The Apostasy That Wasn't: The Extraordinary Story of the Unbreakable Early Church
The theory goes like this: Just a few centuries after Christ’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 idolatry—kicking off the Dark Ages of Catholicism—that Christianity required a complete reboot.
This idea of a “Great Apostasy” is one of the cornerstones of American Protestantism, along with Mormonism, the Jehovah’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 “pure” teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
This theory is popular… but it’s also fiction.
In The Apostasy that Wasn’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 Church’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 Apostasy—because Jesus promised his Church would never be broken.
Also available as an eBook
“To read this book is to live in the fourth century, for a vivid moment, knowing the thrills and heroics to which true faith led our ancestors. This is the most enthralling book you'll read this year.” —Mike Aquilina
Hardcover, 323 pages
Very insightful and definitely will help defend ones faith against this very common objection
What brought me to buy this book was a pretty straightforward process- a Protestant family member gave me a book that made some... irritating claims about the history of the Early Church, and teaching (as you might expect) that there was, indeed, a Great Apostasy around the time of Constantine that ruined the gospel for the next... well, 12 to 16 or 17 centuries depending on who you ask. So I wanted to refute these claims and show why the Catholic Church has the best claim to the historical Christian faith, and then I heard Trent Horn reference this title on CA Live. This is where my expectations were subverted: one of the other books I have read recently was the (dare I say famous?) Behold Your Mother by Tim Staples. If you haven't read it, read it. It's on the "Good Catholic" curriculum and it is an incredible tool not only in apologetics but also in coming to know Our Lady better. In his book, Tim essentially lists Catholic claims about the Marian Dogmas, provides evidence and arguments for them, poses common objections, and then answers those rejections. A straightforward apologetic work. This is what I thought I might find in The Apostasy that Wasn't. I was happily mistaken. Rod Bennett does an incredible job of painting a living and relatable picture of the Early Church, not by listing Protestant claims about an apostasy and systematically debunking them, but rather weaving a beautiful page-turning narrative replete with memorable personalities, intrigue, and plot twists. Mr. Bennett admits in his introduction to the work that his goal here is not to present you with a dry and bluntly factual account: he notes the ready existence of many such works, as well as the availability of the extant writings of the Church Fathers he quotes! Rather, Bennett takes all of the disparate accounts and writings of so many historians and priests and emperors and connects them all together to give us the story as it happened... though he does not shy away from imagining the thoughts and motivations of these characters aside from what is written. All in all, this book has brought the history of our Church to life for me in a way I had never considered before, inspiring in me a newfound passion to live my faith the way the men of God did back when Christianity was still young and faith was more important than anything, and it's an absolute joy to read while you're at it. God Bless You and God Bless Rod Bennett!
Fascinating read. Lot’s of info I had no idea about and never taught to me through 12 years of Catholic School. A must read for any Catholic, practicing, non-practicing, fallen away, or turned Evangelical, Mormon, JW. It’s an apologists dream.