The So-called "Great Apostasy"
Has Already Come to Pass!
But it did not happen when non-Catholics claim it happened.

And Holy Scripture teaches that it could not be the Church which Jesus Christ founded.
Do you believe the teaching of Holy Scripture?

Many non Catholics have made the false charge that the Catholic Church Apostatized shortly after the last Apostle died and therefore the Catholic Church of today is not the primitive Christian Church founded by Jesus Christ in Matthew 16:18. No genuine historical documents, exact dates, or names are ever presented by them to substantiate this false charge.

First of all, the promises of Jesus Christ and of others in Holy Scripture are completely ignored by those who make this false charge. Read this verse taken right from their very own Bible.
"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20
Everyone can easily see that it is the promise of Jesus Christ to be with His Church every day in every century until the end of the world, and with no gaps whatsoever, not even one single day, and that quote is right from the Protestant King James Bible, one of the same Bibles which those who make this false charge use. If I can clearly see the meaning of this verse, then why can't they who make the false charge see it at all?
The answer is, they do not want to see it, for if they do, they would have to admit that when they made that false charge, they have also just called Jesus Christ a liar.
Here are more verses on the same theme of the perpetuality of the only Church which Jesus Christ founded, all of which would have to be denied by the false accusers:

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall, not prevail against it."
Matthew 16:18
Those who say Christ's Church apostatized, also have said that the gates of hell did prevail.

"And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you."
John 14:16-18
Those who say Christ's Church apostatized, also have said that Jesus lied in these verses, for the Counselor did not stay forever, but left at some "unspecified time".

"Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen."
Ephesians 3:20-21
Those who say Christ's Church apostatized, also have said that Saint Paul must have lied here, for how can there be glory in the apostatized Church of Jesus Christ, and what does "for ever and ever" mean?

"Abandonment of ONE'S religious faith."
That is how one dictionary defines the word.
"The total rejection by a baptized person of the Christian faith he once professed."
That is how a second dictionary defines the word.
The Greek word used is "apostasia", and from a Greek dictionary its meaning is:
"a falling away, defection, forsake".
Notice that the definitions apply to individual persons ONLY and not to the entire Church.
Isn't that exactly what Holy Scripture says?

"For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned."
Hebrews 6:4-8

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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. 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;"
2Thessalonians 2:1-3
Does this verse speak of a falling away of all the faithful of the Church?

"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Acts 20:29-30
Does this verse say to draw away all of the disciples of the Church? No it does not, but it does sound exactly like the actions of the first Protestants, Luther, Zwingli, and others who were Catholic priests, "Also of your own selves shall men arise".
They also "spoke perverse things". Read of the "perverse things" of which Luther wrote.
They also did "draw away disciples after them." But again, they did not draw all of the faithful after them.

So what have we learned here? We have learned that it is individual persons who apostatize, not the whole Church which Jesus Christ founded, for according to Scripture, that would be an impossibility.
Secular dictionaries, and Holy Scripture, both confirm that the term "apostasy" is applied only on an individual basis.
I ask those who insist that the Catholic Church apostatized in the early centuries of its existence, to explain to me how an entire Church could apostatize, unless every single member of it agreed to do so, and all apostatized at the same point in time? If the false chargers still insist it was the entire Church which Jesus Christ founded, I would ask them to show me the verse(s) in the Bible which "prove" it? I also ask them to give me the firm date of this supposed great historical event?
Next, I would like to ask those same people why there are no historical documents to be found which would "prove" that this earth shaking, monumental event, happened at all? Imagine the impact of such a happening? Did the Son of GOD sacrifice Himself needlessly? Did His entire Church simply pack up and leave him, as many of His unbelieving disciples did in John 6:66?
To the contrary, genuine historical documents teach just the opposite of this blatant lie, for the Catholic Church is mentioned by name many times and by many writers in every century beginning with 107 A.D.. Saint Augustine (354-430 A.D.) alone, mentioned the Catholic Church by name over 300 times in his writings. Yet there is no mention of even the slightest hint of a so-called "great apostasy" of the Catholic Church. Strangely enough for the detractors, not one document offers even the merest support for their false charge, so the onus is upon them to prove what they say.

