From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

I read in the New York Times and other articles about a movie entitled “Apostasy.” Several ministers have commented on it so it must have something to do with religion but what does apostasy really mean?

— A.Q.

Dear A.Q.: The word apostasy is derived from two Greek words. Putting them together they mean “to stand away from” or “to abandon” one’s faith. The Biblical teaching about apostasy goes far deeper than that. It means to “fall away.” The Apostle Paul wrote about this to the church at Thessalonica. It affected every area of life. The word is so strong and so emphatic that it suggests a complete breakdown of morals, ethics and spirituality.

The context indicates that the falling away refers not only to the abandonment of intellectual belief but also to an abandonment of morals and an abandonment of the love that is to characterize all Christians at all times.

Paul wrote: “In latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy” (1 Timothy 4:1-2), and “for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires ... they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

The Bible says, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). The wicked one is none other than Satan. His purpose is to create an atmosphere of immorality. He is working through society’s obsession with sex, falsehood, and every other evil in the world, causing many to depart from the truth.

If our minds and hearts are not filled with God’s truth, something else will take its place. Know the truth that comes from Jesus Christ, and His truth will set you free (John 8:32).