9 Steps Toward Apostasy

I’ve shared this on other blogs before, but given the recent apostasy of Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson, it is always good, by way of reflection and introspection, to be reminded of your own spiritual condition before God. I’ve counseled countless believers and unbelievers about the fruit of salvation, and the doctrine of assurance. And John Bunyan’s 9 steps toward apostasy has been something I have observed in myself when I was a false convert, and in others whom I have given counsel. And no matter how many years someone professes to be a Christian, these points have been spot on every time.

In his classic novel, Pilgrims Progress, Bunyan illustrates the 9 progressive steps of what it looks like when someone is falling away. This list has been modified and modernized by me for our understanding. Please read and take heed. Save this in your journal, your computer, or make it your bookmark, but remember this well. It will give you points of reference to help you examine yourselves. And if you want to read this portion of Pilgrims Progress in context, click here

  1. You draw away your thoughts from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
  2. Then, you slowly stop private duties like closet prayer, curbing your lusts, watching for temptation, sorrow for sin, and the like.
  3. Then, you turn away the company of lively and warm Christians.
  4. After that, you grow cold to public duty, as hearing the word preached, reading the bible, godly fellowship, and the like.
  5. Then, you begin to pick holes in the coats of some of the godly; and do it maliciously, that you may have a seeming excuse to throw [the Christian] religion (for the sake of some sin you have seen in others) behind your back.
  6. Then, you begin to adhere to, and associate yourself with, carnal, loose, and immoral men/women.
  7. Then, you give in to carnal and immoral discourses in secret; and you are glad if you can see such things in anyone else that is called Christian, that way you can commit your sin more boldly through their example.
  8. After this, you begin to play with little sins openly.
  9. And then, being hardened, you prove yourself to be as lost as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, you perish forever in your own deception.

If you have not listened to our recent Things Above podcast concerning the New Covenant and apostasy, listen here. We pray this will help you to find assurance and encouragement in Christ as we look to Him in our perseverance.

-Until we go home

4 thoughts on “9 Steps Toward Apostasy”

  1. Truth matters. Investigate. Look at the evidence. Read the books of leading Christian apologists and leading skeptics. If Christianity is true, it will withstand the scrutiny.

    • I would encourage everyone to read the following books in their investigation of the truth claims of Christianity:

      Christian authors:
      –“The Resurrection of the Son of God” by NT Wright
      –“The Death of the Messiah” by Raymond Brown
      –“Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh and Sean McDowell

      Skeptic authors:
      –“Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman
      –“The Outsider Test for Faith” by John Loftus
      –“Why I Believed, Reflections of a Former Missionary” by Kenneth W. Daniels


Leave a Comment