Is your pastor apostate? Twenty ways to tell

3 minute read

…there are basically two different religions within external Christendom. The difference between these two religions is the difference between God and Baal. Informed Christians ought to recognize that the real difference within external Christendom does not lie along traditional denominational lines…there are those within these denominations who accept the fundamental truths of historic Christianity. On the other hand there are the modern liberals within these same denominations who reject historic Christianity.1

It’s likely there is no harder job than the ministry. The point of this list is not to find reasons to pick on your pastor. You should love and pray for your minister. By God’s grace, he is doing the same for you.

Nevertheless, doctrine matters. God tells us to be diligent in learning and understanding those things he wants us to know.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

If you can find a relatively good church, go there, get involved, and stay. That pastor needs you.

Should the majority of liberal Protestant ministers ever decide to be intellectually honest with their congregations, the Lutheran Reformation would seem altogether mild by comparison. Protestant parishioners would, I am convinced, leave their churches wholesale.2

20 ways to tell if your pastor is apostate

  1. Does he believe that doctrinal differences have no impact on the gospel?

  2. Does he believe that the men who wrote the Bible were skewed by the cultures in which they lived? Does he believe that the writings of Paul in the Bible are less authoritative than other parts?

  3. Does he believe that the creation of Genesis is myth? Or that God used evolution in some way?

  4. Does he believe that Adam, Noah, Jonah and Job are mythical people?

  5. Does he believe that the Torah - the first five books of the Bible - was written many years after Moses died?

  6. Does he believe that Isaiah and Daniel were written by other people?

  7. Does he believe that no Old Testament prophecies specifically refer to the man Jesus Christ?

  8. Does he believe that many of the “red letter” statements of Jesus in the gospels were not said by Jesus at all?

  9. Does he believe that the miracles in the Bible are spiritual lessons rather than historical events?

  10. Does he believe that Jesus Christ had a physical human father?

  11. Does he believe that the doctrine of the deity of Jesus Christ is not found in the Old Testament?

  12. Does he believe that the doctrine of the trinity is not taught in the Bible but was added later by the early church?

  13. Does he believe that the idea of a substitutionary atonement - Jesus paying for the sins of others - is incompatible with the idea of a just God?

  14. Does he believe that Jesus Christ may have risen in some spiritual sense, but in no way was physically raised from the dead?

  15. Does he believe it’s incorrect to speak of souls consciously surviving eternally? That the suffering of hell will end?

  16. Does he believe that morals are changeable based on circumstances? That homosexuality is acceptable between loving Christians and no worse than any other sin?

  17. Does he believe sincere followers of other religions may also get to heaven?

  18. Does he believe in universalism - all have already been saved? That no faith is required for a person to be reconciled to God?

  19. Does he believe that Jesus’ chief concern was the elimination of poverty and social oppression?

  20. Does he believe that it’s fine to join with anyone as long as they generally agree “Jesus is Lord”?

If you pastor believes these things, you are not in a wholesome church.

Originally published at: Comfort for Christians
  1. Patsy Leppien and J. Kincaid Smith’s 1992 book What’s going on among the Lutherans 

  2. Otten, Baal or God. 1988, p. ii. as quoted in Leppien and Smith, p. 25. 



This is an awesome list, Ive actually bumped into #12 in a Lutheran church as the pastor was preaching from the Gospel of Thomas. This mostly reads like a “Christian” Left playbook.

Doug, Gospel of Thomas, huh? Somehow that one didnt make it into the real Bible. Im sure that Lutheran pastor worked hard to learn his apostasy in seminary. Most all of the Lutheran (and other mainstream denominational) seminaries have been moderate to liberal leaning for decades. If the list reads like a “Christian” left playbook, thats because the so-called Christian left is nothing more than the old apostate Liberalism in trendy garb. But you knew that already! Alec

Good list. Hmm. No. 20: “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess…” (yeah, whether they like it or not). Almost every church website has some version of this. It would be an eye opening study to catalog how many ways false apostles do this.

Good A.I. (Apostasy Indicator) list. A few seem to in the larger caregory of Biblical inerrancy? Others stand alone. I think all are indicators, but some, taken alone, might not necessitate leaving a church where one is a member. I am in a bit of a personal quandry concerning just that - leave or hang around.

I actually went through the 20 and commented in a first thoughts kind of way. It was a good exercise. That I might have initial thoughts is, I suppose, a sign of positive spiritial growth.

Rejection of the preservation and inerrancy of Scripture should be part of that list. If they dont believe we have extant the infallible, inerrant, inspired, preserved Word of God in our hands today, then they can preach from whatever is to their fancy, such as the Gospel of Thomas. Liberals, of course, have led the way in textual criticism which has dethroned the Word of God from its high and lofty place within the church and delivered into the hands of scholars. What a tragedy!

I found the list to be edifying - it is very difficult to find a congregation that doesnt have an apostate Pastor at its helm. I am thankful for the internet because it allows me to attend an orthodox congregation and put my flesh into subjection of Gods law to avoid heterodox teachers because there are no orthodox Pastors in my area in a “Lutheran” community. Many laity struggle with this in my opinion. I also agree with the inerrancy issue as being a mark of apostasy. In Christ, Glen Kotten