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Joined: 2012/6/29
Posts: 52

 Backslide VS Apostasy

What is the difference between backsliding and apostatizing?

If backsliders can be forgiven and return to the LORD why cannot apostatizer?

 2012/8/8 2:02Profile

 Re: Backslide VS Apostasy

Doesn't seem to be much difference between the two.

The first word is from the Old Testament and the second from the New...

A primitive root; properly to flinch, that is, (by implication) to go back, literally (to retreat) or figuratively (to apostatize): - backslider, drive, go back, turn (away, back).

Feminine of the same as G647; defection from truth (properly the state), (“apostasy”): - falling away, forsake.

I don't see where we're to give up hope for either...

2Ti 2:25,26 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Jas 5:19,20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

 2012/8/8 3:09

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2000
Joplin, Missouri


There are two places in the OT where the term backslider or backsliding is used specifically in the English, but the Hebrew word that is translated is used many times. One is the word Jesus-is-God gave, and the other is used of Israel being a backsliding heifer. This word means implies rebellion. If you have ever seen a cow that just got it in her head that she was not going to do what you wanted her to do, threw her head up, and ran, that just pretty much describes what Hosea is talking about (Hosea 4:16). Both are old testament terms, and neither is talking about leaving faith in Jesus Christ, i.e. losing salvation.

The second term is used only twice in the NT. The first is in Acts and has nothing to do with salvation or faith in Christ. The second is in Thessalonians, and speaks of the great falling away at the time of the revealing of the man of sin that most take to be the anti-Christ.

I think if you take a really honest look at scripture, the concept of being backslidden and needing to come back to Christ is not taught anywhere in the Bible. I know this gets into eternal security vs. conditional immortality a bit, but the idea that I can sin, lose my salvation, and then come back and be born again again again again is not borne out in scripture at all as far as I have been able to see.

I know a lot of people have deeply held beliefs on these issues, and often these beliefs are based more in emotion, denominations, and personal experience than they are in scripture. I know because I used to believe strongly that if you sin you lose your salvation, or at least that you are alienated from the presence of God until you get that particular sin back "under the blood" through confession and repentance. But I can find that no where scripturally.

What I do find is the concept of apostacy, or of turning away from your salvation, is found in Hebrews 10:23-39, and Hebrews 6: 4-6. There is a distinct set of criteria here for one to lose their salvation. But the point that pertains to this discussion is that once a person turns back unto perdition, they cannot be born again again. They are lost forever.

This is entirely consistent with scriptures such as Heb. 3:6 which speaks of holding fast our faith or confidence to the end.

Now it is entirely possible that a person could be born again but through sin or the flesh get off into living a sinful life again. I believe that this is what we often think of when we think of backsliding. God could deal with that person and they come and submit themselves to God and begin to follow Him faithfully. But I think this is a dangerous place to venture. Sin hardens the heart, and it can easily lead a person to the place of deliberately and knowingly rejecting their salvation as in Hebrews.

Anyway, that is my perspective.


 2012/8/8 8:27Profile


Good Morning!

I'd like to look at the whole of the Old Testament first.
What we find is an example of "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."
What we see from the beginning with the chosen - is an almost constant tug of war between them and their GOD.
What we see is the prophets being sent in to rebuke, chastise and warn ... but the reason was, GOD pleading with His people to "RETURN TO ME, saith The LORD."
We see this through-out the O.T.. Just a very few examples ...

We can read the whole story of Hezekiah's son Manasseh - found in 2Chron 33. That he repented has always boggled my mind -- but he did.

Jer 3:11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. :12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. :13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.
:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
:18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
:19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
:20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.
:21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.
:22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.

Jer 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

**Hosea** 14:1 O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. :2 Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. :3 Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy.
:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

Besides the two verses I gave in my first post ...

Jesus comes and teaches a story about a Prodigal son, that comes to himself and returns to his father that rejoices, that his "son was dead but not is alive again - he was lost and is found."

Many backslide - many Return.

We are not in the position to judge whether GOD knows that someone may/will RETURN.

We are never to give up the hope, if we have any desire to come back to GOD, that He Will Indeed Receive us back.

We take the whole of His Word - and see His Mercy.

We do not take advantage of His Mercy and backslide every weekend --- but if someone has been ravaged by accusations and as a young lamb, are never given time to grow strong in The LORD but are taken under by their own foolishness -- we cannot say that The LORD will not wash us/them off from the mud and restore unto us/them the Joy of our Salvation.

As long as a person has breath in their body - they can return. [As long as they haven't taken the mark and it's implications, that's coming.]

Only GOD can decide who has gone over the edge of no return - not us.

As long as a person desires to return and is sincere in their efforts to return - they can and will Return!

The Bible tells me so.

The Good Shepherd Bless your day, Forgiven [4gvn].

Isaiah 54

 2012/8/8 9:05

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7470


There seems to me to be some difference between backsliding and apostasy.

As I see it, lukewarmness precedes backsliding. When a body becomes ambivalent, careless about his faith he soon backslides and gets into all kinds of sins.

Apostasy is when people embrace doctrine contrary to the written word and teach others the same.

My perception is a few words.

Sandra Miller

 2012/8/8 10:22Profile

Joined: 2004/11/21
Posts: 362
Tulsa OK


A backslider is someone who can repent and be forgiven of his sins. The story of prodigal son and the corinthian believer who repented of his sin are few among other examples of backslider being forgiven and welcomed back to the Father's house or church. Also some of the churches in the book of Revelation needed to repent because they were to some degree backsliding.

An apostate is someone who is harden to the point where it will be impossible for him to repent or receive grace again(I believe this involves unfogivable sin). He is someone who has renounced Christ and his christian faith. Hebrews 6 and 10 are two examples.

It also means a deliberate turning away or falling away. In other words its a rejection of Christ by one who has been previously a believer. A professing unregenerated christian cant fall from grace, because he never had saving faith.

- edited


 2012/8/8 12:22Profile


I see. Rather than do word studies and maybe crack open, at the least the Strong's - this generation does the "I think" way of defining terms and the forming of doctrines that affect what a repentent person may feel 'GOD's response' is to their desire to return to Him.
Exegesis out and "I believe" is in and multiple souls hang in the balance.

And some of them of understanding shall *fall / waver / be ruined / stumble / fail*, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
[Dan 11:35]

When these of understanding Fall [as in FALL] in the days ahead - what answer will they be looking for - to know they haven't been or aren't 'washed up' with GOD?

1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

 2012/8/8 16:14

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