Losing The Faith (1/22)
The Acts of the Apostles covers a very brief period of time – perhaps 35 years – from the ascension of Christ to the imprisonment of Paul at Rome. The entire New Testament was completed before the end of the first century, and there is no inspired record of ecclesial life after the death of the apostles. Nevertheless, what happened after the Acts of the Apostles must be of interest to us. We know that apostasy developed very quickly when the apostles were no longer on the scene. It should be helpful to us today to understand how and why such a “falling away” from the Truth occurred after the first century.
The writers of the New Testament laid down a sound and lasting foundation. Its merit is especially obvious when the apostolic writings are compared with those that came after them. Almost immediately after they appeared, the gospels and epistles were accepted as Scripture, and so they have been preserved intact. A distinction was made very early between the books of the New Testament and the writings of those who came after the apostles, even though these later works had considerable effect upon the apostate church and its doctrines.