The theory goes like this: Just a few centuries after Christâ€™s death, around the time the Roman Empire converted to Christianity, the true Faith suffered a catastrophic falling-away. The simple truths of the gospel became so obscured by worldliness and pagan idolatryâ€”kicking off the Dark Ages of Catholicismâ€”that Christianity required a complete reboot.
This idea of a â€œGreat Apostasyâ€ is one of the cornerstones of American Protestantism, along with Mormonism, the Jehovahâ€™s Witnesses, and even Islam. Countless millions today profess a faith built on the assumption that the early Church quickly became broken beyond repair, requiring some new prophet or reformer to restore the â€œpureâ€ teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
This theory is popularâ€¦ but itâ€™s also fiction.
In The Apostasy that Wasnâ€™t, Rod Bennett follows up his bestseller Four Witnesses with an account of the historical events that led him out of his own belief in apostasy theory and into the Catholic Church. With the touch of a master storyteller, he narrates the drama of the early Churchâ€™s fight to preserve Christian orthodoxy intact even as powerful forces try to smash it to pieces.
Amid imperial intrigue, military menace, and bitter theological debate, a hero arises in the form of a homely little monk named Athanasius, who stands against the world to prove that there could never be a Great Apostasyâ€”because Jesus promised his Church would never be broken.