Interestingly we could not find the word 'apostate' in the New Testament Bible. However as Christians, we should ask ourselves, which religions have left the teachings of Jesus? Which religions have become apostates and which religions are still following the true teachings of God?
To be a Christian, one must follow Jesus. Anyone who adds or subtracts doctrines from the words Jesus spoke would be by definition be an apostate or someone who no longer believes that Jesus is the only path to everlasting life.
Therefore a true Christian would carefully read every word Jesus spoke and follow his teachings. Even though the words of Jesus were written approximately 30 years after he died, the Bible is still our best source of information on the life of Jesus. The Bible tells us what Jesus said and the miracles he preformed.
Apostasy began immediately after Jesus died. By the time the early Christian congregations were being formed, apostasy was already setting in. However the Apostles and people who knew Jesus personally are the best sources of information we have today.
As time went on, religions slowly drifted away from the pure teachings of Jesus. Today we have hundreds of different Christian religions. Some rely only on the words Jesus spoke. Some rely on what Jesus and the Apostles said. And some religions have added hundreds of laws and commandments that neither Jesus or the Apostles required of Christians.
Today all Christians are doing their best to follow the example of Jesus. But how can we tell who has the truth? Who are the true Christians and who are the apostates?
Here's what the Bible says, 'Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; ... If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.' 2 John 1: 9 - 11 NIV
Does this mean that the Apostle John endorsed disfellowshipping. No he did not. See Do Not Say A Greeting and find out what this scripture means.
All religions and people who have 'run ahead' of the teachings of Christ do not have God according to the Bible. Apostates have run ahead of the teachings of Jesus.
True Christians read only the words of Jesus and follow his example of unconditional love. Jesus loved his enemies (even though he disagreed with them). He even forgave his executioners as he hung on the cross (or stake).
Jesus said, "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?' Matt 5: 46, 47 NIV
Apostates are religions and people who have added to the commandments of Jesus. They have 'run ahead' of the teachings of Christ. And they do 'not have God' according to 2 John 1: 9.
Here's an example of a religion that has some doctrines Jesus didn't speak of. As you read the 141 Things Jehovah's Witnesses Can't Do ask yourself if their beliefs are apostate or not. Are they true Christians and followers of Jesus? Or have been running ahead of jesus?
Also this same religion advices Jehovah's Witnesses to hate apostates and enemies. This directly violates the instructions Jesus gave his followers. Jesus told Christians to love their enemies. Matthew 5:43-48: Luke 6:31-37;
Since they oppose the teachings of Jesus by teaching hatred, does that make them God's organization or Satan's organization? 2 Cor. 11:12-15; Aren't all Jehovah's Witnesses taught that Satan the Devil opposes God? See Apostate Jehovah's Witnesses and read what the Watchtower says.
The Bible clearly tells us who the apostates are even though it doesn't use the word apostate. The Bible says, 'Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; ... If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.' 2 John 1: 9 - 11 NIV See Do Not Say A Greeting
Jesus said that ALL authority was given to him. 'And Jesus came to them and said, All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.' Matthew 28:18. Why then would Christians attempt to harmonize the teachings of Jesus with the rules of Jehovah, the Apostle Paul, or the early Christian congregation? Trying to make all the Bible writers happy, would be 'running ahead' of Jesus. True Christians listen to the words of Jesus and no one else because ALL authority in heaven and on earth was given to him.
Critics say that the teachings of the Apostle Paul sometimes conflict with the teachings of Jesus. Find out why. Get The Facts On The Apostle Paul. Critics also say that Jehovah, the God of the ancient Israelites, was very different from 'God the Father'. Find out why Christians put their complete trust in Jesus, NOT an organization or Jehovah. See Jehovah vs Jesus
'For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.' 1 Timothy 2:5
Can Christians trust the entire Bible? Is the entire Bible endorsed by Jesus? See All Scriptures Are Inspired