There is apostasy and there is atheism (and its nephew agnosticism).
Apostasy, from the Greek word apostasia, means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.” In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for political revolt or defection. And just like in the first century, apostasy threatens the Body of Jesus today.
Defiance is a very dangerous attitude. Atheists are at the edges of defiance but it seems subtle in many churches today. It is defiance nonetheless. God is in control. We are not. That is the main thing about the main thing.
Atheists flat out reject Jesus. Recently I pointed out what John says in John 3.
“The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.”
This created a firestorm among the atheists. They were really up in arms. How could I say such an evil thing, they ranted. I was called all kind of vile things. It was not fun.
Here is a typical (non-fowl language) response: “it is a threat and it shows what low character you have that you stoop to threatening strangers on the internet with your imaginary best friends eternal timeout. your a low quality person. it’s pathetic you think this is appropriate to say to other ppl.”
What I said is true, however.
- John 12:48 — “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
- Matthew 12:38–42 —Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they radically changed their mind and actions (aka repented) at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.