From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon May 08 2000 - 06:43:42 EDT

At 12:17 AM -0500 5/8/00, Mark Wilson wrote:
>Dr. English, in his 1954 book, Rethinking the Rapture, makes
>an observation regarding APOSTASIA that, if true, is rather
>He contends that APOSTASIA does not mean a "religious falling
>away" or a "falling away from the faith" UNLESS THE CONTEXT
>imposes that meaning to it.
>Hence, by itself, APOSTASIA simply means a movement from
>Point A. to Point B, without any religious implications.
>If one checks the uses of APOSTASIA elsewhere in the New
>Testament, most noteably Acts, I believe Dr. English's
>contention proves true. APOSTASIA is always modified in the
>context to give it its "religious departure" meaning.

So far as I can tell, there are only two instances of APOSTASIA in the GNT
altogether: Acts 21:21, where it is unquestionably a matter of teaching
Diaspora Jews rejection of Mosaic teaching, and 2 Thess. 2. That hardly
seems like a lot to build on for any generalization about what the word
must mean in 2 Thess. 2. One might refer, and this may be what English
does, to uses of the verb AFISTHMI/AFISTAMAI, of which there are quite a
few in the GNT, but that verb is certainly used in a number of contexts in
a range of senses, from "move away" (AFISTAMAI) or "cause to move away"
(AFISTHMI) to "rebel" or "cause to rebel." In older (classical Attic) Greek
the political sense of "rebellion" was one of the most common senses.

>Therefore, if his conclusions are true, then 2 Thess. 2, which
>has no "religious apostasy" context, would simply mean
>a departure of some kind, not excluding the Rapture.
>Add to that that the "apostasy" mentioned in 1 Timothy 4 does
>NOT mention a worldwide, large-scale apostasy by any means.

What appears in 1 Tim 4:1 is the verb AFISTAMAI, not the noun APOSTASIA.

>Here is my question: It is almost universally accepted that Paul
>is referring to THE (hence, well-known) APOSTASIA of 1 Timothy 4
>in 2 Thess. 2. How can this be?
>Why is Dr. English's observation seemingly brushed aside? Several
>commentaries acknowledge his claim, but few seem to investigate it.
>His contention seems to prove remarkably true in the New Testament.
>I am not contending that the APOSTASIA in 2 Thess. 2 is the Rapture;
>I am simply not eliminating it yet.

May I please urge list-members to be careful in responding to this and to
remember that the focus of B-Greek discussion is the Greek text itself and
not doctrinal issues or general questions about NT Eschatological teaching.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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