The True Meaning OfApostasy

The topic of “apostasy” is one of utmost importance for all Jehovah’s Witnesses (former or current) to consider at this time. Because pointing to someone and labeling them an “apostate” has been coming up more often, it seems, recently on a congregational level. We have been forced to examine this issue and really understand what the bible is teaching, and the true meaning of the word. 

According to God's Word

Text Box: It is a plain fact, many of us (among Jehovah’s Witnesses) have been wrongly accused or labeled as being an “apostate” even for questioning things that should concern us about our faith.

In fact, we could even go as far as to say that this is RELIGIOUS ABUSE which is occurring in one case after another, right now within numerous congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world.

One of the reasons that this is an issue we need to be absolutely sure about is that the consequences for being an “apostate” are so severe. They are life changing and could possibly cause a person a huge loss, devastating to be sure. To put it plainly,
it could ruin your life. Some of the possible things a person could lose would include his closest friends, the entire congregation, perhaps his job, maybe relationships with members of his family would be forever taken away, including this persons’ mother, father, brothers, sisters, children, wife or husband, in-laws. You could lose your home, your good reputation in the community, neighbors may even hear about this person being called an “apostate” and thrown out of the local Kingdom Hall. It could leave a person totally and completely standing alone, with nobody speaking to him or even looking at him when in public. How tragic!

So, out of love for our brothers and sisters, we should make every effort to be careful before we label anyone as an “apostate” based only on what somebody else says or based on man-made traditions or rules. We should know exactly why some should be labeled an “apostate” and others should not. Yes, when would it be proper to label someone an “apostate?” Indeed, we should want to know for certain, if a person has truly deviated from Jehovah’s laws, and divine truth. Also, we must ask ourselves, should such a person be rightly shunned (or disfellowshipped/ disassociated)? We should let God’s Word give us the definitive answer as to whether one is truly an “apostate” or not, in Jehovah’s eyes.


Should a person be, spiritually-speaking, “burned at the stake,” reminiscent of the heinous church-inspired hate actions expressed in the infamous Spanish Inquisitions and Salem “Witch” hunts of the past? In fact, isn’t this the type of activity that Jesus warned his disciples against at John 16:2, 3 which says:

Text Box: Apostate Being Burned At The Stake

We all recall, the Watchtower Society has made it clear that the most loathsome, the most despicable character, the one to be “hated” by all Christians, is an “apostate.” To the Watchtower Society, an “apostate” is the absolute worst thing a person can be. So, let’s get a little background on this particular word (apostasy) that has stirred up so many in the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Let’s pay attention to the following information, as it discusses this topic, in detail, for our benefit.

Please see below information taken from the book called, The “REPORT”  on pages 265 thru 270 on just this timely subject under the subheading entitled, “Apostasy.”

© 1994 - 2024 Donald C. Burney

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2 Men will expel YOU from the synagogue. In fact, the hour is coming when everyone that kills YOU will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God. 3 But they will do these things because they have not come to know either the Father or me. -- New World Translation

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