happened 20 years ago there would have been a cry disbelief and of foul play. But, this has been achieved by gradually removing these words, so they now are abhorrent to the neo-(liberal)-evangelicals.
The late Charles Woodbridge stated: Apostasy proceeds progressively with a change in:
Mood, then -
Method, then -
Message, and finally -
David C Innes states that apostasy is: a change from a posture of confrontation to a posture of accommodation.
The ultimate outcome is always determined by the principles that govern the immediate course of action.
At its worse, apostasy will send men and women to hell, and at its least will separate perpetrators from communion with God.
You do not have to be a wicked man or woman to do untold, immeasurable damage to the cause of Christ
Some of the consequences of apostasy include:
Our attitude must be to keep the biblical truths as written in Scripture.
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:12,13 (NKJV)
Our aim is that of Pauls - by the end of our life we should be able to say:
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8)
 An edited version can be found at < http://www.ccel.org/ccel/foxe/martyrs/files/martyrs.html > Accessed 10 August 2014.
 Note that many non-Christians, and in particular the media will hold that fundamentalism is a radial idea being an organized, militant movement etc - rather than the definition that I apply here - adherence to strict beliefs or set of principles.
T here are clearly set of self evident phrases that describe God and His attributes - these can be found in Scripture.
 Which, incidentally does not mean "Christian", but means a position on the political landscape.>