Questions to ask of those who make the false accusation that the Catholic Church apostatized early on at some nebulous undetermined time...
1. Why is it that you cannot find a verse in Holy Scripture which says the entire Church which Jesus Christ founded apostatized?
2. Why do you stretch the meaning of the word "apostasy" to apply to a whole Church instead of its rightful meaning of an individual basis?
3. Why do you believe in the Bible at all, and reinforce your beliefs with the man made doctrine of Sola Scriptura, knowing full well that your Bible was handed down by a supposed "apostate" church?
4. Why is it that no one can find any authentic historical documentation to back up what they falsely charge? Of the thousands of genuine historical documents which anyone can see, why in century after century, did historians, and the early writers of the Christian Church fail to mention an apostasy of the Catholic Church. Do you think it is because no lie is of the truth (1John 1:21), and truth can be proven but the lie cannot?
5. Why is it that no one can provide a firm date, and provide authentic historical documents showing the names of those who were involved?
6. What was Jesus Christ doing for over one thousand years, while at the same time allowing His supposed "apostate" church to exist status quo until Martin Luther and his Protestant revolt came along? What happened to the billions of poor souls who lived through those same years?
Did GOD simply abandon them?
7. Why do you deny the many promises made by Jesus Christ, and Saint Paul, and others, that the only Church which Jesus Christ founded will last forever, when Holy Scripture says clearly and so explicitly that it certainly will last forever?

Answers please, to these very simple questions of which I have asked of the false accusers?

The "Great Apostasy":
The meaning is the same as for "apostasy" with the difference being in the numbers of individual apostates.
Now that we know that the entire Church could have not apostatized as detractors charge, and since the "Great Apostasy" has happened already, then who is responsible for this blatant crime against Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church?
There have been many apostates in the Church ever since it was founded. We have not forgotten Magnus, Marcion, Montanus, Severus, Tertullian, Origen, Novatian, Mani, Arius, Pelagius, Nestorius, Berengarius, Albigensians, Waldensians, and many others. Each of these apostates and heretical movements, caused hundreds and thousands of individuals to leave the Catholic Church.
The "Great Apostasy" therefore would have to be when the largest number of individuals left the Catholic Church, numbers amounting to millions. That event came to pass starting in 1520, when about ten million
* participants in the European Protestant revolt left the only Church which Jesus Christ founded. Echo, echo, echo, John 6:66.
It is to be noted that the Catholic Church did not leave them.
Thus, the "Great Apostasy" can only have reference to the tens of thousands of individual sects and the hundreds of millions of Protestants existing today, all of which had their beginnings in the 16th century and who were galvanized by the first Protestant apostate, Martin Luther.

*Interestingly, the approximately ten million apostates of Europe were replaced by about the same number of new Catholic Converts in the Americas, starting just eleven years later in 1531. This well documented event was due to the miraculous appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe
in what is now Mexico City.
Was this event simply a coincidence, or was it by divine design? Ephesians 5:23

Many thanks to these tens of thousands of apostate sects, for they are in such contrast to the truth of Jesus Christ and of His one and only Church, that they do nothing but allow those who are "The Light of the World" (Matthew 5:14) to shine like a beacon upon those who live in darkness. Here are three versions of 1Corinthians 11:19 which prove what I have just said:
"Factions have to exist in order to make it clear who the genuine believers (Lights of the World) among you are." GOD's Word Bible
"For there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you (Lights of the World) may be recognized."
"For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved (Lights of the World) may be made manifest among you."

"One who practices apostasy."
Note: Mention of "the Church" in the following statements reference the Catholic Church.

What makes an apostate?

1. Apostates reject teachings of the Church. James 2:10, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa, 2,2,5,3.
If anyone rejects one teaching of the Church which Jesus Christ founded, he/she rejects it all.
Martin Luther and his cohorts rejected teachings of the Church, and their followers still do.

2. Apostates reject the authority of the Church. Matthew 18:15-18.
Martin Luther and his allies rejected the authority of the Church which Jesus Christ founded.

3. Apostates believe the Church is a democracy, when in fact it is a hierarchy. Since when does the body tell the head what to do? The head always tells the body what to do, and the Head of the Catholic Church, which is His Body, is Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:22-23.
Martin Luther believed he could tell the head what to do as in a democracy.

4. Apostates reject obedience to the superiors of the Church. Hebrews 13:17.
Martin Luther rejected obedience to his superiors, the Pope and the Bishops of the Church.

5. Apostates invent their own teaching, based solely upon their own personal opinions, and not upon doctrinal truth.
Martin Luther invented much of his own teaching, based solely upon his personal opinions.

6. Apostates reject many parts of Holy Scripture and strive to change it to suit their teaching.
Martin Luther rejected many parts of Holy Scripture, and both added to and subtracted from the Holy Word of GOD in a vain attempt to make it conform to his teaching.

7. Apostates in criticizing the Word of GOD are in fact setting themselves up as critics of GOD Himself.
Martin Luther is guilty of criticizing the Word of GOD by removing Old Testament books from the Bible and writing against several New Testament books such as James, and Revelation.
"And the LORD said to Job: "Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it." Job 40:1-2

So you see? The so-called "Great Apostasy" has already come to pass.
Bible Christians and Protestants who have no documentation, no firm date, and no names whatsoever to "prove" their false charge against the Catholic Church, surely must realize by now that every time they point their fingers at someone else, they have three of them pointing at themselves. Try it and see.

Written by Bob Stanley, July 3, 2002
Updated January 11, 2007

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